Wonderful Bhutan

By | Jul 29, 2017 | Views: 2,781

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(By Tsem Rinpoche and Beatrix Ooi)

Bhutan, officially known as the Kingdom of Bhutan, is the smallest state located within the Himalaya mountain range. It is located in the Eastern Himalayas, bordered by China and India. Within the South Asia region, after the Maldives, Bhutan is the second least populous nation, with no more than 800,000 residents living in the small landlocked country. The capital of Bhutan is Thimphu and it is also the country’s largest and only city. Bhutanese history is an admirable record of centuries of independence, having never been colonised by external forces or foreign nations.

A map indicating the location of Bhutan. Click on image to enlarge.

A map indicating the location of Bhutan. Click on image to enlarge.

A closeup map on Bhutan. Click on image to enlarge.

A map of the various regions of Bhutan. Click on image to enlarge.

Bhutan is divided into 20 districts (dzongkhags) and 205 village blocks, which is then further divided into numerous municipalities for administrative purposes. Formerly an absolute monarchy, Bhutan became a constitutional monarchy in 2008 and is currently governed by the King of Bhutan and the nation’s parliament.

The country is famous for pioneering the concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH), instead of the more commonly-touted Gross National Product (GNP). GNH is both a development philosophy and a measurement of the nation’s collective happiness. As a development philosophy, GNH is used to guide the government when they make decisions of national importance. The GNH philosophy emphasises harmony with nature and traditional values.

Bhutan is well-known for their conservation efforts and visitors will definitely understand why, when they see what Bhutanese nature has to offer. The country benefits from a wide range of climates and incredible landscapes. Mountain peaks in Bhutan can easily reach 7,000 metres (22,966 feet). The highest peak in Bhutan is the Gangkhar Puensum, which stands at 7,570 metres (24,840 feet) and holds the record of the highest unclimbed mountain in the world. Since 1994, climbing mountains higher than 6,000 metres in Bhutan has been prohibited due to their respect for local spiritual beliefs; later, starting from 2003, mountaineering was completely prohibited.

 

Weather

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The climate in Bhutan varies depending on the altitude and time of the year. In the south, the climate is generally subtropical; in the highlands, it is generally temperate; and in the north, there is year-round snow. Bhutan experiences five seasons through the year, comprising of summer, monsoon, autumn, winter, and spring. March to May is spring, when the weather is comparably pleasant; June to August is summer, which also overlaps with the monsoon season when there will be heavy downpours. Therefore if you are planning a trip to Bhutan, it is strongly encouraged that you visit the country during March to May.

 

Culture

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Till this day, the culture of Bhutan remains largely unchanged, thanks to their relative isolation from the world until the 20th Century. Visitors to Bhutan who are familiar with Tibetan culture may be pleasantly surprised by the similarities between Bhutanese and Tibetan culture. Like the Tibetans, the Bhutanese culture stems from the ancient religion of Buddhism and it has particularly influenced the growth and development of this country. The concept of Gross National Happiness, for example, is not found anywhere else in the world but it is particularly important in Bhutan, thanks to their cultural and religious heritage.

The official Bhutanese languages, Dzongkha and Sharchop are relatively affiliated to the Tibetan language. Those familiar with the Tibetan script, for example, will be able to read Bhutanese script, although they may not necessarily understand it. An ancestor of the Tibetan language called chhokey (“Dharma language”) is widely used by the Bhutanese monks.

Another similarity between Tibetan and Bhutanese culture that visitors might notice is that both populations highly revere Padmasambhava, an 8th Century Buddhist master and the founder of the Nyingma tradition of Buddhism. In Bhutan, there are many pilgrimage places associated with Padmasambhava.

 

Religion

In general, 75% of the Bhutanese population identify as Buddhist so it should be no surprise that the official state religion is Buddhism. In the south of the country, there is a Hindu majority. In fact, approximately 23% of the Bhutanese population is Hindu.

Other religions account for less than 1% of the country’s population. For example, there is also a small population of Muslims in Bhutan (0.2% of the population) while 0.4% practise other religions such as Bon and other indigenous faiths.

It is said that Buddhism was introduced to Bhutan in the 7th century through the works of the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo. A convert to Buddhism himself, King Songtsen Gampo had ordered for the construction of two huge Buddhist temples at Bumthang in central Bhutan and Kyichu Lhakhang in the Paro Valley.

 

Religious Festivals

The traditional Cham dance

The traditional cham dance

On the tenth day of a particular month in the lunar Tibetan calendar, each dzongkhag will hold a religious festival known as the tsechu. The tsechu is a tradition of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism and the day upon which it is held differs from one dzongkhag to another.

During the tsechu, villagers from the surrounding districts will gather together for several days for religious purposes and to socialise. They will contribute auspicious offerings to the lama in charge or monastery during the festival. The main activity of the tsechu is a series of religious dances called cham which are usually held in a large courtyard. Each part of the dance may take up to a few hours to complete, and it may take two to four days for each dance to finish completely. One of the purposes of this dance is to bless the audience directly and to spread the principles of tantric Buddhism.

The tsechus arose from Padmasambhava, the great scholar who visited Tibet and Bhutan in the 8th and 9th Centuries. Padmasambhava is famous for subduing spirits and wild environments, and converting people to Buddhism. He did this by performing rites and rituals, reciting mantras, and performing dances to subdue the local spirits and gods who were malevolent in nature.

During Padmasambhava’s visit to Bhutan, he came to the aid of King Sindhu Raja who was dying. In the Bumthang Valley, he performed a series of subjugation dances intended to restore the king’s health. The king was immensely grateful and went on to help spread Buddhism throughout Bhutan.

After this, to commemorate the acts performed in Bumthang, Padmasambhava organised the first tsechu. During the tsechu, eight manifestations of Padmasambhava were reflected in the eight forms of dance. These dances later developed to become the cham dances which tell the story of Padmasambhava and his miraculous deeds. The Dance of the Eight Manifestations of Padmasambhava is performed on the fourth and final day of the festival, as a culmination of events, depicting the triumph of good over evil.

The unfurling of the thongdrel

The unfurling of the thongdrel

Following the dance is the unfurling of the thongdrel. Early in the morning, amidst prayers and intense supplication, this very large thangka is unfurled. The thongdrel measures 30 metres by 45 metres, and it depicts Padmasambhava flanked by his two consorts and surrounded by his eight incarnations. It is said that those who witness the unfurling of the thongdrel are cleansed of their negative karma. The thangka is left unfurled until it is rolled up again just before sunrise, to be kept in the monastery until the next tsechu during the following year.

 

The Monastery

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In a country where Buddhism is the state religion, it should come as no surprise that the landscape is dotted with monasteries. Monasteries in Bhutan benefit from financial support from the government through annual subsidies.

The government’s support for monasteries has continued into the modern era and monasteries in Bhutan continue to thrive. By the late 1980s, Bhutan had registered some 12,000 monks, and there were also active congregations of nuns but no accurate figures are available.

The process of becoming a monk in Bhutan is quite similar to the rest of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Young boys typically join the monastery around six to nine years old and are placed under the direct tutelage and guidance of a headmaster. From this headmaster they will learn to read chhokey, which is identical to classical Tibetan, as well as Dzongkha, and English. Ultimately, the monks will have to choose between two paths: to study Buddhist theory or to take on the path of becoming proficient in rituals and personal spiritual practice.

Each monastery is headed by a khenpo (abbot) who is usually a lama. The highest-ranking khenpo in the country is known as the Je Khenpo (chief abbot) and in theory, his status is equivalent to the king’s. The Je Khenpo is assisted by the Five Lopons (or masters) and they are in charge of religious tradition, logic, liturgy and prayers, lexicography, and the universities. When the Je Khenpo passes on, the Dorji Lopon (the chief lopon) is appointed to succeed him.

Unlike the Dalai Lama or Panchen Lama, the position of Je Khenpo is never held by a child but always by an experienced monk. This position is awarded to the monk on the basis of merit, through an election and it is usually the most respected monk of the Dratshang Lhentshog (Commission for the Monastic Affairs) who is elected into position.

 

Clothing

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One of the characteristics of the Bhutanese is their traditional dress. It is an easily-recognisable outfit which continues to be worn by everyone in Bhutan, young or old. Bhutanese men wear the gho, a knee-length robe that is tied around the waist with a traditional belt known as kera. The pouch that forms in front of the robe was traditionally used to carry food bowls and a small dagger. Today it is used to carry small items like mobile phones, wallets and doma (betel nut).

Women wear the kira, a long, ankle-length dress along with a light outer jacket known as a tego with an inner layer known as wonju.

When the Bhutanese visit the dzongs (temples) and other administrative centres, they wear long scarves. The scarves are varied in colour, indicating the wearer’s status. The scarf worn by men is known as kabney and those worn by women are known as rachus. The rachu is hung over the woman’s shoulders and it does not have any specific status associated with its colour. They are made from raw silk and brocaded with beautiful patterns.

Rank Kabney/ Scarf
The King Yellow / Saffron
Je Khenpo (Head Abbot) Yellow / Saffron
Minister Orange
Judge Green
District Administrator Red with a small white stripe
Commoner White

 

Do’s and Don’ts

DO’S

  • Have a printed visa clearance copy at the time of check-in for the flight to Bhutan.
  • Do remember that some of the Himalayan mountains in Bhutan are considered to be the dwelling place of gods and are therefore not open to tourists.
  • Do remember that credit cards are not accepted in small shops. So remember to carry Bhutanese currency with you though Indian Rupee is also widely accepted.
  • Do be cautious about purchasing anything old or antique in Bhutan since the export of antiques is strictly forbidden in Bhutan.
  • Do remember to keep your mobile on silent mode or switched off completely while entering monasteries and other religious places.
  • Do refrain from touching any murals, paintings and any other ritual objects.
  • Do refrain from uttering any negative comments on either the royal family, the country’s religion or the chief abbot.
  • Do ensure you walk in a clockwise direction when visiting and touring religious places.
  • Do refrain from giving sweets or money to children.
  • Do note that GSM phones work well in Bhutan but most Indian networks do not have roaming services in Bhutan. Airtel is the only Indian service provider that works in Bhutan on international roaming.

DON’TS

  • Don’t wear tight or revealing clothes while visiting religious areas as it is considered to be extremely rude.
  • Remove hats and caps while visiting temples.
  • Don’t forget that all electronic devices including cameras, laptops, video recorders and even mobiles need to be registered with the customs authorities upon arriving in Bhutan. There is a checking again on departure so be sure to declare all electronic items upon arrival.
  • Don’t forget that smoking is strictly prohibited in most areas in Bhutan. Bhutan is the only country in the world that completely bans the sale and production of tobacco and tobacco products. Under the law, any individual found selling tobacco can face imprisonment for a period of three to five years. Therefore Bhutanese stores do not sell tobacco. Visitors are permitted to bring 100 cigarettes into the country provided they are willing to pay a 200% tax.
  • Don’t ever point at any person, object or animal with a single finger. Use instead an upturned flat and extended hand, especially when indicating or gesturing towards a sacred object or place.
  • Don’t ever touch the robes of a monk.
  • Don’t throw garbage anywhere except at designated places.
  • Don’t feed birds/animals while visiting natural sites.
  • Don’t use slang and vulgarities while visiting religious sites.
  • Don’t be rude to older people. In Bhutan, showing respect to one’s elders is extremely important.

 

Food

1. Ema Datshi

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The national dish of Bhutan comprises of chillies and cheese. The chillies can either be fresh green chillies or dry red chillies, and they are cooked with local Bhutanese cheese known as datshi in a good amount of butter.

2. Momos

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Travellers in the Himalayan region are sure to have stumbled upon the ubiquitous momos. These dumplings are one of the most popular Tibetan foods and can be found in Nepal, India and here in Bhutan. Momos are typically filled with minced meat, cheese and vegetables. They can be eaten steamed or deep-fried, together with the Bhutanese chilli sauce known as ezay.

3. Hoentay

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Hoentays are somewhat similar to momos except they are made from buckwheat dough. These dumplings are normally filled with a combination of local spinach or turnip leaves and cheese. They can also be eaten either fried or steamed, together with ezay.

4. Lom

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The freezing winter in most areas of Bhutan makes it hard for vegetables to grow. Lom refers to turnip leaves, which are one of the very few vegetables that can grow in Bhutan. These leaves are dried and preserved, then sautéed and eaten on its own. Another favourite way of consuming lom is cooking it with some pork.

5. Goen hogay

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This particular dish is a traditional Bhutanese cucumber salad made of cucumbers, chilli flakes, cilantro (coriander), Sichuan pepper, tomato, onions and some datshi cheese. Oil can also be added to give it a little bit of dressing, while the Sichuan pepper has a pleasant, slightly numbing effect on the tongue.

 

Travel Requirements

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Bhutan has a “quality over quantity” approach to tourism. As such, all travellers to Bhutan are required to pay a daily fee of US$250. This fee covers accommodation, transport in Bhutan, a guide, food and entry fees. Since tours are prepaid, visitors will only need to bring money for drinks, laundry, souvenirs and tips. It is best to bring cash for these requirements; while there are ATMs in most main towns, the use of credit cards is confined to mostly the well-touristed areas and not widespread throughout the country.

Except for Bangladeshi, Indian and Maldivian passport holders, all tourists must book their trip through a legitimate Bhutanese tour operator. The operator will take care of all visa arrangements. Please note to contact official tour operators in Bhutan. Do not go through unregistered operators and make direct payments, or you may find yourself very disappointed. For more information, please visit http://www.tourism.gov.bt/plan/tour-operators.

 

20 Places to Visit

 

1. Paro Taktsang (The Tiger’s Nest Temple)

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Paro Taktsang is Bhutan’s most prominent and instantly recognisable religious monument. The name “Taktsang” literally means “The Tiger’s Nest”. One of the most sacred sites in Bhutan, the monastery clings on to an extremely steep cliff that is 900 metres above the valley of Paro.

The temple was built in 1692 at a cave where Guru Rinpoche is said to have meditated and engaged in retreat. According to legend, it is said that Guru Rinpoche, riding a tigress, flew to this very spot and engaged in a three-year, three-month, three-day, three-hour retreat in order to subdue the malicious spirits that resided there. Ever since then, the cave is considered to be a blessed site and many have visited the site and engaged in their own retreats there.

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Paro Taktsang is located about 10 kilometres away from Paro town. Visitors have to trek for roughly 2-3 hours in order to get to this holy site.

 

How to get there

Direct flights to Paro Airport are available from international destinations like Bangkok (Thailand), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Kathmandu (Nepal), and Delhi and Kolkata (India). From there, taxis are available and it is easy to get around Paro. An alternative option would be to hire a taxi from Thimphu for the 45-minute drive to Paro.

Address: Taktsang trail, Bhutan

 

Accommodation

1. Naksel Boutique Hotel & SPA
Address: Ngoba Village, Lango Geog, Paro 00975, Bhutan
Contact: +975 8 272 992

2. Olathang Hotel
Address: P.O. Box No. 1214, Paro 12008, Bhutan
Contact: +975 8 271 304

3. Hotel Dorjee-Ling
Address: Main Street, Paro Town, Paro 12001, Bhutan
Contact: +91 84477 47674

 

2. Tashichho Dzong

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Tashichho Dzong, also known as Thimphu Dzong, is located close to the capital of Bhutan, Thimphu. The original monastery was built in 1216 by Lama Gyalwa Lhanapa, who was the founder of the Lhapa branch of the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. Centuries later, in 1641, it was taken over by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and he built another dzong known as the Lower Dzong. A dzong is a type of building, or form of architecture that looks like a fortress.

Tashichho Dzong at night

Tashichho Dzong at night

After a devastating fire, the original Tashichho Dzong had to be consolidated and moved to the Lower dzong. Over the years, the building expanded a couple of times until an earthquake struck in 1897. It was not until 1902 that it was rebuilt again. King Jigme Wangchuk had the building renovated in the traditional style without any nails. There are close to 30 temples and chapels within the Tashiccho Dzong compound.

 

How to get there

Most tourists prefer to hire taxis or mini-buses to travel around Bhutan. In this case, it’d be easier to travel around Thimphu with a taxi. If you are visiting this area, please make sure to carry some bottled water and snacks because landslides are common around this area and will require some time to clear up.

Address: Chhagchhen Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Opening hours: It is open to visitors only once the offices close at 5:00 pm
Entrance fee: Nu300/- which is less than USD$5.

 

Accommodation

1. Kisa Hotel
Address: Chang Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: +91 83888 77888

2. Hotel Norbuling
Address: Bldg # 5, Changlam Street, Thimphu 11001, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 335 754

3. Wangchuk Hotel, Thimphu
Address: Changlam 19, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 323 532

 

3. Punakha Dzong

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The Punakha Dzong or Puntang Dechen Photrang Dzong (The Palace of Great Bliss) is the administrative centre of the Punkha district. The building was constructed in 1637-38 by Ngawang Namgyal, the 1st Zhabdrung Rinpoche. The Punakha Dzong is the second largest and second oldest dzong in Bhutan, and one of its most prominent examples of the unique, traditional Bhutanese architecture.

The dzong houses holy relics of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, which includes the Rangjung Kasarpani and the remains of its founder, Ngawang Namgyal. It is said that Guru Rinpoche had once given a prophecy that someone named Namgyal would arrive at a hill that resembles the shape of an elephant. True enough, centuries later, Ngawang Namgyal found a peak that resembled the shape of an elephant’s trunk and it was on this peak that he eventually built the dzong.

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One of Bhutan’s most important religious sites, the royal wedding of King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk and Queen Jetsun Pema was held here at Punkha Dzong on October 13, 2011.

 

How to get there

Taxis and buses are available from Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu. A shared taxi costs around Nu150 which is less than USD$3 and it is a 90- to 120-minute ride from the capital to Punakha.

Address: Punakha, Punakha, Bhutan
Contact: +975 17 66 99 80

 

Accommodation

1. Drubchhu Resort
Address: Missina, P.O Box 777, Punakha 13001, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 376 237

2. Hotel Lobesa
Address: Punakha, Bhutan
Contact: +975 17 61 26 72

3. RKPO Green Resort
Address: Punakha, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 376 233

 

4. Rinpung Dzong

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Rinpung Dzong, also known as Paro Dzong, is located in the Paro district about 2 kilometres away from Paro Airport, Bhutan’s sole international airport. Rinpung Dzong is a huge Buddhist monastery following the traditions and practices of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage. The dzong was constructed in the 15th Century; later, upon the request of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was reconstructed again in 1644.

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There are 14 shrines and chapels within the dzong’s compound, including a monks’ assembly hall, a sandalwood stupa, a protector’s shrine, a chapel of the head lama, a chapel of Amitayus, a chapel of the 11-Faced Avalokiteshvara, a chapel of Akshobhya and many more.

 

How to get there

As the dzong is very close to Paro airport, it can be very easily reached by taxi.

Address: Paro, Bhutan
Contact: +975 17 33 83 00

 

Accommodation

1. Naksel Boutique Hotel & SPA
Address: Ngoba Village, Lango Geog, Paro 00975, Bhutan
Contact: +975 8 272 992

2. Olathang Hotel
Address: P.Box No. 1214, Paro 12008, Bhutan
Contact: +975 8 271 304

3. Hotel Dorjee-Ling
Address: Main Street, Paro Town, Paro 12001, Bhutan
Contact: +91 84477 47674

 

5. Kyichu Lhakhang

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Located in Lango Gewog in the Paro district of Bhutan, Kyichu Lhakhang is one of Bhutan’s oldest temples, having been established in the 7th Century. It is said that the temple grounds were constructed by King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet in 659, and that Kyichu Lhakang is also one of the four border-taming temples that the King built.

It is believed that in the 8th Century, Guru Rinpoche visited the temple and concealed many spiritual treasures, known as termas, there. Later, the temple came under the charge of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. From 1836 to 1838, it was restored by the 25th Je Khenpo Sherab Gyaltshen. In 1971, Queen Kesang Choden Wangchuk, the consort of King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, built a Guru Temple next to the old Jowo (Shakyamuni) Temple that was consecrated by His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

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Since Queen Kesang Choden Wangchuk began her patronage of the temple, annual rituals of various deities such as Vajrasattva, Vajrakilaya and Palchen Heruka have been performed in this very temple for the well-being of the country. It is rumoured that there are two orange trees within the compound of Kyichu Lhakang that bear fruit throughout the year.

 

How to get there

Kyichu Lhakang is approximately 5 kilometres away from Paro town, and can be very easily reached by taxi if you are planning a visit.

 

Accommodation

1. Naksel Boutique Hotel & SPA
Address: Ngoba Village, Lango Geog, Paro 00975, Bhutan
Contact: +975 8 272 992

2. Olathang Hotel
Address: P.Box No. 1214, Paro 12008, Bhutan
Contact: +975 8 271 304

3. Hotel Dorjee-Ling
Address: Main Street, Paro Town, Paro 12001, Bhutan
Contact: +91 84477 47674

 

6. Gangteng Monastery

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Located in the Wangdue Phodrang District of Bhutan, Gangteng Monastery is also known asor Gangtey Gonpa or Gangtey Monastery. It was established by the First Gangteng Tulku, Gyalse Pema Thinley in 1613I, and it is one of Bhutan’s few temples belonging to the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism (the majority belonging to the Drukpa Kagyu lineage).

Gangteng Monastery is the largest Nyingma monastery in Bhutan and it is also the main seat of the Pema Lingpa lineage. The Monastery is also famous for the presence of black-necked cranes who, during the winter time, fly from Tibet to central Bhutan in order to roost. Upon their arrival, the cranes circle the monastery three times and they repeating this circling when they return to Tibet.
Therefore, aside from the annual tsechu held at the monastery, Gangteng Monastery also hosts the Crane Festival to mark the arrival of cranes from Tibet. Viewed as a religious blessing by the people, this annual event takes place one day after the celebration of the King’s birthday, on 12 November every year.

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The monastery can trace its history back to the late 15th Century, to prophecies made by the well-known Terton (treasure finder) Pema Lingpa. On a visit to the Phobjikha Valley where Gangteng Monastery is located, Pema Lingpa prophesied that his descendants would establish a monastery on the top of the mountain and it would become famous as the seat of the Pema Lingpa tradition.

As Pema Lingpa correctly predicted, it was his grandson Gyalse Pema Thinley who established Gangteng Monastery in 1613. The monastery was later expanded by his son, Tenzing Legpai Dhendup. It may also interest visitors to know that the current rulers of Bhutan, the Royal House of Wangchuk, too are descendants of Pema Lingpa.

Gangteng Monastery is surrounded by Gangten Village, and in later years, a Nyingma monastic college or shedra, Do-gag Tosam Rabgayling, was formed above the village.

 

How to get there

It is easy to reach this famous monastery, with many taxis, cars and buses available for charter or hire.

Address: Wangdue Phodrang District, Bhutan

 

Accommodation

1. Gangtey Lodge
Address: Just below the monastery, Gangtey 975, Bhutan
Contact: +975 17 16 06 66

2. Punatsangchhu Cottages
Address: Zamtopang, Wangdue 00975, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 481 942

3. Dragons Nest Hotel
Address: Wangdue Phodrang, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 480 521

 

7. Motithang Takin Preserve

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Motithang Takin Preserve is located in Thimphu, and it is a wildlife reserve for takin, the national animal of Bhutan. Originally a mini-zoo, Motithang was later converted into a wildlife sanctuary because the animals that were set free refused to inhabit the nearby forests.

A local legend tells the story of how the takin came to be the national animal of Bhutan. It all started in the 15th century, when a Tibetan saint by the name of Drukpa Kunley was requested by the Bhutanese during one of his teachings to perform a miracle in front of them. Not only was Drukpa Kunley a great teacher but he was also a highly practised adept of tantric meditations. At their request, Drukpa Kunley agreed to perform the miracle on the condition that a whole cow and whole goat were fed to him for lunch.

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As soon as the meal was prepared, Drukpa Kunley gobbled down the food and all that was left were some bones from the animals. He then took the head of the goat and joined it to the skeleton of the cow. Before the amazed congregation could believe their eyes, they had a live animal standing right in front of them. The animal had the head of a goat and the body of a cow, and it was given the name dong gyem tsey (takin). Due to Drukpa Kunley’s reputation and the fact this was his magical creation, the takin came to be revered by many and eventually became the national animal of Bhutan.

 

How to get there

One of Bhutan’s most famous destinations, it is easy to charter a taxi, bus or van to get to Motithang Takin Preserve.

Address: Motithang district of Thimphu, Bhutan
Operation hours: 9am to 4pm, Tuesday to Sunday
Entrance fee: Bhutanese- Nu10 ; SAARC national/ adult Nu30/50 (less than USD$1)

 

Accommodation

1. Kisa Hotel
Address: Chang Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: +91 83888 77888

2. Hotel Norbuling
Address: Bldg # 5, Changlam Street, Thimphu 11001, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 335 754

3. Wangchuk Hotel, Thimphu
Address: Changlam 19, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 323 532

 

8. National Museum of Bhutan

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Built in 1968 at the request of King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, the National Museum of Bhutan is located in the town of Paro. The building houses some of the most exquisite examples of Bhutanese arts including paintings and bronze statues. The museum currently houses more than 3,000 Bhutanese artworks, showcasing Bhutan’s cultural heritage that dates back to more than a millennium ago. The museum is the perfect destination for connoisseurs of Himalayan art, for those who wish to gain a deeper insight into how Bhutan came to be the kingdom it is today, and how religion has become to intertwined with Bhutanese daily life.

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How to get there

Taxis, buses and vans can be chartered to get to the National Museum of Bhutan.

Address: Paro, Bhutan
Operating hours: 9am-4pm, closed on Mondays and during national holidays
Entrance fee: SAARC national/adult Nu 50/200 (USD$3), monks, nuns & children under 10 years old, free
Contact: +975 8 271 511

 

Accommodation

1. Naksel Boutique Hotel & SPA
Address: Ngoba Village, Lango Geog, Paro 00975, Bhutan
Contact: +975 8 272 992

2. Olathang Hotel
Address: P.Box No. 1214, Paro 12008, Bhutan
Contact: +975 8 271 304

3. Hotel Dorjee-Ling
Address: Main Street, Paro Town, Paro 12001, Bhutan
Contact: +91 84477 47674

 

9. Jigme Dorji National Park

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Jigme Dorji National Park is named after the late king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, a visionary who took radical steps to preserve Bhutan’s cultural heritage while opening her up to the world. It was King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk who took Bhutan on her first steps towards democratisation and modernisation, while safeguarding the country’s unique environment and history as a culturally distinct nation. Under the Third King, there were vast political and social reforms throughout the kingdom, with holistic laws being implemented concerning all fundamental aspects of Bhutanese life. His Majesty was also a forerunner in environmentalism in the region; during his reign, the Manas Sanctuary was established in 1966, becoming one of the first sanctuaries in the region.

Hence it is only fitting that a National Park came to be named after the king. The Jigme Dorji National Park is the second largest National Park in Bhutan, covering an area of 1066 acres. It was formed in 1974 and due the vast area it covers, the elevations within the park ranges from somewhere between 1400 meters to more than 7000 meters.

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This diverse environment results in a great variety of animals who call the park home. There are more than 30 species of animals that have been identified within the park, some of which are endangered. They include the snow leopard, takin, Bengal tiger, clouded leopard, Himalayan black bear, the red panda and many others. It is also home to more than 300 species of birds.

 

How to get there

Most tourists prefer to hire taxis or mini-buses to reach the National Park, which is a well-recognised destination.

Address: Thimphu, Bhutan

 

Accommodation

1. Kisa Hotel
Address: Chang Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: +91 83888 77888

2. Hotel Norbuling
Address: Bldg # 5, Changlam Street, Thimphu 11001, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 335 754

3. Wangchuk Hotel, Thimphu
Address: Changlam 19, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 323 532

 

10. Memorial Chorten, Thimphu

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A chorten is a reliquary that, in general, contains the ashes or ashes of a distinguished personality or attained being. ‘Chorten’ is the Tibetan or Bhutanese word for such a structure, while ‘stupa’ is the Sanskrit word. Its shape is said to represent the mind of an enlightened being i.e. a Buddha.

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Located at Doeboom Lam in the southern part of Thimphu, the Memorial Chorten was built in 1974 to commemorate the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and is a prominent landmark in the city. Unlike other stupas however, this memorial stupa does not contain any human remains. It was constructed when King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk was alive, and he wanted to build a stupa to represent the mind of the Buddha. Thus this stupa was built and dedicated to him.

 

How to get there

Travel within Thimphu is easy and most tourists will hire a taxi or mini-bus to travel around.

Address: Doeboom Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: +975 4 649 494

 

Accommodation

1. Kisa Hotel
Address: Chang Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: +91 83888 77888

2. Hotel Norbuling
Address: Bldg # 5, Changlam Street, Thimphu 11001, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 335 754

3. Wangchuk Hotel, Thimphu
Address: Changlam 19, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 323 532

 

11. Simtokha Dzong

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Simtokha Dzong, also known as Sangak Zabdhon Phodrang (literally ‘Palace of the Profound Meaning of Secret Mantras’) was built in 1629 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, who is famous for unifying Bhutan. Simtokha Dzong holds special significance as the first dzong to be built in Bhutan, thus popularising the use of a dzong as a monastic castle.

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According to legend, the dzong provided protection against a demon which had disappeared into a nearby rock, giving rise to the dzong’s name – “Simtoka” means ‘demoness’ and “do” means ‘stone’. Later, in 1961 and at Queen Mayum Choying Wangmo Dorje’s suggestion, King Jigme Dorje Wangchuk established a prominent Dzongkha language institute as part of the dzong.

 

How to get there

Simtokha Dzong is located about 5 kilometres south of the centre of Thimphu. It is easy to hire a taxi to take you to the dzong.

 

Accommodation

1. Kisa Hotel
Address: Chang Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: +91 83888 77888

2. Hotel Norbuling
Address: Bldg # 5, Changlam Street, Thimphu 11001, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 335 754

3. Wangchuk Hotel, Thimphu
Address: Changlam 19, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 323 532

 

12. Jambey Lhakhang

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Jambey Temple or Temple of Maitreya is located in Bumthang, Bhutan. According to legend, it is said that this particular temple is one of the 108 temples built by King Songtsen Gampo within a single day in order to pin down a demoness to earth. The demoness was creating trouble and obstructions towards the proliferation of Buddhism, so the temples were built at various points of her body to subdue her. These temples are scattered across Tibet, Bhutan and the borderlands. Some of these temples include the Jokhang in Lhasa, as well as Kyichu Temple in Paro, Bhutan and this one, Jambey Lhakhang in Bumthang, Bhutan.

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One of the main relics that currently reside in this temple are the relics of the future Buddha, Jowo Jampa (Maitreya). The temple houses easily more than one hundred statues of the deities of Kalachakra that were produced under the request of Bhutan’s first king, Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuk.

 

How to get there

In order to get to Bumthang, visitors will need to apply for an entry permit when they are in Thimphu. Your tour guide may then guide you from there and make all of the necessary arrangements. If you find yourself alone without a guide, there are buses that go to Bumthang from Thimphu on a daily basis. Tickets may be purchased from Lungtenzampa bus station.

Address: Bumthang, Bhutan
Contact: +975 77 49 61 47

 

Accommodation

1. Amankora Bumthang
Address: Jakar, Bhutan
Contact: +975 77 25 02 54

2. Chumey Nature Resort
Address: Geytsa, Bumthang 32002, Bhutan
Contact: +975 17 11 48 37

3. Jakar Village Lodge
Address: Jakar Village, below Jakar Dzong, Bumthang 1051, Bhutan
Contact: +975 77 17 17 77

 

13. Buddha Dordenma Statue

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Buddha Dordenma, also commonly known as Buddha Shakyamuni, is one of Bhutan’s more recognisable and prominent landmarks. This religious monument is a gigantic Buddha Shakyamuni statue that was built in the mountains to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the former king, Jigme Singye Wangchuk. Standing at 169 feet (or 52 metres), the statue is one of the largest Buddha statues in the world. It contains 100,000 8-inch-tall and 25,000 12-inch-tall gold-plated bronze Buddha statues.

The statue is located on a hill in Kuensel Phodrang Nature Park. Construction works began in 2006 with the initial aim of completing it within four years (in 2010). However, construction was not finalised until 2015 when the statue was consecrated and the 943.4 acre nature park was open. The total cost of the entire project is over US$100 million, while the statue alone cost US$47 million.

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The statue’s existence fulfils the 12th Century prophecy of the renowned yogi Sonam Zangpo, who had predicted that a large statue of Padmasambhava, Buddha or a phurba (ritual dagger) would be built on the site. This statue would bestow blessings, peace and happiness on the whole world.
However, even before that, a second prophecy had been made in the 8th Century regarding the construction of the statue itself, by none other than Padmasambhava. After 800 years, the prophecy (which was mentioned in a terma, or treasure) was uncovered by the terton (treasure finder) Pema Lingpa.

 

How to get there

This large and very prominent Bhutanese landmark is very accessible by either taxi or mini bus.

Address: Kuensel Phodrang, Thimphu, Bhutan

 

Accommodation

1. Kisa Hotel
Address: Chang Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: +91 83888 77888

2. Hotel Norbuling
Address: Bldg # 5, Changlam Street, Thimphu 11001, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 335 754

3. Wangchuk Hotel, Thimphu
Address: Changlam 19, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 323 532

 

14. Kurjey Lhakhang

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The story of this temple began with Sindhu Raja and Guru Rinpoche, also known as Padmasambhava. One day, Guru Rinpoche was invited to Bhutan by Sindhu Raja to subdue some malicious spirits that were disturbing the area. Guru Rinpoche then visited Bumthang and took up residence in a cave where he entered into meditation. After subduing the spirits, imprints of Guru Rinpoche’s body remained in the rock.

This sacred event gave rise to the name of the site; Kurjey means “imprint of the body”. Due to Guru Rinpoche’s blessings and activities there, the temple ground and site is now considered to be extremely sacred and highly revered by many.

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Aside from being a pilgrimage site, Kurjey Lhakhang is also the final resting place for the remains of the first three kings of Bhutan. There are three main temples at Kurjey Lhakhang, the first one having been built in 1652, the second in 1900 while the third one was built in 1990s. In front of the temples, there are three stupas constructed to commemorate the first three kings of Bhutan.

 

How to get there

In order to get to Bumthang, visitors will need to apply for an entry permit when they are in Thimphu. Your tour guide may then guide you from there and make all of the necessary arrangements. If you find yourself alone without a guide, there are buses that go to Bumthang from Thimphu on a daily basis. Tickets may be purchased from Lungtenzampa bus station.

Address: Bumthang, Bhutan
Contact: +975 77 49 61 47

 

Accommodation

1. Amankora Bumthang
Address: Jakar, Bhutan
Contact: +975 77 25 02 54

2. Chumey Nature Resort
Address: Geytsa, Bumthang 32002, Bhutan
Contact: +975 17 11 48 37

3. Jakar Village Lodge
Address: Jakar Village, below Jakar Dzong, Bumthang 1051, Bhutan
Contact: +975 77 17 17 77

 

15. Clock Tower Square

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Located in Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan, the Clock Tower Square with its four clock faces is one of the most prominent landmarks in Bhutan. The clock tower itself is a work of art, having been enriched with Bhutanese carvings and paintings to give it a typical Bhutanese architectural appearance. The Clock Tower Square being in a central location means that it is surrounded by some restaurants, shops and hotels which makes it easier for tourists.

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How to get there

This large and very prominent Bhutanese landmark is very accessible by either taxi or mini bus.

 

Accommodation

1. Kisa Hotel
Address: Chang Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: +91 83888 77888

2. Hotel Norbuling
Address: Bldg # 5, Changlam Street, Thimphu 11001, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 335 754

3. Wangchuk Hotel, Thimphu
Address: Changlam 19, Thimphu, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 323 532

 

16. Tamzhing Monastery

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Tamzhing Lhundrup Monastery is located in Bumthang, Bhutan. In a country where the majority of the monasteries uphold the Drukpa Kagyu lineage, Tamzhing is the most influential Nyingma monastery. The temple was built in 1501 by Pema Lingpa a renowned finder (terton) of treasured Dharma teachings (terma), so the monastery’s walls are graced with portraits of him.

Until 1960, the monastery (like many others in Bhutan) was privately owned. It had been this way since Pema Lingpa passed away in 1521 at the age of 72, when his successors took over and looked after the monastery after his passing. Unfortunately, as the years went by, Tamzhing Lhundrup Monastery became neglected and fell into disrepair. It was used only during special occasions, when pilgrims would come to make offerings.

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Today, efforts are underway to establish a thriving monastic community there. Since the 1960s, when the community consisted of just 10 to 15 monks, the community has since grown to over 95 monks. The monastery continues to rely on private donations and sponsorship for its survival.

 

How to get there

In order to get to Bumthang, visitors will need to apply for an entry permit when they are in Thimphu. Your tour guide may then guide you from there and make all of the necessary arrangements. If you find yourself alone without a guide, there are buses that go to Bumthang from Thimphu on a daily basis. Tickets may be purchased from Lungtenzampa bus station.

Address: Bumthang, Bhutan
Contact: +975 77 49 61 47

 

Accommodation

1. Amankora Bumthang
Address: Jakar, Bhutan
Contact: +975 77 25 02 54

2. Chumey Nature Resort
Address: Geytsa, Bumthang 32002, Bhutan
Contact: +975 17 11 48 37

3. Jakar Village Lodge
Address: Jakar Village, below Jakar Dzong, Bumthang 1051, Bhutan
Contact: +975 77 17 17 77

 

17. Chendebji Chorten

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The stupa was built in accordance to the style of the Boudhanath Stupa in Nepal and it was established by Lama Ngesup Tsering Wangchuk, who was said to be the direct descendant of a Tibetan king, Trisong Detsen. The model of the Boudhanath Stupa in Nepal was brought to Bhutan by Lama Ngesup Tsering Wangchuk and up till this day, the model still resides in Gangtey Gompa located in the Wangdu district of Bhutan.

Local folklore tells of the stupa being constructed to subdue a demoness, Ngala dudm, and bring peace to the valley. It is said that she used to roam in the area, taking the lives of innocent people at night and destroying any temples that were built. Hence the Chendebji Stupa was constructed to subdue her and pin her down.

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An important site of religious significance, the stupa is also host to an annual tsechu festival, held in various locations all over Bhutan to commemorate the deeds of the saint Padmasambhava. The stupa is located between Trongsa and Punakha, at a scenic point where two rivers meet. Visitors have commented that it is a pleasant rest stop on the journey between the two destinations.

 

How to get there

The Chendebji Chorten is located 41 kilometres away from the west of Trongsa in Bhutan. It takes about six hours by bus from Thimphu and two hours from Jakar.

 

Accommodation

1. Yangkhil Resort
Address: Trongsa, Trongsa, Bhutan

2. Tashi Ninjay Guest House
Address: Darshing Pokto, Trongsa, Bhutan

3. Puenzhi Guest House
Address: Trongsa, Bhutan
Contact: +975 3 521 197

 

18. Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten

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Located within the Punakha Valley, the beautiful building was built by the Queen Mother, Ashi Tsering Yangdon Wangchuk. Construction of this four-storey temple took nine years to complete, resulting in a building in the shape of a stupa. The stupa is an hour’s hike from the base, but visitors are rewarded with incredible views of the Punakha Valley from the temple which sits perched on a ridge.

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How to get there

Taxis and buses are available from the capital, Thimphu. A shared taxi costs around Nu150 which is less than USD$3, and it is a 90- to 120-minute ride from the capital to Punakha.

Address: Punakha, Punakha, Bhutan
Contact: +975 17 66 99 80

 

Accommodation

1. Drubchhu Resort
Address: Missina, P.O Box 777, Punakha 13001, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 376 237

2. Hotel Lobesa
Address: Punakha, Bhutan
Contact: +975 17 61 26 72

3. RKPO Green Resort
Address: Punakha, Bhutan
Contact: +975 2 376 233

 

19. Kila Nunnery

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Kila Nunnery, also known as Chele la Gompa or Kila Gompa nunnery, is located by the cliffs below Chele pass. Built in the 9th century, it is known to be the oldest nunnery in Bhutan. The nunnery includes about seven temples and several retreat huts where the nuns engage in their meditational practices. There are roughly 50-70 nuns who live here in complete isolation from the outside world. They rarely get visitors as the road that leads to the nunnery requires long hours of trekking. Getting to Chele pass from Paro takes about one and a half hours. However, if you are coming from Haa, it will only take you half an hour to get there. The landscape surrounding the nunnery is absolutely mesmerising, so be sure to check the place out when you are travelling in Bhutan.

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How to get there

Direct flights to Paro Airport are available from international destinations like Bangkok (Thailand), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Kathmandu (Nepal), and Delhi and Kolkata (India). From there, taxis are available and it is easy to get around Paro. An alternative option would be to hire a taxi from Thimphu for the 45-minute drive to Paro.

Address: Taktsang trail, Bhutan

 

Accommodation

1. Naksel Boutique Hotel & SPA
Address: Ngoba Village, Lango Geog, Paro 00975, Bhutan
Contact: +975 8 272 992

2. Olathang Hotel
Address: P.O. Box No. 1214, Paro 12008, Bhutan
Contact: +975 8 271 304

3. Hotel Dorjee-Ling
Address: Main Street, Paro Town, Paro 12001, Bhutan
Contact: +91 84477 47674

 

20. Iron Chain Bridge, Paro

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Another of Bhutan’s famous and iconic places to visit is the Iron Bridge, located near Tachog Lhakhang Dzong, on the way to Paro Valley. One must cross the bridge in order to get to the Dzong.

There are a total of 108 iron bridges throughout Bhutan and Tibet, which were built by Drupthob Thangtong Gyalpo in the late 1300s. Many of the bridges are still in use today. According to legend, Thangtong Gyalpo gathered villagers to perform traditional operas in order to raise funds to build these bridges over Himalayan rivers so that pilgrims would have access to various holy Buddhist sites.

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How to get there

Direct flights to Paro Airport are available from international destinations like Bangkok (Thailand), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Kathmandu (Nepal), and Delhi and Kolkata (India). From there, taxis are available and it is easy to get around Paro. An alternative option would be to hire a taxi from Thimphu for the 45-minute drive to Paro.

Address: Paro Valley, Bhutan

 

Accommodation

1. Naksel Boutique Hotel & SPA
Address: Ngoba Village, Lango Geog, Paro 00975, Bhutan
Contact: +975 8 272 992

2. Olathang Hotel
Address: P.O. Box No. 1214, Paro 12008, Bhutan
Contact: +975 8 271 304

3. Hotel Dorjee-Ling
Address: Main Street, Paro Town, Paro 12001, Bhutan
Contact: +91 84477 47674

 

Travel Books

Below are some of the travel books you may find helpful if you are planning for a trip to Bhutan.

 

1. Lonely Planet Bhutan (Travel Guide)

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Lonely Planet Bhutan is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Join the pilgrims at colourful Changangkha Lhakhang, hike to the dramatic cliff -hanging Taktshang Goemba, or explore the busy weekend market at Thimphu; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Bhutan and begin your journey now!

 

2. Insight Pocket Guide Bhutan (Insight Pocket Guides)

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The extraordinary Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan is one of the world’s most exciting new travel frontiers, a picture-book-beautiful mountain landscape with a rich Buddhist culture. The only country in the world to measure its success by the principals of Gross National Happiness, Bhutan is a truly unique place. Insight Pocket Guide Bhutan is a brand-new, full-colour travel guide that combines lively text with vivid photography to highlight the best that the country has to offer.

 
Sources:

  • www.wikipedia.com
  • www.tripadvisor.com
  • www.lonelyplanets.com
  • www.tourism.gov.bt
  • www.wikitravel.com

 
For more interesting information:

 

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Beatrix Ooi
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About Beatrix Ooi

24-year-old Beatrix is currently on sabbatical from her studies and spends her free time volunteering in Tsem Ladrang, the office of her Guru, H.E. Tsem Rinpoche. A proud Buddhist and vegetarian, Beatrix claims that dogs are her favorite people. She believes that kindness is the greatest wisdom and is deeply grateful to her supportive parents.
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15 Responses to Wonderful Bhutan

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  1. S.Prathap on Sep 27, 2019 at 4:14 pm

    Bhutan is such a beautiful and wonderful country.Although not a wealthy nation,the leaders of the Bhutan did a good job by maintained the integrity of their culture and tradition.
    Bhutan also one of popular trekking destination and its famous Paro Taktsang monastery clings to cliffs.This is definitely a must visit place.Thank you very much for sharing this wonderful post.

  2. Pastor Shin Tan on Mar 17, 2019 at 4:46 am

    Throne seat of Zhabdrung Jigme Norbu at Gorinang Monastery in Paro
    (From Facebook)

    The seat of Zhabdrung Jigme Norbu. Here is what I found out from a short study.

    High Lamas can manifest in different forms, such as the Mind emanation, Body emanation or Speech emanation. Jigme Norbu was a layman who was recognised as the Mind emanation of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (1594-1651).

    Jigme Norbu, the Fourth Mind Incarnation of the Zhabdrung, was born into the respected family line of the renowned Bhutanese Nyingma terton, Pemalingpa (1450-1521), whose Nyingma teachings had become part of the Drukpa lineage. His list of teachers included several important Je Khenpos, including Sherab Gyaltsen (25th Je Khenpo), Padma Zangpo (27th/29th Je Khenpo), Jampel Gyatso (30th Je Khenpo), and Yonten Gyaltsen (31st Je Khenpo).

    After Jigme Norbu was recognized as the mind reincarnation of the Zhabdrung, he was enthroned as the Desi in 1851 under the recommendation of the Central Monk Body. However, Jigme Norbu did not want to be ordained and decided to take a consort to practice advanced Mahamudra.

    He also had a daughter. This was not well looked upon by Bhutanese society. That, combined with a suspicion that he was involved in a political coup, were the reasons behind his resignation in 1852. Soon after, he left his monastic seat, Talo Sanga Choling, which is located at Talo valley, and journeyed to Tibet.

    Later, Jigme Norbu returned to Gorinang, the monastery which was founded by his teacher, Sherab Gyeltsen, and passed into clear light at the age of 31.

    Source: Kardo Petsher FB

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  3. Anne Ong on Mar 1, 2018 at 10:19 pm

    Beautiful country of Bhutan! Love the good write up and interesting pictures. Thank you Rinpoche and Beatrix. Do keep up the good work Beatrix dear! ??

  4. Paul Yap on Aug 10, 2017 at 11:44 am

    Bhutan is like the Shambhala on earth, everyone is practising the dharma, lives in a clean good environment freely and happily. We often saw the pictures of the landmark building Paro Taktsang (The Tiger’s Nest Temple) on various media, even celebrities went there for their marriage and blessings. This is definitely one of the bucket list to accomplish.

    • Nima Yoezer on Sep 4, 2018 at 4:54 pm

      Kheno Dorji Shugden. Kheno Tsem Rinpoche. Greetings to you from Bhutan

  5. Wan Wai Meng on Aug 10, 2017 at 12:35 am

    Bhutan is an interesting country, that they are trying preserve their environment and not trade development for destruction. I hope they can be a model of balancing the environment and the need to progress.

    Rejoice very much that a spiritual country like Bhutan is showing the world how a spiritual country can have a pristine environment and modernise at the same time.

  6. Alice Tay on Aug 9, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    Very beautiful country.
    What has impressed me are Bhutanese respect very much to the monasteries and the religious places. They have the rules of Do’s and Don’ts for the people to follow. One of the rules mentioned that “Don’t ever point at any person, object or animal with a single finger. Use instead an upturned flat and extended hand, especially when indicating or gesturing towards a sacred object or place.” This showed clearly that everyone is equal and being respected including the animal. Also, showing respect to one’s elders is extremely important. Besides, the built up of Buddha Dordenma as one of the largest Buddha statues in the world, is really meritorious and bless all the sentient beings in Bhutan.

    When everyone is followed and practice the good qualities, it is believed that Bhutanese gain peace, harmony and happiness easily as compared other countries.

    Thank you Beatrix for sharing this beautiful and peaceful country.

  7. Fong on Aug 6, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    Never knew much about Bhutan before this. It was only a green country that has become carbon-negative now and that the monarchy encourages happiness as a standard rather than materialistic acquisition. By all accounts, a country still very much steeped in it’s spirituality and simple, old fashion ways. The modern monarch takes it upon himself to see that his subjects are taken care of.

    This article has shown me more of Bhutan and makes one wish to visit this very unique country.

  8. Lin Mun on Aug 6, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    Bhutan is unique by being the first and probably the only country to measure happiness with Gross National Happiness instead of the income which normally most countries does that is Gross National Product. That shows how important is happiness as compared to monetary term. A very interesting measurement by government of Bhutan. I guess with the controlled of visa and fees, the country is well managing the flow of tourism. I believe it is a control to have a balance on the influx of foreigners and the effect to the country and environment. Thank you Beatrix for sharing this article

  9. JP on Aug 6, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    I only started noticing about Bhutan when I read about the Gross National Happiness index many years ago in one of the US magazines. I think it was Time magazine. It was fascinating and refreshing that the country is focused on her people’s happiness as compared to the rest of the world that is more focused on their Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

    I noticed in the pics here that the country is filled with spiritual places. The environment is clean and spectacular. Even just by looking at the pics of the amazing mountains and streams, I feel uplifted and energized!

    I guess if more people are conscientious about the environment and balance their lives with some spiritual practice that promote kindness and compassion, many of the world’s social and environmental problems wouldn’t even exist. Bhutan is an example that a well balanced wholesome lifestyle is possible to achieve as a nation. It’s a matter of who’s at the government level promoting it consistently.

  10. Jason on Aug 2, 2017 at 1:35 am

    Bhutan is my top pick visit country. I like the concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH) to measure on collective happiness of Bhutanese. As I know that Bhutan is the most happy country among the country participated. Bhutan doing very well on forest conservation through visitors limitation enter to Bhutan yearly.
    Bhutan also is a good place to make a pilgrimage visit. Many monasteries been well conserve and funding by government.
    Thanks Beatrix for sharing this informative article.
    I wish I can do a pilgrimage trip to Bhutan soon.

    Jason

  11. Uncle Eddie on Aug 1, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    Within an extraordinary beautiful picturesque and mountainous landscape, coupled with a rich Buddhist culture is what made the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, a truly unique place in the World. Known as the smallest state located within Himalaya mountain range, it is bordered by China and India. The capital of Bhutan is known as “Thimphu” and has an admirable record of centuries of independence, never been colonized by external forces or foreign nations amazingly! Bhutan has quality over quantity in its wise approach to promote Tourism. Bhutan is said to be well-known for their conservative efforts, and to what the Bhutanese nature has to offer. The country benefits from a wide range of climatic and incredible picturesque beautiful landscapes. Mountain peaks in Bhutan can reach up to 24,840 feet, which holds the record of the highest un-climbed mountain in the World! According to restrictions in record, since 1994, climbing mountains higher than 6,000 metres in Bhutan has been prohibited, but nevertheless, starting from 2003, mountaineering was completely prohibited. In a country where Buddhism is the State Religion, it would come as no surprise that the landscape will be dotted with picturesque, beautiful and colorful monasteries. It was such great discovery that transform and attract people’s perception to such rich and ancient culture and its background. This is definetly a must-visit and see attraction, if you are truly a fan of ancient history!

  12. Samfoonheei on Jul 30, 2017 at 8:36 am

    Bhutan is a truly unique country with beautiful landscapes, rich Buddhist culture and ancient architecture monasteries. a Buddhist kingdom on the Himalayas is known for its monasteries, fortresses and dramatic landscapes, steep mountains and valleys. Bhutan are popular trekking destinations and its famous Paro Taktsang monastery or known as Tiger’s Nest clings to cliffs
    I have not been there but have heard of the beauty of these beautiful country.I will very much like to experience the charm of Bhutan one day.
    Thank you Beatrix Ooi for sharing.

  13. Pastor David Lai on Jul 30, 2017 at 3:47 am

    Bhutan is really beautiful and they do have really spectacular architecture of their own. I suppose the architecture of old Tibet was just like that too. I see Bhutan as pretty much an offspring of Tibetan culture, language and people.

    The country looks clean and very picturesque. Although not a wealthy nation, the leaders of the country in the past and presently, did a good job maintaining its sovereignty and maintained the integrity of their culture. This post does a good job in listing out the spiritual and architectural marvels of the Bhutanese people. It would be one of the places, I would like to visit but its a little lower down the list of places because I would rather visit Tibet first. But nonetheless, I am sure Bhutan would be a wonderful visit.

  14. Stella Cheang on Jul 29, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Bhutan is such a beautiful country, and the people are friendly in a down to earth manner. The winding road leading to each town offers you a breathtaking view even before you set foot into the town. At dusk or dawn, when the golden rays penetrate through the clouds and shine on the white houses with square rooftops at the valley, it is as if time stands still.

    As the national dish is chilies with cheese, it is common to see people drying red chilies on the roof. The dish is delicious when eaten with rice! Bhutanese are calm and orderly, and they wear their national costume proudly too! It is really a very enchanting country imbued by Buddhism; I will not hesitate to visit again if I have the chance. Thank you, Beatrix, for this sharing.

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  • sarassitham
    Thursday, Apr 15. 2021 10:48 PM
    This is an interesting informative sharing of Wonderful Vietnam. An amazing country with it’s rich traditional culture, variety of World Heritage Sites, breathtaking landscapes, wonderful rainforest, world famous foods and fascinating tropical coastline.

    Thank you for the sharing and I loved all the attractive destination and photos shared. Surprisingly, Vietnam has something to offer everyone and a most beautiful country in South East Asia worth to visit and to explore.

    https://bit.ly/3mNdeQP
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Apr 15. 2021 04:32 PM
    King Trisong Detsen (740-798) was the second of the Three Dharma Kings of Tibet He played a pivotal role in the introduction of Buddhism to Tibet and the establishment of the Nyingma. He believed to be an emanation of the bodhisattva Manjushri, that built Samye Monastery the first monastery . King Trisong Detsen aimed to revitalize Tibetan Buddhism so much so arranged a debate known as the Council of Lhasa. The Council of Lhasa, at Samye, was a famous debate, between the Chinese Buddhist monk Moheyan and the Indian Buddhist master Kamalashila. It is also known as the Great Debate, this debate lasted for 2 years. An interesting story behind this long and rancorous debate. The Council of Lhasa is an important event in Tibetan history and shaped the practice of Buddhism in Tibet up until today.
    Thank You Rinpoche and Pastor Antoinette Kass for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/the-great-council-of-lhasa.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Apr 15. 2021 04:29 PM
    Coming across this post of suspended coffees truly had me wonder if in Malaysia will come up with this compassionate concept. A suspended coffee is a great way to pay forward for a coffee meant for someone else who cannot afford a warm beverage. Kindness can come in many forms including the purchase of a suspended coffee,
    a very good concept indeed. This is a tradition that comes from Naples, Italy, dated in the 20th century. Buying a cup of coffee for a stranger , who needed it especially during cold nights. A simple act of kindness can change someone’s life. To date, many countries in US and Europe have started these compassion concept and had in fact inspired more. Hopefully one day this will happen in Malaysia .
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/a-real-compassionate-idea.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Apr 15. 2021 04:27 PM
    n the remote mountain highlands of eastern Tibet, there exists a unique lineage of female spiritual practitioners at Gebchak Gonpa. A nunnery of more than 350 from all the Tibetan schools of Buddhism came to study and practice Dharma, upholding rigorous meditation and yoga practices. Gebchak’s yogini nuns are famed for their accomplishments in profound yogas and meditation. These women have devoted their entire lives to practicing the Dharma. Interesting read of those Gebchak’s yogini nuns lives, as stated in the post.
    Sadly, during the cultural revolution the Gebchak Gonpa was destroyed and the remaining nuns were dispersed. Yet many of them continue preserving their unique female yogic tradition who had survived the Cultural Revolution. Today, new generations of nuns and lamas are preserving Gebchak’s practice lineage rebuilt and re-established Gebchak Gonpa, despite extreme physical hardships.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/gebchak-gonpa.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Apr 14. 2021 03:42 PM
    Thank you, Mr. Martin, well write-up this article of great-lamas-masters great-masters speak truly all about Tsem Rinpoche. We as students have seen and heard of all Rinpoche wonderful and extraordinary qualities. Rinpoche not only cares and loves all his students and even to strangers as well. Nor matter who you are regardless of race and faith Rinpoche will be too willingly to help. That’s Rinpoche’s nature a Bodhisatva . Rinpoche had made a way from Us to India and then Malaysia just to spread Dharma teachings and nothing else. Rinpoche as advice by his teacher to be in Malaysia and that’s where he established many departments to benefits all sentient beings. Reading through this post tells us all Great Masters, Lamas, Geshes and many highly attained Lamas and Masters specking what is true the same qualities of Rinpoche. Rinpoche was very kind, generous, giving, compassionate, always doing charity, giving to the poor, raising funds, sponsoring. Described Rinpoche as someone highly intelligent and extraordinary person. Interesting read , may more people reading this article to have a clearer view of Rinpoche.
    All I could say is that Rinpoche had showed us the light of life. With folded hands , may we able to meet Rinpoche again in this life and so forth.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/great-masters-speak-about-tsem-rinpoche.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Wednesday, Apr 14. 2021 03:40 PM
    Interesting biography of a great Lama Zanabazar was a renowned painter, sculptor, architect and costume designer. He was known as“Michelangelo of Asia”, for his artistic skills which were matched by his literary prowess as a Buddhist scholar, linguist and poet. Zanabazar as a historical figure played an important role in propagating Buddhism in Mongolia. He had established Mongolian unique cultural identity. Zanabazar was the first Bogd Gegeen or high-saint-of-mongolia or supreme spiritual authority, the Gelugpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism in Outer Mongolia. He is believed to be a Geluk protagonist whose alliance with the Dalai and Panchen Lamas was crucial to the dissemination of Buddhism in Khalkha Mongolia. Interesting read with all the rare pictures shared.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/zanabazar-the-first-high-saint-of-mongolia.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Apr 12. 2021 04:12 PM
    Looking at those very unique house been built simply stunning. Creatively with nature indeed , salute to those architecture who has such a wild ideas and innovations building such an incredibly unique houses in nature. No easy though but everything is possible.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing .

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/art-architecture/into-the-wild.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Apr 12. 2021 04:11 PM
    Truly stunning Kuanyin Statue also know as”Goddess of Mercy” Statue designed by Portuguese architect . Very serene with the huge golden statue seemingly floating over the sea at high tide. One of the underrated landmarks in Macau. It is believed that when this statue is built, Macau has become more prosperous, peaceful and economically better. Many locals and tourist visited this beautiful Statue and it’s a popular spot where they will walk along the sea watching sunset. Merely by looking at this Statue is a blessing. Those beautiful pictures tells us all.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/art-architecture/kuan-yin-of-macau-city.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Apr 12. 2021 04:07 PM
    Beautiful Yonghe Temple in Beijing, China known to some locals as the‘Palace of Peace and Harmony Lama Temple’ has three world-record masterpieces. This temple is a temple and monastery of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism built during the reign of Emperor Kang Xi (1694). Very impressive buildings and a great insight into Chinese Buddhist temples with 300 years of history . The building and artwork of the temple is a combination of Han Chinese and Tibetan styles.
    Looking at the restoration and conservation work of the Lama Tsongkhapa Statue in Yong He Gong is not easy after all. Thanks to Liu Yuming,77, restoration masters of China’s Cultural Relics. He had done a good job helping to preserve those rare cultural relics left in China. It is indeed a uphill task that needs a lot of patience , skill, delicate , and love . Interesting read even though it an old post. Would love to see this master piece of Lama Tsongkhapa Statue one day .
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/art-architecture/an-age-of-restoration.html
  • sarassitham
    Monday, Apr 12. 2021 01:47 PM
    Sometimes a single image can speak much louder than words. It’s very painful to see the abused and made to suffer of a Monkey and Child.

    It is really sad to discover how many animals sacrificed for fulfilling our taste buds. and not only sacrificing their life.

    Why don’t we try to eat more vegetables instead of eating more animals. Vegetables are healthy too, you know! And do you also know that being vegetarian or vegan will not only make you become healthier, it will also make you feel more energetic.
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Apr 10. 2021 03:59 PM
    A legendary figure of Buddhism in Buryatia was Lubsan Samdan Tsydenov, charismatic Buddhist master and visionary and national hero, who had spread the Tantric Buddhist tradition. Interesting read of this forgotten story of Lubsan Samdan Tsydenov, a monk who briefly ruled as a dharma king. He amazingly created a nonviolence Buddhist kingdom who protected thousands of women, children, and men at that time. In 1920’s Soviet government considered Lubsan Samdan Tsydenov to be rebels and Traditional Buryat culture was erased since then. Buddhist monasteries in Buryatia were destroyed and many followers were murdered. He was well remembered as a true Dharma King and a national hero. Interesting read of a Great Lama.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/lubsan-samdan-tsydenov-the-dharma-king-of-buryatia.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Saturday, Apr 10. 2021 03:57 PM
    We came to this world with nothing and leaving with nothing. There nothings that belongs to us. Whatever we own is temporary on loan only, so we should be glad in this life we are in human form. We should appreciate what we have at this moment, , doing , learning Dharma and practicing Dharma for a good and meaningful cause. Transforming our mind and benefiting others instead of ourselves.
    What Rinpoche had said and explained , very true indeed … we don’t own our body. Well use our body for the greater good of others. Reading the transcript by Tsem Rinpoche tells us more understanding .
    Thank you Rinpoche for this profound teachings.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/transcript-you-dont-own-your-body.html
  • sarassitham
    Friday, Apr 9. 2021 11:20 PM
    Thank you for the wonderful sharing, it’s truly amazing. Each one of these statues is special and drool-worthy, and they have rightly signified the place where they stand today.

    Even when we don’t have the opportunity too witness those beautiful Buddha Statues, yet we are blessed merely by looking at it.
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Apr 9. 2021 01:19 PM
    Reading this article again, truly feeling sorry those refugees in Netherlands. Staying in another country far away from homeland is already sad. They need to start from scratch, could imagine their situation living in a foreign facing a lot of hinders such languages, cultures and so forth. The sad state of refugees living in Netherlands is really bad. The Netherlands has had a reputation as a humanitarian haven, with refugees and immigrants as the situation in their country isn’t safe enough. But entering as refugees they ended up living in empty offices, as room . The government authorities failed to provide basic amenities for those rejected ones who have not or cannot leave the country. The refugees are stuck in a system, were call as an illegal immigrant. They wandered in the streets of Amsterdam, moving from one place to another left in the cold winter. Lucky enough they have volunteers helping them supplying blankets , foods for them. Hopefully the authorities could do more to help those refugees out there and the situation right now has improved.
    Thank you Melissa for sharing this .

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/the-building-wanderers-of-amsterdam.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Apr 9. 2021 01:17 PM
    Being generous also makes us feel better about ourselves. Generosity is both a natural confidence builder and a natural repellent of self-hatred. By focusing on what we are giving rather than on what we are receiving. Acts of generosity, such as giving our time, talent or resources, and expecting nothing in return, have been proven to be good for our health. Generous individuals are personally more fulfilled, happier and more peaceful within themselves. Enrich our life and that of others by practicing generosity. That’s what I consider true generosity without anything in return.
    Thank you Rinpoche and Datuk May for this sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/students-friends/generosity-giving-gifts.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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According to legend, Shambhala is a place where wisdom and love reign, and there is no crime. Doesn\'t this sound like the kind of place all of us would love to live in? https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=204874
1 year ago
According to legend, Shambhala is a place where wisdom and love reign, and there is no crime. Doesn't this sound like the kind of place all of us would love to live in? https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=204874
108 candles and sang (incense) offered at our Wish-Fulfilling Grotto, invoking Dorje Shugden\'s blessings for friends, sponsors and supporters, wonderful!
1 year ago
108 candles and sang (incense) offered at our Wish-Fulfilling Grotto, invoking Dorje Shugden's blessings for friends, sponsors and supporters, wonderful!
Dharmapalas are not exclusive to Tibetan culture and their practice is widespread throughout the Buddhist world - https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=193645
1 year ago
Dharmapalas are not exclusive to Tibetan culture and their practice is widespread throughout the Buddhist world - https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=193645
One of our adorable Kechara Forest Retreat\'s doggies, Tara, happy and safe, and enjoying herself in front of Wisdom Hall which has been decorated for Chinese New Year
1 year ago
One of our adorable Kechara Forest Retreat's doggies, Tara, happy and safe, and enjoying herself in front of Wisdom Hall which has been decorated for Chinese New Year
Fragrant organic Thai basil harvested from our very own Kechara Forest Retreat farm!
1 year ago
Fragrant organic Thai basil harvested from our very own Kechara Forest Retreat farm!
On behalf of our Puja House team, Pastor Tat Ming receives food and drinks from Rinpoche. Rinpoche wanted to make sure the hardworking Puja House team are always taken care of.
1 year ago
On behalf of our Puja House team, Pastor Tat Ming receives food and drinks from Rinpoche. Rinpoche wanted to make sure the hardworking Puja House team are always taken care of.
By the time I heard about Luang Phor Thong, he was already very old, in his late 80s. When I heard about him, I immediately wanted to go and pay my respects to him. - http://bit.ly/LuangPhorThong
1 year ago
By the time I heard about Luang Phor Thong, he was already very old, in his late 80s. When I heard about him, I immediately wanted to go and pay my respects to him. - http://bit.ly/LuangPhorThong
It\'s very nice to see volunteers helping maintain holy sites in Kechara Forest Retreat, it\'s very good for them. Cleaning Buddha statues is a very powerful and effective way of purifying body karma.
1 year ago
It's very nice to see volunteers helping maintain holy sites in Kechara Forest Retreat, it's very good for them. Cleaning Buddha statues is a very powerful and effective way of purifying body karma.
Kechara Forest Retreat is preparing for the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations. This is our holy Vajra Yogini stupa which is now surrounded by beautiful lanterns organised by our students.
1 year ago
Kechara Forest Retreat is preparing for the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations. This is our holy Vajra Yogini stupa which is now surrounded by beautiful lanterns organised by our students.
One of the most recent harvests from our Kechara Forest Retreat land. It was grown free of chemicals and pesticides, wonderful!
1 year ago
One of the most recent harvests from our Kechara Forest Retreat land. It was grown free of chemicals and pesticides, wonderful!
Third picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal.
Height: 33ft (10m)
2 yearss ago
Third picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal. Height: 33ft (10m)
Second picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal.
Height: 33ft (10m)
2 yearss ago
Second picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal. Height: 33ft (10m)
First picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal.
Height: 33ft (10m)
2 yearss ago
First picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal. Height: 33ft (10m)
The first title published by Kechara Comics is Karuna Finds A Way. It tells the tale of high-school sweethearts Karuna and Adam who had what some would call the dream life. Everything was going great for them until one day when reality came knocking on their door. Caught in a surprise swindle, this loving family who never harmed anyone found themselves out of luck and down on their fortune. Determined to save her family, Karuna goes all out to find a solution. See what she does- https://bit.ly/2LSKuWo
2 yearss ago
The first title published by Kechara Comics is Karuna Finds A Way. It tells the tale of high-school sweethearts Karuna and Adam who had what some would call the dream life. Everything was going great for them until one day when reality came knocking on their door. Caught in a surprise swindle, this loving family who never harmed anyone found themselves out of luck and down on their fortune. Determined to save her family, Karuna goes all out to find a solution. See what she does- https://bit.ly/2LSKuWo
Very powerful story! Tibetan Resistance group Chushi Gangdruk reveals how Dalai Lama escaped in 1959- https://bit.ly/2S9VMGX
2 yearss ago
Very powerful story! Tibetan Resistance group Chushi Gangdruk reveals how Dalai Lama escaped in 1959- https://bit.ly/2S9VMGX
At Kechara Forest Retreat land we have nice fresh spinach growing free of chemicals and pesticides. Yes!
2 yearss ago
At Kechara Forest Retreat land we have nice fresh spinach growing free of chemicals and pesticides. Yes!
See beautiful pictures of Manjushri Guest House here- https://bit.ly/2WGo0ti
2 yearss ago
See beautiful pictures of Manjushri Guest House here- https://bit.ly/2WGo0ti
Beginner’s Introduction to Dorje Shugden~Very good overview https://bit.ly/2QQNfYv
2 yearss ago
Beginner’s Introduction to Dorje Shugden~Very good overview https://bit.ly/2QQNfYv
Fresh eggplants grown on Kechara Forest Retreat\'s land here in Malaysia
2 yearss ago
Fresh eggplants grown on Kechara Forest Retreat's land here in Malaysia
Most Venerable Uppalavanna – The Chief Female Disciple of Buddha Shakyamuni - She exhibited many supernatural abilities gained from meditation and proved to the world females and males are equal in spirituality- https://bit.ly/31d9Rat
2 yearss ago
Most Venerable Uppalavanna – The Chief Female Disciple of Buddha Shakyamuni - She exhibited many supernatural abilities gained from meditation and proved to the world females and males are equal in spirituality- https://bit.ly/31d9Rat
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2 yearss ago
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Mahapajapati Gotami – the first Buddhist nun ordained by Lord Buddha- https://bit.ly/2IjD8ru
2 yearss ago
Mahapajapati Gotami – the first Buddhist nun ordained by Lord Buddha- https://bit.ly/2IjD8ru
The Largest Buddha Shakyamuni in Russia | 俄罗斯最大的释迦牟尼佛画像- https://bit.ly/2Wpclni
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Sacred Vajra Yogini
2 yearss ago
Sacred Vajra Yogini
Dorje Shugden works & archives - a labour of commitment - https://bit.ly/30Tp2p8
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.

  • April 15, 2021 04:30
    You have no rights to use my images for www.tsemrinpoche.com without my approval! It's illegitimate! You're committing a legal offense! You must replace my images NOW!!!!! asked: Hi, This is Melisha and I am a professional photographer. I was baffled, to put it nicely, when I recognised my images at your website. If you use a copyrighted image without an owner's permission, you must be aware that you could be sued by the creator. It's illegal to use stolen images and it's so wicked! Here is this document with the links to my images you used at www.tsemrinpoche.com and my earlier publications to get the evidence of my copyrights. Download it now and check this out for yourself: https://sites.google.com/view/09934894585022/home/drive/storage/files/download?ID=286984715713039318 If you don't delete the images mentioned in the document above within the next few days, I'll file a complaint against you to your hosting provider stating that my copyrights have been severely infringed and I am trying to protect my intellectual property. And if it doesn't work, trust me I am going to report and sue you! And I won't give you a prior notice again.
    No reply yet
  • April 13, 2021 21:55
    ray asked: Dear Pastors, Thank you for clearing my doubts previously about purification practices. Today i have a question about reciting praises to buddhas, why do we recite praises and how does reciting praises to buddhas like Tara, Dorje shugden etc. help and benefit us? Because ive seen certain prayer texts to mother tara which i think is referring to the 21 tara praises stating that : ~If this prayer is recited two, three, or seven times, It will pacify all the sufferings of torments Caused by spirits, fevers, and poisons, And by other beings as well. If you wish for a child, you will get a child; If you wish for wealth, you will receive wealth. All your wishes will be fulfilled And all obstacles pacified.~ Will reciting praises to buddhas also be able to fulfill our wishes as stated? Thank you very much.
    No reply yet
  • April 12, 2021 03:20
    Eden asked: Dear Pastors, How are all of you doing? I have a few questions here. I will be very grateful if you can answer them. Thank you. 1) If we are here because of our previous life karma, previous previous karma and so on. May i know when does all of this started? How does this chain of karma started? Im sure we all had our 1st life and everything had a beginning to it. 2) I am currently facing some problem over my career pathway, are there any practices and mantras that I can do to request for guidance?
    pastor answered: Dear Eden, Thank you for your questions. 1. Buddhism does not believe in a 1st life, and the reason being is the Buddhist view of time. Most people think of time and existence as linear. It has a definitive starting point and a certain end point. But Buddhism views time as a cyclic. Hence, our universe as we understand it, will at one point cease to exist, and then a new universe will come into existence. However, even though our current universe will end, due to the force of karma and reincarnation, we will take rebirth into the new universe and have many rebirths there. So in Buddhism we say that we have had "countless" rebirths, as you would never be able to count how many lifetimes you have had. This cycle is vicious and leads us to take rebirth endlessly. The only way to stop this cycle is to transcend it altogether, which is the state of Buddhahood, in which you are completely liberated from the cycle, known as "samsara". Also the way in which we think about karma is not linear either. It is not one for one. By this I mean, if you do one negative action, it is not that you will experience only one negative result. You will actually experience many negative results, with differing levels of severity until the karma is exhausted. How you respond to the negative results can lead to either more negative karma, or positive karma. Hence, the law of karma according to the Buddhist view point is much more nuanced then the general understanding of karma that people have these days. The Buddha explained this process in a teaching known as the 12 Links of Dependent Origination, which is quite complex. If you want to learn more about this teaching, H.E. Tsem Rinpoche gave a very profound teaching on it here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/teaching-on-the-twelve-links-of-dependent-origination.html Hence, according to Buddhism, the understand of time is a never-ending cycle in which universes are created, destroyed and created again due to the power of karma. Since it is a cycle, there is no "beginning" or "1st life" for sentient beings. 2. In regards to your career pathway, I would suggest you engage in the combined practice of Lama Tsongkhapa and Dorje Shugden. We have heard of many people who are either stuck in their career or who need to find good jobs, succeed in the their goals after engaging in this practice with a sincere motivation. There is a book available regarding the practice here: https://www.vajrasecrets.com/the-dorje-shugden-handbook. We also have an entire section of this website dedicated to various aspects of the practice, including history, other prayers, etc. (https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/category/dorje-shugden). I hope this helps. Let us know if we can help in any other way.
  • April 11, 2021 00:23
    Lara asked: Hello pastors, I have a family member suffering from depression right now. May I know how I can help him to overcome this? Thank you.
    pastor answered: Dear Lara, I'm sorry to hear that your family member is going through this. When someone is going through such a difficult time, H.E. Tsem Rinpoche has advised that the person themselves seek qualified medical help as well as engage in the practice of Lama Tsongkhapa, which is well-known to help overcome things like depression. From your side you should be as supportive as possible. Take the time to understand what your family member is going through, and in which ways you can support them to overcome their depression and heal. You can watch a fantastic teaching about the practice of Lama Tsongkha here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/sayonara-to-depression.html. The prayer text for the practice can be found here: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/prayers-and-sadhanas/sadhana-prayers.html#19 However, sometimes family members may not be open to the engaging in the practice themselves. In that case, you can engage in the practice yourself and dedicate the merits for the family member to heal, but this will not be as effective as the family member doing the practice themselves. Another thing that you can do, it to make abundant offerings or engage in virtuous activities like as helping the less fortunate, and dedicating the merits from those activities to your family member. You can also have pujas sponsored for your family member. The following two pujas would be excellent: Medicine Buddha Puja - which is good for healing, both physical and mental (https://www.vajrasecrets.com/medicine-buddha-puja-fund) Dorje Shugden Puja - to remove obstacles for a swift recovery (https://www.vajrasecrets.com/dorje-shugden-wishfulfilling-puja-fund) These are the various methods in which you can help. You can do just one or a combination of the methods mentioned to generate as much positive energy and merit as possible for your family member. I hope this helps.
  • April 10, 2021 07:50
    ray asked: hi pastor i have a question regarding purification practices because ive been having some doubts now, is it true that some people say engaging in purification practices bad things would then happen to the practitioner after that? be it being sick or facing obstacles coming after that.
    pastor answered: Dear Ray, Thank you for your question. When we engage in purification practices, what we are purifying is our negative karma. If you know about karma, you know that eventually you will need to experience your karma, be this negative or positive. When you experience your negative karma, then you experience negative situations. This could be something major, like having an accident, to something very minor such as feeling bad if say a loved one says something in a way that you perceive as being negative. Any experience you have that you perceive as negative, is a manifestation of your negative karma. During purification practices, through your own effort of invoking upon the enlightened beings and practice of the Four Opponent Powers, you are able to purify this negative karma. However, for a negative karma to be fully exhausted, you need to experience it. Say you have a karma to get into an accident, if you don't purify and exhaust it, then you will need to suffer from it 100%. This could mean getting into a car accident which is very severe and you are hurt badly. If you engage in purification practices then you can purify, let's say 99% of the karma. But for it to be exhausted fully, you still need to experience it. In this case, maybe you do get into an accident. Since you have purified most of the karma, your car only bumps into another car very softly. You don't even feel it, the person in the other car doesn't feel it and you car is not damaged at all. This is the reason why some people say if you engage in purification practices, bad things will happen. And because of that people are put off doing purification practices. This is wrong thinking because if you do experience negative situations when engaged in purification practices, this could be because: a) What you experienced is actually the purified karma, rather than the full force of the karma. In this case you should rejoice that through your effort of engaging in the practice, you didn't experience something much worse. b) It could just simply be the manifestation of a karma that wasn't purified. This means, you would have had to go through this experience anyway. c) Because you are engaged in purification practices, you are thinking of karma a lot. Therefore, when such experiences occur then you attribute it to karma, and then think it is linked to your purification practice. Then you believe that doing purification practices is bad because you have to suffer from such experiences. This is wrong thinking. Perhaps even if you were not doing purification practices, then you would still experience the situation, but you wouldn't actually think anything of it. You would just go about the rest of your day as usual. That being said, when you are doing purification practices, there comes a point were certain negative karma is so weak that you need to experience it for it to be exhausted completely. This can and does manifest as negative situations, such as minor illnesses, or even accidents, etc. However, the point to remember is the karma causing these situations have been purified so they are very mild compared to their full form. These negative situations can also be purified/exhausted in dreams, etc. Another way they can be purified is having mental disturbances or emotional ups and downs when actually doing the purification practices. In essence, you will need to feel the effects of your negative karma in some form or another, so better that you experience it in a very mild form right? This is what purification practices helps you to do. Purification practices are not something to be scared of. In fact, you should rejoice when engaged in purification practices. On a more deeper level, without some form of purification practice it is hard to understand higher aspects of the Dharma. Your negative karma will block you from being able to understand the Dharma and then internalise it. That is why purification practices are emphasised within each and every tradition and are a prerequisite for higher teaching such as tantra. The benefits of purification practices (such as enabling you to exhaust your negative karma in a very mild form, and preparing your mind for higher teachings) outweighs having to experience a very small negative situation. Therefore think about the benefits of purification practice and contemplate on it. This will help you to develop faith in them and get rid of any doubts or fears that you may have. I hope this helps.
  • April 1, 2021 04:54
    You are awesome! asked: Hello, you are awesome! keep going!
    pastor answered: Thank you for your kind message. It is very encouraging for us to read. May you always be blessed by the Three Jewels.
  • March 28, 2021 15:08
    vikas baluni asked: abut growth of my business
    pastor answered: Dear Vikas Baluni, I am unclear as to the actually meaning of your question but I believe you are asking how to increase and grow your business. According to Buddhism, everything that we go through in life is due to karma, this includes both the good things and the bad things. Therefore, for your business to grow and do well depends on your good karma. Only one type of energy can overcome karma and is always good for your, and that is what we call merit or punya (in sanskrit). So in order to have merit for your business to do well, you have to take actions that generate merit. The main of these is to transform your mind to become a more compassionate and wiser person, to help others less fortunate, to engage in pujas and other such virtuous activities. There are certain deity practices that are well-known in Buddhism to help increase the energies of wealth and success in our lives. These can help your business to grow. Once such practice is that of Bhagawan Gyenze, you can click here to find out more: https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/prayers-and-sadhanas/dorje-shugden-gyenze-to-increase-life-merits-and-wealth.html Bhagawan Gyenze will definitely help you to grow your business, if you have a good motivation. If you motivation is only about yourself, then your business will not grow that much. But if you have the motivation help others, then Bhagawan Gyenze will help you even more. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • March 25, 2021 01:11
    Jason asked: I have been practicing white dzambala and the bathing / water tormas for quite some time now. Recently I have been getting regular dreams where white dzambala appears and just smiles at me, or I dream that I am doing white dzambala chutor practice. I understand that when lama tsongkhapa got dreams of deities he thought that this was Mara acting up and paid no attention to it until his lama said something. My lama is currently on retreat and it is difficult to contact him. Please give me some advice on what is happening. I'm just some normal beginners smuck and I'm getting worried that this is a bad sign. When I wake up I feel at peace... But according to commentaries this could be Mara.
    pastor answered: Dear Jason, Thank you for your question. I am really happy to hear that you are engaging in Dzambhala's practice. It's extremely beneficial. You are right that Lama Tsongkhapa ignored his dreams of deities, and viewed them as bad signs. But before jumping to conclusions, we must analyse the reasons why Lama Tsongkhapa ignored not only his dreams, also the visions of the deities he received. The reason that Lama Tsongkhapa did not consider it a positive sign is because as practitioners on the spiritual path, it is all too easy to get carried away with 'signs' or advice, visions, dreams from supposed deities. Sometimes if we 'analyse' them it can lead us in the wrong direction because of our mistaken understanding. Sometimes, other entities can also enter our dreams and tell us things that we believe, hence we start practising things that are not Dharmic in nature. Lama Tsongkhapa warned against such things, rather Lama Tsongkhapa said that we should rely on the Dharma teachings that are genuine and transmitted to us through an unbroken line through our lineage. Generally speaking however, these dreams you are having are literally just dreams, so there is nothing to worry about. One category of dreams we have are known as 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 make 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. When we have dreams such as of our teacher, our practice, the Buddhas, etc., it is still more than likely to be just a samsaric dream. Because we have been engaging in sustained practice, or have imprints from previous lives, these can surface in our dreams hence we have dreams of Buddhas, our teachers, etc. There is nothing to worry about or to consider overly auspicious or a 'sign'. Just realise that you have had the dream, do not allow your thoughts to dwell on it, accept it and move on. However, do take note that you had these dreams and once your Guru is out of retreat, please consult your Guru and inform him/her of these occurances and seek your Guru's advice if any. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • March 23, 2021 02:01
    Jason asked: I white dzambhala is a wealth deity but can he also act as a dharma protector?
    pastor answered: Dear Jason, Thank you for your question. The practice of Dzambhala is actually a Yidam practice, this means that Dzambhala is a meditational deity. When you engage in his practice, as well as bestowing wealth, through his practice you also develop qualities that help you progress towards enlightenment. In the case of Dzambhala, the primary quality he helps you develop is actually generosity, which is one of the Six Perfections. Therefore, although he is known as a wealth deity, he is much, much more than that. When you engage in his practice, you are actually developing virtuous qualities in your mindstream. The function of Dharma Protectors however is to remove obstacles and to create conducive conditions so that you can transform your mind. Hence, the function of a meditational deity and a Dharma Protector is different. That being said, when you engage in Dzambhala's practice properly, you do gain wealth. Generally, we only consider this wealth to be external wealth, but Dzambhala's practice is more than that, because through his practice you gain internal wealth which are virtuous qualities. Due to the fact his practice also brings material wealth, he is known as a wealth deity. When you practice any meditational deity, you will gain some physical benefit as well, which can seem to mirror the effect of Dharma Protectors, but their function is very different. Dzambhala for example grants material wealth, but his actually function is to increase inner wealth. Another example would be Medicine Buddha, outward he heals our physical body, but inwardly he also helps to heal our minds and develop qualities such as compassion. Dharma Protectors can also help to heal our body, but for real internal change, we need to rely on a meditational deity. I hope this answer helps.
  • March 16, 2021 21:23
    ray asked: Dear pastors, i have a question regarding vajra and bells. can one use them if they do not have any sort of initiation or whatsoever?
    pastor answered: Dear Ray, Thank you for your question. You are right that traditionally vajras and bells are only used after receiving initiation. However, H.E. Tsem Rinpoche recommended learning how to use the vajra and bell, as a means of creating the causes to receive initiation in the future. That said, there are many dos and don'ts related to using the vajra and bell. You can learn not only how to use them, but also vajra and bell etiquette from one of Kechara's Pastors. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • 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.
    pastor answered: Dear Sandra, Yes of course, you may include Tsem Rinpoche's Guru Yoga as part of your daily sadhana if you wish. This creates a very strong bond with Tsem Rinpoche. If you are following the Diamond Path sadhana (https://www.vajrasecrets.com/diamond-path), you insert the Guru Yoga after you have completed the Gaden Lhagyama (Guru Yoga of Lama Tsongkhapa). Alternative, if you are using a different prayer text, you insert the Guru Yoga after Gaden Lhagyama, or before any deity prayers that you do such as Manjushri, Tara, etc. After you complete the deity practice section of your sadhana, you continue on to your Dharma protector practice, and finish with your completion dedication. I hope this helps. Do let us know if this is not clear. Thanks.
  • 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.
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CHAT PICTURES

#KFBBentong: Ready for some exciting news? We are now at RM154,523.94 - surpassing the funds required for our Pahang food bank operations! Thank you to all who kindly donated, we are deeply moved by your care and generosity towards the less fortunate struggling in our midst. To make our shared goal to continue #helpingthepoor a reality, we are now eagerly looking for suitable premises in Bentong. We will update soon on our progress, so stay tuned! #kecharafoodbank #foodaid #bantuan #kitajagakita #hungerknowsnobarriers #endhunger #charity #ngomalaysia #Pahang - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
5 hours ago
#KFBBentong: Ready for some exciting news? We are now at RM154,523.94 - surpassing the funds required for our Pahang food bank operations! Thank you to all who kindly donated, we are deeply moved by your care and generosity towards the less fortunate struggling in our midst. To make our shared goal to continue #helpingthepoor a reality, we are now eagerly looking for suitable premises in Bentong. We will update soon on our progress, so stay tuned! #kecharafoodbank #foodaid #bantuan #kitajagakita #hungerknowsnobarriers #endhunger #charity #ngomalaysia #Pahang - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Fwd: 12 minute Affiliate Multiple Ways to Earn Commissions
6 days ago
Fwd: 12 minute Affiliate Multiple Ways to Earn Commissions
#kecharafoodbank: In collaboration with Good Shepherd Services (GSS) based in Ipoh, we travelled to Buntong with food rations for 33 families. Some of the food items given include rice, noodles, cooking oil and biscuits; in total, we gave 726kg of food to these beneficiaries from the underprivileged class. We are glad to have been able to contribute, especially to families with children and in poor living conditions. We wish to thank GSS for alerting us about those in need, and we look forward to extending more support in the future together with this not-for-profit organization doing good work. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
1 month ago
#kecharafoodbank: In collaboration with Good Shepherd Services (GSS) based in Ipoh, we travelled to Buntong with food rations for 33 families. Some of the food items given include rice, noodles, cooking oil and biscuits; in total, we gave 726kg of food to these beneficiaries from the underprivileged class. We are glad to have been able to contribute, especially to families with children and in poor living conditions. We wish to thank GSS for alerting us about those in need, and we look forward to extending more support in the future together with this not-for-profit organization doing good work. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
In an urgent effort to provide food and necessities to the poverty-stricken in Bentong and rural areas of Pahang, we are launching Food Bank Bentong. With your support, Food Bank Bentong would be able to feed 500 families totaling 2,300 people on a regular basis, giving them a chance to enjoy a basic sense of security we consider a human right. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
1 month ago
In an urgent effort to provide food and necessities to the poverty-stricken in Bentong and rural areas of Pahang, we are launching Food Bank Bentong. With your support, Food Bank Bentong would be able to feed 500 families totaling 2,300 people on a regular basis, giving them a chance to enjoy a basic sense of security we consider a human right. - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
Kechara Sunday Dharma School Online Teaching Every Sunday Morning 11am class - KSDS Jayce Goh
3 months ago
Kechara Sunday Dharma School Online Teaching Every Sunday Morning 11am class - KSDS Jayce Goh
Re: Kechara Sunday Dharma School Online Teaching Every Sunday Morning 11am class, students attend Pastor Shin Class happily - KSDS Jayce Goh
3 months ago
Re: Kechara Sunday Dharma School Online Teaching Every Sunday Morning 11am class, students attend Pastor Shin Class happily - KSDS Jayce Goh
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
4 months ago
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
4 months ago
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
4 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
5 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
5 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
5 months ago
FRESHLY BAKED by Kechara Empowerment trainees - Chocolate Chip Butter Cookies - Vivian @ Kechara Soup Kitchen
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.
5 months ago
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
6 months ago
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
7 months ago
Fwd: Dear Sotha
Kechara Earth Project 13/9/2020
7 months ago
Kechara Earth Project 13/9/2020
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
7 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
8 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
8 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
9 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
10 months ago
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
10 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
11 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
11 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
11 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
11 months ago
KSDS Level 2 virtual class, Lin Mun KSDS
KSDS Level 3 virtual class. Lin Mun KSDS
11 months ago
KSDS Level 3 virtual class. Lin Mun KSDS
Wesak 2020
11 months ago
Wesak 2020
Recycle today for a better tomorrow. KEP-Serena
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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.
1 years 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
1 years 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
1 years 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
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