Wonderful Lhasa

By | Jan 29, 2018 | Views: 1,217

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(By Tsem Rinpoche and Stella Cheang)

Holy places of pilgrimage such as Buddhist monasteries and dwellings of enlightened beings are sacred sites of reverence. Regardless of faith, everyone who visits these places can receive blessings, positive imprints, find an opportunity for introspection, and be inspired by their own potential to gain higher states of mind.

These holy sites can be places where enlightened beings and great masters were born, resided, turned the Wheel of Dharma, meditated, gained realisations or entered clear light. They can also be historical sites where the Sangha lived, studied and held their vows. Few places are as chockfull of holy places as Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, which was once home to successive incarnations of the Dalai Lamas, the Sangha of the three great monasteries of Gaden, Sera and Drepung, as well as notable temples such as Jokhang, Ramoche and Trode Khangsar.

May everyone who visits these sacred sites unlock the aspiration to gain higher attainments and plant the seeds to practise the Three Principal Paths.

 

Location

Map of Tibet in China. Click on image to enlarge.

Location of Lhasa in the Tibet Autonomous Region, China. Click on image to enlarge.

Modern-day Tibet is defined as the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) or Xizang Autonomous Region of China. Tibet is divided into six prefectures and one prefecture-level city, Lhasa (拉萨/ལྷ་ས་). In turn, Lhasa city consists of three districts, namely Chengguan District, Doilungdêqên District, and Dagzê District, and five counties. The three districts make up most of the urban area of Lhasa, which lie in the Lhasa River valley floor.

Dubbed the “roof of the world”, Lhasa sits at an altitude of 3,490 metres (11,450 ft.), making it one of the highest cities in the world. It is the most populous city of the Tibet Autonomous Region and has been the religious and administrative capital of Tibet since the mid-17th century. Within Lhasa, Chengguan District is the hub in terms of transportation, communications, education and religion, and is home to major tourist destinations like the Potala Palace, Jokhang and Ramoche Temples.

Map of Lhasa city. Click on image to enlarge.

Map of Lhasa city. Click on image to enlarge.

 

Population

Despite being the most populous city of the Tibet Autonomous Region, the population density of Lhasa is rather low. The population of about 1,000,000 lives on 29,518 square kilometres of land. 80% of the population is ethnic Tibetan and most of the others are ethnic Han Chinese. Approximately half of the population lives in urban Lhasa which is in or near Chengguan District, while the remainder live in the rural areas of Lhasa.

A photo from the Sleepless Lhasa series taken by Xinhua News Agency depicting modern Lhasa city at night

A photo from the Sleepless Lhasa series taken by Xinhua News Agency depicting modern Lhasa city at night

Traditionally, most Tibetans were farmers who settled in small villages with barley as their main crop. Some were nomads who earned a living by herding yaks and sheep while city dwellers made a living as craftsmen. The migration of the populace into urban areas has led to a shift towards modern businesses and even the industrialisation of yak and sheep herding.

Most Tibetans are devout Buddhists. Some of the world’s most famous Buddhist monasteries and temples are found in Lhasa. Buddhists from all over the world make the pilgrimage to Lhasa to visit sites like the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Sera Monastery. To these tourists, Lhasa truly is a holy land because nowhere else can they find themselves surrounded by so many elements of Tibetan Buddhism like mani stones, colourful prayer flags and prayer wheels together in one place as they do here.

Despite being one of the holiest places of Tibetan Buddhism, Lhasa is also home to believers of the old Bön faith, Islam and Catholicism.

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The Climate of Lhasa

Summertime at the roof of the world brings you closer to the clear blue sky

Summertime at the roof of the world brings you closer to the clear blue skies

The traditional attire donned by locals is suitable for all seasons

The traditional attire donned by locals is suitable for all seasons

Temperatures on a typical summer day can fluctuate from 3°C to 27°C. The mild weather between April and November makes this the best time to visit. The peak season is in the months of October and November, when the days are dazzlingly clear and daytime temperatures are perfect for exploring. Rain is common in July and August, and these two months usually see half of Tibet’s annual rainfall. The period from December to February is the coldest but there is hardly any snow so tourist destinations remain easily accessible.

Due to the cold temperatures, the locals wear thick, warm and loose clothing with wide waists and long sleeves. These leave plenty of space between the outer and inner layers of cloth especially at the chest area, which acts as insulation. For women, the space is also convenient for holding food and children. Traditional Tibetan clothes usually have detachable sleeves; when the temperature rises, the sleeves can be removed and tied around the waist.

Lhasa in winter time

Lhasa in winter time

 

A History of Lhasa

A Bönpo practitioner

A Bönpo practitioner

Much that is known of the history of Lhasa dates back to the time when Buddhism was brought there. Prior to the arrival of Buddhism, a Shamanistic faith known as the Bön tradition was widely practised in Tibet. Bön practitioners consider themselves to be practising the indigenous religion of Tibet and believe that their religion, based on the teachings of their grand master Tonpa Shenrab, will bring them spiritual liberation.

Very few written historical records about the Bön faith have survived till today. What is known is that many Bön practitioners abandoned their religion and followed the Royal Family of Tibet when they converted to Buddhism around 608 CE, under the reign of King Songtsen Gampo.

The statue of King Songtsen Gampo in Samye Monastery

The statue of King Songtsen Gampo in Samye Monastery

Lhasa rose to prominence as the administrative centre of Tibet during the reign of King Songtsen Gampo, between 617 to 650 CE. He is known as the greatest King of Tibet who unified the smaller kingdoms that spanned the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, thus creating the Tibetan Empire with himself as its first king. He is also recognised as the first of the Three Great Dharma Kings, who played significant roles in introducing Buddhism to Tibet.

The second of the Three Great Dharma Kings, Trisong Detsen, invited many great Indian Buddhist masters to Tibet including the Tantric master Padmasambhava, better known as Guru Rinpoche; the master and abbot of Nalanda Monastic University, Santarakshita; and the eminent scholar-meditator, Kamalashila. It was through the efforts of King Trisong Detsen that the first wave of Dharma was disseminated in the Land of Snows, the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery — Samye Monastery — was built, and the oldest school of Tibetan Buddhism, the Nyingma, came into existence.

Padmasambhava or Guru Rinpoche

Padmasambhava or Guru Rinpoche

King Tri Ralpachen is the third Great Dharma King who reigned between 815 and 838 CE. He was a firm promoter of Buddhism throughout Tibet as well as in the states under his influence. Under King Tri Ralpachen, Tibet reached the pinnacle of its sovereignty, spreading to parts of China, India, Nepal and the Eastern part of Turkestan (now known as Xinjiang). He is famous for having built 1,000 Buddhist temples in Tibet. His other great deed was the correction of translated terms that contradicted the rules of grammar into the familiar terms of colloquial Tibetan.

No concise history of Lhasa can be complete without highlighting the Great Debate in Samye Monastery, widely known as the Council of Lhasa, which took place during the time of King Trisong Detsen.

Shantarakshita

Shantarakshita

In his quest to spread Buddhism in Tibet, the king hosted a debate between Hvashang Mohoyen and Kamalashila. Mohoyen, a Mahayana monk from the Chinese Chan tradition, was promulgating a variety of Chan Buddhism from Samye Monastery at that time and had acquired many followers because of his teachings. However, King Trisong Detsen felt that Mohoyen’s teachings advanced a nihilistic view instead of the Middle Way set out in the sutras. Therefore, he arranged for a debate between Mohoyen and Kamalashila, an advocate of the Indian tradition of Madhyamika (Middle Way) as taught at the great Nalanda Monastery.

The topic of debate centred around the attainment of Enlightenment, also called ‘Bodhi’, as the teachings differed between the Indian concept of “gradual enlightenment” and the Chinese concept of “sudden enlightenment.” According to historical records, the debate was definitively won by Kamalashila. From that point onwards, Tibetan Buddhist traditions, practices, texts and commentaries were entirely based on sources drawn from Indian Buddhism.

 

15 Great Places to Visit In and Around Lhasa

 

1. Potala Palace

By far the most recognisable landmark in Lhasa with its fortress-like walls and staircases, the Potala Palace was the centre of the Tibetan government and also the winter palace of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The magnificent 13-storey building houses stupas, chapels and prayer halls that are accessible to tourists during operating hours.

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Potala Palace tickets are limited and it is advisable to work with your travel agent to get them ahead of time. Arrive at least one hour before the allocated time and don’t forget your ticket to avoid the disappointment of being denied entry.

Address:
35 Beijing Middle Rd,
Chengguan Qu, Lasa Shi
Xizang Zizhiqu
China 850000

Opening Hours:
9.30am-3pm (Nov – Apr)
9am-3.30pm (May – Oct)
Interior chapels close at 4.30pm from May – October.

Entrance Fees:
RMB100 (Nov – Apr)
RMB200 (May – Oct)

 

2. Tsurphu Monastery

The 800-year-old Tsurphu Monastery is the seat of the Karmapa. Founded by the first Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa, it serves as the home of the Karma Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism and is located in Gurum Town, 4,267 metres above sea level, roughly 65 kilometres west of Lhasa. The monastery is surrounded by high snowy peaks which make for a spectacular view. It once accommodated 1,000 monks but there are not nearly as many now.

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Address:
Doilungdeqen
Lhasa, Tibet
China

Opening Hours:
9am to 2pm daily


Entrance Fees:
RMB40

 

3. Drepung Monastery

As the mother monastery of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Drepung Monastery is one of the three great Gelug monasteries as well as the largest monastic university of Tibet. Situated in the western suburb of Lhasa city, Drepung Monastery housed 7,700 to 10,000 monks at its height in the 1930s. Today, it continues to be an education hub for the Gelugpa lineage and is famous for the annual Shoton Festival.

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Address:
Chengguan
Lhasa, Tibet
China 850000

Opening Hours:
Half day

Entrance Fees:
RMB50 per person

 

4. Nechung Monastery

Situated beside Drepung Monastery on a lower slope of the hill, Nechung Monastery is a modest temple that fulfilled an important function in old Lhasa. It was the seat of the state oracle who was consulted by the Lhasa government when making important decisions. The monks who lived at Nechung Monastery were trained in the secret rituals that accompanied the trances of the oracle.

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Address:
Chengguan
Lhasa, Tibet
China 850000

Opening Hours:
9am to 6pm

Entrance Fees:
RMB20

 

5. Sera Monastery

Another of the three great Gelug monastic universities, Sera Monastery was built in 1419 on a hillside in the northern part of Lhasa. The monastery grounds, covering 28 acres of land, contain the Coqen Hall Tsokchen, also known as the Great Assembly Hall, that housed an important cultural relic “Ganggrur”, granted by Emperor Yongle; the three Zhacangs (colleges); and the Kamcun (dormitories).

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Sera Monastery has a long tradition of debating. Debate sessions amongst the monks take place every day (except Sunday) at 3pm in the courtyard.

Address:
Chengguan Qu, Lasa Shi
Xizang Zizhiqu
China

Opening Hours:
9am to 4pm

Entrance Fees:
RMB55

 

6. Gaden Monastery

Gaden Monastery sits in the Dazi County of Lhasa atop Wangbur Mountain, 3,800 metres above sea level, making it a long and winding drive from downtown Lhasa. At its busiest, Gaden had more than two dozen major chapels, each featuring large Buddha statues. The largest chapel could seat 3,500 monks.

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As one of the three great Gelugpa monasteries, Gaden housed 4,000 monks in its heyday. The holy stupa of Lama Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelug lineage, was also located here. Unfortunately, the entire original complex was destroyed during the events of 1959 although some parts have since been rebuilt and are in use today.

Address:
Wangori Mountain
Dazi County
Lhasa 850100
China

Opening Hours:
9am to 4pm

Entrance Fees:
RMB45

 

7. Jokhang Temple

The Jokhang Temple was original built to house a Buddha statue brought to Tibet by Princess Bhrikuti from Nepal. Later, another image of Jowo Shakyamuni, first brought to Tibet by Princess Wencheng, was moved here. Jokhang, literally translated as the ‘Chapel of the Jowo’, got its name and spiritual potency from the Jowo Shakyamuni statue. It is considered by many to be the most sacred temple in Tibet and Lhasa’s spiritual heart. The best time to visit the double-storey Jokhang Temple is in the morning.

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Address:
Chengguan,
Lhasa, Tibet
China 850000

Opening Hours:
8:30am to 6:30pm
Most chapels are closed after noon.

Entrance Fee:
RMB85

 

8. Ramoche Temple

Ramoche Temple is the sister temple to the Jokhang Temple, built at around the same time to house the statue brought to Tibet by Princess Wencheng. Somehow however, the arrangement got mixed up; the Jowo Shakyamuni brought by Princess Wencheng was placed in Jokhang Temple instead of Ramoche, while the image of Buddha Akshobhya brought by Princess Bhrikuti was housed in Ramoche Temple instead of Jokhang. After Jokhang, Ramoche is the second most important temple in Lhasa.

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Address:
No. 41, Ramoche Temple Road
Chengguan
Lhasa, Tibet
China 850000

Opening Hours:
9am to 5pm daily

Entrance Fees:
RMB 20

 

9. Norbulingka Palace

The Norbulingka was the summer palace of the Dalai Lamas and also their administrative base. The original area was mostly just barren land but its natural beauty captivated His Holiness the 7th Dalai Lama, who pitched camp to spend his summer here. Eventually, the 7th Dalai Lama began construction of this palace, complete with the proper facilities, and equipped it to handle political affairs, meet guests as well as host religious ceremonies. Within its 36 hectares is the largest man-made garden in Tibet and it is from these grounds that His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama made his way to exile in India in 1959.

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Address:
Luobulinka Rd
Chengguan Qu, Lasa Shi
Xizang Zizhiqu
China 850000

Opening Hours:
9am to 12pm and 3pm to 6pm
Workshop and office are closed every Sunday and the second Saturday of each month.

Entrance Fees:
RMB60
Additional RMB10 to visit the zoo in the same vicinity

 

10. Drolma Lhakhang

This temple dedicated to the Goddess Tara houses many ancient relics and holy treasures. It is a significant holy site because it is closely associated with the renowned Bengali Buddhist scholar, Atisha Dipamkara Srijnana (980 – 1054 CE). It is said that Atisha built this temple and taught the Four Tantras to physicians here. It is also here that he entered clear light when he was 72 years old. Many Tibetan Buddhists and students make a special pilgrimage to this temple which is located 30 minutes drive southwest of Lhasa.

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Address:
No.318 National Road
Quxu, Lhasa
Tibet, China

Opening Hours:
All day long (day time)

Entrance Fees:
RMB30

 

11. Grashi Monastery

Grashi Monastery is unique for being the only monastery in Tibet where the principal deity is the Goddess of Fortune. The goddess is said to like offerings of wine, distinctly different from other revered beings in Buddhism. No recorded history of this temple exists and it is likely that it was founded by economic immigrants from China, where there is widespread faith in deities of fortune. The tradition of offering alcohol also has roots there. Liquor offerings are sold at the entrance of the monastery.

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Address:
Zhaji E Rd
Chengguan Qu, Lasa Shi
Xizang Zizhiqu
China

Opening Hours:
All day long (day time)

Entrance Fees:
Free

 

12. Tibet Museum

The Tibet Museum is the first official one on such a large scale in Tibet. It showcases Tibetan culture through a collection of around 1,000 artefacts of art, architecture and crafts in an exhibition area of over 10,000 square metres. The museum was inaugurated on 5 October 1999 and has been open to the public ever since.

Tibet Museum displays many artefacts, including religious ones.

The Tibet Museum displays many artefacts, including religious ones.

Address:
19 Luobulinka Rd
Chengguan Qu, Lasa Shi
Xizang Zizhiqu
China 850000

Opening Hours:
10am to 6pm

Entrance Fees:
Admission is free.
The museum provides an audio guide service. It costs RMB20 to rent a machine.

 

13. Namtso (Lake Nam)

The name ‘Namtso’ literally translates from Tibetan as ‘Heavenly Lake’. Not only does the moniker allude to its status as one of the three holy lakes of Tibet, it is also appropriate for the scenic vistas around the highest saltwater lake in the world (4,700 metres above sea level). Namtso is one of the largest lakes in Tibet with a surface area of 1,900 square kilometres, and is also one of the deepest.

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The most popular way to get to Namtso is to hire a car from Lhasa. The drive takes about five hours so start the journey as early as possible and spend a beautiful day there.

 

14. Lalu Wetland National Nature Preserve

Lalu Wetland is a nature reserve located in Lhasa city. It spans 12.2 square kilometres and half of it sits in the centre of the city. The grass here absorbs 78,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide yearly and produces 53,700 tonnes of oxygen. Although the nature reserve itself is not open to the public, travellers can join tours that include a visit to the site.

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15. Yangbajing Hot Springs

Yangbajing is a town situated 87 kilometres northwest of Lhasa and is famous for its hot springs. The field of hot springs is located 4,500 metres above sea level, making it the highest-altitude hot springs in the whole of China.

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The natural spring water is thought to be good for health and its curative effects can be experienced even during winter time. Besides the hot springs, Yangbajing offers vast, green, grassy pastures where nomads with yaks and sheep roam. Because of its popularity with both locals and foreigners alike, have your travel agency arrange for a day trip or an overnight stay to avoid disappointment.

 

The Festivals of Lhasa

 

Tibet Shoton Festival

The Shoton Festival, centred around the eating of yoghurt, is one of Tibet’s most popular celebrations. It is an annual festival that falls in the month of August. Besides yoghurt, visitors can enjoy dramatic Tibetan operas performed daily from 11 am until dusk by amateur and professional opera troupes from various parts of Tibet. There are also horse races, yak races, dance performances and religious activities. The festival begins with the ritual unveiling of a gigantic thangka at Drepung Monastery while other activities are hosted on the grounds of Norbulingka Palace.

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Tibetan New Year (Losar)

Undoubtedly the most important festival celebrated by Tibetans, Losar begins on the eve of the first day of the Tibetan year. The Tibetan word ‘Losar’ is comprised of two syllables: lo, meaning ‘year’ and sar meaning ‘new’.

It is common for locals to display vibrant New Year paintings on their doors to add lustre to the festival. On the streets, there will be festive activities like chanting, passing of the fire torch through the crowds and dancing. The special food of this festival is flavoured dough balls made of unconventional ingredients like chillies, salt and wool.

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Monlam Prayer Festival

Celebrated over a period of two weeks, the Monlam Chenmo or Great Prayer Festival runs from the fourth to the fifteenth day of the Tibetan calendar. It was established in 1409 by Lama Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. The two-week celebration ends with the Butter Lamp Festival (Choe-nga Choepa). Adherents visit temples and make butter lamp offerings during Monlam.

Monks getting ready to unveil a giant Thangka of Buddha in conjunction with the Monlam Festival

Monks get ready to unveil a giant thangka of the Buddha in conjunction with the Monlam Festival

 

Butter Lamp Festival (Choe-nga Choepa)

Celebrated on the 15th day of the Tibetan New Year, the Butter Lamp Festival commemorates the miracles Lord Buddha performed 2,500 years ago. As the festival falls within the two-week Monlam Prayer Festival, it is celebrated as the last and greatest day of Monlam. Colourful butter sculpture displays are placed in temples and monasteries and when night falls, thousands of butter lamps are lit there as well as in the famous Barkhor Street in Lhasa.

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Palden Lhamo Day

On the 15th day of every 10th lunar month of the Tibetan calendar, Tibetans and Mongolians celebrate and honour Palden Lhamo, the Goddess-Protector of Dharma and defender of Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet and Mongolia. This festival in her honour is closely associated with feminine power, energy and resolve; it is even known as the ‘Women’s Festival’ in Tibet. The best place in Lhasa to observe the festivities and the worship of the goddess is in Barkhor Street where processions are held with Palden Lhamo statues.

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What to Buy

Those who travel to Lhasa for the holy sites will be pleasantly surprised by the variety of shopping available. The Bai Yi Departmental Store, Dropenling Lhasa Villages Handicraft Shop and Yutuo Walk Street which stretches from Barkhor Street to Lhasa Department Store are the most popular and have something for everyone.

 

Tibetan Rugs

Known for its intricate designs and bright colours, Tibetan carpet weaving is a traditional craft where highland sheep wool is used to produce fine rugs and carpets. The best place to buy Tibetan rugs is the Dropenling Lhasa Villages Handicraft store.

Address:
11 Chak Tasal Gang Road,
Lhasa, China

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Jewellery

Barkhor Street is excellent for those interested in buying jewellery, from precious stones to fake jewellery and knick-knacks.

Address:
Chengguan District,
Lhasa 851500, China

Operating Hours:
9am to 4pm

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Souvenirs

Other items which can be found throughout Lhasa and are wonderful keepsakes of your trip include:

  • Tibetan masks
  • Musical instruments
  • Tibetan tea leaves and cups
  • Tibetan thangkas
Nick-knacks on display at the shops in the famous Barkhor street

Knick-knacks on display in the shops along the famous Barkhor street

 

People and Culture

The first Tibetan female who received western education

The first Tibetan female who received western education

Tibetans are historically known for their ability to survive in harsh environments and difficult situations. Although they can come across as rough, proud, earthy or solemn, they have an innate, strong inclination towards piety and religion. It is not entirely uncommon for Tibetans to express their wish to spend ten years meditating in a cave.

As the capital of old Tibet, Lhasa was home to many of the most important and influential noble Tibetan families. This aristocratic class has always been closely associated with the Tibetan Buddhist hierarchy that ruled Tibet. Their influence can still be seen and felt today and they continue to be strong supporters of the Buddhist monastic community.

A modern Tibetan woman dressed in a contemporary Tibetan chuba made of gold silk

A modern Tibetan woman dressed in a contemporary Tibetan chuba made of gold silk

 

Etiquette

Tibetan culture has been shaped by 1,300 years of Buddhist influence, and many traditions and social customs have been moulded around Buddhist teachings. These are some basic rules of Tibetan etiquette that will help any traveller blend seamlessly with the locals.

 

The DOs

  1. Use polite words when greeting. The suffix “la” is added after a name to show respect.
  2. Use honourifics whenever possible.
  3. Offer a khata (Tibetan silk scarf) as a mark of respect when meeting religious personages or at holy sites.
  4. Remove your hat, hold it in front of your chest and bow when meeting with an official, senior or highly respected person.
  5. Wait till everyone at the table is served before starting to eat.
  6. If eating with ordained Sangha, fold your hands when pre-meal prayers are recited and wait until they have started eating before you begin to do so.
  7. At the end of a meal, fold your hands together and bow to your host when you have had your fill. Otherwise, they will keep serving more!
  8. When accepting a gift, receive it using both hands.
  9. When offering a gift, do so with your body bowed and your hands over your head.
  10. It is customary to bring a small gift if you are visiting a Tibetan home.
  11. Dress appropriately and behave respectfully at temples and holy sites. Remove your hat and cover your arms and legs.
  12. Sit cross-legged or with your feet facing back so that you do not point the soles of your feet towards others.

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The DON’Ts

  1. Do not walk anti-clockwise around a stupa, religious statue or mani stone mound.
  2. Do not spin prayer wheels anti-clockwise.
  3. Do not smoke or talk loudly in a monastery.
  4. Do not take photographs inside monasteries or chapels without obtaining permission in advance.
  5. Do not attend sky burials uninvited and never take photographs if you are attending one.
  6. Do not touch the heads of children with your hands as this is considered taboo.
  7. Do not step on the threshold of a Tibetan home as you enter.
  8. Avoid discussing politics with your host, guide or monks.
  9. Do not take photographs of bridges, military installations or the army.
  10. Do not kill any animals or insects in the monasteries.
  11. Pointing with the index finger, especially at someone elder or respected, or at religious statues and paintings is discouraged. Instead, gesture with your hand, palm upwards.

 

Tibetan Dance

Tibetans love singing and dancing and will not shy away from any opportunity to participate in such activities, especially during festivals and events both big and small. One of the most prominent and eye-catching dances is the Cham Dance, which is performed as part of a religious ceremony that signifies the subjugation of evil spirits.

Cham dance

Cham Dance

Traditional Tibetan Dance

Traditional Tibetan Dance

 

Sky Burial

Tibet is one of the few places in the world where the unique ritual of Sky Burial is still practised today. In a sky burial, a human corpse is dismembered then left exposed on a mountaintop where vultures or condors gather, and offered to them as food.

A sky burial ceremony in Lhasa in 1985

A sky burial ceremony in Lhasa in 1985

The rationale behind a Sky Burial is to dispose of one’s remains in as generous a way as possible, in line with Buddhist values. It is also believed that the birds purify the dead individual of his/her sins of that lifetime, allowing the soul to go peacefully to a pure land (paradise). The birds are considered “holy” for they only eat the human body without harming the smaller animals nearby. The remains left uneaten by the birds are then collected and burnt while lamas chant verses to liberate the dead from this life completely.

Below is a rare video on the Tibetan sky burial tradition. As the contents are graphic, please watch at your own discretion.

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

 

Mani Stones

A mani stone is one on which the Buddhist mantra ‘OM MANI PEME HUM’ is inscribed. Mounds of mani stones are a unique sight only found in areas where Tibetan Buddhism is strong or has been prevalent. In Lhasa, believers stack mani stones in mounds inside monasteries, at the edge of villages, at cross roads, along paths and on mountaintops. Mani stone mounds are often further decorated with prayer flags or the horns of yaks or sheep. Those who have difficulty accessing temples will treat a mani stone mound as an alternative site of worship.

A sacred mani stone wall

A sacred mani stone wall

Inspired by traditional mani stones, Kechara Forest Retreat has mantra stones available to offer to the Buddha of Healing, Loma Gyonma

Inspired by traditional mani stones, Kechara Forest Retreat has mantra stones available to offer to the Buddha of Healing, Loma Gyonma

 

Thangka Painting

Originating in Nepal, the art of thangka painting was brought to Tibet by the Nepalese wife of King Songtsen Gampo, Princess Bhrikuti. Thangkas are usually two-dimensional depictions of one or more deities, painted on cotton or appliqued on silk. They are used as personal meditation aids and also serve as teaching tools in the monasteries. In olden days, monks and Tibetan nomads usually traveled with thangkas because they were much more portable than statues. Today, complex and elaborate thangka art is highly valued, and many youths in Lhasa are learning to create this unique Buddhist art form.

Thangka painting

Thangka painting

Thangka art class

Thangka art class

 

The Tibetan Language

The informal writing, called U-me

The informal writing, called U-me

King Songtsen Gampo sent one of his wisest ministers, Thonmi Sambhota, to India to study the Indian scripts in order to create a written form of the Tibetan language to translate and record Buddhist texts. Thonmi Sambhota successfully completed his mission after extensive study and retreat, and the resulting Tibetan script that he invented is still in use today.

Even though the Tibetan script that Thonmi Sambhota created was heavily influenced by the Devanagari script, it is unique in its own right as a language system is governed by its pronunciation rather than the form of writing. The Tibetan script fundamentally comprises of 30 consonants and 4 vowels, and words are created through a combination of prefixes, suffixes, post-suffixes, superscripts, subscripts and vowels affixed to the root consonant.

Thonmi Sambhota

Thonmi Sambhota

 

Tibetan Food

Tibetan food is hearty and soulful, meant to nourish and sustain the body amidst the harshness of the mountains. These are some favourites that Tibetans consume on a regular basis.

 

Tsampa

Tsampa is a staple in the Tibetan diet. It is roasted barley flour, typically mixed with yak butter. Tibetans consume tsampa in two ways — mixed with savoury Tibetan butter tea or made into a sweet porridge.

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Butter Tea

Butter tea is a savoury drink traditionally made from tea leaves, yak butter, water and salt, which are churned vigorously in a special hand churn. Cow butter, which is more widely available and an electric blender for churning may also be used. The drink is always served hot and provides the necessary energy for the cold weather and high altitudes. Tibetans typically drink several bowls of butter tea each day.

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Meat and Dairy

Tibetans love their beef and mutton for its nutritional value and caloric content. Meat may be consumed fresh or dried for later use. Similarly, dairy products like milk and cheese are also good sources of energy.

Lhasa33

 

Noodles: Thenthuk and Thukpa

‘Pulled’ noodles or thenthuk is a comfort food that keeps Tibetans warm in cold weather. ‘Then’ means ‘pull’ and ‘thuk’ means ‘noodle’. The noodles are usually made from wheat flour and served with simple vegetables in a meat broth. The resulting noodle soup is called ‘thukpa’.

Lhasa34

 

Momos

Momos, an all-time Tibetan favourite, are steamed dumplings in a round or half-moon shape traditionally prepared with a minced meat filling and served with Tibetan hot sauce (sepen). Modern versions may include other ingredients like cheese, tofu and vegetables.

Lhasa35

 

Visas

As Lhasa lies in the Tibet Autonomous Region, entry and exit regulations differ from what one would need to enter China. Foreigners who intend to visit Lhasa must obtain a Tibet Travel Permit as well as a regular Chinese visa. Independent travel in Lhasa (and other parts of the Tibet Autonomous Region) is prohibited; all foreigners must join a tour group.

To obtain a Tibet Travel Permit, a tour guide must be arranged for the entire duration of the trip. The permit will be issued as a short term group visa. It is advisable to book your tour at least 20 days in advance. Any plans to travel to other parts of China should be arranged separately.

If you plan on traveling to Lhasa alone, a private vehicle is not required. That said, public transport is not the best and solo trekking over the distances involved can be a hindrance and very time-consuming. It may be better to include transportation services as part of your plan — this will save time and unforeseen costs.

In summary, the requirements for travel in Lhasa are:

  • A valid Chinese visa
  • A Tibet Travel Permit
  • A tour guide
  • A private vehicle and driver

Here are nine travel tips by ‘China Highlights’ to optimise your trip.

Click on image to enlarge

Click on image to enlarge

 

Getting There

There are three options to get to Lhasa: flight, train or long-distance bus.

 

By Air

There is no shortage of inbound flights from various cities within China. There is a daily flight from Beijing to Lhasa that costs approximately RMB2,500. About 20 flights per week arrive in Lhasa from Chengdu; they take about two hours and cost RMB1,500.

Lhasa Gonggar Airport also receives flights from Chongqing, Guangzhou, Kunming, Qamdo, Shanghai, Xi’an, Xining and Zhongdian. International flights are available between Gonggar and Kathmandu airport in Nepal.

Foreigners must be greeted by their tour guide at the airport and use the private car provided by the tour guide. As Gonggar Airport is situated 65 kilometres south of Lhasa city, it will take approximately one hour and ten minutes to travel from the airport to downtown Lhasa. Shuttle buses cost RMB25 while a cab ride will cost RMB150.

 

By Train

The rail gateway to Tibet is Golmund in China’s Qinghai province. The best route from Golmund to Lhasa is on the Qinghai-Tibet (Qingzang) railway, which also continues to Xining, Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai and Chongqing. Foreigners must buy tickets through travel agencies as tickets are not available for private purchase. Take note of the two peak seasons during which train tickets are almost impossible to obtain — during the Chinese New Year break between January and February, and during the summer holidays between July and August.

Lhasa40a

Lhasa40

 

By Bus

Five highways lead to Lhasa but only the Qinghai-Tibet and China-Nepal Highways are open to foreigners. The Qinghai-Tibet Highway is 1,160 kilometres long and runs through the beautiful scenic grasslands of the Kunlun Mountain range. The China-Nepal Highway is 900 kilometres long and runs between Kathmandu and Lhasa. However, the roads are bumpy and four-wheel-drive vehicles are the best choice for the journey.

 

Getting around

Public Buses
There are more than 20 bus routes which run regularly throughout the day. The cost is low — just RMB1 to RMB2 per journey.

Taxi
Not all taxis in Lhasa use the meter. Drivers will charge a fixed rate, around RMB10, for trips within Lhasa township. Be sure to negotiate the use of the meter if there is a need to go beyond the township. The meter charges are RMB5 for the first two kilometres and RMB1.5 for every other kilometre.

Car Rental
Travellers can easily rent a car and driver for longer journeys, especially if they intend to travel outside Lhasa city. The latest car rental information can be found at the Tibet Backpacker Bar (opposite Banak Shol Hotel), Yak Hotel, Banak Shol Hotel and Kirey Hotel. Bargaining will get you a better deal.

Do not forget to check the condition of the car before you depart. Also, check that the vehicle possesses the necessary certificates and permits issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau for ferrying foreigners. If needed, sign a contract with the driver to avoid unnecessary miscommunication. The cost of a car and driver ranges from RMB250 to RMB300 per day within the city, and is charged by distance with a 50% fuel surcharge when travelling out of the urban area.

 

Where to Stay in Lhasa

 

Kyichu Hotel

Situated in the heart of Lhasa within walking distance from Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple, the hotel provides Wi-Fi connectivity, comfortable beds and in-room floor heating which is convenient in the cold harsh weather.

Lhasa61

Address:
149 Beijing E Rd
Chengguan Qu, Lasa Shi
Xizang Zizhiqu
China, 850000

Phone:
+86 891 633 1541

 

St. Regis Lhasa Resort

The resort features local contemporary designs complemented by international facilities including an indoor pool, spa, Wi-Fi access, modern bathrooms and buffet restaurants. Guests can enjoy views of the landscaped gardens that extend all the way to the historical Potala Palace, three kilometres away.

Lhasa62

Address:
22 Jiangsu Road,
Chengguan District,
850000 Lhasa, China

Phone:
+86 891 680 8888

 

Shangri-La Hotel

The Shangri-La caters to the travellers’ essential needs including an in-house oxygen room, which is sometimes required at high altitudes especially when travelling with the elderly or young children.

Lhasa63

Address:
19 Luobulinka Rd
Chengguan Qu, Lasa Shi
Xizang Zizhiqu
China, 850000

Phone:
+86 891 655 8888

 

Shangbala Hotel

Shangbala Hotel is conveniently located less than five-minutes walk from Barkhor Street, and is surrounded by many restaurants offering traditional Tibetan fare and international cuisine.

Lhasa64

Address:
1 Danjielin Rd,
Chengguan Qu, Lasa Shi
Xizang Zizhiqu
China, 850000

Phone:
+86 891 632 3888

 

New Century Hotel Lhasa

Situated 100 metres from the Tibet Museum and the Norbulingka, the hotel offers modern facilities, gourmet restaurants, flat screen TVs and cable channels as well as Wi-Fi access.

Lhasa65

Address:
No. 1 Middle Minzu Road,
850008 Lhasa, China

Phone:
+86 891 633 4895

 

House of Shambala

Situated right in the heart of Chengguan district, House of Shambhala is a good place to experience downtown Lhasa and its surroundings. Guests will enjoy easy access to the commercial area of the city where the shops and restaurants are, while all the traditional must-sees are also within reach. There is Wi-Fi access in the rooms and in the common area.

Lhasa66

Address:
7 Ji Ri Er Xiang,
Chengguan Qu, Lasa Shi
Xizang Zizhiqu
China, 850000

Phone:
+86 891 632 6695

 

De Kang Hotel

This is a Tibetan-style hotel located close to the Jokhang Temple. The hotel is a fair walk from the city centre, but the walk itself is one along pebbled lanes lined with monasteries, tailors, shops and restaurants. It is the ideal place to stay if you have time to spare for a stroll and to witness the daily life of the locals away from the tourist attractions.

Lhasa67

Address:
2 Shengtai Road,
Lhasa, China

Phone:
+86 891 636 7366

 

Cool Yak Hotel

Located within the vicinity of Jokhang Temple, Cool Yak Hotel offers comfortable 3-star accommodation with air-conditioned rooms and free Wi-Fi access. Ramoche Temple is a 20-minute walk away.

Lhasa68

Address:
No.6 Xiasasu Zangyi Road,
Lhasa 850000, China

Phone:
+86 891 633 6858

 

Chengbei Guesthouse

Chengbei Guesthouse offers backpacker-friendly, affordable accommodation. Rooms come with private bathrooms and are equipped with wardrobes as well as other basic facilities. Airport shuttle transfers can be arranged with staff at the front desk. The guesthouse is around 2.5 kilometres from the Potala Palace and 5 kilometres from Norbulingka Palace.

Lhasa69

Address:
No.3, Row 9, Phase 1, the 10th Community
Duo Di Road, Cheng Guan District
850000 Lhasa, China

 

Lhasa International Youth Hostel

This is a backpackers’ haven, situated right in the middle of downtown Lhasa with the biggest supermarket in the city right opposite the hostel. It offers a typical Tibetan courtyard to chill out in, free Wi-Fi, a restaurant cum bar, and laundry services.

Lhasa70

Address:
No.48 North Duosenge Road,
Lhasa, China

Phone:
+86 891 692 9789

 

Useful Books

Here are a couple of books recommended by seasoned travellers as dependable travelling companions to help you make your trip to Lhasa an unforgettable one.
Lhasa72

My Journey to Lhasa by Alexandra David-Neel

Described as “one of the best adventure books of the last 100 years.” Set in the early 20th century, it is the true but incredible story of how a French lady travelled and entered the forbidden city of Lhasa through the more unorthodox routes.

Lhasa71

Lonely Planet

A comprehensive book on travelling in Tibet, including Lhasa, with useful information, colour maps, insider tips, special highlights and a ‘not-to-be-missed’ itinerary.

 

Video: Modern day travel to the hidden yet blossoming Lhasa

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

 

Sources:

  • https://www.travelchinaguide.com/cityguides/tibet/people.htm
  • http://factsanddetails.com/china/cat6/sub35/item1694.html
  • https://freetibet.org/about/history-religion-culture
  • https://www.lonelyplanet.com/china/tibet/visas
  • https://www.chinaodysseytours.com/tibet/tibet-culture.html
  • http://www.tibetdiscovery.com/travel-guide/lhasa/getting-around-lhasa/
  • https://www.tour-beijing.com/blog/china-travel/top-10-lhasa-attractions-top-10-things-to-do-in-lhasa
  • https://www.chinahighlights.com/festivals/lhasa/
  • http://www.tibetdiscovery.com/what-to-buy/

 

For more interesting information:

 

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Stella Cheang
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About Stella Cheang

Stella was introduced to Kechara in late 2013 through social media, and found the array of activities and learning opportunities to be meaningful, unique and refreshing. Having decided to pursue her spiritual journey with Kechara, she has volunteered with Kechara Sunday Dharma School as a teacher for young children from the age of 2 to 4, and as a writer for the tsemrinpoche.com team.
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8 Responses to Wonderful Lhasa

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  1. Sharon Ong on Mar 17, 2018 at 12:48 am

    Lhasa is on my bucket list not only for the beautiful scenery but for the many holy sites that I would love to visit. Another site that I would love to go is Lhamo La-tso as this is where regents and senior monks go to find the reincarnation of HH Dalai Lama after his passing. This lake is also believed to be the abode of Protectress Palden Lhamo.

    Thank you for this wonderful post. Am sure it would be very useful for those planning to visit Lhasa.

  2. Wai Meng Wan on Feb 25, 2018 at 1:39 am

    Important to prepare well to visit Lhasa, tibet as a county has been described as the roof of the world. Still Lhasa has so many spiritual spots it is a destination for all people interested in Tibetan people and culture.

  3. Sofi on Feb 17, 2018 at 4:17 am

    Tibet had always been a place I wished to visit, even way before I met with Kechara and our precious Guru. It held such a strong appeal maybe in its mysticism, a world in itself above and beyond. Now the aspiration comes stronger knowing the benefits of visiting holy places and connecting with the energies of enlightened beings. With this informative article, Tibet seems more accessible and encouraging for pilgrims to visit.
    For me personally, the holiest place is where our Guru resides and we should always treasure each moment spent within this precious mandala as our personal retreat. 🙏

  4. Anne Ong on Feb 1, 2018 at 9:58 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche and Stella for this great article about Lhasa,and the explaination of the benefits of pilgrimage. Tibet is really a blessed and beautiful place to visit. I love the scenery ,history,culture, religion and beautiful pictures. 🙏👍😍

  5. Samfoonheei on Jan 31, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    Lhasa in Tibet, which means “Land of the Gods” and is over 1,300 years old, sits in a valley right next to the Lhasa River. Is a beautiful place which every one would like to visit. I have not been to Lhasa but have heard about the beauty of it. Lhasa is a holy land, and it is a state-level historical and cultural city in China. The Jokhang Monastery, Potala Palace, Norbulingka, Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery and Ganden Monastery are some of the world-famous tourism attractions which I would love to visit one day. To date Potala Palace,Jokhang Monastery and Norbuglinka Palace was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Reading through these article I am glad to know and understand the cultures ,the monasteries and do and don’t before going there.Its indeed a beautiful place with long historical and a place worth visiting.
    Thank you Rinpoche and Stella for sharing these detail insight article which will definitely made things easier for those travelling there.

  6. Pastor Lim Han Nee on Jan 30, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    Most Tibetans are devout Buddhists. Tibet was the land that received all of Buddha’s teachings (during the 7th to 9th century)just as Buddhism was about to be all but extinguished in India, when Moghul invaders destroyed all the Buddhist temples , monasteries, holy sites and Buddhist scriptures there. Hence, the history of the introduction of Buddhism into Tibet forms the historical background of Lhasa, Tibet, whose high altitude has caused it to be dubbed the ‘roof of the world’. Lhasa abounds with monasteries and temples that date back to a distinctive past with great Buddhist Masters and renowned religious personages associated with them.

    Among the holy places I would love to visit in Lhasa are the Dalai Lamas’ resplendent Potola Palace -complete with stupas, chapels and prayer halls. The Jokhang Temple, which houses the Jowo Shakyamuni, which had been brought to Tibet by the Chinese Princess Wencheng , who had come to Tibet to be King Songsten Gampo’s consort.The Jowo Shakyamuni statue’s powerful blessings and energy pervade this temple and has given it its ‘spiritual potency’.

    The Ramoche Temple has a historical significance similar to that of the Jokhang, as it is the temple that housed the the image of Buddha Akshobhya brought by Princess Bhrikuti , who also came to Tibet at the same time as Princess Wencheng to be King Songsten Gampo’s consort.

    The Drolma Lhakhang is dedicated to the Goddess Tara and houses many ancient relics and holy treasures. It is a significant holy site because it is closely associated with the renowned Buddhist scholar, Atisha Dipamkara Srijnana , who came to Tibet in the early 11th century to disseminate the Buddhadharma, upon the invitation of King JangChub Oe.Tara was his personal deity on whom he relied for advice about spiritual matters.

    The three other monasteries I would not want to miss are the Gaden, Drepung and Sera Monasteries founded by Lama Tsongkhapa, the great King of Dharma. Just to be there and contemplate on the past when great saints, Masters and the sangha in their thousands lived and practiced in these monasteries. They have been the ones to preserve and spread the Dharma up to today.

    Yes , wonderful Lhasa, with its many holy spots for pilgrims, as well as other tourist attractions like the Tibet Museum, and Namso(Lake Nam or Heavenly Lake) with the beautiful scenic vistas around it! One should also time one’s visit to coincide with the celebration of such great festivals as the Monlam Prayer Festival and the Butterlamp Festival, when Lhasa will be very “happening” spiritually!

  7. Any on Jan 29, 2018 at 10:00 pm

    Thank you rinpoche and stella for a wonderful article about Lhasa. As a Tibetan buddhist, its seem is a must to go there for pilgrimage. Very useful and details info for future travel use. Thank you!!

  8. Datuk May on Jan 29, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    As a Tibetan Buddhist, the ultimate pilgrimage would be to go to Lhasa, Tibet to visit the Potala Palace, the great monasteries and to see the ancient and holy images of the pantheon of deities in our tradition.

    The railway has made it easier to go on this pilgrimage but it is the altitude that may create problems for some travellers.

    Until I have the opportunity to visit Lhasa in person, this article is a definite must read and view of the wonderful pictures of Lhasa.

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  • Yee Yin
    Thursday, Aug 22. 2019 06:30 PM
    This is such a beautiful story. When Joao found Jinjing the penguin, out of compassion, he rescued Jinjing. He made sure Jinjing has recuperated before releasing Jinjing back to where it came from. Joao didn’t expect anything from Jinjing.

    However, Jinjing remembers the kindness of Joao and comes back to visit Joao every year. Animals may not be able to talk but they can feel the sincerity of human beings. Jinjing knows that Joao is very kind and will never hurt it.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/one-minute-story/jinjing-the-penguin-swims-5000-miles-every-year-to-visit-the-man-who-saved-him
  • S.Prathap
    Thursday, Aug 22. 2019 02:52 PM
    Thank you very much for beautiful and good article about pilgrimage to Bodhgaya.Buddhist around the world is encourage to make a trip to Bodhgaya.Just Bodhgaya itself there is so many beautiful places to visit.

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

    Read more : https://bit.ly/2TPVu8I
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Aug 22. 2019 02:11 PM
    It’s a great experience where a small group of Kechatians of a live time going on a meritorious journey to Shar Gaden Monastery in Mundgod, South India . On behalf of His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche and Kechara in making an offerings to all 650 monks of the monastery. Wow…..that’s really wonderful , looking through at those beautiful pictures tell us a thousands words.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this wonderful sharing.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/journey-to-shar-gaden-monastery-2019-making-offerings-to-the-sangha.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Aug 22. 2019 02:10 PM
    Wow beautiful photos of Buddhas and Great Lamas paints a thousands words. Found this old post which is amazing with many old photos. ….a safe keeping of Rinpoche collected over the years. Some of those photos where rare such as the one of HH Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang and the Kuan Yin statue kept in Rinpoche’s audience room in Kechara. Well maintained even it’s a decade ago. We are also fortunate to see the sacred altar of Pelden Hlamo in Rashi Gempil Ling Temple in Howell, New Jersey.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this wonderful sharing of those old photos in Rinpoche’s photo album.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/gallery/photo-album-buddhas-and-great-lamas.html
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    Eating meat causes killings which is a choice you make at every meal. Make the conscious choice of kindness. Don’t eat meat and their wishes to be alive are yours to fulfill.

    http://bit.ly/2YapO3B
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    Read more here how where there is discrimination, there is suffering: http://bit.ly/2YxFY2k
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    Wednesday, Aug 21. 2019 09:50 PM
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    Find out more here: http://bit.ly/2Ygq29q
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    Read more of this authentic practice by Buddha himself: http://bit.ly/2K4n91a
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    Kopan Monastery had been performing the Dorje Shugden practice from the beginning, as this was Lama Yeshe’s main protector, on whom he relied whenever he needed help for anything.~Lama Zopa

    Find out what is going on here: http://bit.ly/2SR24eW
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    For interesting read, visit here: http://bit.ly/32XzFZd
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    Some of the artwork, which took hours to create, even won Rinpoche prizes at school. For his artwork, Rinpoche used a variety of mediums; some of the Buddha images would be painted and others would be coloured with crayons or magic markers. Once finished, Rinpoche would also wrap some of the drawings with Saran Wrap (cling wrap) plastic and attach a string to them, before passing the images out to friends and relatives to wear for blessings and protection.

    Read more here: http://bit.ly/32Y12T2
  • Yee Yin
    Wednesday, Aug 21. 2019 08:11 PM
    It is great that Kechara Puja House is offering pet funeral service. This will give comfort to the pet owners as they can do something beneficial for their pets. After the funeral rite is performed, the owner can continue to help the pets to accumulate merits by making offerings to the 3 Jewels and dedicate the merits to them.

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/dog-funerals-held-by-kechara.html
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    Wednesday, Aug 21. 2019 04:05 PM
    Stephon Marbury is an American former basketball player who played for NBA All Star in 2001 and 2003. The Two-time NBA All-Star embraced China after accepting China offer and turned his career and life around. Even though thousands of miles away from his former life in America , leaving everything behind. Through a series of remarkable games and scripted events he became one of the most beloved people in China. Stephon Marbury went from NBA outcast to Chinese legend and left behind a complicated legacy in the NBA. He is the first foreign celebrity to receive permanent residency in China.
    He never give up even though he did failed in his career with NBA and embracing China was the right choice.
    Thank you Rinpoche for this wonderful sharing.
    Positivity, confidence, and persistence are key in our life, so never give up in whatever we do…..

    https://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/stephon-marbury-embraces-china.html

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Messages from Rinpoche

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I must thank my dharma blog team who are great assets to me, Kechara and growth of dharma in this wonderful region. I am honoured and thrilled to work with them. I really am. Maybe I don't say it enough to them, but I am saying it now. I APPRECIATE THESE GUYS VERY MUCH!

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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

Photos On The Go

Click on the images to view the bigger version. And scroll down and click on "View All Photos" to view more images.
Third picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal.
Height: 33ft (10m)
4 weeks ago
Third picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal. Height: 33ft (10m)
Second picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal.
Height: 33ft (10m)
4 weeks ago
Second picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal. Height: 33ft (10m)
First picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal.
Height: 33ft (10m)
4 weeks ago
First picture-Standing Manjushri Statue at Chowar, Kirtipur, Nepal. Height: 33ft (10m)
The first title published by Kechara Comics is Karuna Finds A Way. It tells the tale of high-school sweethearts Karuna and Adam who had what some would call the dream life. Everything was going great for them until one day when reality came knocking on their door. Caught in a surprise swindle, this loving family who never harmed anyone found themselves out of luck and down on their fortune. Determined to save her family, Karuna goes all out to find a solution. See what she does- https://bit.ly/2LSKuWo
1 month ago
The first title published by Kechara Comics is Karuna Finds A Way. It tells the tale of high-school sweethearts Karuna and Adam who had what some would call the dream life. Everything was going great for them until one day when reality came knocking on their door. Caught in a surprise swindle, this loving family who never harmed anyone found themselves out of luck and down on their fortune. Determined to save her family, Karuna goes all out to find a solution. See what she does- https://bit.ly/2LSKuWo
Very powerful story! Tibetan Resistance group Chushi Gangdruk reveals how Dalai Lama escaped in 1959- https://bit.ly/2S9VMGX
1 month 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 months ago
At Kechara Forest Retreat land we have nice fresh spinach growing free of chemicals and pesticides. Yes!
See beautiful pictures of Manjushri Guest House here- https://bit.ly/2WGo0ti
2 months ago
See beautiful pictures of Manjushri Guest House here- https://bit.ly/2WGo0ti
Beginner’s Introduction to Dorje Shugden~Very good overview https://bit.ly/2QQNfYv
2 months ago
Beginner’s Introduction to Dorje Shugden~Very good overview https://bit.ly/2QQNfYv
Fresh eggplants grown on Kechara Forest Retreat\'s land here in Malaysia
3 months ago
Fresh eggplants grown on Kechara Forest Retreat's land here in Malaysia
Most Venerable Uppalavanna – The Chief Female Disciple of Buddha Shakyamuni - She exhibited many supernatural abilities gained from meditation and proved to the world females and males are equal in spirituality- https://bit.ly/31d9Rat
3 months ago
Most Venerable Uppalavanna – The Chief Female Disciple of Buddha Shakyamuni - She exhibited many supernatural abilities gained from meditation and proved to the world females and males are equal in spirituality- https://bit.ly/31d9Rat
Thailand’s ‘Renegade’ Yet Powerful Buddhist Nuns~ https://bit.ly/2Z1C02m
3 months ago
Thailand’s ‘Renegade’ Yet Powerful Buddhist Nuns~ https://bit.ly/2Z1C02m
Mahapajapati Gotami – the first Buddhist nun ordained by Lord Buddha- https://bit.ly/2IjD8ru
3 months ago
Mahapajapati Gotami – the first Buddhist nun ordained by Lord Buddha- https://bit.ly/2IjD8ru
The Largest Buddha Shakyamuni in Russia | 俄罗斯最大的释迦牟尼佛画像- https://bit.ly/2Wpclni
3 months ago
The Largest Buddha Shakyamuni in Russia | 俄罗斯最大的释迦牟尼佛画像- https://bit.ly/2Wpclni
Sacred Vajra Yogini
3 months ago
Sacred Vajra Yogini
Dorje Shugden works & archives - a labour of commitment - https://bit.ly/30Tp2p8
3 months ago
Dorje Shugden works & archives - a labour of commitment - https://bit.ly/30Tp2p8
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha.
3 months ago
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha.
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha. She was his step-mother and aunt. Buddha\'s mother had passed away at his birth so he was raised by Gotami.
3 months ago
Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the first nun ordained by Lord Buddha. She was his step-mother and aunt. Buddha's mother had passed away at his birth so he was raised by Gotami.
Another nun disciple of Lord Buddha\'s. She had achieved great spiritual abilities and high attainments. She would be a proper object of refuge. This image of the eminent bhikkhuni (nun) disciple of the Buddha, Uppalavanna Theri.
3 months ago
Another nun disciple of Lord Buddha's. She had achieved great spiritual abilities and high attainments. She would be a proper object of refuge. This image of the eminent bhikkhuni (nun) disciple of the Buddha, Uppalavanna Theri.
Wandering Ascetic Painting by Nirdesha Munasinghe
3 months ago
Wandering Ascetic Painting by Nirdesha Munasinghe
High Sri Lankan monks visit Kechara to bless our land, temple, Buddha and Dorje Shugden images. They were very kind-see pictures- https://bit.ly/2HQie2M
3 months ago
High Sri Lankan monks visit Kechara to bless our land, temple, Buddha and Dorje Shugden images. They were very kind-see pictures- https://bit.ly/2HQie2M
This is pretty amazing!

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

Always be kind to animals and eat vegetarian- https://bit.ly/2Psp8h2
3 months ago
My Dharma boy (left) and Oser girl loves to laze around on the veranda in the mornings. They enjoy all the trees, grass and relaxing under the hot sun. Sunbathing is a favorite daily activity. I care about these two doggies of mine very much and I enjoy seeing them happy. They are with me always. Tsem Rinpoche Always be kind to animals and eat vegetarian- https://bit.ly/2Psp8h2
After you left me Mumu, I was alone. I have no family or kin. You were my family. I can\'t stop thinking of you and I can\'t forget you. My bond and connection with you is so strong. I wish you were by my side. Tsem Rinpoche
3 months ago
After you left me Mumu, I was alone. I have no family or kin. You were my family. I can't stop thinking of you and I can't forget you. My bond and connection with you is so strong. I wish you were by my side. Tsem Rinpoche
This story is a life-changer. Learn about the incredible Forest Man of India | 印度“森林之子”- https://bit.ly/2Eh4vRS
3 months ago
This story is a life-changer. Learn about the incredible Forest Man of India | 印度“森林之子”- https://bit.ly/2Eh4vRS
Part 2-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
3 months ago
Part 2-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
Part 1-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
3 months ago
Part 1-Beautiful billboard in Malaysia of a powerful Tibetan hero whose life serves as a great inspiration- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
The great Protector Manjushri Dorje Shugden depicted in the beautiful Mongolian style. To download a high resolution file: https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
3 months ago
The great Protector Manjushri Dorje Shugden depicted in the beautiful Mongolian style. To download a high resolution file: https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
The Mystical land of Shambhala is finally ready for everyone to feast their eyes and be blessed. A beautiful post with information, art work, history, spirituality and a beautiful book composed by His Holiness the 6th Panchen Rinpoche. ~ https://bit.ly/309MHBi
3 months ago
The Mystical land of Shambhala is finally ready for everyone to feast their eyes and be blessed. A beautiful post with information, art work, history, spirituality and a beautiful book composed by His Holiness the 6th Panchen Rinpoche. ~ https://bit.ly/309MHBi
Beautiful pictures of the huge Buddha in Longkou Nanshan- https://bit.ly/2LsBxVb
3 months ago
Beautiful pictures of the huge Buddha in Longkou Nanshan- https://bit.ly/2LsBxVb
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
3 months ago
The reason-Very interesting thought- https://bit.ly/2V7VT5r
NEW Bigfoot cafe in Malaysia! Food is delicious!- https://bit.ly/2VxdGau
4 months ago
NEW Bigfoot cafe in Malaysia! Food is delicious!- https://bit.ly/2VxdGau
DON\'T MISS THIS!~How brave Bonnie survived by living with a herd of deer~ https://bit.ly/2Lre2eY
4 months ago
DON'T MISS THIS!~How brave Bonnie survived by living with a herd of deer~ https://bit.ly/2Lre2eY
Global Superpower China Will Cut Meat Consumption by 50%! Very interesting, find out more- https://bit.ly/2V1sJFh
4 months ago
Global Superpower China Will Cut Meat Consumption by 50%! Very interesting, find out more- https://bit.ly/2V1sJFh
You can download this beautiful Egyptian style Dorje Shugden Free- https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
4 months ago
You can download this beautiful Egyptian style Dorje Shugden Free- https://bit.ly/2Nt3FHz
Beautiful high file for print of Lord Manjushri. May you be blessed- https://bit.ly/2V8mwZe
4 months ago
Beautiful high file for print of Lord Manjushri. May you be blessed- https://bit.ly/2V8mwZe
Mongolian (Oymiakon) Shaman in Siberia, Russia. That is his real outfit he wears. Very unique. TR
4 months ago
Mongolian (Oymiakon) Shaman in Siberia, Russia. That is his real outfit he wears. Very unique. TR
Find one of the most beautiful temples in the world in Nara, Japan. It is the 1,267 year old Todai-ji temple that houses a 15 meter Buddha Vairocana statue who is a cosmic and timeless Buddha. Emperor Shomu who sponsored this beautiful temple eventually abdicated and ordained as a Buddhist monk. Very interesting history and story. One of the places everyone should visit- https://bit.ly/2VgsHhK
4 months ago
Find one of the most beautiful temples in the world in Nara, Japan. It is the 1,267 year old Todai-ji temple that houses a 15 meter Buddha Vairocana statue who is a cosmic and timeless Buddha. Emperor Shomu who sponsored this beautiful temple eventually abdicated and ordained as a Buddhist monk. Very interesting history and story. One of the places everyone should visit- https://bit.ly/2VgsHhK
Manjusri Kumara (bodhisattva of wisdom), India, Pala dynesty, 9th century, stone, Honolulu Academy of Arts
4 months ago
Manjusri Kumara (bodhisattva of wisdom), India, Pala dynesty, 9th century, stone, Honolulu Academy of Arts
Silver Manjusri figure from Ngemplak Semongan (Indonesia). Apparently during the Shailendra Dynasty, Mahayana Buddhism was very strong in Indonesia. This Dynasty promoted Mahayana Buddhism and Manjushri was a principal Buddha of worship.
4 months ago
Silver Manjusri figure from Ngemplak Semongan (Indonesia). Apparently during the Shailendra Dynasty, Mahayana Buddhism was very strong in Indonesia. This Dynasty promoted Mahayana Buddhism and Manjushri was a principal Buddha of worship.
In Buddhism: The Importance of Having a Clean Room- https://bit.ly/2ZgrbKS
4 months ago
In Buddhism: The Importance of Having a Clean Room- https://bit.ly/2ZgrbKS
There is an area near Lumbini, Nepal, they have sightings of Yeti for hundreds of years. So they have signages in the area with Yeti artwork to highlight this. Interesting. TR
4 months ago
There is an area near Lumbini, Nepal, they have sightings of Yeti for hundreds of years. So they have signages in the area with Yeti artwork to highlight this. Interesting. TR
Photos of footprints (Yeti) are from a high altitude pass (Darwa Pass) connecting Gangotri valley to Yamunotri valley through old pilgrim route.
4 months ago
Photos of footprints (Yeti) are from a high altitude pass (Darwa Pass) connecting Gangotri valley to Yamunotri valley through old pilgrim route.
Beautiful picture. Rare. Three holy beings.
4 months ago
Beautiful picture. Rare. Three holy beings.
May 1, 2019-I really enjoy this picture of these visitors visiting Dorje Shugden\'s grotto in Kechara Forest Retreat today. They look happy, light and blessed after doing their prayers to Dorje Shugden. I wanted to share this picture.- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
4 months ago
May 1, 2019-I really enjoy this picture of these visitors visiting Dorje Shugden's grotto in Kechara Forest Retreat today. They look happy, light and blessed after doing their prayers to Dorje Shugden. I wanted to share this picture.- https://bit.ly/2UltNE4
A postcard of my great grand aunt Princess Nirgidma of Torghut-Tsem Rinpoche
4 months ago
A postcard of my great grand aunt Princess Nirgidma of Torghut-Tsem Rinpoche
Rei Kawakubo – Grand Dame of ‘Hiroshima Chic’- https://bit.ly/2Vz4N06
4 months ago
Rei Kawakubo – Grand Dame of ‘Hiroshima Chic’- https://bit.ly/2Vz4N06
Just now, this beautiful grape and orange infused water drink with a blue glass was brought in for me. I was amazed at the colors. Tsem Rinpoche
4 months ago
Just now, this beautiful grape and orange infused water drink with a blue glass was brought in for me. I was amazed at the colors. Tsem Rinpoche
We have to look in and change from within to find the way out of all that makes us unhappy.~Tsem Rinpoche 

www.tsemrinpoche.com
4 months ago
We have to look in and change from within to find the way out of all that makes us unhappy.~Tsem Rinpoche http://www.tsemrinpoche.com
Click on "View All Photos" above to view more images

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Please click on the images to watch video
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  • Don’t Take My Mummy Away!
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    Don’t Take My Mummy Away!
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    3 months ago
    They do this every day!
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    What happened at Fair Oaks Farm?
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    She’s going to spend her whole life here without being able to move correctly. Like a machine. They are the slaves of the people and are viewed as a product. It’s immoral. Billions of terrestrial animals die annually. Billions. You can’t even imagine it. And all that because people don’t want to give up meat, even though there are so many alternatives. ~ Gabriel Azimov
  • Our Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir speaks so well, logically and regarding our country’s collaboration with China for growth. It is refreshing to listen to Dr. Mahathir’s thoughts. He said our country can look to China for many more things such as technology and so on. Tsem Rinpoche
    4 months ago
    Our Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir speaks so well, logically and regarding our country’s collaboration with China for growth. It is refreshing to listen to Dr. Mahathir’s thoughts. He said our country can look to China for many more things such as technology and so on. Tsem Rinpoche
  • This is the first time His Holiness Dalai Lama mentions he had some very serious illness. Very worrying. This video is captured April 2019.
    4 months ago
    This is the first time His Holiness Dalai Lama mentions he had some very serious illness. Very worrying. This video is captured April 2019.
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    4 months ago
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    This dog thanks his hero in such a touching way. Tsem Rinpoche
  • Join Tsem Rinpoche in prayer for H.H. Dalai Lama’s long life~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYy7JcveikU&feature=youtu.be
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    Join Tsem Rinpoche in prayer for H.H. Dalai Lama’s long life~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYy7JcveikU&feature=youtu.be
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  • Get ready to laugh real hard. This is Kechara’s version of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane!” We have some real talents in this video clip.
    5 months ago
    Get ready to laugh real hard. This is Kechara’s version of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane!” We have some real talents in this video clip.
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    5 months ago
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    5 months ago
    Beautiful
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    8 months ago
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CHAT PICTURES

Teacher Jayce explained the good value from Rinpoche’s teachings. Alice, KSDS
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Teacher Jayce explained the good value from Rinpoche’s teachings. Alice, KSDS
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Chern Chern learnt dharma and show the good attitudes to others. Alice, KSDS
Encourage the kids to express their feelings and at the same instill the dharma to them. Alice, KSDS
3 days ago
Encourage the kids to express their feelings and at the same instill the dharma to them. Alice, KSDS
Teacher Grace taught the participants for the DIY candles. Alice , KSDS
3 days ago
Teacher Grace taught the participants for the DIY candles. Alice , KSDS
Children recite Migtsema and Manjushri mantra before the start of dharma class. Lin Mun KSDS
5 days ago
Children recite Migtsema and Manjushri mantra before the start of dharma class. Lin Mun KSDS
Student do full prostration before the start of dharma class. Lin Mun KSDS
5 days ago
Student do full prostration before the start of dharma class. Lin Mun KSDS
Wen Yue led students to do key chain as part of art and craft activity. Lin Mun KSDS
5 days ago
Wen Yue led students to do key chain as part of art and craft activity. Lin Mun KSDS
Teacher Kien shared some photos of sangha members. Lin Mun KSDS
5 days ago
Teacher Kien shared some photos of sangha members. Lin Mun KSDS
Throwback- close bonding during WOAH camp. Lin Mun KSDS
5 days ago
Throwback- close bonding during WOAH camp. Lin Mun KSDS
Teenage dharma class in Kechara House . Lin Mun KSDS
5 days ago
Teenage dharma class in Kechara House . Lin Mun KSDS
Throwback- Chinese New Year activity, calligraphy with best wishes words. Lin Mun KSDS
5 days ago
Throwback- Chinese New Year activity, calligraphy with best wishes words. Lin Mun KSDS
KISG has been performing White Tara and Dorje Shugden puja for 4 consecutive nights. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
7 days ago
KISG has been performing White Tara and Dorje Shugden puja for 4 consecutive nights. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
KISG members travelled to KFR for Ullambana today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
2 weeks ago
KISG members travelled to KFR for Ullambana today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
After the Bird Liberation, we proceeded with Dorje Shugden puja. Just before we started our puja, Pastor Patsy gave us a short Dharma Sharing. Pastor spoke about Dharma practice in these days and reminded us to always keep our samaya with Guru intact. To honour our promises, reduce our worldly activities and practice Dharma strongly. Thank you Pastor for the valuable advice~Jacinta, KPSG
2 weeks ago
After the Bird Liberation, we proceeded with Dorje Shugden puja. Just before we started our puja, Pastor Patsy gave us a short Dharma Sharing. Pastor spoke about Dharma practice in these days and reminded us to always keep our samaya with Guru intact. To honour our promises, reduce our worldly activities and practice Dharma strongly. Thank you Pastor for the valuable advice~Jacinta, KPSG
We chanted Medicine Buddha's mantra before we blessed them. May they be connected with Buddha always. ~Jacinta , monthly Bird Liberation Kechara Penang Study Group
2 weeks ago
We chanted Medicine Buddha's mantra before we blessed them. May they be connected with Buddha always. ~Jacinta , monthly Bird Liberation Kechara Penang Study Group
Special thanks to Linny Neoh and her friend for joining our Kechara Penang Study Group Bird Liberation. ~Jacinta, KPSG
2 weeks ago
Special thanks to Linny Neoh and her friend for joining our Kechara Penang Study Group Bird Liberation. ~Jacinta, KPSG
Birds were blessed before their departure to freedom. They deserved love & freedom too ~Jacinta,KPSG
2 weeks ago
Birds were blessed before their departure to freedom. They deserved love & freedom too ~Jacinta,KPSG
Pastor Patsy giving explanation during Bird Liberation event. Kechara Penang Study Group's monthly bird liberation - Jacinta
2 weeks ago
Pastor Patsy giving explanation during Bird Liberation event. Kechara Penang Study Group's monthly bird liberation - Jacinta
Re: Kechara Sunday Dharma Class every Sunday morning, Teachers and students start dharma learning at this blissful morning ~By KSDS Jayce Goh
3 weeks ago
Re: Kechara Sunday Dharma Class every Sunday morning, Teachers and students start dharma learning at this blissful morning ~By KSDS Jayce Goh
Kechara Sunday Dharma Class every Sunday morning, Teacher Lin Mun start class with Manjusri prayers after prostration ~By KSDS Jayce Goh
3 weeks ago
Kechara Sunday Dharma Class every Sunday morning, Teacher Lin Mun start class with Manjusri prayers after prostration ~By KSDS Jayce Goh
Mdm Glian Sim offered Serkym on behalf of KISG today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
3 weeks ago
Mdm Glian Sim offered Serkym on behalf of KISG today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Janice So offered water to Lama Tsongkhapa, Mother Tara, Dorje Shugden and all Buddhas. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
3 weeks ago
Janice So offered water to Lama Tsongkhapa, Mother Tara, Dorje Shugden and all Buddhas. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
Ms. Leow offered lights and incense prior to the prayer session in Ipoh today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
3 weeks ago
Ms. Leow offered lights and incense prior to the prayer session in Ipoh today. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
KISG has carried out a session of 21 Praises to Taras prayer recitations today in Ipoh. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
3 weeks ago
KISG has carried out a session of 21 Praises to Taras prayer recitations today in Ipoh. So Kin Hoe (KISG)
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Dorje Shugden
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