Religion

The missing MH370 – Time to Practice the Dharma?

19 Mar

Amidst the flurry of messages all over social media calling for people to pray for MH370 and various speculations as to what happened to the Boeing plane, there were some Buddhists telling people to “practice the Dharma while we can”. If you are Buddhist, you would instantly recognize the meaning behind this simple statement. If…

Uproar Over the Upcoming Movie Noah

10 Mar

I had just watched this and I find this entertaining and interesting. At times, I couldn’t help myself from laughing at some of the remarks. Anyway, the video is about the negative feedback regarding an upcoming blockbuster movie featuring the life of Noah, one of the early prophets of the Bible. And because of this,…

The Dalai Lama in The US

24 Feb

The Dalai Lama is touring in the US now and he has recently met with the President Obama in the White House despite protests from the Chinese government. However, the White House took great pains to ensure it is not a meeting of two heads of state and President Barack Obama reiterated the US stand…

A Vajrayogini pilgrimage (part 2)

18 Feb

                                   The narrow street leading to Tahithy Chowk  Well, its been awhile and I am finally coming up with the second installment of the earlier post of the recent pilgrimage to Nepal. The pilgrimage was in December but fortunately,…

Buddha images galore…

14 Feb

I love Buddha images!… particularly from the Indo-Tibetan tradition. I think I appreciate them both from an artistic as well as from a devotional standpoint. I guess I got this from Tsem Rinpoche’s passion for explaining, obtaining and giving out some of the most exquisite Buddha images. He said that as lay folks, we should…

A Vajrayogini pilgrimage… (part 1)

15 Jan

Happy 2014 guys and I know I have been 2 weeks late in blogging about this but better late then never… Over Christmas last year, I took 22 (including myself, Su Ming (the main organiser) and Nicholas Yu)  intrepid pilgrims seeking an intimate spiritual journey – a pilgrimage of sorts to Nepal. Needless to say,…

The Meaning Behind An Altar

10 Nov

Here a picture of my altar to Lama Tsongkhapa in the living room of my apartment.  Due to a request, I am going to share a thing or two about altars today. I think most Chinese families here in Malaysia have that little “Sun Toi” or ‘Altar to the Gods’ at home. That ubiquitous red…

New Buddhist Pastors in the making…

21 Oct

Kechara recently celebrated the ordination of new Buddhist Pastors and the renewal of existing Pastors in our very own Wisdom Hall at Kechara Forest Retreat. I couldn’t make it…. Boohoo! Anyway, I heard that it was a simple affair but steeped in the Buddhist tradition of taking upasaka vows or layman vows. This is the 3rd…

A Talk About Engaging In A Je Tsongkhapa Retreat

15 Oct

Recently, I was requested by H. E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche to share my experience and knowledge of engaging in a Je Tsongkhapa retreat to people who would be interested to engage in it. This is fantastic despite the fact that the last time I performed a Tsongkhapa retreat was many years back. At that time,…

Temple in the Mall

9 Oct

When Tsem Rinpoche first started the Kechara Paradise outlets, he noticed that some people would come to the outlets to leave simple offerings in front of the main image there. Hence, Rinpoche brought his personal statues to be placed in these outlets precisely for these people to make offerings. These statues are very holy because…

Childhood Buddhas

20 Sep

Just a few days ago, I was with Rinpoche sitting in front of his Manjushri altar. As the picture above shows, the dominating icon is this large wooden statue of Manjushri with a thousand arms fanning out around him in a complete circle. There were of course various other smaller forms of Manjushri and exotic…

The Goddess of the White Parasol

19 Aug

This is the Sitatapatra statue that just arrived in Kechara Forest Retreat. Photo courtesy of Martin Chow. This magnificent 8-feet wood-carved statue of White Umbrella or Dukkar has recently just arrived at Kechara Forest Retreat. She is placed at the Dukkar apartments (aptly named Dukkar after this grand deity) within KFR where volunteers and those…

Mental Note to be Grateful Always

6 Aug

It’s been awhile since I last posted on this blog and I just received a wonderful sharing by Rinpoche just the other day. Rinpoche had been sharing a lot lately about gratitude on social media and he explained what dawned on him recently. He noticed that friends and students who transform and take on more…

Making Yellow Hats

6 Jul

Stephen Tang, a student of Zasep Rinpoche Recently, I got in touch with a young student of Zasep Rinpoche in Toronto over Facebook. His name is Stephen Tang and we were just talking over Facebook chat and out of the blue one day, he said he would like to offer little Lama Tsongkhapa hats onto…

What is the Dharma?

2 Jul

I am in the mood to write about something deep and I thought about this topic for awhile. It is so fundamental yet it is clearly misunderstood by most people, from casual observers to practitioners who are in it for years. As Rinpoche put it very succinctly, ‘You may be in the Dharma but is the…

Deep stuff – Associating/Disassociating our body with our mind…

18 Jun

Tsem Rinpoche came over to Manjushri Hill (my office) and did some stuff with a few of us here. Then he shared an amazing Dharma talk with us. It was quite an extensive teaching on associating our mind with our bodies that creates our suffering. Rinpoche began by uttering something really profound, he said that…

The Buddha and His Enemy

11 Jun

Devadatta attempts to assassinate the Buddha The following is my comments after watching the video of Prof. Donald S Lopez explaining about Devadatta in Tsem Rinpoche’s blog:- http://blog.tsemtulku.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/devadatta-blaming-others.html In this video, Professor Donald S Lopez tells a clear and vivid story of the Buddha and his infamous nemesis, Devadatta from the Dhammapada Sutta – a collected…

Why is Tsem Rinpoche so kind to animals?

31 May

Caring for animals is linked to the Buddhist teaching on compassion. It is obviously a physical expression of compassion and one of the noblest because unlike humans, animals are basically unable to reciprocate kindness. And that’s one of the reasons why Tsem Rinpoche encourages people like me – a typical self-absorbed, self-centered modern individual to…

The Russian Princess Who Became A Nun

16 May

      Zina Rachevsky as a Hollywood actress in 1953 The legendary Zina Rachevsky was the earliest Western student and patron of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Everything about her including her royal heritage had become legendary. Her family was incredibly wealthy to begin with. Her grandfather established SW Straus & Co. that…

Why does Tsem Rinpoche have a ladrang?

1 May

Audience room of Tsem Ladrang. One of the most commonly asked questions when I am explaining about Tsem Rinpoche and Kechara is the question what is a ladrang? Well, the standard answer is that a ladrang is basically the Guru’s residence. However, it is not just the place from which the Guru lives, it is…

Why does Tsem Rinpoche snap his fingers before teaching?

16 Apr

I am not sure if you had noticed this before but I have. Over the years, I have witnessed Rinpoche snapping his fingers just as he ascends onto his teaching throne. You know what’s funny? I used to think it was a signal for us clowns (Rinpoche’s term of endearment for us spiritual infants) to…

Gelug Monastic Education

25 Mar

Picture taken from nickwinter.com I heard of fascinating stories of how rigorous and rewarding the monastic education system can be within Gaden monastery. So, I did a little bit of research to find out more about it. From what I know, the entire education system culminates with the Geshe examinations. Geshe is Tibetan derivative of…

The Kangyur

22 Mar

A friend recently asked me what a Kangyur is and I gave her a brief explanation. So, to expand on that explanation, I did some research and here it is:- During the Buddha’s time, many of his disciples became arhats or great disciples that had achieved cessation of suffering through listening to the Buddha’s teachings….

Bodhidharma

7 Mar

One of Zong Rinpoche’s (Tsem Rinpoche’s root guru) previous lives was the famous Indian master Bodhidharma who was famous to have brought Zen/Chen Buddhism to China and is regarded as the first patriarch of this tradition in China. He has an exceptional story of transmitting the teachings without words. Bodhidharma was born a powerful South…

Thai Coffin Ritual

7 Mar

I found this on the net I thought it was rather bizarre and fascinating at the same time. The Buddhist temple Wat Proman in Thailand offers a rather bizarre ritual to bless devotees in order to ease their problems. All they have to do is lie in a coffin, “die” and be reborn again anew…

Tara – A Bangladeshi Buddhist superhero

17 Feb

   The superheroined Enigma or Tara Virango makes her appearance in the Spider-Man series. Comic book lovers from around the world would find this very interesting! The scriptwriters at Marvel Comics had adapted the popular Buddhist deity Tara into a superheroine character in an episode of the Spider-Man comics. It is interesting to see how…

Time flies – It’s already 2013

12 Feb

2012 came by just like that and I have been totally neglecting my little blog here. I am not sure if I still have an audience out there in cyberspace. Perhaps just a few clicks from Facebook and that’s it. Last year saw the publications of 2 books, Tales My Lama Told Me, which I…

The Tale of the Fighter Pilot

9 May

I was at Rinpoche’s residence last night and he called me up along with Paris, Bryan, Ethan, Jean Ai and Jean Mei. We were going to bring up trays upon trays of glorious Wesak Day gifts for rinpoche to go through, one-by-one. Yes, Rinpoche would go through every single note, letter, card and gift. They…

My Favourite Pictures of Rinpoche

7 May

Rinpoche is unusually photogenic although there are many times, I think the pictures’ don’t really reflect his real life charisma and powerful presence. We just celebrated Wesak Day here in Malaysia and we celebrated it here in Kechara House with a series of events, a fish liberation event in the morning, a baby blessing in…

The Shopping Experience

3 May

Yesterday was one of those rare days that Rinpoche decided to go shopping. It seemed to be a spur-of-the-moment decision that was typically Rinpoche. Now, shopping is not exactly a favourite pastime and unless he was shopping for someone, he would have to drag himself out of bed. He dreads the mall crowds and fortunately,…

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