Definitions

Thekchen Choling

Thekchen Choling

DISAMBIGUATION: "Thekchen Choling" is also the name of the Dalai Lama’s monastery in Dharamsala (in the Kangra district of the state of Himachal Pradesh, India). The Dalai Lama’s monastery does not currently have a Wikipedia entry.

About Thekchen Choling (Singapore)

Organisation and History

Thekchen Choling (Singapore) (TCCL for short) is a registered Buddhist organisation in the Republic of Singapore. The organisation was started in 2001 by Lama Thubten Namdrol Dorje and a group of his initial disciples. The organisation promotes non-sectarian Buddhism, emphasizing a strong foundation and understanding of Theravada and Mahayana teachings.

TCCL is committed to the Rime (non-sectarian) movement within Tibetan Buddhism though it is of the Gelug trandition. The primary practices and teachings of this temple are from Guru Rinpoche lineage and Lama Tsongkapa lineage.

Lineage

The temple was started in accordance with the instructions of the late H.E. Geshe Lama Konchog of Kopan Monastery , with whom Lama Dorje studied in the late-1980s and early 1990s. Other famous teachers from this monastery include Lama Zopa and Lama Yeshe, who have written many influential books and founded many Buddhist centers. Lama Dorje’s other root guru (primary teacher) is Khen Rinpoche Lama Lhundrup Rigsel, known to his students as Khen Rinpoche. TCCL regularly hosts teachers from Kopan Monastery, Sera Jey Monastery, and several other Tibetan Buddhist teaching centers.

Teachers

Resident Lama

Lama Thubten Namdrol Dorje, born Felix Lee, has been initiated as a Yogi. Lama was advised by his Gurus that he could benefit more people if he did not take monastic vows and remain a lay practitioner. Trained as a chef and owner of a popular restaurant, Lama was advised by his gurus in 1998 to give up the business and instead focus on spreading the Dharma. Geshe Lama Konchog also entrusted him with the task of setting up a Tibetan temple with the mission to change the existing mindset that one needs to be a monk or nun to practice Buddhism. Heeding his gurus’ advice, Lama closed his restaurant business and in 2001, formally registered the temple ‘Thekchen Choling (Singapore)”, a name meaning “Mahayana Buddhist Temple,” bestowed by Geshe Lama Konchog.

As a lay lama, Lama Dorje’s personal life experiences allow him to relate to and offer practical advice to those who seek his counsel for problems they encounter in daily life. Behind Lama’s unassuming demeanour is a highly accomplished yogi who is well-versed with the three vehicles of Buddhism, namely the Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana. Lama Dorje is the author of the book Direct Expressions and is currently working on a book entitled Surviving Samsara.

The TCCL homepage describes Felix Lee’s initial meeting of his teachers in Nepal in this way:

In 1989, at the age of fifteen, a Buddhist master appeared in Lama’s dreams and instructed him to fulfill the vows of his previous life which was to teach those who did not have teachers. Following the instructions in his dreams, he was brought to Nepal by Venerable Sangye Khandro. Upon his arrival, Lama first met Lumbum Rinpoche and made light offerings at a temple. At the time, Rinpoche told him, “We have been waiting for you”. It was later revealed that the Buddhist master who had first appeared in Lama's dream was in fact the great Buddhist saint, Guru Rinpoche.

Visiting Lamas

Within Tibetan Buddhism, teachers study closely with more than one senior teacher. Lama Dorje’s primary teachers include:

1) H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama

2) H.E. Dagri Dorje Chang (Dagri Rinpoche is the 5th reincarnation of Pagri Dorje Chang, one of the very great Geshes of Lhasa who was the teacher of many high lamas in Tibet.)

3) H.E. Khen Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Delek of Gyumed Tantric College.

4) H.E. Zopa Rinpoche

5) H.E. Khen Rinpoche Lama Lhundrup Rigsel of Kopan Monastery

6) Late Geshe Lama Konchong (Now reincarnated as Tenzin Phuntsok Rinpoche)

7) Geshe Khechog of Kopan Monastery

8) Geshe Wangchen of Sera Monastery

Temple

Located at 2 Beatty Lane in Singapore, was registered in 2001 by Lama Thubten Namdrol Dorje as instructed by his late teacher H.E. Geshe Lama Konchog and given the same name, ‘Thekchen Choling (Singapore)’.

Architectural History

The current address of Thekchen Choling used to be Ji Gong Temple. The temple building is a heritage site in Singapore. A statue of Ji Gong from the previous Ji Gong Temple is still being revered at the main hall of the temple for devotees to make offerings.

Devotional Objects

The field of Religious Studies involves the analysis of architecture and various material material objects, and TCCL has a number of outstanding devotional objects.

Buddha Rupas

Tibetan Buddhist mindfulness training practice include the devotional treatment of statues of the Buddha (and his various forms); these statues are known as Buddharūpa (literally, 'Form of the Awakened One'), which is the Sanskrit and Pali term used in Buddhism for statues or models of the Buddha. Devotees treat the statues exactly as if they were the living bodies of fully realized Buddhas. TCCL contains several outstanding examples of Buddharupa in Thai, Chinese, and Nepali styles.

'Jowa Shakyamuni Buddha'

Modeled after the Shakyamuni Buddha in Tibet (Jokhang Monastery)

'Guru Rinpoche'

Larger than lifesize, this Guru Rinpoche statue is adorned with semi-precious stones and crystals. This figure represents the quintessential teacher (or guru), as Guru Rinpoche (or Padmasambhava) is said to have transmitted Tantric Buddhism to Tibet in the 8th century.

'Mother Green Tara'

This inspiring life-sized Mother Green Tara rupa is adorned with semi precious stones and crystals. Tārā is regarded as a Bodhisattva of compassion and action. She is the female aspect of Avalokitesvara (Chenrezig) and in some origin stories she comes from his tears.

'Mig Chenresig and Medicine Buddha'

Mig Chenresig’s main activity is healing the eyes and is a unique form of Chenresig. This rupa is the only emanation of Chenresig in Singapore and was specially commissioned in line with the temple’s aim to be a healing temple.

Medicine Buddha is an enlightened being who has unbiased compassion for all living beings. He protects living beings from physical and mental sickness and other dangers and obstacles, and helps them to eradicate the three poisons – attachment, hatred, and ignorance – which are the source of all sickness and danger. He is a Buddha Doctor. Medicine Buddha was also the main practice of Geshe Lama Konchog.

Giant Mani Wheel

A prayer wheel, in Tibetan Buddhism, is a device that spins on an axis containing hundreds, thousands, or even millions of copies of a specific mantra. Instead saying one mantra at a time, a devotee who spins a prayer wheel believes himself to have said the mantra hundreds, thousands, or millions of times, depending on how many copies of the mantra are in the wheel.

Commonly, prayer wheels contains Chenresig’s mantras which devotees consider the turning of the wheel to be a manifestation of the Chenrezig’s holy speech. Chenrezig, of whom the Dalai Lama is considered by Tibetan Buddhists to be an incarnation, is the protector of Tibet and is also known as Avalokitesvara (Guenther). Through this practice, one is understood to develop purity of body, speech, and mind. Buddhist texts teach that spinning the Mani Wheel (or prayer wheel) is equivalent to having recited all the mantras inside the wheel (Ladner). Turning the Mani Wheel is thus considered extremely beneficial.

The Giant Mani wheel in Thekchen Choling (Singapore) was commissioned and installed in 2003. It stands 3m high, is 1.38m in diameter, and contains 213 million of Chenresig’s mantras.

Sacred Relics On Display

1)Relics of Buddha Shakyamuni

2)Relics of the Buddha’s closest disciples Ananda, Upali, Shariputra and Mahamaudgalyayana

3)Hair of the 13th Dalai Lama

4)Relics of the 3rd and 16th Karmapa

5)Relics of the great Tibetan saint Geshe Lama Konchog

6)Relics from numerous other Buddhist masters

Kangyur and Tengyur Text

Under the recommendation of Dagri Rinpoche, the whole collection of the Kangyur and Tengyur Text are now kept in TCCL. Also known as the Tibetan Buddhist Canon, this collection consists of loosely defined list of sacred texts recognised by various schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

Practices and Events

The temple has weekly teachings in English and Mandarin, chanting and prayers sessions. It is the first Tibetan Buddhist temple in Singapore to be open twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. The main hall is available to all who seek a place of quiet, for prayers, for meditation at any time of the day.

The temple is focused on being known for healing and provides free traditional Chinese Medicine consulting service, acupuncture service and medicine two times a week in the temple. The temples social outreach program includes free medicine distribution, free meals and finance support, with emphasis for the poor and elderly.

The devotees also chant sutras in Mandarin wearing the traditional Chinese Hai-Ching and chant prayers in English and Tibetan while wearing the layman robes of white and maroon. This temple is unusual for its young group of devotees, most are below the age of thirty five with numerous professionals. The temple has been granted permission by the Office of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to publish thirteen of his books in simplified Mandarin for free distribution.

Regular Scheduled Practices

Dharma Education Teachings • English “Awaken your Heart” (series)

• Chinese “Path to Happiness” (series)

• Beginner's Course to Tibetan Buddhism (Adults)

Dharma Practices of Mahayana Tradition

1) Food offerings

2) Sutra Recitation (Chinese)

       a. Confession to 88 Buddhas
       b. Amitabha Buddha Sutra Recitation

3) Pujas and Sutra Recitation (Tibetan & English)

       a. Guru Puja & Green Tara Puja
       b. Medicine Buddha Puja
       c. Dharma Protector Puja (Palden Lhamo)
       d. Tara and Chenresig Group practices

Events

Lunar New Year

Prayers are performed for fifteen days coinciding with the days of miracles

Qing Ming

Typically associated with remembrance of parents and ancestors, the temple provides prayers for the deceased

Vesak

The event marking Buddha’s conception, enlightenment and parinirvana is marked by the unveiling of a 42 foot tall thangka of Shakyamuni Buddha and his disciples. Throughout the month, numerous activities are held including pujas, sutra recitations and animal liberations.

Ullambana

Prayers are held in the Chinese Mahayana tradition with the recitation of sutras associated with Buddha Ksitigarbha and various confession text.

Healing Festival

Combining prayers to Chenresig , Mig Chenresig and Medicine Buddha the main focus of this prayer event are prayers for good health and healing.

Community Outreach

With the vision of “Connecting All with Divine Hearts”, Thekchen Choling hopes to complement the spiritual healing of the temple with a focus on giving aid to those in need.

Thekchen Choling Community Outreach offers the following community services:

Healing Services

TCCL is developing ways to provide effective health care to the needy. The healing services consist of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture and Reiki Healing sessions held weekly at the temple. Future plans include a western medical health clinic.

Education Services

TEACH&REACH is a free tuition programme to reach out to students from needy families in the Lavender and Jalan Basar neighborhoods. Besides tutoring, students are also brought out of the classroom for enrichment programmes, involving sports events, museum visits, and so forth.

Youth Development Services

The objective of Thekchen Choling Youth Development Services is to groom youths to be courageous, caring and socially responsible adults. Programmes are planned to help in the overall development of youths. These programmes include self-awareness and social skills and community outreach opportunities.

Elderly and Needy Support Services Given the rising prices of food recently, TCCL hopes to lend a helping hand to the needy by distributing food rations to them. Project Maude is a ration distribution project held quarterly during Chinese New Year, Vesak Day, Mid Autumn Festival and Winter Solstice. More than 1000 people are supported on each occasion.

Contact Details

Address:2 Beatty Lane, Singapore 209945

Telephone: (65) 64663720

Fax:(65) 64656736

Email: contactus@thekchencholing.org

Bus Services: 2,7,12,32,33,51,61,63,80,107,133,145,197,21,NR7,23,64,65,66,67,125,130,139,147 Nearest MRT train station: Lavender MRT (10 minutes walk)

See also

References

Notes

External links

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