When hindered, retreat!

15 March 2011 - 4:25pm Comments Off

One of the greatest things about having a Guru is that he knows us even better than we know ourselves. While we see our lives through rose-tinted glasses, our own blighted vision perceives only what is apparent immediately in front of us. People might think, “All seems to be well with my life right now, so what could ever go wrong?” What they do not know however, is that everything can go seriously wrong and when that happens, they will not even know what hit them. They had everything going for them and never saw it coming.

Ongoing puja during the Grand Setrap and Dzambala Puja in Kechara House's gompa

For many people, in the middle of the crisis, they are suddenly motivated into a more intense “spiritual practice” but at some point, many doubt at its efficacy. They might be led to wonder, “I’m praying so much these days, so why doesn’t my problem just disappear?” They may then think that the spiritual practice does not work and abandon it altogether. Sounds familiar?

When our bad karma has ripened on us, will it not be too late?

The whole idea of spiritual practice is to avoid those unfortunate scenarios. What is best is for us to engage in intense practice while everything is good, whilst we still have the means and presence of mind. Then perhaps we might avoid the ripening of our bad karma or, at the very least, mitigate its effects if we have properly purified it with effective means.

Offering black tea during a Setrap puja in the former Kechara House 2

One way of purification is through prayers to enlightened Beings which are, in effect a request we make to all the Buddhas including our Guru. Through this practice, we build up our stock of merit and purify our obscurations before they manifest.

Then do Buddhists always run away from problems? Are Buddhists are afraid to face their problems, you may ask? Let us face the facts – who would want problems if given a choice? If we have a choice but still prefer to go through crisis upon crisis, are we not being stupid or masochistic?

What problems? Well, there is no way we can know what is lurking around the bend. However, if we have a Guru and he advises us to engage in a retreat to purify our obstacles, then we jolly well should, with no if’s and but’s. The Guru is the doctor who prescribes the medicine (the practice) to the patient (us), but healing comes only if we have faith in the doctor and take the prescribed medicine. So it is still entirely up to us after all.

Remember, until we have the wisdom to see past, present and future, we are well advised to trust our Guru.

His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche has advised Kechara members and friends to engage in a special Setrap retreat. Setrap is swift and effective in removing obstacles, principally to our spiritual practice and incidentally to our worldly affairs.

Setrap Grand Obstacle Removing Retreat

Obstacle Removing Setrap Retreat

DATES Monday 11 – Tuesday 19 April 2011

TIME 8pm to 11pm (weekdays); 2pm to 5pm (weekends)

VENUE Kechara House Gompa


  1. Refuge
  2. Four Immeasurables
  3. Eight Verses of Thought Transformation
  4. Eight Worldly Dharmas
  5. 50 Verses of Guru Devotion (to recite 10 verses a day)
  6. Wheel of Sharp Weapons (recite five verses a day)
  7. Gaden Lhagyama in full
  8. Migtsema (21 times)
  9. Setrap practice
  10. Dissolution
  11. General dedications and Yonten Shigyurma (daily)
  12. King of Prayers (to be recited at the very end of the retreat)

Retreat Target (Collective):

  1. 200,000 black tea offerings to Setrap
  2. 200,000 Setrap kanshag
  3. Two million Setrap mantras


  • During this retreat, other weekly pujas and activities held at the same time in the Kechara House gompa will not be conducted.
  • The retreat participants should be present in the Kechara House gompa in order for their participation to count
  • However, overseas participants are welcome to contribute to the count. They must follow the same order of each prayer
  • Those offering tea (golden drink) should invest in a serkyem set available at any Kechara Paradise outlet. Ensure serkyem sets are presentable and uniform in size and shape. Investing in the serkyem set is in itself an offering. Use only tea – please do not offer beer or milk, etc.
  • The altars should be covered and filled with water bowl offerings
  • Participants can donate water bowls, sponsor the tea, or donate cash towards the organisation of the retreat and offerings
  • Dedicate the merits of the practice to our parents, family, loved ones, for Lamrim to grow, for Tsongkhapa and Vajrayogini’s lineage to grow and for whatever other aims we wish to achieve.

Interested yet?

Please register your name with Any Loke or Kelvin Yong as soon as possible. This can be done at the Kechara House gompa or send your enquiries to [email protected].

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