You had not seen the last one from me

Engkau Belum Melihat Yang Terakhir Dariku 1

Myself at 17 years old here in Los Angeles, California…

I came across this song by accident..I am amazed at Cher’s endurance. She’s not just another pop star that disappears, she moves with the times and she stays current. I guess that is the secret to survival in whatever you do. Cherish your traditions, know what you stand for, but update yourself with the times..don’t stay stagnant. The world doesn’t wait for you. You have to catch up…being left behind sounds easy, but it’s not a good place to be…

You haven’t seen the last of me’s lyrics evokes some strong memories of the past and many who taunted me, told me I wouldn’t make it or they’d make sure I couldn’t do what I wanted. Sometimes I believed them, but mostly I didn’t. I didn’t make it and yet I did. I guess the word making it is ‘subjective’..I may not be a global superstar, but I am doing what I wanted since I was a child. The odds were all against me. I don’t know sometimes what kept me alive or kept me going. Believe me when I say there were hundreds of times in the last 35 years I wanted to ‘give up’..but either I wasn’t allowed to or didn’t allow myself too I am not sure. I definitely have a ‘guardian angel’..I have yet to reach the summit of my goals though in this life, but I am not at the bottom of the mountain either. So many said I couldn’t do what I wanted…here are some memories that I share and I am not so attached to them, but they did happen and this song brought it up in me to share here on my personal blog…at first glance seem negative, but look deeper..

1. My mother gave me up when I was an infant. I was a shame, an embarrassment to her. A reminder of my father who hurt her so badly she doesn’t want any reminders. I was given to two foster homes.. I am a reminder of this pain for her..I am sorry.. For years I felt I wasn’t good enough to be loved by a mother like everyone else…but I realize, I am worthy of that love, it’s just my mother didn’t see it…I love her just the same. She lost out on my love, but I am waiting for her still. The little illegitimate child that was me was suppose to fade into the past and disappear, but I didn’t. Mom I didn’t fade, but I am not rising so I can remind you of your pain, but to let myself know I am not the cause of your pain. I will rise and be proud of me although you are not or so it seems. I hope that will change..I hope one day you will allow contact..because I know I am worth your love..

2. My step parents in the US told me I wouldn’t amount to anything. I would not have friends. I had a big mouth. I hurt people. I am not a good person. I am a shame to them. They disowned me..They told me this over and over for years while my step mom beat me, punished me, threatened me, grounded me, disappointed me and made me feel I was dirty, unworthy, low and not good enough. For years in my teenage days I hated looking in the mirror. I disbelieved when people complimented me on anything about me that they saw as good. I thougth they just said it because they felt sorry for me. I didn’t like the way I looked, sounded, moved, acted, appeared..because I was not good enough. I was not up to par to anyone. I was told this. But from time to time I saw in me sparks or signs I am a good person, I am worthy and I do deserve friends, love and good things too. These ‘sparks’ didn’t come often, but when they did, they gave me hope. I grew up alone, run away, fighting and working hard to survive on the streets of Los Angeles. People always complimented me on my voice, my looks, my intelligence, my quickness, my senitivity, my knowledge of dharma, but I didn’t believe them. I couldn’t believe them. It was not me they were talking about…the funny thing is I wanted to have a nice voice. I wanted to be good looking. I thought I might be smart, quick and caring..Inside of me, thoughts sometimes occured it might be true..I am the good things told to me..just maybe…

Engkau Belum Melihat Yang Terakhir Dariku 2

Myself in Thubten Dhargye Ling Dharma Centre in Los Angeles…

3. When I ran away to Los Angeles as was a huge struggle. I had never been on my own and in a huge city. I didn’t have money, education, parental care, and very little help. I had to work three part time jobs simultaneously to survive. I worked seven days a week and up to 12 or more hours a day. Even still I can barely pay my rent and had enough to buy food, pay the bills, clothes and what I needed. I had nothing. I was offered to be an escort and I turned it down many times. I was offered to do pornography many times, I refused. They were very persistent. I was offered drugs, I turned it down. I was offered to be the toy-boy of very wealthy people several times, I turned it down as I didn’t want to lose my freedom and my spiritual goals. It was so tough. I thought about the easy money of escorting, being a toy-boy and pornography and to do it for a short term thing. I had their business cards in my hands. I was itchy and very tempted to call. I was scared. I was worried. I didn’t want to get sucked into another world of control, abuse and pain for money. I had left home and leaving all the abuse I had to endure and I didn’t want to get into it. I needed the money so much. I had no money and no one to help me. But I resisted. I followed my spiritual convictions and decided against it. I was perhaps almost dragged down. But I stopped myself. I kept my dignity. I worked in laundromats, McDonald’s, restaurants, real estate offices, banks, photo developing companies (Fotomat), etc etc to survive. I had to survive. I wanted to be a monk. I wanted to go to India. I wanted to be with my guru. There was so much to bring me down in L.A. I am just telling you alittle for now, and many times I was brought down. I was so alone. But I wanted to do dharma and focussed on that. I was broken many times alone growing up as a teenager…it still amazes me to see how easy life has been for most of the young people I’ve encountered here…they had it so easy growing up…

4. When I was staying in Thubten Dhargye Ling Dharma centre finally in Los Angeles, our spiritual master was Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen. He was kind to me. I loved him and respected him dearly…I still do very much..Fatherly and not judgemental. Stern yet loving. I was amazed. His teacher HH Kyabje Zong Rinpoche was coming to our centre. I had heard so many things about Zong Rinpoche. I was quivering with excitement. I couldn’t believe such a great master would be coming to our centre and staying for six months!!! Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen chose me to be the ‘cook’, clean up boy, and personal American attendant of Zong Rinpoche!!! I was like Wow!!! Me??? I get to serve a living Buddha??? Me?? I was so excited and so honoured. I read when you serve high lamas you purify so much negative karma, collect so much merit. By serving such a spiritually ripened being you will gain knowledge into the dharma faster and gain realizations quicker than normal. I didn’t think serving Zong Rinpoche was work at all but spiritual opportunity that comes once in ten aeons!! I was to shop, cook for Rinpoche, clean Zong Rinpoche room, serve his food and refreshments. I was to travel with him to certain places in L.A. for example when he went shopping and carry his bags!! I got to fold his clothes, prepare his offering items, clean his bed, do his laundry, and I even got to eat his blessed leftover food!!! But certain members in the centre told Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen I should not be allowed that position, I was a street kid, I was dirty and impure. I should not be allowed near such a great teacher. I would defile his environment and image…I was shocked and hurt. I was only 18, ran away from home and abuse, a foster child with no parents taking refuge in a dharma centre and guess what? I was told I was impure. I was put down again. I was sad for awhile. Geshe-la ignored the rude comments and said I should do it anyway…I cried. I was so happy. I was so moved. Geshe-la trusted me and believed in me..someone so great believes in me!!! When Zong Rinpoche arrived finally, I was ready to serve and when I met him for the first time, I 100% visualized him and believed him to be Heruka Buddha. I still do 25 years later..We became very close. He showed me so much love, affection and care. I have not received this in so long and such a great attained lama noticed me??!! He often touched me affectionately or allowed me to massage him. The dirty impure boy got to touch the holy body of a living Buddha monk!!! I loved Zong Rinpoche from my heart. I trusted him from then on until now… He divined it would be good for me to be a monk and more beneficial than to be an actor. Being an actor I would find success he said confidently but being a monk would be better. I wanted to act to support Thubten Dhargye Ling and also be a monk..Was at crossroads..If I chose to be a monk, he invited me to Gaden and to stay in his house!!!! In Zong Ladrang. I can stay in his house!!! I didn’t let the few people in the centre with the prejudiced thought against me win. I got to serve Zong Rinpoche..The rest is history.

Engkau Belum Melihat Yang Terakhir Dariku 3

5. When I wanted to be ordained..most were against me in New Jersey where I am from and some in Los Angeles.. They told me I was going the wrong way. I would not be supported. When I was starving in Gaden with no financial support I was told I did that to myself. I made my bed and I was going to sleep in it. Some of the people in Gaden told me and others I would not amount to anything. I was a foreigner and I would be around for a while and then leave. No point paying any attention to me. No point showing me any consideration. My father lived in Taiwan and Taiwan and Tibetan people were not on good terms at that time (now it’s ok). I was accused of being a Taiwan spy..I was sent to Gaden to send information back to Taiwan. The Tibetan community intercepted all my letters and questioned me to make me ‘confess’ I was a spy! Letters were stuck on the walls of the monastery and sent to me denouncing me as a spy. Me the spy?? So absurd!! I was ostracized and kept an eye on in India while I was in Gaden for a few years. I was never a spy…I came to Gaden from the US because that was what I promised my teacher. That was the only reason I came. Finally His Holiness the Dalai Lama made a historic visit to Taiwan and the relationship betweent Taiwan and Tibetans warmed up..all accusations of me being a spy disappeared back from the false reality it came from. At that time, I contemplated leaving Gaden and returning to the US…I almost let the gossip makers win…but I didn’t..I stood my ground. The ‘spy’ stayed!! I asked Geshe Thupten Jinpa to translate for me and I told the monastic official directly looking into his face and said I am not a spy and stop accusing me. He backed down…I stood up again after being severely accused and criticized..

6. When I met my teachers, several of them upon first meeting said to me I am the reincarnation of so and so. I must be officially enthroned. I should be enthroned. When I was finally confirmed as a reincarnation, some of my friends wrote me letters they didn’t believe it. They stopped being my friend. I was shocked. Some of them wrote me years later to apologize to say it’s not about me being a real incarnation or not, it was them who was jealous I became ‘somebody’…and they are not ok with it as they are still where they are. Some made rumours respect shouldn’t be shown to me, or I should not be recognized because they don’t feel I am real. But I realized it was jealousy. The high lamas who enthroned me told me to study, be kind, and in time, by my actions I will ‘prove’ who I am…I can’t help being who I am. I am sorry if I being a so called ‘somebody’ hurts you or opens up your insecurities. I didn’t change even with my new title…but you changed. I even asked my teachers at one time to take my Tulku or Rinpoche title back. They told me to stand my ground…I did. Now nobody says I am not who I am anymore..

Engkau Belum Melihat Yang Terakhir Dariku 4

The last time I met up with my step mom Dana Bugayeff. I told her I am going to be a monk…I gave her flowers and said goodbye…I never saw her again..she disowned me…

7. I’ve been told my guru is wrong. My lineage is wrong. I shouldn’t be following what my gurus taught me. But I stood firm. As a result of standing my ground I have been segregated by some people. Some of my old friends stopped talking to me. Even some religious ‘authorities’ questioned me. But you can question me as much as you want, I will stick to my guru and will continue all the practices he gave me no matter what you say. And I forgive you for saying what you say. I forgive you. But forgiving you doesn’t mean I believe your opinions. I have my needs, my mind, my karma and my way to seek my spirituality. If I choose my guru to suit my karmic needs, you have no right to criticize my choice, my needs and my guru. I am who I am and my guru fits my karmic situation. So your teacher may be the most famous teacher with hundreds of thousands of followers but it does not sway my faith and devotion to my teacher. If my teacher is so ’bad’ and he went to hell, then I will join him. But he didn’t go there and neither will I. You cannot will me there with your ignorance and words. I will continue my practice and my lineage not because I want to challenge you or to win..I have been hurt by your accusations and ostracizing, but I will remain loyal. That is who I am. I will remain loyal to my guru no matter what rumours you cook up and spread..but because the voice inside of me tells me my guru and lineage is perfect for me… Many of you have not seen my teachers’ wisdom, knowledge, practice, compassion, fortitude, scholarship and attainments. I have. You haven’t experienced or understood my teacher’s greatness. His teacher’s greatness. You haven’t read their biographies, or understood what they have accomplished for others during their lives. You would be moved to tears if you took the time to learn.. You have not seen their strong and firm guru devotion to their teachers through thick and thin which brought them to be who they are. You are saying I am not very smart to hook up with a ‘false’ teacher like this. You just assume me dumb too. You judge my intelligence. You can’t do that. I am intelligent enough to know what I want. Your opinions don’t pay my bills, so they don’t really matter to me I guess..My guru suits me and suits my karmic disposition. I committed to him and will stay committed..You will not criticize my spirituality and have no right..So I will stay firmly with my teacher, the practices he passed to me and I will share with others. You cannot stop me because I am firm and sure. When I started to share with others, it was difficult, but it will take don’t know who I am and what I am made of..but you will in time..I will spread my teachers practices far and wide. Those of you who have left, doubted or abandoned..I wish you well, but you haven’t seen the last of me…you haven’t seen the last of us..

Engkau Belum Melihat Yang Terakhir Dariku 5

This picture of myself was taken like two-three weeks after my ordination with His Holiness the Dalai lama. It was in 1987 December…I was fresh young monk back then..Idealistic, excited, learning, scared, happy, open minded, faithful and had finally became what I wanted to be which is a monk..I had so many struggles ahead waiting for me although I didn’t know it…

8. I started some centres here..but when I left the other centres I was with ten years ago, I was threatened to be put in the papers for being a bad person. A bad monk and all the whole nine yards. They threatened me with physical violence. They wanted me to be in the centre to do exactly what they wanted and how they wanted it. They were lay persons that never studied the dharma or never lived at a centre. But they wanted me to teach what they wanted, at the timings they wanted and my schedule must be approved by them. They wanted full control. I wasn’t allowed to have sponsorship or benefectors without their approval. I said no. I will teach as I like, I will operate the centre as I see fit. I will serve the communities as I feel is necessary. They weren’t happy. They were very unhappy but turned against me..They cancelled my ‘work’ visa without me knowing with the intent I will overstay and be in trouble. They told me they will have me banned, ‘wallopped’, and made sure I couldn’t stay here. They ran to other centres in the country badmouthing me and hoping I will become an outcast. I was for a while. Close ‘friends’ and sponsors turned against me here. Didn’t support me. When you’re down, only the real friends stay… how cliche, but how true… I had very little money, no support, no place to stay here… but I got through it. My spiritual mentor told me to be patient, to work hard again, to take this as my practice, to not give up and continue. I will rise again, I will be able to benefit others. I will become well known. And all those people who turned against me, turned away from me, threatend me and accused me will fade into the back ground. I gathered my strength, my faith, my trust and continued. Today I have my own centre and mildly successful in the way it has touched many lives for the better. I am happy about that… from young I didn’t want to be a teacher, but I am now because of my teacher’s instructions and I will go all the way… my centre has surpassed many of the centres in the region due to my determination, creativity and the very hard work, dedication and loyalty of some students. Those in the previous centre who threatened and belittled me now understand my way does work… they couldn’t chase me away. I wanted to leave, but I believed my teacher and stayed.

9. I have been close to some students. We text messaged often, ate together, travelled together and planned together. But in the end they cheated me. They literally cheated me of money and my trust. I was shocked. I do not steal or cheat or take people’s things. I would never do that and it doesn’t cross my mind to do this. I was surprised they can cheat sangha. They can cheat a monk. They can cheat someone they call their guru. Monks get cheated too in the real world, sadly. I trusted, believed and opened my heart to them. But all they wanted was money or to use me in some way. When asked to return the money they had taken, my pleas fell on deaf ears. Some ‘students’ embezzle from me and my organization quietly and over a period of time. Some students want the opportunity to meet other people to use them and that is why they join centres. Some students are so brazen they ask for the things back they had offered to me in the past, citing all types of reasons… I’ve heard this happen to other teachers, but I was still shocked. What you offered is offered… They act and seem like they are here for dharma but actually it was to get money or something else they wanted. Some have been with me for many years but their only benefit was to get money or monetary benefits. It breaks my trust and my heart because I cared for them… Helped them, gave them dharma, love, travelled with them, gifts and conversation. Some stay until you ask them to help or give back, then they run immediately and become some even backbite against the kindness shown to them!! How can you be so close yet so far to someone…But in the end they had no integrity or shame. It threatened my trust in others. It made me not want to get close. Not want to meet people. Not want to have people close in my personal space. But I stood my ground and said there are people who are really here because of dharma. They really want dharma. They are really my students of Buddha, my friends and people I can trust. Not everyone is out to get me, cheat me, use me and take my heart away. Some are for real… I will stand my ground and learn to trust again… because I don’t want to live a life of paranoia because of a few people who have no kind human ethics…

Engkau Belum Melihat Yang Terakhir Dariku 6


10. Most people in the last few years I have spoken to regarding Kechara World Peace Center said it’s impossible. Give it up. Some said Malaysia is not ‘advanced’ enough to accept or do such a project. Some Malaysians told me Malaysians are not capable enough to do something like this. I wouldn’t get people to help me. No one would want to commit to such a large project. I wouldn’t get the approvals. No one would contribute or finance this. I would never be able to get it up. Sometimes I believe them. Some people who promised to help me on KWPC conveniently left or resigned. They don’t want to infringe on their comfort zones. They don’t want to sweat it out and work with us. No loyalty to our dreams and their promises… Maybe they don’t believe in me or maybe they don’t believe in themselves. Whatever it is, I have had nothing but opposition. There are a few that believe we can do it… but nothing has happened so far. I feel not many have fully committed to it… too busy making money to take to their next lives?? Yes I am a nobody. I don’t have much knowledge and funds for this. Yes I cannot command the greatest of the people to come and help me. But is my dream of KWPC just a dream? So far it seems that way. It’s not moving at all. Many stay in their comfort zones and I feel this is the main obstacle. Many wait for others to do it and then jump in when it’s done… but having done nothing for it. For those of you who realize reincarnation exists, I was told by my lamas I had built huge dharma institutions in my previous incarnations…I can’t remember if I did. My lamas told me I can build KWPC… they strongly confirm I can!! But many here say I cannot and show it by their actions. Maybe just because I did it before doesn’t mean I can do it again in this life?? After all, current situations vastly differ from my previous lives. I am in a spiritual desert now… Literally. To bring spirituality here and in this time and age is extremely difficult and near impossible.. All of my life I have been told I can’t do this or that, I am not good enough for better things, I will be a nobody and I am a loser. Is it true? If it is, it’s ok. I don’t mind being a nobody. But I mind that I wasted my life not even trying and fearing the unknown because of what others said or believed. Since I am a nobody, if I try and fail I lose nothing is how I look at it. But something inside of me says I can do it despite the oppositions I receive. There’s no logic. I can’t prove it. I can’t show how. I don’t even know how. But somehow something inside of me feels I can. Shall I believe the few who ran away and by their actions show clearly we can’t do it?? Shall I trust the ones around me not getting KWPC done or started? We can’t build KWPC? Shall I believe the few who says we can do it and stay? Shall I trust the loyal freinds who feel we can do it although it maybe beyond their kind hearts’ abilities to do so also? Shall I just relax in what I have accomplished in Kechara so far? Shall I dream? Shall I stand my ground? I keep feeling I can do it. Can I?

Listening to this incredible song by Cher really sparked so much memories of how many people pushed me down, put me down, insulted me and taken from me over the years. I am still standing. Not to prove them wrong, but to prove me wrong. I also many times didn’t believe in myself. I need to prove me wrong. Cher was already retired when they asked her to sing this song..and she really sang it deep from inside of her waking up so much within her and the audience (me) that listened to it.

Yes, Many times I felt broken, had not much to hold onto, many times I was brought to the point of breaking and down on my knees…and I did break..many times I didn’t think I could nor want to make it. It was easier to die and scarier to live. I lived because I wasn’t allowed to die. My body and mind wouldn’t die. I pushed because I wasn’t allowed to fail. I have failed. I have triumphed. But my greatest triumph still lay ahead of me. Shall I be disillusioned by the lazy, sneaky, trouble making, insincere people that surround me and let them win by giving up. Or shall I push on to win as a loving reward to the kind, loving, supportive and loyal friends that also surround me? Some having been around for decades. I don’t know who I am suppose to be or what I can accomplish. But when I look into my heart very deep, the voice says to build a huge powerful healing institution called Kechara World Peace Center (Kechara Forest Retreat)!! Who will join me? Not join me in empty words but deeds…by results?? By effort, by doing much more than just mere wishes?

Enjoy the song…and I have just written a little here of the trials and tribulations of my life, I will come out with a book..I was told to come out with a book by my teachers.

Tsem Rinpoche

Here’s the great video of Cher singing something that inspires me…

Feeling broken
Barely holding on
But there’s just something so strong
Somewhere inside me
And I am down but I’ll get up again
Don’t count me out just yet

I’ve been brought down to my knees
And I’ve been pushed way past the point of breaking
But I can take it
I’ll be back
Back on my feet

This is far from over
You haven’t seen the last of me
You haven’t seen the last of me

They can say that
I won’t stay around
But I’m gonna stand my ground
You’re not gonna stop me
You don’t know me
You don’t know who I am
Don’t count me out so fast

I’ve been brought down to my knees
And I’ve been pushed way past the point of breaking
But I can take it
I’ll be back
Back on my feet

This is far from over
You haven’t seen the last of me
There will be no fade out
This is not the end
I’m down now
But i’ll be standing tall again

Times are hard but
I was built tough
I’m gonna show you all what I’m made of

I’ve been brought down to my knees
And I’ve been pushed way past the point of breaking
But I can take it
I’ll be back
Back on my feet

This is far from over
I am far from over
You haven’t seen the last of me

No no
I’m not going nowhere
I’m staying right here

Oh no
You won’t see me begging
I’m not taking my bow

Can’t stop me
It’s not the end
You haven’t seen the last of me

Oh no
You haven’t seen the last of me
You haven’t seen the last of me



Translation Disclaimer from Tsem Rinpoche’s blog 

This translation is the work of a third party translator external to the Kechara Organisation. Should confusion arise in the interpretation of the Indonesian versions of the materials of this page, the English version will be considered as accurate. While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the translation, portions may be incorrect. Any person or entity who relies on information obtained from the article does so at his or her own risk.

© The copyright to this article is held by Tsem Tulku Rinpoche. It may be downloaded, printed and reproduced only for personal or classroom use. Absolutely no downloading or copying may be done for, or on behalf of, any for-profit commercial firm or other commercial purpose without the explicit permission of Tsem Tulku Rinpoche. For this purpose, contact Ooi Beng Kooi or Phng Li Kim of Kechara Media and Publication Liaison.


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