Our History

In the Beginning

Our History

The Kechara Forest Retreat truly is a labour of love and compassion. Envisioned by H.E. Tsem Rinpoche in early 2012, the pristine forested land where the Kechara Forest Retreat is now located was acquired in April 2012, after weeks of scouring the Malaysian countryside for a suitable plot.

With the necessary paperwork out of the way, extensive pujas were conducted to consecrate and bless the land, and visitors began to trickle in, each interested to learn how they could contribute to Rinpoche’s vision.

Temporary accommodation in the form of canvas tents (for the males) and container cabins (for the ladies) were installed and a dedicated team of staff moved in to get the project underway.

Earthworks officially started on 3 October 2012 and what followed next was months of hard work and effort unlike anything the city-dwelling volunteers and staff had ever known. For the next 10 months, devoted students and workers alike battled the natural elements, braving the scorching heat and suffocating humidity for the first half of the year, while the second half brought torrential rains, flash floods, muddy lands and hazardous working conditions.

The lack of infrastructure such as electricity, water and poor telecommunication reception multiplied the challenges, but dedicated staff and volunteers faced each problem head on, armed only with sheer faith, belief in the cause and love for their Guru.

H.E. Tsem Rinpoche (center), Datuk Wira Eric Tan (right) and JP Thong (left) in deep discussion during the planning stage of Phase 1

Never one to shy from adversity, Tsem Rinpoche also stayed in the most basic of cabins right in the middle of the then jungle, enduring the same harsh living conditions and adverse weather from day 1. The perfect example of putting others before self, Rinpoche patiently suffered the heat, humidity, blackouts, floods, and even heatstroke while living on the land, inspiring others to do the same.

Many will attest to fond memories of this dedicated, compassionate and caring Lama walking around in yellow rubber boots under the hot sun or pouring rain, picking his way carefully across dangerous grounds, personally supervising the works in progress, and dispensing words of encouragement, advice, and even food.

In between his morning and evening walkabouts, Rinpoche also performed extensive daily pujas to bless the land and all those working on it, to avert problems, mishaps and to ensure that every step of project was on track.

“Since I was a young child, I wanted to create a place where people come together to live as one with nature, one with the earth. A place for healing, detoxification, contemplation, relaxation, and retreat. An international center for meditation courses not based on religion but tapping into ourselves and our potential. A place for eco living modeled on sustainability and growth. This project is the Kechara Forest Retreat and it will be a space to inspire the world to do the same in their own communities.” ~ H.E. Tsem Rinpoche

Despite the various challenges and uphill battles, the team persevered, working at a feverish pace. Phase 1 of the Kechara Forest Retreat was completed in just under one year, and Phase 2 is now underway.

Beginning of Phase 1

Completion of Phase 1


Signs of the Future

Auspicious omens

From the time the Kechara Forest Retreat was conceptualised till today, many auspicious signs were witnessed by those present on-site. In the Tibetan tradition, such omens symbolize that this project will bring great benefit to society in the future, regardless of race, creed or colour. These are just some of the auspicious signs that have occurred in the recent past:

The Postcard and The Iconic Tree

Around the time Tsem Rinpoche started conceptualizing the Kechara Forest Retreat, a postcard arrived from a Mongolian monk, featuring the image of a monk meditating under a lone tree, set against a backdrop of mountains. During the search for a suitable location for this project, a piece of land was found that featured the exact same view as was depicted in the postcard, with a lone mango tree against a background of lush green hills.

When Tsem Rinpoche and his assistants came to survey the land, they were greeted by a light drizzle – an auspicious sign in Tibetan Buddhism – further confirming that this was indeed THE right place for the Kechara Forest Retreat to come into fruition.

Today, that lone mango tree is fondly called the “Iconic Tree” and a stone Shakyamuni Buddha was placed there to commemorate this significant omen and as a reminder of where it all began.

The Lama’s Shoe

The Lama’s Shoe

When earthworks began, the grounds of the Kechara Forest Retreat were extremely muddy due to the constant monsoon rains. During one of his daily inspection walks, one of Rinpoche’s shoes became stuck and sank into the mud.

Tibetans believe that any article of clothing left behind by a Lama imbues the place with his blessings and energies, also creates the causes for him to return to that place again and again, even in future lives. Rinpoche’s shoe remains in the same location to this day, and this sacred spot is now flanked by 2 major buildings i.e. Wisdom Hall and Dukkar Apartments.

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

When the statue of 4-armed Manjushri was set in place on Manjushri Hill, a beautiful rainbow appeared in the background accompanied by a light drizzle, both very auspicious signs in Tibetan Buddhism.

Witnesses said that the rainbow remained visible throughout the duration of the puja that was being performed to welcome Manjushri to his new home. Both the drizzle and rainbow disappeared once the puja was completed.

How You Can Help
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Progress Updates

Fun time during creative painting session @ Kechara Forest Retreat !
1 week ago
Learning how to fold a khata during the 3N2D kids and teenagers Manjushri Retreat, at Kechara Forest Retreat
1 week ago
Ready for the Manjushri kids and teenagers retreat with a good motivation at Wisdom Hall, Kechara Forest Retreat, Bentong
1 week ago
3D2N of Children Manjushri Retreat began yesterday in Kechara Forest Retreat. Rejoice to all children who participate and get connection with Wisdom Buddha Manjushri. May all be blessed by Buddha Manjushri.
1 week ago
The Vajrayogini Stupa at Kechara Forest Retreat Vajrayogini, is a representation of complete Buddhahood in female form, and her heaven was chosen as the name of H.E. Tsem Rinpoche‘s Buddhist organization, Kechara. If you would like to visit the Vajrayogini stupa, do join one of the Kechara Forest Retreat tours. To find out the next available date, please call 03-7803 3908.
1 week ago
Laughter Yoga is back with it's first session conducted by Karen in Kechara Forest Retreat, Bentong. retreat.kechara com
2 weeks ago
Visiting world largest Dorje Shugden Statue in the world in Kechara Forest Retreat by Pee Bee Chong
3 weeks ago
In Kechara Forest Retreat you can offer light / candles to Manjushri Nagarakshasa. Read here more about this rare form of the Buddha of Wisdom, Manjushri. http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/manjushri-nagarakshasa-comes-to-kfr.html
3 weeks ago
Visit the Bigfoot Universe! Latest addition at Bigfoot Universe store. Bigfoot T- Shirt available here: Address : Bigfoot Universe P20 - G Jalan MG 3, Bentong, Pahang.
3 weeks ago
At Dukkar Apartment, Kechara Forest Retreat, this morning, we completed a three day Amitayus Retreat and promised to come together for this spiritually powerful retreat again in the near future. We had looked forward to this retreat and, owing to the blessings of our Guru, Tsem Rinpoche, and Dorje Shugden, it went smoothly and as planned. by Pastor Han Nee
4 weeks ago
Join our study courses! NEW! Only in Kechara Forest Retreat http://retreat.kechara.com/news/right-thought-comes-with-right-learning/
1 month ago
Glory be to Nagaraja Buddha who saves us from the Three Lower Realms! His hand mudra indicates He saves you from the Three Lower Realms when you worship Him. Nageshvaraja is one of the 35 Confessional Buddhas as listed within the Mahayana Sutra of the Three Superior Heaps that we prostate to in order to purify heavy negative actions. ~Tsem Rinpoche TAYATHA OM TATHAGATA BHAGAWAN NAGARAZEY SHORA ATI-DHANA ATI-TIDEY SOHA
1 month ago
Everybody likes Bigfoot! See you in Bentong!
1 month ago
Visit Kechara Forest Retreat, here with the magnificent Dream Manjushri at the pond.
2 months ago
Visitors in Kechara Forest Retreat today! Come to Kechara Forest Retreat, Bentong, to receive the blessings of holy Buddhas on sacred land.
2 months ago
Have you already visited the Bigfoot Universe in Bentong? A must visit! Bigfoot Universe P20 - G Jalan MG3, Bentong, Pahang!
2 months ago
A group of visitors circumambulating the newly installed powerful Nageshvaraja statue in Kechara Forest Retreat!
2 months ago
Bountiful offerings on H.E. the 25th Tsem Tulku Rinpoche's Birthday in Kechara Forest Retreat, Malaysia.
2 months ago
On H.E. Tsem Rinpche's birthday, many people were attending the Lama Chopa Puja in Kechara Forest Retreat Wisdom Hall, dedicated to H.E. Tsem Rinpoche's long life and good health.
2 months ago
Our team of pastors are ordinary people who have made a commitment towards their spirituality, and the spirituality of others.
2 months ago
"By showing animals kindness, we can develop that quality in our hearts to share with each other creating a better world, a more peaceful world." ~H. E. the 25th Tsem Rinpoche
2 months ago
May all who come to see Loma Gyonma's holy image be forever blessed with the causes for healing and long life. @Kechara Forest Retreat, Bentong
2 months ago
Congratulations to the newly wed couple, who received blessings from Kechara's Pastor Tat Ming at Kechara Forest Retreat, Wisdom Hall.
2 months ago
Happy Kecharians pose with the Buddha Nageshvaraja, a very powerful deity for purification of negative karma
2 months ago
We are honoured to welcome beautiful and majestic Buddha Nageshvaraja in Kechara Forest Retreat!
2 months ago
Ideal for a family trip! Visit Kechara Forest Retreat and meet our birds at the aviary! Open daily from 10am to 5pm, Bentong, Chamang Road.
2 months ago
Many visitors have an audience with sacred Gyenze at the Gyenze Chapel! Do visit our Gyenze Chapel, open 24/7!
2 months ago
Our weekly Bigfoot Fleamarket Team had a surprise for our visitors! Every Saturday evening Bigfoot Fleamarket @Bentong Walk !
2 months ago
Visit our aviary and make friends with our cockatoos! Here is Yenpin jie-jie visiting the Aviary ❤ retreat.kechara.com/aviary
2 months ago