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
Medicine Buddha Hill – Donate Here!

Progress Updates

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.
1 week ago
Many visitors have an audience with sacred Gyenze at the Gyenze Chapel! Do visit our Gyenze Chapel, open 24/7!
2 weeks ago
Our weekly Bigfoot Fleamarket Team had a surprise for our visitors! Every Saturday evening Bigfoot Fleamarket @Bentong Walk !
2 weeks ago
Visit our aviary and make friends with our cockatoos! Here is Yenpin jie-jie visiting the Aviary ❤ retreat.kechara.com/aviary
2 weeks ago
Precious opportunity only in Kechara Forest Retreat, Vajra Yogini Candle Retreat! Thank you to our kind volunteers for cleaning the butterlamps!
3 weeks ago
Visitors this Sunday in wonderful Kechara Forest Retreat!
3 weeks ago
Visitors in front of sacred Dorje Shugden in Wisdom Hall. Plan your trip to holy Kechara Forest Retreat, open daily from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm.
3 weeks ago
New in Bentong! Bigfoot Universe!
3 weeks ago
Pastor Tat Ming is sharing information on Dorje Shugden and Buddhism to our dear visitors in Wisdom Hall.
3 weeks ago
Listening to Rinpoche's teachings in Naropa's Cave, only in Kechara Forest Retreat!
3 weeks ago
Naropa's cave in Wisdom Hall, Kechara Forest Retreat is a must-visit!
4 weeks ago
Kechara has opened Bigfoot Universe Sdn Bhd, a second hand store near Kechara Forest Retreat in Bentong, Malaysia.
4 weeks ago
Manjushri Puja in Wisdom Hall, Kechara Forest Retreat by the Puja Team
4 weeks ago
2017 edition of Hari Malaysia Gotong Royong at Kechara Forest Retreat cleaning up Jalan Chamang
1 month ago
Kechara House Puja House team and volunteers accomplished today gotong-royong together!!! This is call team spirit!! by Frederick Law
1 month ago
Kechara House Puja House team and volunteers accomplished today gotong-royong together!!! This is call team spirit!! by Frederick Law
1 month ago
Kechara is very happy to have sponsors like KLH Machinery & Hardware and CTM Machinery Construction, who loaned us lorries and backhoe to help with the bulkier rubbish. Gotong Royong and Hari Malaysia 2017 at Kechara Forest Retreat
1 month ago
Today at Gotong Royong, Kecharians were cleaning up Jalan Chamang that is leading to one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world, Chamang Waterfall.
1 month ago
Visit sacred Gyenze at the Gyenze Chapel in Kechara Forest Retreat! Gyenze is the increase for of Dorje Shugden! Please read here: Dorje Shugden Gyenze to Increase Life, Merits and Wealth http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/prayers-and-sadhanas/dorje-shugden-gyenze-to-increase-life-merits-and-wealth.html
1 month ago
"Gimme SNACKS!" Dechog, the greedy Cockatoo retreat.kechara.com/aviary — at Kechara Forest Retreat, by Jace Chong
1 month ago
Lord Gyenze puja conducted at Wisdom Hall, Kechara Forest Retreat. Gyenze is Lord Dorje Shugden in a Wealth form specifically to help us gain resources through correct means.
1 month ago
Over 100 candles lighting up at Lord Gyenze Chapel. May the sponsor can fulfil all wishes. FB by Pastor Yek Yee
1 month ago
Did you know that you can order a Butterlamp to be placed at the Gyenze Chapel, Kechara Forest Retreat? Here is the link: https://www.vajrasecrets.com/wishfulfilling-lamps-for-life-fund
1 month ago
Offering light to Lama Tsongkhapa at Wisdom Hall. Read here about the benefits of offering lights to the Buddha: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/butterlamps.html
1 month ago
Welcoming tour group from Port Dickson to Kechara Forest Retreat!!
2 months ago
Many kind volunteers helped all day long to make this sacred day a success.
2 months ago
Everyone was fully engaged in the prayers during the Lama Chopa Puja. Ullambana Day 2017, Kechara Forest Retreat
2 months ago
Lama Chopa with Tsog Ritual was performed on Sunday morning, generating a tremendous amount of merits on Ullambana Day 2017 in Kechara Forest Retreat
2 months ago
Many grabbed the opportunity to circumambulate the sacred 15 feet Vajrayogini Stupa. The Stupa is symbolising the fully Enlightened mind. mind and the path to Enlightenment.
2 months ago
Gyabshi Puja, Ullambana Day 2017 in Wisdom Hall, Kechara Forest Retreat.
2 months ago