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His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche Presides over the 2019 Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness of the Drikung Kagyu Order of Tibetan Buddhism in Taiwan to Perfect Completion

On August 11th, 2019, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, Abbot-Guru of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, presided over the auspicious Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness at Nangang Exhibition Hall in Taipei.

By way of preparation, Rinpoche had spent several very arduous days conducting a special retreat. At the beginning of the puja, he explained that the attendees’ motives for participating were very important, and that their every action and thought during the puja would affect their future lifetimes. He said that Shakyamuni Buddha had expressly introduced Amitabha to teach sentient beings how to become liberated from reincarnation’s sea of suffering. The guru said that because life is gone in the blink of an eye, he hoped everyone would cherish this opportunity by making a firm resolution to prepare for the final seconds of their lives.

Rinpoche led the twenty-thousand attendees in a collective performance of the Dharma. The sight of so many people praying for their deceased loved ones to be liberated was extremely moving! Under the protection and blessings of the Buddhas, the Bodhisattvas, Lord Jigten Sumgon, the Lineage Gurus, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang, and Dharma Protector Achi, the puja came to a perfect completion, providing merits for vast numbers of sentient beings.

The “Great Amitabha Dharma for Transferring Consciousness” is a Drikung Kagyu earth terma Tantra, and is extremely pure and auspicious. The presiding guru, H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, possesses a foundation of decades of Exoteric cultivation, and through conducting retreats under the guidance of his Three-Grace Root Guru, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, he has successfully cultivated many Dharmas, from the Four Uncommon Preliminary Practices to the empowerments of many yidams. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also has mastered the Simplicity Yoga of Mahamudra, and is endowed with such awe-inspiring power and great compassion that he was able to both liberate the deceased and benefit the living during this grand puja for transferring consciousness.

To deliver sentient beings of the Six Realms from the endless suffering of rebirth, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche made a great, compassionate vow to hold a grand puja every year, which he has done since 2005, bestowing blessings upon countless sentient beings throughout Taiwan and the entire world. This year’s puja participants included thirty monastics—one Khenpo, three Lamas, four Bhikkhus, and twenty-two Bhikkhunis—as well as 22,000 registered believers and disciples from Taiwan and more than twenty other countries and regions (see Note 1). Not only was the puja magnificent and grand in scale, but it also saw the all-inclusive participation of the fourfold assembly from both Exoteric and Esoteric Buddhism.

At 9:00 in the morning, preceded by an entourage of prayer flags, incense, musical instruments, the eight offering girls, and a jeweled parasol, H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche rode an electric car into the venue along a white carpet of Eight Auspicious Symbols strewn with rose petals. Amidst the welcoming sounds of stately music, all of the attendees stood in reverence with palms clasped. After setting foot upon the mandala, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche made respectful prostrations before his guru, the Buddhas, and the Bodhisattvas. He then presented khatas before the wish-granting jeweled Dharma thrones of His Holinesses the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang, lit lamps as an offering to the Buddha, and ascended the Dharma throne.

First, the monastics led the attendees in recitations of the Prayer to the Eight Noble Auspicious Ones, the Refuge Aspiration Prayer, and the Four Immeasurables.

Next, the Ritual of Mandala-Offering was performed, in which Khenpo Namdol led the monastics, as well as five believers who had been chosen by ballot, in offering the mandala and imploring the Dharma from Rinpoche on behalf of all sentient beings.

As H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led the attendees in singing the “Praises to Amitabha”, his solemn Dharma voice filled the void. Afterward, Rinpoche bestowed teachings.

“Before any Dharma is performed, we must be aware of what our motives are for participating in the puja. A little while ago, we recited the Prayer to the Eight Noble Auspicious Ones in the hope that everything will go well for everyone in attendance today. After that, we recited the Refuge Prayer, the Aspiration Prayer, and the Four Immeasurables; these are central to Mahayana thought. If you aspire to benefit vast numbers of sentient beings, then you will obtain boundless merits here today; if your aspiration is merely to resolve some minor ailments or to make life easier for yourselves, then you might not even be able to obtain any merits at all, and instead will just receive a little good fortune that can be used in the Human and Heaven Realms during some future lifetime.

“Next is the Seven Branch Offerings Prayer. By making offerings, we can accumulate the good fortune to allow us to participate in today’s puja. The following mandala-offering is a special ritual in Tibetan Buddhism that helps attendees to make offerings of body, speech, and mind to the yidam, the guru, and the Dharma protectors. It also gives you the great good fortune to take part in today’s puja.

“You all know who Amitabha is, but His method is not transmitted in Hinayana Buddhism; only in Mahayana. This is because Shakyamuni Buddha knew that sentient beings in the Age of Dharma Decline who only rely on observing the precepts and meditating are not very likely to be able to achieve liberation from reincarnation in this lifetime. This is why Shakyamuni Buddha specially introduced the Amitabha yidam to us.

“Is it true that Amitabha only liberates the deceased humans? This is a misconception; He liberates all sentient beings in the Six Realms. In fact, while we are still alive, we should begin preparing to one day leave this world. For this reason, the Amitabha yidam’s main purpose is to teach us that if we aspire to be reborn in the Pure Land, then, as is written very clearly in the Amitabha Sutra, the first prerequisite we must meet is to be good men or women who are not lacking in good fortune, merits, causes, and conditions. ‘Not lacking’ does not mean it is enough to just occasionally take part in a puja, light some incense, make a few prostrations, or recite a sutra now and then. Good fortune comes from making offerings and giving alms, so if you are able to participate in today’s puja with great respect on behalf of sentient beings, you will receive much—and if you can participate while rejoicing in the merits of others, you will receive even more. Such rejoicing is not a matter of donating money; it involves praising however many people have made financial, mental, and physical contributions to this puja that have made it possible for you to attend.

“Some of you might be first-timers, while some of you may have attended multiple grand pujas already. This is the fifteenth one I have presided over. It is of course not very likely that every single one of you will be satisfied with the entire process of the puja and with the attitudes of all of the staff members. However, if you participate with joy in your hearts, then even if a few things happen that would rub you the wrong way, you should not be affected. Over these fifteen years, I have had my disciples put forth money and effort to hold the grand pujas (see Note #2), for neither fame nor profit, but for the sake of the many sentient beings still suffering in reincarnation. More than 22,000 people registered to participate today, though about 194,000 names were written on the list of people to be liberated. Why is this number so high? It is because a single person could write down hundreds of names, or even thousands or tens of thousands. To date, there has never been a puja for transferring consciousness held on such a large scale.

“The names of people to be liberated during this puja are not written on paper; they are all entered into a computer and archived on CD-ROM. One advantage of this is that it saves a lot of effort, and another is that it is better for the environment. I remember back when I was still just a believer, whenever I went to participate in pujas for transferring consciousness, I would often see a lot of people busying themselves with flipping through those yellow pieces of paper, looking to see whether the names they had registered had made the list of ones to be liberated—and this is why I say that people will put up with anything except for losing out! You give away your money, only to worry that your loved ones’ names haven’t been included on the list. Actually, if you have come here with reverence and sincerity in your hearts, then all of the karmic creditors tied to you throughout your past lives have come in with you. If, however, you are only participating in this puja in the hope that it will give you a better life, then they may not have necessarily been able to enter the puja with you.

“Before the puja begins, I would like to establish a few ground rules with you. Many people run off to use the facilities in the middle of the puja, but doing so is quite rude. If you are at a concert, and you exit the hall before the designated time, you will not be allowed back in until the doors are opened during intermission. Why, then, should you be so casual when it comes to attending pujas? If you were at one of your favorite singer’s shows, you would be too excited to leave in the middle of the performance because you would not want to miss any of it. Thus, interrupting the puja to go to the bathroom indicates that you were not well-prepared to attend in the first place. I hereby announce that those of you who are over the age of sixty-five, have had surgery recently, or have weak bladders may go to the restrooms whenever you wish, and the same rule applies to children under eight. Right now a bunch of you are still slowly making your way back here from the bathrooms—I find that intolerable! If you do not respect the Three Jewels, fine, but you should at least respect you karmic creditors and ancestors, who will only enter the venue if you sit there reverently. Do not assume that they will come in just because you have submitted their names and I have chanted mantras. They are able to attend because of you, not the Buddhas or Bodhisattvas. I am sure you would say, ‘Well, aren’t they all-powerful?’ Do not forget, though, what the Buddha once said: Sentient beings without causal conditions cannot be liberated. What entails a lack of causal conditions? This happens when people participating in a puja are not prepared to help their loved ones to be liberated.

“While taking part in today’s puja, your every action, every word you utter, and every thought that occurs to you will influence your future lives. As the presiding guru, it wouldn’t due to not point out your transgressions, even though my doing so will make you complain that ‘Rinpoche scolds people’. Actually, it is written many times in the sutras that Shakyamuni Buddha scolded people frequently. He was way more compassionate than I am, yet still He reprimanded people. Why do I have to scold you? Because you do not listen! I might as well not hold a grand puja next year. If you can’t even sit still for two hours during a free event, then what can you possibly accomplish in this lifetime? Today’s puja is not being held for my sake, but for yours. I am seventy-two years old, and over the past fifteen years of grand pujas, not once have I ever charged for admission or even advertised. This is all for you, yet some of you still have no respect for the Three Jewels. In a little while we will have a break, during which you will definitely get a chance to use the facilities—so, meanwhile, please have some respect for your ancestors!

“In a moment, I will start the rituals. If you still want to go to the restrooms then, I won’t stop you—but a lot of sentient beings are sure to enter this venue after I begin performing the Dharma, and their consciousnesses are not very stable due to being afraid of yang energy while in the bardo state. In other words, they are afraid of people, so if seeing you moving about like that prevents them from being liberated, whose fault will it be? It will be on your heads, not mine. Therefore, just be patient, and pretend you are at a concert.

“Don’t let yourselves feel bored because you do not understand what I am doing up here; of course you have no way of knowing. If you did, then you would be sitting on this Dharma throne instead of down there. All you need to know is one thing: That I am not presiding over this puja for myself, but for all the sentient beings trapped in the sea of suffering! There are more than twenty thousand of us here, so if we can all be of one mind and concentrate on enabling them to participate in the puja with us, then the resulting good fortune and merits will be beyond measure. If, on the other hand, you continue with your selfish thoughts, then that is your business, not mine. The Dharma text we are using today is from Tibetan Buddhism, not Exoteric Buddhism, and only practitioners who have achieved attainment in Tantra can perform from it. While I am chanting, you might not be able to understand, but after each short verse, I will give a brief explanation. The more you can focus, the more quickly I can perform the rituals. Why is that? It is because as you calm down and focus, the other sentient beings in here will, too, and hindrances will therefore be reduced.”

(Rinpoche began to perform the rituals.)

“In this first section we begin by taking refuge in all the Buddhas, the yidam Amitabha, and our gurus. This refuge will continue to remain until we attain Buddhahood; it is an uncommon refuge, taken on behalf of all sentient beings. Next is the ritual of exorcism, which is not to counter demons, but to send away those sentient beings that would hinder the puja’s progress. Back when Shakyamuni Buddha attained Buddhahood, the king of the māras said he would do his utmost to interfere with sentient beings in the future so that they could not be liberated from life and death. After this ritual, we will make offerings and visualize. Practitioners in the Pure Land Sect know of the Eighteen Visualizations of the Pure Land, and this is one of them. It is Tantra, though, so I will not explain it to you.”

(Rinpoche performed the ritual some more.)

“In this section, we visualize the guru as being no different from the yidam, and the puja venue as being the same as the Pure Land. Next are the Eight Offerings. Prior to performing the Dharma, we must continuously make offerings in order to accumulate enough good fortune to receive the help of the Dharma.”

(Rinpoche led the attendees in chanting the Amitabha Mantra for a good long while.)

“Next, we respectfully implore Amitabha Buddha to take His seat at the mandala, and then make the Eight Offerings once more. As the saying goes, ‘no one minds a little extra courtesy’. Making offerings is not about giving material goods; it is about your sincerity. When we make sincere offerings, we do so with reverence. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas do not need material goods; however, making offerings in this manner provides us with an understanding of just how little good fortune we possess, as well as the fact that we normally lack respect. Making offerings can cause us to give rise to respect for the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and only then will we gain good fortune from doing so. Next we offer the Seven Treasures of Governance, the Seven Treasures of Proximity, the Eight Propitious Objects, the Eight Auspicious Symbols, and the Eight Offering Devas, which are very important for cultivating Anuttarayoga Tantra.”

(Rinpoche performed the rituals.)

“Just now I recited an ode of praise to the yidam. Praising the yidam is another way to rapidly accumulate good fortune, merits, causes, and conditions. Next, I will perform a ritual to establish a very tight-knit connection with the yidam in order to move him into blessing all sentient beings. After that, I will perform the treasured vase ritual, and then give myself an Amitabha Empowerment to transform my ordinary human flesh so that I am no different from the yidam in body, speech, and mind. Later on, I am going to liberate sentient beings, and that cannot be done using an ordinary human body, so I need the yidam’s blessings.

“This following explanation should go a little way toward satisfying your curiosity. Pouring from this vase eliminates all the karmic hindrances you have built up over your past lives and allows you to recover your pure, original nature. Placing a Buddha figurine atop my head like this indicates that I am no different from the yidam. Placing nectar water upon one’s throat symbolizes the blessings of empowerment, and he thereby receives the authority to chant mantras. Many people think they can simply chant any mantras they have heard, but that is not the case. Chanting mantras is, of course, better than cursing at people or stirring up trouble, and refraining from those things is great when it comes to being a good person; however, if you wish to attain realization, you cannot simply begin to chant mantras after having heard them chanted by others. To attain realization means being able to become liberated from life and death in this lifetime, and even being able to benefit sentient beings. For the puja today, for example, I had to prepare over the past two days by chanting the Amitabha Heart Mantra one hundred thousand times while in retreat.”

(Following some rituals, the eight offering girls sang the Dakinis’ Song.)

“The song just sang is called the ‘Dakinis’ Song’. Its lyrics were not written by humans. Exoteric practitioners might not be familiar with Dakinis, but we who practice Tantra know that they are very important. After His Holiness had me listen to this song, I naturally found eight girls to learn it. Its lyrics are primarily tributes to the merits of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and the gurus. Among Tibetan Buddhist centers in Taiwan, only the Glorious Jewel currently follows this tradition. His Holiness did not teach me to do this, but he has always been in support of it. The Dakinis’ Song is only performed at grand pujas. If you are fortunate enough to hear it in this lifetime, then the chances of your going deaf will be practically nil. Starting now, you may take a moment to use the facilities, but please be courteous and allow people aged sixty-five and up to go first.”

(During the Tsok Ritual, the attendees each received a share of food offerings that had been blessed by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, as well as the rare and auspicious causal condition to dine with the yidam and the guru during the puja. After the Tea-Offering and Rice-Offering Rituals, Rinpoche asked them all to speak the names three times of those they wished to have liberated.)

“The object I was just holding is a mirror. In Buddhism, it is explained that consciousness is like a mirror; it was originally pure. The mind is like a mirror, too, that reflects the myriad phenomena of the mundane world. Anything that passes from in front of a mirror does not leave its reflection behind. The five poisons—greed, hatred, ignorance, arrogance, and doubt—cause all of the defilements that we think are real, such as preferences, happiness, worries, and so on, to stick to our mirror, thus smudging over our pure, original nature to the point that a clear reflection cannot be seen. Therefore, all of the rituals I just performed were to purify the afflictions the deceased accumulated throughout their past lives so that their original, pure nature could come in contact with that of the Buddha.”

(Rinpoche’s attendants held the deceaseds’ memorial tablets on behalf of the attendees, kneeling before the presiding guru while everyone else stood up respectfully with palms clasped.)

“On the mandala, before the guru and the Amitabha yidam, are all of the yidam’s retinue. Today you take refuge anew in the great, compassionate Dharma Lords—that is, the yidam and the guru—on behalf of your deceased loved ones. While in the intermediate state, sentient beings that have not yet been liberated suffer in terror; we pray to the great, compassionate Amitabha to not abandon such beings that are trapped in reincarnation’s sea of suffering by their evil karma, and we pray that we may be liberated to the Pure Land of Utmost Bliss. Recite along with me, everyone:

‘In the intermediate state between death and reincarnation, with fear and at the door to hell;
Tortured by affliction and suffering;
Wandering and lingering with sorrow and loneliness;
May the power of compassion liberate them.’

Now, bow three times to the mandala and the guru on behalf of the deceased.”

(Rinpoche performed the Dharma to liberate the deceased. By the time it had come to a perfect completion, and thanks his guru’s all-embracing power, the vast majority of the attendees were able to achieve complete calm and concentrate on the puja’s proceedings, and only rarely did anyone move. Solemn serenity fell over the entire venue.)

“I am able to knock off work early, because I have scolded you very little today. No matter what, this puja has helped you all by planting a very good causal condition in you. Even if you only half believe, you still have half of a causal condition and half the resulting good fortune, and these will both be of use to you in your future lifetimes. For those of you who sit through the entire puja, in the future you will always complete things from beginning to end without ever giving up halfway. Those who have come up with all kinds of excuses to leave early will likewise find lots of situations in which their future endeavors will only be accomplished halfway, because they did it to themselves.

“I told you all at the beginning that your every action, thought, and word during the puja would influence your future. You simply do not believe in cause and effect; you thought I was joking. In fact, I have been very busy this month; I only just got back from leading two hundred disciples on an eight-day trip to Ladakh in northern India, where we participated in His Holiness’s birthday celebrations. We returned to Taiwan two days ago, and ever since, I have been conducting a retreat to prepare for today’s puja. To tell you the truth, I am not feeling very well today, but as you can see, my central qi is still quite ample, which means that I believe in the Three Jewels and, having felt the suffering of sentient beings, put myself second. You all put yourselves first, but what you do not understand is that we would not exist without other sentient beings. Our ability to sit here in comfort during today’s puja is due to the contributions and efforts of a great many people, including the staff of Nangang Exhibition Hall.

“Since when are there such nice chairs to sit in when participating in pujas at such places as Tibet, Ladakh, and Qinghai? All you can do is sit on the ground, on cushions you have to bring yourself. In those places, however, people put their palms together in reverence as soon as they see anyone wearing Dharma vestments. The don’t care who you are; as long as you are qualified to wear such garb, they treat you with respect. Things are very different here, where people are not as respectful.

“Now, even though I am seventy-two years old, I am going to sprinkle nectar water for you all. This nectar water is imbued with six different kinds of beneficial medicine, in accordance with the Dharma text, and all are traditional Chinese herbs. It also contains mineral water in which some nectar pills have been dissolved, and I have continuously blessed it while performing rituals and chanting mantras. Sprinkling you with it will rid you of hindrances to your practicing Buddhism and being reborn in the Pure Land. If, starting today, you are willing to eat vegetarian for the rest of your lives, and never again engage in any illegal activities, and, in the last moment before you die, as long as you remember the mandala and my appearance during today’s puja, then even if you have not cultivated very diligently in this lifetime, I guarantee that you will not fall into the Hell, Hungry Ghost, and Animal Realms. Of course, if you do not listen, and continue to eat meat and commit evil, then that guarantee is void. Thus, those of you who ran off to use the facilities will only get half of the guarantee, because you only half believe. That has nothing to do with me. Now I will descend from the Dharma throne to sprinkle nectar water upon you all.”

At that, Rinpoche, after having sat cross-legged for more than three hours without a break, stood and stepped swiftly from the mandala, boarded the electric car, and began to circle back and forth through the entire venue (which, with an area of more than 2,100 meters square, was about the size of about two football fields). Holding kusha grass that had been soaked in nectar water, Rinpoche continued around the chamber, sprinkling it upon all the attendees for a full half hour, chanting mantras all the while. Despite his slender build, he took great pains to wave the heavy wet grass more than five hundred times. After he was finished, dripping head to toe, Rinpoche again ascended the mandala to speak some more.

“I am only able to preside over this puja due to your participation; without you, it would not be possible.

“Our Buddhist Center can only accommodate a thousand or so people, so I hope you do not all plan on taking refuge in me; I would not be able to take so many people on as my disciples. I hope you will find a Buddhist center with which you have an affinity so that you can learn Buddhism in accordance with the Dharma; when that happens, you must cultivate diligently, and not waste away your lives.

“Life is over in the blink of an eye. No matter how busy you are, and no matter how rich or powerful, no one will be able to help you in the final second of your life except for the Buddhas, the Bodhisattvas, and your guru. For this reason, I hope you will all cherish the opportunity you have been given today. Whether or not you continue along the Buddhist path is your decision, and has nothing to do with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas or the guru. It is just like how, in 1982, when I had the causal condition to meet my root guru His Holiness, he simply told me what to do, but that whether I did it or not was up to me. This Dharma text I used at today’s puja, for example, His Holiness recited to me once, seventeen years ago, and simply told me, ‘Go on; cultivate it.’ That was all.

“Do not think of Buddhism as a bunch of long-winded theories. The most important thing in learning Buddhism is one’s resolve. If you have made a firm resolution, then every word, line, sutra, and mantra your guru teaches you will be useful throughout your future lifetimes. Do not aspire to liberate people like I do; only ill-fated folks are destined to do that. You are all very fortunate, which is why you are enjoying life. While enjoying yourselves, though, you should also be clear about the fact that life is impermanent. Impermanence means that anything can change at any time; good things can turn to bad, and vice versa. All you can do is to work hard at the everyday tasks you should be doing—but keep this question in mind: In this life, who will help you in the final second before you die?

“Do not think that the only way to die well is to have a household full of children and grandchildren, and a husband or wife by your side; to the contrary, that sort of thing actually leads to even more suffering when you are on your deathbed! I am an expert on transferring consciousness; I cannot tell you how many sentient beings I have liberated since I began in 1995.Whenever I see people with a lot of children and grandchildren, I know they are full of sadness and worry, because they are always thinking about this and that; when it comes their time to die, they are so anxious over waiting for that last loved one to show up that they don’t want to go! They are also reluctant to die due to the kind love of their wives or their caring husbands, or because they have too much money. It is because of this reluctance that they lie in a hospital bed for a year or two, unable to let go, suffering their heads off! Every time I go to the hospital and see such people, I feel very sad for them. If you hope to avoid suffering when you pass away, then you must grasp this opportunity right now. Don’t think you are currently suffering hardship because you are sick or have no money, or because things are not going your way at work; those sorts of suffering are temporary, and there are always ways to resolve them. As for the suffering of death, only the Dharma can help you with it. In this world, both now and in the future, there is no other method to escape suffering at your time of death.

“This is the greatest aspect of Buddhism: To teach us how to face our death alone. Therefore, I teach the Dharma differently; I do not sugar-coat my words or try to please you. This is because the Buddha taught that everyone must face death—so how can people understand how to become liberated from the suffering of life and death? How can they learn to be free of reincarnation? This is why we have a guru, and why the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas appear. Life is over after just a few short decades, so you should all ponder what exactly your own lives are about.

“In Buddhism, we are not taught to be passive; it is not okay to think, Hey, everyone is going to die anyway, so I might as well just sit here waiting for it and not worry about a thing! If you labor under such a misapprehension, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will slap you! You are not awaiting death; rather, it is due to the existence of death that you know you should work hard to amend your ways and to benefit vast numbers of sentient beings! The Dharma is very auspicious; it cannot be bought, nor can it be learned through academic study. You absolutely must follow a meritorious guru and learn it accordingly. If you do so, then you are sure to be liberated in this lifetime.

“Let me leave you with one final exhortation: Stop eating meat! If you continue, even the Buddha will not be able to save you! Do not assume that it doesn’t matter if you just eat one meal with meat in it, and stop being afraid that vegetarian food lacks in nutrients. You might wonder, ‘Will eating meat send me to the Hell Realm?’ It will indeed, because it is written in the Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows! In one of Ksitigarbha’s past lives, his mother went to Hell after she died because she had enjoyed eating turtle eggs so much. Think for a moment: How much meat have you eaten? Therefore, I have cleared a few of your past transgressions for you today, so starting now, you should not add to them any further. Do not think, It’s no big deal if I get sick; doctors will save me. Doctors cannot save your life. They definitely can cure you of simple, non-fatal illnesses, but they are completely unable to treat karmic diseases. Thus, people who eat a lot of meat suffer a lot of ailments, and their luck just gets worse and worse. This is a fact. I began to practice Buddhism when I was thirty-six years old, and I spent a lot of time and energy before I was able to purify the majority of the bad karma that I had accumulated from eating meat in lifetimes present and past. Even now, some of that karma remains. Do not assume that chanting Amitabha’s name a few times is enough to resolve your karmic debt; you must work very hard at repaying it. Think for a moment: If you eat the flesh of a sentient being, then what is that sentient being going to do to get back what you owe it? Do not think that fish don’t feel it when you eat them; they have senses and spirits. I will tell you stories about that some other time. For now, I hope today has been helpful to you all. This old man will stop lecturing you now. Thank you!”

Upon the perfect completion of the puja, all of the attendees rose to their feet to pay reverent homage to the guru. Rinpoche smiled and waved at the audience, all the while blessing each person with his compassionate gaze. Everyone present felt both grateful and touched.

Afterword:

This year’s attendees also included people from Longsheng Village in Zaoqiao Township, Miaoli County, where the Glorious Jewel Temple is being constructed. Ever since the temple’s construction was approved by the government, Rinpoche has paid out of pocket so that disciples and honorable believers who have donated their support to the project could visit the new temple. So far, there have been twenty-eight tours, bringing a total of 3,166 people to the site. One reason for doing this is that Rinpoche takes full responsibility for everyone who has supported the project, and another is that he wishes to use the opportunity to vitalize the local economy. Every week, tour groups eat a lunch that has been prepared at the community center by villagers, and also visit a small farmers’ market to purchase agricultural products, which provides a further boost to the locals’ income. By getting young people interested in returning to their hometown, Rinpoche has made it so that the elderly in the local villages will receive better care. Filled with gratitude, as soon as the villagers heard that a grand puja would be held by Rinpoche, they joyfully organized a group of young and old to participate.

More than 194,000 names were submitted for this puja’s list of deceased to be liberated, and all were projected on the large screens for all to see, as were the names of people who had given donations to the Glorious Jewel Temple. To honor them, Rinpoche is helping them, both during this grand puja and in forthcoming monthly Chod Pujas, by liberating their ancestors, parents, and karmic creditors from their past lives.

As in the past, H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has donated all of the offerings from the attendees, this year totaling NT$5,782,317, to charity. Witnessed by members of the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Social and Family Affairs Administration, attorneys, and bank representatives, half of this amount (NT$2,891,158) was given to the Buddhism Foundation of His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, while the other half (NT$2,891,159) was deposited into special account 302 at the Social and Family Affairs Administration to be used toward social welfare projects. During past occurrences of major natural disasters such as the severe earthquakes that struck Tainan, Hualien, and so on, not only has money been withdrawn from this special account to provide assistance, but Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche himself has made more donations so that families affected by those calamities can rebuild their homes and get back on their feet as soon as possible. The government made a special account login for this purpose, and wrote Rinpoche special letters of gratitude (for further details, see
Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Charitable Donations). For the purpose of doing good deeds and forming virtuous affinities for the sake of puja attendees, Rinpoche has donated NT$90,410,000 over the years.

Note 1: Participants came from America, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, France, Switzerland, China, Hong Kong and Macao, Australia, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, India, and Honduras.

Note 2: No price of admission has been charged at any of the grand pujas held over the years, and all expenses have been paid for with the collective support of H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s disciples at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center. Because the pujas are completely fair, without discrimination, no major donors are honored, and all five representatives who offered the mandala, as well as the two thousand who lit lamps as offerings to the Buddha, were randomly selected by ballots submitted by believers as they entered the venue. Moreover, no commercial activity was allowed, so as to maintain the purity of the puja.

Related links:
• China Times —The Glorious Jewel Holds a Grand Puja at which 20,000 People Pray for Blessings
• Great News —The Glorious Jewel Holds a Grand Puja; 20,000 People Pray for Blessings, and NT$5.78 Million is Donated toward Public Welfare
The film broadcast prior to the Grand Puja in 2019
Grand Puja Teaching in 2019
Photos of 2019 Grand Puja

Updated on August 21, 2019