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His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Visits Taipei Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center

On January 12, as the old year gave way to a new Spring, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang arrived at the Taipei Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center on invitation from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. At Rinpoche’s supplication, His Holiness revealed teachings about the essentials of the cultivation of Four-Armed Avalokiteshvara visualization and recitations, and led everyone in chanting the Great Six-Syllable Mantra for a period. Everyone was deeply grateful to His Holiness for bestowing these precious revelations, and to Rinpoche for bestowing them with this auspicious causal condition.

As the new year took off, abbot guru of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche respectfully invited his root guru, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, to visit the Taipei Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center and accept mandala offerings, also allowing all of the believers and disciples there to receive blessings from His Holiness so as to reduce their hindrances in practicing the Dharma. On this auspicious day, Rinpoche led these believers and disciples of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center in a delighted and reverent welcoming of His Holiness’s arrival.

As the puja began, led and welcomed by a parade of incense, music, and a jeweled parasol, His Holiness and H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche walked an Eight Auspicious Signs white carpet covered in fresh flowers. Afterwards, His Holiness prostrated himself before the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas at a mandala, reverently made an offering of khata, and lit lamps offering for the Buddhas before ascending the Dharma throne.

Likewise, H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also lit lamps offering for the Buddhas, and performed full prostrations before His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and the Dharma image of His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang atop the mandala, as well as all of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. After ascending his throne, Rinpoche instructed the ordained to lead the attendees in reciting the Refuge Aspiration Prayer, the Seven Branch Offerings, the Sutra of Recollecting the Three Jewels, and the Prayer to the Eight Noble Auspicious Ones, then led the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center’s ordained disciples and the general director of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Culture Exchange Association in making mandala offerings to His Holiness.

Afterwards, they recited the Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas, and then, with the eight offering maidens singing the offering song of Dakinis, reverently presented Eight Auspicious Offerings to His Holiness, and performed a tea offering ceremony.

Rinpoche began by saying:

“Today, we have the great fortune and causal condition to welcome His Holiness here to the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center to receive everyone’s offerings and help us to accumulate more karmic fortune. Since His Holiness allowed me to propagate the Dharma, the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center has seen a lot. And were it not for the blessings of His Holiness, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and the gurus of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage, this Buddhist Center wouldn’t constantly be having new disciples, whom I couldn’t get rid of if I tried. Today, in his great compassion, His Holiness is allowing those downstairs who normally wouldn’t be able to attend the puja to enter the Buddhist Center. And so, now, we have the great fortune to welcome His Holiness here, and we sincerely ask that he bestow us with teachings of the Dharma. Thank you, Your Holiness.”

Amidst fervent applause from the attendees, His Holiness began:

“Rinpoche, and Dharma friends, I am extremely pleased to see you all here, and would like to thank you all and Rinpoche for the offerings you make year after year. Amitabha — thank you all for your toil. It is not easy to sustain a center like this, especially when there are so many of you. It is difficult to keep things running, and so I am rejoiced to see the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center operates so smoothly, and continues to see greater and greater success.”

“A few days ago, I visited Miaoli as well. In the future, the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center will see great growth on the Noble Path, and I am very pleased to see this. I trust that we will see True Dharma there, and this new location will flourish, and bring benefits to greater numbers of sentient beings. The New Year is upon us. I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy New Year, as well as good mental and physical health, and good fortune and satisfaction.”

(Everyone in attendance thanked His Holiness in unison.”

“Here, I have the Dharma text of the Simplified Version of the Four-Armed Avalokiteshvara Ritual. Let me give a brief introduction that should be useful for you. First, I will transmit the ritual.” (His Holiness recited the contents of the text in Tibetan.) “The first four lines are the Refuge Aspiration Prayer (refuge in the Three Jewels and bodhicitta), to be read three times. After that is the Dharmadhatu Purity Mantra. Why is it called the ‘Dharmadhatu Purity Mantra?’ Because in Vajrayana, we primarily practice the Dharma to transform our circumstances. What we ordinarily see and hear in our current realms is all desire, and we give rise to aversion and hatred when we encounter that which we dislike. And this causes us to fall to reincarnation of greed.”

“In Buddhism, there are many methods for escaping reincarnation, including Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana. However, in Vajrayana, we are primarily transforming our current mundane worlds — reincarnation transformation. We must transform our bodies, and our mundane five Aggregates must be transformed into the Buddhas of the Five Directions — and all of this requires certain methods. And, if we don’t purify our bodies of mundane reincarnation for the sake of this transformation, we cannot visualize new ones. Thus, the ‘Dharmadhatu Purity Mantra’ is to visualize the natural condition of all dharmas. The natural condition of all dharmas is emptiness, or as the Heart Sutra says: ‘Form itself is emptiness, and emptiness itself is form. Form is no different from emptiness, nor is emptiness different from form.” If one is to reach this realm, one must first recite the ‘Dharmadhatu Purity Mantra’ and visualize. This is the first step.”

“For the second step, we visualize Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.” (His Holiness recited from the Dharma text again in Tibetan before continuing.) “Visualize ‘the manifestation of a lotus blossom and a moon cushion in emptiness.’ As you visualize this realm of emptiness, first visualize that many Buddhas are sitting on a lotus blossom. This isn’t an ordinary lotus like those we see floating in water. That is not how we should visualize it. The Vajrayana teaches transformation, from the ordinary to the realm of the Pure Land. Thus, this lotus blossom should come from the Western Paradise Land of the Buddha, rather than being like those we ordinarily see. And so, this also requires transformation first. Then, there should be a round sitting cushion upon the lotus blossom. This is a moon cushion. Again, this isn’t like the moon we ordinarily see in the realm of reincarnation. It should be the moon of the Pure Land. Again, this is a transformation.” (Remainder omitted.)

“While chanting mantras, everything you hear, whether it be an airplane or our Dharma instruments, you should hear as the sound of the Six-Syllable Dharani; and everything you see, you should visualize as the Four-Armed Avalokiteshvara, and the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. We recite with compassion in our hearts. This is what is required when chanting mantras.”

Led by His Holiness, the attendees engaged in visualization meditation. After that was a merit transferring ritual, and Rinpoche personally led everyone in reciting the Long Life Prayer for His Holiness. His Holiness and Rinpoche also led everyone in reciting the Aspiration Prayer for Rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land of Utmost Bliss and An Exhortation to Bring Forth the Bodhi Resolve.

Rinpoche then said: “We thank His Holiness for his transmission of the Dharma. If you forget what you’ve been taught today, that is your own business. But if you ask me, I will repeat it for you. Let us give His Holiness a respectful sendoff.”

At the perfect completion of the puja, all the disciples stood in reverence as His Holiness and His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche descended the Dharma throne.

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Updated on January 16, 2020