Event Calendar of The His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche

March 6, 2010

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave enlightenment to 81 believers with Buddhism and helped them to relieve all kinds of suffering in the world at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, Taipei.

March 7, 2010

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche conducted an auspicious regular puja at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, Taipei, and bestowed a teaching about the state of Bodhisattvas. Continuing last week’s teaching about the importance of Bodhichitta, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche first bestowed the following teaching: If one does not vow Bodhicitta, he will not obtains any achievement on the liberation from the birth and death through practicing Buddhism such as reciting sutras, recting mantras, or making repentance prostrations, let alone benefit beings. The acts about cultivating Bodhicitta that Buddha taught us is not giving donation nor doing charities. Bodhichitta is the foundation for practicing all Buddhist methods and the six Paramitas are the driving force. In last week’s puja, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had explained Master Gampopa’s teachings about three levels of Bodhichitta: immense, intermediate, and rudimentary. Having received Bodhisattva precepts isn’t equivalent to having cultivated Bodhichitta. That needs to be practiced with your deeds. Metaphorically speaking, Bodhichitta is like our armor that can protect us from any enemies. However, with your current level, you are not able to perform action Bodhicitta. That’s why Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would elaborate the ways of vowing Bodhichitta in the hope that after hearing the teaching you’ll be able to develop Bodhichitta and, in the future, will be able to perform action Bodhicitta.

The hands of Buddhas always stretch out to receive the sentient beings. Buddhas are immovable, which means if we don’t take initiatives to reach for Buddhas’ hands, we can’t be connected with Buddhas’ hands. When we pray for Buddhas’ help, do not wish that Buddhas should fulfill your wishes or satisfy your personal desires. Buddha Dharma is used to reduce sentient beings’ desires, and the way that Buddhas and Bodhisattvas help you is to solve your problems without consequences. This is not comprehensible by your human’s brain. You’ll not be able to be received by Buddhas’ hands if you pray with irreverence or selfishness. To be blessed by Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, you ought to pray with clean and pure mind and body. To receive blessings from Buddhas and Bodhisattvas you should possess pure mind. If you are still suspicious, full of hatred, and refusal to accept Buddha Dharma, you can’t achieve the state of mercy and compassion. Without mercy and compassion, there is no Buddha Dharma. For this, you should think clearly for what you learn Buddha Dharma.

One believer came to seek audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche yesterday, saying that she had recited mantras for her dead family member for one year. She would like to know how her dead family member is doing. Richen Dorjee Rinpoche asked her whether she thought she had already released his soul? She dared to reply. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche enlightened: releasing one’s soul isn’t a simple task. According to sutras, it requires practitioners to “observe precepts and perform ablution” prior to reciting mantras. But, observing precepts doesn’t simply refer to taking a vegetarian diet. Cows and goats also take a vegetarian diet. What “observing precepts” means is to perform Eight Precepts Observance such as not talking, not bathing, being in complete solitude and so on. Whereas “performing ablution” means the practitioner cleanses his body with blessed nectar, remain with a clean and pure mind, and make offerings to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas with purity and wholeheartedness, including wearing brand new clothes which are not for sleep, etc. Additionally, one can’t leave in the middle of reciting mantras and has to remain focused without any distracting thoughts. Accomplishing all of the requirements as depicted in sutras, it’ll be effective to help the dead release his soul.

Lotus sutra describes “As soon as one reverently makes prostrations towards Buddha statues, his Buddhist path has made.” This is not saying that one can attain Buddhahood immediately by making prostrations. Instead, it is saying that one has started to walk on the path towards attaining Buddhahood. But how? One can utilize a variety of ways such as walking, running, taking a car or even airplane. In the time of Lord Jigten Sumgon, many practitioners could fly from one mountain top to the other. To attain Buddhahood, one needs his guru to teach him authentic Buddha Dharma on the path.

Authentic Buddha Dharma refers to methods of being liberating from reincarnation. The so-called right behavior in Eight Noble Path does not simply pertain to avoidance of killing, taking a vegetarian diet, or doing charities. These are what we should do as humans. Whatever one speaks and does that is not to gain liberation from the cycle of birth and death are not right behavior, right cognition, and right view. If one wants to feel secure, one doesn’t have to learn Buddhism. One can obtain the sense of security from non-Buddhism, which can bring you more joy by singing songs together every week. If one wants a peaceful mind, one can spend his money in sessions of talking to psychiatrists without learning Buddhism. The purpose of learning Buddhism is to be liberated from the suffering ocean of reincarnation and to benefit all sentient beings. After propagating Buddhism for 49 years, why did Lord Buddha claim that he had not taught any dharma? Rather than being invented by Lord Buddha, Buddha Dharma is the truth of the universe. It can’t be explained by principles of our life experience.

Sutras have mentioned all sentient beings in the six realms. The so-called sentient beings do not refer to those who are alive, but those who with desires and needs. So plants aren’t sentient begins. Your desires, to say the least, can be summarized in three words: greediness, hatred, and ignorance. Why would you feel stressed? It’s because you have afflictions resulted from your desires. If Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has not vowed Bodhichitta, Rinpoche would have felt troubled by those who came to seek help. It is because every individual is inclined to talk about their problems and even likes to talk back. Actually, what you asked is all about your greediness, hatred and ignorance. No matter how many times and what you ask, it is associated with your greediness, hatred and ignorance.

There are four major Buddhist schools in Tibetan Buddhism which can be classified into two categories: Exoteric and the Esoteric Buddhism. In Drikung Kagyu Order, expert practitioners in Exoteric Buddhist doctrines are called Khenpo, wheas in Gelugpa they are called Geshe. A Khenpo is very familiar with contents of sutras, even being able to memorize texts. Some Khenpo even can memorize sutras more clearly than a Rinpoche. The dialectical practice, a tradition of Gelugpa, is for the lamas in Buddhist temples to debate on the contents of sutras according to their experiential understanding of sutras. It is merely for the enhancement of their interest in learning Buddhism. In fact, there is no need to debate on Buddhist doctrines. A tantric practitioner can directly show you its effectiveness of dharma, such as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s ability to liberate sentient beings from sorrow and cure their illness. It could be directly seen. Practices of Esoteric Buddhism are divided into four levels: Kriyayoga, Charyayoga, Yoga, and Anuttarayoga Tantra. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will transmit Kriyayoga. Rarely have any practitioners attained Yoga and Anuttarayoga Tantra.

The stage of the Bodhisattvas’ enlightenment are from the first to the sixteenth stage wherein attaining Buddhahood. The Bodhisattvas who are not achieved the eighth stage yet might retrogress in his Bodhicitta, so they still need supervision from gurus in their Buddhist practices. In Exoteric Buddhism, one can at most attain the tenth stage of the Bodhisattvas’ enlightenment. It is stated in sutras that when one has attained the tenth stage of the Bodhisattvas’ enlightenment, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions would come over to advise him go on to the tantric practices, as those can help him attain Buddhahood fast to benefit much more sentient beings.

Modern people learn Buddhism with arrogance and egoism. Some people take Buddhism as a kind of knowledge to study on the different backgrounds of era or culture. They may think Buddha-Dharma change as the times change. However, the truth is, it is not Buddha-Dharma if its kernel doctrines change by the times. Some people try to, in historical or cultural aspects, verify if the Sutra is recorded as the Buddha said. They consider there were two schools among the Buddha’s disciples disputing against each other and the winner wrote the Sutra. An arhat will fall into hells if he speaks deceitful words. As all the disciples of Buddha Sakyamuni have attained the state of full enlightenment of arhatship and known that causal effect, they would not write down in the Sutra a word not said by the Buddha. Some people like to study the Sutra and speculate about all the situations of the period when the Buddha abided in the world. However, human’s lifetime is short. Wasting time on making a study on the history, culture, backgrounds, and so forth of the Sutra has nothing to do with the true Buddhist practices for the liberation of cyclic existence. The so-called true practices are not in not being angered at people, or speaking sweet words, that is merely the self-cultivation which could be developed by well education or high status. Instead, the Buddhist practices are to truly apply Buddha-Dharma for correcting self body, speech, and mind in one’s daily life.

Do not make a vow to return to this world on the wings of the vow at your will. One without attaining the stages of Bodhisattvas’ enlightenment is impossible to return to this world on the wings of his vows but on his karma. And it is not certain for him to be reborn as a human then. Buddha Amitabha has made forty eight vows. Rather than in a sudden, Buddha Amitabha has made the vows after  the Buddha has gone through the contemplation practice process for five great eons and been assured that those vows could be attained. Not until all of these did the Buddha make the vows. The Buddha did not make the vows by his casual thoughts. It is stated in the Sutra that one small eon takes an amount of time which allows the human lifespan to decrease from 80 thousand years to 10 with 1 deducted every hundred years and then to increase from 10 years up to 80 thousand with 1 added every hundred years. A great eon is composed of three middle-sized eons, and each middle-sized eon contains three small eons. It is safer for us to learn from the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Gurus’ vows to make vows. Someone made a vow to help one million people become ordained people, by which was actually committing deceit as it is not possible to attain in proportion to Taiwan’s population. Even in the times when Jigten Sumgon existed, the number of ordained people did not amount to one million. Therefore, the safest vow for you to make is to get rebirth in the Pure Land, rather than speaking that you want to return to this world to help beings, unless you have attained the stages of Bodhisattvas’ enlightenment.

All beings who reach the Pure Land will remain in the states of non-retrogression in three ways – not to linger in reincarnation anymore, not to retrogress in the Boddhicitta, and no more to backslide from the level attained. In Buddhism cultivation, it is the safest and efficient way to follow an authentic Guru in learning and practicing the dharma of liberation of the reincarnation of birth and death, and make vows to obtain rebirth in the Pure Land of Buddha Amitabha in this life. After being reborn in the Pure Land, one continues on the Buddhism cultivation. There, after attaining the stages of Bodhisattvas’ enlightenment, he then starts to return to benefit sentient beings. Or, he could just stay in the Pure Land and goes on his practices until attaining Buddhahood. Many people, through meditative methods, attain the four concentrations or even reach the Sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception, yet they are still in the reincarnation of the six realms, not able to gain liberation from the cycle of birth and death. Now one of your problems is of slackness, namely laziness, instead of retrogression which term is used to describe Bodhisattvas only. The so-called retrogression means one’s Bodhicitta retrogress. Before one attains the eighth stage of Bodhisattvas’ enlightenment, it is possible for one’s generated Bodhicitta to retrogress.

You may think you have learned some and get to be able to speak Buddhism to others. As a result, however, you will be more and more self-righteous while speaking Buddhism with your own thoughts and make it wrong. As not having been a Guru, you cannot speak Buddhism to others at will. One is still not allowed to impart Buddhism just depending on for how many years he has studied in the Buddhist college or how many sutras he has read. In Drikung Kagyu Order, one has to study the basic Exoteric Buddhist doctrines for ten years first. And then his capacity would be observed to see if he is qualified to learn the tantric dharmas. If yes, he would get the transmission of those. His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche has observed Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for twelve years before His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche transmitted tantric dharmas to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. There is a case stated in the Sutra: a dharma master was asked if a Bodhisattva will fall into the law of cause and effect. And the dharma master answered no. Saying something wrong even by one sentence only, the master had been repeatedly reborn as a fox for five hundred lives. A Bodhisattva still falls into the law of cause and effect, a natural law existing in the Universe. However, a Bodhisattva’s heart will not be affected while the causal effect appears.

A similar case is like that when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche acquired skin cancer, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not pray His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche for help. And this time Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had an operation on the teeth. In dentistry, this was a major operation that took almost one hour to be finished. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche completely accepted it, as it resulted from having scolded people with the mouth before so now a thing like this happened. The scolding does not include scolding disciples, because it is for the good of them. The pustule had been on the tooth for twenty years and the bone had been almost decayed hollow. Even the disciple who is also a doctor said the case was easily to cause an infection. It may infect upwards to the whole part of eyes (eye sockets),brain or ears, or downwards to the neck. To the severest situation, the one may get to be in danger of losing his life. However, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche showed you by this self experience that although one has to repay his karmic debts, however, the effect on the one’s heart caused by the manifestation of the karmic effects will no longer exist and cause no suffering while the one has practiced and cultivated Buddhism. Since for the twenty years, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has unceasingly helped sentient beings, recited mantras and conducted dharmas, these cells that may have transformed to cancer had been covered up to avoid a paroxysm. And not until the causes and conditions ripened did they all be treated. Have you ever heard that this kind of disease had not broken out for twenty years? The nature of human is the same as the Buddha’s. It is a wrong concept for one to think him being unable to achieve what the Buddha’s said. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche set himself as an example to you about those incredibly marvelous occurrences to a tantric practitioner on the path of the bodhisattva who applies Buddha-Dharma into life. It is to let clearly see the strength of Buddha-Dharma. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s wound got sutured with three needles after the tooth surgery. Last week when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche went back to the dentist for taking out the stiches, the threads were found to be gone! It is because when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performed the Chod puja last week, these threads were also eaten by the sentient beings while Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche contemplated offering himself to the beings to eat. Therefore, the one more time of suffering caused by taking out the stiches was also taken out. Someone asked the dentist why he did not prescribe an anodyne and antibiotic medicine for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. And the doctor said: Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is not a human, so there is no need!

Gampopa has ever bestowed the enlightenment on bodhisattva bhumis path: the heart of a Bodhisattva of the first stage and the situation are equal and non-dualities. The so-called equality of the heart and the situation means that to treat all the inner and outer world without discriminating between the good and bad, the right and wrong, the like and dislike, but treat them equally. It is also stated in the Sutra Wisdom of Equality.

A Bodhisattva’s heart is as clear and pure as the surrounding. The clear and pure heart means a heart of all benefiting sentient beings without any request of getting something back. The power of heart is so strong to be able to change the outer environment. The heart can change the environment means that a human’s heart can affect the surrounding where he lives. For each of you being present, the arrangements and decorations of your homes, the layouts of your objects, and so forth must differ from each other. And it is just because the surroundings change by beings’ hearts. However, an ordinary’s heart is easily affected by the surroundings. For example, afflictions will arise in him for the weather being cold or hot, or in a place he likes or dislikes, etc. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has been to India for retreat practice in April. At that time, the temperature of the retreat room with a western exposure shoot up to 45 degrees centigrade. It was so scorching hot that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche took off almost all his clothes but still felt very hot. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche contemplated that he was enduring such pain on behalf of sentient beings in the fire hell. On the instant the sweats stopped, and it was not hot anymore. This is just the case of a heart changing the surrounding. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche practiced with a clear and pure heart, completely not being affected by the environment, so that both the body and the heart of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche reached the state of being nice and cool. This is the so-called It can be cool as long as your heart calmed down.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche never looks for wealthy patrons because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche does not want their pride to grow. In fact, if Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche found one or two major sponsors to support the Buddhist center just like what other centers have done, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would not need to take a group of poor disciples. Sometimes, in order to help the sentient beings, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche might give precedence to some people out of courtesy. For example, if any politician expresses his willingness to attend the grand puja, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will extend his welcome and may make arrangements for him to come to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s lounge for greetings before the puja begins. Nonetheless, as long as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche takes the Dharma throne, every sentient being is seen as equal. There would be no chance for you to declare your position or to give self-introduction, and you will definitely have a seat among others. No arrangement will be made for the wealthy ones to sit closer to the front or the poor ones in the back. Some people would pretend to be poor while seeking help from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. In fact, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knows. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would not let pass or scold someone severely simply because of his financial status. As long as your heart is wrong, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will scold you.

The embodiment of someone who is on the first stage of a Bodhisattva’s enlightenment merely has a phenomenon in which the power of his mercy and compassion would transform into an incarnation of a Bodhisattva. Thereby, the sentient beings get to see everything as the manifestation of the Bodhisattva. Many of you said that doing prostrations to the Dharma photo of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche worked and you would be given blessing and help. When you do prostrations, it is likely that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is asleep or dealing with things and thus does not know about your act. Nevertheless, why is there still help for your concerns? The reason lies in that the powerful embodiment of mercy and compassion attained by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is all over the space and is combined with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas’ power of mercy and compassion. Mercy and Compassion is the greatest power in the universe. As long as one has mercy and compassion, Bodhichitta will follow soon. During the Chod puja held last week, for example, a little girl saw that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche cut his head off. Actually, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did visualize cutting his own head off for the sentient beings to eat but had never mentioned that to the attendees. As the little girl has a clean and pure heart, she was then able to see the manifestation of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s mercy and compassion. As to you, you could not see it because you had too many thoughts. It is also because such a visualization to offer sentient beings, those threads for stitching during Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s last dental surgery were ate by the sentient beings too. Visualization do have power. Only when one could help himself with Buddha Dharma, he could help others.

The power of mercy and compassion can penetrate everything. For instance, when performing the Phowa, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche does not have to be with the deceased person’s body. Even if Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is in places like New Zealand or India and the deceased is in Taiwan, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will still be able to strike an opening on the skull of the deceased who is frozen in a purgatory refrigerator some 2000 kilometers away or to summon the consciousness. As stated in the Dharma text of the Phowa, the practice can be successfully conducted in places to which birds can fly. As a matter of fact, a practitioner who has achieved the attainment of a Bodhisattva does not differentiate time or distance. Therefore, wherever the deceased is in the world, the power of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s mercy and compassion will be able to reach the place and the practice conducted will be a successful one.

In the past, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had to spend approximately 30 minutes reciting the Dharma text from beginning to end. Nevertheless, as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s attainment in practice has progressed, it merely takes 10 minutes or less now. From the preliminary practice, main practice, to dedication, the practice is conducted much faster. It is not because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is more proficient in the rituals, instead is because Buddha dharma is not fixed nor permanent, so Dharma also arises as well as ceases. It is also because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s heart is clean and pure. When one has a clean and pure heart, he will be bestowed with blessing. When transference of consciousness is conducted, the deceased and the ghosts, with such immense sufferings, sincerely and urgently want to be helped. Their hearts at the time are clean and pure as well, so they can receive prompt help. As to the reason why Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is able to transfer the consciousnesses of many sentient beings, it is because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche does not have to heart to let the sentient beings suffer from the three lower realms and thereby gets to learn about practices of transferring consciousnesses in a natural way. When learning the Buddhist teachings in the past, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not specify any practice to learn about and only carried out what His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche instructed. Additionally, His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche had taken over 20 years to observe Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche before bestowing more important tantras to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The more practice means Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has learned, the more sentient beings are able to be helped to relieve their sufferings.

Some people still say things like, “Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara is neither merciful nor compassionate. Why wouldn’t he show up for me?” In fact, the Bodhisattva is being compassionate so as to prevent you from seeing him. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche met with a practitioner of another religion who had constantly sat in meditation. Later on, the person became abnormal, began to call himself Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara of the Southern Sea, and asked others to kneel before him. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s father practiced Taoism and recited mantras in Taoist style to drive away the ghost that was possessing the person. At first, the person still called himself Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. Eventually, he admitted that he was a ghost. When asked about his motive, the ghost then said that it was because the person wanted to see Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara very much. At knowing that, the ghost, out of fun, possessed the person and made the person think himself as Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. As Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche learned Taoism under his father at a very early age, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knows very well that the Taoist incantation to solve one’s misfortune does not eliminate the matter. Instead, it simply moves the matter for the time being, but it will still occur eventually.

Some people pray to see Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara and wish to see Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara in their dreams. In Ratnakuta Sutra, dreams by a practitioner on the Bodhisattva path have different meanings and serve as implications for various levels of enlightenment in practice. However, what image does Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara adopt on earth? The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara worshiped by the Chinese people manifest 32 forms, such as thousand-handed Avalokiteshvara and Avalokiteshvara of the fish basket, and so on. In Tibet, the Four-armed Avalokiteshvara is revered. With so many Avalokiteshvaras, which one is real? One who is able to be a human being must have practiced the Ten Meritorious Acts and formed karmic connections with Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. Besides, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara has been taking care of the sentient beings on the earth, so stop regarding yourself as the dragon girl or Sudhana next to Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. During retreats, as the practitioner has clean and pure heart, it is easier for him to see the yidams. Such a vision is a reward to let you know Buddha Dharma takes effect by your practice.

None of the Bodhisattvas carry out deeds for the benefit of the sentient beings on purpose and only do whatever helpful to the sentient beings, just as the saying in the Diamond Sutra, “Generate the thought without having any attachment.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche forgets about his help to others once it is completed. There are many disciples sitting in the lower seats whose names Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche does not know about. Nonetheless, as long as there is a need, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will help out. But such help is not indiscriminating. If you had a wrong heart and were still provided with help, the Bodhisattva would have no wisdom.

Once, His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche dined at a restaurant in India. Upon finishing the meal, a server of the restaurant sent them customer satisfaction survey forms. His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche’s secretary immediately checked all the boxes marked ‘excellent’. At seeing that, His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche smiled and said, “By doing this, you do not leave any room of improvement for them, do you? It will be fine just to check ‘good’ or ‘fair’.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said that this secretary might consider himself as a monk so that he should not have asked for anything and should behave as a good man. In fact, although one does not need to ask others for anything, it would be a different story if you do it for the benefit of others. For example, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche might seem to be very picky about his disciples sometimes. However, it is because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche sees that the disciples do not change at all and continue to walk toward the reincarnation and thus feels anxious. Therefore, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had to scold them so as to make you remember.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will not deliberately do some actions to promote the name of Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center. “Glorious Jewel” is the dharma name of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage founder, Jigten Sumgon and is known by the One Billion Worlds (trisahasra-mahasahasra-loka-dhatu) in the universe. Taiwan only has a population of more than 20 million people; if we compare the population of Taiwan with that of the One Billion Worlds, which one is bigger? When holding the Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousnesses every year, no matter there was any news coverage from the press or not, we would not specifically do things to promote the event. Becoming famous and collecting wealth are the biggest obstacles of practicing Buddha dharma; sometimes you can still control the desire of getting profits, but being famous is really the biggest obstacle for you to resist.

In 2007, once a TV station wanted to interview His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche; the TV producer also invited Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to be interviewed together. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not accept the invitation immediately, but told the producer that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would like to consult H.H. Chetsang Rinpoche for his permission and only after getting H.H. Chetsang Rinpoche’s agreement, would Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche accept the interview invitation. This was to obtain H.H. Chetsang Rinpoche’s confirmation that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had a pure and clean mind, would not be hindered by being famous, and could do things related to getting famous. On the other hand, this also revealed Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s sincere reverences to H.H. Chetsang Rinpoche. That is the same as the situation now that although Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will hold the Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousnesses every year, every time before the puja, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche still want to consult H.H. Chetsang, and will hold the puja only after obtaining H.H. Chetsang’s approval.

A bodhisattva of first stage can benefit hundreds of sentient beings in an instant and can listen to Buddha dharma in front of hundreds of Buddhas. The ability of a bodhisattva of second stage doubles the ability of a first level bodhisattva. This doubling of ability continues until achieving as a bodhisattva of sixteenth stage and then attaining Buddhahood. The fact that a bodhisattva can listen to Buddha dharma in front of Buddhas does not mean that a bodhisattva’s soul can leave the body and go to the heaven realm to listen to Buddha’s dharma teachings; it means that a bodhisattva has attain the power of the true nature of all dharmas; the true nature of all dharmas is all over the universe, as the modern scientific term that the electromagnetic wave can spread throughout the universe; so the energy of a bodhisattva can be together with the energies of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. You have not attained any accomplishment in your practice; when your thought arises, the electromagnetic wave it generates cannot spread very far; it would be the best if someone in the next street could receive your signals. But like Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, when conducting the Phowa dharma, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could help to transfer the consciousness of a deceased person inside the stainless steel refrigerator in a funeral home far away; this was that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s energy could penetrate all obstacles and reached the deceased person to push out his soul. Even the deceased person is thousands of kilometers away, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche can still conduct the Phowa dharma with the same result. Buddha and Bodhisattva’s abilities are impossible for you to understand and are very incredible. But to speak about them with ways which you could understand, there are the so-called supernatural powers such as the heavenly eyes, heavenly ears, and heavenly legs to describe a bodhisattva’s great abilities for benefiting sentient beings.

If we put the universe in a mustard seed, the universe will not become smaller and the mustard see will not become bigger. Why is this? This is like what the Buddhist sutra has stated, “There is still a world of tiny dusts inside the world of a tiny dust”. This is speaking about the natural phenomenon in the universe which is still very hard to be explained by the modern science. It may be explained by using the structures of molecules, atoms, quarks; the center of a spherical atom has a nucleus and outside there are electrons rotating around the nucleus; just like the planets rotating around the sun in our solar system, each atom is also a world. Is the solar system a world? Or is the atom a world? For Buddha, both of them are the same and have no difference. The size difference is all generated by our minds. Because our mind moves, the distinction is then generated; if our mind does not move, the difference will not be present. The causes and conditions of all sentient beings in the universe are very complex; Arhat at most can know the past 500 generations and the future 500 generations of a sentient being’s lives; a bodhisattva knows even more, but still has limitations; only Buddha can instantly know all the reincarnated realms and the karmas in all generations of your lives since beginingless time. This is an incredible strength.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche does not know His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche’s ability since H.H. Chetsang Rinpoche has a much higher level than that of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Similarly, you do not know Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s ability either. You know Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is powerful, but do not know how much powerful Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is. You know Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is very powerful, but do not believe there is such a powerful Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. It is just as that a bodhisattva’s ability has been so powerful already, but when comparing to Buddha’s ability, a bodhisattva’s ability is only as big as that of a Buddha’s pore. Some people may say, “If Buddha does not move, how could Buddha benefit all sentient beings?” This is not that Buddha deliberately does things to benefit sentient beings; it is due to the incredible strength manifested naturally in the immense universe caused by the vowing power of bodhicitta generated in the Buddha’s generations of Buddha dharma practices before attaining Buddhahood.

Many people say that Buddha has not transmitted Tantras and say that Tantras were originated from Brahmanism in India. These words are incorrect. The dharma of the sixteen visualizations of Pure Land transmitted by Buddha only has its name left now and no body knows how to practice it. Many people thought that among the visualizations visualizing the sun and visualizing the moon are to use one’s eyes to look at the sun and the moon; these are impossible to be done. But if these cannot be done by a human being, Buddha Sakyamuni would not transmit this dharma to people. After learning Tantras, could Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche realize that the practicing method of the sixteen visualizations of Pure Land is Tantra. However, since it is Tantra, it was impossible for Buddha to transmit it openly; that is why it was not recorded in the Buddhist sutras. The method and content of visualization and contemplation is transmitted to a disciple from the guru, from one generation to one generation; the dharma cannot be heard by the third person and must be taught between one guru and one disciple.

Tantras are not secrets; it is just that if you do not have the ability to do practice the tantra, it would be useless to you even if you have heard it. So when transmitting the Tantra, the dharma cannot be heard by the third person; in another words, it must be transmitted only from one guru to one disciple. There was once in India, His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche was transmitting Tantra to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in H.H. Chetsang Rinpoche’s room; at the time, H.H. Chetsang Rinpoche’s mother entered the room without knowing the situation; H.H. Chetsang Rinpoche immediately stopped speaking. When H.H. Chetsang Rinpoche’s mother saw this scenario and the dharma text on the table, she then realized the situation and immediately left the room; following that, H.H. Chetsang Rinpoche then re-transmitted the Tantra again. From this, we know that even for a person as close as one’s own mother, the Tantra must not be heard by her.

In another time, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was in the room alone and waiting for His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche to transmit Tantra. H.H. Chetsang Rinpoche’s dog was in the room as well. Before H.H. Chetsang Rinpoche arrived, the dog used its head to push Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s left hand and right hand; so, subsequently, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche used the left hand to touch its head and also used the right hand to touch its head. After that, the dog left the room right away and never came back during the period when H.H. Chetsang Rinpoche transmitted the Tantra to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Even H.H. Chetsang Rinpoche’s dog knew that it should not hear the Tantra and the Tantra had to be transmitted between one guru and one disciple; the dog even knew to ask Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to touch its head for blessings before leaving the room since it knew that the one who practiced Tantra would be a future Buddha! Sometimes, animals know something which human beings do not necessarily know.

The methods a bodhisattva used to help sentient beings cannot be imagined by sentient beings. This is like the story shared by a disciple just before the puja. His wife had had kidney disease which had caused edema, carrying waters of more than thirty kilograms. The doctor in Western medicine had tried all kinds of methods but still had not been able to help her to eliminate the water. But after attending the Chod puja in Japan, she inexplicably fell down due to lack of leg strength and caused a hole in one of her legs. After returning to Taiwan, another leg was also injured and had a hole. When ordinary people encountered such injury, they would certainly feel that this was a bad thing; however, the bodhisattva’s arrangement of drilling two holes to help her was so ingenious such that the water was drained from the two leg holes and the thirty kilograms of water was completely drained out within a week. If you truly submit your mind to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, you will not suspect how Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will help you, you will also not ask Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to certainly fulfill your requests. Your mind towards the guru should be reverent, reverent, and reverent, and should not pray with any desire. If you pray to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for wanting to liberate from the cycles of rebirth and death, you will definitely attain the blessings. The guru, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas can help and bless you, however, it still depends on you yourself to do the practice and to attain achievements.

Each time when His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche transmits Dharma to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the mind of His Holiness is pure and clean. In the mean time, when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche receives the Dharma transmission, his mind is also pure and clean. Therefore, although Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could not understand His Holiness’s Tibetan speech, and nor does His Holiness fully understand Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Mandarin speech; the communication is through their minds. Years ago when His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche was going to give teachings for the Amitabha’s Grand Dharma of Consciousness Transference, His Holiness would like to do it in two days. Actually, during those two days the teachings were bestowed to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in twenty minutes each day. In fact, it would at least take four hours each time even when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche concentrates on performing the ritual of the Amitabha’s Grand Dharma of Consciousness Transference.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did ever make supplication to Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Protectors that “if illness is right for me, let me become ill; if death is right for me, let me die.” Perhaps, some of the karmic debts could be paid back through falling illness; thus the obstacles on the path could be lessened. If, with the death, the karmic debts of previous lifetimes could be paid back in this life, it is just good. However, all of you are not dare to do that. If you have true belief on Causes and Effects, you should feel happy when you fall illness. As an example, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had contracted skin cancer years ago. Although, contracting cancer would have the consequence of falling into hells. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, faced with the cancer, had the notion that his karmic debts were being paid back and felt peaceful and joyful to accept it. Now the Rinpoche’s cancer has been cured automatically and completely by himself. Lots of unwanted things would simply happen to you. Since you take refuge and learn Buddhism, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas would talk with your karmic creditors that now you are more than enough to pay back the karmic debts – therefore, let the things come earlier.

Once in the time, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was taking his retreat in India. The nuns would take turns per seven days to take charge of foods. It happened that the previous one forgot to inform the next one that someone was in the retreat room. While people come to or left the other rooms, the Rinpoche was the only one doing the retreat in his room. When doing a retreat, one is not allowed to speak, to see other people, to hit the wall for asking help and has to stay in his room till the completion of the retreat. And, people might not observe or heard of the sound from the room while Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was reciting mantras. The nuns had not paid particular attention to this retreat room as they saw the door was closed. As a result, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was not offered his meals in the whole day until the noon of next day. Nonetheless, with his firm belief on Causes and Effects, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had aware that because he had not done well in giving charity in his previous lifetimes, and the hunger the Rinpoche had suffered could pay back many karmic debts. Faced with consequence of hunger, the Rinpoche felt joyful then.

In exoteric Buddhism, there is a method “to attract with their needs”. At first, you might rely on Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to solve your own problems, but once you have received benefits you shall not always rely on the Rinpoche to fulfill your various needs. Instead, you ought to follow the guidance from Buddhas, to change your own behaviors according to the teachings. Thus, your future would certainly become better. Any guru would prevent the beings from falling into three lower realms; therefore the guru must scold you whenever the guru is aware of your faults. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would severely scold his disciples to the extent that many of them would feel like totally empty in the heart. Indeed, the empty is a pure and clean state of mind that one could receive the blessings. In sutras, there are analogous methods called Lion Roar. If you do not feel empty in your heart, you are trying to refuse because you have ideas that the guru does not understand you or mistakes your feelings, and you intend to explain. Thus, you would not receive the blessings. You have obtained such rare opportunity to receive help from exoteric tantra. The opportunity arises because of the merits accumulated in you previous lifetimes and the hard-to-meet conditions, therefore you have to cherish it and never throw it away.

As Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s mind stays still, your thoughts would be retrieved by the Rinpoche. By a glance at your walking manner, the Rinpoche would know your attitude towards that meeting. Once there was a believer, a lady, come to ask Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche that if she can do something for her ill mother? Many people would ask the same question as well. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche responded that if she could make the Full Prostration one thousand times each day on her mother’s behalf? She immediately said yes. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then instructed her to make the Full Prostrations for two hundred times. After that, she expressed she could not achieve her previous promise. If one could not accomplish such one thousand times of Full Prostration on behalf of one’s parents, could the filial piety be achieved?

When making dedications on behalf of the beings, one has not to dedicate the merits to one’s own family or one’s own interests such as the pets including cats or dogs. The mind of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas is to benefit all the sentient beings. You ought to make dedications on behalf of the beings. And, because all of you belong to the beings, you share the ocean of merits that Buddhas and Bodhisattvas attained. Dedication in such way can be very powerful.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has ever said that the Rinpoche might leave here any time. Because, in the Rinpoche’s mind, the existence of the Buddhist center and the gathered disciples simply happen according to the causes and conditions, all of them will be gone at the end of this life. You disciples have to cherish this rare opportunity, adhere to the guru’s guidance and follow the teachings accordingly.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued on the announcement of who will accompany the Rinpoche to take retreats in India. The criteria is twofold, they must have taken the year 2009 retreat and also have taken the Bodhisattva’s Vows.

At last, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked the chairman of the association why the volunteer stuff, in last Saturday, did not report that there were more than ten newly converted disciples who came to receive their ordination name? As the chairman of the association, he must oversee the general administration and must not place such burden on the Rinpoche who works very hard for the beings.

March 14, 2010

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche conducted an auspicious regular puja at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, Taipei, bestowing teachings about the state of mind and transmitted Four Uncommon Preliminary Practices. At the beginning, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued last week’s teachings about Buddha’s profound incredible capability to benefit sentient beings. It is actually a little inadequate when using the word “capability” to describe what Buddha has been doing. Through the experience of enlightenment, Buddha has truthfully taught us about the origin, existence, transformation, and extinction of all phenomena in the universe.

The founding father of Republic of China, Dr. Yat-Sen Sun, once stated that Buddhism is the mother of science. Dr. Sun was a man of great wisdom, who could penetrate this truth. Not long ago, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche just watched a TV program which talked about phenomena of the universe. Long time ago, scientists thought that atoms consisted of condense particles. But later on scientists have proved otherwise. An atom is centered by a nucleus, surrounded by a relatively large space, and electrons and ions circle around the center. The structure of an atom is similar to that of a solar system in which many planets orbit the sun. This is exactly the same as what sutras depict about a universe. A universe can be as small as a sesame and the world of a sesame can be as large as a universe. Why? Understanding this phenomenon entirely depends on your state of mind. The size of a sesame or a universe is discriminated by your mind. This is why Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche can practice Phowa dharma without limitation of space and time. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is able to conduct Phowa dharma thousands kilometers away from the deceased. This shows the power of mind as it in the state of no discrimination of size and distance.

Many people think that learning Buddhism is pursuing superstitions. Buddha Dharma actually is a cutting-edge science. The first section of Flower Adornment sutra describes that the color of the earth is blue and there exists many different worlds. The so-called “worlds” in sutras refer to galaxies in modern scientific language. Once people thought there was only a solar system, and then scientists found a galaxy. The solar system we live in is only one of the systems in the galaxy. Nowadays, scientists have found countless galaxies which have been consistently and boundlessly expanding outwards. The Western constellations are also galaxies. With the help of scientific instruments, now we know that the color of the earth is indeed blue as that described in sutras. In any galaxy, the shapes and quantities of individual planet are very different, which the meaning of many worlds depicted in sutras. 3000 years ago during the time of Sakyamuni Buddha, without any scientific instruments, Flower Adornment Sutra already recorded many phenomena about universes. How did Lord Buddha know all about these?

Buddha Dharma is not simply associated with human beings; it is a cosmology. Within the universe, the earth is only a planet as tiny as a dust, let alone a human’s insignificance. Science is not about invention. With instruments, it has simply discovered extant true phenomena. You, however, prefer trusting science to believing in Buddha Dharma. Buddha taught us not to tell any lie so Buddha wouldn’t ever cheat us. As long as it is a truth, Buddha would teach us. For those not extant, Buddha wouldn’t say the opposite.

Buddha Dharma is about our mind, which doesn’t hold a fixed shape and can’t be touched, seen, felt or described. Its existence seems intangible, whereas its nonexistence seems also untrue. Legend has it that the Second Patriarch of Zen Buddhism Huike once implored Bodhidharma to pacify his mind. Bodhidharma replied: Where is your mind? Some other Buddhists have claimed that mind can contain the void, which saying indicates that those Buddhists are not yet enlightened. If our mind is trained to comprise the universe or the void which keeps expanding, our mind would also always remain in the state of changing. Buddha Dharma, nonetheless, is about unchangeableness of mind which ought not to vary with outside environment.

Every human originally possesses the same Buddha nature, namely the mind of pureness and lucidity. Lucidity refers to being pure and stainless, clear about everything. The essence of mind will not even be slightly changed by any outer or inner suffering and sorrow. It is like the sun, emitting lights all along, not being affected by the clouds. Its lights may be obscured by the clouds from time to time; however, the sunlight appears again after the clouds roll away. The state of “the great perfect mirror wisdom”, one of the Five Wisdoms stated in the Sutra, is saying that the mind is like a mirror that reflects all phenomena in the Universe. The myriad various forms all appear to the mirror. When the mirror is moved away, those phenomena disappear as well. After those phenomena disappear, the mirror returns to its original pureness and will not have any attachment. As for human beings, because of a thought of ignorance, human beings fall into reincarnation of birth and death, and made the originally pure and clear mind contaminated so that the one is not able to clearly see the true reality of the Universe. It is like a stained mirror unable to reflect the real outer world.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knows some present people are making use of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. However, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche doesn’t mind it. If Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche still has life, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche may live more twenty years; on the contrary, if Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s time is up, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche may just leave tomorrow. Therefore Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche doesn’t mind about many things. Your heart is too narrow and clinging to too many things, unable to put them down. Many people say Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s mind is very attentive and able to know many things. It is because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s mind is more lucid, purer and clearer.

Your mind are stuffed full with too many things and thoughts. You think too much and desire for anything. Currently there is a popular term “melancholia”. In fact there is no the so-called melancholia that is merely a noun created in the modern times. The invention of this new word brings fortunes to many doctors. Some people consider themselves have mental disorder and keep on thinking of it. Eventually they would become a real mental patient. They are indeed finding some excuses to escape from such as school work and responsibility. By saying they acquire melancholia or phobia, they may stop going to school and being punished by parents. The real reason for the one to have melancholia results from his heave killing karma created in past lives and in this life. It is also because he is too greedy and clinging. Grasping his attachments, unwilling to let go, and continually thinking of it, then one’s melancholia was generated. From Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s view, everything is but a game. After game is over, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche minds it no longer. You, on the contrary, stick in your mind and won’t let go, by which is being clinging. In fact, any thinking of yours is thought by you. Any like and dislike is thought by yourselves as well.

Till now there are some disciples still think that all faults belong to others’ faults, even to the guru. Some people still have much resistance to Guru’s teachings. When being scolded by Guru, they would think they are not what Guru says. One who has this kind of thinking does not admit he is faulty. One who does not admit he is faulty is not responsible. One who is not responsible does not act prudently and cautiously. Thereafter, he would constantly do things wrong. All of your thoughts are for yourselves and self-righteous, same as stated in the Sutra of The Great Vows of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestowed the enlightenment: Gampopa has ever spoken of the state of the mind of ease, joy, lucidity, and thoughtlessness. The easy is saying to abide in one’s inherited nature. The joy is saying to gain liberation from the cycle of reincarnation and obtain the eternal bliss. Lucidity is saying about one’s inherited pure Buddha nature. Thoughtlessness means one does not arouse any single thought. Practice of the experience of ease and joy, lucidity and thoughtlessness needs to be continues without cease, and only by that is the one able to reach the ultimate Nirvana and attain Buddhahood. If the experience is intermittent, this kind of practice is merely the worldly ultimate through which one is not able to obtain liberation of the cycle of birth and death. Through Zen practices, only the later – worldly ultimate, could be attained.

A practitioner who reaches the state of mind being easy and joyful is able to attain the realm of Sensuous Desire (Sanskrit: Kamadhatu); One who reaches the state of mind being lucid is able to attain the realm of Form (Sanskrit: Rupaadhatu); One who reaches the state of mind being thoughtless is able to attain the realm of Formless (Sanskrit: Arupadhatu). The realm of Sensuous Desire is where lords of non-Buddhist paths abide in. Most of the deities you know such as Jade Emperor, Jesus, and God are born in the realm of sensuous desire. Only the level differs. The sentient beings of the realm of sensuous desire still have forms due to their heavier desires. As for the sentient beings of the realm of Form, they have lighter desires so their bodies remain only in form of light. The beings of the realm of Formless are even with no light and sound. Only Buddhas are able to see the beings of the realm of Formless. The beings of the realm of Sensuous Desire and the realm of Form are not able to see those of the realm of Formless.

The most terrifying attainment for someone who practices meditation is to go to the neither thought nor no-thought heaven. A meditative practitioner may sometimes enter a joyful, clear, and thought-free state for a short period of time. When he feel it, he would think that everything is clean or even feel that he himself is thought-free. Upon having such an experience, the practitioner might mistake such a phenomenon as a proof of his obtaining enlightenment and wouldn’t let go of it. Thereby, his mind cannot escape at all but concentrate on such a state. Those who live in the neither thought nor no-thought heaven enjoy longevity and would even live through several destruction periods of the earth. Nonetheless, even the longest life would come to an end. When the beings in the neither thought nor no-thought heaven realize that they are about to end the state of concentration, they would find out that they have not attained Enlightenment and thereby consider the Buddhist teachings inefficacious. Having such a thought would be enough for the practitioner to fall into the three lower realms. It is not the Buddhist teachings that are inefficacious. It is your minds, instead. Once, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had such a feeling in a retreat. Nevertheless, it occurred during a retreat. As His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche bestowed his blessing daily outside the retreat room, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche thereby realized that it was a wrong direction to adopt and corrected himself. The difference between such a feeling and Enlightenment is almost imperceptible and difficult for one to make a distinction. This is why a guru is of utmost importance in Tibetan Buddhism. Only one’s guru knows if his disciple is taking the right direction and can remind him timely.

Sravakayana and Pratyekayana are means of practice for the Lesser Vehicle and one who practices such means has to be a monk or a nun. Practitioners of the Lesser Vehicle in Southern Buddhism want to cut off his karmic connection with suffering, suffering’s origin, the path leading to the cessation of suffering, and suffering’s cessation. Therefore, they have to eradicate all their afflictions. The ordained practitioner cannot touch any women, not even their hands, and he cannot let women touch his clothes, either. They do not use prayer beads, which are widely used in Tibetan and Mahayana Buddhism. A practitioner of Sravakayana or Pratyekayana may realize a peaceful, joyful, lucid, and thought-free state of mind in Emptiness and would think that everything is nothing but the rising and falling of karmic connections. Even if someone with an illness asks for his help, he would think that an illness is an illness and will be gone eventually since everything takes place with its cause, effect, and karmic connection. A while ago, a monastery in Central Taiwan wanted some college students to become monks or nuns. Consequently, their parents protested right at the entrance of the monastery. Although the Buddhist sutras say that becoming a monk or a nun is good, whether the person has the karmic connection depends on his or her decision after all.

Practitioners of the Bodhisattva Vehicle consider the worldly sufferings, afflictions, and desires as tools to benefit the sentient beings. Having realized a peaceful, joyful, lucid, and thought-free state in Emptiness, a practitioner of the Bodhisattva Vehicle would satisfy certain reasonable desires of the sentient beings. The so-called reasonable desires are not any random desires you have. If you are ill, for example, a practitioner of the Bodhisattva Vehicle will help relieve your suffering from illness so that you can have some peace in mind and thereby accept help from the Buddhist teachings. A practitioner of the Bodhisattva Vehicle often salvages the sentient beings by employing the four methods of winning over. One of the methods is to conduct the same activity. This does not mean that the practitioner has to be working with the person, but means that the practitioner will appear in the same form so as to influence the person. If a practitioner on the Bodhisattva path has no idea about the sufferings, afflictions, and desires of the sentient beings, he will not be able to adopt the same form to influence the sentient beings. The five sciences to learn in Tibetan Buddhism are for a practitioner to know more about worldly affairs so as to benefit the sentient beings.

Practitioners in some monasteries in Tibet have to learn the five sciences of medicine, mathematics, astrology, geography, and divination. An incarnated Rinpoche would be taught these sciences from scratch from an early age. On the other hand, as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, achieving his accomplishments in this lifetime, did not have much time, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas then enabled Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to have a life full of adversities and to thereby experience sufferings, such as going through his father’s early death, becoming a young owner of a big company, lost all his money in business, getting divorced, and developing cancer. These sufferings in life make Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche empathize with the sentient beings who come to seek help and thereby to help release them from suffering. None of you have experienced as much suffering as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Once, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche salvaged a gay person. He was an artist and got colon cancer in his thirties. As the news of an accomplished practitioner with great powers reached him, he then went to see Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and asked if he should undergo any surgical operations and if he would die during the operation. Then, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told him that he needed to make the decision himself. If he decided to undergo the surgery, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would help and give blessing to him so that he wouldn’t die during the operation. If he decided not to undergo the surgery, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would help and bless him all the same. The man decided to take the operation. He did not die during the surgery operation and actually recovered his health very fast thereafter. However, six months later, the cancer recurred. He was so ill that he couldn’t even go see Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in person. He then asked his mother to supplicate Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for him to visit the hospital to take him under refuge. As his mother sought refuge in another Buddhist center, she asked her son why he insisted on seeking refuge under Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instead of others. He answered that it was because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was dressed in fashionable attire with very good taste and he liked that.

You do not know when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche salvages the sentient beings. Since you are not capable to do that, do not criticize or gossip. You can’t have comments unless you yourself can make it. The gay person, for example, liked Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s taste in attire, so he came and thereby got liberated. The ways a guru adopts to help the sentient beings are beyond your comprehension. Tilopa and Naropa, the founders of Drikung Kagyu Order, are respectively a fisher and a hunter. From your point of view, you may not think they can attain Buddhist practices. In fact, Tilopa went fishing for let the fishes end their life earlier and he is capable of transferring their consciousnesses. Therefore, he did so. When the time Tilopa put Naropa on his mettle, Tilopa asked Naropa to touch a woman and as a result Naropa was beaten within an inch of his life. That Tilopa asked Naropa to do the thing was also because Tilopa had the ability to save Naropa. If one cannot surrender and show reverence to his guru totally, he can never learn the tantras. Do not think that all monks, nuns, and Rinpoches have learned tantras. In fact, very few people are able to learn tantras.

Some person says, “I do not believe that drinking wine and eating meat will let me be unlucky. There are others who also drink wine and eat meat. And nothing bad happens to me also though I drink alcohol and eat meat now.” When the strength of evil karma has not yet accumulated to a certain extent, it will not break out. When the strength of evil karma begins to appear, even Buddha cannot prevent it from happening. Some person even says that although he eats meat and drinks alcohol he is still very wealthy. Whether you are wealthy or not is not determined by what you are doing in this life; only if you had made many offerings and charities in your past lives, you will then become wealthy in this life. However, even if you are extremely wealthy, if your family member had cancer and you could use a private jet to send him abroad to seek the best medical teams to treat him, you still could not help your sick family member; money cannot buy life. Without going through Buddha dharma practices, the karmic retribution of evil karma still cannot be changed.

Do not think that fortune-telling can let you become lucky and avoid danger. Though Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has seen the future, if you do not practice Buddha dharma yourself, you still cannot change your karma. Even Buddha Sakyamuni had known that his tribe would be destroyed, he was still not able to change his tribe’s karma of being destroyed. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once told a believer that he should not go out drinking on certain day, otherwise he would be beaten. That believer was very obedient and indeed he did not go out drinking that day. After a week, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche saw that he was still badly battered and asked him why. He said that he had not gone out drinking, but had drunk at home. As a result, his girlfriend had been very angry and beaten him up. Another example is a believer who was the owner of a pub. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also told him that he should not go out drinking on certain day, otherwise, he would be beaten. Because this believer was quite famous in Taiwan’s bars, he thought that too many people knew him in Taiwan but if he went out drinking in the United States, he should not be beaten. So he went to the United States to drink. As a result, he was beaten in the bar by someone who was drunk such that he was fractured and then hospitalized.

Do not think that since you are monks or nuns, you can teach Buddha dharma and help to liberate sentient beings. You cannot even liberate yourselves, how can you liberate sentient beings? You cannot even handle your own cancer, how can you help sentient beings? Buddha Sakyamuni had liberated his own son, his aunt, and some subordinates, but had not liberated all his descendants. So you should not speak exaggeratedly that you want to liberate your parents. You and your parents would not become a family without any mutual grace or hatred.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will help very poor people and will also help the rich people. If an entrepreneur can practice Buddha dharma, he can change thousands of employees under him. And as an entrepreneur, he must be very proud and look down on practitioners. So Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche needs assets and resources as well in order to have contact with him.

His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche has once bestowed upon people the enlightenment people that reciting sutras, prostrating oneself in front of Buddhas, and holding mantras are not Buddha dharma practices. Since reciting sutras, prostrating oneself in front of Buddha, and holding mantras are not Buddha dharma practices, then why do we do it? This is because by doing these things the evil thoughts in your mind can be replaced. Today, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche clearly enlightens all of you the practices of the mind because you really cannot tell all these phenomena from the outside and are very easily deceived.

Buddha dharma can be classified into two categories: Exoteric Buddhism and Tantra. The teachings of Exoteric Buddhism are obvious and open to the public. Tantra cannot be taught in public; but it is not secret. Exoteric Buddhism is the foundation of Tantra; one needs to have a foundation of practicing Exoteric Buddhism for decades in order to practice Tantra. In Drikung Kagyu lineage, a practitioner has to have a retreat for three years plus three months and plus three days. This kind of retreat is not a retreat of locking up in a room for three years plus three months and plus three days; it is a retreat of staying in a specified scope without leaving for this period, and also finish the Four Uncommon Preliminary Practices. After such retreat, it does not mean that this practitioner can then practice Tantra; the guru still has to observe the disciple again.

The practitioners of the four major sects of Tibetan Buddhism all have to practice the Four Preliminary Practices. But the contents of the Four Preliminary Practices are somewhat different. Tibetan Buddhism can be classified into the four major sects, namely the yellow sect, the red sect, the flower sect, and the white sect. The red sect’s practice of accomplishment is Dzogchen; that of the white sect is the five-fold path of Mahamudra of the Ganges River; that of the flower sect is that the reincarnations and the nirvana are the same. The founder of the yellow sect, Tsongkhapa, was a disciple of the Kagyu order, according to the historical records. Based on the teaching of Mahamudra, he modified it and formed another dharma teaching. The founder of Drikung Kagyu lineage, Jigten Sumgon, once described that the five-fold path of Mahamudra, like a lion’s four claws and a mouth with sharp teeth, is very mighty and can destroy all obstacles. The name of Mahamudra of the Ganges River was originated because before Tilopa transmitted the dharma to Naropa by the banks of the Ganges River. The Four Uncommon Preliminary Practices are ordered practices; they are not practices which can be chosen to practice randomly by people. On the outside world, some people read Avatamsaka Sutra for a while and then changed to read Shurangama Sutra; one will not attain accomplishments by changing practices from time to time.

Some people think only practicing Dzogchen can attain the Rainbow Body. In fact, practicing Mahamudra of Kagyu order can also attain the Rainbow Body. This was confirmed by His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche. Attaining the Rainbow Body means that when the practitioner passes away, he will transform his body into rainbow-like lights and leave this world without going through the sufferings of death of a physical body. The A-Chi dharma protector of Drikung Kagyu lineage was leaving this world with a Rainbow body. Several Kyabgons of the past generations of Drikung Kagyu lineage had attained the Rainbow body. Because Rinchen Drojee Rinpoche began to practice Buddha dharma in an older age, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche cannot attain the Rainbow body to leave this world.

The Four Preliminary Practices include the parts of Common and Uncommon. The Common one refers to the common practices of Exoteric and Esoteric teachings and theories, while the Uncommon one does relate to the tantric methods. The Four Uncommon Preliminary Practices lays the foundation in learning exoteric methods. Unlike the other ones who might teach the four parts in one time and let the disciples practice alone, the Rinpoche has taken an approach corresponding to the parts, stage by stage. The disciples have to accomplish all the practices of their current part before they could receive teachings on further parts. It is said in the scriptures, certain auspicious signs can be observed on the practitioner upon his/her perfect accomplishment of the Four Preliminaries. The auspicious sign is not an indication that you are becoming a Bodhisattva nor is an indication of differences. But rather, it signifies that you would make significant progress on your practice, your mind set would change, and your views would change as well.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche scolded on someone who has often displeased his parents in the past year and said that if as a child would not like to comply with the parent; such people would neither comply with the guru. Anyone who is not filial to the parents or think of them as enemy could not be possible to achieve Buddha Dharma. If one does not fulfill the essential ethics of human, Buddha Dharma cannot be learnt. Also in the puja, the Rinpoche took an aged disciple as another example. She has refused the advice from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and insisted to visit her children in America. The Rinpoche told that to everyone, regardless of one’s age, Buddha Dharma is equal. The disciple has based herself on the old age and thus refused the guru’s instruction. Therefore, she is not qualified to practice the Four Preliminaries.

Before proceeding on the teaching, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed that those who are not yet a disciple, have not taken refuge for more than three years, have not registered for this teaching, and those who are not allowed to give offerings must leave the puja right away. The Rinpoche talked about why three years are needed, because without it they could not make clear or realize the contents of the teachings. As long as they adhere to their own notions or feelings, the practice cannot be useful to them; or it could do harm. Therefore, they are not allowed to learn the practice at present. Before giving the oral teaching, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked the disciples to inspect themselves again to see if they could surrender to the guru completely. As long as in one’s mind there is a little bit anger toward the guru, such as arguing, explaining the opinions, one could not accomplish the practice. Or even worse, if one breaks the vow to the guru, one would fall into Vajra hells. In esoteric Buddhism, they call the hells without respite as Avichi Hell, while there is Vajra Hell that one might fall into for whom learns tantric methods. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would not like to see anyone’s falling to Vajra Hell, nor he would like to see the disciple doing harm to the guru.

The ceremony continued with Mandala Offering. Through the ritual, the attendees can accumulate merits. Afterwards, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave the teaching on the Four Preliminaries of Mahamudra.

March 18, 2010

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche conducted an auspicious Chod puja at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, Taipei.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestowed the teachings as followed: Chod, the dharma to be performed today, is an auspicious tantric practice of Tibetan Buddhism. If a practitioner devotes himself to practicing this dharma all his lifetime, he will be able to be liberated from the cycle of birth and death, or even can achieve Buddhahood in this lifetime. For instance, Achi Drolma, the Drikung Kagyu’s uncommon dharma protector achieved her accomplishment by practicing Chod dharma. Chod dharma was created 1200 years ago by lay yogini Machig Lapdron in Tibet in accordance with Mahaprajna-paramita-sutra. Although it was created, its concepts haven’t violated the dharma taught by Sakyamuni Buddha. Machig Lapdron developed Chod dharma by combining Sakyamuni Buddha’s teachings that she had realized. Sakyamuni Buddha spent the last twenty years of his 49-year propagation in teaching Large Sutra on the Perfection of Wisdom. And the content of Large Sutra on the Perfection of Wisdom accounts for one third of Great Treasury of Scriptures (Chinese Buddhist Canon). Master Xuan-Zhuang decided not to translate the term “prajna” because its meaning is too profound and broad to be explained by a simple Chinese corresponding term. Prajna refers to the nature of void and all the wisdom, taught by Buddha, that are used to realize and experience the Buddhist teachings and furthermore to benefit sentient beings.

To practice any Buddha Dharma so to benefit sentient beings needs both compassion and wisdom. With compassion but no wisdom, one can’t make use of the dharma. On the other hand, with wisdom but no compassion, one can’t benefit sentient beings. Buddhist practitioners who haave achieved the attainment of compassion and wisdom to benefit sentient beings are very few.

Practitioners of Chod must have achieved the level of Bodhisattva as well as the accomplishment of compassion and wisdom. To perform the Chod dharma, the practitioners must possess vast compassion. They have a vision of transforming their flesh into food to make offering to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and to share it with all sentient beings whose consciousness will be transferred. You may go home full with dharma bliss after two-hour participation in the Chod puja; however, the practitioner takes great efforts on preparation, including continuously accumulating merits, in order to be able to liberate sentient beings. It’s as if one tries to help some poor people to go abroad, he should be wealthy enough to buy an airplane ticket. Without such money, one can’t carry out the help. A Buddhist practitioner has to pursue wealth, too, but it doesn’t refer to the worldly money. It refers to the dharma wealth. As a matter of fact, conducting a Chod puja will greatly affect a practitioner’s physical condition. It’ll exhaust huge amount of energy of a practitioner.

Many people think that if one can recite sutras, make prostrations to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas or become ordained practitioners, he’ll be able to transfer consciousness of the deceased. This is actually not true. In Bhaiṣajyaguru Sutra and Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Sutra, directly transmitted by Sakyamuni Buddha, the rituals of how to make offerings and how to transfer consciousness are depicted in detail. According to the sutras, one has to observe eight kinds of precepts and cleanse one’s body and mind. To observe the eight precepts, one has to perform retreat during which he can’t sleep in a high bed, can’t apply anything with scent on his body, can’t listen to music, can’t have any enjoyment, can’t kill any sentient beings, can’t talk, etc. Additionally, the act of cleansing doesn’t simply mean to clean one’s body. The most important thing is to purify one’s mind to the extent that it desires and requires for nothing.

Additionally, one behalf of the deceased and with all most precious properties of the deceased, one has to reverently make offering to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, or help those people in hunger, those who need to see doctor, those who live a difficult life or those who truly in need, and then inform the deceased about what has been done and accumulate merits for him. Nowadays, few people would do such things for the deceased. Instead, they’d whisper to the deceased how his or her money will be distributed among family members. Even worse, they’d toss coins as if tossing “Jiao” to see whether the deceased agree with the plan of distribution. Doing so will only anger the deceased. Therefore if you don’t follow what Buddha Dharma teaches, what you do for helping the deceased is of no avail.

According to Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Sutra, to help the deceased, one has to set up a mandala at the southern side of the property, observe the precepts, purify one’s body and mind, make offering with clean and pure mind and continuously recite the sutra 24 hours continuously over 14 days. In Bhaiṣajyaguru Sutra, it scrupulously depicts how to arrange twelve mandalas for twelve medicine devas. But you haven’t followed these rituals at all, even in Taiwan’s monasteries now, people don’t follow them completely, either. These Buddhist sutras only instruct us how to obtain liberation from birth and death, but don’t teach to us how to liberate others.

In Taiwan, almost all religious organizations have established Deathbed Chanting Groups, but the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center doesn’t. Do not think that you can transfer the deceased simply by chanting mantras. The senses of the deceased are extraordinarily sensitive. If any practitioner can’t really understand the deceased’s concerns and therefore can’t truly help him or her, the deceased will instead become furious and, as a result, he or she will enter into the realm of hells.

You seem to be very compassionate for your dead family members that you wish them obtain rebirth in the Pure Land. However, if, when they were alive, they did not practice Buddhism, did not believe Buddha-Dharma nor make vow to get reborn in the Pure Land, and did not possess sufficient merits, your wish is merely the thought of desire. What kind of help the deceased can obtain depends on four conditions: First, if the liberation ceremony for the dead could obtain the protection and blessings from Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, dharma protectors, dakas and dakinis; Second, if it is conducted by the Vajra Guru; Third, if it is attended by his relatives with correct minds; Four, if he must sufficient merits. As stated in the Buddha Speaks the Amitabha Sutra, to obtain rebirth in the Pure Land, one must be the virtuous woman or man who practices the Ten Meritorious Acts, possesses sufficient merits, causes and conditions, and makes the vow to get rebirth in the Pure Land. If your ancestors or relatives do not possess these conditions, they cannot go. Thereafter, you ought to believe in Buddhas and Bodhisattvas that will definitely make the most appropriate arrangement for them. They may get rebirth in the realm of God, or they may not fall into the three evil paths to suffer.

Some people think as long as they attend puja for one or two times, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will then solve all their problems and their ancestors will be all transferred. This kind of thought is incorrect. Also, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave enlightenment that dozing off in a puja would gain birth in Animal Realm in next life by scolding one believer who was dozing off. Do not think you are too busy or too tired. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, being much busier than everyone, still spends time on helping you all, and you are attending this puja without entrance fee. If you do not come here with reverence, or feel Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s talks have nothing to do with you, why not just leave now.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche furthermore cited his family story as an example: Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s great-grandfather lived by sericulture and earned much money. However, raising silkworms leads to heavy killing karma. All of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s siblings, except Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, have undergone surgeries. All of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s paternal elders have died early. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s father passed away at Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s age of eighteen. From then on, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s eldest sister started to adopt vegetarian diets. She enshrines a statue of Avalokiteshvara enshrined at her home and from time to time she worships by burning joss sticks, just like most of you. However, recently she was found to acquire diabetes. Doctor asked her to eat meat or she would be undernourished. After she ate meat for a while, in February 2010, she started dialysis four hours per day. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s second sister had polio when she was a child; Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s younger brother acquired hypertension at his age of thirty five; all men of the family had a cardiac disease and hypertension. Except for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s elder sister, younger brother and sister had undergone surgeries on their brains. When it comes to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s generation, there were only two males born in the family. In the whole family, no person but Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche learns and cultivates Buddhism. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could use Buddha-Dharma to help them lighten some of their karmic effects to some extent, but still unable to eliminate their karma effects.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche took his best friend’s case to enlighten about the importance of the correct mindset of Buddhism cultivation: this friend introduced Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to learn Esoteric Buddhism and to meet with His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche. This friend’s father had suffered a paralyzing stroke for nine years. Before Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche learned Esoteric Buddhism, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had had ability of helping people and saw this friend’s father had killed many birds. After inquiring, his father, when in mainland China, was very rich and used to hunting and fowling for entertainment. After he had a stroke, with his two forearms huddled up leaning close to his chest, like a feather-plucked-out chicken. You who like to eat chicken wings will have a chance of being like him. This friend’s mother often recited Sutra. Several months before she passed away, she had a tumble and broke her pelvis. She even couldn’t sit in a wheelchair but only crawled on ground, like a gun-wounded bird. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche advised his friend attend the Chod puja conducted by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. However, this friend just thought it was he who introduced Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to learn Buddhism, so he did not come to attend the puja. Even so, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche initiatively wrote her name on the list in the puja so that she could obtain help. Since she had often recited the Chapter of the Universal Door and so forth in her lifetime, she obtained the help of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s conducting Phowa ritual when she passed away.

As for this good friend, he had met with the throne holders of the four major lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. He also had offered all the known masters of Taiwan. It was heard that even twelve years before he passed away, he had received initiations for more than four hundred times. His usual activities were to attend two pujas per week. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche ever persuaded him to practice and cultivate Buddhism but he did not take Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s advice. He thought he liked to cultivate the merits of the realm of human or heaven for that he would be reborn as a human again to enjoy life in comfort and happiness. Also, due to his wish to return to this world, his merits and virtues from Buddhism cultivation had all became merits, and his karma could not be altered in this life. Thereafter, two years ago he had a stroke in mainland China, and he was not able to solve his problem. It was also with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s help that he could come back to Taiwan. In 2009, this friend passed away. This case showed the unbelief of the law of cause and effect, and the inappropriate thought of worshipping for blessings. This is also the difference between a non-Buddhist learner, a true Buddhist practitioner, and a person who learns Buddhism but goes in a wrong way.

Guru, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas always extend their hands to help us. But we still have to be willing to practice by ourselves. Guru, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas alleviate emergency rather than poverty. Guru, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas quell our evil karmic effects for the time being for us to attentively focus on Buddhism cultivation. However, Guru Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are not able to change our karma that needs ourselves to change. In 2009, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had told a believer along with his all family members that: Buddhism cultivation is not for protection and blessing. Do not only attend Chod puja as it is merely for temporarily helping to cope with emergencies. Nevertheless, this believer did not listen to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. So Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked all of their family members not to attend Chod puja anymore. You may think Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is not compassionate for disallowing them to attend puja even they wanted to. It is not true. The truth is that as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is getting elder, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche needs more time and energy to help those who really want to get liberation of the cycle of birth and death. Therefore, do not waste Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will be more and more rigorous.

At first, when you suffer, the guru, the Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas will help you get away from your suffering temporarily. Many people find their suffering lifted and then get lazy with their Buddhist study thinking that everything is fine now. If one could depend on his guru’s blessing and protection all the time, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would be able to rely solely on His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche for blessing and protection. Why practice painstakingly? The blessing and protection from the guru, the Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas can only suppress your karmic forces temporarily. The real blessing comes from one’s own practice and one has to protect himself. It is like seeing a doctor when you are sick. When you take the medicine prescribed by the doctor, the illness will be taken under control. Nevertheless, you might think that your health has recovered, but it actually hasn’t. Your illness is merely being suppressed and your continuous efforts are still needed to recover your health. Indeed, all Rinpoches have the ability to solve your problems and cure your illnesses. Nevertheless, just as the lineage founder, Lord Jigten Sumgon, said, the sentient beings would slack off without cultivating their practice diligently after receiving help from the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

Even in his most painful year when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche lost his business, all his money, and marriage, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche still did not give up on practice. His heart for the benefit of the sentient beings never changed. His repentance of his previously committed evil deeds never changed. His reverence towards the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas never changed.

In the practice of Chod, the practitioner makes offerings to the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Dharma protectors, and Dakinis first, and then visualizes his own body as food that the sentient beings are fond of for them to eat and to give to all the sentient beings. If one has not made a great offering, he will not be able to practice great charity.

Why does one have to make offerings? To make offerings is to enable the sentient beings to form karmic connections with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Because the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will not owe the sentient beings any favors, any offering being made will certainly be repaid. Offerings can be categorized in three types: the outer, the inner, and the secret offerings. The outer offering refers to the common outer material offering such as fruit and money. The inner offering refers to the clean and pure offering made with one’s body, speech, and mind. Some people are able to do that. As to the secret offering, it is the secret offering with tantric practices. For several times, Rinchen has provided a lot of herbal medicine for free to all the nuns at His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche’s monastery and spent hundreds of thousands of NTD each time. All of you are calculative. You have been calculating your money for your favorite child and only offer the tiny leftover to your guru. Such a deed is not making offering, but giving charity.

In terms of giving charity, when the practitioner blows the Dharma instrument made of a tibia bone during the Chod puja, all the beings in the Realm of Ghost would come upon hearing its sound. If the practitioner conducts visualization incorrectly or is reluctant to give up, the beings from the Realm of Ghost will not be able to eat the food and thereby fail to be transferred. Without receiving any help, these ghosts will generate immense hatred and therefore fall into misery places. Additionally, they will do harm to the practitioner too. The reason why the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center is able to continue holding pujas lies in that these sentient beings have been transferred. Therefore, they would not interfere any longer. You might wonder if visualization really works. One’s heart can change his appearance indeed. As a common saying goes, “One who wears a sad face is not going to be lucky.” Visualization of the Chod puja is not a mythical account but a fact. Many disciples witnessed scenes from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s visualization during previous pujas.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has been holding Chod pujas ever since 1997. There were only about 100 attendees in the beginning. Over 10 years have passed, and each puja is attended by more than 1100 people nowadays. Without the blessings from the Dharma protectors, His Holinesses, Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas, the Chod puja would not have been continued over such a long period of time and achieved such an achievement. As every puja has been perfectly completed, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s body has been turning younger and the number of attendees in the Chod pujas is getting larger. It indicates that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s practice completely accords with the Buddhist sutras so that innumerable sentient beings in the universe can be benefited with the practice.

Usually before commencing a puja, the venue would be protected with a practice, and the practitioner would wear protection chakras or statues of Buddhas as protection. Offerings such as the eight treasures would be presented at the altar. Nevertheless, according to the Dharma text, the Chod is the only puja which requires no practice conducted to protect the venue before commencing. The practitioner would not wear any protection chakras or statues of Buddhas, and the altar would be completely clean without any ornaments.

Those who have committed suicide in this life must have committed heavy killing karma in their previous lifetimes. They had a severe thought of killing so as to have them kill themselves in this life. Another reason lies in that their extremely heavy killing karma caused their suicide, which served as the karmic retribution. From the Exoteric Buddhist perspective, committing suicide is killing a person. From the Esoteric Buddhist perspective, committing suicide is destroying one’s own mandala. Such a person cannot be transferred with the Phowa because of his immensely heavy evil karma. Only the Chod puja can transfer such a person. Even having been transferred, the person would not go to the pure land. At most he will be able to go to the Realm of Human beings to practice again. If he conducted a few minor virtuous deeds when he was alive and thereby was able to go to the Realm of Heavens, whether his descendants constantly help accumulating merits for him would determine the level he may remain at in the heaven. Same for those who died in an accident.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked the attendees to visualize their parents and senior relatives being on the right, our peers on the left, the sentient beings in the six realms in back of us, our karmic creditors in front of us facing the altar. Do the visualization once is enough. The attendees were asked to recite the names of the living and deceased people that they wanted to help three times, and then the auspicious Chod puja commenced.

At completion of the Chod rituals, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then continued his teaching: Today’s performing Chod rituals is perfectly completed. Many sentient beings came and it was chaotic, which means that the comers were in great suffering. Some of them were from the Realm of Hells. Just as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s advice given at the start of the puja, conducting transference is not an easy task. If the beings do not have the karmic connection to be transferred by a guru, the relatives of the deceased can recite the Buddha’s name for the deceased with a reverent, sincere, clean, and pure heart. It will help, too. As to the place that the deceased would go, it has everything to do with his karmic connection and merits. We shall not ask about it. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas cannot violate the law of cause and effect.

Human beings have extreme fears before and after the death. The meaning of “charity of fearlessness” stated in the Buddhist sutra is to liberate the deceased person and let him be free from the fear of reincarnations. If the family members of the deceased person can recite the Buddhist sutras with a sincere and pure mind, although the action cannot liberate the consciousness of the deceased person, it can let the fear in the deceased person’s mind slightly subside. The sensitivity of the sentient beings in the ghost realm is more than 100 times greater than that of the sentient beings in the human realm. They know clearly who can help them. The people of Han had begun to worship ghosts since five thousand years ago; they were afraid of the ghosts, but wanted to help the ghosts as well. Helping so many sentient beings for so many years, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knows that ghosts are lovelier than human beings. Humans will surely revenge for any grudge against them, but they will not repay the kindness. However, ghosts are sure to revenge for any grudge against them and also to repay any kindness towards them. So those ghosts who have no gratitude to you or resentment against you will not come to find you.

You should believe in the law of cause and effect; the law of cause and effect is the natural law of the universe and was not invented by Buddha. Only Buddhism talks about the law of cause and effect; other religions do not speak the law of cause and effect; they only say that you should just believe in God. Many of you practice Buddha dharma hoping to change your own matters at the present time and wanting to live a good life. However, what you have experienced at the present were the effects caused from your own past lives. Practicing Buddha dharma will let you become better, not now, but in the future; the better outcome may come and play its role dozens of years later, in your next life, or even right before your death. If you hope to become better immediately, then the good result of holding this puja would only happen to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Do not think that once you begin to practice Buddha dharma all bad things will not happen; even Buddha cannot eliminate your karmic retributions. Not to mention how much evil karma you had done in your past generations of lives, even in this life, can you count exactly how many fishes and shrimps you have eaten in your stomach? Taiwanese like to eat clam soup. How many clams are in a cup of clam soup? You should repent all of the evil karmas you have done in this life.

Your destiny is determined by your own operations, not in the hands of fortune-tellers or your karmic creditors. A person’s future is in his own hands; he will attain virtuous results by doing virtuous deeds; he will attain bad results by doing evil deeds. If you are not well now, it will certainly change in the future; if you are well at the present, it will certainly change in the future as well. So a Buddha dharma practitioner will not worry about the future.

Buddhist scriptures wanted us not to do any killing karma. For all people here, if there is any one who continues to eat meat after attending this puja, he should not come the next time; if there is any one who is afraid of lacking nutrition by being a vegetarian, he should not come the next time as well. Being a vegetarian since 34 years old till now, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche can smell the foul odors if there is someone nearby who has eaten meat, onion, or garlic; the foul odor will be even stronger, if the person has eaten meat which has been used to worship ghosts or gods; no amount of perfume spray can cover the strong odor. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has been more than sixty years of age, but Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s health is better than all the men attending this puja and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has no foul smell. The reason that a human’s body will have a foul odor or a body odor when the human grows old is eating meat; the sentient beings that you have eaten went into your bones, cells, and were accumulated in your body and cannot be discharged; so your body will have the foul odor. If there are men who eat meat, smoke, and also drink alcohol, then those men can be called stinky men. If your boyfriend tells you that if you do not eat meat, he will not marry you, then it is all right that you do not marry the man. You become a family only if you are each other’s karmic creditors.

You need a physical body to study Buddhism and practice Buddha dharma. But in order to feed the body, you have made much evil karma. All of you work so hard and so diligently every day just for this physical body. Why do people have fears? It is because people feel that they cannot control their own future; so they want to study well, earn more money, have good health, and have family members and friends, and so on. You are busy with working to make money every day; you go out in a hurry early in the morning; after the work you feel exhausted; you go home to eat, rest, and sleep; you get up the next day and spend the whole day hurriedly again; during the holidays, you then arrange things to seek pleasure. You never quiet down to think about the moment of your death, the process of your death, and where you will be after your death. Only Buddha dharma can help us to know the methods of controlling our own future. Our future is not just this lifetime alone, but generations of lifetimes. Even with the advances of the modern science, scientists still can only guess how the universe was generated. Only Buddha dharma can explain the origin of the universe and the changes of all phenomena. With the advances of the modern medicine, the doctors still cannot know why the heart stops beating and why a person will die when his breathing stops. You can only find these answers in Buddha dharma. Only Buddha knows how you will die and where you will go to after your death. Do not think you have already lived for 60 or 70 years, so you have had rich life experiences and have known your own life. You really understand nothing!

Some people have thought of being harassed by evil spirits. Actually, the spirits staying within your body cells are the flesh you have taken. Some people think that they have seen Bodhisattvas in their dreams. Manifestation of the Bodhisattvas simply could not be observed in your dreams, nor could they be seen with naked eyes. The illusion you observed in your dreams is the reflection of your consciousness; you have to consult the guru for what happened. Only could the guru tell you the truth of your dreams.

The Human body is difficult to obtain; the Buddha Dharma is difficult to hear; the guru is difficult to encounter. Do not have the notion that gurus could be found anywhere such as on the TV or on the Internet. True gurus are those who can be beneficial to the beings and such kind of gurus indeed are very rare to encounter, because it’s really hard to reject fame and wealth. While one might be able to endure the attraction of wealth, it is no easy to withstand fame attraction. You attend this Chod puja; thus you have encountered the conditions that would be otherwise difficult to meet through many lifetimes. Bodhisattvas could introduce you good karma, and you have to accept it and to take actions by your own so that the good karma continues.

Buddha Dharma is different from superstition, also it is not idolism. Buddha and Bodhisattvas have not ever declared that it suffices if we put faith on them. In ordinary terms, Buddha Sakyamuni is a teacher who has been showing us the method to change our future lives. The direction is to become virtuous; we ought to follow it and do it. Teachers always give instructions to students so that if students do the homework exercises they will obtain good credits. Similarly, it could be said as doing your homework if you follow Buddha’s instructions. Furthermore, your karmic creditors and debtors would inspect if you have corrected yourself or not; they would be testing you. In Heart Sutra, it mentioned the notion of confounding the dreams with realities; because you reject the beneficial methods that Buddha have showed and you take those ones that actually has no benefits. As an example, although Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has instructed everyone to refrain from alcohol, but there are still some people reject the advice and insist that having alcohol is for making friends. Man has no true friends. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are the only true friends, as they are helping the beings all the time. If you attend pujas but do not follow the guru’s teachings to change and correct your behavior, it would be useless.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will have a journey with which many disciples are going to take retreats under his guidance. Again, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche expressed his warm consideration to all the disciples and believers by saying that everyone should be cautious as this is not a prosperous year. The Rinpoche wishes everyone, having attended the pujas and learning Buddhism, would not be affected by the bad things. Or, even if you are involved in the bad things, the outcome can be not too bad.

March 20, 2010

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led 13 disciples to travel to India from Taipei. As it was Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s 11th retreat, it was also the second time that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had his disciples practice retreat under his guidance.

March 21, 2010

In the morning, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led 13 disciples to leave the hotel for Jangchubling Monastery, Dehra Dun, the place to perform the retreat. When having lunch at a restaurant on the way, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in casual clothes without Dharma rope was sought audience by an Indian woman who asked to do it on her initiative at the sight of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche compassionately granted her request, and bestowed upon her the blessings with his vajra after she subsequently brought her palms together and knelt down in front of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Before she left with gratitude for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, she bent over and gently touched Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s feet with her hands. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche ever told us that Indian people would express their complete faith in someone by touching his feet with their hands. It is obvious by this incident that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s great gathering power is truly incredible. This travel took Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche along with his disciples nearly 10 hours by car to arrive at Jangchubling by 6 pm. Then Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, despite his travel fatigue, changed his clothes to dharma robes immediately, and led the disciples to see His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche. Upon seeing His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche made scarf offering and a big offering to his root guru at once. All the accompanying disciples deeply felt Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s immense reverence and genuine admiration towards his root guru, His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche.

Then, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche reported to His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche that all of the accompanying 13 disciples to practice the retreat have received the Bodhisattva vows and completed mandala offering one hundred thousand times. Afterwards, His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche granted blessing to the disciples of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center with a Buddhist statue and wished everyone a successful and perfect retreat. The disciples knelt down to express their gratitude to His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche before they left.

Upon the completion of Dharma transmission, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche compassionately bestowed each disciple, one by one, the Buddha Amitayus nectar pills granted by His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche, and asked disciples to take it immediately. For the disciples, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is not merely a sever teacher but also the most affectionate father.

No sooner than getting out of the retreat room in the morning, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche paid his respect to his root Guru — His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche. Later on, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche again led the disciples to His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche’s lounge to have an audience with His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche. His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche personally bestowed upon each disciple a statue of Jigten Sumgon, the founder of Drikung Kagyu tradition, and a scarf. His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche enlightened: “In the midst of the Buddha statue there is a small pill of Jigten Sumgon’s heart, which was brought from the main monastery of Drikung Kagyu in Tibet by Garchen Rinpoche. The total numbers of the pills is merely one hundred more ..” Being moved to tears, the disciples had immense gratitude for being granted with such previous and rare sacred relic, and also felt deeply ashamed of not meriting this auspicious gift. It was all due to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s great merits for us to possess this causes and conditions! Guru’s favor, mercy and compassion, protection and blessings are all engraved on the disciples’ minds life after lives.

At the point of time of leaving after expressing our gratitude to His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche, His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche looked at Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche with a fatherly affection filled in his eyes. Moreover, His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche bestowed blessings on Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche by touching Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s forehead with his forehead. It is His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche’s praise on the disciple for his true Buddhist practices and for liberating beings, but also confers blessings of the whole Dharma-lineage tradition on Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for having more strength to benefit sentient beings. Afterwards, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led the thirteen disciples to return to Delhi by car.

March 21, 2010

At the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, Taipei, disciples and believers reverently listened to the audio-recording of Most Reverent Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teachings about “the difficulties to hear Buddha Dharma,” which was bestowed on the 22nd of December in 2002.

At the beginning, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche reprimanded several disciples who had made prostrations to the mandala right in front of the ordained practitioners who were already seated. With their butts facing the heads of ordained practitioners, they had violated Buddhist rituals. Unless you, as lay practitioners, have attained the level of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, you can make prostrations in front of ordained practitioners. Moreover, you should give the way to ordained practitioners when leaving the center. It’s not that these ordained practitioners had accomplished something special. The fact that they had abandoned all the worldly assets in order to learn Buddhism should render them some respect. When walking into the venue, you only focused on finding yourselves a comfortable spot without considering others. After making prostrations, you at once located a place to sit. With such an attitude to learn Buddhism is incorrect. No matter where you go, be it a Buddhist center, we first should pay our respect to ordained practitioners, and then to elderly. After taking into account these people, we should look after young children. Being a human, this is a fundamental principle to follow. If you can’t observe such a basic humane principle, you are not qualified to learn Buddhism. Nowadays, due to the lack of hierarchy, Taiwan society has been in such a chaos. Students would beat up their teachers and children would kill their parents. What a catastrophe!

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has granted the opportunity for children to attend pujas. You as parents shouldn’t just take care of your own children. You should also care for others’. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also reprimanded another disciple for bringing snack made of eggs to the venue for her child to eat. It’s because this is a pure and clean Buddhist center. Bringing food made of eggs is a selfish conduct, only minding her business without concerning others. Those with children simply paid attention to their children but not others’. If others’ children disturb yours, you’d get upset. Your conducts actually have been training your children, since young age, to contend and compete with others. As men and women who would like to learn Buddhism, if you fail to relate to one another in a humane way, it’s in vain no matter how much Buddhism you’d listen to. Being born in this human realm with its specific standards and conditions, we should understand and follow proprieties and hierarchies of a human society. Without such thinking, you shouldn’t be viewed as human beings.

With sufficient merits and being reborn with human bodies to learn Buddhism is due to the fact that you had accumulated causes and conditions in past lifetimes. The opportunity you have acquired once again in this lifetime to listen to Buddha Dharma should be carefully cherished. You really should strive to correct all your shortcomings. The reason you’d be reborn as human beings because you had not diligently and conscientiously practiced Buddhism in past lifetimes. Yet, since you had listened to and practiced a bit of Buddha Dharma, you’d obtained the causes and conditions to become a human again. If, however, you do not cling to this opportunity, no one knows when you’ll be reborn as a human next time. It takes 400 years for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to be again reborn as a human. It’s not necessary, as you may imagine, that you can return as soon as you die. It is not until the age of 37 when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began to learn Buddhism. Without appropriate causes and conditions, this life would be in vain for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Even if Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had attained certain level in Buddhist practices, without spiritual friends to teach Rinpoche and give Rinpoche opportunities, it would be a waste of this life for him.

Learning Buddhism is a great and profound matter in our life, more important than anything else. You should remember the following: Fame, wealth, family and children in our life are originated from the law of cause and effect, as well as the law of causes and conditions. These aspects of your life are not in conflict with learning Buddhism. Do not think that learning Buddhism will negatively affect your family and business. Some people come because they have no place to go on Sundays. This attitude is wrong. You should listen to Buddha Dharma with pure, expecting, and beseeching mind. Although it appears that you come alone to listen to Buddha Dharma, the related family members and karmic creditors from past lifetimes are countless to join you here. You’ll greatly disappoint them if you can’t wholeheartedly and mindfully listen to Buddha Dharma or can’t follow your guru’s advises and teachings. Perhaps the sentient beings present here are one hundred or one thousand times more than three hundred of you, even more than this. With mindfulness, repentance and earnestness to listen to Buddha Dharma, your life will gradually turn for the better because your karmic creditors would benefit from it. On the contrary, if you still wish for your interests and better grades and obedience of your children, such attitude will do you no good because your karmic creditors have yet benefited from your listening to Buddha Dharma. If both the guru and the attendees wish to benefit all sentient beings, the power of the puja can reach all over the universe. As a result, all sentient beings in the six realms and even in the ten directions of the dharma realm can also listen to Buddha Dharma. It, however, requires that all of you should always keep such a state of mind when participating in the puja. When teaching Buddha Dharma, why was Sakyamuni Buddha able to summon Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in the ten directions of dharma directions and sentient beings in the six realms to attend the teaching? It’s because Sakyamuni Buddha’s state of mind and all the followers’ was all for the interests of sentient beings: helping them to break free from the cycle of birth and death.

Earlier when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche scolded the mother feeding her child with bread, her eyes at once opened widely, feeling that she was mistreated. In the Thirty-seven Practices of Bodhisattvas, it stresses that when being criticized in public, you should still see the critic as a Bodhisattva. The mother’s state of mind would prevent her from being helped by Buddha Dharma because she refused to accept the dharma. If you can apply the Thirty-seven Practices of Bodhisattvas in your daily life, you’d be granted with no troubles or enemies. In both Exoteric and Esoteric Buddhism, the Thirty-seven Practices of Bodhisattvas are the most fundamental, important and essential. Without Thirty-seven Practices of Bodhisattvas as guidelines of being a human, you will definitely carry out evildoings. Even you have taken refuge, joined different Buddhist centers, made repentance, and listening to Buddha Dharma, it’s to no avail to do all these. Your evildoings are unavoidable. Hurting others is not the only misconduct. As long as you have any evil thought or any thought without benefiting others, it is an evildoing. This standard is indeed very strict, but at least you should be able not to feel you are correct. When you think you are right, it means your counterpart is wrong. Why is your counterpart in error? It’s only because he or she can’t satisfy you.

Last Friday, fifteen of you didn’t wear your vests to the venue. From now on, these fifteen disciples will always be in the waiting list for Friday’s Chod pujas. You can’t simply explain “I don’t know, I was not clear about it, or I don’t understand.” Your explanations indicate your lack of mindfulness. A Buddhist center without rituals or rules will be in trouble in the future when more and more people take part.

Any spiritual friend would hope you can be liberated from birth and death. It, however, can’t be accomplished simply by reciting mantras, practicing seven-day meditation, or attending many pujas. These activities can only accumulate some merits for you. To be liberated from birth and death, you have to let go a great deal of things. First you have to let go of your pride and dignity. If you still keep your self-righteous thoughts and can’t abandon your pride and dignity, it’s impossible to break off the cycle of birth and death. After letting go all these, you’ll gradually understand the suffering of reincarnation. Even if you had listened to a great amount of teachings from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, it doesn’t mean you’ve fully comprehended the teachings. You have not undergone the abandonment of the thought about “me”, which have been permeated and cultivated in your mind since many past lifetimes. It’s difficult to let go of the self. That’s why it took 49 years of Sakyamuni Buddha and thousands of years of many great Bodhisattvas and masters to incessantly propagate Buddha Dharma. They all hoped sentient beings will eventually genuinely discard the self. Therefore, the Four Preliminary Practices are extremely important for those who wish to learn tantric dharma in Tibetan Buddhism. Without accomplishing the Four Preliminary Practices, no tantric dharma will be transmitted to you. In Tibetan tradition, the tantric dharma Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had learned was originally not transmitted to Han people. Because of the special connection between H. H. Chetsang Rinpoche and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, many practices of tantric dharma were taught to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Yet, learning the tantric dharma isn’t to advance Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s interests, it is for benefiting sentient begins who in turn must be willing to be helped. Otherwise, it would be very difficult to carry out.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche furthermore enlightened: it is really hard for us to obtain the unblemished human body. Without practicing the Ten Meritorious Acts in past lives, it is not possible in this life to acquire a human body. Even one obtained it, the body would still have problem. Therefore, the Buddha has kept on giving the enlightenment about the difficulty and rareness of obtaining the human body. More strictly speaking, among all sentient beings in the six realms, only the humans on the Earth in the South Continent are able to learn and cultivate Buddhism. only the humans on Janbudvipa, Earth, among the four dvipas are able to hear the Buddhist teachings. There are human beings living in the other three continents where no Buddha abides. Therefore, this body we obtain is also the manifestation of all the karma effects of past lives along with this life. The body is jewel, it is not for you to enjoy or show the prestige, but to make it an instrument for learning and studying Buddhism.

Nāgārjuna once said that orthodox Buddhism can’t be learned by those who are born in the realms of hell, hungry ghosts and animals, barbarian, long-life god, the realm of wrong view, the realm where the Buddhas do not reside, and those who cannot hear or speak. The so-called Ten Endowments include the five internal assets and five external assets. According to Nāgārjuna, the five internal assets are as follows. First, the human body. Second, the birth on the Middle-earth. Third, the intact organs. Fourth, not committing severe crimes. Fifth, the faith.

If one attains the human form and is born in an area where the Buddha, the four groups of followers (catasso parisa), and the disciples take residence instead of the land of extremes, it is called the Birthplace Asset. For example, those who are born in Africa or those small islands in the South Sea are not able to hear Buddhism. If one has normal organs and limbs without defects, it is called the Organ Merits Asset. It is earned through practice in one’s past lives. Whether you are ugly, beautiful, tall, short, dark, white, fat, or thin has something to do with the offering and the practicing of generosity done in your previous lives. If you wish you look pretty, you have to truly practice Buddhism in this life. As stated in the Exoteric Sutras as well as the Esoteric, one who conducts true practice in accordance with the teachings will change both internally and externally. It is the change of heart that alters one’s appearance. If your pictures taken currently look as rebarbative as your previous years’ looking, it illustrates that you have not practiced well. If you look smart but not compassionate or kind at all, you have not practiced. If others people dare not to close to you, and they only make friends with you for a while and then stop keeping contact with you, it means you have not corrected yourself. It is truth that one who conducts true practice will change both internally and externally, Even the body odors can disappear. Therefore, those who still eat meat could be definitely perceived by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche through smelling when sitting aside. Those who have heavy karma and whose heart is irreverent also could be perceived by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche through smelling as soon as they take a seat beside Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Due to his irreverent mind, his all outer appearance would be affected. Even a fortuneteller who reads your face and says that you are of great merits, those merits are brought from past lives. But you have not changed your current life. Hence, the body we obtain for use is the result of the practice in past lives. In the same way, if you wish to receive a sublimed appearance in the future, you must conduct Buddhist practice now, or you will still be born with the ugly face like now. All the appearances of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are surely perfect, as Buddhas and Bodhisattvas possess perfect merits. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas’s cheek bones are definitely not outstanding. If one’s cheek bone is more outstanding, it indicates that he likes to control other people, thinks himself is the best and smartest, likes to take everything under his control, and would scold those who are not obedient to him. These mindsets and attitudes are also brought from the past lives. Don’t learn the way Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche scolds people, as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche does it not for himself, nor for asking others to do him good. As being born with intact organs, we know we had at least done some virtuous deeds, contacted some Budhda-Dharma, made some offering, and practiced some charity in past lives.

The second is that one does not made evildoings in this life. The most important lies in that one cannot commit the Five unlintermitted karmas (namely, matricide, parricide, killing an arhat, shedding the blood of a Buddha, and destroying the harmony of the sangha) and he likes doing virtuous deeds. Liking doing virtuous deeds is not talking about financial donation, but refers to practicing by himself. The most important is to rejoice accordingly in others’ merits and virtues. Rejoice does not refer to, as being normally considered, the amount of the money one donates. That is, one rejoices and praises from his heart and speech when he sees all merits that his Guru or practitioners has done to benefit the sentient beings through Buddhist practice. This is what you lack most! The reason why you blame on others and not look after others’ children lies in your much discrimination. The same, it is also his habitual pattern brought from past lives for him to like doing virtuous deeds. For these years, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has helped many sentient beings, among which some would initiatively say they want to seek refuge without being asked to, while other some would not be willing to take refuge. It is because of the lack of a thought of doing virtuous deeds. Seeking refuge is the beginning to cease and abstain from evil and to practice virtue. Some people who think it does not matter to make a little bit evildoings. This kind of thinking is not to like doing virtuous deeds.

This is called “completeness of supreme mind consciousness.” The Buddha’s teachings are the toning place from where all virtues arise. Therefore, if one develops very firm faith in him and has devoted to the Buddha’s teachings, it is thereby the “completeness of firm faith.”  One could obtain a human body of leisure in this life is due to his purely keeping precepts, doing virtuous deeds such as making offerings and practicing charity, etc. in past lives. This is also the reason why a Buddhist practitioner has to observe precepts and practice charity. As one is not able to gain liberation from the cycle of birth and death, by practicing those virtuous deeds, he could at least obtain a body of leisure – the perfect and previous jewel of human body, in the coming life. In general, however, there are few people, after owning a precious human body, are able to keep precepts. Even for you who have taken refuge and started to learn Buddhism, as long as a conflict of interest exists, it is easy for you to forget the Buddha’s teachings and break the precepts soon. You may think the precepts are restrictions imposed on you. You may think you can break it first and talk about it later. With those inappropriate thoughts, the repentance you make is actually nothing but an apology. You do not sincerely acknowledge you are wrong. Even you are wrong but you do not know what you’ve done wrong, still asking: “Why Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche scolded me again? Where am I wrong?” Those who have this kind of saying think their acts do not break any precept.

In fact, from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas’ point of view, you have to be immediately corrected no sooner than you transgress precepts in your body, speech, and mind even only a little bit. It can’t be wait to correct you. You come here for learn and cultivate the Buddha’s teachings thoroughly, not for making friends with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, not for fulfilling self desires. Therefore, without a Guru’s supervising all the time, you are easily to break precepts. Do not think your furtive acts will not be known by Guru so you don’t mind at all. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas do know! Dharma protectors do know! Therefore, you will naturally leave this Buddhist center once you transgress precepts.

Even people observe precepts, but there are very few people who achieve purity. What is observing precepts and achieving purity? It is saying about that one observes the precepts without wishing to obtain anything through it. He solely thinks observing precepts is for being the teacher of human and god in the future, and for self to step on the path to perfect Buddhahood. He does not wish to get reward or praises for observing precepts. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has seen many people who think themselves terrific due to their act of adopting the vegetarian diet and make it widely known that they have been a vegetarian beginning from mother’s uterus. They may be reincarnated from a cow or a lamb that does not eat meat so that they have been a vegetarian beginning from mother’s uterus. In this way, it is not worth showing off at all.

Observing precepts are our personal behaviors. The most important is the precept observing in our mind. You ought to be very lucidly clear about whether or not the acts of your body, speech, and mind hurt any sentient being, and whether or not any angry thought arises in you due to self benefits. If yes, it is transgressing precepts. What do the self benefits here mean? Those include the feelings of being looked down, disobedience to you showed by others, making you lose your face by others, along with the consequently anger aroused and the act of scolding the people, by which all transgress precepts. It is really hard to purely observe precepts. There are even fewer people who can observe precepts when facing the benefits and the outer temptations.

While learning Exoteric Buddhism, before conducting his Esoteric Buddhist study, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche quit alcohol immediately after taking refuge. One day, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche discussed potential deal with a man. The man knew that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not drink. He also knew that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was a Buddhist. So, he said that he would put down his signature on the contract if Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche drank a glass of beer. No drinking, no deal. This business deal was worth over tens of millions of NTD. If you had been in Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s shoes, you would have drunk it first and then went back home to express repentance to the Dharma protector Achi, promising the Dharma protector that you would make donations later on. Nevertheless, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche insisted on not drinking and merely said to the man, “If you force me to drink this glass of beer, we will definitely become enemies in the future even with the business deal. If we do not do business together, we will definitely be friends in the future.” The man replied, “Since you are so insistent, it shows that you will never set me up if we are partners.” As a result, he put down his signature at once.

Therefore, you salespeople sell your conscience and character in the outside world and even lie to people in order to achieve your so-called standards. Furthermore, in order to deliver your feeling of love, you disregarded what your guru had bid you about not seeking any more publicity through press and media, for it would consume your merits. You did not listen and still think it was right because everybody does that. Such conduct is not observing the precepts. Even if you did, it would not be conducted in a clean and pure manner. If you have sought refuge, it will be like a Cantonese saying, “Your hair is wet, and you’ve got to wash it.” The same principle applies to one’s Buddhist study. Since you have entered Buddhism, taken refuge, and vowed to your guru, will your life be smooth if you keep living against the methods that your guru has taught you? Your life will never be smooth. Hence, as it is already quite difficult to observe the precepts, it would be even harder to observe them in a clean and pure manner.

As stated in the sutras, even if you have great academic capabilities, you will still fall into the lower realms if you do not observe the precepts. Even with all the Buddhist teachings you have heard of, you will not be saved. That is why the Thirty Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas is so important. Having listened to lots of Buddhist teachings, you can still lose all your virtues and merits from your previous listening to the Buddhist teachings simply by generating a single hateful thought, especially a defiant one against your guru’s words. You think that “to burn down a forest of virtues” is for one to get really angry, to scold or beat someone up. In fact, it isn’t. It is that you forget the Buddhist teachings told by your guru and fail to remind yourself, not telling yourself that you are a Buddhist. What is a Buddhist? We have to live our lives in accordance with the methods taught by the Buddhas. Therefore, some people began to become sick recently. The reason why they would be sick lies in that they have forgotten what Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has taught. Therefore, they lost the tiny virtues they have accumulated in practice. Such a consequence can come along really fast!

Therefore, taking a look at the numerous sentient beings, many of whom have done prostrations to the Buddhas and made donations, you should see them change some of their karma with such deeds. Why can’t they change it? It is because they have been having an incorrect thought: I have done the prostrations. I have made the donations. With the virtues and merits, I will be just fine to carry out a few evil deeds. One should never have such a thought, for we have brought a lot of evil karma from our previous lifetimes. Most important of all, when you begin to seek refuge and learn Buddhism, your karmic creditors from previous lifetimes will stop bothering you because they feel that they now have the opportunity to attain Buddhahood together with you. That is why they stop. However, if they see you resume your deceitful conduct against yourself, the sentient beings, the guru, the Buddhas, and the Bodhisattvas, they will come bother you right away. Why would they come back to bother you then? Since your conduct is still deceitful, why should they enable you to live a comfortable life then?

Many people do not understand this. Thinking that they have recited sutras and dedicated to their karmic creditors, they wonder why these creditors refuse to go away. It is because you have not acted in accord to the teachings. One who does not act according to the teachings is always at the level of ordinary human beings. The logic presented here is simple. Having listened more does not mean that you have got the merits and the virtues. Therefore, as stated in Exoteric Buddhist sutras, reading a sutra is inferior to listening to the sutra and listening to the sutra is inferior to taking action upon the sutra. It means that you have to carry out action and live your daily life by the content of the sutras.

Why wouldn’t Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche let the disciples who did not wear their uniform vest attend the Chod puja next Friday? It is because they forgot what they had heard, thinking that it was a simple matter, not a big deal, and unrelated to the Buddhist teachings. However, this matter was spoken by the guru. If you don’t listen to the guru, you won’t have to listen to the Buddhist teachings, either. Even though you do listen to the Buddhist teachings, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche does not think you can carry them out. Therefore, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is forced to impose strict disciplinary measures upon you. Because you are used to living your own life and being your own king, you would feel extremely uneasy with someone controlling you.

In front of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, you are no different than a child. Every one of you is naughty and mischievous and has your own thinking. Every one of you struggles in your heart wondering whether you should listen to and act upon the teachings. So, as stated here, when you have heard so much without protecting and observing the precepts, the Buddhist teachings will still not be able to save you. Therefore, if one can prevent the precepts from harm after receiving them, the Dharma lineage of the order will thrive and all the evil armies will be subdued. That is why we must protect and observe the precepts.

The precepts include the simplest Five Commandments for us laity, also including your vows towards the guru and each yidams. As to the ordained, they surely have vows for bhikkhu or bhikkhuni, Bodhisattva vows, Bodhichitta vows, and Samaya vows, all of which should be protected and observed. If you do not protect and observe the precepts, the lineage or even as small as a Buddhist center will gradually decline. The prosperity of a Buddhist center does not rely on the capabilities of the guru. What is most important is that the guru protects and observes his own precepts and strictly demands his disciples to protect and observe the precepts in the same way. In such a case, the Buddhist center will thrive.

To thrive is not to have a great deal of wealth, to receive a lot of donations, or to have many people help with the construction of a monastery. It means that the number of those who sincerely want to learn Buddhism will get larger. The so-called prosperous order is determined by whether more people genuinely consider it a must to practice and learn Buddhism so as to benefit the sentient beings. If that is the case, the lineage of such an order will thrive and all the inner and outer devils shall be subdued.

Not long ago, a disciple told Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche that he had driven his elder brother to the Eighteen Lords Temple for fun after attending the puja. His brother had extremely heavy karma. As a disciple of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, he went along with his brother to worship those ghosts instead of advising him to seek refuge in Buddhism. After they prayed to the ghosts, all of the people who had prayed or merely entered the temple felt sick, except for his wife. The reason why they felt sick lies in that the ghosts knew clearly that he had attended the puja. With help from the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, he was still not obedient and went bother those ghosts, for the ghosts had to go away upon seeing him.

When he took refuge, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had said that a disciple should not follow and practice the non-Buddhist religions. He did not properly tell his older brother the greatness of Buddha dharma and still worshiped Buddha dharma as gods. Many people are like this. Any Taiwanese would know that the spirits worshiped in the Eighteen Lords Temple were ghosts and would know that the spirits were worshiped by people doing illegitimate businesses.

So tell me, had he broken his precept or not? Once the precept was broken, he then immediately felt uncomfortable. He came to find Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche nervously the other day because his high blood pressure and other symptoms had come back. This was because he did not prevent his older brother from going; it was he who drove the car; he could say that he did not know the road and cancel the trip. His older brother had had such a heavy killing karma and had finally come to attend the Chod puja. The disciple still took his brother to play the next day. This indicated that he had not believed in Buddha dharma yet. If he had believed, the behaviors on that day would not appear and he would absolutely advise his brother not to go. He neither persuaded nor prevented his brother, but still let his brother worship the ghosts. Was it odd that you did not pray to Buddha, but worshiped a dog?

You have learned for so long, why are you still wandering outside the entrance door of Buddhism? It is because your mind is not firm and your confidence is not enough. Why is Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche qualified to sit on the dharma throne today? It is because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has greater differences than you on this point. Since the day of taking refuge, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has put away all items of Taoism which Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had learned and practiced since Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had been a child. When taking refuge, many people would still ask Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche how to re-arrange the statue of the deity they worshipped before.

Since nine years of age, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had begun to learn Taoism from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s father; Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could cure illnesses by drawing Taoist symbols and could not be injured by knifes and guns. However, when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knew that Buddha dharma is so wonderful and so auspicious, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave up those things right away. You still thought back and forth and hoped that it was best to be on both sides. Of course, if you believed in both sides, those on either side would not come. After you have taken refuge, all non-humans and ghosts will leave when they see you. But when your mind violates the precept you have taken, your deities of dharma protectors will also leave you. If the ghosts leave you and the deities of dharma protectors leave you as well, you will be suspended in the midair and your karmic creditors will come to you immediately.

Speaking from all perspectives, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has explained so clearly. You still do not listen to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. This is the sorrow of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had owed all of you in past lives. A friend of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche often asked whether Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had encountered any disciple who had excellent capacity. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche always answered no. It would be Buddha Amitabha’s blessings if these disciples did not come to bother Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Why is your capacity not good? It is not saying that only those who have excellent capacities can learn Buddhism. The biggest problem you have is having no faith. You did not follow the methods taught by the guru and Buddhas and use them fully in your lives! This is having no faith. After hearing so much about Buddha dharma, you are still muddled.

Even if we have not done well on the precept of liberation, we should exhaust all our efforts to hold and protect all other precepts. Once we break our precept, we should immediately repent according to Buddha dharma. Making repentance means that you will not do it again later. Hence, after breaking the precept, we regret it and hate ourselves. And such people are better than those who are arrogant due to holding precepts. For example, some people are very proud because they are vegetarians. This is the arrogance due to holding precepts. These people are even worse than those who have violated the precepts but know to repent. This is because those who are arrogant due to holding precepts absolutely will enter the path of devils.

If, because of doing something wrong, you are reprimanded by the guru today such that you repent and decide not to do the thing again, you are instead better than those who are arrogant due to holding precepts. This is because you have known your fault and will not fall into the path of devils. Therefore, we should often feel happy for those who are holding precepts so that we feel we can hold precepts as well. We should repent and feel happy for others’ virtuous deeds frequently. We should repent every day before we have attained Buddhahood. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche still repents. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche repents that he has not attained Buddhahood to benefit all sentient beings and that this is his fault. How should we repay Buddha’s kindness? We should completely follow the methods taught by Buddha to practice Buddha dharma for benefiting sentient beings. Attaining Buddhahood for benefiting all sentient beings is the real mind of gratitude.

Hence, repentance is very important. If you think you are right and making repentance is just for living a better life, this repentance is wrong and useless. You make repentance in the hope that the karmic creditors will not give you any trouble, in the hope that, after dedicating your repentance to the karmic creditors, they will leave you. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, instead, asked them not to leave. Since you want to liberate sentient beings, why don’t you liberate your karmic creditors first? Many people interpreted wrongly that eliminating karma is to drive your karmic creditors away or to make them run away. The strength of repentance is just to let them stop interfering with you; they still exist because you have not attained Buddhahood and they cannot attain Buddhahood together with you. If you can truly generate a mind to practice Buddha dharma, these karmic creditors will instead become your dharma protectors. Since you want to learn Vajrayana, you should understand that a practitioner of Vajrayan has Buddha’s mind that endures sufferings for all sentient beings without any complaint. So it is normal for us to be sick or have accidents, because we have not become Buddha and these accidents are opportunities given by the karmic creditors to tell us to practice Buddha dharma sooner, otherwise, it would be too late. Do not think that after practicing Buddha dharma nothing will happen. Because you have not attained Buddhahood, you cannot be all right. Even if attaining Buddhahood in this life, Buddha Sakyamuni still had nine disasters; he had headaches; someone threw stones at him he; he was slandered by others; he ate horse food, and so on. These were his karmic retributions. You hope that nothing will happen to you. Is it possible?

So, practicing Buddha dharma is to make us leave the cycles of rebirth and death. After understanding the real reasons, you can then practice Buddha dharma on the right path. Sometimes you get sick and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche let your illness become better. Doing this is not to let you live a better life, earn more money, or care for your children; Doing this is to extend your lifespan such that you can use your limited life to be enlightened in this lifetime and escape from the cycles of rebirth and death. Therefore, the guru has to pray for living longer every day, not wanting to live continuously, but hoping that the guru can attain enlightenment and Buddhahood to benefit all sentient beings. Life is very short and impermanent, so we need the helps of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas such that we can attain achievements in this life and will not be reborn again. When coming to this world again, we must come only after we have attained the achievements of a Bodhisattva.

So you should feel happy for the virtuous acts of others and repent. You should feel happy for one who holds precepts so that you and his precepts will be in the same ocean of merits. Why do lay practitioners have to courteously give precedence to monks and nuns? This is because the monks and nuns have kept the pure and clean precepts while you have not. This is just feeling happy for them. Feeling happy for the virtuous acts of others includes giving precedence to others courteously and reverence to others. Hence, we should repent and feeling happy for others’ virtuous deeds frequently.

Even if in this life we have attained great virtues such that we can reborn in the heaven realm, we still cannot liberate from the cycles of rebirth and death. That is why the Flower Adornment sutra has stated that it is very rare to be a human and it is even rarer to obtain the pure and clean endowments and leisure. Hence, being a human is not for studying, graduating, getting married, having children, or working hard for careers. These are just the progress of life, just the necessary actions for us to live continuously. But they are not what we should pursue. Having more family members or more businesses may not be a good thing. One’s practice is based on one’s conditions; true practices are not necessarily done only by monks and nuns.

The central land stated here is India’s Bodh Gaya, the place where Buddha Sakyamuni attained Buddhahood. If we do not have the five roots, we could not become the device of receiving the precepts and would not have the virtuous conditions of listening to, thinking of, and practicing Buddha dharma. Therefore, many precepts are for us to have causes and conditions to practice Buddha dharma. Some people are born in places which are not good. For example, some people are born in a family of hunting, fishing, or aquaculture. Many believers from central or southern Taiwan, when being seen by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, had heavy killing karma. They often said that they had no way to avoid the killings. But saying such indicated that they did not have a repentant mind and did not accept the law of cause and effect or cause and condition. So, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche often told them that it was not like this when you were born this way; maybe you had done many bad karma in your past lives, so those bad karma let you continue to do evil deeds; however, you could change it. If you do not have enough causes and conditions or virtuous conditions, you will be born in an evil place. The offspring born in the brothel, that is, the children of those who are in the sex profession, learn non-Buddhist religions since they were young; their body, speech, and mind are in violation with Buddha dharma. So it is very hard for these people to hear Buddha dharma. And it is very easy for them to make the Five Unintermitted Karmas. No matter how auspicious or how powerful the non-Buddhist religions say they are, they cannot help you escape from the cycles of reincarnations and evil realms. So we should fully believe in Buddha’s teachings. This is called the Five Personal Endowments.

In addition, Nagarjuna also explained there are five qualities that come from outside circumstances: Buddha has appeared in this world, a Buddha taught the precious Dharma, the Dharma that was taught continues, there are followers of the Dharma which continues, and there is love and kind support from others. Although we can’t see Buddha himself, his teachings still continues and there are many masters propagate the Dharma continuously and teach you with most their intense kindness. The declining period of the Buddha-dharma that we often talked about is the time period from now till 12 thousand years later, and after that, it will take more than 50 billion years to wait for the coming of Maitreya. During the period of these 50 billion years, you will not be able to hear of Buddha Dharma, and you will linger in the reincarnation unceasingly. Moreover, you are not sure that you could hear of Buddha Dharma in the remaining 12 thousand years of declining period of the Buddha-dharma.

You were born in this dharma age of Sakyamuni Buddha, so the eon is called bright kapla. If a Buddha comes to this world without preaching any Dharma, his appearing will not benefit beings. Therefore, we should pray for the Dharma Wheel turn eternally. This is why one of the verses of Seven Branch Prayer, comprised in many prayers, is about praying for the Dharma Wheel turning eternally. Although the Dharma has been taught, it is difficult that the Dharma continues. So it is an endowment that the Dharma still continues now. Although the Dharma continues, it is difficult to learn Dharma if the Dharma is not upheld and the teachings are not given. So it is an endowment that followers of the Dharma continue. It is rare that, when we begin to learn Dharma, we could let go of every attachments to set our mind in peace to listen to the Dharma, contemplate the Dharma and practice the Dharma. So it is an endowment that aspiration is improved.

It is very hard for lay people to let go of everything. Unlike the ordained cultivators who almost cut off all karmic connections to family or career, the lay cultivators still have such attachment till their death. As we have this human body, we still have affliction even though we give up the family or career. The ordained monks or nuns have their own affliction, e.g. if they have place to propagate the Dharma, if they have followers to receive the Dharma to gain liberation from the birth and death.

For Vajrayana cultivators, affliction is not poison, instead is the means to let them have determination to hear of and learn the Dharma. Therefore, all our relatives and work places are also the places where we practice the Dharma. If we adopt the Dharma teachings to our daily family or work life accordingly, not only can we correct our deeds but also can others follow your steps to learn Buddhism. This is also a big Buddhist place. Therefore our Buddhist place is our daily life. When time to leave, we will feel that I have done so many things so I should go, instead of feeling that I still have little attachment and I want to stay.

If there are some of your family members opposed to your learning Buddhism, tell them frankly. Do not lie to them. If they still don’t agree with it, do not come to learn Buddhism for a while. Why they are opposed to it is because you did not correct your deeds. The obstacle to your learning Buddhism from your relatives in this lifetime is your karma resulted from your obstructing others from learning Buddhism in your previous lifetimes. If you do correct your deeds in accordance with Buddhist teachings, they will definitely agree with your learning Buddhism. Some people do not dare to tell their parents his learning Buddhism. Why do others believing in other religions claim their participating loudly but you are so surreptitious about your learning Buddhism? Learning Buddhism is not an out-of-date activity. Your Guru is not out of date at all. It is because your mind is incorrect. You learn Buddhism surreptitiously. Learning Buddhism is such a wonderful thing that it will lead us towards the right direction. Now there are many wrong views in other Buddhist centers such as persuading kids not to study. But the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center never does so. Whether you will take the monastic ordination is your personal behavior. The only reason why you learn Buddhism so surreptitiously is you have not corrected your deeds yet. You are still a problem child. At the beginning when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche adopted the vegetarian food, his friends say “You must have done so many evil things that you adopt vegetarian food”. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said “Yes, I have done so many evil things that I started to adopt vegetarian food” in response. After that, none talked about Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s adopting vegetarian food anymore. But you do not dare to say your learning Buddhism loudly. Learning Buddhism is to know your faults, and face them and correct them. In this way, others will naturally accept your learning Buddhism.

You should let others know clearly why you learn Buddhism. Do not let others feel you are much nobler due to your learning Buddhism. You should let others know that learn Buddhism is good to the future and your family because you know many of your wrong behaviors and you correct them in accordance with Buddhist teachings. If your mother-in-law does not agree with your leaning Buddhism, you may tell her “I would like to go learning Buddhism because the Buddhism teaches me how to be a good daughter-in-law. Besides, Guru scolds me that I should show filial obedience to mother-in-law. I know I have not done it well so I would like to learn how to be more filial piety.

It was depicted in “Words of my Perfect Teacher” that if we are not gathered by a spiritual friend, we will not able to realize the realm of self-nature, even we have sought refuge. Therefore, we must follow a spiritual friend’s gathering. We need power come from outside circumstances to have these 5 quality, so it is called endowment of 5 qualities from outside.

Moreover, a kalpa is the life period of a planet that passes through the stages of creation, maintenance, destruction, and emptiness. A bright kalpa is the one when a Buddha appears, and otherwise it is called a dark kalpas. It is stated in the Sutra, there was a bright kalpa log time ago. After that, there have been 4 bright kalpas and 1400 dark kalpas till now. In such a long period, Buddhas ever appeared to give Dharma teachings only in 4 kalpas, and the beings that were able to hear of Dharma were limited too. The period of a kalpa is very long. Today’s earth is on the ending of the maintenance stage and the beginning of the destruction stage. Every planet will pass through such a process. The earth history has been 50 billion years long till now. Therefore, one kalpa is very very long. How painful the beings are when they are in the kapla when no Buddha appears. Therefore, it is so rare that you were born to be in this bright kalpa and meet a Guru to teach you the Dharma.

Among the 21 millions people in Taiwan, numerous people are learning. But they almost can’t chance on a Guru who often scolds disciples. Why gurus in other Buddhist centers never scold disciples is because they are afraid that their disciples may leave. But Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is afraid of too many disciples. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche never make any advertisements, never publish any Dharma magazines, never show on the TV programs because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche does not want to be famous. But they all have the conditions to come to this center and keep staying here despite of being scolded by Guru, meaning that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche owe you in previous lifetimes. But Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will not owe you in the future because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has taught you clearly in this life. When you have chances of hearing the Dharma, do not just hear and should practice the Dharma now, otherwise it will be too late. After this life, you will not be able to find Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in the future, unless His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche will come back again and then Richen Dorjee Rinpoche will be back again too. It is much rarer and more difficult to hear Dharma than to win the lottery.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche cited himself as an example, saying that his life had been over if he did not practice Buddhism since he was 37 years old. If he did not come to Taiwan, he probably had not practiced Buddhism. If he did not make money by selling jewels, he had not come to Taiwan. Most Venerable Drubwang Rinpoche and His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang Rinpoche both recognized that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has intense karmic connection with Drikung Kagyu. It is this karmic power that guides Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche towards the second half of life. But ordinary people do not have such intense karmic connection as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Therefore, you should cherish the virtuous conditions to come to the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center of Drikung Kagyu and to meet Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who is a very strict guru, and do not waste this lifetime.

Our present kalpa that has 1000 Buddhas is a bright kalpa and is called Bhadra Kalpa. It will be followed by 60 dark kalpas, and after that there will be another bright kalpa. That is, after Sykaymuni Buddha and the Maitreya Buddha, there will be no Buddhas in the next 60 kalpas. That will be a long long time period. It’s so awful. Moreover, after next bright Kalpa, there will be 10000 dark kalpas before another bright kalpa. Although bright kalpa and dark kalpa ensure by turns, the ratio of bright kalpas to dark kalpas is so small that there are only 7 kalpas that has Buddhas from 14060 dark kalpas. Therefore, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche often advises you that you should stop evil deeds and do virtuous ones immediately. But you don’t listen to it. You thought you could get through your problems with a little merit. That is impossible. You must stop evil deeds and do virtuous ones immediately. It was not until Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has learned tantra that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche realized all evil deeds have to be stopped immediately, otherwise it would be too late.

Upon his enlightenment, Buddha Sakyamuni would not like to give Dharma teachings because it is hard to educate and influence the beings. The Buddha would not like to come to this world, because human beings on the earth are stubborn, self-centric and difficult to change; the Buddha might have left for some other world of utmost sufferings because the beings, when staying in the world of bitterness, could be liberated easier than human on the earth. For example, the Guru Padmasambhava is in the Raksha World. Raksha is ghost who eats human beings. Some people might contract strange diseases because their spirits are being consumed by Raksha. In order to relieve human beings from such threat from Raksha, Guru Padmasambhava has been entered the Raksha World and overseeing all the Raksha ghosts.

Since the Indra and the Mahabrahma had made supplications to the Buddha, Sakyamuni then started turning the Dharma Wheel. Therefore, you have to make supplications in order to hear Dharma teachings. Whenever one would like to have help from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, one has to tell the Rinpoche the request by one’s own. Some people made requests such as “could you please tell me what’s wrong with me?” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would not pay his attention to such requests, because, as human being, everyone must have faults. Dharma would be initiated upon your speaking the requests. The reasons are: first, the connection cannot be initiated if you do not tell; second, Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and gurus have their vows of commitment to help the beings as long as their pleading is spoken out. That is why the tradition of Dharma supplication is passed down to the present time and further will be passed to the future.

Among all the Buddha’s teachings, esoteric teachings are very rare and unique. As of exoteric theories, one might be able to figure out their concepts, while in esoteric teachings one could not find out how to accomplish the practices without the guru’s guidance and instructions. It is very rare that tantric methods can be passed down to this world, in addition that the exoteric theories exist in this world. Under many circumstances the Buddha Dharma may not appear. For example, during the period that the Buddha’s teaching in the past is lost and the future Buddha has not yet appeared, there would be no Dharma teachings available. Perhaps, the Dharma teaching is in the world but only very few of the people could have opportunities to learn. Perhaps, there are too many non-Buddhism religions in the world; for example, before the Buddha Sakyamuni came to this world, the whole world itself is non-Buddhism. As another example, Chinese people have faith in ghosts since more than five thousand years ago, and nowadays they still worship ghosts.

Even if one has heard and practiced true Dharma, most of them are only pursuing pleasures and results in this life. They are similar to you – are not aspired to escape cyclic life and death; it is non-Buddhism and is against the true Dharma. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has advised and reminded you repeatedly that as long as you have firm belief and accomplishments on supramundane practices, there would be no obstacles in your worldly affairs. If you only seek results of your present life, wishing to have delight in this life, it turns out that you will not achieve the supramundane practices and your mundane affairs will not work out. Why learning Buddhism? It is to escape from life and death. As long as you have strong belief to escape from life and death, as well as to benefit the beings, your karmic creditors and debtors would also help you. Therefore, your world affairs would become easier. In the contrary, if your mindset toward learning the supramundane practices is rooted in mundane thinking, your karmic creditors and debtors would not have any satisfaction and would not help you accomplish the practices, therefore there would be many problems in your mundane affairs.

Nowadays, many people do not understand, or have rejected, the true meaning of Buddha Dharma even though they hear the Dharma. Many people have indulged in, or have biased interests of, the Buddhism theories and its logic threads. Those people, who do not conduct true practices, place their attention on terminologies and the theories; they are not using Buddha Dharma in their daily life to change their attachment mind. For example, some lecturers have constantly given speeches through TV shows as if they are the knowledge. However, they could not withstand their problematic situations. Their comprehension of Buddha Dharma is obtained based on the theories and their studies. Thus, they are explaining texts with texts; they do not practice and learn the meaning of Buddha Dharma through everyday activities, and then give teachings based on their experiences of true practices. Many people would like to learn the terminologies and have considered the Buddha Dharma as a study.

Buddha Dharma is not one kind of knowledge to research. It teaches us the means to change our daily life as well as our future. You may know Buddhist terms but do not get trapped in them. Many people enjoy talking about the profound Buddhist terms. But how long will it take to know all of these terms comprised in the dictionary of Buddhism? It’s very hard. Many of the terms were introduced by later masters, not Buddha himself. Moreover, different schools have their own terms, therefore it indeed meaningless to spend too much time on studying these terms. The true realization of the Dharma is to adopt the Dharma into the daily life to gradually reduce the attachment, discrimination, and distraction. That is the true practice. The one who still have attachment, discrimination, or distraction deeply in his mind, he has not truly learned the Dharma even though he could remember the complete scripts of the complete Buddhist Canon.

Venerable Master Guang Qin and Sixth Patriarch Hui Neng did not know how to read. Neither did the great Drikung Kagyu masters Tilopa, Naropa, Milarepa. Many believers in Taiwan wish their masters have earned the Ph.D. degree. They thought only those who graduate from Buddhism College with Ph.D. degree truly know the Dharma. This is wrong thought. Languages or letters are just tools. The Buddhism learners should learn Buddhism from their mind. The Dharma is not the Dharma if it is taught in the way of philosophy. The Dharma is the Dharma when it is adopted into the daily life. Buddha Dharma is not apart form the worldly means. Buddha was used to a human being. Therefore human beings surely can achieve all of the teachings he preached. Otherwise, Buddha would not talk about these. There are sutras that Buddha imparts to the beings in the Heaven Realm. But human beings are not able to see these sutras because they can’t achieve these teachings. Like the 37 practices of the bodhisattvas that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has taught you, you definitely could adopt these practices into your daily life, and your life will surely be improved. It is not difficult to perform the 37 practices of the bodhisattvas. The problem is you have no willing to perform the practices. You thought you should learn more Dharma that you don’t know yet. But actually the Dharma is very simple if you could realize the key point. Your mind is too complicated, and that’s why your problems happen one after another. Therefore, the most important about learning Buddhism is the Guru. Do not go in the wrong way and forget the true meaning of Buddha Dharma.

March 28, 2010

At the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, Taipei, disciples and believers reverently listened to the audio-recording of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s enlightenment on the correct attitudes of practicing Four Preliminary Practices, which was recorded on December 29th of 2002. Prior to learning Four Preliminary Practices, one should correctly cultivate his state of mind so as to obtain the attainment and benefits of practicing Four Preliminary Practices. It is very difficult to acquire opportunities to listen to Buddha Dharma, to live in an era when Buddha Dharma is available, and to be reborn as human beings. Since you had taken refuge, you ought to cherish such causes and conditions. But cherishing the causes and conditions isn’t for accumulating merits to be reborn in human or heaven realms. After taking refuge, some may take a great vow to abandon all afflictions, stay in a quiet and remote place, lead an extremely simple life with basic food and clothes, and strive to learning, pondering, and practicing Buddha Dharma. Nowadays such conditions, however, have become very difficult to obtain for both ordained practitioners and laypeople. In Taiwan or in far away places in Ching-Hai province of China or Tibet, even ordained practitioners can’t live their lives without any contact with other humans like ancient people did. Given the fact that Lord Buddha had taught dharma for 49 years and the amount of sutras is immense, without the help and theopneusty of a spiritual friend, one will have no clue as for where to begin. For instance, one may exhaust one’s lifetime but not be able to finish reading the Great Treasury of Scriptures. Thus, we should begin with following what our guru have orally transmitted to practice Buddha Dharma.

For instance, in Tibetan Buddhism, there are four major lineages. We belong to Drikung Kagyu Lineage in which the dharma tradition has been continuously orally transmitted from the first throne holder till the present. The obligations of a throne holder include governing the lineage and organize, preserve, and orally transmit all the Buddha Dharma. Within his lifetime, the throne holder must accordingly transmit every single dharma he knows to disciples with sufficient and appropriate capabilities. Some people would recite whatever mantra others told them to, practice whatever dharma they know, or make repentance according to whatever rituals they see suitable. They’d believe that without doing so they might run out of their luck. In fact, no dharma is bad dharma. No method is better than the other. The difference lies in the distinct vows of individual deities. A guru is the one who is an experienced practitioner, and who can demonstrate how to walk on a dharma path to save your time in a correct direction. Orally transmitted pithy words are all the dharma methods the guru would pass to you.

Once the three major disciples implored Master Atisha that for those who wished to achieve the state of being liberated from reincarnation which of the following should they pursue: the words, theories, and scriptures of Lord Buddha or the teachings of their gurus. Master Atisha replied: the teachings of their gurus. A guru with virtues is the one who have established solid foundation of exoteric Buddhism, who would teach Buddhism in correct methods, mindfulness and Eightfold Path, and who would absolutely know how to adopt a variety of suitable ways to teach various sentient beings. In Tibetan Buddhism, the primary teaching method is based on oral transmission of virtuous gurus. As long as a guru is virtuous and his teaching is in accordance with Buddha Dharma, we ought to on the whole follow his teachings. For instance, when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche learned Mahamudra, Rinpoche never read any print about Mahamudra and only complied with and practiced the teachings of H. H. Chetsang Rinpoche. If you wish to read Buddhist materials, you just read sutras. When you can understand the Eightfold Path from reading sutras, you shouldn’t read any other Buddhist books. It’s because human mind is already very complicated, while learning Buddhism is to achieve a simplified, purified, and uncomplicated state of mind. As you try to “understand” Buddhism, discursive thoughts had already crept in.

The reason why Lord Buddha had spent so much time in talking about Buddhism is due to stupidity and ignorance of sentient beings. The 600 rolls of Mahaprajnaparamita Sutra are all about a concept: the nature of void. Since this concept was too difficult for sentient beings to understand, Lord Buddha had to keep explaining. As a result, future generations think they should study, probe into, and understand sutras. This is in fact incorrect. Buddha Dharma is actually very simple; you need to practice it in your daily life. If we abstract Buddha Dharma into a sort of knowledge, it’ll never enough to spend our entire life in understanding it. Genuine practitioners all know that the more they practice, the simpler Buddha Dharma would become. The last stage of practicing Mahamudra is yoga of practicing nothing, which refers to the lack of the concept about “what is practicing.” For you, it would be a dreadful conceptualization. Whether you accept it or not, if you wish to learn Buddhism, you ought to absolutely rely on your guru. One day you’ll understand it. The worst is to invent Buddhist concept by your own. Over the past years, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had taught a variety of important things that were recorded. You should listen to the audio-recordings more frequently.

One of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s disciples wished to go to northern Thailand to do charities. In the mundane sense, it is a good thing. For supramundane way of practicing Buddhism, however, our lifetime is already too short for us to break free of reincarnation. When we are able to be transferred to the other side of suffering ocean, we’ll naturally have power to benefit many sentient beings. When one can be liberated from the cycle of birth and death, the number of sentient beings he can benefit since the bebingingless time would be an immeasurable figure. The law of causes and conditions is fundamental in Buddhism. In human history, there is no Buddha Dharma spread in the continent of Africa. It’s due to the lack of causes and conditions. For the second reason, Lord Buddha once said that even he couldn’t change people’s karma. In the sense of worldly virtuous deeds, after you help someone without dedicating the virtues to sentient beings, the one you helped would come back in next life to repay your kindness. Sutra of Ksitigarbha teaches us that we should bring the money to patients and the poor in person, and even have to show the poor how to make a living. Donating your wealth to charitable organizations has nothing to do with being compassionate described in sutras. Authentic compassion is to correct one’s misconducts and to genuinely learn Buddhism in order to benefit sentient beings. In Buddhist sutras, it is never mentioned about “doing charities” which would result in certain karma that will cause reincarnation. Illness and suffering is the results of certain reasons. If causes and conditions are sufficient, the sick and the sufferers will be helped by Buddha Dharma. This is the meaning of abiding by the law of causes and conditions. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has been exhausting all means to explain this way of practicing Buddhism, by which you’ll definitely be able to accomplish something. You, nonetheless, still can’t achieve anything because you have too many of your own thoughts. After taking refuge, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had been closely following Rinpoche’s guru of exoteric Buddhism or H. H. Chetsang Rinpoche. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche firmly believes what they have been doing is for Rinpoche’s sake. You, nonetheless, don’t think in this way and some evil thoughts ensue. Consequently, it would give rise to many obstacles. What Master Atisha said is to have no thoughts of one’s own because what our gurus do is to better us. Since you’ve already taken refuge under a guru, you ought to one hundred percent trust him.

Since the establishment of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, no funds have been handled by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Not a penny was used by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, either. This is the meaning of virtuous deeds. Kindness mentioned by Lord Buddha is not worldly virtuous deeds such as giving away your money. Instead, it is about transforming one’s evil karma, evil thoughts and habits accumulated from past lives to virtuous conducts. In stead of contributing material goods, a true kind deed is generated from every single thought that is for benefiting others. To be able to do so is a challenge. But you should exercise it no matter what. When you are able to do so, you are carrying out virtuous deeds. As a great master, Atisha would never lie to you. According to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s experience, as long as you can entirely rely on your guru, you life will proceed without any problems. Why do your faces still appear a dark hue and angular shapes? It’s because you have not obeyed or respected for your teacher. Ksitigarbha Sutra states that we should pay respects to our teachers, but you all fail to do so. Without such deeds is certainly a violation of what Lord Buddha had said.

The disciple continued to implore Master Atisha why? Master Atisha responded that even if you could remember all the details of sutras, use every Buddhist terms with ease, and clearly explain every Buddhist theory, without instruction of any guru, you wouldn’t know where to begin when you want to practice Buddhism. A true practitioner is not the one who has uttered Buddhist terms, read many sutras or hear all kinds of Buddha Dharma. A true practitioner is the one who can change his negative habits and thoughts according to Buddha Dharma. With such a gradual changing process, a true practitioner will be feeling worry free and leading a steady-going life. It’s not necessary to take a ten-year retreat to define an authentic practice. A retreat is just a process. Some may turn out to be not so good after performing such a retreat. The so-called authentic practices refer to the condition how you can intelligibly use Buddha Dharma in your daily life.

The Buddha Dharma Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has been teaching over the past years is to demonstrate to disciples how to gradually practice in prescribed order. Disciples wouldn’t know the meaning of authentic practices if they were randomly given Buddhist scriptures or texts to read. Without any draft, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has been instructing for more than two hours. None of you here can do this. It’s because you have yet achieved realization. You’d explain Buddhism in your own thoughts rather than with your wisdom. Nor do you possess the wisdom to comprehend sentient beings’ problems and thus your words cannot hit right onto the target. Therefore, when it comes to genuine practices, without an experienced guru, no matter how well you can read sutras or even you can understand a whole Buddhist dictionary, you might not be able to achieve anything as Master Atisha had explained to us.

The disciple then continued, “If we conduct true practice with the Guru’s guidance drawn by induction, can it make us perform virtuous deeds with our body, speech and mind?” Guru Atisha then answered, “No, it can’t. Even though you are able to abide calmly in all the practices taught by your Guru, what you practice without supramundane mind away from the reincarnation in the three realms will still plant the seeds for reincarnation. Supramundane mind is a different matter than revulsion. If you leave with revulsion, you will have a heart of hatred and be reincarnated in the three worlds. Supramundane mind refers to the three Dharma seals. You know well that this world is no fun and that everything you own is nothing but merely a process of life. What’s most important of all is whether you can leave the sufferings of reincarnation in three realms in this life. A Bodhisattva comes back to liberate the beings with supra-mundane mind. Without the supramundane mind, you will return for the enjoyments, and it will not be the act of liberating beings for you. The better you practice and the more virtuous deeds you perform, the faster you will return. It is because of the fact that many people owe you and thereby the virtuous karmic forces will draw you back.

This is also why all the gurus, His Holinesses, and Rinpoches have to perform retreat practices and conduct dharma from time to time. It is for repaying sentient beings and then no more owing them! By practicing virtuous deeds, you have to understand that even if you truly practices in accordance with your gurus’ teachings completely, without a determined supramundane mind, you will come back again. It is not the supramundane mind but witchcraft by dedicating merits to your family for letting them listen to you, for your children passing their exams. Without developing the supramundane mind, the better you practice in this life, the sooner you will come back. And it is not certain for you to get reborn as a human. Hence, one must makes determination to leave the home of reincarnation. We have to be clear about that all our relatives as well as wealth are merely causal conditions that arise and cease for certain, being impermanent. One who feels his family and career are of his own has no supramundane mind; one who feels he himself is practicing virtuous deeds has no supramundane mind, either.

Jowo Atīsha furthermore said that even if you exert yourself to practice virtuous deeds 24 hr a day, without dedicating merits toward perfect enlightenment (namely, dedicating all the virtues and merits attained everyday to all sentient beings in ten dharma realms and to the path of Buddhahood), the merits you accumulated would be contaminated. And you would go to the evil side (to the cyclic existence). The Buddha exhorted us to leave the ocean of birth and death. We must be careful. Whoever teaches Dharma without calling attention to the supramundane mind is evil. Before attaining enlightenment, your reincarnation back to the world is definitely inducted by the strength of Karma rather than your vows. Vows and Karma are two different things. You just make vows every day out of your fear of death and considering that practicing Bodhisattva Path will gain better fruit. So you do it everyday without the supramundane mind. Without dedicating your merits to all begins, all your practices even as simple as lighting a joss stick will be owed. The reason why Buddha Sakyamuni introduced out Buddha Amitabha lies in that we beings have heavy clingings, and even if we cut off our evil thoughts, we still hold to the virtuousness, with a mind thinking that we are performing virtuous deeds. Rebirth with karma, no matter virtuous or evil, is not allowed by every pure lands in the boundless space in ten dharma realms, except the Pure Land of Amitabha which favors people to be reborn with their virtuous karma.  You might be able to purify your evil karma, but it is hard for you, even the ordained people, to clear the virtuous karma (as you practice virtuous deeds with attachment to it!) For the stubborn human beings, compassionate Buddha Sakyamuni left the Expedient Means by introducing Amitabha to you. Hence there goes the 4-word in Chinese: rebirth with (virtuous) Karma.

If we do not dedicate the merits accumulated from Buddhist practice every day, we will fall into the evil thoughts. In the past some ordained people asked believers not to make dedication in that they were afraid merits were not sufficient for self-use. Thus saying is actually lying, which cannot be accepted. Don’t be afraid to make dedication. The literally meaning of making dedication is coming back. The outgoing will be incoming for certain. The more you give out, the more you get in. Ordinary people dedicate merits to their close relatives, by which is merely practicing for themselves. It has nothing to do with a Bodhisattva’s mindset and thoughts. And it will not take any effect for them no matter how they recite, practice, make offering or practice charity. Therefore, making a true dedication is giving one’s all best out. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche makes dedication for each time of conducting dhrama. Why one has to listen to Guru is because his Guru dedicates merits accumulated every day to his disciples. Not listening to Guru, one will cut off his karmic relationship with Guru.

Moreover, Jowo Atisha said that: if one’s heart is not away from the Eight Worldly Winds, all his conducts are of the mundane dharma for this life and he would not obtain path of good quality in later lives, even if he achieves well contemplation practice. Well visioning and reciting mantra are not equal to truly practicing, for one is easily moved by the Eight Winds. For lay people and ordained people, there are different difficulties and advantages on Buddhist practices. Lay people have more afflictions, while they get a better understanding in the bitterness of nature of life; in so understanding, they can make determination to renounce. On the other hand, ordained people, who also have afflictions, tend to be haughty and arrogant. But it is more convenient for them to practice, such as keeping the Pure Percepts at least. Many lay people who are still unable to break through their attachment to status will have difficulty in their Buddhist practices. The Buddha therefore said that a sangha community consists of four groups of disciples, i.e. bhiksu, bhiksuni, upasaka and upasika, so that they could be complementary to each other in their separate advantages and disadvantages. It is good for them. Jowo Atisha clearly told us with great wisdom that we must cultivate the supramundane mind. As harboring the supramundane mind, all various kinds of fames, status, positions and so forth in the world should no longer be placed in our mind. One who is still attached to them has not developed the supramundane mind.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has been diligently cultivating for the Buddhist center since 1997 and the path to liberation taught by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is neither the worldly Buddha Dharma nor the Buddha Dharma of human sympathy. If it needs title or money to learn Buddhism, you would be confused and disoriented by the Eight Winds. So these kinds of occurrences have not been allowed in this center! There are some Buddhist centers lavishing praise on their believers, or threatening them in a witchery way to donate money. That is inappropriate. We need a spiritual friend who knows what ways to adopt how to meet the standard set up by the Buddha, and he would not use the mundane Dharma (such as entitling you to be a chairman) to entice you to come to learn Buddha’s teachings. If money could buy you Dharma, Dharma would not be priceless; if the stage of realization of your practice were measured by the amount of donation from you, it would not be Dharma.  The great yogis of Drikung Kagyu such as Milarepa, Tilopa, Marpa, and Naropa had been the poorest people, but all of them became generally recognized great Siddhas all over the world. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche hopes to attain in his life at least the four words “Equality in Buddha-Dharma.” It is not measured by your status, position, or wealth, nor is it measured by whether you are doing good to your guru. It is to see if you have the supramundane mind and the sincere reverent mind to Buddha-Dharma.

It is hard to attain a human body. Just as Nagarjuna has taught, the chance is like a turtle that surfaces once every one hundred years and put its nose into a yoke. The metaphor is telling us that it is very difficult to obtain a human body and leave from the ocean of suffering. The sufferings you are taking now are the results of the evil causes from the past. A true suffering is that of reincarnation. Some people disregard it because they think they have no idea about where they were before they are born and where to go after they die. And even if they take refuge under Buddha, many of them do not believe that the reincarnation is the true suffering. They still adhere obstinately to the wrong thinking that it will make them have a sweeter temper, more beautiful appearances, or a better luck through their Buddhist practice. But that kind of thinking is non-Buddhist. Besides reincarnation of physical body, there are still fluctuations of emotions. It is not necessary until death but already starting from the birth, we have been experienced reincarnation of birth and death in every second. We are always in the cycle of reincarnation, no permanent happiness. We always fear many kinds of things, such as losing or being hurt. We have yesterdays and tomorrows, why not accept that we have past lives and future lives? If you did not accept you have past lives, you wound not believe you have ancestors without seeing them in person. The reincarnation is revealed by the Buddha with wisdom. The Buddha has taught us to observe the Five Precepts, including no false speech. In logical reasoning, what the wise elder has said definitely exists, as the Buddha must not lie to us. Don’t think the saying of reincarnation is a cheating tool used by the Buddha on us merely on account of your incapability of realizing it. The Buddha’s only goal for coming to this world is to advise all beings leave the suffering of reincarnation and obtain the permanent happiness of non-birth and non-death. In cultivating the Buddha’s teachings, you have to be very clear about what the Buddha has taught us and hoped us to achieve. What the Buddha taught us is exactly the supramundane mind. Your learning and cultivation would have nothing to do with Buddha Dharma if you still consider that there is no reincarnation. This kind of teaching, bestowed by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, is hardly heard in others center wherein they only talk about the nouns such as wisdom and meditation. However, no matter what dharma you practice, the Buddha’s ultimate purpose is to make us obtain liberation from the suffering of reincarnation and gain happiness.

One must keep in mind the above right concept and throw away the other trifles as many as possible, such as “I have to fulfill my promise of giving a certain amount of money to the Buddhist temple; Otherwise, misfortunes will come.” There is no a Buddhist temple lasting over ten thousand years. Have you seen one? The best-known giant Buddha statue in Afghanistan, with a long history, was just bombed out by a gang with different thoughts. As causes and conditions arise and cease, nothing is permanent.

The correct cognition and view in Buddhist cultivation is not merely by talking nor showed with a big Buddhist temple owned by ordain people. It is to make sure one can leave the suffering ocean of reincarnation. This is Buddha’s request. If one wants to truly repay Buddha’s grace, one must let oneself liberate from the sorrow ocean of reincarnation, but not just donate large sums of money for building a school. It is actually the thing that should be done by an entrepreneur rather than ordained people, whose real task is to guide beings to learn and cultivate Buddhism, and then obtain liberation from the ocean of birth and death. Many ancient Chinese Zen temples in remote mountains are on a small scale and have no Main Hall, or just a small one, since a Zen temple is not for accepting donations from the believers, but a place for teaching Zen to all sentient beings for liberation from birth and death. So its size does not matter. Only those seated in a downtown are financially supported by the government and have a larger scale.

Therefore, with the human form we have got today, we have an extremely slim chance to be able to leave the sea of suffering. Even though we are able to listen to the Buddhist teachings and see the Buddhas and the guru, just like the turtle which emerges from the water every hundred years seeing the wood, we will still have difficulty to get hold of them, as they, like the wood, travel under the influence of the waves and winds. In other words, we often have chances to listen to the Buddhist teachings, to see the statues of the Buddhas, and to see the guru, but have we taken advantage of such opportunities? It is really hard. Therefore, you should pay more attention when you have such an opportunity in hand, and understand that your human form is very difficult to attain. Nevertheless, only through this human form will you have the chance to leave the sea of suffering in reincarnation forever. So, taking the figures in consideration, we should know that it is very difficult to obtain a human body.

Do not think that there seem to be a lot of human beings on the earth. In fact, the total number of the sentient beings, including those in the Realm of Animals, is way larger than that of the human beings. As stated in the Buddhist sutras, the chances for one to attain a body of the three upper realms are much fewer than those for one to attain a body of the three lower realms. The number of the sentient beings that fall into the hell is as large as that of the dusts on the earth. You definitely would doubt this. Many people think that anyone would gain rebirth as a human being for sure after death. Here, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gives everyone a certain and direct answer. If one thousand people die today, their percentage of falling into the hell is 100. You would not believe it, for you would think that some of them have sought refuge, become a patron, or attended repentance ceremonies. Why would they go to the hell? This is because they donated their money with hateful thoughts, thinking that they should take the place, let the master pay attention to him, or get close to the master. That is why they would fall into the hell all the same. They would only get to be a bit better off by taking a position of a ghost king when they are in the hell.

As to others who never learned Buddhism or carried out virtuous deeds, they would fall into the hell sooner than ever. At their meeting with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, many people would say that they have never committed any evil-doings in life. Then, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would ask him two questions. Has he ever eaten meat in this life? Has he ever hated somebody in their heart? If the answers are positive, one can fall into the hell because of these two matters. You would definitely say that you do not believe such a thing. If that is the case, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will wait for you and will save you when you have fallen into the hell.

Many of the sentient beings transferred by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche came up from the hell. Why can you have better health and fewer problems in your family if you attend the Chod pujas for a long time? It is because many of your ancestors in your previous lifetimes are in the Realm of Hells. A lot of people are not pleased upon hearing these words of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, for no one wants their parents to fall into the hell. However, no one has ever dared to say no to these two questions asked by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in regard to meat-eating and hateful thoughts. As long as you have committed these deeds without feeling repented or changing yourself truthfully in accord to the Buddhist teachings, things would take place as stated in the Buddhist sutras—the number of those falling into the hell would be as large as that of dusts on the earth.

Once, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche came across an eatery by the road and saw a bucket of pickled chicken legs outside the store. A puppy went near and took one by its mouth, ready to run away with it. Someone in the store saw it and rushed out to beat the puppy. With the attack, the puppy immediately dropped the chicken leg, which was then picked up by the person and put back to the bucket without being dusted. That person will definitely fall into the hell because of his greedy thoughts and refusal to practice generosity. If the puppy had taken a piece of meat to eat, the person would not have lost a single piece of his own flesh. Nevertheless, he generated hatred in his heart for the piece of meat and immediately fell into the Realm of Hungry Ghosts. It did not wait until the person died to take effect, for he is now in the Realm of Hungry Ghosts. Because he beat the puppy, the puppy would absolutely give him a beat-up next life. Because he gave unclean food to others to eat, he would be poisoned as his karmic retribution.

Sitting in the car, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche saw the karmic retributions taking place consecutively. If you had seen the scene, you would have said that the puppy was poor only. From this incident, we see that it is very easy to go to the hell. Even if someone scratches your car, you will react with all possible expressions. Therefore, do not consider yourself free from evil-doings and will not fall into the realm. What is the gate of the hell made of? It is made of greed, hatred, and ignorance. Ask yourself if you still have any greedy or hateful thoughts. If the answers are positive, the gate to the hell is wide open for you. The number of those falling into the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, is like that of the overwhelming sand grains when the wind blows and the snowflakes falling in a snowstorm. As stated in the Buddhist sutras, the number of the sentient beings in the Realm of Animals is as large as the fungi in the distilled grains during the fermentation process of wine.

These expressions aim to tell you that it is really difficult to attain the human form. The reason why you are able to become a human being does not lie in your desire to be one. That is why the disciplinary textbook tells us not to waste our money or to go dancing. Because the human form is difficult to obtain, one should not waste his time any longer with the insufficient time we have got. We should contemplate that great benefits, i.e. the benefits for one to transfer oneself and others, can be achieved through the human form.

What is the most auspicious of all according to Gampopa? It is the jewel of human form that is the most auspicious. It is the most auspicious for one to attain his human form. In the six realms, only the human beings are able to attain Buddhahood through practice. In particular, only those who live in Jambudvipa are able to achieve such accomplishments, for those in the Uttarakuru, Aparagodaniya, and Furvavideha enjoy longevity and great entertainment. Only the human beings in Jambudvipa have more suffering than happiness so as to think about learning Buddhism. In the four Dvipas, the Buddhas only reside on the earth instead of others. Therefore, as we live as human beings on the earth, our bodies are equivalent to the Dharma instruments. We shall make use of our bodies to learn the Buddhist teachings in this lifetime. That is why Gampopa said that the jewel of human form is the most auspicious of all.

Some people might ask, as the Buddha said all the sentient beings have the nature of a Buddha, would the sentient beings in non-human realms be able to attain Buddhahood? The answer is a negative one. The so-called jewel of human form refers to one who has faith, which is basis of human form that allows one to attain liberation and all wisdoms. Therefore, the human form is also referred to the basis of auspiciousness, which means that learning Buddhism is impossible for the beings in the Realm of Animals. You can never teach a dog to recite Buddha Amitabha. Even if you are able to teach a mockingbird to recite Buddha Amitabha, it will recite it without any sincerity. The bird’s recitation would lack faith and would only be an imitation. Imitation does not take effect, for the Buddha said that faith is the mother of all the virtues and merits. When one has all the faith in the Buddhist teachings and the Buddhas, his virtues and merits will thereby begin to accumulate.

Therefore, you should listen to every principles bestowed by the Buddhas. Carry them out truthfully without any violation. If you violate the teaching, you will have nothing to do with ‘faith’. Many people claim themselves as Buddhist believers, but they are actually not. They merely worship Buddhism by burning incense, saying prayers, and presenting some fruit, but they want everything in return. One who truly has faith in Buddhism has to act according to the teachings. Whatever the Buddhas and the guru say, you should truly apply their teaching to your life without adding or subtracting anything.

Being able to be born into Jambudvipa, we have more powers to execute virtuous and evil deeds than other sentient beings. That is why the human beings in Jambudvipa are called the auspiciousness of the auspiciousness. You see, we human beings are able to destroy all the environments or to create wonderful ones. The human beings on the earth have great powers, which come from our hearts. To put it simple, whether you want to attain Buddhahood or fall into the hell relies on your heart. Nobody has set you up or tried to bring harm to you. On the other hand, no one can give you powers to attain Buddhahood. Everything is determined by your own action. We human beings really have great power of heart. As long as you are firm with all your faith in the Buddhas, you will definitely achieve the goal.

Once, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked for His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche’s advice. Being at an old age, can Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche attain Enlightenment in this lifetime? His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche replied, “Absolutely, as long as you have enough faith in your guru.” As long as you have enough faith in your guru, you will definitely see your true nature before the end of this lifetime. Carry out your deeds in accord to the guru’s instructions without fail, do not generate any more doubt, or use your own method to study Buddhism. If you had the correct method, your complexion would not be dark or angular and you would never say that your guru is incorrect.

As stated in a Buddhist Sutra, the greatest virtue in the three Dvipas and six worlds is to attain rebirth in Jambudvipa. Such a virtue is not a coincidence, but a karmic retribution through our accumulation of the two provisions in our previous lifetimes. The two provisions refer to merits and wisdom. It is the accumulation of the two provisions that enables us to have a complete human form to learn Buddhism. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has told everyone about four of his previous lifetimes. Other ones are still yet to be tracked down because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has had more than four lifetimes. In other words, the fact that you are able to manifest as a human being lies in that you must have carried out virtuous deeds and listened to the Buddhist teachings. Otherwise, it would be impossible for your life to be like this. The fact that you were able to come to the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center is directly related to your previous lives. If not, you would have come. All these are results of gradual accumulation.

As stated in the Essence of Mahayana, we have obtained this human body with the power of merits and it would be difficult for us to attain such a perfect body in the future. Why do the Buddhist sutras say that those who commit suicide would definitely fall into the hell? It is because he consumes all his merits at once. Committing suicide is more sinful than killing a person. One who kills a person might have relevant karmic connection from his past lifetimes, but to kill oneself is equivalent to killing a person, too. By doing that, one cuts off all his merits accumulated in previous lifetimes. In addition, our bodies are regarded as Dharma instruments for our Buddhist study in Exoteric Buddhism. In Tantric Buddhism, our bodies are the mandalas of Hundred Peaceful and Wrathful Deities. One who commits suicide is no different than spilling a Buddha’s blood, and thereby would fall into the hell immediately.

Some people say that there has once been a suicide in a certain place, so there is a ghost in that place. Actually, it is not a ghost, but a form of Qi in there. After the suicide, this person’s soul has already gone down immediately to the realm of Hell. After he has been in the realm of Hell, his life will repeat continuously every day. If he died by jumping off a building, he will see he himself jumping down and cracking his head. When he wakes up, he will jump down again.

When the person who committed suicide is in the Hell, no matter how many people are in the room, even if the room is completely packed inside, he just feels that he is alone; it is pitch-black all around him and there is no light at all. Therefore, if you have any chance to encounter anyone who has the idea of suicide, especially in the next few years, you should persuade him not to commit suicide.

After we have attained the treasure of this human body, if we can know how to use it, the benefit will be even greater than the benefit of owning the Mani jewel. The Mani jewel is the object holding in the hands of the four-armed Avalokiteshvara. As long as you pray to the Mani jewel, the Mani jewel will satisfy your wishes. The things one prays here should be the things related to Buddha dharma and the rule of cause and effect; it should not be such thing as praying to get married sooner. For the prayers related to Buddha dharma, this Mani jewel will grant all your wishes. If we can make good use of our human body, then our human body is even more auspicious then the Mani jewel. If we use this body to practice Buddha dharma, we will obtain perfection in this life, slightly worse, obtain a virtuous place in later lives, that is, reborn in the virtuous realms, or even attain Nirvana and attain Buddhahood.

In this life, no matter what you eat, what you wear, what you have encountered, or what kind of job you have, they are all related to your past lives and you cannot escape from your past lives. Many people do not really accept this concept and think that why they are like this and feel that the god in the heaven is not good to them, and so on.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had once encountered a pair of monozygotic twins before. From the perspective of medical science, they were the same. But why did both of them, a sister and a brother, have different personalities, preferences, appearances, academic achievements, and jobs? This was because they had different habits brought from their past lives.

Although, from the viewpoint of medical science, the twins were from the same egg and should be completely identical material-wise, but their souls were different. Different soul will bring its own karma from its past lives. Hence, the conditions showing from them were completely different. Science can neither prove this point nor explain why the same material will generate different effects. Only Buddha dharma can explain this with the dharma of causes and conditions from past lives. Because they were reborn from different souls, after coming out from the womb, they would develop their habits, personalities, and movements, etc. based on the karma of their past lives.

Is there any past life? Certainly there is, because all the things happened to you in this life are the manifesting results of what you had done in your past lives. Such as this, are our fates already determined? Not necessarily. Taking Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s own story as an example, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not begin to practice Buddha dharma until 38 years old. If, originally, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not have any chance to come to Taiwan, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would not be able to learn Buddhism. In other words, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s causes of learning Buddha dharma in the past lives were very strong, but it still needs the causes and conditions in this life to help open it. It would not be possible if the causes and conditions were not present.

Why does Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche stress here that we have to grasp in this life? Although Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also mentioned things related to past lives and future lives, the things of your future lives are there for you only if you have done well in this life. Simply speaking, if Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s causes and conditions of learning and practicing Buddha dharma in the past lives were not very good and lack of strengths, even if Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would still attain a human body in this life, it was possible that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s life would be in vain and had no chance to attain any achievement. Because the law of cause and condition is ever-changing and not fixed, Buddha then enlightened us that we should not seek fortune-telling and divination. As long as you understand Buddha dharma, you can then control your future life and will not use your fate to determine what your life will be.

Therefore, if you want to know your future lives, they are from what you have done in this life. We must be aware that the fact that we can attain a human body or even listen to Buddha dharma and practice Buddha dharma in this life is from the habits accumulated from every generation of our past lives; these habits let us come again in this life. However, if you do not grasp well in this life, it will be hard for you to reborn as a human being in your future lives.

Milarepa had said before, “All the methods orally transmitted by the guru can let you attain the achievements of Bodhi path.” We have to understand that we need to have this human body and this karma to learn Buddha dharma; but we also have to understand that if the conditions were not present, we would not be able to learn Buddha dharma either. The reason we have to attend pujas and to listen to Buddha dharma is to continuously accumulate our conditions. This condition has to be created by you yourself, not by Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, or the guru. Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and the guru will help you to start this condition; but you have to decide whether you want to receive this condition or not and whether you want to extend this condition or not.

The things you had done in your past will affect the life and everything in your current life; and all the results in your future will be affected by your deeds in this life. This is like that if you do not have enough sleep today, you will have no energy tomorrow; if you sleep well today, you will have spirits tomorrow when you go to work. Hence, if in this life you are not under the influence of Buddha dharma and do not truly learn and practice Buddha dharma, your evil karma will be definitely more than your virtuous karma in your future lives. Perhaps you may feel that you have done nothing wrong. The sutra of Ksitigarbha has stated, “All minds and thoughts generated from an ordinary person are all karma and faults.” All thoughts generated from us are all for the benefits of ourselves and not for the benefits of others.

If you have the mind of liberating from this world and determine to practice the supra-mundane dharmas, then you will not have any obstacle in your mundane matters. On the contrary, if you only want to use Buddha dharma to help your mundane matters, then the effects will be limited, because doing such cannot change your karma. Only practicing the supra-mundane dharmas can change your karma from generations of past lives, because the karmic creditors from generations of your past lives know that after you practice Buddha dharma they can be reborn in the Pure Land together with you, so they will not come to hinder you. If you just take advantage of Buddha dharma, the karmic creditors from generations of your past lives will still come to impede you.

There were some people who had registered to attend the Chod puja, but cancelled the registration at the last moment. They had already occupied the quota of the allowed attendees and prevented some believers who had more needs to attend the Chod puja from attending. This kind of behaviors showed that they did not respect the guru, Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas, and had even less reverence to their karmic creditors. They did not cherish the dharma and is not qualified to attend the puja again. The Chod dharma is one of the eight major dharmas of accomplishments in Tibetan Buddhism and is very difficult to conduct and attain achievements. However, the harder the dharma is to be conducted, the bigger its strength will be for benefiting sentient beings and the fastest it will be to help the sentient beings of heavy karma in the Dharma-Ending age. His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche had personally said that in the past each lama had to practice the Chod dharma every day. Not to mention that you only come once a month and do not practice the dharma by yourselves. You should not treat attending the puja as a child play; the practitioner who conducts the Chod puja has to contribute a great deal. For each one of you coming in, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has to visualize and contemplate for that person; if Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche does not have enough meditative strength, the dharma could not be conducted. In this venue, there was never a rule of paying a fee for a person to attend the puja; this is because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche hopes that everyone can be liberated from the sufferings. If one treats attending the puja as a restaurant reservation and canceling the reservation if not coming, one will disappoint those who really want to participate in the puja. For those long-term participants of the Chod puja, their health will become better, their family will be all right. These are all the cares of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. There are so many dharma venues in Taiwan; but since you have come here, you should calm you mind and do not think too much. “Xi-Fu” is to cherish the blessings and virtues you have owned. “Cherishing” does not mean no use, but mean to use it in the right place. The fact that you have diligently come to listen to Buddha dharma today indicates that you are cherishing your virtues.

After you have attained the human body, you must make good use of it. Pain and joy are not given by others, but are controlled in our own hands. If we are thinking of eternal happiness, we should diligently practice the true dharma and the virtuous deeds. The Buddha dharma of liberating from the cycles of rebirth and death just can be called the true dharma. If a dharma cannot help to liberate from the cycles of rebirth and death, even thought it contains Buddhist terms, it is not a true dharma. Making offerings and giving alms are part of Buddha dharma practices; they can nurture our virtues and enable us to practice Buddhism. However, offering and donating only attains virtues, not wisdom. It is the method of wisdom which can truly let us escape from the cycles of rebirth and death. When we begin to learn Buddha dharma, we have to practice for virtues first, then further to practice for wisdom. Before we attain Buddhahood or even after we attain Buddhahood, both dharmas of virtues and wisdom should be practiced continuously since we want to benefit all sentient beings.

If we hope that the second half of our life will be happier than the first half of our life and our future life will be even better, we have to understand that we need to practice Buddha dharma such that our future can be changed. It is stated in “Bodhisattvacharyavatara”, “Virtues and merits will reduce the sufferings in one’s body.” Virtues are obtained through making offerings and giving charities; merits are obtained through practicing Buddha dharma truly. One who has virtues and merits will have less illness or even no illness at all. One who has enough virtues and merits will not get sick; one who has meditative strength will not get sick; one who has high wisdom will not get ill either. The illnesses here do not mean small problems, but refer to the illnesses which will prevent the person from practicing Buddha dharma. Through the various methods of wisdom and convenience, practicing Buddha dharma will calm one’s mind. Those who practice the Bodhisattva’s path will never detest and leave sentient beings because of seeking their own happinesses.

If you have obtained a perfect body or a successful life, do not be complacent. You should use this kind of environment to further increase your wisdom in your path to practice Buddha dharma such that your mind can be calm and joyful and you can understand all the selfless wisdoms, that is, understand the wisdom of void of nature of all selfless dharmas and leave far away from the extremes of elaboration. The character of “Xi” (戲) does not mean a game. It refers that in the eyes of a practitioner there are no worry, attachment, and distinction to all the things in this world; all phenomena are like games which are not real and just processes; the practitioner will not have likes and dislikes and can be away from the persistence of all worldly behaviors and thoughts. Therefore, a practitioner of Bodhisattva’s path has to make sure that the essences of three wheels are void of nature and will not persist in his own behaviors and what he has done; he will continue to benefit sentient beings under no conditions. If a practitioner of Bodhisattva’s path has not attained the level of leaving the extremes of elaboration, he will not attain any accomplishment.

The Mahamudra is often presented as four stages. They are: “yoga of one-pointedness” as the first one, “yoga of simplicity” the second one, “yoga of one taste” the third one (achieved Fifth-ground Bodhisattva attainment), and the fourth is “yoga of no more meditation” (achieved Eighth-ground Bodhisattva attainment). Before one can make practice of the Mahamudra, the Four Preliminary Practices must be accomplished; otherwise, one cannot have attainment even though you receive oral instructions from one’s guru. Mahamudra is a method of meditation. You disciples have not been taught the instructions on meditation, because your karma is not yet cleaned, your physical body is not changed, your renunciation mind is not firm, and your merits are not enough. Therefore, it would simply become wasting time if you take meditation practices.

In the “yoga of one-pointedness”, the practices are cessation and clear observation. Cease deluded thoughts and observe the phenomena in the world with the pure nature of one’s true mind. Before the accomplishment of the Four Preliminary Practices, one’s karma is not cleaned and therefore the mind can not achieve state of still and calmness. To clean the karma does not refer to remove it, but is to lower its negative energy and to increase its positive energy. In scientific terms, they can be positive electricity and negative electricity. The physical body of those who accomplished the Full Prostration would become better, because the negative energy is decreased continually.

If one has not accomplished the Four Preliminary Practices, it is almost impossible to achieve state of “luminous mind and clear nature”. Those attainted practitioners of Zen schools are great Bodhisattvas in their past lifetimes, and you are not supposed to be. Before having received the Zen meditation instructions from Bodhidharma who is known as the Zen lineage founder, the second lineage holder cut off one of his arms in the snowing day in order to request teachings from his guru, and what he received from his guru were only a few words.

To become a true practitioner, it is not that you practice reciting with experienced fellow group leader each day in the seven-day ceremony. In Tibetan Buddhism, the Four Preliminary Practices are the very essential basics for higher practice methods. If one does not accomplish the foundation stage, one’s karma would not be cleaned, no merits can be accumulated, and cannot embody the guru’s teachings in one’s practices. In Tibetan Buddhism, massive theories and methods are condensed together. It is powerful; the standards of criteria are also high, no compromise. If one does not achieve the standards, one would not be given higher practices and can be eliminated. The transmission would not be given simply to fulfill one’s request. If you can accomplish the practices, it will definitely change your remaining lifetime. If you do not make up your mind, you do not follow the guru’s guidance, nor do you change yourself according to the teachings, even the Dharma protectors cannot help change you. Your own mind determines if you do it or not. Regarding the meditation, if one does not accomplish the “yoga of one-pointedness”, the higher stages would be helpless. Concentration of the mind refers to the state that your thoughts become still in a certain phenomenon. For example, each time while performing the Chod ritual, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s body stills. In contrast, your body moves after your disturbed thoughts and cannot stay calm and focused, therefore you would feel soreness in your legs.

Bear in mind that the world affairs are illusive and unreal. Its appearance though can be felt and touched, but its nature is changing and delusive. Take a table as an example, you can see the existing out form, but in reality the atoms or molecules of the table are constantly changing and therefore it is delusive.

Seeds fall to ground from trees; it is subject to the causes and conditions. But the nature is delusive as the phenomenon changes in each and every moment. From scientific viewpoint, the physical form does exist so we can touch it, see it, and feel it. However, its inner nature does change continuously. In theories of Physics, atomic fission and molecular fission happen all the time and within any materials. Through his wisdom, Buddha had figured out such phenomenon thousands of years ago; Buddha tells us the truth of the reality.

Buddha teaches us not to adhere or to attach on the phenomenon any more. You might think someone likable at this moment, but it can become hateful in next moment. Such transition of feeling could become your sufferings as you adhere to the notion of “likable”. What we have is changing all the time; therefore, Buddha teaches us to renunciate, to abandon, to make charity and offerings. It is to train you to increase the strength of your renunciation mind. Every “container”, within our eyesight, in the world is changing in every single second. Therefore, Buddha teaches us not to rely on our naked eyes but rather use our mind. Buddha is the true scientist. He had figured out the ultimate nature of the “container world”, and enlightened us that the true world itself has not ever stopped changing. If one adheres to a state of “no change”, the sufferings and trouble would simply begin and thus karma originates from there. If one takes the theories Buddha disseminated and learns that everything visible is delusive, one would certainly make up one’s mind to escape from the cyclic reincarnations.

If one does not practice and accumulate virtuous deeds but commits to various bad deeds in the contrary, it would be certain that one’s remaining lifetime will be full of more sufferings. Take the age of thirty-five as a split line; if your daily life after the age of thirty-five changes toward better and peaceful, it is an indication of your accumulating virtuous deeds. If not, you have to correct yourself as quick as possible. Instead, if you feel that much sorrows, sufferings, and trouble in your daily life, it indicates that your have not relied on Buddha Dharma and you are still making negative deeds. Then, not only your remaining lifetime but also your future lives would become worse. One must abandon all evils and do good deeds, to the level of hundred percent; the future can become virtuous. Don’t give up any opportunities to practice virtues. True virtues are not good things in this world; they have to be supramundane. It refers to the liberation from cyclic life and death, by which all beings can dwell in joyfulness and be away from the suffering. Worldly or mundane goodness has limitation in space and temporal aspects. From the perspective of the universe, if compared the mundane goodness to the time taken in a cycle of formation, existing, decay, and disappearance of the earth, the mundane goodness exists in very short period of time. The true virtue is to escape from cyclic life and death. Always firmly keep it in your mind. Apart from it, your practices of the Dharma are simply a fallacy.

Buddha Dharma is not for growing our wealth. Your future will naturally become full of wealth if you accumulate virtues. The reason is not because you learn Buddhism; but Buddhas and Bodhisattvas would make use of some methods from such as Mammon, the God of Wealth, to make you happy. The technique is called “attracting through their wishes”. We have to make the most of this life. If our motivation is merely to gather happiness and to throw away sufferings; in fact, the animals are living in the same style. Therefore, once we have obtained the human body that; that we ought to follow and practice the true Dharmas makes us be different from the animals. Nowadays, many people, who learn Buddhism, are seeking delights – but not true joyfulness of the Dharma which is obtained from liberation of cyclic life and death. They are seeking worldly fame or reputation; it’s the same as the animals. Learning Buddhism is not a training for how to away from getting a scolding. If one would enjoy soft speech of wheedling and praises, one has immersed the Eight Winds. How could they accomplish the practices of Buddha Dharma?

To escape from cyclic life and death and to benefit all beings, one must first obtain the human body. Human body is difficult to obtain. Relying on the human body, that gathers leisure and perfect opportunities, one could accomplish Buddha Dharma in three levels. The most basic one is aware of the sufferings in three lower realms, to pursue attainments of having rebirth in upper realms, to practice Ten Virtues and charities, to keep one’s vows, to meditate and so forth. Since one has not generated strong renunciation mind, the result can only be one of the three upper realms. The middle level, the practitioner realizes all the appearances. Their training primarily relies on no-self wisdom, and secondarily on precepts and meditation. They do take accounts of the methods for practicing; their practices are known as voice-hearer and perfect enlightenment. The third one is the high level. Practitioners of this level would make use of meditation and tantric methods. Their practices follow the guidance from the guru to the attainment of Rainbow Body that would be reborn in pure lands or attain perfect enlightenment in the Bardo state. The attainment is the most supreme one. Nowadays in Taiwan area, most of the people are taking practices of the basic (low) level; their motivation is to get rid of sufferings in their next life. Some better ones might accomplish the standards of the middle level. To attain true enlightenment, one has to accomplish the foundation of exoteric Buddhism and then rely on the help from tantric methods and instructions of the guru so that one could have attainment in this life.

Having obtained the human body as a jewel, one would not have any attainment if one has no firm faith on the Dharma. In the Avatamsaka Sutra, it is said that one with little faith cannot understand Bodhiccitta. Therefore, one must generate strong aspiration and belief. Faith can be presented as three kinds: the first one is of Clear Faith – upon seeing the guru, one is motivated with clean and pure mind and the faith is generated. The second one is Longing Faith – one is aspired after the attainment of the guru. The third one is Trusting Faith – one develop faith on the profound teachings. As the Master Gampopa said, the precious human body which has leisure, endowment, and the three faiths is called the working basis for the practice of supreme enlightenment.

Although it is hard to meet a Guru, it is much harder for a Guru to find a disciple of high capability. Why Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche taught you the right attitude to practice the Four Preliminary Practices in details is to let you disciples understand that practicing the Four Preliminary Practices is very hard to obtain. Only in this way, your mind could be open to practice diligently with firm faith.

Updated on April 7, 2010