Event Calendar of The His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche

March 5, 2011

From 4:50 PM to 8:40 PM, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave enlightenment to 79 believers of Buddhism and helped them to relieve all kinds of suffering in the world at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, Taipei.

March 6, 2011

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche presided over an auspicious regular puja, teaching the important concepts from Avalokiteshvara Universal Gate Chapter of Lotus Sutra, different levels of Bodhicitta and the auspiciousness of Mantra at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, Taipei.

Prior to the beginning of the puja, a male disciple who had taken refuge on July 18th, 2010 shared with all attendees the story of how His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has compassionately helped his daughter who suffers from epilepsy. The disciple also praised the auspiciousness of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Buddhist teachings, and repented the mistakes he had made.

On July 30 of 2008, his wife was one week overdue in giving birth to their eldest daughter. There were no signs of birth pains or contractions in his wife, and the doctor then asked them to check into the hospital and be prepared for a pituitrin injection. The results of the antenatal examination showed that everything was normal, and the birth itself also went smoothly. However, once their daughter was born a lump was found on top of her head. Nurses said it shouldn’t be a problem so he and his wife didn’t pay further attention to it.

After one month of rest at home following the birth, they found that their daughter’s limbs would tremor involuntarily. They videoed the conditions and brought the tape with them to see a doctor of pediatric neurology. The doctor immediately diagnosed that it was epilepsy. This news was like a bolt from the blue. They were suddenly at a loss, feeling panicked and not knowing what to do. Their only option was to follow the doctor’s instructions, giving their daughter the medicine for epilepsy called “luminal.” After taking this medicine, his daughter always fell into deep sleep. Her motions and cognition also became slow. Although he worried about the side effects, his wife couldn’t bear to see their daughter suffering from seizures so they kept giving her the medicine. During that time, the doctor also gave her regular MRI and EEG checks. The doctor thought the brain structure wasn’t showing any obvious abnormality, even though the folds of the convolution in the brain seemed to be fewer than those of a normal child. Her brain waves indeed showed abnormal waveforms, indicating she was suffering from the disease of “infantile spasms.”  Children with this disease will almost always develop a low intelligence.

On hearing this, they began to desperately try everything, running around like headless chickens praying to gods and ghosts and seeking divinations.  However, they still could not see any improvement in their daughter’s condition, and their anxieties were not relieved at all. As a result of this helplessness and worrying about their daughter’s future life, his wife had told him several times that, rather than watching their daughter in great suffering, she would rather end their lives. She could not accept their daughter’s condition which she saw as being like a death penalty. Fortunately, his wife did not put her words into actions. Otherwise, he would not have the opportunity to come to the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center to meet His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and encounter the auspicious teachings of Tibetan Buddhism. Although he tried to comfort his wife with the idea that they should just think as if they were raising the child for the gods, his wife’s suffering was not reduced at all, and her condition was close to depression. Her daughter’s seizure patterns of epilepsy changed with age, evolving from the original tremor of limbs to the stiffness of limbs; her eyes changed from a dull look to scared one; her face was swollen and red and looked terrible. The frequency of epilepsy seizures increased as well. His wife also tried administering other Chinese or Western medicines, but these treatments had no effect. The epilepsy seizures still did not stop, just fluctuating between getting better and worse.

In August 2009, through his daughter’s Occupational Therapist’s introduction, he got acquainted with a couple who were disciples of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center. He heard how their son had also had epilepsy, but after regularly going to the Glorious Jewel Chinese Medicine Clinic for treatment, his epileptic condition improved significantly, until the seizures almost did not occur at all.

They had nothing but praise for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and attributed their son’s recovery to his blessing. As his wife was pregnant with their second child at the time,  the disciple asked for more details but found that he had just missed the opportunity to meet His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for the first time. Thankfully, after hearing of the disciple’s daughter’s condition, the dharma brother enthusiastically shared all kinds of knowledge with him, about Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s great compassion and ability, about the how Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had helped his younger brother and elder sister, and about the true stories of how Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche liberated countless sentient beings. In particular, it was hearing how the Dharma brother’s child’s disease never broke out again after being blessed by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche that strengthened the disciple’s faith to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

On October 10th, 2009, according to the Dharma brother’s instruction, he needed to go to Glorious Jewel Jewellery Company to register for seeking an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The Dharma brother told him that he could go and register on his behalf, and on hearing this, the disciple was struck by the Dharma brother’s kind consideration and generosity, so thinking of saving himself trouble, he accepted the Dharma brother’s enthusiastic help. Afterwards, however, he realized that since he was to implore the Vajra Guru His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for his daughter’s sake, he should have been there for registering by himself. Although he did  register personally later on, he regretted that he had at first acted selfishly, and he was repentant of being an unworthy person who had no sincere heart to Buddha-Dharma, just like those whom Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had mentioned about.

On that evening, the disciple and three of his family members had the opportunity to meet with the His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The venue of the Glorious Jewel Jewellery Company was crowded with believers and disciples. When they knelt down before Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, he asked them what they were to pray for. The disciple said that not long after his daughter’s birth, her hands and feet started to tremble from time to time and she was diagnosed with epilepsy by doctors. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then asked if his daughter took any medicine. He said his daughter had taken both Chinese medicine and Western medicine. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said that epilepsy is a disease that is incurable, no matter by Chinese medicine or Western medicine. He told the disciple that his daughter’s illness was karmic retribution resulting from his ancestor’s karma of killing snakes. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told them that his daughter would recover, but he couldn’t be sure as to when. Knowing that he was not a true believer in Buddha Dharma, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche enlightened him that the solution was they, both husband and wife, should adopt vegetarian diets and attend pujas. Moreover, after they went home they should tell their parents the reason why they were adopting such a diet.

So, from October 11th the disciple and his daughter are regularly attending the puja every Sunday, as well as a monthly Chod puja, which are conducted by Venerable Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. His daughter’s epileptic seizure frequency has since reduced. Originally his daughter had more than ten seizures every month, but under the compassionate blessings of Venerable Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the number of seizures has been reduced to single digits. Meanwhile he is also grateful to the Glorious Jewel Clinic of Chinese Medicine, established by His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, which guards his family’s health.

The disciple then expressed his thanks for the help of Buddha Dharma, which was given to him by His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, and he also repented his wrongdoings.

1. The first time he attended the auspicious puja on Sunday in the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, he viewed the puja with an ordinary person’s confused heart. He wondered why there were so many Dharma brothers with vests serving the crowd at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center. They seemed just like Christians who attend church weekly for worship. To him, who was unwilling to be constrained and used to leading a selfish life, it was hard to imagine. Then he began to have doubts and suspicions. Had he been cheated and joined some kind of strange new religious group?

These self-protecting thoughts were aroused immediately. Fortunately, at that moment His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche ascended the Dharma Throne with a host of dharma instruments blowing and recited the mantras. The disciple was overcome with emotion and couldn’t help shedding tears. He couldn’t describe that strange but familiar feeling. That shock, His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once gave enlightenment, represents the feeling that comes from the guru unfolding disciples’ originally existing virtuous root. This virtuous root is obscured by our ingrained greed, hatred, ignorance, arrogance, and suspicion, while we do not admit to our faults and continue committing bad deeds. In addition, at the Chod puja in October, 2009, while His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche completed the ceremony with incomparable compassion and led more than 1000 disciples to recite the Six Syllable Mantra, the disciple shed tears once more as he thought of his daughter’s suffering and sentient beings’ sufferings. He usually just thought of his own suffering, without caring about other sentient beings’ sufferings. It is because of His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s continuous teaching and compassionate blessings that he could listen to the rare Buddha Dharma at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center.

2. He received great inspiration from the enlightenment given by His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Namely, he saw into his heart that he had just wanted good  for himself, and he thought that, by depending on the blessings bestowed by His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, his daughter would not suffer from epileptic seizures anymore.  He selfishly wanted to relieve his heart’s suffering by making use of Buddha Dharma. He recalled how, before his daughter’s birth, every time he saw poor or disabled friends, he felt an unbearable feeling in his heart but he couldn’t appreciate other sentient beings’ suffering in any way. After his daughter’s unfortunate condition developed, he then came to deeply appreciate the enlightenment that His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave.

The greed of attachment to the family is so strong. It is so selfish to only want to make his heart be freed from suffering. If they had not taken refuge under His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, they would always have sought a life of happiness while avoiding suffering and only think about the happiness and sufferings of themselves.  But this would be without thinking of the lots of other sentient beings, which are closely connected to us, and have the same afflictions and sufferings. His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once gave enlightenment that physical disease and pain are all related to the killing karma and evil thought. The disciple just hoped that he himself had no suffering but forget how other sentient beings suffer from our hurt. Don’t we need to pay it back?

3. He was very attracted towards the image of the freedom and well-being of the Buddhist practitioner before he took refuge. Although he did get involved in the practices of exoteric Buddhism and activities of the non-Buddhist path, at the bottom of his heart he still felt disturbance and unease, and tried to gain experiences from many different places. Just as the venerable vajra guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had said, when one is trying to comprehend Buddha Dharma by one’s own life experiences, there is also a tendency to lack full understanding and disagree with Buddhist teachings according to one’s dislikes.  He later learned “After Samyuktagama Sutra” and associated sutras and scriptures from one lay practitioner, as well as getting in touch with Theravada Buddhism. He felt joy in learning the truth enlightened by Sakyamuni Buddha at the time of the first turning of the wheel of Dharma, but he could not apply the dharma and implement it into his daily life. However, when he first visited the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center and heard the enlightenments of Buddha Dharma from the venerable vajra guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, he found out that Buddha Dharma could be something so plain, clear and real. His heart was confused, and he did not believe in Mahayana Buddhism, with its mythical stories about the transferring of consciousness of heaven and humans, and the ghosts of the six realms of life. Also, he was being affected and misled by disparaging statements regarding Tibetan Buddhism, and there was great doubt rising from the bottom of his heart about the behavior of denying Mahayana Buddhism and disclaiming the ways of teachings from the generations of gurus from Tibetan Buddhist history, which was a very big fault. He heard from many Buddhist brothers who shared their experiences of how they were helped His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued to teach the disciples Buddha Dharma with compassion and influential powers. They learned the wisdom of the nature of emptiness to be liberated from the reincarnation of birth and death, to enlighten the merciful and compassionate mind, the Bodhicitta and the cultivation of Dharma methods, to observe one’s speech and actions in daily life, and to make repentance for the karmic deeds carried from previous life-times. He witnessed in person the wise words of the venerable vajra guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche himself, who enlightened that “The force of compassion and mercy is the greatest force in the whole universe”.

4. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had many experiences when his own karmic retribution had manifested themselves. He experienced cancer, business failure, divorce, disobedience of his children, and other setbacks in life, but he never asked the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for a better life, and just bore the karmic retributions with a joyful mind, making repentance with a full heart and striving to practice Buddha Dharma diligently. For any ordinary person like himself, said the disciple, the venerable vajra guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is the greatest example for learning and practicing Buddhism.

Finally, he wished His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche good health, and gave thanks for the teachings of Buddha Dharma existing in the universe.

After ascending the throne, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued in bestowing upon attendees the precious teachings about Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara Universal Gate Chapter of Lotus Sutra as follows:

The Chinese title of the Lotus Sutra is “Miao Fa Lian Hua Jing”, in which the first character “Miao” doesn’t mean splendid. Nor does it mean ingenious. It refers to auspiciousness. The second character “Fa” doesn’t imply a method, rather it means Buddha Dharma that can help sentient beings to be liberated from the cycle of birth and death. Together, these two characters mean an auspicious Dharma to liberate sentient beings from the cycle of birth and death. The two characters “Lian Hua” indicate lotus. In sutras, there are many lotus metaphors. For instance, when coming to escort sentient beings to the pure land, Amitabha Buddha uses lotuses to escort them. In fact, many other Buddhas also use lotuses to escort sentient beings. The character “Jing” refers to the experiences of Buddha’s practices and the words that Buddha had said. Individual characters in Sutras are indeed related to Dharma practices, which are the state of mind that came about as Buddha obtained accomplishments. Every practitioner can also achieve such a state of mind.

The “Universal Gate of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara” chapter is an important text particularly introduced by Buddha Sakyamuni, at request of Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva, for the practitioners on the Bodhisattva path. The text consists of profound and extensive practice means. Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara is a Mahasattva who has attained the Dharma body and realized perfect penetration by means of the faculty of hearing. Besides, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara has especially profound karmic connections with the beings on Earth. The Chinese character “Guan” refers to visualizing through the Dharma nature the suffering and affliction felt by the beings reincarnated in the six realms. The character “Shi” refers to the sentient beings reincarnated in this world. The character “In” refers to the voices or feelings of the sentient beings that pray for salvation. The character “Pu” refers to salvaging the sentient beings without differentiation as Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara liberates all the suffering sentient beings non-differentially with his loving kindness and compassion. The character “Men” refers to reaching deep through one practice means. The means of liberation through which one practices in order to be freed from the cycle of birth and death is the correct path.

Long ago, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche recited mantras for the first and the only time at the death bed of his good friend’s father who didn’t learn Buddhism when he was alive. After half an hour’s focused recitation of Amitabha Buddha’s auspicious name without any other thoughts, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had a vision of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva arriving with a bunch of white lotus flowers to escort the deceased. The deceased, however, was not willing to leave because he was very much worried about his wife. At that time, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s friend was busy in greeting guests and taking care of matters for masters to recite mantras. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told the friend that he should go to the deceased and whisper in his ear that he would look after the mother with great care. After this was done, the consciousness of the deceased was willing to leave and a lotus descended to take him away.

From this story, we can know that if a practitioner doesn’t know a deceased’s clinging thoughts, how can the practitioner know whether the mantra recitation is helpful? When a deceased’s thoughts are clinging to something or someone, even if a Bodhisattva appears in front of him, he will not be willing to leave. If a practitioner is not able to know the thoughts of the deceased, he or she can simply focus on reciting a Buddha’s name without wishing for anything such as liberating and transferring the deceased.

In Exoteric Buddhism, to liberate and transfer the deceased, it requires a practitioner with sufficient experience and ability who will be able to let the deceased leave without any clinging. In Esoteric Buddhism, a practitioner can perform pujas to push the deceased’s consciousness out of his or her body. So as Buddhists who learn Buddhism in daily life, we should frequently be in connection with Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Otherwise, if we don’t know Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, after we die when a Bodhisattva comes to bring us away, we won’t be able to follow the Bodhisattva. The meaning of “prayers would be answered” doesn’t refer to the condition when Buddhas and Bodhisattvas must fulfill what you ask for. Nor does it mean one’s prayers would be answered if one prays all day long or all the time. Some may wish for wisdom, but wisdom can’t be attained by just wishing for it. Some may ask to be enlightened, but if the state of being enlightened can be asked for, that wouldn’t be called being enlightened, either. What is being enlightened? It means to realize the void of nature. How can the understanding of the void of nature be obtained by praying? When you practice Buddhism without asking for anything and then you strive to benefit sentient beings, even if you don’t ask for anything, you will be enlightened sooner or later. If you pray to Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara to break off the cycle of birth and death, Avalokiteshvara will respond to your prayer. But if you pray to satisfy your own desires, there will definitely be no response. Some people would claim that they can’t control their thoughts and desires. However, it is not that they can’t control their desires. Rather it is that they are used to indulging themselves and haven’t practiced how to control their desires. For instance, if you are asked to jump from a building, how come you can control yourself from jumping? It’s because you know the consequence of being dead immediately. You won’t do it. But many things that Buddhas and Bodhisattvas taught us not to do, we think there won’t be immediate negative effects, and we yield to our desires.

Yesterday, when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche received believers, a disciple in her seventies who has taken refuge in January, 2011, expressed her grievances that she couldn’t accept the fact that her son had died at the age of forty-one. She hasn’t been able to step out of her grief. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave her the enlightenment that she only focused on her own feelings without any compassion. She has been selfish and full of greed, forgetting that as she took refuge she promised Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche three things. The second thing was “taking refuge under Buddha Dharma, one would diminish his or her desires and become noble.” One’s desires should be terminated, otherwise one won’t develop to be an honorable person. A Chinese ancient saying teaches us that one without any desires would possess a dignified character. As long as she has taken refuge and become a disciple, she ought to learn how to apply Buddha Dharma in her daily life. She should learn to put to an end to her desires. Her son was already liberated and transferred by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Many of her problems were also helped by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Did she want Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche as her son? She was already in her seventies, not being able to give birth to another son. This disciple forgot the kindness of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and her vows to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche as she took refuge. When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche ignored his own exhaustion, rushing from the airport to the Buddhist center for receiving believers, she was so selfishly asking Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to help her from her sorrows. She only hoped to obtain comfort and sympathy. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche isn’t a psychiatrist. Even if Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche were one, with Rinpoche’s dharma teachings and abilities, a fee of one million dollars per hour wouldn’t be excessive, but you wouldn’t be willing to pay it. Thus Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche took back her vest of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, meaning she was no longer qualified to be a disciple. She lived her life according to her feelings, not believing in the law of cause and effect. The teachings of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche couldn’t penetrate her mind. Given these conditions, it would be useless for her to take part in pujas. This is how the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center distinguishes itself from other Buddhist centers. Masters of other Buddhist centers might just let her cry and give her the sympathy and comforts she yearned for. But the teachings of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche require all disciples to abide by precepts they promised at taking refuge, so this action was simply observing precepts that were violated by the disciple. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche reminded all attendees that in the Thirty-Seven Buddhisathva Practices, it describes that family members are like water which is coming and going.What is the purpose to learn Buddhism? It is to be liberated from the cycle of birth and death. If the goal is to break free of the cycle, how can we want to cling onto the feeling of getting together with family members? Many people hope that their family won’t die earlier than they do. It’s only because they can’t bear the sorrows of their family’s death. Yet, they also don’t want to die earlier than their family members. This is selfish!

Whenever Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche accepts a disciple taking refuge, one more share of responsibility would be added for himself, that is to look after disciples and teach them Buddha Dharma. The most significant difference between Buddhism and other religions lies in the fact that non-Buddhists would claim that their gods are at the most supreme status. Disciples are gods’ servants and subordinates. In Buddhism, Buddhas are not a maharishi but rather a teacher. Only Buddhism teaches that everyone was born with the nature of attaining Buddhahood, but the pure and clean nature has been tainted by greed, hatred, and ignorance.

The law of cause and effect is definitely true. As one plants a bad cause, he or she will certainly harvest bad karmic fruit. But before the fruit is ripened, if one has accumulated sufficient virtuous deeds and merits, it is possible to suppress the maturity of the fruit. Take note that it is to suppress rather than put an end to it. Even Buddha Sakyamuni had to encounter nine calamities before Sakyamuni obtained Buddhahood such as eating horse grain for one month as food, being hit by stones, having headaches and so on. As ordinary humans, how is it that we do not have to endure any karmic retribution? Because Buddha Sakyamuni was clear about the law of cause and effect and Sakyamuni had accumulated immense merits, so he was able to accept the karmic retribution without feeling pain. Don’t think that virtuous deeds can cancel out evil deeds. When one wicked act is carried out, you have to do ten virtuous acts to suppress the negative power but it can’t be extinguished. What would happen is that the virtuous power will enable less painful experience resulting from the wicked karmic fruit. It means the effects of your wicked acts will certainly manifest themselves. This is why Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has been teaching followers to stop carrying out any negative deeds and do kind deeds instead. Only when you keep doing kind deeds is the virtuous power able to subdue the evil forces resulting from your evil deeds in past and present lifetimes. By doing kind deeds, the evil forces may be reduced or even lose their effect altogether. When you have accumulated sufficient merits, even if the vicious karmic retribution manifests itself in your face, it will not influence you at all.

Some people, after they start to learn and practice Buddhism, hope bad things will not occur to them. Looking forward to the good, they hope their fortune can turn better. If one, in fact, merely hopes for his fortune to turn better, it is not necessary for him to cultivate Buddhism to get good luck. As the way Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has taught many people, he just needs to donate half of his income to the Department of Social Affairs of Ministry of the Interior for charity. Those who listen to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s advice and act accordingly all find that their conditions gradually turn better.

When many people read Avalokiteshvara Universal Gate Chapter of the Lotus Sutra, they may think Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are just telling stories. Actually, Buddhist sutras are not written according to Buddhas’ desires, nor are they like the ancient books and records such as the Analects of Confucius or The Book of Changes. Instead, Buddhist sutras record the Buddha’s practiced experiences as well as the Buddha’s words of enlightenment. Rather than telling stories or superfluous words, in Buddhist sutras, every single word and sentence has a profound meaning and implication. Ordinary people are only able to interpret the content of the Avalokiteshvara Universal Gate Chapter of the Lotus Sutra by the words. Although there are many Buddhist names and forms in this chapter, every time Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche reads it, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has a different realization according to the different levels he has attained. Hence, it is said that to explain the Sutra by words will cause “the Buddhas of three times to claim its alleged injustice.”

When the Bodhisattva Aksayamati implored the Buddha Sakyamuni to introduce the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, what he has said was: “What are the causes and conditions for the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara to get the name of Avalokiteshvara?”  This is because every Bodhisattva’s name has its individual causes and conditions, rather than just existing as a name in itself. As for the case where the Buddha prophesies a Bodhisattva’s future Buddha’s name, this also lies in its causal conditions. This is the theory of arising and ceasing of conditions through the nature of emptiness. As conditions arise and cease, the name of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara arises with the conditions. In the future when he resides in the Pure Land of Amitabha and, as the disciple of the Buddha Amitabha, succeeds to the throne and attains Buddhahood, the name Avalokiteshvara will not then exist but cease with the conditions through the nature of emptiness. As the Bodhisattva Aksayamati is a great Bodhisattva who comprehends Buddha-Dharma and believes in the law of cause and effect, he used the words causes and conditions when he was asking for the Buddha’s teachings. If it were you, you might have just asked why. In this short phrase, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could see the Buddhas and Bodhisttvas’ manifestation.

To obtain Buddha Dharma, one ought to implore. If the Bodhisattva Aksayamati had not spoken to beseech, the Buddha Sakyamuni would not have had the conditions to introduce the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. Similarly, when the Buddha had just attained Buddhahood, he did not speak and propagate Buddhism right away. He did not start to turn the wheel of Dharma until gods came to the Earth to beseech him. According to this, every time when believers come to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would ask them what they are coming for. If they don’t speak it out, they don’t have the conditions. Some people come to see Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche but speak a lot of adjectives instead of directly saying what they want to say. Seeing this situation, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would tell them to please get the point, as adjectives are not conditions. Some cancer patients come to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, and they sadly cry out. Seeing this situation, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would enlighten them that there is no need to cry for their cancer, as people who have cancer do not necessarily die soon whereas it is not certain that people who don’t have cancer won’t die. As every person dies, one’s death is not necessarily related to whether or not he has cancer. Some cancer patients wanted to undergo chemotherapy and came to seek help from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in the hope that their pain could be prevented. Do you think this is possible? When one undertakes chemotherapy and does not feel the pain, it means either that the patient is dead or that the medication is ineffective. To undergo chemotherapy is to inject poison into your body. Do you think the pain can be prevented?  What the patient is doing is undergoing medical treatments while asking the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to fulfill his desires. In such a case, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche often tells the person that, if the chemotherapy can solve their problem, they won’t have to be scolded by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and that, if the chemotherapy does not work, they will have other options. However, most of them would think that the chemotherapy could help them on hearing Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s words. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche himself had skin cancer before, but now he has solved this problem and won’t die early due to this disease. There is still one day if you have one day to live, and there is still one week if you have one week of longevity. As long as one is alive, compared to those beings of the three lower realms, he still has merits and virtues. Stop asking for more!

When the Buddha Sakyamuni was bestowing the teachings of the Lotus Sutra, it was the Bodhisattva Aksayamati who implored the Buddha Sakyamuni to introduce the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. In fact, the Bodhisattva Aksayamati, with such stage of realization, did actually know the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. Why he asked was because when a guru is present, the disciple should not give enlightenment. Some people, before a Dharma master, would self-righteously speak Buddhism or even correct the Dharma master’s mistake. Since the Bodhisattva Aksayamati was listening to the Buddha Sakyamuni’s enlightenment, he viewed the Buddha Sakyamuni as his guru. It is just like when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, before His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, his three grace root guru, would not give other people a Dharma talk. Even if some people may ask for his teachings, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would tell them to implore for His Holiness. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would not speak unless His Holiness asks him to do so. Since Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was a child, his father had strictly educated his children. If an elder was present and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche broke into their conversation, his father would immediately slap him in the face. Under this strict discipline, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche formed a habit that he did not casually speak before his elders. Many people would like to show themselves off before a dharma master, being concerned that their guru would not know their talent. Some people would even point out their guru’s mistake or omission when their guru is giving a dharma talk. However, these kinds of acts are simply improper. How do they know if their guru intentionally speaks something wrong? How can they tell if their guru does not want to talk about it or pretend to forget about it? As some dharma masters are old and weak, they just let their disciples do whatever they want. Hence, a guru should not give too much freedom to his disciples and let them say whatever they want to say even if he is aged and weak.

Western cultures and customs nowadays are not favorable for Buddhism: If the disciples are requested not to speak but listen to their guru’s speech, they would say this is against democracy; if the disciples are asked to act in accordance with their guru’s teachings, they would talk back by saying it is an exercise of dictatorship.  Therefore, in the region of Canada and the U.S, although there are many Buddhist centers and people propagating Buddhism, they have only a superficial knowledge. Very few people have learned the essence of Buddhism. They may only know to attend pujas and light lamps rather than to comprehend the true essence of Dharma. Buddhism of eastern culture is not in line with western cultures such as those of Canada or the U.S. When western culture meets eastern culture, the point of conflict will not be accepted. Therefore, His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang set up retreat centers in New Zealand and Europe, as, relatively speaking, the people of these areas, especially Eastern Europe, could more easily receive Buddhism as they still conserve the tradition of listening to dignitaries’ guidance and instructions. This is not to say that Western culture is not good, but it is not suitable for Buddhist cultivation. In Chinese traditional Confucianism, filial piety is taught. In Buddhism, filial piety is also taught. However, if you talk about filial piety with a westerner, he may tell you: “Well, I love my mother. I call her every day.”  It is because they don’t have this kind of culture in their concept and have no idea about filial piety. Besides, western people always speak a sentence starting with “I” while Chinese people are used to putting “You” in the front of a sentence. Confucianism is, to some extent, close to the Ten Meritorious Acts. For example, in Confucianism, that one should honor his teacher and respect the teachings or that one should show filial obedience are similar to the doctrines of Buddhism. But some of Confucius’ teachings such as archery, one of the Six Arts, are not related to Buddha-Dharma. Thereafter, some say Confucius is the reincarnation of a Bodhisattva, as what he has taught is the practice to attain humanity.

As long as you are a human being in this life, you must have cultivated Buddhism and practiced the Ten Meritorious Acts in at least one of your prior lives. Whatever religion you believe in this life, as long as you are existing in this human realm, you must have made karmic connection, deep or shallow, to the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara.

Today you have the chance to re-hear the practice of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, meaning that you have deep karmic relationship with the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. Now you are presented with one more chance, and it is up to you to seize it or not.

One of the Ten Meritorious Acts is no sexual misconduct. This is not saying that monogamy is proper sexual conduct and those acts beyond monogamy are improper sexual conduct. Buddhist sutras do not define proper sexual conduct by monogamy. Before Sakyamuni Buddha attained the Buddhahood, he was once a prince. In ancient India, one man could have several wives; In the remote and backward places of Tibet, one woman could have two husbands; In Mongolia the areas far from civilization have the custom that the elder brother’s wife, after her husband dies, would marry her husband’s younger brother. These are just the different cultures and customs from different areas and we should not judge them right or wrong. Monogamy is merely promoted in Christianity and Catholicism rather than the precept of Buddhism.

The precept of no sexual misconduct includes no dating with married women. The concept is even more clearly told in Tibet: One should not date with a woman who is raised or provided for by others. As someone has already benefacted her, if she still simultaneously receives two sides’ care, she would be an ingrate.

It is even mentioned that in the sex industry, if one has sex with a prostitute before the prostitute gets the prior client’s payment, then they also transgress the precept of no sexual misconduct.

Furthermore, one should not take advantage of the occasion when a female is in suffering and frail. Previously, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was in Hong Kong, at which time he had not started Buddhist cultivation. He knew a couple and both the husband and wife were Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s friends. One day the couple got divorced and, three days later, the woman placed a phone call to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and asked him out. However, no matter how the woman cried and prayed on the phone, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not consent to go out to meet her. If it were some other man, they might have, as if they were a hero, rushed towards her, thinking that it would be their chance and it was not a big deal for them to console the woman. They might have even told her these kind of words: “Your husband just did not appreciate you.” This behaviour is no good and in this way they are likely to transgress the precepts. Even though Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not learn and practice Buddhism at that time, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would not transgress the precept of sexual misconducts, and it is related that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has observed the precepts from accumulated lives.

Do not get yourselves involved in other couple’s personal affairs. In the early days when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche started to help sentient beings, once there were two women who came together to seek an audience with him. One of them told Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche that her husband had been missing and asked for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s advice. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche enlightened her that: It was due to your personality being a bit unyielding that your husband just wanted to get away for some relief. However, he still gave you a call, didn’t he? It shows that he still misses you. Around one week later, when he has cooled down, he will come back to you.”

Hearing Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s talk, the woman’s mind became calmer. However, the other woman who came along with her then spoke: “Your husband only gave you a call. He should have come back to see you, so he was too heartless.” Hearing her friend’s words, the woman suddenly turned angry, looking resentful. In this way her friend’s words just stirred up mischief among the couple, which is not right.

Another story from the beginning period, when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche started to have disciples, concerns a woman coming to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and asking for his advice on whether or not she should get divorced. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not give her an answer, as when the couple had decided to get married they had not asked for his advice beforehand. Fortunately Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not give her any advice, as one month later the woman managed to restore the former intimacy with her husband, but after one year they still got divorced finally. If at that time Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had suggested her to get divorced, what would they say after they restored their relationship one month later? On the contrary, if Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told her not to get divorced, what would they say after they really got divorced eventually? They might have said Buddha or Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was not efficacious.

In another case, a man wanted to get married and went to see Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The guru told him to wait for a while, but he wouldn’t listen. He rushed himself into marriage and subsequently had a lot of problems after getting married. Why was he told to wait? Because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche saw what would happen to him. However, as he was clearly in love, it was impossible to tell him not to marry, so Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told him to wait in the hope that he could have the time to eliminate some karma through practice. Strangely, he was unable to wait. Why did he have to rush it?

In Buddhism, it is not considered evil to get divorce. There is no such saying that one who has gotten divorce cannot learn Buddhism. Everything depends on its karmic connection, cause, and effect. From the Buddhist perspective, being divorced is like having an incomplete family. One who has an incomplete family must have ruined other families in his past lifetimes or made other beings’ families incomplete by killing. For example, some animals only have one partner throughout their lives. If you kill one of them or separate the parents and their children by killing, you will get divorced in this life. If one had not interfered with other people’s families, his partner would not have affairs with another person.

One year, His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang came to Taiwan to bestow Kagyu Ngagdzo. So far, His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang has only transmitted this practice six times. At the time, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not have enough money to make offerings to His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. Nevertheless, His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang particularly instructed that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had to come and be seated at the front and that the organizer should not charge Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The empowerments were being bestowed from the morning to the evening and took 15 days to be completed. On the 5th day, a woman who was attending the empowerments as well asked Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, “Aren’t you divorced? As you are a divorced person, how could you learn Buddhism?” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then answered, “You’re right. I apologize.”

The precept of refraining from committing sexual misconduct includes refraining from forcing a woman to have sex, making a woman drunk so as to have sex with her, raping, or raping someone under the influence of drugs. It also includes not having sex with a monk or a nun, no matter whether he or she is a real one or not.

As long as one has the appearance of a monk or a nun, it will be unacceptable. In addition, the precept of refraining from committing sexual misconduct includes not having sex in front of one’s parents or Buddhist statues. Why would some mothers ask their sons to sleep with the bedroom door open after they got married? If you do so, you will force your son to violate the precept. Moreover, the precept of refraining from committing sexual misconduct includes not having anal sex.

The reason why the Buddha would have a precept of refraining from having anal sex is that the Buddha foresaw the spread of AIDS among human beings in the future. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche explained that AIDS, with a different name, was recorded in ancient documents dating back to the Ming Dynasty, although the disease was not widely spread during the time. It is not a disease transmitted from animal to human like what the scientists have said. In the western religious beliefs of Catholicism and Christianity, homosexuality is regarded as a crime.

From the Buddhist perspective, homosexuality is not considered a crime, nor would it be thought to be good or bad. However, such conduct will create karma that caused you to fall into reincarnation. In Catholicism and Christianity, it is thought that human beings are born with their original sins. However, Buddhism believes that everything has its cause, effect, and karmic connection. We single-handedly create everything. The forces of our virtuous and evil karma accumulated in our previous lives have come with us to this life when we entered the embryo after the fertilization. They have placed influence upon our current life.

Whatever we do, say, and think will become karma as well and have impact upon our next life. Therefore, there are no original sins. We have made this by ourselves.

One who becomes a homosexual is someone with a lot of desires in his or her previous lives. When we enter the embryo, we will become a female if we felt joyful at the sight of our father and a male if we felt joyful at the sight of our mother.

However, if one is destined to be a male with his previous cause, effect, and karma and yet feels his father was good-looking, though he already got a male body, his change of mind brought about changes in his karma as well. That is why a person would become a homosexual.

So, how does one become a transsexual? One who became a transsexual is someone who used to make a living with female bodies in businesses such as brothels. Nevertheless, simply hiring female employees does not count. Therefore, in this life, when such a person gains rebirth in the Realm of humans he would have the retribution and become a pandaka, i.e. a eunuch. Nowadays, there are no eunuchs, so such a person would become a transsexual. Besides, these transsexuals would spend all their money maintaining their bodies. This serves as a proof that one will spend all his money on the thing he got profit from. Thailand has more transsexuals than any other place.

In summary, the Buddhist precept of refraining from committing sexual misconduct is to avoid harming oneself or others. Buddha Sakyamuni called Bodhisattva Aksayamati a virtuous person. One who is called a virtuous man by the Buddha must have attained the first level of the enlightenment of a Bodhisattva.

Generally speaking, a virtuous person is someone who has completed the practice of the Ten Meritorious Acts. As the saying goes, “When the path of human beings is formed, the path to Buddhahood will be formed.” The first practice of the Ten Meritorious Acts is to refrain from killing. As you have adopted a vegetarian diet, you can be said to observe one precept to a certain extent. However, you have not observed any other precept. Precepts are not tools to award or punish. Observing precepts is avoiding bringing harm to other sentient beings and cultivating the practice of loving kindness and compassion.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has never grown tired of Buddhism and has been cultivating his practice step by step continuously. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche listens to the guru’s instructions without having his own opinions. As long as the guru says that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has to conduct a retreat, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would agree immediately and would not let the guru worry about any problems that should arise. Besides, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would not make any arrangements for his business and would simply show up at the time and location instructed by the guru. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche regards the Buddhist teachings as his regular occupation and the others as auxiliary ones. Unlike you, you see your job as everything and think that Buddhist learning is an auxiliary occupation in your spare time.

In the Avalokiteshvara Universal Gate Chapter of the Lotus Sutra: “If all the countless hundreds of thousands of millions of living beings tormented by misery and pain hear of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, and with all their hearts invoke his name, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara will immediately respond to their prayers and set them free.” The misery and pain mentioned in the chapter refer to both physical and psychological sufferings. Many people have created their own psychological suffering themselves. For example, the disciple who claimed to be unable to walk out has attachment. One who clings to his or her feelings cannot learn Buddhism. Nowadays, writers come up with sentences such as “unable to walk out”. In fact, such expressions will do harm to people. When one has attachment, he or she should admit it. As you have your own feet and are not physically challenged, why can’t you walk out?

True suffering is felt in the three lower realms. The beings in the Realms of Hell and Hungry Ghosts feel the utmost suffering. Among the six realms, it is the sentient beings in the Realm of Hell that experience non-stop suffering. They are in a cycle of being killed and coming back to life and do not know about tomorrow or when it will come. The sentient beings in the Realm of Hungry Ghosts suffer from lack of food. Because of their extreme suffering, they cannot learn Buddhism. As for you, you will have no strength if you eat late, not to mention having no food to eat for a whole day. A Tibetan practitioner once said that if you spit up phlegm on the ground, the beings in the Realm of Hungry Ghosts will rush to your phlegm and fight over it. Therefore, do not spit up phlegm randomly. As for the beings in the Realm of Animals, they are unable to listen to the Buddhist teachings because of ignorance. Besides, they have to suffer from being eaten at any time. They do not know about tomorrow, either. The heavenly beings are indulged in enjoyments and do not want to learn Buddhism.

Asuras have wars and conflicts all the time and do not have the time to learn Buddhism. The Realm of Human Beings is the only realm where beings have more suffering than happiness. The human beings are not the ones who suffer the most, for they at least know that there will be another day coming after sleep. You can still have plans for tomorrow, control over issues, and wisdom to plan for your future.

Therefore, you should cherish this karmic connection to learn Buddhism properly. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche often says that you, unaware of yourselves being in the sea of sufferings, still think that you are living a good life and that Buddhist learning will improve your lives. You are just like the children playing in a house on fire, as stated in the sutra, still thinking that you are having fun and do not want to learn Buddhism. You enjoy yourselves so much that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas can only place toys outside to draw your attention and get you out of the house of flames. If you still do not want to learn Buddhism, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche cannot salvage you until you are dead. When you become ghosts, you will know what true suffering is. The sentient beings in the three lower realms are desperate to receive salvation by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, for they are in immense suffering.

Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara is a Mahasattva that has attained Dharma Body and visualizes the sufferings of the sentient beings with his mind in the Dharma nature. Among the six realms, the beings in the Realms of Hell, Hungry Ghosts, Heaven, and Asura do not communicate via language. Instead, they communicate with their minds. Only human beings have to rely on languages and voices for communication. In the Realm of Animal, beings have their own languages. The animals cannot recite the Buddha’s name, nor can they understand why the recitation is conducted. If we have an experiment and recite “Buddha Amitabha” to a dog, it will have no idea what we are reciting. At most, the cats and dogs in the monastery might get down low and listen attentively to the Buddha’s name.

Therefore, apart from human beings, sentient beings in the other realms cannot recite the Buddha’s name or mantras. In the Universal Gate Chapter, it says, “…hear of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara…”. The term “hear of” has deep implications.

For one, human beings are the only beings among the realms to conduct recitation, so all they could do is listen attentively. Being the only ones to recite the name of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara and his heart mantra, we human beings have to recite the name of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara and his heart mantra in sincerity. In so doing, the sentient beings connected with us in previous lifetimes can thereby hear of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara and receive help from Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.

Why are you asked to recite mantra on behalf of the sentient beings? Because you have no idea how many lives you have been through in reincarnation and how many sentient beings are related to you. A TV program once showed that human skeletons dating back to 9,000 years ago had been found in Scotland. The genes of the skeletons were identical to some villagers in the local community. It shows that we human beings have more than one ancestor. Any sentient beings connected to us in our numerous lifetimes will be benefited because of our Buddhist learning. Therefore, a saying with similar meaning goes, “When one has attained enlightenment, the nine degrees of his kindred will rise to the heaven.” When one learns Buddhism well, all his relatives in current and previous lives will attain liberation from the cycle of birth and death. They will all be liberated just as you will. However, it takes a very long time. Do not think that, having attended many pujas, you have helped release the souls of all the sentient beings related to you from purgatory. It is impossible.

The “single-mindedness” in the phrase of “reciting Avalokiteshvara’s name single-mindedly” means having a single, concentrated mind without unrest. Reciting single-mindedly can reduce the time in which distraction and delusion appears. The signal emitted by our mind is similar to our brain waves. Scientists have proved that humans can emit energy and the strength of the energy emitted is different for different people. If your mind is very focused, the electromagnetic waves emitted will be very strong and it can be received by Avalokiteshvara. If your mind has many distractions and delusion and is not concentrated, the electromagnetic waves emitted will be very weak. Since there are countless sentient beings praying to Avalokiteshvara in every second, Avalokiteshvara will not be able to receive your weak signals. Perhaps Avalokiteshvara will think your signal is the signal generated when the wind blows grass and thus will ignore it. Because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche single-mindedly recites mantras in a meditative state and the electromagnetic wave signals emitted are very strong, Avalokiteshvara will be able to receive the signals and fulfill Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s vow of helping sentient beings. For a Rinpoche, no matter whether he has been reborn many times or he has attained achievement in this life, the most important thing is whether he can attain the level of a single and concentrated mind without agitation. If he can achieve this, he can then have the ability to help sentient beings. This is also why the gurus of the Drikung Kagyu order have to perform long-term retreats. Only during a retreat can one truly cultivate and recite mantras with a single and concentrated mind. It is not easy to practice Zen Buddhism now, because there are no deep mountains in Taiwan and it is not easy to find a quiet and secluded place to cultivate one’s thoughts. However, Esoteric Buddhism still has the methods for one to practice in one’s disturbing daily life.

Why does Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche recite mantras faster? It is not because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is familiar with the mantra, but because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche breathes slowly. When reciting mantras, if we can reduce the time of breathing, we can naturally increase the speed of reciting mantras. For example, while you may have to breathe 10 times a minute, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche may only need to breathe 3 times, saving the time of seven breaths for reciting mantras; naturally Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s speed of reciting mantras will be faster. Sometimes at night while sleeping, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche may stop breathing for ten seconds; in those moments, Rinpoche is in a meditative state. Because of breathing, one’s heart will beat; once your heart beats, the Qi will move; then your thought will move following the movement of the Qi. Hence, if breathing slowly, extending the time interval between one exhalation and one inhalation, you can naturally have fewer thoughts and your speed of reciting mantras will become faster. This can be attained by practices. We can see that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s speed of conducting dharmas as well as reciting mantras becomes faster and faster. This is because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is in the meditative state and breathes very slowly during those moments. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had attended the pujas presided over by His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang many times and had observed that His Holiness’s speed of Dharma conduction was faster than those of other Rinpoches.

Because His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang has developed profound capabilities in meditation, His Holiness’s speed of performing dharma will naturally be faster. You still cannot recite mantras in a meditative state. So, you should just recite mantras with a non-imploring mind. Do not seek, and do not think. You should not think after reciting a mantra 20 times, “Is Avalokiteshvara coming?” “It is cool on my back. Is a ghost coming?” “It is numb on top of my head. Does a Bodhisattva come to bless me?” You should not pray to Avalokiteshvara with any desire.

When practicing Buddhism, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche just believed the contents in Buddhist scriptures and believed that he definitely can achieve the methods taught by the Buddha. If a method could not be achieved by a human, the Buddha would not teach it.

However, in order to attain achievements, one has to be taught by a true guru. Neither lighting lamps nor reciting sutras is the way of practicing Buddhism. If Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche were not able to solve his cancer problem, Rinpoche would not be able to help you to solve your cancer problem. Due to ignorance and worries, almost all sentient beings will have doubts about Buddha Dharma. However, you should try to practice Buddhism and see whether it is useful in your own life. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche never had blind faith in practicing Buddhism. If Buddha Dharma had not worked for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would not ask you to do the same.

The following paragraph of the Universal Gate Chapter says, “If one who holds Avalokiteshvara’s name is in a fire, one will not be burnt because of Avalokiteshvara’s divine power.” Every word in a Buddhist sutra is used for cultivations. The practices in every sutra can be divided into one practiced by and for oneself and one practiced for all sentient beings. You have to cultivate and attain achievement of liberation for yourself first before you can practice for all sentient beings. The verse mentioned previously, “reciting Avalokiteshvara’s name single-mindedly”, refers to the method practiced regularly by and for oneself. By saying so it doesn’t mean that one should be selfishly practicing Buddhism for oneself. The ultimate goal is to liberate sentient beings from suffering. As one can liberate oneself, it is a natural step to cultivate further ability to help liberate sentient beings. The next sentence uses the verb “holding,” indicating the meaning to perform Dharma for sentient beings of which the one performing the dharma is included. When one encounters problems, one can recite Avalokiteshvara’s name and will be helped. One should cultivate and achieve former Dharma and then the later will be effective. In other words, if you have been incessantly cultivating dharma of Avalokiteshvara, when having troubles your recitation of Avalokiteshvara’s name can reach Avalokiteshvara who will be of help to you. If you don’t recite Six Syllable Mani regularly, as you face problems and begin to recite Mani, the electrical waves you send out are very weak. Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva can’t even hear you. On the earth, there are numerous sentient beings praying to Avalokiteshvara. If you recite Mani everyday, your voice would be more familiar to Avalokiteshvara. Therefore, when you are in sorrows, Avalokiteshvara can hear your voice better. Avalokiteshvara can save sentient beings upon hearing their suffering voices because Avalokiteshvara hears suffering voices with his mind. Sentient beings in the hell and hunger realms also deeply pray with their mind. Every time they pray, Avalokiteshvara would be able to hear them. It’s because they are in desperate suffering. They pray with an ultimate earnest mind.

Avalokiteshvara will not, however, simply focus on helping one sentient being in one place. For instance, when sentient beings A, B, C, and D all pray to Avalokiteshvara for help, Avalokiteshvara’s power will not stay at sentient being A, but rather it will simultaneously respond to A, B, C and D. This is like the description in the Diamond Sutra that the mind changes in accordance with non-abiding. By the same token, when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performs Phowa Dharma, it is why the Dharma can effectively punch a small round hole in a deceased’s skull even though there is a distance of 2000 kilometers between Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and the deceased.

In Universal Gate Chapter, there are descriptions about how the dharma can effectively save sentient beings when they are in a fire or robbed of property. These are all true. Once, a number of years ago, when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had already been able to help sentient beings, Rinpoche went out of his home in the middle of ironing clothes without unplugging the iron and removing it from the clothes.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche didn’t realize this until he returned home. In this kind of situation, a serious fire was generally unavoidable. But it didn’t happen. The clothes were burned with a black mark but not on fire. The electrical line was also saved without being burned.

In ancient times, a man had been diligently focusing on practicing Avalokiteshvara’s Dharma. His whole family was also vegetarians. One night in a condition between awakening and dreaming, he had a vision of Avalokiteshvara informing him that there would be a robber coming to his house to loot him. Avalokiteshvara even told him the name of the robber who was killed by the man in a past lifetime when the man had hacked him several times. The looting incident would occur because this man owed the robber who came to claim his karmic credits. Avalokiteshvara told the man to tell everything he heard from Avalokiteshvara, expressing his willingness to pay back. As predicted, several days later a group of robbers intruded in the man’s house and tied up all the family members. The man then called out the name of the leader in the group. The leader was surprised and asked how the man knew his name? So the man told the lead robber about Avalokiteshvara’s words and asked the lead robber to just kill him alone, letting the others go. Upon hearing this, the lead robber, with the back of his knife, hacked the man the exact same number of times as he had been hacked and then left. This story teaches us three lessons. First, as described in the Universal Gate Chapter, if one incessantly recites Avalokiteshvara’s mantra, he or she will receive help from Avalokiteshvara to solve disasters or protect one from harm. It is like the story of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s son and his classmate. When they got into trouble, it was by practicing Avalokiteshvara’s Dharma that their problems were changed. Secondly, a genuine Buddhist is the one who can exactly follow what is taught. In the story, the man followed exactly what Avalokiteshvara told him to do. In doing so, it would be effective. Thirdly, the law of cause and effect can’t be altered. Even if Avalokiteshvara comes to you, your karmic retribution can’t be eliminated but, with the help of Avalokiteshvara it can be lessoned.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche immediately asked a few ordained disciples, “Have you ever encountered any Buddhist master who has taught the Universal Gate Chapter like this?” Those Buddhist nuns all replied with a “No” by shaking their heads.

One disciple stood up and reported how he had heard that other Masters made the enlightenment for the Universal Gate Chapter of the Lotus Sutra, but they only explained the appearance of this sutra. No one could explain like Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to integrate the experience of cultivating Buddhism with penetrating insight into the Universal Gate Chapter of the Lotus Sutra. He was very impressed with this.

Another disciple also reported that he had learned Tibetan Buddhism before; he also had gained lots of the empowerments for the Dharma before. When the gurus bestowed the empowerments, they would introduce the disciples for the merits of Yidam, and the figure of Yidam, including his hand signal, what kind of Dharma tools are used, and what are the dependants of Yidam. After that, they would instruct the disciples to cultivate the Dharma by themselves. But there was no similar practice to how Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche teaches, involving more details for the way of cultivating Buddha Dharma. Furthermore, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche can have the actual experience of cultivating the Buddha Dharma to associate with the Universal Gate Chapter of the Lotus Sutra which can let the disciples know how to implement the cultivating of Buddhism. This disciple had not only never heard such a profound enlightenment before, but he also had never heard the enlightenment as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had presented it, clearly enlightening that the first part of this Sutra is the way of cultivating Buddha Dharma by oneself, and the last part is the way how to help others. If there was no enlightenment by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, he could not be able to realize the real meaning of this Sutra for his life.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who can integrate the Chinese scriptures with the teaching of Tibetan Buddhism to teach us in a way that is easy and familiar to us. This is a difficult task for the guru, which makes Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche a rare and great guru in the world.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche proceeded to bestow the following Dharma teachings: You do not hurry to cultivate Buddhism; you should persistently cultivate Buddhism. Do not wonder when can you achieve it, or whether you could achieve it, or whether you are able to do it well or not. There is no so-called good in Dharma. If Dharma had good, it would have had bad too. Having good and bad is discrimination. Although the process of learning Tantra is very fast, it could not be done in one year, or two years, or 10 years to fully achieve it. We must try our best to learn Buddhism, to consider that cultivating Buddhism is the most important thing in our lives. The Dharma text also prays for all sentient beings to be able to prevent untimely death. There is a possibility for anyone to meet with an accident at anytime, and such a wish could prevent untimely death to enable enough time for cultivating Buddhism. Do not expect your life to be more peaceful just from learning Buddhism; otherwise your mind may tend towards renunciation if any misfortune should happen to you.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has experienced many sufferings in his life. Many years ago, he dreamt that master Lord Jigten Sumgon appeared in his dream and conducted a Dharma for him.

Two days later, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had a serious car accident, in which his car was crushed, but he was fine. You might think that since Master Lord Jigten Sumgon had already conducted the Dharma, how could the accident still have happened? The karma retribution must be repaid, therefore this accident was unavoidable, but Buddhas and Bodhisattvas can help you to deal with the experience in a way like tasting a fruit whose flavor may be bitter originally, but the bitter taste is taken away. It might be that Master Lord Jigten Sumgon thought that it could benefit other sentient beings if Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s life was saved, therefore Master Lord Jigten Sumgon would not allow Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to suffer an untimely death, and subsequently Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was spared in order to help others. Life is like a dream or an illusion. When a thought arises, who’s to say whether it exists, or it does not exist. You may say it exists, but you cannot catch it. When you have a dream, however vivid it is, can you ever say it is real? Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also had a karmic connection with Master Lord Jigten Sumgon over several hundred years; therefore he could receive the assistance from Master Lord Jigten Sumgon when encountering troubles. That is why Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would instruct you to recite the six-syllable Mani mantra every day; it is for the sake of making a good karma connection with Avalokiteshvara.
Someone may say that: “Today I am tired, tomorrow I will recite more mantras to compensate for it” or “I have to ask for leave one day because I have menstrual pain, and Avalokiteshvara is a female who can understand what I mean.”

One who had this conception must be reincarnation after the Sung Dynasty, as nobody can say for sure whether Avalokiteshvara is a female. In the Tang Dynasty, the Dharma image of Avalokiteshvara had two thin strokes of mustache, but then, during the course of the Sung Dynasty, Avalokiteshvara gradually appeared with a female figure. Avalokiteshvara, who has attained the level of a Dharmakaya Bodhisattva is neither specifically male nor female. According to the sutra, there are 32 kinds of Nirmanakaya, and which one is Avalokiteshvara?

Since Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has bestowed the empowerment of cultivating the Dharma of Avalokiteshvara, it is important to introduce the Yidam of Avalokiteshvara and enable you to have the correct attitude. The arousal of aspiration is very important, namely the aspiration of Bodhichitta. When you begin cultivating the Buddha Dharma, the first step is to take refuge. Hereafter you must have the correct attitude, as this can help you to learn any Dharma. Otherwise no matter how many times you recite a mantra, it will be in vain.

Gampopa once mentioned the importance of the arousal of aspiration. There are three levels of aspiration, the highest of which is to have the extensive Bodhichitta, which is hardly achieved. No matter how you cultivate the Buddha Dharma, such as when you observe precepts or hold the rules, accumulate the merits or eliminate the karma obstacles, make offerings to gurus or carry out Almsgiving to those who are in need, you cannot be mired in the Sound-Hearing of Bodhichitta or Enlightened by Conditions of Bodhichitta. You should arouse the extensive Bodhichitta in order to attain the unsurpassed enlightenment. The extensive Bodhichitta means that you must consider all sentient beings as your mother, should practice all dharma unhurriedly without tiredness or complaint, and cultivate the dharma diligently in order to benefit sentient beings and help them to realize the Buddha Dharma and the way of attaining Buddhahood.

To benefit oneself and others does not mean that you have to gain the benefit first in order to benefit others. It is that you should have the aspiration of Bodhichitta to cultivate Buddhism, for the sake of benefiting sentient beings on an extensive scale. When you achieve self-liberation and attain Buddhahood, you are then able to bring benefits to all sentient beings.

Cultivating Buddhism step-by-step means that you should not be satisfied to be at a standstill when you have attained new levels of learning, and should always be looking to  learn new Dharma teachings. It does not mean that you have to learn lots of different Dharma intentionally; nor should you learn more Dharma for the sake of showing off. If you do it for the sake of helping other sentient beings, you will learn more high and extensive Dharma naturally.

A practitioner who has aroused Bodhichitta will not be weary of sentient beings. When someone arouses the extensive Bodhichitta, he may be tired of helping sentient beings and think of cultivating himself, it will result in him being transfered to cultivate for Sound-Hearing and Enlightened by Conditions which is a Hinayana for the sake of achieving the state of Arhats. Although attaining the state of Arhats will be liberation from the cycle of birth and death for a practitioner, from the point of view of the Great Vehicle or Vajrayana Buddhism, it cannot be good enough, as it is far away from attaining the Buddhahood by cultivating Buddhism on the Bodhisattva path. If someone becomes satisfied or arrogant when he has attained a level of cultivating Buddhism, he will be in serious trouble. Or if someone feels that it would be too painstaking to attain the higher level of cultivating Buddhism further, he would limit himself in the current level of cultivating Buddhism, which is also not proper.

Those who think that they can cultivate Buddhism by themselves, and that they don’t need a guru, have a haughty and arrogant mind. In other words, they have their nose in the air and believe they do not need others’ help. Even now, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche still needs the help of His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, not to mention you, his disciples. Until now, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche still beseeches His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang to transmit more Dharma in order to learn the different Dharma for benefiting more sentient beings.

Intermediate Bodhichitta means you have to see all sentient beings as your mother and arouse compassion to help them. Now Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche always teaches to treat sentient beings as your own mother and hope to relieve pain in others.

People who arouse intermediate Bodhichitta would practice one method devotedly, and exert themselves continuously in the practice to enhance their attainment of this method. As Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche taught you from the practice of Avalokiteshvara, he started to learn from the practice of Avalokiteshvara.

If the practice of Avalokiteshvara is well performed, it can soon enable achievement of other practices, since Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara is the representation of compassion and Bodhichitta is the foundation of Buddha Dharma.

If this can be achieved, it is an amazing feat. Rudimentary Bodhichitta means the desire to benefit all sentient beings. People who have this would remain at a certain level of a practice.

Bodhichitta is also divided into relative bodhichitta and absolute bodhichitta. The so-called relative kind does not mean secular but means deliberately-aroused, so it still belongs to pretending bodhichitta. Relative bodhichitta arises from your consciousness, therefore some say it’s pretended. But to pretend is better than not- pretending.  Absolute bodhichitta comes not from human’s consciousness but naturally from emptiness.

Those extensive , intermediate and rudimentary bodhichitta are all relative bodhichitta, which are made of thought.

But with continuous practice, absolute bodhichitta will naturally arise. People who observe the Five Precepts would be able to know the meaning of compassion. People who observe the Ten Deeds would be able to attain compassion. Once compassion is attained, bodhichitta could be easily aroused.

The so-called “penetrating journey into the Buddhist sutras” does not mean having to read many sutras. Rather, it is to be capable of understanding what is the real purpose described in Buddhist sutras.

Do not practice any Dharma method just by listening to other’s recommendations, such as if others say the Cundhi bodhisattva is sharp, hence recite Cundhi bodhisattva, or if others say it’s better to practice Mahamayuri, hence practice Mahamayuri. There was a monk who promoted Mahamayuri, and the way he helped to cure others was not by reciting mantras. Because that monk is a friend of the Exoteric Buddhism guru of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, once Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche personally witnessed this. When someone asked him for a cure, he applied massage therapy, writing a prescription list or such. That is because there was no empowerment in the Mahamayuri sutra text, otherwise he could have just directly recited a mantra to help the patients. The disciple who shared his experiences before the puja said he had learned “Sajyuktāgama” before. Buddha enlightened Sajyuktāgama after “Four Noble Truths” and “Twelve Links of Interdependent Origination.”

It’s for Arhat to practice. That is an ordained person who needs nothing. Not only is the person who explains the dharma ordained, but the listener is ordained also. However, this disciple has a wife, daughter, job and everything.

This is different from the requirements of the Buddha surtra, so of course he cannot practice successfully. It is recorded in the Avatamsaka Sutra that ordained people should benefit sentient beings upon waking up and opening their eyes in the morning, or even if they are in the wash room. But how many people can do like this? If you are unable to do so, then obediently listen to what Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche teaches and transmits, and recite and practice truly everyday.

Two weeks ago Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestowed everyone with auspicious Avalokiteshvara Empowerment. Many disciples felt warm throughout their body. One disciple expressed that when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche touched her head with the precious bottle, she felt warmth coursing into her body. Another disciple felt that his whole body was surrounded by warm air and even started sweating. At the beginning of the empowerment by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, one disciple had already felt warm air, even though the air conditioning had remained the same.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche enlightened that those who felt warm during the empowerment had sufficient confidence to guru or had aroused relative bodhichitta.

But that does not mean that there is anything wrong if you did not feel warm. Some people’s feelings are not as sensitive. While Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestowed empowerment, he transmitted his own energy to you in order to supplement your energy.

You would lose energy due to feelings of anger, appetite for meat or heavy lust. Empowerment can help to replenish you, but this replenishing energy would not cure everything, it just helps to reduce the obstacles to practice. It is important for you to practice truly and diligently. There was a time when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was conducting a three-way practice consisting of Buddha Amitabha, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, and Padmasambhava. He once enlightened that after receiving deity empowerment given by the guru, and receiving imparting visualization of development and completion stages, if you practice according to that, you will be able to have achievement in this life. By which achievement means to be able to liberate yourself from the cycle of birth and death.

Exoteric Buddhism guides people to cultivate the mind but not the body. Esoteric Buddhism cultivates both mind and body. Also while learning tantras, the body is especially important. So it is mentioned in the Sequuel Tantra part of Tripitaka that the very special point of Trantras is to be able to cultivate the body.  In addition to accumulating merits, all mantras help your body. Taoism also has the practice of utilizing sound. Sound indeed affects our body. Just like when you hear your favorite music, your body also feels comfortable. Our karma of past lives, whether it’s good or bad karma, along with the karma from this life, exists in our tsa lung. The karma flows in the tsa lung. Once we have breath or a heartbeat, thought exists. Though a Six Syllable Mantra is six-words-short, each word is relative to the tsa lung in our body. Once we have the correct reciting approach, it all helps the body. If we can recite well, it could even cure diseases. You can realize its effectiveness by working on your own way to recite the Six Syllable Mantra. Whether the vowel of reciting mantra is standard or not, it’s not important. What is important is to recite the mantra with the correct visualization. If solely-reciting results in achievement, the sounds from a tape recorder reciting Buddha names would be standard. But would this recorder be able to achieve anything?

Karma accumulated in this and past lives all exists in our tsa lung, and it affects tsa lung of the mind, so the body will suffer from diseases. Reciting mantras could vibrate tsa lung. While we could push the flow of karma into susumna, the tsa lung of the mind would not be affected. Then you can attain a state of ‘meditative concentration’ so that you are no longer affected by karma. So-called “attaining power in practice” refers to whether you have practiced out the status of meditative concentration or not.  When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performs Phowa for sentient beings, by the power of meditative concentration he upwardly pushes out the participant’s karma from tsa lung. This can only be accomplished through a very strong power. People nowadays cannot attain meditative concentration simply by zen-sitting, except if you are Patriarch Huineng. So reciting mantra is not the practice of Hinduism but the practice of Buddha Dharma. Many people think there is no mantra in Buddhism. In fact, while we recite Amitabha Buddha, we are not reciting the name of the Buddha, but the mantra of Amitabha Buddha.

The vowels are the same in Tibetan Buddhism. The name of Buddha Amitabha is Buddha Amitabha and Buddha Amitayus.

Some say that there are no Tantras. Some say that reciting mantras is learned from Hinduism. Tantras are indeed transmitted in person from Buddha Sakyamuni, but you cannot see that from the Dharma text. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s mother once said: Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche scolds disciples loudly everyday but he can still give Buddha Dharma lecture for 3 hours with full vigor. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche explains that if he doesn’t practice Trantras, his body cannot stand up to helping sentient beings everyday like this. Many people just do not know the secret and then misunderstand and spread incorrectly what is already incorrect. This results in many incorrect concepts regarding Tibetan Buddhism. Many people express wrong words because of misunderstanding, then damage the harmony between Exoteric Buddhism and Esoteric Buddhism. This is very regrettable.

In 2007, while Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche retreated at the Lapchi snow area, His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang transmitted an auspicious tantric dharma text to him. When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche recited the deity mantra in the first week, it was very exhausting. This was not because the mantra was particularly hard to recite. In fact, the mantra was already known by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The reason His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang transmitted the dharma to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was to open up Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s tsa lung of his whole body.

At that retreat, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche witnessed with Dharma eye that sentient beings of the six realms suffer from a cycle of reincarnation. And then he could not help but cry. His crying was not due to seeing their sufferings but was a result of his naturally-aroused Bodhisattva heart. After the retreat was completed, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche reported this to His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang confirmed that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had realized the Emptiness. He has no discrimination in regard to worldly affairs. The Venerable Milarepa once enlightened that it’s unbearable to hear of the sentient beings of six realms suffering from cycle of reincarnations. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche modestly claimed that he did it through his eyes. His achievement is far behind the Venerable Milarepa, who attains more than tenth Bodhisattva buhmi.

At the end of the Dharma text, dedication is mentioned. Dedication refers not only to your family or people you know, but also to all sentient beings. We do not know how long we experience the cycle of reincarnations in the Six Realms. How many ancestors related to us are suffering in the Six Realms? In dedication, it’s enough to just recite what is written in Dharma text. To dedicate to all sentient beings in the Six Realms, means yourself is included. You shall not do as a certain nun said: do not dedicate to others since it’s insufficient for yourself. These are very incorrect words. When you dedicate to sentient beings of the Six Realms, you are also one of those sentient beings of the Six Realms. Not practicing for one’s own benefit would make one in the virtues sea of Guru and Deity.

According to the record in the Buddha sutras, the total amount of breaths in a man’s whole life is fixed. Everyone is the same, so are animals.

At most it differs hundreds of times. Now Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has a heart rate of 62 times per minute. It may gradually become even fewer later on, perhaps around 40 per minute. This means that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will likely be more long-living. As tortoises breathe more slowly, they are more long-living. People who like to eat lots of meat breathe faster. This is not because they eat too much and cause the plump body to have pressure upon their heart. Rather, it is because they are eating animals’ bodies, and these animals felt fear when they were killed which causes them to breathe very fast. That is why those who eat meat have faster a faster rate of breathing and heartbeat. For people with fast breathing, their karmic force could not be pushed out because their breathing air passes by too quickly and weakly. Meat-eaters swallow animals’ karma and accumulate that since the air cannot move the karma. The teachings of Chinese medicine also say that people who are often angry are more short-living. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also spoke to Protector Achi that he should not let people who cannot be vegetarians come to pujas.

While you are attending the pujas, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will help you to eliminate some of your bad karma, but if you go home and eat more meats you will accumulate more bad karma.

Today many methods of Dharma practice are taught in Exoteric Buddhism and Esoteric Buddhism. Let us cherish the opportunities to listen to Buddha Dharma and exert to practice. As Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche enlightened last week: why is it effective for him to help a friend’s son and his own son by reciting Six Syllable Mantra? Because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche recites everyday. As they say: hug Buddha’s feet at the last minute. If you do not recite at regularly, the connection will not be made. But you offer the Buddha a box of cookies only while you are in trouble and hence want to get everything. That is impossible. Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara has so many dharma protectors, who watch sentient beings everywhere. If a person regularly recites Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, the Dharma protectors will help him with priority. Each of us may feel that we are very busy, but nobody present here is busier than Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche learned Exoteric Buddhism, everyday he recited the Holy Name of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara ten thousand times, the Universal Gate Chapter of the Lotus Sutra twice, the Great Compassion Mantra 49 times when he has more free time or 14 times if he is busy. If you watch TV first after going home, do practice only when there is free time or won’t recite Six Syllable Mantra everyday, you should not come thereafter. There is no such lazy disciple in the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, as the Dharma protector will help to expel them. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche sooner or later will kick those people out. In fact, by watching your face Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knows whether you recite everyday or not. It does not mean the people who frequently recite the Mantra would have their faces look like Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. Do not misunderstand this. It could be observed by their appearance.

March 12, 2011

From 4:50 PM to 9:40 PM, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave enlightenment to 100 believers with Buddhism and helped them to relieve all kinds of suffering in the world at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, Taipei.

March 13, 2011

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche presided over an auspicious regular puja, enlightened important concepts in the Avalokiteshvara Universal Gate Chapter of Lotus Sutra, and also enlightened the methods of practicing the Dharma of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, Taipei.

Before the puja commenced, a female disciple made repentance to the His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and the Bodhisattvas.

This disciple had suffered from third-stage breast cancer, which gave her the opportunity to meet Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The first time she met Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, he asked her compassionately what assistance she needed. She said she had breast cancer, and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said that, as she had met him, she would have a greater chance to live. She said her family wanted her to have an operation, but Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche enlightened:〝You would not listen to your family normally, so why would you have the surgery just because they told you so?〞He was right! She indeed did not usually listen to her parents, and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had revealed the truth with one word. She was afraid of death, and she also did not want to lose the relationship with her children and ex-mother-in-law which she had regained with difficulty. She was reluctant to give up everything due to greed, so when her family and children told her to have the surgery, she was willing in her heart. She did not have enough confidence in Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche back then, and when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told her that he himself had suffered from skin cancer but had recovered without medical treatment, she thought at first 〝Is it possible?〞Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told her compassionately that she could come back to see him when she decided the time for the surgery. When she stood up to leave, she felt a knock on her head. Her first thought was that someone had struck her, but later, her younger sister told her happily that it was a blessing from the guru, something that many people would beseech for! Although she was happy to hear this, she still had feelings of doubt, however.

After she decided the time for surgery, she beseeched to meet Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche again, and he asked her to adopt a vegetarian diet, then gave her a nectar pill. She hesitated, then Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked her to take a moment to think carefully then come up again, and he said:〝You had this disease and still would not diet as a vegetarian?〞While she did not really understand the reasons behind this, she agreed to become a vegetarian anyway. So Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave her two nectar pills, one for before and one for after the surgery. After the surgery everything was fine, and she recovered quickly. Then three weeks later, she began the chemotherapy treatment, which was when her nightmare began. The doctor said she was too thin, and he was afraid her heart would not stand the extra strain, so they would use a new drug. Every treatment cost 60,000 NT dollars, and she needed six treatments, but by the time she had done four she decided that she could not continue. The first time she had a high fever, with her white blood cell index dropping to only around 700. In addition, her throat was too sore to eat, most of her hair fell out, and she was hospitalized for a week. The second and third times, she had to go to the emergency unit constantly, and by the fourth time she couldn’t take any more, as her whole body became black like it was burned. Her peripheral nerves were severely damaged, her hands were too painful to hold things, her feet could not support her, she had a continuous high fever, and her throat and mouth had ulcerations, meaning she could not eat at all. She fell into a semi-conscious state, with her red blood cell index having fallen to only 5 or 6, and needed continued injection of antibiotics. Her hands and feet were treated as burn injuries, and her whole body was wrapped up in bandages like a mummy. Eating, drinking and excretion couldn’t be done without the care of a helper. The doctor was nervous, as in 20 years of being a doctor he had never seen such severe reaction to chemotherapy. Just when she was released from hospital, the doctor told her that she did not need any more chemotherapy. He said that they had removed two tumors from her neck, but then during the chemotherapy one tumor had grown from the same place, meaning that the chemotherapy had not worked for her. Therefore she turned to radiation therapy, but the whole area that was exposed to the therapy developed ulcerations and it was extremely painful. Nevertheless, doctors gave her steroids, and encouraged her to finish the therapy.

When her younger sister saw that she was suffering so much, she told her to beseech to meet with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. So she went to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and beseeched to attend the Buddhism puja, because she felt she had heavy negative evil karma. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche enlightened that everyone had negativeevil  karma, but did not agree to let her attend the puja. Later she went to beseech him again, and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked her if she had finished the therapy. She answered that it was very painful. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche replied instantly that he had only asked her if she had finished the therapy, not whether it was painful. He knew it must be painful. She then replied that she had indeed finished the therapy, to which Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked about the results. She answered that she did not know yet, and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then asked if she had any other issues, to which she replied that she wanted to attend the Buddhism puja and Chod puja. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche agreed, but said that she had to become a vegetarian. She was very happy to do this and said yes. She felt very grateful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche who gave her the chance to learn Buddhism, let her attend the Buddhism puja to hear the Buddha Dharma, and understand how frightful cause and effect can be.

When she recently met her colleagues who had not seen her for a long time, they could not help praising her as she was looking so good that she didn’t even seem like a patient with a serious illness. While she was impressed with the great power of Buddhism and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s compassion, she was also so regretful that she had been ignorant, selfish and ungrateful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche before. In 2010, she had cast a dissenting vote against having one more great puja with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche presiding over the Drikung Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism’s Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousnesses in that year. At that time, she had thought that it would cost lots of money for another great puja, and she was afraid that she could not afford to support the expense of sponsoring it, but she gave a more worthy reason that it would cause the guru to be exhausted and it would affect his health. Therefore, she cast a dissenting vote, but she neglected the fact that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s vow is to help and salvage other sentient beings, and that he continually devotes his energy, time and physical strength to banish their hardships. However, she was really only caring about her own benefit, and she was so ignorant that her action may cause other sentient beings to be unable to attend the puja. She was so regretful of her mistake, and she prayed to sentient beings every day in the hope that others could forgive her for her incorrect notion which meant that she did not cultivate Buddhism well. During the day of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism’s Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousnesses, when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche agreed for her to enter the venue, she could not help but burst into tears and was so grateful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for allowing her ancestors, karmic creditors and sentient beings to be salvaged.

If Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had not saved her, how could she have gotten the opportunity to eat food, chat and have the dinner with her children, how could she have the ability to lead her life as normal? Until now, she had not diligently cultivated Buddhism and had forgotten the teachings of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. She often observed how Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche stayed on the Dharma Throne for more than 5 or 6 hours, but Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche patiently urged and helped sentient beings throughout, like a lighthouse serving as a beacon for sentient beings who have become lost. She repented that her personality was so selfish and unwilling to accept others’ advice. Recently she was often getting angry about matters in her job and treating her colleagues badly. Sometimes she would speak loudly with a bad attitude because she only thought someone had treated her badly. She did not think that the reason was due to her personality. When she was not good enough, others could not feel her kindness, and therefore she would get such feedback. She was angry and filled with hatred because she did not cultivate Buddhism well. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once made enlightenment that one who was filled with hatred would be reborn as a snake or a dragon. One time, she was driving a car and heard a Dharma audio-recording. On hearing this enlightenment, she could not help but cry unceasingly. She asked herself why she could not achieve what her guru urged her to do. How could someone like her ask other sentient beings to forgive her? She was very shocked upon seeing the serious earthquake in Japan, and felt that she was so lucky to live in Taiwan where such a place of blessedness exists. Because of the blessing of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, she can continually learn Buddhism since she took refuge under him, despite her many faults. She used to be a different person, an evil woman who, without fulfilling the responsibility to take care of her parents-in-law and children, only kept seeking more than she deserved. She feels ashamed and grateful that she can live well under the blessing of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. She will accept whatever evil karmic retribution befalls her without any complaint because this is the law of cause and effect. She would like to thank Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche again for this opportunity of making repentance.

Afterward, another disciple made repentance to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for her evil karma, as well as thoughts about her current life and her previous lives.

Her family had worked in agriculture since she was a child, and she had harmed numerous small animals. For example, they would kill chickens when there was an important event or festival. She often used to scoop up the fishes and shrimps from the stream and collected field snails. She also caught earthworms to feed to the ducks, and she even once caught a mouse and drowned it, and sprayed pesticide to cruelly kill cockroaches and ants. After she had become an adult, she had an abortion twice. Moreover, she liked to eat meat, and often brought her family members to have a BBQ together. Her body, speech, and mind were not free of greed, hatred, delusion, self-conceit or doubt, and she had much evil karma.

At the time, she followed Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to learn Buddhism, although there was only one of her family members who took refuge under Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Even so, she still felt that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also took care of and helped her family members unceasingly. When her second daughter was in the third year of university, her wrist was swollen and weak, and she would feel pain even if she squeezed a tube of toothpaste. They went to a number of Western hospitals but none of them could find out the cause of her illness. Also at that time, the cat which was kept by her daughter happened to bite her daughter’s face and scratch her hands. The scar left by the cat’s claws could not heal for a long time. After requesting Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for help, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche made enlightenment and instructed her daughter to take away a decorative mirror from her dormitory, and put it on the open ground which was 100 meters away from her dormitory. When she walked back to her dormitory after doing this, she must not turn back to look at it. After that, she did not feel so much pain in her wrist, and the scar on her hands had healed well after only two days. What’s more, her cat became more docile as well!

The third daughter was quite a rebellious teenager during her senior year in senior high school. She even ran away from home. Because of this the disciple was worried that her daughter would become a bad apple, so she hurried to ask Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for advice. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche enlightened that children who are not well-taught when they are young cannot be expected to be well-behaved once they are grown up. He also hinted to her that the second daughter knew where the third daughter was. As a result, she successfully found the third daughter, but soon after the daughter ran away again. This time, however, she did not ask Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s advice. On the one hand she repented that she had not raised her daughter well enough, which was why the daughter was disobedient, while on the other hand, she thought about how Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, Buddha and Bodhisattvas would make the best arrangement for followers. Finally, the third daughter came to her senses, returned home and went back to school again.

The disciple said she was very grateful for everything Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has done for her. She made repentance to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for her disobedience, and being unable to let go of attachments. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once enlightened that abortion is the most serious killing karma and one with heavy killing karma would have cancer. Today her karmic retribution has appeared in front of her. She knows her wrongs and is willing to burden all the faults and karmic retribution. She prayed that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could have mercy and compassion for those sentient beings and hoped all sentient beings could receive the guru’s blessings and soon be relieved from their sufferings.

There were only 10 people allowed to attend last year’s India retreat. Before the retreat, her daughter had asked her whether she would like to go. She replied to her daughter that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had many outstanding disciples and it would be impossible for her to go on the retreat. She deeply believes that during the process Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas must have known she did not have enough blessings, so they continuously created opportunities for her. Under the arrangements of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and the Dharma protector, when knowing the mother had the opportunity to go to the retreat, her daughter helped her to prepare the funds so that she was able to successfully follow Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to practice retreat in India. During the retreat, she continuously reflected and contemplated Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s arrangements for her. She was very grateful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s painstaking efforts to teach his disciples and his selfless devotion towards them.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has enlightened his disciples in previous pujas that if a person still gets an incurable disease after practicing Buddhism, it means that the person does not have a repentant mind. She has followed Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for eight years. But now she still has cancer. This means that she neither has repented enough nor has truly followed and practiced Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teachings. She feels ashamed for not following Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teachings properly.

After she reported her illness to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche mercifully instructed her three daughters to do full prostrations in the Buddhist center to accumulate blessings and repent for her. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s arrangement was not only for her, but also for her family members. Her three daughters’ problems, the eldest daughter’s migraines, the second daughter’s sleep problem, and the youngest daughter’s gastrointestinal problem, have all shown improvement. It is very difficult for her to repay Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s great kindness.

She implored Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to commiserate all sentient beings so that she and the sentient beings harmed by her can be reborn in the Pure Land. She also expressed her appreciation to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche again. Finally, she prayed that venerable Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche lives in this world forever, turns the Dharma Wheel constantly, has good health, has good luck and happiness, and enhances and glorifies the Buddhist undertakings.

As the puja began, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued to bestow last week’s teachings about the important concepts in the Avalokiteshvara Universal Gate Chapter of the Lotus Sutra.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teachings were as follows: In the Universal Gate Chapter, it describes “reciting Avalokitesvara’s name with a single mind.” What “a single mind” means is no other thoughts except for one, not asking for anything and not praying  for oneself. There is only Avalokitesvara in one’s mind. Many of you came to the puja with many wishes. For instance, you hoped your illness will be cured. This was not “a single mind.” When in danger, many young children in the Center were more likely to be helped by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche because their minds are very simple. They just believe that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is very powerful, and is capable of helping them. They are not like you adults who have complicated minds. When you are ill, you want the illness to be cured and don’t want the feeling of pain. When the illness is becoming better, you’d ask that it should be better even more. It is very difficult to satisfy you. What is in your mind is greed, hatred and ignorance. You have been clinging to your desires. To reduce your distracting thoughts, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche taught you to recite Avalokitesvara’s name or mantra, so that your mind will be able to attach itself to the name or the mantra. There are four levels in practicing Mahamudra. To obtain the state of “a single mind,” one has to achieve the first level of Mahamudra: One-pointedness Yoga.

The phrase “enduring various sufferings” doesn’t refer to the sufferings of natural disasters or illness. Instead, it refers to the kind of sufferings that will prevent you from being liberated from the cycle of reincarnation. Genuine sufferings are ones of reincarnation in the six realms. In Buddhist practice, the meaning of achieving the accomplishment of being “at ease” has nothing to do with you being good at doing everything. Its meaning is twofold: Firstly, it indicates the achievement of breaking off from the cycle of reincarnation, which means you can control your life without being affected by karmic force and dragged down by reincarnation. Secondly, it indicates that you have achieved a state in which you can change certain illnesses from which you suffer. Karma is a kind of force that will cause us to enter into the cycle of reincarnation. Karmic force can be divided into virtuous and a vicious one. It’s not that only vicious karmic force will cause us to enter into the cycle of reincarnation, as virtuous karmic force will do the same. Both will result in our incapability to leave the cycle of birth and death. Our  body of flesh and blood is a body of karmic retribution, which means it has resulted from our virtuous and vicious karma. Given this fact, how could we fail to encounter anything? “Self nature” means the Dharma nature one was born with naturally. One’s consciousness and life experience will not give rise to it. In other words, all sentient beings and Buddhas have the same self nature. It, therefore, means that all sentient beings were born with the conditions to achieve Buddhahood. Because of the rising of their dark nature, the sentient beings would enter the cycle of reincarnation in the six realms. They are unaware of the fact that their pure self nature was tainted by greed, hatred and ignorance accumulated in past lifetimes. Buddha Dharma teaches you how to unseal the Dharma nature you were born with, and how to practice the method of breaking off the reincarnation. Things such as doing good deeds, being polite, volunteering, and donating money for disaster relief are the essentials for us as human beings. They only assists you to make more connections when learning Buddhism. They have nothing to do with breaking of reincarnation and cultivating your life. To learn Buddhism, especially in practicing Bodhisattva’s path, one should not ask anything in return. Nor should one be concerned with any name credit. One should just do it quietly in private.

The massive earthquake in Japan which occurred several days ago has caused many problems such as traffic jams in Tokyo. According to Japanese law, any legally registered institutions must open up to the public in a disaster like an earthquake, even if they are private corporations. For example, convenience stores and department stores must open their doors for the public in such a catastrophe. We have witnessed Japanese people reacting to the disaster in a very orderly fashion, such as lining up for food and water. Convenience stores also provided free food and blankets for victims who couldn’t return to their homes. If the same situation occurred in Taiwan, could we still conduct ourselves with such order? We probably would have already been panicking and competing for resources in chaos. Moreover, Japanese people also allowed time for their government to deal with the disaster. They didn’t complain and use abusive language toward their government. When a natural disaster occurred last time in Taiwan, some people here scolded government officials and workers. You have to understand that those who went to rescue victims are also human beings. They also have to endure hardships to save people. They need time to handle things related to disaster relief. You shouldn’t just scold them. Some even complained about why rescuers tried to save tourists from mainland China rather than local people? Those tourists were guests of Taiwan. Of course the priority should be saving them first. Nowadays, Chinese concepts have been changed. Old Chinese traditions are vanishing already. Chinese people have become quite selfish, not being considerate of others.

There is another regulation in Japan, which says that as long as an institution is registered as a religious organization, it has to stay open 24 hours for people to enter and worship inside. It can’t close its doors. Since Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has founded a religious organization in Japan, Rinpoche knows about these related regulations. Some Taiwanese religious organizations have publicized on TV about what charitable deeds they have done in Japan to help victims of the disaster. Doing charitable deeds is a requirement for any human being. It shouldn’t need to be so widely broadcast as news, not to mention being made law in Japan. There is no such law in Taiwan, so the religious organization used the occasion for propaganda. It shouldn’t be like this. It is a form of clinging when using others’ misfortune as a kind of propaganda for one’s own sake, a clinging of offering charity. Thus, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche enlightened that if you would like to donate money, rather than giving it to a foundation, you can donate it to the Department of Social Affairs in Ministry of the Interior. Because officials in the public sector have salaries already, the 100 dollars you donate will be entirely used to help those who are in need. If you donate 100 dollars to a foundation, at most only 20 to 30 dollars of it could reach the needy because the foundation has to pay salaries to its employees as well as many other expenses. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knows very well about the operation of a foundation. So Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche usually will not donate money to foundations. When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche founded the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, it was registered as an association rather than a foundation. If the Buddhist Center was a foundation, a variety of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s expenses could be reimbursed by the foundation. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, however, didn’t wish to do so. Rinpoche never uses a penny of the association for his personal expense. He has a deep belief in the law of cause and effect. Sentient beings’ money can’t be squandered. Nor can the money be wasted. If you waste others’ money, it will have to be paid back in the future.

The reason you attended today’s puja wasn’t that you have accepted the law of cause and effect or karmic fruit. Instead, you are here because you feared karmic fruit. You know that you’ve done vicious deeds and are afraid of the manifestations of vicious karmic fruit. That’s why you attended today’s puja, hoping that bad things will not happen. If bad things will not happen due to your attendance, all good things will not occur, either. This means there is no law of cause and effect. By the same token, the merits of your attendance wouldn’t accumulate any virtuous karmic fruit. Actually, your being in bad health, having a broken family, and a career encountering problems isn’t relevant to whether you learn Buddhism. They are simply the way of the world, the manifestations of virtuous and vicious karma from the past. Some may worry about law suits or cancer. These, however, are nothing when compared with the suffering of the reincarnation in the six realms. These are results of what you have done. If you had not wronged someone in past lifetimes, you would not be falsely involved in any law suits. If you had not confined any animals in cages, you would not encounter any adversity such as being in jail in this lifetime. Don’t complain about your bad luck. There is no such thing as bad luck. It stems from the fact that you have almost exhausted your merits and therefore your bad karma manifests itself. That’s why Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has urged attendees to continuously participate in pujas to accumulate merits. In doing so, it will be possible to temporarily subdue evil karmic forces and allow you more time to learn Buddhism.

The two disciples who just made their public repentance were good examples of how merits can be exhausted. One was clinging to the joyful feeling of having meals with her children. The other has taken refuge for eight years but still was diagnosed with cancer. The first expressed her repentance, but did she really repent at all? She was grateful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche so she could have meals with her family. But the purpose of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s help isn’t for this. It is for her to have time to diligently learn Buddhism. Nonetheless, she thought it’s a happiness to have meals with family. As soon as she thought in this way, her merits were used up slightly. What is the fun to have meals with your children? Many people think it is a familial enjoyment to get together with children. They believe it’s a natural feeling to be blissful when seeing children return home. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche sometimes would have meals with his children, but Rinpoche never feels especially happy about it. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche treats the occasion with a casual mindset. For him, a meal is a meal. There is nothing to feel joyful about it. Isn’t Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche the one who pays for the meal? Even if Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s children pay for it, he won’t feel happy, either, because his children make less money. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t go out to watch movies or have fun. The important thing lies in your attitude. Since you have extremely limited fortune, when you feel you are enjoying yourself or having a great fun, your fortune would be reduced somewhat. It’s all right to use some if you have accumulated profoundly great fortune.

The other disciple, who has sought refuge for 8 years, even participated in two retreats before. Why would she develop a tumor? It is because she did not repent enough. With such a great amount of accumulated killing karma, she thought that she had repaid all the karma since she had taken refuge and conducted recitation of Buddha’s name. Therefore, all she thought of was her daughters. In her opinion, she has taken painstaking efforts to raise her 3 daughters. As they have grown up, she doesn’t want them to suffer like her. She forgot about the numerous sentient beings she had killed. Who should these sentient beings go to, then? She thinks that her daughters have good health and are obedient, so her life is perfect. As the mother has such heavy killing karma, how can the daughters have good health? As she has been worried about her 3 daughters and has got such attachment, she will suffer a lot and be unable to let go on the verge of her death. According to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, these two people have failed to express true repentance.

Additionally, another disciple was told by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to prepare lunch boxes for the attendees of the puja held on Chinese New Year’s Day. At first, she called several people, asking why Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who has so many disciples, specifically instructed her to prepare the lunch boxes. This shows that she has no faith in the guru. However, other disciples were able to prepare lunch boxes at the same price. In the beginning, she said that, as the cooks did not work on Chinese New Year’s Day, she requested to be paid more. Later, she forced herself to do it, but even so, the food she prepared was insufficient for everyone to feel full. How can someone as calculative as her learn Buddhism? She could do this to her own Dharma brothers, let alone the other sentient beings. When she first sought an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, she had poor health and a lot of problems. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche solved all her problems and helped her save a great deal of money. She did not make offerings with the money and became calculative as all her problems had been solved. Where is her reverence, loving kindness and compassion? She has no gratitude at all. Besides, the lunch boxes were not for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. You people want everything except for disadvantages. You want everything except for the bad. You only treat Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche as a Rinpoche while he is on the Dharma Throne. After Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche steps down from the Dharma Throne, you think that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is a fool. You listen to the Buddhist teachings Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestows while on the Dharma Throne, however you do not listen to the words that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche says after stepping down from it. However, to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, whatever he does, speaks, and acts is for the benefit of other sentient beings, whether he is on the Dharma Throne or not. In addition, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed that the Director of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center refuse that disciple’s offerings for the great puja and make sure that she won’t be allowed to make any contributions during each puja. As she is so good at calculation, her wish will be granted.

Learning Buddhism does not simply ensure for you to live a good life. In fact, it is really easy to lead a good life without having to learn Buddhism. As long as you donate 70 to 80% of your monthly income to those truly in need, it is guaranteed that your luck will change. If you only want to improve your medical condition, even a Catholic can do that with serious recitation of the Rosary. During the puja, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked a disciple who had used to believe in Catholicism if he knew about this. The disciple gave a positive reply. It would be easy with Taoist means as well. As long as an incantation is drawn for you, the pain in your body will be relieved. However, this cannot fundamentally solve your problems. Even though your medical condition improves, you will have other misfortunes. The effect cannot be eliminated and will still manifest in another form. Superficially, the problem seems to be solved, but more serious ones will come.

You are learning Buddhism and practicing with your consciousness and karmic forces, instead of your pure self nature. In other words, whatever an ordinary being thinks, feels, and does is not usually derived from his pure nature. According to the Shurangama Sutra, “When a Buddha comes, eliminate the Buddha. When a devil comes, eliminate the devil.” When you feel the presence of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, or devils in your practice, they are all your thoughts and effects of your consciousness. You need to eliminate them. Those who had visions of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara are imagining things and having illusions. Every time upon completing a retreat, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would report every sign that appears in the retreat room to His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, who will then tell whether such signs are signs of true accomplishment or mere illusions and effects of his consciousness. The guru is an experienced practitioner and knows what works the fastest and the most efficiently for you. Until you realize your own heart and see your true nature, all you can do is to follow the instructions and simply do what the guru is telling you to do. As you do not know if you have attained any achievements in practice, you need the guru to verify your attainment. In the Maharatnakuta Sutra, the signs of attaining the first, second, and third level of a  Bodhisattva are also clearly stated.

The “heart” in the Heart Sutra does not mean the organ of the heart. According to the Heart Sutra, the characteristic of the heart is neither born nor extinguished, neither polluted nor purified, neither added nor subtracted. One has to be able to recite the Bodhisattva’s name single-mindedly, without asking anything in return, until your Dharma nature is revealed, and you are connecting with the Mahasattva who has realized the Dharma body. Only then will you be in tune with Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.  Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara realized perfect penetration by means of the faculty of hearing, and listens to everything with a clean and pure mind. Having achieved through hearing and what was heard, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara is a Mahasattva who has attained the Dharma body. In the Universal Gate Chapter, it is said that “Their prayers will immediately be visualized and they will be liberated.” Visualization is not something that an ordinary person can achieve. It doesn’t mean that one can be liberated upon hearing Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara with one’s ears. Here, visualization is to visualize with one’s nature, Dharma nature, and heart. All sentient beings have the same quality as the Buddhas, namely, one’s pure nature. One’s pure nature is Dharma nature that rises naturally. It is said in the Diamond Sutra that one should avoid the mind of delusion. As the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have no such notions of salvaging sentient beings, one who still thinks of himself as salvaging sentient beings is not a Buddha or Bodhisattva. The scriptures say that upon enlightenment one has to renounce orthodox Dharma, let alone non-orthodox Dharma. Non-orthodox Dharma is not forbidden, but it will not enable you to break free of the cycle of reincarnation.

During the 49 days after one’s death, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will come to receive the deceased every 7 days. When the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas come, there will be bright light and a loud sound. The roaring sound might frighten non-Buddhists, who thereby will move toward a quieter place and fall into the six realms of reincarnation. Those who conduct the practice of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara will know upon hearing the sound that Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara has arrived and will follow Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara to the Pure Land. What sound is it? You don’t have any idea about it, as you would have to be a Rinpoche to know. Every Buddha and Bodhisattva has their own heart mantra and syllable. The sound will be the syllable. One who has achieved the Phowa will definitely attain liberation from the cycle of birth and death simply because of the sound mentioned above. As it is a tantric practice, it will not be discussed here. According to the Dharma text of the Phowa, even though you die in an accident and there is no time for you to visualize or recite mantra before you draw your last breath, you can still go to the Pure Land as long as you remember the sound.

People tend to open their mouths wide on the verge of death, for they do not know that it is the last breath and try to draw another one by opening the mouth. That’s why they do so. However, a practitioner who is able to attain liberation from the cycle of birth and death will not do so. Mother Teresa, an Indian nun, conducted a lot of virtuous acts during her lifetime. She was brave enough to take leprosy patients in her arms and even received the Nobel Peace Prize. However, after her death, the first picture showed that her mouth was open wide. In a later photo, her face was wrapped with white cloth so as to make her mouth close. With all her virtuous acts, she still failed to attain liberation from the cycle of birth and death. As for you, none of you have conducted more virtuous acts than she did. Other religions do not teach people how to face their birth and death, only the Buddhist teachings do. In this world, the Buddhist teachings are the only solution to your problem of birth and death, being able to liberate you from reincarnation.

Why do we learn Buddhism? To accumulate the merits for the final seconds before death. What is stated in this section of the Universal Gate Chapter is to be used at the moment of death. When one is about to pass away, it is hard for one to have peace of mind while suffering from physical pain and being influenced by one’s karmic forces. It takes practice in everyday life to prevent one’s mind from being distracted. It is said that to maintain an army for a thousand days is to use it for a day. Most importantly, all the merits we have accumulated through practice in this life are to be used in the moments around our death. When you generate ignorance, you will have a lot of attachment and be reluctant to let go, which in turn will cause you to fall into the reincarnation in the six realms. Therefore, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas make use of our attachment to things and turn it into a means of practice that enables us to attach to the Buddha’s name. At least this attachment will be helpful to us. If one can get rid of all other thoughts and attach himself to the sacred name of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, he will attain liberation. Therefore, you have to make friends with Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara and get used to Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. All your thoughts, actions, and speech are Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. If you can do so, you will then be liberated by Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara at this critical moment.

Some attendees would lie flat on the couch and watch TV, thinking that the recitation of the Buddha’s name can be conducted the next day and that  they can take leave from the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. When you learn Buddhism, it is not like going to school or work, so you don’t have to take any leave. Whether you conduct recitation or not has nothing to do with the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and the guru. In fact, if you fail to continue having contact with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas on a daily basis, the karmic forces you created in the past will interfere with you on the verge of your death. You will not be able to focus your mind on Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara and will fail to be liberated. The minimum number of recitations is 3000 times per day. Only when you recite the Buddha’s name can you eliminate your delusions and subdue your agitated mind. Do not think that you are doing something great by attending the puja every Sunday. Attending pujas can merely help you to form connections. If you attend the pujas but fail to practice in accordance with the teachings, these pujas will be in vain.

It takes more than words to attain rebirth in the Pure Land. One can only achieve it by means of diligent and true practice under the guidance of one’s guru. For example, if a student goes to school but does not do the assignments that the teacher gives him or study hard, he will learn nothing. If you play around every day and fail to study at home or review your lessons, how can pass the exam? Learning Buddhism and studying is similar. You are like the students who do not study hard and like to play all the time. The Buddhist teachings are mere recreations and pastimes to you. As a saying goes, “to embrace Buddha’s feet in one’s hour of need.” If you do not carry out the Buddhist teachings in your daily life, all of you will fail the test when it comes. You have failed to show genuine reverence to the Buddhist teachings. One who has genuine reverence to the Buddhist teachings is not like you!

As Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has said many times, his guru is His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. If there were no cause and effect and if praying for the protections and blessings from Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and the guru were sufficient enough to resolve everything, then Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would have called His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang to implore for protections and blessings day and night. Why had Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche still practiced hard? In 2007, why did he still go to Mt. Lapchi to perform a retreat for three months? During the retreat, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could not take a bath, wash his hair, or even speak. Why did he practice so hard? This was because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche deeply believes that everything should be done by oneself; all karma has to be repaid, and every merit has to be earned by one’s own practices. The guru can only teach you and bless your heart. It still depends on your own diligent cultivations in order for you to be truly reborn in the Pure Land.

According to the Avalokiteshvara Universal Gate Chapter of the Lotus Sutra, we should “constantly contemplate and respect Avalokiteshvara.” “Constantly” means permanence. “Contemplating” means that every thought is to respect Avalokiteshvara. Avalokiteshvara as mentioned here is just one example. The respected subjects include Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and the guru. The so called reverence means one has the following attitudes: truly following and practicing the guru’s teachings; believing in Buddha Dharma taught by Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and the guru without doubt; constantly contemplating the merits of the guru, Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas; and believing that all of the guru’s teachings are for one’s benefit. Simply speaking, it is just “obedience.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has never used his own feelings to practice Buddhism, whereas you all use your own feelings to make judgments, categorizing a thing as good if you feel that it benefits you, or categorizing a thing as bad if you feel that it harms you. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has said more than once that if there is someone who is still afraid of being scolded by him, that person is a very evil person because that means he does not want to change for the better and has no reverence. For those who want to change for the better, why would they be afraid of being scolded? Why would they be afraid of being misunderstood by the guru? Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has been scolded countless times by His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and has never made any excuses. Those who make excuses do not admit they are wrong and are afraid of being misunderstood. As long as you are a human being, you would have something that you have not done well. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche thinks he still has many things he has not done well, so up to now Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche still needs His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s guidance very much. If Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche were not qualified to spread Buddha Dharma on behalf of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang would be the first one to expel Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche from the Dharma Throne. You are in no position to have doubts about what Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has done!

Practicing Buddhism is to revere Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as our role models and to take the deeds, speeches, and thoughts of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as the standards of our practices. All of your deeds, words and thoughts in your daily life are for the benefit of yourself and are done by following your own feelings; you have given rise to greedy, angry and ignorant thoughts and have brought a lot of evil karma on yourself. Why are you able to stay away from greed by respecting the guru, Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas? This is because the guru, Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas are constantly doing virtuous deeds; those who constantly contemplate the merits of the guru, Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas will give rise to more virtuous thoughts. You can train yourself to constantly contemplate Avalokiteshvara, for example, when you ride in a car and have no particular things to do. Assuming originally you have ten thoughts, if you can constantly contemplate and respect Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and the guru, and gradually use one or two Buddhas’ names to replace one or two thoughts, and then use ten Buddhas’ names to replace ten thoughts, eventually you can feelfill Buddhas’ names in all of your thoughts. If you use the virtuous deeds and thoughts of the guru, Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas to replace your thoughts of desires, under the gradual and constant influence of Buddhism, your greed can be gradually reduced and you can recover your pure nature gradually. All of the thoughts of the guru, Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas are virtuous. If you always think about them, your thoughts will naturally become virtuous as well. If those who practice Bodhicitta can practice the following things, they will attain the achievement of Bodhicitta in the great ocean of merits of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and the guru. These are: aAlways contemplating the vows and merits of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and the guru, respecting Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and the guru fully without their own thoughts, following the guru’s teachings continuously, not thinking unnecessarily about these things and instead just practice unceasingly. It takes a lot of time to practice by using the methods of Exoteric Buddhism to achieve enlightenment. However, practicing Tantra Buddhism will not be limited by space and time.

In addition, those who can respect the guru, Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas will respect all sentient beings naturally and will not quarrel with others. They will also not feel mistreated by others and create disputes at work.

Why does His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang value Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche so highly? This is because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has had complete reverence for His Holiness, has had no doubts about the guru’s words, and has immediately done whatever the guru has instructed. Even Tibetans admire how Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has acted towards His Holiness very much. You can imagine that if there is someone who usually agrees with your words and actions, when some trouble happens to him, will you take more care of him? You most certainly will. Now reflect on yourself. You usually did not agree, did not listen, and did not carry out Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teachings in your daily life. When the earthquake in Japan occurred this time, the local time where His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang resided was already sometime past 11 PM. His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang still called and expressed concerns about where Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was. This was because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had absolute reverence towards His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang so the guru will be constantly concerned about the disciple.

Concerning the major earthquake that occurred in Japan recently, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had actually already predicted long ago that volcanic eruptions and earthquakes would occur in Japan this year. However, at the time, no one was prepared to believe him and all of them thought, according to expert’s research, it is impossible for the volcanoes in Japan to erupt. In the end, the facts were exactly the same as what was prophesied by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. When carrying out an endeavor in Japan, most Taiwanese people will choose to go to Tokyo. However, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had chosen Kyoto to establish a Buddhist center. The earthquake that happened this time did not affect Kyoto at all. This was thanks to the blessings of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas so that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could concentrate on spreading Buddha Dharma without any worry.

Avalokiteshvara’s Universal Gate Chapter of the Lotus Sutra mentions that if those who have strong lust, hatred, and ignorance can constantly respect Avalokiteshvara, they can get rid of their lust, hatred, and ignorance. An ignorant person is not an idiot, but a person who does not believe in Buddhism and does not accept the Buddha’s teachings. The same scripture also mentions that reciting Avalokiteshvara’s name can allow a person to not encounter an untimely death. Many Buddha Dharma texts pray for not encountering untimely death. When you took refuge, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also said that you will not have untimely death after taking refuge. This is to let you have enough time to practice Buddhism without being influenced by your evil karma. Those who passed away in the earthquake that happened in Japan this time suffered untimely death; and the areas that had the most casualties were places that had had very heavy killing karma. Some people survived the disaster. But some people still could not escape even if warnings were issued and they had time to run. This was determined by their fate. Impermanence will come at any time. To practice Buddhism, you have to believe deeply that death is impermanent and do not think that you are still young and will not die. Those who die can be young or old. Hence, you should not get attached to all of the things that happen to you. These are all governed by the law of cause and effect, and the law of cause and condition.

After you take refuge, you will not die in an accidental or untimely way. This is to allow you to be able to utilize this additional time to learn Buddhism, not to enjoy so called family happiness. Do not think that you are practicing simply by reciting mantras, making prostrations to Buddhas’ statues or taking retreats once or twice. Like the female disciple with a malignant tumor said before the puja, she had taken refuge for 8 years but still got cancer since she  was not reverent towards the guru, and did not practice Buddhism wholeheartedly. All her attention was focused on her three daughters without thinking about how heavy her killing karma is. She should exert herself to learn Buddhism in order not to owe to karmic creditors. She brought up her daughters with all her effort. Now her daughters are grown up and have jobs. Her fortune is also running out, and her karmic creditors are knocking on her door. On the one hand, now her daughters are grown up and can make prostrations to Buddha for their mother. If Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told her daughters to make prostrations to Buddha for their mother before, she must have found the excuses for them, such as “They are too young” or “They need to study,” but now they can make prostrations. On the other hand, the karmic creditors know that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is still in this world and that he can liberate and transfer their consciousness. They are afraid that if Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche leaves, they cannot be liberated and transferred afterwards, so they hurriedly demand repayment of karmic debts towards her. In fact Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had already helped her a lot eight years ago. Originally she should have gotten cancer eight year ago, but it turns out that despite giving her eight years to learn Buddhism she wasted this time on her daughters instead. If Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had not gotten cancer, he would be in no position to scold her. However, he had indeed suffered from skin cancer before. Becoming a vegetarian, taking refuge and attending puja will not make bad things cease happening. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche started to be vegetarian at the age of 35 and took refuge to learn Buddhism at the age of 36. But he still had skin cancer at the age of 45. Why? Because the karmic retribution did not vanish and it still appears. But Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche regards Buddhist learning as the most important thing in his life. Nothing is more important than learning Buddhism, so he endlessly practices hard and benefits sentient beings. When he got cancer, he did not take medicine or remedies. By diligently practicing Buddha Dharma, he accumulated very immense merits and solved the problem of skin cancer on his own.

There is a sentence in the Avalokiteshvara Universal Gate Chapter of the Lotus Sutra: “Therefore the sentient beings should always contemplate in their mind”. The “should” here is a one hundred percent affirmative expression, without any room for bargaining. You must have the eternal heart and mind like this. You may think that as one who practices Buddhism is compassionate they must therefore always speak softly, but it is not so. In Buddha sutras, it is often shown that Buddha Sakyamuni scolded followers. The Amitabha Sutra states that men and women who pray to be reborn in the Pure Land should not be lacking in virtues, merits, causes and conditions.  The content of Buddha sutras is the words which Buddha Sakyamuni wanted to tell us and it must be something that we can achieve. Unlike many rules in our daily life, no sentences contain redundant words. Every word enlightened by the Buddha is the method for Dharma practice, which enables us to leave the cycle of reincarnation. Why is this condition particularly pointed out in Universal Gate Chapter? That is because the condition must be definitely attained before achieving enlightenment. When you still have greediness, hatred and ignorance, the last three items in the Ten Good Deeds are not attained. Without attaining those, you are not virtuous men or virtuous women. Hence you do not have the qualification to enter the Pure Land. This rule is strict and never compromised.

Additionally, it is mentioned in the Universal Gate Chapter that “If there is a woman who prays for a son, prostrates and makes offerings to Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, she will give birth to a son with merits, virtues and wisdom. If she prays for a daughter, she will give birth to a daughter with a pleasant appearance and deeply-rooted virtues whom everyone likes and respects.” The “pray” here is not to ask for one’s own desires. Some people are not willing to practice Buddhism until the Buddha, Bodhisattvas and guru satisfy their worldly wishes. Their prayers cannot be answered successfully in such a way. This conditional style of learning Buddhism  is like bribery or blackmail. So called “surely corresponding if asking” mostly means the will of asking to liberate one’s life and death. One will surely have one’s prayers answered if sincerely asking to liberate one’s life and death.

One who prays to have children must be a true Buddhist practitioner. Namely, one must entirely behave in accordance with “the Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas,”, to recite Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara in absolute  concentration, have a real reverence towards Buddha and Bodhisattvas and recite Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara without any greediness. If doing all this, the prayer will be realized. The children resulting from such praying must have the root of virtue of past lives. Buddha and Bodhisattvas let him be born into the family of Buddha Dharma, so he is coming to learn Buddhism and practice in this life.

In the phrase of “a son with merits, virtues and wisdom”, the wisdom mentioned here does not refer to having a doctorate or being very clever. Rather, it means that he has been blessed  from birth with sufficient merits. If someone prays for a son who can benefit sentient beings, such a child will be born. Such a kind of child knows the concept of filial piety from birth and can start to practice. He understands Buddha Dharma at once if he listens to it, just like His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. Do not think that the reincarnated Rinpoche doesn’t need to practice. His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang is also reincarnated. If the reincarnated Rinpoche didn’t need to practice, it would not be mentioned in  His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s autobiography that he followed several teachers to learn how to practice. Even if a Rinpoche is reincarnated, everything needs to be learned from scratch, although they learn more quickly. No matter what the reincarnated Rinpoche achieved in the past lives, those were the past. If they did not practice in this life, they similarly could not have the achievement.

Someone who prays for children and eventually gets them is one who at first has the karmic connection of the family in their life. But doing something bad in this life blocks this karmic connection. Under Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings, one is able to  recover the original karmic connection of the family, rather than being given children by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. How could Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche give you children? If one, however, does not act in accordance with the teachings and apply Buddha Dharma in daily life, the children who originate from one’s praying will be karmic creditors.

“A daughter with a pleasant appearance”does not means one with a particularly beautiful or charming appearance. At the same time, a pleasant appearance means not having a crooked mouth or eyes that are too big or small. She will have neat teeth and will not be disabled. This“appearance” does not mean adorable either. A child may be adorable while they are young, but they will lose this nature as they grow up and may even turn out to be repulsive. If you say she is adorable, there are bound to be some non-adorable times. “Deeply-rooted virtues” means planting the root of feminine virtue in accumulated lives. “Everyone likes and respects her” means that everyone admires the daughter on meeting her without having other thoughts about her. Dharma Protector Achi, who is the uncommon Dharma Protector of Drikung Kagyu, is one with such an appearance. As it is depicted in the Dharma text, the appearance of Dharma Protector Achi is the appearance of a practitioner. Hence you women should not worry about not being loved by a man. In fact if you are destined to have a karmic connection of family, they will naturally show up. Falling in love at first sight, you say, is actually all your karmic creditors at work. If not, you would not like him at first sight. But that does not mean that one you hate at first sight is your benefactor. Previously Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked a female disciple not to have an attachment to a man that she liked. She cried and said it would be too painful for her without this man in her life. You usually look at things through the perspective of your own present feelings, or at most within one or two years. But you do not know that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche looks at your past, present and future lives.

You should not think that if you ask Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to be chief witness at your wedding ceremony, no dispute will occur after marriage. Dispute and divorce is still possible. If Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is the chief witness at your wedding ceremony, you will only be receiving some of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s merits. However, the marriage needs to be managed with care. Consider each other’s feelings and needs more. By applying the appropriate  way of how Buddha followers should treat each other, you will be less likely to dispute all day long. If the man originally has no wife in his previous life, naturally he will get divorced.

The Buddha follower who can really recite the name with single-mindedness will have children who do not arouse his afflictions. Also, both parents and children will help each other in the practice of learning Buddhism. In ancient times, a Zen Buddhist practitioner, with surname Fu (in Chinese), had a son who also learned Zen Buddhism. When he grew up, he even helped his father to practice. Later in life,, they practiced together and  achieved enlightenment. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche enlightened that his children seldom attend the puja, but Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knows that this is because he did not learn Buddhism from birth to the age of 36 in this life, hence he has such non-devout children. Believe in the Guru, the Buddha and Bodhisattvas. Regard everything as the karmic connection. Don’t acquire things through force. If you ask forcefully but your children still have no will to attend the puja with you, this means they are not the type for practicing and learning Buddhism. Do not force them against their will.

It is depicted in the Avalokiteshvara Universal Gate chapter of the Lotus Sutra: “Respectfully prostrate to Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, and the merits will not be wasted.” When you prostrate to Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara with a non-imploring mind, a repented mind and a respectful single-mindedness, the merit of every prostration is accumulated and is not wasted. In the future you surely will have the chance to use these merits but you just do not know when. Since when you pay respect to the guru, Buddha and Bodhisattvas, you share the ocean of merits which that guru, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas attained. By this, you must have received the blessings. “The merits are not wasted“ means not to waste merits. So called merit-cherishing is not like saying “do not waste food.” Rather, it means to cherish the merits of learning Buddhism. But now in the buffets, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also saw many ordained people eat more than himself. They were very picky and did not cherish their merits at all.

Yesterday there were a pair of vegetarian restaurant owners who came and met with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. He enlightened that owning a vegetarian restaurant is not necessarily making a good karmic connection with sentient beings. Do not misunderstand the meaning of making good karmic connections.

Having a lot of either good karma or bad karma will make you unable to practice Buddha Dharma. That is why we need to accumulate the merits and make offerings and charities while learning Buddhism. If your blessings are sufficient enough, these could help you to not be affected by the karma, and be able to enter into the nature of Dharma and follow the guidance of Buddha Dharma.

Yesterday, one ordained person brought a female believer to beseech the audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The woman said that her husband is an ordained person, and that both of his hands were burned and he is in the intensive care unit. She beseeched blessings from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche heard that an ordained person had a wife he felt it was strange. He perceived with meditative concentration, then asked the woman if her husband had gone to help others to expel ghosts and accepted a fee for it. The female answered that there had indeed been such an incident. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche enlightened,〝He appeared to be an ordained person but still had a wife, so he is not following the precepts well. When trying to expel the ghosts, the ghosts will not only ignore the request, but even turn against him.〞At that moment, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also enlightened his ordained disciples in the venue not to casually help others expel ghosts by chanting. If one does not have the abilities to help the dead, doing these things will have to be repaid. Taoism also has ways to help people to expel ghosts, but it is not a fundamental way. Buddha Dharma does not just expel ghosts, but instead transfers them to a better place.

Although the contents of the Avalokiteshvara Universal Gate Chapter of the Lotus Sutra does not use profound and difficult wordings, do not underestimate this Buddhist Sutra. Only people who have achieved by practicing would realize that it is not as simple as you think.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then gave enlightenment on the methods of practicing the Dharma of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, and asked the believers who have not yet taken refuge to leave the venue. The Buddha Dharma is not something that can be heard as you want to, especially Esoteric Buddha Dharma. Unlike other Buddhist venues, The Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center won’t compromise with believers just because they make offerings. Those people won’t be allowed to hear because they have not yet taken refuge, which means they have not yet decided to make virtuous deeds, and on that basis, they were asked to leave.

After the Buddhism puja was over, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche took special care to ask about one ordained disciple who had an injury on one finger. This ordained disciple explained that she had had surgery on this finger three months ago, and not only was it painful, but the finger had also not recovered well and part of it was rotten already. Yesterday this disciple beseeched an audience with the venerable Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche breathed blessings on the wound. Subsequently, it is much better today, and the pain is gone. The disciple was extremely grateful for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s help. Seeing how Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s every thought and whole heart is for all the sentient beings, with a great compassion, the audience were all deeply moved.

March 20, 2011

At the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, Taipei, disciples and believers reverently listened to the Dharma audio recordings of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s enlightenment about “Four Common Preliminary Practices” given on July 6, 2003.

Before the puja, a female disciple shared her experience of how His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has helped her sister and herself.

According to her family, her sister was practically a perfect daughter and eldest sister. She was not only filial to her parents but also always by her siblings’ side whenever they were in difficulties. Her sister was very good at pursuing knowledge and conducting research. Her doctoral dissertation has been assigned as reading material in many universities of other countries, and her research was very in-depth and specific. All the family was very proud of her.

Then, one day, out of the blue, her sister was diagnosed with lung cancer. A doctor of a well-known hospital in Taizhong suggested operational surgery, but her sister wished to undergo further examination in a Taipei hospital instead. Through a friend’s information, she found a very experienced physician to examine her sister. The result showed that it was definitely an adenocarcinoma of the lung. Every doctor who saw the results just shook his or her head, saying that this kind of cancer was especially difficult to cure. They began to consider how to combat the cancer, and eventually her sister decided not to undertake any surgery, which was a decision her mother couldn’t understand or accept.

Her elder brother introduced  a number of friends who claimed to have healing ability through non-Buddhist practices. However, she couldn’t accept such a way of dealing with her sister’s illness. She was worried that her sister might just “die a premature death,” as described in the Sutra of Bhaisajyaguru. In the meantime, a master of Exoteric Buddhism taught her to perform a retreat of the Eight Precepts at home. She should pray to Bhaisajyaguru Buddha and Bodhisattvas for her sister to accept authentic Buddhism. When her sister became aware of this later on, she also prayed to the Bodhisattvas for an opportunity to meet a genuine master.

About two or three weeks later, this disciple went to a hospital for her eye illness. When she went back to the hospital for a second examination, by chance she met a Dharma brother who was also a nurse in that eye clinic. The nurse mentioned how His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has been helping sentient beings and gave her a report about Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche which had been published in a magazine. She carefully read the report and immediately after reading it she called that Dharma brother, saying that she had decided to meet with His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. She hadn’t really considered gaining any knowledge about Tibetan Buddhism as she thought there were so many complicated mantras that she couldn’t possibly remember them, nor could she recite mantras. In addition, since she had never had any experience of Tibetan Buddhism, it would be very difficult for her to tell whether it was genuine or not. Especially during the age of Dharma degeneration, she thought it would be safe to stay in Exoteric Buddhism. Thus, even though she had had many opportunities to get in contact with practitioners in Tibetan Buddhism, she hadn’t agreed to go. This time, however, without knowing why, she was eager to have an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

When she first time came to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, it happened that her elder sister was giving a lecture in mainland China. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked her to bring her elder sister to meet with him next time, and she dared to self-righteously say that her elder sister was a Buddhist so that she would come. Hearing that, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told her:“ It is me who is a Buddhist.” The second time that she was received by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, she reported to him that her sister was coming back to Taiwan and so would come to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Then she, speaking out of turn, told Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche that she wanted to first attend pujas in order to pray for blessings for her sister. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told her that she would not be allowed to do this. Hearing this, she felt very shocked and asked without thinking “Why not?” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche just scolded her for a while, saying that she was doubtful and asking her to stand in the corner as punishment. At that time she still could not understand why she should not have asked why. For this episode, she was also blamed by her sister several times.

She had immense gratitude for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessing since her sister eventually came with her to meet Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. In the course of the interview with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, both her sister and her noticed how Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche kept looking up and to the left, as if he was speaking to someone. Seeing this, her sister and her knew that their karma was not light. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche advised them that after they went home they should listen to the Dharma audio recording of how to make repentance five times. After they finished listening to it five times, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked them to listen to it another five times. She was very grateful for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s kindness in continuously creating auspicious conditions and merits for them. As they made several subsequent visits to see Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, he asked them to contemplate on many issues and then to report back to him. Besides, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche enlightened them that were it not for her elder sister’s cancer, she could not have started to learn and cultivate Buddhism but would have continued to engage herself in academic studies. As she looked back on her elder sister’s life, she saw this was true, as her sister had devoted her whole life to such studies.

On her first occasion of attending puja, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche arrived late. That had not happened before, and later she came to know that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had been late because he had been in a car accident on the way to the puja. On that day Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave enlightenment to the attendees that he could see that the participants of that day were facing big obstacles. After she came home she told everything about the puja to her elder sister including how, as she heard Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche reciting in the puja, she just wept for some unknown reason. She had never witnessed such great mercy, compassion, and awe-inspiring power as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche possesses.

After reading the description of the puja and hearing of her account, her elder sister felt touched. Therefore, they implored the venerable Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to take them into refuge and they began to attend pujas. However, ever since her sister started to listen to the audio recording of the Dharma talk on repentance, their mother and elder brother showed strong disapproval and didn’t want her sister to attend the pujas. Later, her sister had to lie down during the puja due to her lack of strength. Their worried mother again expressed objection, thinking that, if Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had such great capabilities, he should have enabled her sister to recover completely from cancer. She and her sister had difficulty explaining the situation to their mother, who would not listen to them anyway.

After listening to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teachings, she would always have a discussion with her sister. On the one hand, they admired Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s detailed teachings that are profound and yet easy to understand. On the other hand, she felt repentant for not following the instructions and not living according to the Buddhist teachings in her daily life. She realized that she did not really make use of her time to learn Buddhism seriously and was still burdened by her greed, hatred and ignorance. She felt restricted by her heavy negative habitual patterns and, being very lazy, failed to generate true repentance, loving kindness, compassion, or Bodhichitta. As she not change herself, her mother could not feel the benefit of the Buddhist teachings.

After seeking refuge, although her sister still suffered from her medical condition and had to stay in the hospital several times, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s compassionate blessing and influential power enabled her, a seriously ill patient with cancer spread to her brain, to live a relatively normal life. She could go out to run errands and even followed the guru to Japan to attend pujas 3 times. From a medical perspective, it was a miracle. During her sister’s final stay in the hospital, she began to feel in pain, and the doctors and nurses all suggested her to take morphine injections, thinking that reducing the pain would not only make her feel more comfortable at her time of passing but would also be a more humane way. Nonetheless, her mother was very wise and insisted on her sister not taking the morphine. The disciple went to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who said that her sister had changed ever since she started to learn Buddhism. Now, her sister was very calm and would be able to let go. She was told to implore the Dharma Protector Achi and not to cry in front of her sister. A few days later, her sister stopped feeling the pain. She had merely felt the pain for about 10 days, judging from her facial expression and blood pressure. She felt grateful for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s compassionate blessing.

In response to her family members’ request, this disciple took the responsibility to take care of her sister in the hospital during the weekend, and as a result she did not attend the regular puja for two consecutive weeks. Her sister’s condition was not good and they were psychologically prepared for her passing. However, her mother still could not accept this fact and told the doctor that she could not do without her daughter. After hearing the mother’s words, her brother felt very sad. So he found a so called “expert” to place a few incantations on many places of her sister’s body and inside her sister’s pillowcase. When seeing the incantations in the hospital, the disciple was very shocked and wanted to remove them. However, her mother admonished her very seriously against doing so. In order to avoid misunderstandings from her family, in the end, she still did not take action to remove those incantations. Later, a broom used in a Taoist ritual was put at the back of her house door; incense ashes were sprinkled and incantations were placed in many places inside her house. Her brother thought he would do anything as long as it could prolong the sister’s lifespan. She told her brother that based on the sister’s current physical condition, letting her linger was a torture for her. However, her brother did not listen to her at all. She told this matter to the group leader in the Buddhist Center, who encouraged her to attend the regular pujas to help accumulate blessings for her sister.

Her sister momentarily recovered consciousness just before death, for which her brother took all the credit, saying it was thanks to the expert he had found. She repeatedly told her brother that if she was dying the sister should ask for the help and guidance of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, not ghosts or evil spirits. However, her brother thought what he had found was also a kind of gods. She told her brother that her sister had taken refuge under Venerable Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and it was very clear that her sister had made her choice. She hoped her brother could respect the sister’s decision. However, the brother did not listen to her at all.

While she went back to the Center to continue attending the pujas, two weeks later her sister began to get well again. Originally there had been lots of wounds on her lips, which were crusty and flaking off. Her distended abdomen returned to normal, leaving only her left leg distended, and she could eat food gradually. Furthermore, on December 6, her sister had no more need for the oxygen equipment, and her blood pressure, the frequency of heartbeat, breath, pulse, and the oxygen saturation of arterial blood were all normal. In the morning, the physician asked her sister to take a chest X-ray scan and sent her back to the hospital room. Her brother had to leave the hospital for two hours for some reason, although on the way out he remembered that his sister had taken off the protective talisman when taking the X-ray without putting it on again. He was slightly worried, but he thought that it was merely two hours, so it should be all right. Therefore he did not return to the hospital room to ask his sister to wear the protective talisman. While her brother was away from the hospital, her sister had some excretion; her mother gave a sponge bath and fed the meal for her sister. When everything was settled down, it was around 1pm. Suddenly her mother found her daughter was sweating on her forehead. While wiping the sweat away, her sister drew her last breath, resting her head on her mother’s chest, and passed away. Her sister had passed away peacefully without any suffering, and it was the time of her last breath that her brother returned to the  hospital room.

When she received the information the disciple rushed straight to the hospital. The Head Nurse surprisingly agreed for them to chant for her sister for 8 hours before they moved her body out of the room, which is usually impossible for a hospital to accommodate. Everyone on the spot advised her mother to go away, but her mother was not willing to leave. Eight hours later, the staff of a funeral service company transferred her sister’s body to another bed; she felt the body was very soft with an immaculate white face. The staff also mentioned that there were no death spots on her skin at all, and they added that it was very rare to see such an auspicious sign. She was regretful that she had not touched the crown of her sister’s skull, as she was so ignorant to realize that it would be warm which must be due to the conducting of the great Phowa Dharma by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Her second elder sister also told her brother that the eldest sister’s choice had been very clear and that her heart had followed Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. She was very appreciative of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. If it were not for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s help, she dreaded to think how things would have ended up. With cancer and so much disturbance, how could her sister have manged to leave so peacefully?

At the time of her sister’s death, it happened that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was on the way to Taiwan From New Zealand, so she couldn’t contact Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Although Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had promised in advance to perform Phowa Dharma for her sister, sufficient causes and conditions were not accumulated yet. That is what Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche enlightened: even if he had promised, the Phowa Dharma was not guaranteed to be performed. Thereafter she asked to meet with Rinchin Dorjee Rinpoche. Compassionate Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche enlightened that not until the moment her sister left did her sister understand the greatness of Buddha Dharma. So at that moment Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara protected her consciousness. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also compassionately promised to help her sister again in the Chod puja.

After the cremation of her sister’s body, relics flowers were found. The bones appeared white, pink and green. And in the skull there was a neat round hole. Only later did she realize that her sister had already received the Phowa Dharma performed by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. After her mother recognized that, her original persistently opposed attitude was softened somewhat. But since her sister had died on a Monday, the traditional rituals, which were carried out every 7 days, happened to be held on Sundays. Her mother still did not understand why she did not go to the Sunday rituals but instead attended the pujas in the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center. Even though she explained again and again that the sister had received the His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s transference to the Pure Land and it was unnecessary to hold the traditional ritual of Sundays, her mother still could not accept her approach, and her mother did not forgive the fact that she had no intention to burn paper money for her sister. At the time following her sister’s death, her mother suffered from depression due to extreme sadness, but after accepting her sister had obtained rebirth in the Pure Land, the condition of illness was alleviated. Now her mother needs no antidepressants.

Since she did not have sufficient confidence in the guru, funeral arrangements even went wrong after her sister was gone. In the beginning she asked one funeral company to handle matters, but her mother preferred another one, which had handled their father’s funeral affairs. So her suggestion was rejected. An employee of that funeral company, however, unexpectedly made a call to the Glorious Jewel Antique Company on his own initiative and pretended to be her brother. The employee asked Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to tell him the date of the farewell ceremony. She repents that she was so careless with her behavior and speech that it resulted in the funeral company staff unexpectedly calling the  Glorious Jewel Antique Company to disturb Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. When she met with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche on Saturday, her second elder sister asked him to enlighten them about the date. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked the second elder sister whether she could make the decision, but she shook her head. The date of the farewell ceremony was finally determined by her mother. To benefit sentient beings, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche sometimes has no time to have meals. She actually wasted a guru’s merits in such a way, for which she repented deeply.

She thought back to when she was learning Exoteric Buddhism, and her brother once said, learning Buddhism is not about supernatural powers, it is about learning Buddha Dharma. However, her brother had not practiced Buddhism for almost one year and was indulging in supernatural powers. She had asked her brother about learning supernatural powers, and her brother said that it was very beneficial and convenient. She thought maybe this was related to what Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had said:〝If one is led far astray by a slight error, one loses great distance.〞Doing something for the sake of expediency or for the sake of more Dharma is greed. Just for the sake of expediency, you are being led farther and farther away from where you should be. Her sister took pleasure from studying all her life, but while she was dying, she said that all these many thesis and essays were useless. The Venerable Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once enlightened that having cancer is only the manifestation of retribution, like a flower, and that the real retribution is the retribution like a fruit, namely falling into hell. She believed that when her sister was dying, if it were not for the blessings from the His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the consequences would have been unimaginable.

Finally, she explained about the help she had personally received from the His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. She had suffered from serious menstrual cramps for a long time, which had been so painful she had even wanted to die when it happened, and she had become so afraid of her menstrual period occurring. If she did not take enough painkillers within the crucial ten minutes, she would have to go to the emergency ward. It was such a miserable situation that even after taking four painkillers one time, she was still sent to the emergency ward, where she received two painkilling injections, as well as one injection of muscle relaxant, and only then was it under control. Once the doctor gave her a morphine injection. She had been to many big hospitals, undergone many checks, and found there was no disease and it was normal, and her menstrual cramps were in the primary stage. There was even one famous doctor who told her frankly that she should be prepared to suffer from this pain her whole life!

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had enlightened after completing the Puja of Purbakilaya that it is very helpful for many kinds of diseases, especially concerning the endocrine system. That night, her mother had a bone fracture and was hospitalized in the Veterans General Hospital’s emergency room. She took care of her and was sleepless the whole night, with headaches causing her to vomit. She had never been like that and in addition her menstrual period had been delayed for ten days. But since then, she had never suffered from menstrual cramps again. Although it was sometimes uncomfortable, it was never serious, and she did not need painkillers. She indicated that if there had been no Buddha Dharma conducted by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for those with such heavy karmic obstacles like hers, she would still be suffering greatly, and she is very grateful to the guru for practicing the Dharma with compassion and mercy.

She was also grateful to the Dharma brothers for their referral, so they have the chance to meet the guru. The human body is difficult to attain, Buddha Dharma is difficult to be heard, and the guru is difficult to meet, so she is very grateful for the compassion and mercy of the guru, and expressed her gratitude for the compassionate and merciful teachings of the guru.

Then, disciples and believers reverently listened to the audio-recording of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Dharma teachings on〝The Four Common Preliminary Practices” made on July 06, 2003.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued to give enlightenment on the basic concepts we should understand about Buddha Dharma before we start to practice. The Four Preliminary Practices help to prepare our minds, so it would be more effective when we practice. It was enlightened before that if we have conflict with our families, hatred arises. From the perspective of learning Buddhism, this would be a most undesirable situation. The practice of Buddhism is constantly and, gradually influenced by Buddha Dharma, and you will be able to see your own shortcomings clearly and not focus on others’ shortcomings. If anyone comes to tell Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche again about family disagreements, such as your husband stopped you coming to learn Buddhism, so you had a fight with him, or your son-in-law would not let you come to learn Buddhism, he won’t listen to you as it is just your business.

The real practitioner does not see others’ shortcomings, they only see their own. What does the cultivation of Buddhism mean? Do you  think that just coming to listen to Buddha Dharma and reading a few Buddhist sutras at home is called cultivation? To cultivate and practice is to follow the teachings according to Buddha, to amend, to correct and modify our wrongful behaviors. If one never admits their mistakes, and just blames their faults on others, always insisting that they have no faults of their own, you have not begun cultivation yet.

In our everyday lives, a〝misunderstanding” can arise from when you do something without paying attention to others opinions or feelings, and just take action according to your own opinion. No matter whether your intentions were to benefit others, if you did not use your heart to empathise with others’ feelings, and just rush to give help to others like a courageous hero, sometimes it may have the opposite result.

Buddha Dharma often feature the saying:〝Buddha liberates people who have connection with him”. 〝Having connection〞means that if this person does not meet the conditions to accept our help, we would not force them. If we believe all the sentient beings could be relieved from sufferings through the Buddha’s existence, then the Buddha should be able to offer every sentient being relief from their sufferings instantly. This kind of idea is wrong. In the Ten Dharma Realms of the universe, everything is connected by cause and effect, related to cause and condition. Not a single sentient being can escape or deviate from these rules of cause and effect. Even with the mighty capabilities of the Buddha, with the perfect merits and wisdom, it would still be impossible to transfer and liberate every sentient being, not to mention for ordinary people like us.

As it is mentioned in Buddha Dharma, the Buddhist practitioner must first benefit oneself before benefiting others. 〝Benefit oneself〞 does  not refer to some worldly profits or interests you have gained from learning Buddha Dharma. Rather, it means that when you learn Buddha Dharma, you gradually decrease the chance of making negative karmic causes, therefore you do not fall into the three lower realms, and furthermore do not repeat the cycle of reincarnation. When we are self-sufficient then we have the ability to advise and help others. As the ancients said,〝Lead by example.〞 We do not necessarily need to use language to influence people around us, or force them to learn Buddhism with us. Rather, you have to reform your own misconducts and wrongful behaviors.

Why did Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche enlighten the Thirty-Seven  Practices of Bodhisattvas to you? You have to listen to these everyday repeatedly. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche still practices the Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas, but how much practice have you done? Everyday, you just blame your husband about not letting you come to learn Buddhism, but if you behaved like a real virtuous, intelligent wife, would your husband hinder you from coming to learn Buddhism? Would your parents hinder you from coming to learn Buddhism? It is because you have not amended your behavior! Getting angry with others easily, always explaining your reasons to others, never accepting any advice or criticism others gave you. If so, then the enlightenments from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche concerning the Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas are wasted on you.

Every time others give advice to you, you never introspect and deal with the problem from within. Instead, you place all the blame and responsibility on others. One female disciple has been behaving worse and worse recently, always saying that others misunderstood her on every issue, and that others caused the fault for everything. She had no faults, she is the best. If she would not amend this behavior, it is possible that she could be expelled. So from now on, all the married females who have taken refuge under Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in the venue, if you still use learning Buddhism as a reason to argue with your husband any chance you get, you should not come here. Buddha did not teach you to argue with your husband, Buddha teaches us to endure, to endure everything. Never again learn from those so called Buddhist disciples out there, who promote the ideas such as reciting sutras everyday, then transfer the merits back to their husband so their husband will allow them to learn Buddhism. As Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has mentioned many times, this is witch’s behavior.

Some wives still had not come to learn Buddhism with their husbands, also because he himself did not change. Learning Buddhism has become like a family revolution for you: you do things on your own and she does things on her own. If you could not influence your own wife, it means that you never used your heart to experience what your wife thinks. It also means that you have not changed yet. So for people like you, learning Buddhism has caused you all kinds of problems, and things would have been better before you started to learn. There are often all kinds of ways to express Buddhism, and different methods to propagate Buddhism, and therefore it may be causing many people to become lost and confused.

For the past few weeks, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has been explaining the shortcomings of the Six Realms. The chances of us falling into the Six Realms are very high, while the chances for us to be liberated from the cycle of birth and death are very small. If you still would not practice Buddhism sincerely and completely in your daily life, just believing in luck,  believing that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and the Dharma Protectors will help you, you are mistaken. You do not understand the true meaning of Buddha Dharma if you are busy thinking about your own matters every day and wasting so much time. When the final moment of life arrives, the chance of you falling into the lower three realms will be very high. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and the Dharma Protectors are helping you. Propagating Buddha Dharma is helping you too, but liberation from birth and death will rely on oneself, not on others’ help.

Nowadays in Taiwan after people have died, there is a trend to fold paper lotus flowers printed with rebirth mantras, then assume that by doing so the consciousness of the dead would be transferred to the Western world of ultimate bliss. This has never been written in any Buddhist sutra or Esoteric Dharma or Pure Land doctrine. Therefore, you could imagine, even if you think you understand Buddha Dharma today, without a guru to supervise you it is very easy to be misled. Rather than folding lots of paper lotus flowers, you should use your time well to recite Buddhist sutras or to chant Buddhist mantras for the dead. It will have better results. Sentient beings who have more fortune but adhere obstinately to error and behave stubbornly will be reborn into the relams of Asura and Heaven. However, the ones who have less fortune will fall into the Hungry Ghost Realm.

Therefore, before starting to practice the Four Preliminary Practices, we need to understand both the Uncommon Four Preliminary Practices and the Common Four Preliminary Practices. Now Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche spoke about the〝Common〞part, which concerns the theoretical side. You have to accept the theories Buddha had taught us, never to have any doubts, never to think Buddha is just telling us stories, the kind of things would not happen to you. If you think like that, you are mistaken. Buddha is the speaker of truth. Every word spoken by him is true and genuine, and he would never speak casually. Since we have chosen to take refuge and we have committed to learn from Buddha, we should not just rely on Buddha to bless and protect us. Rather, we should rely on ourselves to bless and protect us.

In the beginning, before you enter the Buddhist door, Bodhisattvas and gurus will help you with some things, and resolve some sufferings temporarily for you. But after you enter the door you should rely on yourselves. We cannot tolerate any slacking off, or easing up, or relying on lucky chance, believing that we still have time, that we are smart, and that we will find the things we want to know about. In fact, learning Buddhism is not about looking for something. Learning Buddhism is about getting rid of garbage from within. Our heart is full of greed, hatred, delusion, self-conceit, and doubt. It has never been cleansed, and has always been very selfish, always thinking of ourselves. This〝selfishness〞is what drives us to commit evil deeds, and learning Buddhism helps to get rid of our selfish nature.

At present we should all understand and accept the facts about karmic causes and effects. In the Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows, it described how “each thought generated by a worldly person would give rise to karma and vice.” You might wonder how your thoughts can generate vice and karma. Could a thought create such as serious consequence? Well, it could. By the standard of a Buddha, as long as you think for your own sake, it’s an evil thought. That’s why it is described so in the sutra, because the thoughts of worldly people are all for our own benefit. Such thoughts could include wondering “does Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche like me or not?” or “would Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche praise me when I finish this task?” These thoughts are evil.

We are so ordinary that we can’t understand the fact that we and other sentient beings are the same. We are indistinct. Because of our inability to understand this, we have been clinging to our own thoughts. Actually, every single thought of ours is a habit that has been gradually influenced by our ignorance since the time of birth. Additionally, our education has taught us how to protect ourselves. It has also taught us how to obtain more benefit from others. Therefore, all of a sudden, if you are asked to change such a habit, it is indeed very difficult unless you really were born with a profound capability or you were reborn as a human due to your vow from past lifetimes. Since our habit is so strongly embedded and it is very difficult to break, we need to be especially aware of the need to reflect upon and review it.

There is an easy method for us to examine our habitual thoughts. That is, before going to bed, we should spend some time in reflecting whether we have been selfish when carrying out tasks and actions that day. Have we violated the ways of life the Buddha had taught us? If you have done so, you have actually lived a day similar to that in the Three Evil Realms. After reviewing our day, we shouldn’t commit the same errors the next day. We shouldn’t carry out the same mistakes,nor should we offer any excuses to be forgiven. That’s why a long time ago a master once said that we should go easy on others, but be strict on ourselves. We should not be relaxed about our behavior without examining our conduct,while always being hard on others. This is the worst kind of behavior and should be avoided at all costs. If we don’t accept the law of cause and effect, we will develop evil views.

Karmic causes and effects always exist. They will not disappear even after your death. Nor will they vanish only because you have heard some Buddha Dharma. As long as some karmic cause was generated, its effect will sooner or later occur. However, during the process, for the effect to appear, there needs to be certain conditions, which means it requires certain forces to push on. Metaphorically speaking, a karmic cause is like a seed planted in soil. If it is deprived of water, the seed will not sprout. That is to say, no matter whether a karmic cause is vicious or virtuous, it needs conditions to develop and therefore its karmic effects will appear. Thus, even if you had planted many virtuous karmic causes, if you have not genuinely practiced Buddha Dharma in this lifetime it means in your consciousness you have planted a very nice seed but you have not been watering it with Buddha Dharma. The karmic fruit will not develop at all.

So how can we make any judgment whether a guru is qualified to help us or not? This depends on whether the guru has been diligently cultivating the practice of Buddha Dharma. In this everyday world, no guru will just show up out of the blue. Even for reincarnated Tibetan Kyabgons, they have to learn Buddha Dharma from scratch. For example, His Holiness Drikung Chetsang Kyabgon had two teachers following him to teach him sutras and all rituals since his enthroning. Certainly, Drikung Chetsang Kyabgon is different from us. Drikung Chetsang Kyabgon could effectively and immediately grasp what was taught. On the other hand, even if we were spanked or scolded, we still could not truly comprehend. This is the difference. So if someone suddenly tells you that Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva has talked to him and he has achieved a certain level, but you have never witnessed him diligently practicing Buddha Dharma, it means you cannot trust this person.

Buddha Sakyamuni once taught that in the age of Dharma degeneration there would be some non-Buddhists who seemingly would be familiar with Buddhism and speak of Buddha Dharma. However, they actually would apply non-Buddhist methods. For instance, in Japan, there is a non-Buddhist school named Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism. Practitioners of Nichiren Shoshu focus on worshiping the Lotus Sutra. They simply worship the sutra without knowing the importance of the sutra. Nor do they spell out what Dharma method the sutra has taught? What effects would they achieve? How could they practice without understanding of root causes and effects? They don’t explain any of these things. That’s why it is a non-Buddhist school. In Taiwan, many Buddhist monks and some Tibetan gurus are also non-Buddhists. If we don’t realize such a non-Buddhist situation, we may join them and it would be hard to get out.

From ancient times to the present day, no guru or siddhi practitioner has existed without teachers. Nor can one practice Buddhism at home with the door closed to obtain Buddhahood. Even for the Sixth Patriarch Hui-Neng, who had great capabilities and attained the state of enlightenment as soon as he heard the Diamond Sutra, it still required the Fifth Patriarch to identify his capabilities and mentally transmit Dharma of Zen Buddhism for Hui-Neng to continue. Thus, if all of you here think you are already knowledgeable, have read many books, have listened to much Buddha Dharma, and can practice Buddhism at home to attain accomplishment, you are wrong. There is no such thing. Your practicing must be progressing gradually by your guru’s influence, teaching, and supervision. Then you might become a Dharma vessel.

What is a Dharma vessel? It is a receptor that can truly receive Buddha Dharma. You are not yet qualified at this point. Do not think that as long as you have taken refuge and carried out various virtuous deeds, you have become a Dharma vessel. Being a Dharma vessel means that your mind has gotten rid of other concepts and is like a receptacle to receive the teachings of Buddha Dharma. If you were truly a Dharma vessel, you’d not, based on your self-righteous consciousness, judge whether you could accept the Buddha Dharma you heard today. Nor would you use your self-righteous consciousness to judge whether you could do what Buddha Dharma has taught you. Additionally, you’d not think you had achieved any understanding according to your consciousness. If you’d genuinely understood what was taught, you wouldn’t repeatedly make mistakes and be forgetful about the teachings of the Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas.

It is clearly taught in the Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas that if you can’t practice them, you are not a disciple of the Buddha. What is a disciple of the Buddha? One won’t be qualified as a disciple of the Buddha unless he or she can exactly practice what the Buddha taught. One does not become a disciple of the Buddha by taking refuge or shaving off all his hair. As long as one doesn’t practice Buddha’s teachings, he or she cannot call themselves a disciple of the Buddha. Many people mistakenly think that learning Buddhism is easy and convenient because they think going to pujas would be enough. In fact, participating in pujas is simply making Dharma connections. It is not cultivating Buddhism. In Exoteric Buddhism, it is said “hearing teachings through the root of ears.” This means that as long as you have heard Buddha Dharma, a seed of achieving Buddhahood is planted in your mind. This doesn’t mean that you just casually listen. In the phrase “hearing teachings through the root of ears,” where is this root of the ears? It is part of our consciousness. And who is in control of the root of the ears? It is our mind. If you don’t mindfully listen to Buddha Dharma with your root of the ears and treat the teachings as breeze passing by, Buddha Dharma will not enter your deep Consciousness (Alaya Consciousness) to become a seed.

Why are you prohibited from falling asleep or yawning during pujas? It is because these behaviors are indicative of your inattention. Some may think they are not in good health, the chairs are too comfortable, they were too exhausted yesterday, or what Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche says is the same and they have heard it before. These are not valid excuses.

There are two major obstacles to our learning of Buddhism. One is excitement, which means our mind has developed various distracting thoughts and becomes excited. It is unable to be calm and quiet down. The other obstacle is called upward descending. This stems from the situation that mental force is reduced, losing its power. That’s why some of you might easily doze off. This first problem is relatively easy to solve. It can be dealt with by standing up and taking a walk around. The second is more complicated. According to the enlightenment Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche just gave, if your attitude and reverence toward Buddha Dharma is not serious enough, you would more easily doze off. If the degree of your acceptance of Buddha Dharma is not sufficient, you will easily fall asleep. The most important point is that your repentance is not enough.

Why would your repentance not being enough cause you to easily doze off? When you don’t make repentance, you’d think you have not committed any wrongdoing. Then your karmic creditors will continuously prevent you from listening to Buddha Dharma. Why does Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche recite the One-Hundred-Syllable Vajrasattva Mantra at the beginning of a puja? It is to eliminate your karmic debt. To eliminate your karmic debt doesn’t mean to allow you to live a wonderful life. Instead, it is to help you to listen to Buddha Dharma. The mindsets of many people who come to a puja aren’t correct. They are hoping to be protected and to understand and grasp Buddha Dharma. They also hope that what they learn in Buddha Dharma can improve their lives. These thoughts are all wrong.

The goal of our learning Buddha Dharma is to benefit ourselves and others. The critical part lies in developing Bodhichitta that means we hope to benefit all sentient beings who can be liberated from suffering and attain happiness. The motivation of making such a vow is important. The reason you’d doze off during a puja lies in the fact that you think it is you who are listening to Buddha Dharma. When listening to some part that you don’t understand, you’d become relaxed and therefore become drowsy. In fact, Buddha Dharma is not for you to understand. If Buddha Dharma is for you to “understand,” sutras wouldn’t use the description of “influencing gradually” when we learn Buddha Dharma. “Influencing gradually” refers to the situation of using Buddha Dharma to purify our mind till the contaminated parts are pure and clean. All the unclean thoughts are banished from our mind. At this point, you will be naturally enlightened and at once understand Buddha Dharma.

Listening to Buddha Dharma allows you the opportunity for your mind to be influenced gradually, so that you can change many of your bad habits. When today we come to the venue to listen to Buddha Dharma, we don’t sharpen our minds, and think that just coming here will be beneficial enough. If you do so, you may easily doze off. At that time, a disciple was falling asleep and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche enlightened that she has been too busy to sleep in her daily life. She had been engaged in matters that were out of her control. Then she came here to listen to Buddha Dharma but fell asleep. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked her to step forward and stand upright to prevent her from falling asleep again.

Rinchen Dorjee told a story to enhance the disiples’ alertness. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s father, as a bookkeeper in a hospital, never took any money that didn’t belong to him since the age of 33 when he began to learn Taoism till his death. Once Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s father told him that in the hospital he worked at in Hong Kong many administrative staff had been illegally involved in business with funeral homes. There is a similar situation in Taiwan. Those staff members would inform funeral homes as soon as a patient died, and the funeral homes would share commission with those staff members. Every single employee took advantage of this, but Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s father never took a penny. If you encountered such situation, you’d probably take the money because everyone else did so, thinking “if they’re doing it, why not me?” The head who was responsible for organizing this matter never drank alcohol nor smoked. He’d go home after work without being engaged in any bad activities such as going to prostitutes or gambling. However, as the vicious Cantonese saying: “Giving birth to a child without an anus,” he ended up having a grandson without an anus. Finally, he died of cancer and so did his own son.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s father, between the ages of 33 to 55, had never taken a thing that did not belong to him. Moreover, as long as a person who was in need found him and asked for his help, he would be willing to provide help at once even if his family members did not have enough food to eat. As for those who sought his help concerning Taoism, he never charged them or gained any profit from it. He showed filial piety towards his mother-in-law, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s grandmother. He got married twice, as his first wife died in World War Two. However, he still showed filial piety towards his original mother-in-law and he even invited her to reside in his home. He also asked his second wife to show filial piety towards his mother-in-law. If Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s mother did not show filial piety or made any improper speech or behavior to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s father’s ex-mother-in-law, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s father would get angry with her.

Basically, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s father had practiced filial piety, one of the Ten Meritorious Deeds, and also practiced a lot of charitable deeds. However, he had a heavy killing karma and liked to eat seafood. Eventually, while he was in mainland China serving on the intelligence bureau, he died from cardiac arrest. Theoretically, one who has practiced so many virtuous deeds should not have died in this way, his father had also done evil deeds. In the end, though, as he had practiced so many virtuous deeds, he could have such a son as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

After Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche took refuge under Buddhism, the first practice he did is beyond your imagination. When you are taking refuge, you always first ask Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche what practice you should do, as you want to do it right away, get better, have something good happen to you soon, and get to comprehend it immediately. As for the first practice Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked of his guru, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told his guru that his father had died from cardiac arrest, from which Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche clearly knew that his late father had not been well. Therefore, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked his guru if he could teach him any method to help his father.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s guru taught him the Eighty-Eight Buddhas Repentance, which he did everyday. It took around half an hour to complete a section and at that time Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche needed to work but still did it everyday. Around seven to eight months later, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche saw his father, with an appearance of 16 and his face sky blue in color, and he merely told Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche that he felt comfortable now. However, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche still continued to practice the repentance. After another half year, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche heard a voice whispering to him that his father was now with Ancestor Lu.

This story tells us that all the things that the Buddha has told are correct. As long as you are willing to show filial piety, and keep on cultivating Buddhism on behalf of your parents, your parents will naturally get better. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s father’s face appeared in sky blue color, symbolizing that he is one who gets reborn in the Realm of Heaven. Ancestor Lu is also in the Realm of Heaven. Therefore, if one has never practiced the School of the Pure Land in his lifetime, never recited the Buddha’s names, and never cultivated Buddhism, he would not get reborn in the Amitabha Pure Land even if you do prostration for him, unless you meet a tantric practitioner who helped to conduct the Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness, or the Phowa rituals, for you. According to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s experience, using the method of Exoteric Buddhism will not enable the deceased to reach the Amitabha Pure Land, only the Realm of Heaven.

Today you are cultivating Buddhism, but you are doing so with a wrong mindset. Never thinking of practicing Buddhism on behalf of your parents, you just cultivate Buddhism for your own sake: to see whether you would get better conditions or be different from others. Hence, you have not met the criteria of filial piety. As you have not met this criteria, you would naturally doze off in pujas or meet obstacles from your family. On the other hand,  Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has met this criteria, and thus the path of Buddhist cultivation has been opened up for him. That you meet such hindrances is because your ancestors and your relatives of your accumulated lives have not been doing well. Hearing this, you may ask why and say that you have constantly attended Chod pujas. You may say that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has always told you that as long as you keep attending Chod pujas, your karmic creditors and relatives of accumulated lives would be salvaged. This is true, but it is you who is playing the leading role. Are you sincerely acting for their benefit? Or do you attend pujas merely for fear that you will suffer because they are suffering? Generally most of you belong to the latter one. The motive for you to attend pujas is, rather than for the sake of others, that you are afraid for your own life. This kind of mindset is not so good.

If a cause is not good but from it some good conditions are generated, then the karmic effect could be changed or altered. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s father is just one example of this. Today, when your intention to come here to learn Buddhism is good and correct, good conditions are generated. Then the effect must be good. On the contrary, if you come to learn Buddhism with an evil and selfish intention that is for your own sake, then even if you think you are practicing Buddhist teachings, the result will not necessarily be good. Thoughts differ, and if you can reform your thoughts to be more virtuous, you will have a completely different result. The reason why so few out of the many people who learn and practice Buddhism are able to attain enlightenment lies in the fact that the conditions are not correct. In other words, they have not developed a proper mindset, and they have not conformed to the standards. Therefore, no matter how much Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche encourages and advises you, you still cannot make significant progress. The reason for this is you are still cultivating Buddhism, including your career, in a selfish and self-interested way.

Hence, when you think you are correct and have no fault, actually you are just being selfish. If you are a selfish person, you will not open your mind to accept others’ opinions or the Buddha’s advice, and as such, you will still be confused and searching for the Buddhism you think you will comprehend.

Karma, and the law of cause and effect occur and continue ceaselessly. If one plants a bad seed of cause, but within it one still has virtuous conditions, then one’s result may be virtuous. A virtuous effect also generates another cause. That is, the effect exists within the cause, the cause exists within the effect, which is very complicated. Today, you may hope to receive the assistance of Buddha Dharma for your difficulties. At first, this kind of thinking is allowed, but once your problems get resolved, if you don’t start to change your lifestyle according to Buddha’s teachings and are full of delusion, still leading a corrupt life, then your karma will not change.

Therefore, now Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche reminds you once more, through the Buddha’s teachings, of the importance of the law of cause and effect and your acceptance of it. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche often asks people “Do you believe in the law of cause and effect?” and they would definitely say yes they do, but just saying this doesn’t mean that they deeply believe in it. One who deeply believes in the law of cause and effect completely understands that all his life follows the law and never deviates from it. A virtuous result comes to you because you planted a virtuous cause before; an evil result shows up because you planted an evil cause before. If you completely accept the law of cause and effect, you would know how to face your happiness and suffering, and how to change your thoughts.

If one thinks the law of cause and effect is just invented by the Buddhas, doesn’t think it matters and it is casually spoken out, this kind of attitude is totally improper. The law of cause and effect is present throughout time, in our past, present, and future. The law is continuous and rolling on and on. No matter whether one is an ordinary person or one has attained Buddhahood, one’s life always follows the law. It is improper for you to think that what you do will not cause any effect, unless you completely stop the conditions existing within. Therefore, the reason why the Buddha was able to enter the state of Nirvana and enter Remnantless Nirvana is because he ceased the conditions within. The Buddha does not give rise to any thoughts, but just responds to sentient beings’ needs. Once this is accomplished, the Buddha’s mind remained unmoved.

The phrase “no attachment to phenomena” stated in the Vajra Sutra is like a wild goose flying overhead, leaving no trace of its passage behind it . Now our problems come from the fact that we remember everything too clearly, cling too much to appearance and care too much about those things imposed upon us by others. Therefore, if one does not attentively listen to Buddha Dharma and improperly thinks that attending puja enables him to get benefit, then actually he will never become cultivated in Buddhism.

In the later section, the Buddha again explained the law of cause and effect: the manifestation of karmic effect can be divided into three categories: one is black evil karma, one is white virtuous karma, and the other is the inherent nature of karma. Therefore, we usually use black to symbolize evil karma and white for virtuous karma. This is also why we wear white clothes when conducting the ritual of fire offering of peace Dharma. The Buddha spoke of “cutting off the origin and accumulation of black evil karma cause.” To put it simply, do no evil deeds thinking it is merely a small evil. We often do many small evil deeds without being mindful about the consequences.

The disciple Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche just mentioned previously always thought she was right and that all her faults were others’ faults, which is an evil attitude. One who accumulates small evils in this way will become wanton and won’t listen to others. She will not even give others the opportunity to speak. She will overbearingly grab everything to do it by herself and try to show off, and as a result she will displease many people. All of you like to show yourselves off. In fact, the ancients have taught that you should not display your abilities to their full extent. Confucius teaches us to protect ourselves, as one who shows off his abilities to their full extent may cause others to get envious and become harmed by them. The Buddha has taught that we should attribute the credit to others and complement them. Don’t think that just because you have done something all the success belongs to you.

All of you ought to firmly remember one thing: no matter what kind of job you do, it is not possible for you to complete it all on your own. If you are an artist and draw a picture from your imagination, or if you are a literary author and write a work of fiction, you may think that you just completed your job alone and it has nothing to do with others. However, for the painter, if no one helps to manufacture the paint brush, the greasepaint, and the canvas, would his painting have been completed? Furthermore, if the painter had never seen the sight, would he have drawn it? If he needs to draw an apple, it needs someone to plant the apple first. If he needs to view some scenery, he needs someone to take him to the place. Then, to whom should the merits belong? The painter, or the sky and the earth?

A novelist may think it is only him who creates a novel. But if you carefully read the novel, those figures in it are all related to us. If the novelist had never had contacted with those people and absorbed those experiences, he would not have been able to vividly describe them. There was no such thing as copyright in Chinese ancient times. The word “copyright” for the creation of a novel or a piece of music in ancient China simply did not exist. Nowadays, however, Western people refer to intellectual property, to claim that a work belongs to a particular individual. This is how people compete against each other and try to beat others in their endeavors.

What does “accordingly rejoice” mean? It refers to one not only praising others for their virtuous deeds but also dedicating his merits to them. It does not mean that you give money to your guru as an offering or that you donate however much money you like.

The Buddha has taught that we, as novice Buddhist practitioners, ought to practice the Four Noble Truths of Hinayana more. Among the Four Noble Truths the most important is the concept of “accumulation”. Now our small evils are gradually accumulated until they become bigger and bigger. The appearance of this kind of big evil will change your mindset, your future, and even your present. Hence, the Buddha has talked about cutting off the ”accumulation”, which is the highest guiding principle of karmic cause and effect. Don’t improperly think that as you are practicing Mahayana you don’t need to comprehend Hinayana. In fact, in the Buddhist view, there is no difference between Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana. It just depends on each individual person’s differing capacity, or different environment, and the time and space to bestow on you the different Dharmas that you need to know. Now the most terrible thing you are doing is keeping on doing small evils and accumulating them. Once your small evils are unceasingly accumulated, you will become like those two disciples, one who likes to doze off and the other who likes to play with kids in the puja. They may think they don’t do wrong, but they are just hearing Buddhism with a selfish mind. They don’t understand that Buddha Dharma is practiced to gradually influence them. We ought to reflect on ourselves everyday. If you don’t reflect, you won’t get to know if you have done any evil on that day. This standard is quite simple: Have you been selfish and self-interested? Have you been self-righteous? Have you harmed others? If we can cut off the accumulation then the cessation of suffering follows. If one does not cut off the accumulation but just thinks he is suffering, he understands suffering, yet he still continuously does evils, then the cause of suffering will not cease. Naturally one will not obtain realization or liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

The Four Noble Truths are composed of merely four words: suffering, accumulation, cessation, and path. It may sound very simple, but in fact, the four words contain overall the true and most important essence of the Buddha’s teachings. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has told you the eight kinds of suffering of human life, as well as various kinds of suffering of the six realms. This is in order to let you realize and understand suffering. The reason why so many people among you have not determined to wholeheartedly cultivate Buddhism is that you have not suffered enough and you have not really realized the true suffering. You just think that when you get sick or when your children are not feeling well, it is suffering enough! The truth is that even the most serious or painful disease is nowhere near the true extent of the utmost suffering. Because you can’t understand true suffering, you still keep on doing evils, therefore are unable to get liberation from the cycle of birth and death, and cannot achieve enlightenment.

Apart from understanding one’s own suffering, one should understand the various kinds of suffering of the six realms as well. Therefore, in the past months, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has talked about this suffering to you, in the hope that through the talks, you can realize that reincarnation is indeed suffering. It is not  that you will gain comfort and happiness soon after you start to cultivate Buddhism. Instead, in order to learn Buddhism, one ought to first understand suffering. One cannot hope to cut off suffering before he is able to comprehend it. The Four Noble Truths, namely suffering, accumulation, cessation, and path, are the things we, Buddhist disciples, need to understand and realize. Never think that in Taiwan, Mahayana is propagated therefore one does not need to practice the Four Noble Truths. That is wrong! It is not possible for one who does not understand the Four Noble Truths to develop a heart of mercy and compassion, and Bodhicitta, and practice the Bodhisattva path. One who fails to practice the Bodhisattva path is not cultivating Mahayana. The Buddha has said that the real guiding principle of karmic cause and effect is to cut off the accumulation of evil deeds. All the things in reincarnation such as good and evil, comfort and happiness, pain and suffering, longevity, and so forth arise in accordance with the law of cause and effect. All phenomena must appear as a result of certain causes, therefore it is impossible for anything to happen without a cause happening first.  Some causes are planted in this life and maybe we just ignore and forget about them, while some have been planted in our prior lives. In any case, all things occur in our life as a result of causes. In Buddhism, effects arise from causes. Some non-Buddhist doctrines claim that effects are not resulting from causes. For example, in some religions, their believers just need to confess to the clergy after they do evil deeds, and then they can still go to heaven while continuing their evil behavior. In this way, they believe they are removing the cause and deciding the effect by themselves. In Buddha Dharma, particularly for ordinary people, we ought to see the causes clearly. It is just like the ancient wise saying: “The Bodhisattva fears causes, while the ordinary fears effects.”

The main difference between Buddhism and non-Buddhist religions lies in the fact that in non-Buddhist doctrines it is believed that things can happen without any particular reason, things are what they are, and we merely need to focus on and deal with the results. It is similar to the difference between Western medicine and Chinese medicine. If you have a tumor growing in your body, you will have it removed by a surgical operation in Western treatment. On the other hand, if you take Chinese medicine approach, you will receive treatment once you are discovered as having an abnormal pulse condition, before the tumor even starts to grow. Although this metaphor is somewhat coarse, and does not fit this case exactly, it should still make it easier for you to comprehend the principle. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s father had practiced Taoism, and Taoist doctrines also focus on current phenomena. For example, when people were possessed by spirits, he would draw incantations to expel spirits. Or when people got sick, he would draw incantations to cure their disease. However, they do not try to understand what the causes were and therefore the problems would never get resolved. Once Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche started to cultivate Buddhism, he immediately gave up Taoism. This is not to say that Taoism is not good, as Taoist doctrines also advise people to practice virtuous deeds, help others, and not do evils. However, Taoist practices and methods are different from Buddhist ones. The Buddha has taught us to practice from the perspective of cause, while non-Buddhist religions tell people to practice with a focus on the current conditions. If one just focuses on the current conditions without an understanding about causes and effects, he would still be likely to repeat evil deeds. As he doesn’t comprehend how causes arise, he would not be able to face and deal with the karmic effect.

The Buddhist teachings bestowed in many Taiwanese Buddhist centers are explained in terms of resulting Buddhahood, rather than the origin of the cause. Many people say that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center is very strict, but that is not so. If you want to learn Buddhism, you have to begin with the origin of the cause. You should change your negative personality, habitual patterns, and thoughts. If not, you will keep accumulating negative causes. Why would you be supervised? You have too many problems and shortcomings. If you do not correct them, people would say that you do not act like a Buddhist. Although they are the ones creating the oral karma, you are the prime culprit because you have failed to correct your behavior. The reason why Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is so strict to you is to prevent you from accumulating more negative karma. Some people actually have fewer chances to create negative karma before learning Buddhism. After these people learn Buddhism, they would create particularly heavy negative karma because they would admonish people with the Buddhist teachings or scold their spouses at home all the time. This behavior is wrong. You are still trying to tackle the problem from dealing with its result. We have to deal with ourselves first. Why have we failed to attain Buddhahood? The cause of such a problem has to be located. Only when the cause is found can the result be attained. Such thinking is opposite to that in other religions.

Buddhism helps us to solve problems fundamentally, not superficially. Some time ago, there was an older man who came to beseech Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s help for his prostate problem. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told him that it was not cancer and he should recover after the operation, and advised him to come and learn Buddhism. Afterward, this man recovered from the operation, and thought that he had no more problem. Five years later, he came to see Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche again, and reported that he had gotten cancer, but Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told him that there was no cure. If he had started to come and practice Buddhism five years ago perhaps the cancer would not have appeared. This is ordinary people’s mind, as non-Buddhist mind, always using the end result to see things. You are the same way. When you are not doing so well, you get close to the Buddha and Bodhisattva; when you are doing well, you are far away from the Buddha and Bodhisattva. This is learning Buddhism using the principle of focusing on end result, which is wrong. For example, if you know that something is poisonous, why would you eat it? For example, many people know that smoking is doing them harm, but they still want to do it. Therefore, they will have negative karmic retributions. In fact, many of you know that everything has its consequences and there will be negative influences. However, you still speak evil words, perform evil deeds and think evil thoughts. Why? Because you’re not afraid of the karmic retribution, and you do not believe that the karmic retribution will manifest. You do not accept the fact that it will happen to you. When the karmic retribution manifests, you then find it unbearable and complain a lot.

According to the Buddha, we should stop the afflictions that prevent us from observing the precepts. We should practice the virtues genuinely and cut off all the evil deeds. We should know clearly that, even though we ordinary beings are unable to attain enlightenment or understand the profound Buddhist teachings, we have to understand that everything happening to us is because of the law of cause and effect. Do not think that committing evil deeds will bring you a good life when you see an evil person enjoying his life. Do not think that conducting virtuous deeds is wrong when you see a virtuous person suffering. If one commits evil deeds and is still living a good life, it means that the merits from his previous virtuous acts have not yet been consumed up. However, as he continues to create evil causes, the evil results will definitely manifest themselves. Do not think that one should not learn Buddhism and conduct virtuous acts when you see someone who conducts virtuous acts suffering. This is wrong, too. His evil karmic retribution has not ended yet, but he will have a good future as he is learning Buddhism and conducting virtuous deeds.

For example, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did the full prostrations at age 45, when he had no income at all. In the past, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche used to be a major Dharma contributor who donated at least 10 million NTD and would also make donations during each year’s repentance ceremonies. Logically, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche should not have had any business failures or divorced with his wife. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas should have bestowed blessings and made his children study well. This story serves as a reminder for you. Do not think that seeking refuge, making donations, and reciting sutras will make things get better right away. Because we are learning Buddhism, it is possible that misfortune will happen to you all at once. As you are about to better yourself, misfortune should take place first and your karmic retribution will manifest. The manifestation of the karmic retribution is not what you think it is. When bad things come, you might not want them. In fact, you will face your debts sooner and go straight down the road of virtues sooner. Today, your husband or wife may try to stop you from learning Buddhism. This is the manifestation of your karmic obstacles. If you accept them joyfully, your future Buddhist learning will be successful. If you think that they are doing the wrong thing by trying to stop you or that the Buddhas and Dharma Protectors have not bestowed blessings on you, your thinking is wrong.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche went on to explain with an example from his own life. A year before taking refuge, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began to adopt a vegetarian diet. After seeking refuge, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche started to abide by the precepts. Wherever the guru wanted Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to be or however much money the guru asked from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would follow the instructions without hesitation. After seeking refuge with His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche still kept this attitude. Logically, misfortune should not take place as the Dharma Protectors should have exerted their protection. So why did the businesses and marriage fail? Could it be that the Buddhas were inefficacious? Fortunately, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not have thoughts such as you would. What Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did was to reflect on himself. It must be the karma from his previous lifetimes manifesting at that time so that the negative karmic result could be observed. If you do not change your mindset and still think that learning Buddhism will definitely lead to something good, then there is something elseyou should do. You must recite mantras around the clock every day without doing anything else. For example, Drubwang Rinpoche used to recite the Six Syllable Mantra every day. When his legs hurt and his heart had problems, Drubwang Rinpoche would never see a doctor. All Drubwang Rinpoche did was recite mantras. When someone tried to persuade Drubwang Rinpoche to see a doctor, Drubwang Rinpoche would admonish the person and say that they did not have faith in the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. And he got well.

You are different from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in that he accepts karmic retributions. When karmic retributions occur, one’s debts are met. If you refuse to accept them, your thinking is mistaken and has gone astray, for you do not accept the law of cause and effect. When you see others who have committed evil deeds living a good life, do not generate incorrect thoughts. When you see Buddhist learners, including yourself, living a poor life, do not generate any irreverent thoughts. When you carry out virtuous deeds, you will get virtuous results. When you commit evil deeds, you will get negative consequences. These two are parallel and not equal. Only when your virtuous karma is 1 or 2 million times greater than your evil karma, you might feel your evil results as insignificant as a mosquito bite. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s heart rate is that of a man in his thirties. The Bodhisattvas have protected Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s internal organs from decaying, but nothing can be done about his severe scoliosis, for it is karma from his previous lifetimes. No doctors will be able to cure it. Even though you are learning Buddhism now, it doesn’t mean that your body will be 100 percent healthy because we all have killing karma in our previous lifetimes. Besides, you definitely have killed other living things in this current life as well. As long as you have killed living things, you will surely get sick. From this example, we can prove once again that both virtues and evils can happen to a person simultaneously. Because of his previous evil deeds, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche suffers from severe scoliosis. Nevertheless, because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche exerted his best efforts to carry out virtuous deeds, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s body is preserved as in its thirties so as to help and benefit others more. Having such a body is not for you to have more enjoyment or earn more money.

Therefore, when we clearly realize the law of cause and effect, we should practice genuinely. According to the String of Precious Jewels of Madhyamika, greed, hatred and ignorance are the beginning of all non-virtuous karma. We usually generate greedy thoughts, want other people’s praises, use luxury things, and have all kinds of enjoyment for ouselves. However we have hateful thoughts towards others. We have delusion, and do not understand or accept karma and karmic retributions. These three are called motivations, which turn into negative karma of the three kinds, i.e. body, speech, and mind. Negative karma of the body includes killing, stealing, and committing sexual misconduct. Karma of the speech includes telling lies, gossiping, saying harsh words, and flattering. Karma of the mind includes greed, harmful thoughts, and evil views. These are the Ten Non-Meritorious Acts. On the contrary, if we refrain from committing these deeds, we will conduct the Ten Meritorious Acts.

Many people would ask Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche if one can kill ants or cockroaches. There are 5 conditions in killing. If all of the 5 conditions are met, the degree of killing is certain. If 1 of the 5 conditions is not met, the degree of killing will lessen. The first one is the location, which means the beings, i.e. all the sentient beings. Sentient beings include beings in the Realm of Animal, such as insects, animals, and fish. Beings in the six realms are all sentient beings. Some people would articulate that scientists have proved that plants which listen to music grow better. If one says something nice to a plant, it will grow better as well. Are plants sentient or non-sentient beings? Why is it all right to eat plants? From the Buddhist perspective, what is the difference between sentient and non-sentient beings? First, sentient beings have intense fear about life and death. Second, such beings demand emotions and desires. As they have to reproduce, they need emotions and desires. Third, sentient beings make distinctions between love and hatred. Animals and human beings protect those they like and stop those they dislike. As the plants do not have these conditions, we call them non-sentient beings. Strictly speaking, we eat plants in order to sustain our physical body. We can’t help it. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told you before that people who are on a vegetarian diet still cannot prevent themselves from committing killing karma.

Once, in a dream, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had visions of a guru of the Lineage transmitting a mantra to him. According to the guru, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had to recite the mantra 3 times before eating anything. In Chinese, this mantra is called ”化食真言”(hua-shi-zhen-yen). The meaning of the mantra is that we commit killing whenever we eat non-sentient or sentient beings. Therefore, in order to prevent yourself from owing debts to the beings, you must learn and recite the mantra. The next day, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche woke up from the dream. As Dzongpa Gyedu Rinpoche was in Taiwan at the time, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who had not learned Tantra yet, asked him if the mantra was genuine. Dzongpa Gyedu Rinpoche was stunned because the mantra had never been transmitted to any Han people before. Besides, ordinary lamas cannot learn this mantra. Then, Dzongpa Gyedu Rinpoche told Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche about the mantra. Judging from this story, you should not think that being on a vegetarian diet is something extraordinary or cultivating practice. Such thinking is wrong.

The idea of being a vegetarian is to decrease the chances for us to kill living things. However, do we still kill? The answer is yes. When farming, many bugs will still die during the plowing process, even though no chemical fertilizer or pesticides are used. According to the Water Repentance, when we open the lid of a jar, the pickled food, such as vinegar and pickled vegetables, is covered with a layer of sentient beings (bacteria or yeast) . The Water Repentance says that we will do harm to those sentient beings when we take the vegetables or vinegar out. That is why we need to repent.

The 5 conditions of killing are: First, the location, which is the being that you kill. Second, the thought, which means your understanding of the targets. For example, on knowing there is a colony of ants, you prepare to get them out. Another example is that you know about a snake hidden in a hole and are prepared to find it. Still another example is that you prepare to trap a mouse that is in your home. In so doing, you are thinking of finding the particular target. The third is the action, which means the implementation of poison, weapon, or mantra one instructed others to do, conducted by oneself, or employed by others with persuasion. The fourth is the motivation, which means the 3 afflictions of greed, hatred, and ignorance, especially hatred. Can you kill mosquitos, ants, or cockroaches? This is telling you that, if you have greed, hatred, or ignorance, you should not kill them. Why would you kill ants? It is because you think they are bothersome, dirty, or stealing your food. Why would you kill cockroaches? It is because they are ugly. Why would you kill animals? It is because you are greedy for their fur and flesh. Being ignorant is failing to understand the truth. The fifth is the completion (of the task), which means that one takes the being’s life before its life is meant to end.

If all of the 5 conditions are met, the killing will be committed. If any one of the 5 is missing, the fault will be lessened. As previous causes are incomplete, the killing karma will not be complete, either. When we generate a thought to kill any sentient beings, we will think what tool is to be used in the killing. Then, you will think about the ways to kill. Finally, you will kill with a reason. The Buddhas teach us that, if you cannot adopt a vegetarian diet, you at least have to eat three kinds of pure flesh, five kinds of pure flesh, or nine kinds of pure flesh. Here is the logic. If you hear anyone telling you that lamas in Hinayana and Tibetan Buddhism eat meat and therefore we can eat meat, this is wrong. Their attitude is different from yours as they do not have the motivations of greed, hatred, and ignorance to kill living things. They would neither employ poison, weapon or mantra to kill, nor instruct others to kill.

Two stories can be used to illustrate this point. One day, a young man who was not a farmer and lived in Taipei city came to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. He said that he felt sick. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then said, “It is unlikely that you have killed such a huge pig. Why is there a pig’s spirit following you?” He thought for a moment and said that he had watched a pig killing competition held at a temple festival. When the killing was in progress, he went to see it and felt excited, pointing his fingers here and there. As he had the motivation, even though he did not commit the killing, he rejoiced over the killing. Therefore, the pig’s spirit continued to follow him. On another occasion in India, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche saw an Indian man whose waist kept being bumped by the spirit of the spirit of a wild hog. His health condition was poor, too. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knew he was not a hunter and asked him what he might have done? He thought for a moment and said that he had gone hunting with his uncle as a child. His uncle killed a wild hog, and he helped, holding the flesh of the wild hog happily. So, the wild hog kept bumping him. On still another occasion, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche saw a wild hog biting a young man’s thigh and asked, “Did you ever eat wild hog flesh?” He replied, “I didn’t.” He once visited a place and people there treated him with a plate of wild hog flesh. He did not eat it and simply flipped the meat pieces with chopsticks. Then, the wild hog began to follow him from then on. How horrifying! It is good that you do not possess miraculous powers therefore you are not able to know how much killing you committed. With his miraculous powers, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is terrified at such sights, but you have no fear.  From the aforementioned stories, we see that these people had the motivation, as their thoughts were bad, lacking sympathy and compassion. Nonetheless, as they did not meet the 5 conditions, they were able to meet Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and thereby knew that they should not commit killing any longer. If they had met the 5 conditions explained by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the killing would have been accomplished. They might not have been able to meet Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche or could have ended up suffering a great deal.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche went on to tell another short story. The son of a female disciple had once gone to visit his grandfather and grandmother. When eating dinner, he felt very bored, so he caught a few geckos on the ceiling to play with and eventually killed them. Later, after returning home, he talked back defiantly to his mother. Soon, when he was in school, for some unknown reason his tongue was stuck out of his mouth and could not move back in. He also felt sore around his neck. He asked Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche about his problem. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche replied to him, “That gecko is in your body now and will cause trouble for you.” This story has two important points. The first is the cause from his evil deed. Originally, the karmic retribution of this cause was not yet mature,, and in order for the karmic retribution to mature, it needed to have causes and conditions within it. The bad cause and condition was that he was not filial since he talked back to his mother. If you still have the thought that your parents do not understand you, your parents are outdated, or your parents and you have a generation gap, so you talk back to them, this is a bad cause and condition. His karmic retribution was milder, as he still had the thought to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. If he had not had the thought to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche that day, the retribution would have been more serious. Even if we have done a killing deed today, if we can repent immediately and never do it again later so that there will have no bad cause and condition in the meantime, even if the karmic retribution of this killing deed matures, the karmic retribution will be very mild. For example, the maturation of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s karmic retribution was spinal pain. If you think killing is fine, do not repent, and continue to do evil deeds, then the bad cause and condition will be sufficient, so the karmic retribution will come right away.

In recent years, cancer has become more and more prevalent in Taiwan, especially liver cancer. Many people think Chinese people have a higher chance of getting liver disease because they do not use a pair of dedicated chopsticks just for picking food when eating. This is not true. The truth is because Han Chinese people particularly like to kill sentient beings and like to eat fresh seafood, crab, and shrimp. Particularly in the last decade, Taiwan’s economy has taken off and Taiwanese people have eaten well. After the occurrence of this killing deed, there was no virtuous cause and condition in the meantime, so the bad karmic retribution just matured. Nowadays, you do not need to wait until your next life to see your karmic retributions; they will begin in this life. Why do they happen in this life? This is because if they happen in this life, you will have greed, hatred, and ignorance which will let you fall into hell. Therefore, if you have done a killing deed and have met all of the five conditions, you will definitely get the karmic retribution of the killing deed such as sickness, shortened lifespan, problems in the family, and not getting what you want .

Why is the divorce rate so high in recent years around the world, especially for Han Chinese? This is because we have done especially serious killing deeds in recent years. You killed many sentient beings when you got engaged, got married, were pregnant, went through the month-long postpartum rest and recuperation, and celebrated your baby’s first month after birth. Won’t these sentient beings come to collect debts from you? When you got married, you did not listen to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and did not have a vegetarian banquet, so your husband or wife did not let you come to practice Buddhism. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche just met a couple who were already divorced after getting married for just one month yesterday. It was very shocking! Tibetans hardly ever get divorced because Tibetans’ killing karma is very mild. Although they eat meat, they only kill for their basic needs; once they are full, they will not kill. Our karma is so heavy, but we still do not admit and accept this fact. Killing a gecko can cause a person’s tongue to stick out and his neck to be lopsided. Why did the gecko hate him so much? It is because he played with it to death. If he had just killed it in an instant, the karmic retribution may not have been so serious, but in fact he tortured it. Buddhist scriptures have advised us not to keep pets. You may feel that you are good to it, giving it water to drink, helping it to take a bath. Perhaps this dog or mouse does not like to take a bath! You give it a hard time with the thought of playing with it, but it may want to sleep. Hence, Buddhist scriptures have advised us not to keep pets, including tropical fish and birds. If you still have live fishes in your home, you should not get new fishes again when the current fishes die. There are no such things as “Feng-Shui fish”. If you, as a Buddhist, still raise a fish to protect yourself from evil ghosts, where is your compassion and love? This is completely wrong. When keeping pets, you do not have the mind to kill them, but you have a greedy mind. When a pet died in your hands, in addition to hating you, because it had had feelings for you and you did not help to liberate it, who could it find for help? It will certainly come to you. Someone told Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche the other day that he was very compassionate because he had taken care of a lot of stray dogs. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche replied to him, “There are so many homeless people. Why don’t you take them home?”

So, because of the greed for benefits, one will do something wrong, but still think that he is right. When you see cockroaches, ants, and so on in your home, the most important thing for you is to clean and improve the living conditions in your home. When seeing these beings, you should not squash them, should not poison them, should not spray insecticide, and should not spray pesticide. Many farmers in central and southern Taiwan have cancer. From the medical perspective, because they spray pesticide, they are poisoned. However, from the perspective of cause and effect, because they spray pesticide and kill many sentient beings, they will have such karmic retributions. Not long ago, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche met a person who had leukemia. Why did he have this decease? It was because he was responsible to take care of a garden; he swept the leaves and burnt them. There were many sentient beings inside the leaves and when he set fire to the leaves, he burnt and killed those sentient beings. What is the feeling of getting leukemia? One will feel as if one’s whole body is bitten by something. You may not kill a human being, but your chances of killing small animals or small insects are very high. As long as you live on this earth, it is impossible for you not to kill sentient beings at all. As long as we want to eat, we will kill sentient beings. However, we have to keep in mind the five aspects just mentioned by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. We should not have any incentive to kill; we should not kill for our own greed or hatred; we should not instruct others to kill; we should not use poisons to kill.

If one has learned Tantra, like Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, one should contemplate and pray every day that the lifespan of the sentient beings in the three evil realms will be short, because if they have a long lifespan in the three evil realms, they will suffer more. We want to help them be reborn in the virtuous realms. Why did Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instruct you to recite of the Six-Syllable Mani Mantra one million times? It is because if you can recite this Mantra, even if you kill a being accidentally, it will at least gain  some benefits. We should always recite the Six-Syllable Mani Mantra and dedicate the merits to it so that it can leave the animal realm and will not come again to live a suffering life. This mindset is very important for us as Buddhists.

Why does Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche require disciples to have a vegetarian diet? This is because if you still have the habit of eating meat, your killing thoughts will never be eliminated. If your thoughts of killing sentient beings still exist and your killing deeds are done continuously, you will have no way to escape the cycle of birth and death. In terms of our motives, we kill due to our desire for food, our greedy thoughts and hatred. For example, after being bitten by a dog, some people may want to kill the dog, which is an example of killing sentient beings for hatred. When we use our body, speech, and mind to kill sentient beings, we kill because of ignorance. Buddhist scriptures state very clearly that you should never kill animals to worship your ancestors. If your ancestors have not been liberated and you still kill sentient beings for your ancestors, they will never be liberated. It is tantamount to adding some weight to their burden, as if they are already carrying one hundred kilograms but you then add a stone to increase their burden. How do you know your ancestors have not been liberated? This will be true if your relationship with your wife or husband is not satisfactory, you fight all day, or you do not have what you want. Using meat to worship ghosts, gods, or ancestors are all killing deeds. Even if you do not kill, but ask others to do so, it is still the same.

The dependent cause and condition is one where you already know the object and subsequently think you want the object to die. For example, when some people see a debtor who still lives a good life, those people will think it would be better for the debtor to die soon. Thinking this way will generate two conditions for the killing karma. It is not our business to think whether this bad guy should be killed or whether this bad guy will continue to harm society. These are all part of the group karma of this society and the cause, condition, and karmic retribution of this society. Many years ago, there were three most-wanted criminals. Some Taoist masters held rituals to let them be caught and die early so that fewer people would be harmed. This violated the law of cause and effect. When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche helped to conduct the Chod Dharma for liberating a nurse killed by those three criminals, the nurse’s ghost said very clearly when they would all die, and the result was indeed as she had said. This did not mean that the ghost killed them, but the fortune of those three people had been exhausted and it was the time for them to die. You have also heard that if a person has great blessings, the ghost killed by him will still be unable to kill him. What others do are others’ business, and they have to face and be responsible for their karmic retributions. We do not need to have this kind of thinking. We cannot have the thinking like “He has to die anyway. If he dies early, he will be liberated early.” If you have this kind of thinking, two conditions of a killing karma have been met. We may think “I did not kill anybody, so why was I still so sick?” This would be because your thoughts had already matched those two conditions. Although you did not actually do the killing, you have already been tainted by the evil obstacles.

Besides, even if you did not actually kill something, but you kept mentioning about killing something, and thought that you were not guilty or it was merely a tiny matter, that would be wrong as well. As long as you speak out, you would have the killing karma. This is the result of the inclination of killing karma, just like someone saying that a pig deserved to be killed; as long as he had spoken this, the pig would look for revenge. All of these kinds of thoughts cause evil obstacles to manifest, not to mention if you asked someone else to kill. Therefore if someone goes to the market to ask the merchant to kill the chicken or fish for their meal, you have met the five conditions of killing karma. How shall you make repentance for them? Or should you accumulate more merits for it? Those who have gone fishing or eaten seafood are doing the same kind of thing, and there will be bad effect in the future.

After understanding this concept, we should have the right attitude towards insects. If we could not avoid harming them due to reasons such as performing environmental cleaning, it does not matter. They can still be helped through our making repentance, accumulating the merits or cultivating Buddhism. If you enjoy killing them with hateful, greedy, or vengeful thoughts, it would have serious consequences for you. Therefore, when you find ants or cockroaches in your house, you should just let them go. If you are really afraid of them, you can cover yourself with a quilt before sleeping. Someone who likes to immediately hit or kill a centipede or other such insect on seeing it is committing an evil deed.

It would take a long time to go through all the stories concerning killing karma. There was one person who beseeched to meet with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche who mentioned that he had a lot of trouble with his legs. He had gone to see many different doctors about it, but they could not find out the cause. When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche saw him and made enlightenment to him, he told him  that he had been to the countryside when he was around ten, and had seen a snake crawling up his leg, and he had thought to kill the snake, which had in turn caused his legs to be in pain for all that time. Therefore, if your knees are painful and preventing you from kneeling down, it could well be because you had broken someone’s legs in your previous life, thus they would stop you kneeling down and accumulate merits from worshiping. In fact, if you are afraid of your legs being painful and are not willing to worship Buddha, there is no way to solve your karma. If you had enough merits, you would be able to kneel down. If you didn’t have enough merits, you wouldn’t be able to kneel down.

The Buddha taught us to observe the Five Precepts, the first of which is that we must not kill other sentient beings. Until you have the ability to transfer the consciousness of sentient beings yourself, you should not believe someone who says to you that it does not matter to eat meat and drink alcohol as long as the Buddha is in your mind. They may say “You can eat them first and then help them to transfer their consciousness later.” We must be aware that, as long as we are living on this earth, it would be unavoidable for us to generate killing karma. Why is it necessary for us to attend the puja? Why do we need to make repentance and make offerings and donations consistently? Why it is not allowed to doze off in the puja? It is because we are all burdened by heavy karma and we cannot afford to take these things lightly, pretending they don’t matter. We have harmed many sentient beings in our lives, so there is no great virtue in being a vegetarian; it merely helps to reduce our killing karma. If someone eats meat at a social engagement, it means that he did not cease to do evil deeds; he was reluctant to give it up, because he was embarrassed to mention that he is a vegetarian. We often tell others what kinds of foods we dislike, so you should state clearly that you dislike eating meat. Someone might say that her mother-in-law was unhappy due to her being a vegetarian, or his parents did not allow him to be a vegetarian. Those are not the problems; the problem is your way of thinking: You think that it is wrong to be a vegetarian, or that there would be lack of nutrition, or that it is abnormal. However, according to certain medical research, the human body is actually not suitable for eating meat. Our intestines, which are similar to herbivores like  sheep or cattle, are circuitous in shape to digest vegetables better, unlike those of carnivores whose intestines are short and straight. Looking around the world, we can see that the most common occurrence of cancer of the rectum is in Australia. This is because people in Australia are most likely to have a BBQ party. Meanwhile, the United States is home to the largest number of people suffering from stomach cancer, as Americans like to consume steak and hamburgers so much. Those illnesses are directly related to consuming meat. Today you are not allowed to eat meat, but this does not mean that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is instructing you to die. On the contrary, it is so that you can live longer. If you cannot make up your mind to stop eating meat, you will never have compassion.

There are rules for breaking the precepts and lifting the precepts. For example, the sutra mentioned that we keep the no-killing precept so we do not eat meat. However, if a certain medicine needs to use animal internal organs for curing illnesses, that is not counted as breaking the precept, but rather it is counted as lifting the precept. Of course, this is also a matter of personal views concerning the precepts. From the point of view of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, it is not acceptable to have this notion. If you cannot prevent thoughts of killing, you will always do the evil deeds, since one who has thoughts of killing would likely have the angry thoughts frequently, and if you have angry thoughts you will naturally tend towards harming others and forget about the precepts that Buddha has taught.

The second precept is that you cannot arbitrarily take away anything which does not belong to you. In other words, don’t steal. Everything has its owner, and you will be stealing if you take something without asking the permission of its owner. Even if it is something as small as a blade of grass or a flower in the wild, you will be stealing by taking it without the owner’s permission. It is really easy for one to violate the precept of refraining from stealing. Furthermore, if a public official is corrupt, this will also be considered as violating the precept. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche witnessed lots of patients who suffered from serious illnesses and other unfortunate things happen to them for two or three generations, all as an effect of corruption. The definition of corruption is when you gain anything beyond your salary, even including if someone treats you to a meal. If you work for a public bank and accept a gift or someone treats you to a meal, those are examples of corruption. As Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche just mentioned before, someone took the commission from the funeral service company. Since the hospital has given the salary to him, he dared to make extra money, which is an act of stealing. Even if he could earn money, he would lose money in future, or if he didn’t lose money, his career would not progress well and his family would have unfortunate things happen to them.

Taking an example from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s own life, when he was a sales manager of a jewelry company in Hong Kong at the age of 21, he took advantage of the store’s name and contacted with customers in private so as to make extra money every month. His company did not know about any of this, but finally, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was made bankrupt by a jewelry matter, losing all of his property in the process. That was the law of cause and effect. It was lucky that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche only lost the property, as well as his wife running away. At least his health was still fine. You may look at some people who have property, a house, wife and daughter, but their health is gone. It is a terrible thing to experience the retribution of stealing. There are lots of people who work for the public sector, and make excuses that they need to consume meat in order to maintain social relationships in their work. If they are not willing to stop doing evil deeds, troubles will befall them later. No matter what kind of company you work for, if you take advantage of the things from your company, for example, the client list, money, and articles, you are committing the act of stealing. If you did not do the task according to your boss’s instructions, you are stealing as well. Many people may think that their salary is not good enough, the prospects of their job are not good, and they just muddle through their work. but this kind of thinking is also a way of stealing. It is because you have already agreed to accept the salary, and you agree to take the job. No one can force or cheat you to go to work. As long as your boss pays money to you, you have to carry out your job as best you can. If you do not do it well, you are stealing. Even if you can escape from retribution in this life, you will repay the debt in your next life. In modern society, many people complain about their current situation, thinking their salary is too little, and they would always try to find a better job, but this is just like stealing.

What will happen when you commit the precept of stealing? for example, you will not be able to accumulate the wealth, or your money will be given away and you won’t know where the money has gone. Your family members may also become ill, and you will lose all your money finally. Your children may waste your money, or you may invest wrongly to lose your money. Furthermore, either you may be robbed or burgled, or you will lose everything upon encountering a disaster. Those are all effects of committing the precept of stealing. Every one of us has committed the precept of stealing at some time before. For example, when you are working in the office and you did not pay enough attention to your work but still get your salary as usual. Someone had asked Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche before why he could not accumulate enough wealth? It is because you always commit the precept of stealing in your previous lives and this life. Especially concerning the articles of worship for making offerings to Three Jewels, many believers go to the Buddhist center or temple, and seeing the fruits placed before the Three Jewels for one or two days, when their children are hungry, they might take a piece of fruit and tell the lama later, ”it is ok ?”  Of course it is not ok! If you think you can take away anything arbitrarily before getting permission, especially the things that are used for making offering to Three Jewels, it is a very serious case of stealing.

Secondly, it is the thinking regarding to the related objects. Getting things through fraud or violence is also stealing. We may frequently commit fraud in some way. For example, when selling an object and hiding the faults of that object from others, or when building a structure cheaply and unsafely to save money. It is said in Buddha sutra that those merchants who cheat others will fall into the Realm of Hell. Fraud may also include those who work in service industries, for example, someone who deals with the public every day but does not work with enthusiasm. Also, those people who work in a bank and make profit for themselves or lend to others excessively are also committing fraud. Many people who work in banks think that the money is owned by the public and it is not their own business. But where does public money come from? It is offered by citizens, so they owe a very large debt. It was said by the ancients that it is impossible for a family to be prosperous across three generations. And it is also impossible to be unpropitious for all three generations. The reason lies in such behavior. Once you have committed fraudulent deeds, whether you are a businessman, proletarian or public servant, your wealth will eventually be gone. If you deceive others, others will deceive you in return, especially if you get things through violence or stealing. Another serious kind of stealing is to infringe copyright. So do not buy those pirated bags, even though they are cheap. Buy authentic ones instead. If no one buys such fake bags, the pirate industry cannot survive. Everyone pays his huge effort and labor to make these genuine goods perfect. But because of your greediness, those people are angered, so you will get karmic retribution.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had told the story before, that one time, he left a box  of jewelry behind in a taxi but he still got it back 15 minutes later. If he had never stolen other’s jewelry in his past lives, no one could take away Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s jewelry in this one. Bodhisattva Manjuri also had told such a story. He told someone that since his precept of non-stealing has never been broken in accumulated lives, his possessions will never be taken away by others. The man he told did not believe him, but Bodhisattva Manjuri showed him by placing a pair of his beautiful, new shoes at the gate of his castle, saying that no one would take them away. As it happened, the shoes stayed in the same place for many days and indeed no one took them. Since Bodhisattva Manjuri had not taken other’s things in his previous lives, his karmic retribution was for no one to take away his own things. People who got burgled by thieves in their house must have stolen other’s possessions in one of their past lives. If your money is swindled or cheated from you, or wasted by your family,  or you frequently lost things without reason, this is a result of you having stolen from others. Buddha often says the wealth is held by the five thieves, which refers to your descendants, thieves, fire, government and natural disasters.

In terms of motivation, those who steal other’s money do so with three poisonous thoughts, namely greed, hatred, or ignorance, either by their own actions or by asking others to do so. So for over-lending in banks, bank employees who agree for others to commit over-lending are also committing stealing themselves, by helping others to commit evil deeds. Completion refers to moving one thing to another place. In case of not moving to other places, they think that they own those things. Our behavior of stealing could be committed by seizing something with force. This force refers to whether one has power or not. For example, as an officer or bank employee with authority to approve credit, one earns commission due to that power. This is also a form of stealing. People who cheat with a fake price or speculate in stocks with fake news are all committing stealing. Especially for the stock market in Taiwan, those major players in our stock market who make some fake news in order to let you start to speculate in stocks are stealing.

For those who take without permission, the negative karma of taking Sangha’s income is very profound, to the level of unintermitted vice. This kind of thing occurs very often in Taiwan. Sangha does not refer to only ordained people but also an operating sangha. For example the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center can be called a sangha, which includes a group with ordained and laity diligently learning Buddhism. If some people have moved or used the money and objects from this sangha without permission, this is stealing.  Every cent of money belonging to the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center is not under the account of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Rinchen Dojree Rinpoche has never handled any of it himself. Additionally, once you move some money or objects through your hand and handle it out, that is called stealing, even if those things are as seemingly insignificant as a piece of tissue paper or a pencil. If you use that object without the owner’s knowledge, that is stealing. Stealing things from a Buddhist center is especially common in Taiwan. Many laity manage the money and take it for themselves in the end. This kind of crime is very heavy and will cause the person to fall into unintermitted hell. The money of the sangha is offered by sentient beings and does not belong to anyone. So the estates of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center are all registered as a legal entity. This means that if one day the sangha does not exist, its possessions will not belong to any one of you but to the government. The most serious problem in Taiwanese Buddhism is the problem of estates. Many people who commit such acts do not know how heavy the crime is, and they take advantage of Buddhist groups to achieve their beneficial goal. This is also stealing. So Samantabhadra Bodhisattva said that you shall never consider trading anything belonging to the sangha. This crime is very serious.

Then we come to the issue of sexual misconduct. Extramarital affairs are not necessarily a form of sexual misconduct. It depends on whether the other person is married, is underage or acting without her parents’ permission. Many modern people have committed sexual misconduct at some point. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche joked that many men and women come to meet with him while they are getting divorced, and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche often told them: Since you had not asked me about your marriage, it’s nothing to do with me. If you did not ask your parents about your first sexual experience, what does your divorce matter to your parents? So in ancient times, why did people definitely need their parents’ permission concerning matters of sex? In modern times, this point of view has been overthrown. It is thought that this behavior is normal for male and female grownups. Once their parents disagree with or disallow their behavior, it falls into the level of sexual misconduct, especially if another’s wife is involved. The definition of wife here does not only include an officially married woman, but also another’s fiancée or girlfriend.

In Hongkong, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once heard two stories. One man was fond of having relationships with married women, but he met with a bad end. He lost his job, suffered from a walking disability, got separated from his wife and children, and finally he leaped from a building to his death. The second story concerned a man with rich parents. They opened a watch store for him and made him the boss. He got married and his wife was very beautiful. However, this man had a very weird pastime. He loved to entice other married women, and he even often bragged unabashedly about his dissolute behavior. Consequently, after several years, one day he was kidnapped. This kidnapper called his father and demanded a ransom of 2 million HKD. In order to save him, his father ordered a crony to bring the money to the kidnapper. But then, several days later, both his son and the man who’d brought the money were killed. The man who’d brought the money was beaten to death while still dressed, but the son was put into a gunny sack without any clothes. His genitals were even cut off and he bled to death. What a horrible karmic retribution it was!

Previously, soon after he had come to Taiwan, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knew a man. One day they were chatting and he told Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche: “You had better go out with a married woman.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche felt upset after hearing this and said: “Can you lend your wife to me then?” The man’s facial expression changed right away. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche added, “Since you won’t give your wife to others, how can you tell me to have sexual relations with another’s wife?” . Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also advises many women that if a man clearly knows you have a husband and still chases you, you should have nothing to do with him as  he is clearly unethical and is just not serious about you.

Sexual misconduct includes being with an underage girl, a girl under the supervision of her parents, another’s woman or within the fourth degree of consanguinity from father’s-side or mother’s-side, namely the cousins. Why in ancient times did we Chinese people say that people with the same surname cannot marry? Since you have the same surname, you must have a consanguineous relationship with each other, so you cannot marry. Now in Taiwan the rule has broken down, and many couples with the same surname get married. As for precept-keeping Bhikshuni and Upasika, Upasika is the femail laity. Even though she is laity and is not married, if she keeps precepts and practices, if you have sex with her against her will that is also sexual misconduct.

Sexual misconduct can also refer to sex with your own wife. While your wife is practicing the Eight Precepts Retreat, or is maybe sick, or very depressed or is during pregnancy, feeling very hurt and in pain, from menstruation or not having recovered from postnatal period, all are considered as sexual misconduct if you have sex with her. Having sex in front of the Three Jewels, which means the Buddha room, or having sex inside a temple are all within the scale of sexual misconduct. What about having sexual thoughts? Many people may do nothing but think everything. Many people think too much and then have sickness. In simple terms that is anthomaniac. So why is it necessary to stop underage boys and girls from watching pornographic films since they will think about sex after watching a lot? Why will people engaged in this industry all fall into hell? Because they cause others’ sexual misconduct. So, on the contrary, thinking is the most important. Before taking action we must first have thoughts. It is taught in Buddha sutras that all women should not have sexual thoughts about another’s husband. Once you think, in fact it is more serious than doing. Before, many women often said “my husband is bad since he’s having extramarital affairs.” But then ask back to her “Have you had thoughts about other men?” You have not done but still thought. In fact it is all the same according to the definition of Buddha. You have reached the level of  having sex in your mind already. So while you blame your husband for having extramarital affairs, you should think yourself whether you are having sex with another’s husband in your mind or not. Women often apply this way of thinking. It has often been written that males are fond of the sensual while women are fond of lust.

As it is written in a precept text for ordained people, our thoughts are the most important thing of all. All ordained people are allowed to watch a boxing match, but if they watch too often, the thoughts of fighting will arise in their consciousness. So if you girls and those underage boys think these kind of things all day, it will make you commit much deviated behavior and think incorrect thoughts. Additional activities refers to ongoing behavior. Motivation refers to the three poisonous thoughts, namely greed, hatred, and ignorance. Completion refers to the point where these two roots come into contact, accept and utilize the joyfulness. We also need to realize that sex between closely-consanguineous blood relatives like brothers and sisters is strictly prohibited.  Violating the marital prohibition, such as having relations with a woman who already has a husband, is also sexual misconduct. Among the precepts of sexual conduct for Bhikshu and Bhikshuni or authentic Dharma, the most critical sexual misconduct is to rape one’s mother or female Arhats, which is an extremely heavy crime karma, and is one of the five unintermitted karmas. Hence you can see that Taiwanese society is really in a mess. Some sons have raped their mothers, some grandsons have raped their grandmothers and in some families there is sex between a mother and son. All these are sexual misconduct. The case of some female teachers having sex with their students is also a type of sexual misconduct.

Why is sexual misconduct so serious? Sexual misconduct also includes improper sexual behavior. Namely, all sexual behavior except for the normal relations between male and female is sexual misconduct, including homosexuality or animal sex. Sexual misconduct causes couples to divorce, bodies to suffer problems or careers to fail. When we get old, some diseases may manifest. One is Alzheimer’s disease and the other is Parkinson’s Disease. AIDS is also included in the scale of sexual misconduct. After death those people will fall into hell, and after that, they will be reborn as a bird or other animals with more sexual desire. The cycle does not end in one or two lives, but continues on in every life. It’s a very serious thing. So people who often socialize, go drinking and have fun accompanied by escorts, or go to hostess bars, are all consuming their merits. All these actions cause your ethics to be spoiled and incorrect.

Since we are all sentient beings, it is inevitable that we have libido. We can only be born in this life because of our parents’ libido, and we are born in this life again because we have this habit for every life. Learning Buddhism does not mean we must get rid of our libido. It instead teaches you firstly to not commit any sexual misconduct and secondly not to have sex excessively. A paragraph in Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows states that one who focuses on lust will fall into the realm of hell. In Esoteric Buddhism from the view of Kundalini, since you focus on lust, your tsa will go downward, which is the phenomenon and sign of falling into hell. Those who focus on their libido, including people with thoughts such as above, keep their mind gathered below the Dantian, and when dying, they are not used to lift the flow upward but go downward instead, thus falling into hell. Laities are not ordained, and it is normal for us to have lust and libido. But this should not fall into sexual misconduct and having sex excessively, and we should keep ourselves in control. Never indulge yourself, or the probability to fall into hell is one hundred percent.

Why do we need to learn Tantra Dharma? Because if you solely depend on the theory of Exoteric Buddhism, your body cannot truly understand . After learning Esoteric Buddhism you can really experience the compassion of Buddha and Bodhisattvas. Buddha and Bodhisattvas admonish and teach us in order to prevent us from falling into lower realms. All of their words are absolutely true, and are not fake or casually spoken. While facing sexual matters, since you are laity, you shall never reject your spouse’s request to you because of learning Buddhism. In fact it is depicted in Mahayana Buddha sutra “As we practice Bodhisattva path, if your spouse has a legitimate request to you, you should fulfill the request and should not reject it.” In Taiwan many people learn Buddhism and then quarrel between husband and wife. The most critical cause is sleeping on different beds and not having correct behavior with the spouse. This causes the spouse to misunderstand Buddha Dharma. If the spouse who has not learned Buddhism holds misunderstanding or anger toward Buddha Dharma because of your behavior, your evil karma will be heavy. If you think you do not need relations between male and female, then you should not have gotten married, and should have gotten ordained instead, so as not to harm others. To those who have married, these are all your karmic connections, which you should fulfill the commitment. It is unnecessary to change your normal life style because you are practicing Buddhism. It is said in Buddha Sutra that learning Buddhism is to change our bad habits, mostly the sexual misconduct. As for our personalities, temper or favorites, these are accumulated experiences from our daily living and not to be called bad habits. Sexual misconduct is the most critical thing to cause us to fall into the cycle of reincarnation.

March 25, 2011

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche presided over an auspicious puja of Drikung Kagyu’s Chod at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, Taipei. There were more than 1300 attendees participating in this puja. To begin, upon having ascended to the throne, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave the following auspicious dharma teaching.

Today Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is going to teach specifically on one’s condition before his dying and after his death. Some people may tell you what these kinds of conditions are, but are only doing so from hearsay or by recounting what they have read in sutras. They might even relate what they imagine. However, as they have not experienced the process of dying yet, what they say is simply what they have heard. They don’t actually know the real situation nor have knowledge about it. This is due to their self-righteousousness and their cultural customs. There are no such descriptions in sutras. If something is beneficial to the dead, the Buddha must have told us about it. Those activities that are not written in sutras are not relevant to the Buddha Dharma.

Some may tell mourning families that they should throw moon blocks in front of the dead to ask the dead what he or she likes to eat. Some may say mourning families should fold paper lotus flowers, cover the dead with the Dharani sutra covering, or invite some professional monks or nuns to recite mantras for the dead. They think that doing so can help the dead to be reborn in the pure land. These activities, however, are not depicted in sutras; they are hearsay. Many people also believe that if the dead liked to eat meat, they should worship the dead with the offering of meat. Actually, if we use meat to worship the dead, it will, on the contrary, make him or her accumulate more evil karma. In the Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows, it is described that if we worship the dead with meat, it is to “add a kilogram upon a hundred kilograms load” for the dead. In other words, the dead already accumulated evil karma by killing and eating meat, but you further contributed to this killing karma for the dead and the dead also had the responsibility. Isn’t that increasing the dead’s evil karma?

In our tradition there are various kinds of methods to salvage the dead. For instance, a custom is said that morning families or friends should hold a ceremony for the dead every seven days after his death. Some may hold it 3 or 5 times, but we have all heard of the saying of seven times, or 7 ceremonies every 7 days in 49 days. Why not 5 times? Why would Buddha have said it should be held seven times within 49 days? In sutras, the numbers 8 and 10 are used quite frequently. Why not hold a ceremony 8 or 10 times? Why uses the number 7? The answer to these questions is related to Tantras. Since you have not practiced any Tantras yet, it will not be explained to you today. But we can still discuss it with the exoteric teachings.

What will happen to a human after he dies? What will happen is related to what he has done during his lifetime. Which realm he would enter after his death depends on his virtuous or evil deeds during his lifetime. If one has practiced the Ten Meritorious Deeds when he is alive, he will be able to be reborn in the Three Virtuous Realms, no matter if he has taken refuge in Buddhism or not. Those who have done more virtuous deeds than evil deeds, including non-Buddhists, will be reborn in the Three Virtuous Realms. If he has done more evil deeds, on the other hand, he will be reborn in the Three Evil Realms. Carrying out kind deeds doesn’t mean to donate money to others or do volunteer work. Instead, it is to practice the Ten Meritorious Deeds. The first deed of the Ten Meritorious Deeds is to not kill. As long as one has eaten meat, he or she must have killed sentient beings. You don’t have to ponder whether you have eaten meat in your past lifetimes. If, in this lifetime or before taking refuge, you have eaten meat, you have disobeyed the first meritorious deed. Thus, if you are still consuming meat, on what ground can you claim that you are a Buddhist? If you can’t try to become a vegetarian as it is described in sutras, you are not qualified to mention anything about your knowledge of Buddhism. The Ten Meritorious Deeds will not be discussed in detail today. Committing profound vicious deeds is not limited to just killing people or committing arson. If one likes eating meat, such a habit will cause him or her to enter hell. Some may argue with this truth because if this is true, most humans will enter hell, right? Yes. Almost all humans will. Don’t think that entering hell after one passes away is rare. That is obviously a wrong assumption.

If one has perfectly accomplished the Ten Meritorious Deeds, he will ascend to the heavenly realm when he stops breathing. If one has practiced the Ten Meritorious Deeds but has not perfected his practices, he will be reborn as a human, more importantly, in a wealthy family. If one has committed terribly vicious deeds such as running a restaurant selling meat dishes, working in the industry of slaughtering, or selling fishing equipment, hunting, or selling abortion medicine, he will directly enter hell after his death. Most humans are not profoundly kind or vicious so they will not be reborn immediately and will have to wait for 49 days. After this period, these humans will be reborn to a realm according to their karma. After one stops breathing, his consciousness will not have to stay in the body for eight hours. Some might not need eight hours to leave the body, whereas some will linger longer. If families cry by a deceased’s side, Tao priests shake their bells, or families and friends sing songs, these behaviors or rituals will make the deceased unwilling to leave. If the deceased gets angry because of these, his anger will cause him to enter  hell.

When a deceased’s consciousness leaves the body, it will enter a state of apparent sleep. The 49-day period is critical. Every other seven days, the consciousness will be awaken and then fall asleep again. Every time the consciousness wakes up, an incarnation of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will come to escort him. In the mean time, the karmic force of the deceased will interfere with this process as well. His karmic creditors will transform to his close families and friends and then bring him to the Three Evil Realms. If this person has diligently practiced Buddha Dharma, he will not be affected by his karmic creditors and will follow the incarnation of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. As such, he will be reborn in the Three Virtuous Realms. Therefore, what is the purpose of learning Buddhism? It is not for one’s good health or a successful career. It is so that you will not go astray when passing away. Thus, the 49-day period is very important.

In addition to those aforementioned people who have done great virtues or great evils and the fact that they will be immediately reborn after death, most of the others will become a ghost after death. This ghost is not a being in the hungry ghost realm, but a being outside the Six Realms and recognized by the general public as a “ghost”. After becoming a ghost, it will not be reborn immediately, but will be gradually be reborn by responding to the karmic retribution depending on each individual’s amount of virtue and evil, and the causes and conditions during its lifetime. It may stay in this “ghost” state for a very long time and may not reincarnate after 49 days. According to Buddhist scriptures, the longest time a ghost will reincarnate will be after 1200 years. So the oldest ghost will be 1200 years old. Do not, as some people do, scold the elderly in your family as “old ghost”. In doing so you curse the elderly to become a ghost for a long time. When one becomes a ghost, one does not know to which realm he will be reborn. Under that kind of wandering and tired condition, he is in pain and badly in need of a quiet environment. A ghost’s senses are 100 times more sensitive than a human’s senses. A ghost can know whether you help him sincerely and whether what you do can really help him. Some of a deceased person’s relatives, before the deceased person died, still held his hand, stroking it constantly and saying that the hand still pulsed and had responses. They thought it would touch the deceased person. However, at the time, the four major elements of the dying person were decomposing; as long as any part of the body was touched, the dying person would feel endless tingles and was in extreme pain. When you touch a deceased person, he will surely respond. But it is not like what you think. You should not be influenced by romantic novels. A deceased person encountering this will be very pained and resentful.

Everyone here will have people pass away in their family; everyone will pass away themselves as well. When a family member passes away, many people often do not know what to do and appear very confused. Buddhist scriptures have not stated that a deathbed chanting group can help a deceased person to go to the Pure Land. Finding many Buddhist monks or nuns to recite sutras or people to sing poems and songs cannot help a deceased person. It is not that hiring Buddhist monks or nuns to recite sutras can liberate a deceased person; even these chanting Buddhist monks or nuns do not know how to liberate themselves! When there is no ability or condition to find a competent practitioner to help a deceased person, the best is to let the relatives of the deceased person recite sutras themselves, because the family members’ hearts are the most sincere; reciting sutras with such sincerity will let the deceased person feel at ease. The deathbed chanting assistance mentioned in Buddhist scriptures refers to the following. If a deceased person has practiced Buddhism in a Buddhist Sangha and learned the methods of liberating from the cycle of birth and death in his lifetime, before he passes away, his Dharma brothers practicing in the same Sangha can recite sutras or mantras that the deceased person was familiar with in his lifetime. This will let him strengthen his faith at the time of his death such that he will not fall into the three Evil Realms from giving rise to delusions, and help him not to be hindered by his karma.

Sakyamuni Buddha introduced Amitabha Buddha to people in “Sukhavativyuha Sutra” (the sutra on the Buddha of Eternal Life), “Vipasyana Sukhavativyuha Sutra” (the Sixteen Contemplations Sutra), and “Amitabha Sutra.” Among these sutras, only “Amitabha Sutra” stated the conditions for being reborn in the Pure Land. It has only one sentence: “Those virtuous men and women, when vowing to be reborn in the Pure Land, must have the sufficient blessings, merits, causes, and conditions.” Blessings are accumulated from making offerings and giving alms; merits are from cultivation practices. Reciting sutras, making repentant prostrations, and chanting mantras only create favorable conditions for practicing Buddhism. However, keeping precepts, practicing meditation, and cultivating wisdom can generate merits. And only merits can help you to be reborn in the Pure Land. The causes and conditions here refers to learning to cultivate the same strength of the Yidam’s (amitabha’s) vows and following the Yidam’s method of practicing the Bodhi Path. Moreover, what is virtue? It means cultivating the Ten Meritorious Acts.

Do not think that liberation is very simple and can be achieved simply by a guru reciting some words. It is not easy to liberate a deceased person using the method of Exoteric Buddhism. In fact, except “Emperor Liang’s Repentance Ritual” and “Ksitigarbha Sutra” which stated that the Buddha had taught Maudgalyayana to use the method of offering food to Buddhist monks and nuns to liberate Maudgalyayana’s mother, there was no method of helping to liberate a deceased person in Buddhist scriptures. Buddhist scriptures only state the methods of self-cultivation because Exoteric Buddhism just has the theory of Buddha Dharma; only Esoteric Buddhism contains the method of helping others. Some of you will certainly ask, “Isn’t it more important to help sentient beings attain Buddhahood than to help oneself for a person who cultivates Bodhisattva’s path? Then why do you still want to cultivate yourself first?” Your words are correct. But you have to benefit yourself first before you can benefit others. Once you have attained achievements and can escape from the cycle of birth and death, you can then help to liberate other sentient beings. Doing Bodhisattva’s path requires you to attain ability first before you can help others. For example, the dharma text of the Chod dharma is divided into two parts. The first part is the method for self practices. Once you have attained achievements and can escape from the cycle of birth and death, you can then practice the second part, which has the cultivation methods for helping others.

As there are means in tantric practice to release souls from purgatory, one has to cultivate his practice step by step. A ritual is composed of the preliminary, the main practice, and the dedication. How do you know if you have successfully released the soul or not? It takes more than words to validate this, and signs of success are stated in the Dharma texts. Releasing souls from purgatory is not just for fun.  Many people in Taiwan are inventors. As they lack an understanding of the matter, they explain the contents of the Buddhist scripture in their own opinions. If your thinking was correct, you would be a Buddha. Those who only have partial knowledge are the most frightening people for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

It was Padmasambhava who brought tantra to Tibet. During Padmasambhava’s stay in Tibet, a subordinate of the king had a major fire in his house and all his family members and livestock died in the flames. The king and his subordinate beseeched Padmasambhava to perform the ritual that could release the subordinate family’s souls from purgatory. Padmasambhava is a very accomplished practitioner of all the miraculous powers and has attained Buddhahood and his own pure land. Therefore, Padmasambhava employed his great miraculous powers to visit the Buddha Amitabha’s Pure Land to request a Dharma. What was transmitted is the Phowa that you often hear about. The Phowa was not imparted by Buddha Sakyamuni and is an auspicious practice that releases souls from purgatory bestowed personally by Buddha Amitabha. It can directly transfer the deceased’s consciousness to the pure land. One who practices the Phowa needs to have attained liberation from the cycle of birth and death before he can help others. An accomplished practitioner who has mastered the practice of Phowa will see signs. The practitioner himself will experience his death and the intermediate state both physically and psychologically. Thereby, such a person would not be afraid of death. Having learned about death, one is then able to live without fears. Hence, he will deal with his mundane issues from a different perspective. Some people would stop attending pujas or even begin to eat meat again because they are getting married. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has seen a lot of such people and they always regret what they did. Learning Buddhism does not interfere with your marriage, family, or work. Just as the teaching constantly bestowed by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche says, when you achieve accomplishments in your supramundane affairs, you will not have any problems with your mundane affairs. If you are able to understand “death” clearly and have control of it, what on earth can be difficult for you?

Speaking of “Those virtuous men and women must have the sufficient blessings, merits, causes, and conditions.” there were 3 people who passed away around the same time recently. However, the help they received from the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas varied. Their stories serve as the best examples of the statement. The first one is a child who had a rare disease called osteopetrosis (a bone hardening disease due to gene mutation). When he passed away, he immediately received the Phowa performed by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The child was 6 months old when he first came to the Buddhist center. He was on the verge of death according to the doctor. After his parents took him with them to seek refuge from the His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the child recovered a great deal and could live like a healthy child. His parents thereby thought that they could see the child grow up. Two more years of life were given to the child. These two years were given in order to accumulate merits for the child. As he could not recite the scriptures or accumulate his merits in practice, he had to rely on the guru for that. Therefore, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bid his parents to attend all the pujas. Because he was a child and had no opportunity to commit evil deeds, he could be considered as a man of virtues. As he attended every puja, he had the causes and conditions. One week before the child’s death, he felt very ill, so his parents came to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to request blessings for him. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche saw that they did not do prostrations previously and, therefore, instructed them to do 500 full prostrations at the center every day. In so doing, they were able to accumulate merits for the child. The child’s parents thought that the child’s health could recover if they did so. However, what Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did was to help the child create many causes and conditions so that he would have the causes, conditions, blessings and merits to attain rebirth in the Pure Land. As a result, the child passed away in the morning. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had just gotten up and got ready to leave for the airport an hour thereafter. So, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performed the auspicious Phowa immediately for the child after receiving the call.

The child’s father described the various fortunate signs manifested in the child’s body. His body temperature had been quite low a week before he passed away. His limbs felt cold an hour before his death. However, his hands and body turned warm gradually after he drew his last breath. He appeared to be fast asleep and his whole body felt warm, especially his crown chakra. The child’s grandmother thought the child was still living, but it was actually due to the completion of the Phowa. What’s more, the child looked even more peaceful than he had been in sleep. It was truly extraordinary and they felt grateful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Another example is a mother of a married couple, who passed away on the same day after the aforementioned child’s death. When their mother was still alive, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche promised to perform the Phowa for her. Nevertheless, the couple was also told that, even with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s promise, the causes and conditions were still uncertain. They were told to make imploration to the Dharma Protector. When the old lady passed away, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was at the airport. As there were only 45 minutes left before Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche boarded the plane, the deceased did not have the causes and conditions to receive the Phowa. As you know, usually Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would utter a special sound while performing the Phowa. If Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performed the practice at that time, many people at the airport would be freaked out. In particular, foreigners would be puzzled. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was not worried about being embarrassed or being given strange looks. Accomplished practitioners such as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche pay attention to details and do not let others have the opportunity to slander Buddhism or to create evil verbal karma. If Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performed the Phowa in the VIP lounge, the annoyed people might say something unpleasant. Therefore, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche recited mantra to protect her consciousness so as to transfer her in today’s puja.

While Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was reciting mantras, the deceased’s daughter was crying beside her. He also saw the deceased’s departed father standing behind the deceased. The family members did not know that their maternal grandfather’s consciousness had not been transferred. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche right away gave them a call, asking her daughter not to cry, or her mother would get angry. If her mother would become angry, she would then fall into hell. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also told the deceased’s departed father not to hinder the deceased, as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would salvage him altogether in today’s Chod puja. Karmic creditors you talk about are actually your family members. A real karmic creditor is one who comes to you at the time when you are on your deathbed, looking for trouble so as to let you fall into the three evil paths. Those who cry beside the deceased would vex the deceased. Once the deceased gets vexed and angry, the deceased would fall into hell. If the deceased did not meet a capable practitioner, or the practitioner was not able to know all the things about the deceased and help to deal with the things beforehand, it would not be possible for the practitioner to calm and salvage the deceased.

The third example is a disciple’s family member who had cancer and was in extreme suffering even though he received morphine injections. This disciple took Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s photo to this patient and advised him to reverently behold it. After he saw with attention Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s dharma photo, his pains got relieved and he had a nice sleep on the same day. Then he no longer needed to take morphine injections, from which how much money he could have saved? It was not until seeing this situation did his family members come to have faith. Therefore, they carried the patient to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Seeing them, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told them the patient served for the government but took lots of money improperly. In the meanwhile, however, he also previously practiced virtuous deeds and donated money to people in need. This is why he had the fortune to meet Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Foreseeing that their father had only around four days left to live, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche on the spot bestowed a blessing to him and told him to leave first. Then, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed the three sons to respectively do 100 full prostrations toward Buddhas at the venue so as to help their father to accumulate merits. Two days later, their father passed away. The sons came again to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told them to donate one fourth of their father’s inheritance to the Society Bureau of the Ministry of Interior Department. One of the sons refused Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s advice and said he would not do it. Originally Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche wanted to ask them to donate all of their father’s inheritance. It was really lenient of him to ask them to contribute merely one fourth. In fact, the money got from graft should not remain for them to use, or it would cause them problems. Seeing some of them having trouble following the advice, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche just made a change and suggested they adopt vegetarian diets. They also said they would not be able to abstain from meat. As they would not do it accordingly, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not allow them to attend pujas. Although Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche still promised to conduct the ritual of transferring consciousness for their father, those children were not willing to practice charity and generosity. In this kind of situation, as his children were not willing to practice charity and generosity, even if their father comes back to be reborn in a human form, he would still suffer from poverty. You may ask why Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche doesn’t show compassion and let them attend pujas? The truth is that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is so compassionate: As they were not willing to accept the guru’s teachings, they showed no reverence to Buddha Dharma and the guru; one who shows no reverence does not make an offering, and one who does not make an offering will not have merits. Hence, it will not have any effect on them to attend pujas. An accomplished Buddhist practitioner is able to see if one’s family gets sick, in karma rather than physically. When one comes to ask Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for advice, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, just like a doctor, writes out a prescription for him. But it is the individual himself who decides to take it or not.

The three followers have the same guru but each of them got a different result. From the above-mentioned stories, we can tell that due to different causes and conditions, merits and blessings, people will get different effects. Don’t ever say that Buddha is not efficacious. Any result completely comes from what one has done. According to the Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows, one ought to do Buddhist rituals extensively for one’s deceased family member. Here “extensively” does not refer to much, nor does it mean to engage oneself in a lot of Buddhist activities such as making repentance in many Buddhist temples, doing prostrations to Buddha, or lighting bright lamps. Its real meaning is generating an open and broad mind to help all sentient beings, rather than having a narrow mind to pray only for help for one’s own relatives and friends. In fact, one ought to possess a great merciful and compassionate heart. The Buddha is so merciful and compassionate, since he knows that ordinary people do not have mercy and compassion, hence, in the above phrase he adopted the word “extensively,” which you are able to carry out, instead of “mercifully” and “compassionately.”

Why does the phrase in the Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows say, if one on behalf of one’s deceased family member does Buddhist practice, one seventh of the merits and virtues belongs to the deceased, and six sevenths belongs to the person himself? This concept has never been clarified by other Buddhist masters as this is also related to the tantric dharma. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked some ordained disciples on the spot which part of the deceased would be transferred, and what will remain after one dies. He explained, a living person has Six Roots, eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind, while a dead person loses five of them, namely eye, ear, nose, tongue, and body. What the deceased merely has left is his consciousness and karma. When a dharma of transference is conducted, it is to transfer the deceased’s consciousness and the living practitioner’s Six Roots. Hence, it is divided into seven parts. Why does the one who practices for the deceased need his Six Roots to be salvaged too? When you are attending a puja, you see the Buddha’s statues and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and feel they are very sublime, which are related to the part of Eye Root. When you hear Buddha Dharma, you feel it is very auspicious, which relates to the part of Ear root. Regarding the Body Root, when one is attentively listening to Buddha Dharma, one should naturally sit straight. If there is a person with his arms across his chest while listening to Buddha Dharma, he shows no attention or reverence. This is because if one’s body is not straight, his mind will not be straight either. Therefore it is really hard to liberate human beings. At one’s imploring for Buddha’s help, on behalf of the deceased, with a sincere, pure and heart, the deceased gets to cleanse his karma, and the imploring one gets to purify his Six Roots. Hence it is stated in the Sutra that the merits and virtues of reciting sutras are divided into seven parts. One seventh belongs to the deceased, while six sevenths belongs to the one who recites. This explanation comes from Exoteric Buddhism. Its tantric explanation will be totally different. Yet you are not qualified to listen to it as you have not learned tantric dharma, therefore you won’t comprehend it even if you hear it.

There are people who have been vegetarians for a long time, but suddenly want to eat meat right before dying, however they are actually only able to eat a little bit if you let them. It is that their karmic creditor is trying to create the killing cause and condition for them to go to hell. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche admonishes the disciples and believers that they should not think that since the dying person will not live much longer, they should grant him his last request of eating meats.  In fact, you may give him some vegetarian meats since nowadays these vegetarian meats look, smell, and taste like real meats.  He could not tell the difference. Don’t ever let him commit the evil deed again.

Meanwhile, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche scolded a believer who was squirming and not sitting properly. Her attitude showed that she felt bored listening to the contents of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s enlightenment, which she thought did not relate to her.  She was squirming because her legs hurt. One of the reasons is that she ate too much meat. The second reason is that she does not believe in Buddhism. The third reason is that she lacks a repentant mind.  Many people have known that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has a serious S-type scoliosis because of which he should be unable to sit with legs crossed at the Dharma seat for a long period. Furthermore, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has to bestow enlightenment and conduct the Dharma ritual there. Before becoming a Rinpoche, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche used to be a believer himself and sitting on the floor as well, therefore Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was familiar with what kinds of thoughts the believers have. At the beginning of being a believer, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s legs also hurt, the same as you, but knowing that the Dharma is so precious, he had a respectful mind to endure the hurt no matter how painful it was.  You also have such experiences when, if you are focused on doing one thing, you will ignore the other feelings in your body. If you are focusing on Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Dharma teachings, although your legs hurt, it will not be too painful to bear. When you do not focus on the Dharma teachings, your mind loses control and your legs start hurting, which would shift your attention away quickly. Then your right leg hurts, after that your left leg hurts and you end up having backache!

Today you can attend the Chod puja, which means that you came across the Tantra in your previous lives. You must cherish the opportunity to accumulate merits. There are still some people waiting in the lobby who are looking forward to having a chance to be able to attend the puja. Don’t think that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche rejected those believers, who are looking forward to attending this puja, and did not show compassion. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had compassionately understood what they were thinking about; they were just curious, wanting to know what the puja is about without having a respectful attitude toward Buddha Dharma. Therefore Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not allow them to attend the puja. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will open the door to welcome every believer with a respectful mind, but it is not necessary to open the door for everyone. You must cherish the opportunity to learn Buddhism in this lifetime; do not think that you had attained a certain level of achievement in your previous life. Indeed, this life is the most important. The guru will help you to accumulate merits, but you must truly cherish this precious opportunity and practice diligently.

The Chod ritual was established in the ancient times by a Tibetan yogini who was married and had children. Due to the time limitation, you can go to the official website of Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center for the details of the Chod ritual introduced by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The Chod Dharma was personally transmitted by His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Therefore, the blessing of the Dharma is extra powerful. Although the Dharma text mentioned that the attendees should lie down in order to make an offering to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas with their body, there is not enough space to let all attendees lie down and besides, you could easily fall asleep when you lie down. Therefore Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche acted on behalf of the attendees, through meditation and visualization, using his body to make an offering to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and to make an almsgiving to the sentient beings that are suffering in the Six Realms. During the process of the Chod ritual, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has to remove all his items of protection, such as the protector wheels, and to not have any boundary for protection.

Before conducting the Chod dharma, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche reminded the attendees to broadly expand their compassion, so that their wish would be granted. This is not aimed at the wish for making more money; it is the wish that all sentient beings would be liberated from suffering. Don’t limit your mind to only caring for your family members or those things around you, because all sentient beings need help from the Dharma. You must calm your mind; don’t have so many wandering thoughts.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then began to conduct the auspicious Chod ritual for everyone and led all attendees to recite the Six-syllable Mani Mantra.

After reciting the dedication prayer, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche personally led everyone to recite “Aspiration Prayer for Rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land.” Each word and each sentence were spoken out from the His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The auspicious Dharma voice is continuous, rich, profound and wide. This made all of the sentient beings feel guru’s incomparable blessing and awe-inspiring power. Many people could not stop shedding tears and their hearts were filled with appreciation and joy.

Afterwards Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave everyone an auspicious enlightenment with Dharma text of “Aspiration Prayer for Rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land.” He asked the participants not to look down on this prayer just because there are only a few words. Every key point of “Amitabha Sutra” is condensed into this prayer.

“In this Pure Land known as Great happiness resides the marvelous Amitabha, the Buddha of Boundless Light; on his right side is the Lord of Great Compassion Avalokiteshvara, and on his left the Bodhisattva of Powerful Means Vajrapani. All are surrounded by limitless Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.” These four sentences introduce marvelous Buddha Amitabha, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara and Bodhisattva Vajrapani. “Immeasurable peace and happiness, is the Blissful Land of Sukhavati.” These two sentences cover the essence of Amitabha Sutra. “Peace and happiness” refers to neither happiness nor so-call “meditative joy.” But when you can escape from the fear of live and death, the happiness is impossible to describe with language or words. The practitioner, who has mastered the Phowa, experiences the process of death physically, mentally and upon tsa lung during performing the dharma. After he has experienced death, he has no fear of death and the heart can settle in the fearless state. Like Buddha had said: “Do not tell.” It does not mean that one should not tell; instead, because this realization is beyond the scale of human experiences and imagination, it can not be described by words. ”Limitless” does not mean “without quantity, or tremendous quantity, or an unthinkable quantity”.  In fact, human beings originally have the pure Buddha nature. The mind of the human is neither coated nor clean, neither increasing nor decreasing, no difference between more and less. But because of being impacted by ignorance, many afflictions are aroused, therefore one becomes used to comparing and calculating. So there comes the idea of quantity. When the state of “patient acceptance based on awareness of the non-arising of phenomena” is attained, instead of learning or disposing of something, the originally pure nature is restored. There is no tainted or non-tainted concept. That is the state of emptiness. Everything is conditionally generated or vanished. As to the rarely and auspiciously peaceful and blissful state, this could be attained whenever one wants, for it will never be lacking. ”Blissful” does not mean that one cannot be happier anymore. But it is beyond all “happy” experiences in the Desire Realm, Form Realm and Formless Realm. The sentient beings live peacefully in the Pure Land with this kind of happiness, so the Pure Land is named the Blissful Land.

“When I and all sentient beings reach the end of our lives, may we be not hindered by the rebirth in the Six Realms.” “I” refers to myself. “All beings” refers to others and all sentient beings in the Six Realms. The practitioner prays for oneself and all sentient beings that they could arrive at Amitabha’s Pure Land after the end of this life to practice until Lotus opens and the Buddha is seen. Then practice to attain Buddhahood. To be reborn in the Pure Land is the safest. All beings who reach the Pure Land will be in three states of non-retrogression. One of those is to not retrogress in the Bodhicitta. After becoming cultivated in the Pure Land, one would come back to salvage sentient beings at his own will with the appearance of Bodhisattva. “May we not be hindered by the rebirth in the Six Realms” is a very important concept. Some people say that one needs to return to this world since one is already on the Bodhisattvas’ path in this lifetime. That point of view is not wrong. In the sutras, it indeed mentions that one could return to this world at one’s own will. But one important condition is that you need to achieve the state of the Bodhisattva and be on the Bodhisattvas’ path in this life time. Then you can return to this world at your own will. If not, you would only return to this world under the influence of your karma. Hence the Buddha and Bodhisattvas teach us in “Aspiration Prayer for Rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land” to vow determinedly to be reborn in the Pure Land, and not to enter the recycle of rebirth in the Six Realms until attaining Buddhahood.  After attaining Buddhahood, then we return to the world to salvage sentient beings according to our respective vows and causes and conditions. Similarly, it is depicted in “Universal Gate Chapter of the Lotus Sutra” that the Bodhisattva appears similar to the different sentient beings in order to save them. So after you practice and achieve enlightenment, maybe you will not come back as a human. Jetsun Milarepa has said that if in this life you cannot vow to practice to be reborn in the Pure Land, once entering the cycle of rebirth in the Six Realms again, you will inevitably fall in to hell to suffer.

“On being born there, may I meet with Buddha Amitabha face to face, by my aspirational prayer. Pray to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions and beseech them for their blessings to fulfill my aspirations without hindrance.” Once the practitioner prayed for birth in to Amitabha’s Pure Land, even though that person did not recite “Amitabha Buddha”, all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions will bestow aid and blessings. The meaning of hindrance in “without hindrance” is things which hinder you from learning Buddhism and practicing. If supramundane practice is carried out well, there will be no affliction in your mundane affairs. In other words, when you solidify the Dharma practice, which is to eliminate the cycle of life and death, there will be nothing to hinder you in the mundane world. As mentioned previously, the parents whose child just died often argued for the child’s sake. They blamed each other for not taking care of the child well. That is a kind of hindrance. Now the child has gone to the Pure Land. Their hindrance is therefore eliminated and there should be less fighting in the future. When you vow to be born to the Pure Land, all things which hinder you from practicing disappear naturally. Ordinarily, people would tell you to recite sutra and make a dedication to the husband or the wife in order for him/her not to hinder one from learning Buddhism. That approach is a kind of witchcraft. “Pray to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions and beseech their blessings”, means that we must pray and beseech in learning Buddhism, while beseeching blessings means neither that Buddha is a superior being nor that you must beseech blessings from Buddha. Instead, it means that your desire to learn Buddha Dharma is sincere and earnest to the upmost degree.  Additionally, it also shows your repentance in falling into the cycle of life and death in past lives.  Thirdly, it helps you to eliminate the arrogance within you.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche explained humorously,〝You were all hoaxed, you have just followed Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to recite the Aspiration Prayer for Rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land and felt great joy. In fact, you have vowed to be reborn in the Pure land already. Once you have recited and made the vow, if you do not strive to practice and cultivate, your karmic creditors will not forgive you. They would be very happy if you went to the Pure Land and they could go along with you, but if you stop learning and practicing Buddhism due to some excuses, for example if you are getting married and you can no longer participate the Buddhist puja, it would make your karmic creditor very unhappy.

One practices Buddhism for many decades, only to prepare for the very moment before death. Everything about you in this life is a result of the cause you had planted from past lives, the effect is your karmic retributions today. We learn Buddhism to prepare for our next lives. If one assumes that bad things would not happen after we learn Buddhism, then the virtuous effects we receive from learning Buddhism would not exist either. Since we know everything in this life is about the causes and effects, then we should strive to do well on everything in the present moment. Then your worries and sufferings would be reduced. A lot of people had less worries before they learned Buddhism, but after they learned Buddhism, they wanted more and more, and therefore they acquired more worries. Learning Buddhism should not make you differ from others. When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is not wearing his ceremonial garments, no one would know that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is a Rinpoche. Only insiders could see the difference in appearance between Rinpoche and ordinary people and only the ones who understand about self-cultivation would know Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is a Buddhist practitioner. If anyone claims there is no way to engage in society without drinking wine and eating meat, you must have heard the saying “wine-drinking and meat-eating buddies”! If you achieve success in business through wine-drinking and meat-eating, the money you earn will not last long.

The huge earthquakes in Japan, and also the previous earthquakes in Myanmar and New Zealand, made the rotation of the earth go faster, although it is only less than one second, but this means that human life is shortened, because time became shorter. This corresponds to the Buddhist sutra which mentioned that the life expectancy of human beings on earth is in a stage of reduction. The average life expectancy is only seventy years old, but one with more fortune would live in to the eighties. According to Buddhist sutra, originally the human life expectancy was eighty-four thousand years old. Every one hundred years, this will decrease by one year, continuing to reduce until the average life time is ten years old; then, it starts to increase back to eighty-four thousand years old, which is why the Buddha Sakyamuni did not want us to reincarnate. You could come back to earth 〝right on time for disasters.〞

These days, the natural disasters never stop. Do not think the recent Japan earthquakes have no relation to you because anything happening on any part of the earth affects everyone. It means everyone had heavy karma and were in the collective karmic retribution. This time the most damaged areas in the earthquake zones had very heavy karmic obstacles from killing. Thirty years ago, one tsunami swept away everything and even after thirty years of hard effort, everything was completely gone again. Buddhist sutra has recorded: The wealth accumulated from killing will not last long.

Today, one believer comes to the Buddhism puja because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche helped his mother’s illness. His mother wanted to run outside every day, not to stay indoors, and she made a mess with her urine and excrement on the bed and kept saying that her neck was not comfortable. The family thought she was mentally ill, but after many diagnoses with many doctors there was no cure, so they besought an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche took a look and knew her mother killed chickens before; chickens were always killed from the neck, so her neck was not comfortable. When you caught a chicken in its cage, no chicken was willing, so they kept on struggling. As long as you have killed, the karmic retribution is going to hell. Even if you did not kill with your own hands, if you were watching others kill a fish, and you said, “That’s a good kill, the fish would taste good,” you were performing the karmic deeds together. This includes the selling of feed, fishing rods, fishing gears, and anything included in the realm of killing.

There is one Christian hospital in Taipei and all of the doctors, nurses and patients were asked to have a vegetarian diet, not because of religious reasons, but because they believe a vegetarian diet is better for our body, and the patients recovered more quickly. Even the non-Buddhist path encouraged people to have a vegetarian diet. You say you are a Buddhist, but still eat meat? Again, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche urges everyone to stop eating the meat of sentient beings; don’t eat meat, not just because of being a Buddhist, therefore becoming a vegetarian, but because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had seen the horrible karmic retribution from the cause and effect of killing. If you continue to eat meat, the chance of you killing is very high. If none of us eat fish or meat, the people who sell fish and meat will switch to other jobs. Although they had done the killing, it was for you to eat and for them to sell, so you are the main culprit. If you pay attention, you will find that everything in daily life is the manifestation of Buddha Dharma, all describing the principles from Buddhist sutras. You have to believe.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has always thought that the Christians and the Catholics are brave to loudly tell others they are Christians and Catholics, brave to say “It is God’s grace, or it is God’s arrangement, so we will accept it.” Why should you not bravely announce to others that you are a Buddhist? Because there is a ghost in your heart. You used Buddha Dharma to satisfy certain desire of yours, but if it is not satisfied then you would say things like “Buddha no longer works.” Therefore, there is a ghost in your heart, so you could not bravely announce. The gradual diminishing of Buddhism can be seen from this phenomenon.

March 26, 2011

From 4:30 p.m. to 10:15 p.m., His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche helped 131 believers solve all kinds of worldly suffering, and gave enlightenment of Buddha Dharma at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center in Taipei.

March 27, 2011

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche presided over an auspicious regular puja at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center in Taipei, and continued to teach some important concepts in the Avalokiteshvara Universal Gate Chapter of Lotus Sutra. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also taught the dharma methods of Avalokiteshvara.

Before the puja, a female disciple shared how Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has helped her family. Her younger brother died on December 24, 2010 due to complications of cirrhosis of the liver. At that time, she was very helpless. A dharma brother told her that she should request an audience with a great master, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, and implore him for the liberating and transferring of her brother’s consciousness. On December 26, she and her younger sister went to meet with Most Venerable Vajra Guru, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. With the enlightenment and compassionate blessing given by His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, her younger brother’s consciousness was able to be liberated and transferred. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also allowed her to participate in Chod pujas. In addition, she had an opportunity to take part in the regular pujas on January 9, 2011. Finally, she took refuge under Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche on January 16.

Her younger brother had suffered from cirrhosis of the liver. In the past ten years, he had been in and out of hospitals. Especially during the two years before he died, his conditions deteriorated. His ascites was very severe, his feet frequently cramped, and he had little appetite. His doctor told them that he could be in a critical condition at any time. His whole family was seriously worried. Her mother had taken refuge under Exoteric Buddhism, but her master only told them to let go, leaving them not knowing what to do. One friend who took refuge under Esoteric Buddhism told her, “Your brother’s severe illness was caused by his profound killing karma. You should recite more mantras and dedicate the merits to him. Without doing so, it is almost unavoidable that he will enter into the Three Evil Realms after passing.” Upon hearing about her brother’s loaded killing karma, she suddenly realized why her brother would only passively accept medical treatments. Her brother had been excellent since childhood. When their father died in an accident, his character changed as if he were a different person. When he grew up, he worked for three years in a wholesale fish market in Keelung against his family’s will. He left the job because of his cirrhosis of the liver. The female disciple started to recite mantras because she didn’t know what to do. More importantly, she realized that even though she had attained much knowledge and thought she was smart, at a time like this, she was completely unable to help her beloved family member. Unable to do anything and confused, she prayed for the Buddha’s and Bodhisattvas’ help every day.

On the morning of December 21, her brother suddenly started to vomit blood, and was taken to the hospital’s Emergency Center. The hospital soon told them about his critical condition; his stomach was seriously bleeding and he had suffered a rupture of his esophageal varices due to cirrhosis of the liver. Doctors had undergone an emergency treatment. Her family prepared for the worst. On December 22, her brother was no longer vomiting blood. It was as if he had just returned from the gate of hell. His conditions had improved, and her family thought that he was stable. Unexpectedly, around 6:40 a.m. on December 23, her brother began to have melena and vomit blood. Doctors immediately undertook emergency measures. When he was vomiting blood, his throat became blocked by blood clots. To save his life, doctors and nurses intubated him. The female disciple knew the pain of being intubated. It looked as if her brother was temporarily saved. She actually understood that he was in hell but could do nothing. Her brother was heading towards the end of his life.

The attending physician told them that the bleeding of his stomach was much too severe. If necessary, a surgery would be scheduled for the afternoon. At this point, the woman looked at her unconscious brother, with tubes inserted all over his body, including a nasal cannula and tubes for blood transfusion. She could help him the only way she knew how. She asked her younger sister to come by his bedside and recite Buddha Amitabha’s name and the Six-Syllable Mani Mantra. She told him “The time has come. Please repent to all your karmic creditors of past lifetimes and to all the sentient beings you have hurt in this lifetime, especially to those sentient beings you harmed while working at the fish market. Sincerely make repentance to them and implore their forgiveness. Please let go of this flesh and reverently think and meditate on the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Please also make repentance to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and follow them. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will help you. I’ll take care of Mother. Please let go and don’t worry about anything anymore. Do not linger on the things of this world.” Later, doctors underwent a second emergency treatment. To alleviate his pain, she signed a Do Not Resuscitate consent, waiving his right to CPR and emergency medications.

Soon after the second resuscitation, her brother’s blood pressure began having problems rising. This was because her brother’s blood coagulation was poor and the transfused blood could not be retained in his body since it was pouring out from his lower body in such large amounts. During this time, her brother also had intermittent twitching, and his eyes glazed over. Just as the His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, at the moment before her brother’s death, his four major elements, namely earth, water, fire, and wind, were collapsing. In the afternoon of December 23, he was sent into the Intensive Care Unit. Less than five minutes after he entered the ICU, his breathing and heartbeat stopped, but recovered again in less than five minutes. The doctor told them that it was about time and their brother should pass away around twelve o’clock that night.

Sitting outside the ICU, the family members continuously recited Amitabha Buddha’s name and the Six-Syllable Mani Mantra. Close to 10 p.m. or so, the woman suddenly recalled that a good friend seemed to follow a virtuous guru of Tibetan Buddhism for practicing Buddha Dharma. So she picked up the phone and called her good friend to ask for help. The only idea she had at that moment was to help her brother not to fall into the Three Evil Realms, but to be reborn in the Three Virtuous Realms or the Pure Land.

On December 24 around 7 a.m., a nurse asked them to enter the ICU since it was about time. After entering the ward, she found her brother to be very calm, as if in sleep. This was somewhat different from the suffering he had experienced when he had been in the general ward. The doctor told them that their brother had been like this since last evening after his breathing and heartbeat came back. She felt that this was very strange; why was there such a big difference? At 7:56 a.m., her brother’s breathing and heartbeat stopped and he passed away. At about 9 a.m., when the woman was preparing to move her brother’s body to the mortuary, her good friend called and said that the His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would preside over a Chod puja that day and she would like to know the brother’s name and his Chinese zodiac sign. She would speak the brother’s name during the puja and this could help the brother. Her good friend also asked her to get the precious nectar pills blessed by the His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for helping her brother. She knew that a nectar pill was very precious and rare because before her grandparents passed away a few years ago, a friend who had taken refuge under Tibetan Buddhism had given her nectar pills to help her grandparents. She rushed to the building entrance of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center to get the nectar pills from another dharma brother. After returning to Keelung, she put the nectar pill into her brother’s mouth, and slowly recited the name of the His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche a few times.  She asked the brother to remember the name by all means, and told him that the His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would help him so he should not be worried.

On Sunday, December 26, she and her sister eventually got to meet the His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, and implored Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to release their younger brother’s soul. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked about his name and the zodiac sign of his birth year. After conducting visualization, the His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked what their brother had done to earn his living. She told the truth that her brother had worked in a fish market for three years. The His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then said, “Your younger brother committed killing karma!” The His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche conducted visualization once again and asked if their brother had helped many children. She was stunned, wondering how the His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knew about that. Their brother did help a lot of children, but only their family and neighbors knew about what he did. At this time, she thought that her entreaties had been heard as the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas enabled them to meet with a great practitioner. She felt immensely grateful for this great favor.

The His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche explained to them, because their younger brother created the virtuous karmic connection, he led them to the His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Thereby, they were able to have the karmic connection of seeing the His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. They were so shocked to hear this! Again, they implored that the His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could release their brother’s soul. He agreed compassionately and recited mantras to give blessings. Then, the His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche looked at the woman, smiled, and said, “Now you shall be relaxed.” Though previously ignorant and full of doubt, she submitted herself completely on the spot. The His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche actually knew about her concerns! Then, the he bid them to enter their names for attending the Chod puja. They were merely strangers, but the His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was willing to help them out. They felt immensely grateful.

At this time, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche seemed to know that they had other things in mind and asked compassionately if they had other matters to ask. The younger sister had been ill 17 years ago and as a result suffered constant pain in her neck. Although the condition had improved, she began to feel the pain again in May 2010. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked the younger sister which part she found uncomfortable. She then said that her neck hurt a lot. The His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked if the vertebrae at the back of her nose hurt when she turned her head, if she had chronic pain in her right leg, if the length and the width of her legs were not even, and if she often had palpitations. How amazing! He had described all of her symptoms. They were asked if they lived nearby the mountains. Indeed, they lived nearby the mountains during their elementary and junior school years. The His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said that the younger sister had been told by her classmates and friends to poison or harm some animals. That was why she would feel sick and her conditions would gradually deteriorate. At once, the younger sister implored the His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to help her. The benevolent Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche agreed and bestowed blessings upon her. He bidd her to adopt a vegetarian diet and to enter her name for the Chod pujas so as to salvage the animals she had harmed. The younger sister was very thankful to the His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

At the time, the His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche seemed to know that the disciple still had other issues.  He looked at her compassionately and asked, “Is there something else?” Because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had helped them a lot, she had planned to stop bothering him. Upon hearing Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s question, she mustered up her courage and said that she had suffered spinal pain for years. She had severe scoliosis in two of her vertebrae; their shape resembled an “S.” Having visited many teaching hospitals, the doctors all told her that she had been born with the problem, that it was difficult to treat, and that she would be lucky if it didn’t get worse. Therefore, she asked for the His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s advice and help. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then told the disciple that she had a lot of fish and shrimp in her body, and that was the cause of her spine problem. She had to adopt a vegan diet otherwise it would be too late. It suddenly occurred to her that her uncle had been working as a crew member on a boat. Every time he returned from the sea, he would bring a lot of seafood for them to eat. She was totally in shock and believed that the His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would not tell any lies. Although she had adopted a vegetarian diet, she mostly ate vegetables cooked with meat. Thinking that she still needed to take care of her mother, she agreed to adopt a vegan diet. The His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestowed a blessing upon the disciple, and told her to enter her name for the Chod puja so that the fish and shrimp she had harmed would be saved.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche looked at her and said, “You need to attentively and diligently cultivate Buddhism.” Hearing this, she was very shocked though she did not comprehend the true meaning. But six years ago, her grandparents who had raised her died within a year of each other. She was grieved and started to reach out to Buddhism in the hopes of understanding birth and death and where her departed grandparents might have gone. She pondered this but was confused. She did not have a guru who could guide her so all she could do was to read Buddhist Sutras by herself. However, she still felt like an outsider. She wished to have an authentic guru who could lead her on the path of dharma practice. At that point, when she heard Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s words, she was astonished and thought to herself, “Could the guru for whom she searched be the His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche?”

On January 8, she took her mother to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to express thanks for conducting transferring rituals for her younger brother. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche compassionately told her mother, “Don’t worry. I will help your son.” They were immensely grateful to the His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.  When her mother had studied in an Exoteric Buddhist Center, no master ever said this to her. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche again advised the follower to begin attentively cultivating Buddhism. On the spot, she sincerely implored Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to let them follow him in cultivating Buddhism. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked her to attend pujas first, and he also compassionately allowed her mother to attend pujas too.

After her younger brother’s cremation, his ashes looked very beautiful. A crematorium worker told her that since her younger brother had taken so much medicine and was given many injections on his deathbed, his ashes should have appeared yellow and black in color. However, many of his ashen remains were pink, which was really unusual. In fact, this is all due to Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessing. On January 15, because the woman clearly knew that she had found a guru who she really wanted to follow, she went to seek refuge. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked her, “There are many rules set in the Buddhist Center, and I also scold and hit people, would you still want to take refuge?” She said “Yes” without hesitation and implored, “A disciple is supposed to be scolded and hit. I won’t dread it. Vajra Guru His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, please accept me as your disciple.” Getting Vajra Guru His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s consent to her request, her heart was full of joy and happiness.

On January 16, during the taking refuge ceremony, the woman knelt on the ground, listening to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s dharma teachings on the meaning of taking refuge. She could not help but tear up. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said that because her family ran a restaurant, they had a heavy killing karma. According to Buddhist Sutras, “If one has a heavy killing karma, the wishes of one’s descendents will not be fulfilled; they will have a short life, and nothing will come to perfection for them.” Not until that moment did she come to realize how many vicious deeds she and her family had committed. However, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was still willing to help her family. At that moment, she felt that her ancestors would also start to listen to orthodox dharma hereafter. Right away, she made repentance to the karmic creditors of her family from accumulated lives, begging for their forgiveness. She also appreciated that although her younger brother had passed away, he left them with the most precious gift. It was her younger brother who led her to meet the His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche so that she could be his follower. She came to know that her life, from now on, would be on a different journey. She made vows to seek refuge under the guru and the Three Jewels life after life. She also vowed to attentively cultivate Buddha Dharma. This would not only help herself but would also benefit sentient beings in the future. Pray for His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s good health and abiding in the world. Thank Vajra Guru His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche!

Afterwards another female disciple made repentance. Her sister gained entry into the Pure Land through Phowa Dharma conducted by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. For this reason, she took refuge under Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche on March 22, 2009. She was grateful that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also let her family members, including her mother, brothers, sisters and nephew, take refuge in order to learn Buddhism. After her sister passed away, she found that she had many problems; plus her marriage also was troubled. Therefore, she felt very depressed and anxious. Every Sunday, she attended the puja to hear her guru’s enlightenment for Buddhism. She found that she was changing gradually. Before, she frequently was unwilling to communicate with others. Now, she can accompany her mother and return to her previous workplace to face people.

Twice, she had a gallstone attack at midnight; they were unbearably painful. She knelt down to pray to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to relieve her suffering. After several minutes, her pain was relieved. She knew that only Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could have helped her to relieve the pain, and she was grateful for the guru’s blessing. On August 17, 2010, the physician told her that she had a second stage malignant lymphoma on her tonsil. The physician told that she could be cured by chemotherapy. According to the statistics, 70% to 90% of the patients recovered, and there even was a possibility to be 100% recovered. The course of treatment would involve six injections, the process of which would be very easy, and the cure would be effective. Therefore, the physician arranged for her to be hospitalized. It was an obstacle to her study of Buddhism because at the time the physician’s words caused her faith to waver and caused her to want to use this method of treatment to cure her illness.

She thought it over at home for several days, but she could not make up her mind. But then she remembered what Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said about illness during the pujas. He said that the only thing one should do during illness is to repent. She thought that if she chose chemotherapy treatment, it would be disrespectful to sentient beings and the Three Jewels. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also enlightened the attendees that the merits that you have accumulated in each puja should be used when you need the most help. She felt lucky to make the right decision because she understood that the rest of her life would be meaningless without the teaching of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Furthermore, her life would cause more suffering. Finally she decided not to go to the hospital, and instead went to report to her guru.

She again thanked Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for never giving up on her, for saving her life, and for pointing her on the right path. She recalled that when she first discovered that she had cancer, she went to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to tell him about her illness and the physician’s suggestion. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told her, “You have to discuss this with your family before you make up your mind. The minority is subordinate to the majority. Once you have made your decision, come back and tell me. She was regretful after she went home because she seldom talked with her family members, and was not often willing to talk with her children about the advantage of learning Buddhism, not to mention that she seldom praised her guru! Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche went right to the heart of the matter of her problem. Not only that, but he created the cause and condition for her and her children to learn Buddhism. This gave her the courage to discuss the topic with her children. After returning home, her throat, which had been sore making it hard for her to swallow food, improved through the blessing of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

The second time she sought an audience with the guru, she reported that she and her family had jointly decided against both surgery and chemotherapy. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche immediately told her that she had lymphoma. At that time, she had never reported the state of illness to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, but he knew everything! Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knew that her biggest hindrance was her family and children so he compassionately helped her by bestowing blessings on the children. He then told them about the suffering associated with chemotherapy as well as the damage it does to the body. She was very appreciative of his words since communication with her children has often been difficult for her. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche again helped the disciple and her children, and prepared the way for them to study Buddhism in the future.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave the enlightenment, “If the mind is peaceful, the whole family then could be peaceful! Her older sister was so agitated that it messed up the whole family.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also gave the enlightenment, “She had the illness before learning Buddhism. After taking refuge, the heart of learning Buddhism was still not right. She was indeed wrong because she was just seeking blessings! She truly did not do as the guru taught, seldom praised the guru, lacked of Bodhicitta, only thought of herself, did not have all sentient beings in minds, and did not believe in cause and effect.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave the enlightenment, “People who believe in cause and effect would truly repent for what they did. They would accept all cause and effects happily and even-mindedly, but she did not.”

The third time she sought an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in order to express her appreciation. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave the enlightenment that her lymphoma had shrunk and also gave enlightenment to her children, “Things that doctors and science cannot do can be achieved by Buddha Dharma.” The guru again helped her children to create the cause and condition to learn Buddhism. The guru also enlightened her that she should give everything over to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and from then on, stop thinking whether her illness would be cured or not. Learning Buddhism is not for the illness! To the guru and the Three Jewels, you cannot have any bit of irreverence. If you do not revere them, the state of the illness will soon change and blessings are immediately cut off. She truly repented for every thought and idea she aroused because along the way she had not truthfully followed Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s enlightenment.

When seeking an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche yesterday, he again gave enlightenment that her biggest problem is worrying about her children and having hindrances in her heart as well as unbelief in her mind. She was so full of repentance that she did not keep the guru’s words in her mind. When her physical condition was slightly better, she forgot the guru’s reminder. It consumes the guru’s merits and virtues. She thought that she still had time to nurse her body back to health, but forgot that learning Buddhism is the most important thing! She also forgot that as a disciple, if the guru is less concerned about her, the guru then can help more sentient beings!

The guru gave enlightenment, “As a disciple in Vajrayana, the most important thing in learning Buddhism is to be obedient! If one has a sick child or becomes ill, one should cherish the blessings of each time. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche clearly enlightened her that from then on no matter what she does, she should single-mindedly pray to be reborn to the Pure Land! But she still used her own ideas to learn Buddhism. After taking refuge, her mind moved back and forth. She did not make learning Buddhism the most important thing. Being irreverent to the guru is the thing she should repent most. After becoming ill she knew that she could rely on the guru, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Attending pujas and listening to the Dharma speech from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is her blessing. She reminds herself each time she attends the puja that it might be the last time she can attend. She must be obedient, cultivate her mind, and hope that she can bring the sentient beings she hurt or killed to seek rebirth in the Pure Land.

Finally, She wanted to seek repentance in front of the guru, Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas from the sentient beings she had hurt and killed. She was grateful to the guru who gave her a chance to offer heartfelt words of repentance, wishing every sentient being relief from suffering and happiness! She was grateful to the His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche!

She said that she was a very evil person. Since time without beginning, her family had heavy karma from killings:

1. Because she was very evil, caused unlimited karma, and made the sentient beings suffer, she made repentance.

2. She made repentance for the boar her father-in-law sacrificed for a wish he made to the deities when she was married.

3. For the aborting of two innocent lives, she made repentance.

4. For the trout that was fished out of water, that died by her and her family, and that was made into a three-dish meal, she made repentance.

5. When she was on vacation, there was a shop that had a very big fish in its kitchen. That night the fish was made into a sashimi dish and served at her table. She made repentance for the evil deed that followed.

6. She joined a sea fishing trip in Peng-hu. She made repentance for this evil deed.

7. For killing many spiders, cockroaches, and ants when cleaning the house, she made repentance.

8. Once when many mice showed up in her house, many were killed on the sticky mousetrap board. One bird and many insects also became stuck on the mousetrap and were killed. She made repentance for this.

9. For one snake and one cat that were run over and killed by her and her son, she made repentance.

10. For dissatisfaction at work then greed, hatred, and foolishness, she made repentance.

She did many evil deeds. She is willing to accept and face them. She deeply repented, and hopes that she can be an example and lesson for many others.

Her brother added,〝The household income was a big responsibility for my sister. She could not give up her job. Every time you attended pujas and heard the guru’s enlightenments, the blessings from the guru were not for you to satisfy your desires, make money, and enjoy your life with your family. The blessings from the guru were to allow you to learn Buddhism well. Originally, my sister planned to work until June of this year (2011). She had already applied for leave; however, March had not yet ended, and her health already began showing some conditions. These circumstances should be brought to the attention of other Buddhist brothers. The blessings from the guru were not for us to enjoy time with our family.〞

Today His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued to teach on several important concepts in the Avalokiteshvara Universal Gate Chapter of Lotus Sutra. Many people have read the final verses of this work, but they simply read them aloud. Actually, these verses consist of practicing methods and merits of the Yidam.

Usually, there will be some verses at the end of a sutra, which serve the function to conclude the Yidam’s vows, merits, and practices. In the Avalokiteshvara Universal Gate Chapter of Lotus Sutra, there is some classic enlightenment of Buddha Dharma in the final verses. They include verses explaining how Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara is capable of saving suffering sentient beings in the world. For instance, a verse says “Avalokiteshvara’s auspicious wisdom power can save all worldly sufferings.” Avalokiteshvara is the manifestation of the dharma body that is endowed with the dharma nature and auspicious wisdom that can save all sentient beings in the suffering sea of reincarnation. There are twofold meanings in the concept of “auspicious wisdom,” which refers to wisdom of observation and its auspiciousness, preciousness and rarity.

The noun “wisdom” contains special meaning in Buddha Dharma. What you usually mean when saying someone has wisdom is actually referring to someone who has mundane capabilities and intelligence. This isn’t wisdom. When we say that someone is very wise, it indicates that the person is quite intelligent rather than wise. Being intelligent means that one considers or does things based on his or her interests. For instance, whenever you are going to do anything, you would use your own ideas and experiences to plan and to carry out your plans. More or less, you would ponder whether doing such a thing may benefit or harm yourself. To the contrary, if one is wise, one will use one’s wisdom to benefit the sentient beings, solving their problems of past, present, and future times. Moreover, one will never consider one’s own interests. Most importantly, one realizes that everything is void of nature; therefore there is no such notion about “me.” Wisdom that is void of nature means that it will emerge and disappear according to causes and conditions. It is manifested from undefiled nature. When Buddhas and Bodhisattvas help you, they do not have the notion of their having helped you, nor will they remember and ask anything in return. After they have helped you, it is not even important for them whether you noticed it or not. You would not necessarily be informed after you were helped.

Every sentient being was born with wisdom same as the Buddhas. However, it has been covered without our notice by greed, hatred, and ignorance accumulated in past lifetimes. We were born with virtuous and vicious karma from past lifetimes and these have become obstacles to our learning Buddhism. Our original nature is undefiled. Due to ignorant afflictions, the undefiled nature can’t be manifested. Wisdom can’t be besought. Rather, it can be gradually uncovered by following an experienced guru, learning Buddha Dharma from the guru, and practicing dharma step-by-step. There are two kinds of wisdom: primordial wisdom and acquired wisdom. Through diligently practicing Buddha Dharma, one can obtain acquired wisdom. Obtaining acquired wisdom can’t be viewed as achieving Buddhahood. One can apply acquired wisdom to practice the Bodhisattvas’ path and to help sentient beings. Through such practices, one’s primordial wisdom can naturally be uncovered. When combining acquired and primordial wisdom, one can attain Buddhahood without even slightly asking for it. It will be naturally attained by diligently and gradually practicing Buddha Dharma.

Primordial wisdom is your undefiled nature, whereas acquired wisdom can be attained by observing precepts, practicing meditation, and cultivating wisdom. Using mundane intelligence to deal with problems and to make decisions would more or less result in some imperfections, and can not be completed. Only through the wisdom of Buddha Dharma, all sentient beings’ problems of present and future times can be solved completely. More importantly, in this way, the problems can be thoroughly solved without any side effects. In other words, only through the wisdom of Buddha Dharma, your genuine problems can be solved. The genuine problems are the sorrows of cyclic reincarnation in the world.

Many people have mistakenly believed that entering the state of meditation can uncover their wisdom. You are no Sixth Patriarch Hui-Neng, one who had great capacities. It’s impossible for you to be immediately enlightened upon hearing the Diamond Sutra. Thus, it’s absolutely impossible for you to achieve enlightenment and uncover your wisdom at home by practicing and entering the state of meditation or reading sutras.

Yesterday, a believer who had taken refuge under a famous master came to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. This believer thought that he had been practicing Zen Buddhism. Many people make this mistake. They think that after participating in pujas and hearing how to practice Buddha Dharma, they can just stay at home, read sutras, practice meditation, and then reach a certain understanding of the state of meditation. They think that these are methods of understanding and practicing Buddha Dharma. Actually, it’s impossible to practice dharma by doing so. This believer has practiced Zen Buddhism at home. He has finished reading the entire Large Sutra on the Perfection of Wisdom, but still can’t understand its meaning. He has focused on a couple of sentences in the sutra and attempted to meditate on the void of nature by envisioning his body as being empty and non-existent. As a result, his practice caused him to develop a mental illness. The meaning of visualizing the void of nature doesn’t refer to viewing every object in the world as absent of a physical existence. The fact is one’s body is a solid object. No matter how one tries to visualize the body as nothing, it is there. When one pinches one’s muscles, he or she must have some feeling. After this believer has practiced in such a way for a period of time, he wanted only to stay at home, not being willing to go out to attend pujas. Without a master to lead the way, his practice eventually influenced his channels of chi. He had been mentally ill for more than ten days. This situation is called Zen sickness. It arises from practicing Zen and no medication can cure it. Only Buddha Dharma can solve the problem. In the Lankavatara Sutra and Shurangama Sutra, Buddha Sakyamuni specifically mentioned that practicing Zen is a very serious matter. Without a master to lead one’s practice, it is very dangerous.

The correct way to meditate on emptiness is to visualize the void of nature in everything of the world. Everything will arise and disappear according to causes and conditions, which means nothing has its permanent existence. Nowadays, many people are inclined to pursue the feeling that they have been practicing Buddha Dharma and that they are joyful while meditating. However, the purpose of learning Buddhism isn’t to quiet down your mind. To reach such goal, one can just read more poems or convert to other religions such as Catholicism or Christianity. As long as one can reduce his or her distractive thoughts, he or she can certainly become calmer. Some people may feel that after a period of time of learning Buddhism their temper is better, they have changed, and their husbands feel the difference. Thinking that they have achieved great result is a mind of arrogance, and their practice is therefore wasted.

This believer thought he had been practicing Buddha Dharma and could understand Buddha Dharma by reading books at home. The states of practicing Buddha Dharma described in sutras must be achieved by the way that an experienced master leads you to genuinely practice dharma step-by-step. It can’t be realized by simply reading words in sutras.

Once in the past, when he was practicing Exoteric Buddhism, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Qi suddenly hit the field of his eighth consciousness during meditation. This caused him to speak two sentences from his mouth. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s mother tongue is not Mandarin, but these two sentences were spoken in Mandarin. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche wrote down these two sentences and went to ask all of the masters of the famous Buddhist temples in Taiwan. However, no one could explain these sentences. At that time, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had the opportunity to ask the abbot of a famous Buddhist temple about these two sentences. However, the abbot responded to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche with the most powerful trick in “Zen Buddhism,” closing his eyes without saying anything, as if to say “the Buddha says it cannot be said.” Later, after taking refuge under His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had the opportunity to consult His Holiness regarding the meaning of these two sentences. Upon hearing these two sentences, His Holiness immediately said that those sentences described the state of Mahamudra. His Holiness also said that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had practiced Mahamudra in his past lives. Because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had not yet learned Tantra at the time, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang did not say anything further. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was not like most people who would be arrogant after knowing that they had cultivated in past lives. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche still diligently practicing in this life and later, through performing retreats, gradually confirmed the state of these two sentences. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche does not dare to say that he had attained achievements in past lives, but it is true that he cultivated in past lives. Even so, in this life, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche still had to spend a lot of effort, energy, and even his own life to practice wholeheartedly in order to change his own karma; thereby attaining a small accomplishment.

If the state of Zen can be described in words, it would not be modern people’s turn to write it down. The ancient master should have written that out earlier. You should not think you can understand the state just by reading Buddhist scriptures. Even the Sixth Patriarch Hui Neng who was the last recognized great achiever in Zen Buddhism had said in the later period of his life, “No written texts.” How can your capacity be compared with that of the Sixth Patriarch? It is impossible for you to attain enlightenment just by hearing a Buddhist scripture. You should not be so arrogant! The state of the Buddha is inconceivable and cannot be understood simply from the written texts. Additionally, some people say that there is no Tantra, in fact, Tantra truly exists.

The state of meditation for non-Buddhists is very much like the state of meditation in Buddhism; the two are only separated by a thin line. A practitioner will not be aware of it even if his thought is wrong. If there is no experienced guru to lead the practitioner to cultivate, it will be very easy for the practitioner to fall into the four meditations of the form realm and the four meditations of the formless realm and eventually attain achievement in the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; this is very dangerous. In one year, during a retreat in India, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche realized the difference between the two. This subtle difference must be taught by a guru who has already experienced the methods and the state of Buddhist meditation. Just like you want to take people to Kaohsiung, you must have been there before in order for you to have a real experience and a useful verbal guidance. Moreover, you must have the ability to take people there. If you want to bring people there by just depending on the pictures and texts of a book, no matter how you describe Kaohsiung’s scenery, it would still be different from the real thing.

Tantra is like a double-edged knife. We should be very careful. For example, modern computers are very helpful to us. Nevertheless, they also cause severe problems for the children. Yesterday, several couples came to see Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche because their children were obsessed with surfing on the Internet. Nowadays, children love to go online. As technologies advance, the Internet is developing so fast that users are able to access lots of negative information simply with a few clicks. With smart phones, one can receive information by a click of his fingers. The more advanced the technologies become, the easier it will be to commit evil deeds. In Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s childhood, it was very difficult even to see a movie. Modern people treat others in a way that they consider beneficial to others, and invent useful objects for human beings. However, as the inventors merely take certain beneficial aspects into consideration and fail to solve the problem with wisdom, there will be negative consequences. That is why learning Tantra requires guidance and strict supervision by the guru for there is no room for mistake.

A believer went to see Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche because her son was missing. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told her that the child would not come back if she did not hear from him in three days. She didn’t believe it. Yesterday, she came to see Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche again. As her son did not come home, she told Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche that she was stuck in a dead end. All of you have heard of the saying, “Heaven always leaves a door open.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said to her, “As you are still alive, how can you be stuck in a dead end?” However, the believer continued to explain herself. If you have so many opinions, why should you come see Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche? As you come to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, you should request and follow his guidance. Therefore, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told her that if she wanted to give her opinions, she had better leave. Then, she actually left. From now on, when you bring your friends to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, tell those who have their opinions and will not listen to his guidance not to come. Do not think that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would be soft-hearted or compromise and tell you what you want to hear so as to comfort or fulfill your desires. Even though Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has clarified your problems with Buddhist insight, and has advised you truthfully, nevertheless, you still insist upon your own views. This is why sentient beings are difficult to be salvaged!

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche does not compromise easily. In the past, an owner of a major construction company wanted to present Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche with two properties as offerings, each of which was over 300 ping (approx. 1000 square meters) for his Buddhist Center and his company office, respectively. His only request was that he could become Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s disciple yet be allowed to eat meat. The properties were located in a high-end area of Eastern Taipei and were worth billions of dollars. However, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not make the slightest move. As the person would not adopt a vegetarian diet, he would violate Buddhist teachings. If Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche agreed, he would have broken the precepts. No matter how much wealth he was offered, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not take it. Besides, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche can make money by himself; he will never go against Buddhist teachings for any gains.

His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang asked Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to propagate the orthodox Buddhism and the Buddha has told us not to kill. Hence, if Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche allowed the businessman to eat meat, he would have told a lie and transgressed the precept. If it were you, you might have thought that it doesn’t matter so you accept offerings first and then after he takes refuge, slowly begin to make him change. However, how can cultivation of Buddhism be slowly carried out?

“Being able to relieve all kinds of suffering in the world.” The most suffering in the world is birth, getting old, getting sick, dying, and cyclic reincarnation. “Gradually enable them to eliminate suffering.” “Gradually” here means to slowly making changes. One has illness because one’s merits and virtues are used up. Naturally, one needs to accumulate more and replenish merits and virtues.  The process of replenishing will take time. It is not possible to complete it in one try. This is the reason why Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche encourages you to attend every puja. Some people may wonder if it really matters if one misses a puja. Of course it does matter. If you miss, it is your loss. It is not necessary for those who do not attend the puja to ask for leave, as it has nothing to do with Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and the guru. One’s merits and virtues are gradually accumulated; therefore, if one misses a puja, he just misses an opportunity to accumulate virtues and merits for oneself. Not until your dying moment will you realize how important they will be. It is not because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche needs the participants to attend pujas, it is because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, an experienced practitioner, knows what the most effective ways are for you to accumulate merits and virtues.

All phenomena follow causes and conditions, as well as the law of cause and effect. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are not able to eliminate one’s karma or stop karma from manifesting. However, they can change its taste, change it to be not as sour or bitter. But it is not possible to eliminate the occurrence of karmic fruit. When Sakyamuni Buddha knew ahead of time that the entire Sakya clan would be exterminated by a troop, he tried to block the troop’s movement on the road for three days. Knowing that the karmic retribution could not be changed, Sakyamuni Buddha stood up to leave, and the whole Sakya clan was exterminated. Even the Buddha, with great supernatural power, was not able to change the Sakya clan’s destiny. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has cultivated Buddhism since previous lifetimes and also has diligently, with his all energy, time, and life, learned and practiced Buddhism in this life to benefit sentient beings. Only by doing so is Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche able to turn around his karma. It was not until 2007 when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was performing a solitary retreat in Lapchi Snow Mountain that the last crust of his skin cancer finally fell off by itself and this problem was truly resolved.

One female follower took refuge this January. Before she took refuge, she had already had developed lung adenocarcinoma. The day before yesterday, she attended the Chod Dharma puja. Fifteen minutes after she went home, she passed away. Immediately she received the help of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who conducted the auspicious Phowa Dharma to transfer her consciousness to the Pure Land. On the spot of the puja, a follower who is also a doctor shared that usually a patient with lung adenocarcinoma suffers from unbearable pain. As for this follower, her cancer cells had even spread to her brain. Theoretically, she shouldn’t have been able to sleep soundly in her bed and eat. She should have been panting, even to the extent of being out of breath. Many other patients with the same disease as hers cry out loudly in pain, as the pain they suffer is beyond description. Their wailing is difficult to describe in words. And even if those patients are injected with morphine, they still groan continuously from the pain. However, the departed did not need to be injected with morphine nor did she have difficulties breathing. Even though she only had taken refuge for a short period of time, from January to March, and only had attended pujas a few times, she was able to be granted the auspicious Phowa Dharma conducted by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Many long-time disciples who have taken refuge for eight or ten years were not necessarily granted the Phowa Dharma by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The reason for this is none other than “faith.”

This disciple had sufficient faith in Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Every time she came to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, she never asked him to alleviate her pain. Instead, she just single-mindedly implored Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to help her to be reborn into the Pure Land. As a result, she did not suffer from the pain associated with the illness. Moreover, she let go of her family and children. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche alleviated her pains, for if she suffered great pain, her mind would not have been calm. Originally, in Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s view, this disciple should have passed away without any suffering during the Chod puja she attended. But why didn’t she die in the puja instead of being carried back home and experiencing discomfort on her deathbed? It is because she was still lacking of one thing – making offerings. Since she had already been blessed by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, her pain had been reduced. Nor did she need to be injected with morphine. The money she used to spend on medical treatment was saved. A cancer patient’s karmic retribution is having to spend all of her money on medical treatment before she dies. Hence, the money one saves from medical treatment due to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessing is not for one to keep for her self. Instead, one should know that they should make offerings. As she did not make offerings, her karma did not change so she had to suffer somewhat before she died.

When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was conducting the Phowa Dharma for her, he saw a man moving her left hand. At first, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche thought it might be her son, and then he discovered that it was a doctor who was checking her body. It was fortunate that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche saw this and immediately repressed her thoughts in order to prevent her from becoming angry. Nowadays sentient beings born in the period of the decadence of dharma have heavy karma. Once people get sick, they will be sent to the hospital, and doctors and nurses are lacking this kind of knowledge. It could be that they have no time. Therefore, when your family members dies, and if you have no choice and a doctor or nurse needs to check whether or not your family member still has breath or a heartbeat, they must tell him before they touch him by saying, “I’m going to touch your hand and this is to help you. Please don’t be angry.” This is to avoid the deceased from getting angry and falling into hell. Why would the departed disciple get angry? It is because she had not cultivated herself well and still needed her guru to help her repress her anger so that she could be reborn into the Pure Land.

Many people have edema after they get sick, not only patients with kidney problems but also patients with diabetes and heart disease. From a doctor’s point of view, he may say that the cause of this edema may be endocrine dyscrasia, dysuria, and so forth. So a doctor would advise those patients to drink less water or find ways to help them to urinate. It seems very strange that those patients who do not drink much water and who urinate still have edema. Where does their edema come from? In fact, the edema is from the person’s greed. All of you have greed. You have been greedy for food, money, clinging to your own thoughts, your own feelings, and so on. It is those greedy thoughts that lead to edema. It is eating meat that leads the people to acquiring diabetes. Many of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s disciples originally had diabetes, but they got much better after they adopted a vegetarian diet. Therefore one ought to learn to let go starting with money and then one’s own feelings. Why does Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche always encourage all of you to make offerings? It’s not because Rinchen Dorjee wants your money; instead, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche teaches you to let go. The edema in the patients’ abdomens disappeared after they died and their consciousness was transferred by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s conducting of the Phowa Dharma. Ascites was not excreted as the patients’ bed sheets were still dry. The sheets were not wet at all. The ascites had just disappeared. It is because the ascites was their karmic creditors, and they were all transferred by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to the Pure Land.

The following several sentences in the Universal Gate Chapter depict the hearts of believers and disciples and Buddhas and Bodhisattvas: ”Authentic visualization and clean visualization.” ”Authentic” refers to a sincere and honest heart. “Clean” refers to the heart of non-requesting or non-presumption. “Clean visualization” refers to nature without impurity. Many people ask for help from Buddhas and Bodhisattvas by negotiation. They ask Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to grant their wishes, if granted, they would adopt a vegetarian diet for a period of time or learn Buddhism. This is to threaten and intimidate the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas by asking out of their own desire. If you really believe in the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, would you still ask them what the results will be? Everything the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas do certainly will benefit you but it certainly will not necessarily fulfill your wishes or desires. When Buddhas and Bodhisattvas help you, they do so with a sincere and clean heart, requesting nothing in return. They do not let you know that they are helping you. They also do not care whether you know or not.

When Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva saves sentient beings, they are saved equally without the difference of races, nations or beliefs. He will help any suffering sentient beings. That is why Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva is so compassionately worried that he sheds two tears when he sees sentient beings who have suffered. If you ask Buddhas and Bodhisattvas with this kind of heart, you can naturally be attuned to them . It is like the signals can naturally communicate on the same radio frequency. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are unlike many non-Buddhist deities, they help people with conditions for exchange and help sentient beings with desires. So if believers and disciples  implore the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas using their own desires, they cannot be attuned to the clean heart of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and therefore cannot get help from them. This is the reason why Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is able to ask and get the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas’s help but you cannot.

Similarly, we can see two aspects in “immense wisdom visualization”: the practice of practitioners as well as Buddhas and Bodhisattvas’s salvation for sentient beings. “Immense” refers to all sentient beings instead of only one. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas apply the heart of wisdom to help sentient beings equally and no one is more important than another. Once the sentient beings ask with sincere, honest and clean hearts, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas respond to them with pure wisdom depending on their causes and conditions. As a result, when a practitioner implores the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, he should not only ask help for any specific person. If you want Buddha and Bodhisattvas to grant your will, you should think of all sentient beings, who are lacking of causes and conditions and unable to receive teachings from Buddha Dharma, but not for your own desires. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas help sentient beings with an immense heart. Conversely, if practitioners can pray to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas with an immense heart, they naturally get correspondence.

“Relieving visualization and kind visualization” In this sentence, “kindness” and “relieving” are two different things. “Kind” means to give others one’s most precious and favorite items in exchange for the suffering of others. Like the His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche helps sentient beings with the Chod Dharma, he offers his own most precious flesh to others through visualization. When the wishes of sentient beings are fulfilled, they can be relieved from suffering. “Relieving” is to help sentient beings transcend and leave the sea of suffering, and to liberate them from the cycle of reincarnation. Living in this world, if one does not have a discriminating mind, does not label things as good or bad, does not have attachment to things, then, one is able to develop  compassion. Without compassion, it is impossible to cultivate oneself well. You still cannot achieve what is described in this section. But at least you have to understand the immense heart of the guru, Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas. Praying to the guru, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas with a clean and unpresumptuous heart, then you can be attuned to them.

“Always aspiring, always watching” The “aspiring” here is not to hope but to aspire, always aspire to be reborn into the Pure Land. “Always watching” is to watch the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and the guru. When you watch the guru’s countenance often, the images will plant seeds in the field of your eighth consciousness. The guru’s appearance will appear to you in an instant. The disciple, mentioned minutes ago about receiving the Phowa Dharma, never took her eyes off Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche when she sought an audience until she left the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center and could not see him any longer. That is “always watching.” But some people are afraid of watching Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then knows that they do not want to watch the guru. The term “watching” also refers to looking respectfully at the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas or the guru. It’s not the so-called “paying respect to the dead.” It’s a bit weird to apply the terms “watching respectfully” to mortal remains. In Tibetan Buddhism, the sight of the disciple never leaves the guru.

That disciple who had passed away became angry because someone moved her left hand. Fortunately she had one hundred percent confidence in the guru and often watched the guru. The dharma picture of the guru appeared in her mind as soon as her anger was aroused. It, in turn, suppressed the thought. If it had not, she would have been descended to the Three Evil Realms to suffer. Therefore, if the person who helps the deceased to transfer the consciousnesses does not know the attachment of the deceased, he cannot complete the rebirth process. The deceased clearly knows whether the person who assists with reciting is capable of transferring his consciousness. If he is not capable, the deceased would not let him know his own thoughts. This is because a ghost is able to hide its thoughts from others.

“Unblemished, pure light” The ancient people said that there are two lamps on a person’s shoulder. Modern science invented an instrument to detect the light that is emitted from the body. All sentient beings in the Six Realms have that light. But because accumulated karma is different, luminance is different. Everyone has the light from birth but the light is covered by the worldly dust of accumulated lives. The light from Buddhas and Bodhisattvas is a pure and unblemished light. “Pure light” does not mean clean light, but light that is very strong and glowing. When you see the light, you feel fearful to approach it. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has experienced this. Two days after taking refuge in Exoteric Buddhism, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had a clear dream. In the dream, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche arrived at the doorway of a Buddhist temple. At the moment the door opened, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche became awe-inspired by a strong light emitted from the statue of the Buddha, Rinpoche Dorjee Rinpoche became afraid to enter. Because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s refuge master told Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to enter, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then entered and worshiped the Buddha statue. What happened after entering? Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will not tell you today.

Let’s talk about the following sentence: “The sunlight of wisdom breaks through every darkness.” In Buddhist sutras, sunshine is often a metaphor for wisdom, which is eternally unchanged and ever present. The karma force of sentient beings in accumulated lives is like layers of a dark cloud, it shields the light of the sun and hence the light cannot be seen. Sentient beings now cannot sense their own wisdom, but it always exists. Once dispelling the dark cloud, the sunshine appears again. “Every darkness” here refers to the cycle of rebirth in the Six Realms. The wisdom light is as strong as the sunshine, and it can break through the darkness of the cycle of reincarnation.

The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas shine with strong and pure lights on all the sentient beings in the Six Realms of reincarnation. However, since the sentient beings have different karmic effects, they could not detect the light of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. We say that the Buddha saves the ones with good condition. This means that sentient beings must have the same thoughts as the Buddha, obey him and act accordingly. That’s what it means to have good  condition. Buddha could not change one’s karma, could only help you change the taste of karmic fruition. The karmic retribution will still occur. The only difference is that if you do great virtuous deeds, the force will overwhelm the evil karmic effects, and will temporarily suppress the karmic effects.

When the sentient beings are in their intermediate state, whether it is during a dream of Bardo or Bardo after passing away, seeing the pure and clear light will cause them to be afraid. Every seventh day during the first 49 days after death, one would see a very strong guiding light emitting from the Buddha. The light of the Buddha is as strong as the sun; we cannot look directly at it with our eyes. If you looked directly, you would be blinded. That is why when the light of Buddha appears we will be afraid and not used to it. We tend to turn to the light that we are more familiar with, the light of the Six Realms, which is similar to ours, and then we fall into the reincarnation of the Six Realms. That is why Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche earnestly asks you to repent; it is to clear up your filth so the clear and pure light will gradually appear within you. When your filth diminishes, you will not be afraid of the Buddhas’ and Bodhisattvas’ strong lights when they come to accept and guide you. You can follow them to be reborn in the Pure Land or into virtuous realms.

The guru of Vajrayana takes care of the disciples, life after life, until they achieve Buddhahood. That is to say that the dharma method of “The sunlight of wisdom breaks through every darkness” is used. The mistake a disciple makes when he believes that the guru has faults comes from a problem originating from the heart of the disciple himself; it is not the guru’s fault. To correct this mistake, the best dharma method is “Faith.” The so-called “Faith” does not mean believe blindly. It means that you should no longer have any doubt when you have seen the guru who had done everything to benefit the sentient beings. You should believe the guru one hundred percent, and depend on the guru. Do not ever judge the guru’s every action with your own views or values. You could never know how the guru’s actions will help the sentient beings.

For example, when the His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed one disciple in New Zealand to move, the disciple did not take him seriously and obey him. She thought that it was no big deal. The result was when New Zealand was hit by the big earthquake, her house collapsed, and it could not be lived in. Fortunately she had already taken refuge in the guru so she was fine without injury. When His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang asked the His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to do or buy anything, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche immediately obeyed. Many would assume that the guru was just causally talking and was not so serious! In fact, the guru does not talk causally.

As for a Vajrayana practitioner, if any word was spoken that was not about Buddha Dharma or not about benefitting the sentient beings, it was considered false speech. As to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, any word spoken has to do with the Buddha Dharma. You all thought that what Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche spoke on the Dharma Throne was Buddha Dharma and should be listened to. When off the throne, whatever is spoken is not about Buddha Dharma, and would not have to be listened to. However, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche never speaks casually. It is all meant to help you. As a disciple, you must carry out the action in accordance with the teachings. It is all right if when you are instructed to work in Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s business organization, you complain that the salary is low, if you worry that it will be stressful to work for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, or if you are afraid to be reprimanded often by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Therefore when the bad things happen to you, it has nothing to do with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

We talked about the mother whose child was missing. If this happened in other religious groups, she would be considered poor and comforted with kind words. There are some organizations that whenever a disaster strikes they only pat the shoulders of the victims and listen to their cries. There is not only one way to help the sentient beings. Every sentient being has different causes and conditions. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche uses different Buddha Dharma to help him. Previously, when His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang taught a particular kind of dharma, and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would practice and cultivated the dharma. Only in the last two to three years, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would begin to ask His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang to teach him certain Buddha Dharma. This is because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has more disciples now, and needs to learn more ways to help the sentient beings. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche clearly knows that one would not be able to know his own root capacity. However, his guru would know. Therefore, the guru would teach the dharma that best suits you. Unlike you, if the guru teaches dharma to someone other than you, you might even get mad. How could a person like that learn and cultivate Buddhism?

Many out there will not learn Buddhism because they don’t want to be supervised by others. Anyone who lives in the world cannot avoid being supervised. The nation has laws and rules. Schools have their own rules. What are your qualifications for learning Buddhism without a teacher and by yourself?

The contents in the Buddhist sutras are real and undoubtedly true. They are the words spoken by the Buddha. There would not be any word that is not beneficial to the sentient beings. Buddha Dharma would not be Buddha Dharma if it did not benefit the sentient beings. It definitely could be seen. Following this, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked the believers to leave, and taught disciples the Cultivation Dharma of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.

After the puja was over, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche proceeded to meet believers from 4:50 p.m. to 5:20 p.m. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave Buddhist enlightenment to twelve believers, and helped them to relieve all kinds of suffering in the world.

Updated on April 17, 2011