Event Calendar of The His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche

December 4, 2011

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche held a regular puja at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center in Taipei, continuing from the last time to teach the importance of making offerings and almsgiving, as well as how to break egotism so that reincarnation would also be broken.

Before the puja, a female disciple gave public repentance and praised the guru’s merits. The disciple began by giving thanks and praised Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s incredible compassionate merits, and the level of accomplishment that had been attained through life, which were rare treasures of the world, just like those of a Buddha born again.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once was teaching that sentient beings did not have the blessed rewards of being born in the time of Buddha Shakyamuni. But now she had the good fortune of her life of knowing Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the Vajra Guru that is no different from the Buddha, and being able to listen to the Buddhist teachings in his very presence, just like what Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche teaches, “It is difficult to attain the human body, to listen to Buddha Dharma, and to encounter a guru with great merits.” She felt that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is really a Buddhist treasure that is able to change her life, and to save sentient beings from the sufferings of reincarnation, bringing them into the Pure Land, a rarity of the rare. Only by acting according to the Buddhist teachings, and by following and acting according to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teachings, by being completely submissive and diligent in the Buddhist practice, could she repay the guru’s and Buddhas’ grace.

The disciple repented that, though she took refuge under Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche almost five years ago, she failed to conduct her life in a way that praised the guru’s numerous merits, mercifulness, and the painstaking efforts in saving sentient beings. Not only that, she also failed to follow Buddhist teachings accordingly and to modify herself, still living her life the way it used to be, making the guru worry about her – an aged disciple. She felt that she was truly a rotten disciple. Every time she saw Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche give teachings over and over again earnestly and patiently, she would feel guilty for the moment. But after that she still could not resolve to practice Buddhism diligently, with all the teachings in through one ear and out the other without any actions, living her life the way it was, and thus becoming a drag to the guru’s noble cause. She not only failed to live up to the guru’s expectations, but also repeatedly became disrespectful.

From the moment she became a believer and then took refuge under Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, she came to realize, through continuous attendance to the teachings of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche at regular pujas, that learning Buddhism was for liberating herself from the sufferings of reincarnation of birth and death. How serious and precious that was! Without knowing this, one would not be any different from those who kept being a vegetarian, chanting Buddha’s name, or performing repentance rituals without understanding the true meaning all along, unable to look within and examine themselves, to modify themselves, or to review their own faults, to the point of even being self-righteous. Every time she was listening to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teachings, she would only find that she had all the ills with her all along, making her an unworthy disciple. She repented, and resolved to correct those bad habits of hers thereafter. She was very grateful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, Protector Achi, and Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for persistently giving her all the opportunities, and for helping her successfully overcome all the unfortunate encounters and obstacles in her Buddhist practice, so that she could be on the way to her liberation from life and death. Otherwise, the road to the Pure Land would be out of her reach, or even impossible. She was deeply indebted to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for the teachings.

She continued to share the story of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche helping her mother with the Phowa.  She was thankful that her mother had been able to attend the grand pujas for a few years and get blessings from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, even though her mother did not have the causal condition to take refuge under the guru. Her mother was diagnosed with the Parkinson’s disease before passing away, but with the guru’s blessings her illness became more stable. Ten years of bedridden condition led to the deterioration of her mother’s disease in early May 2008, with her and all her brothers and sisters panicking beyond words upon seeing their mother’s dying pain. But even the most filial of children would be helpless, not knowing what to do. Then her first thought was to ask Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to help her mother. Following the guru’s instructions, she went to Yi Shen Road to pay homage to the guru’s photo. On the third day, May 8, 2008, at about 6:00 p.m., her mother went through the last moments of her life peacefully, liberated from the sufferings of the disease. Even her bones after cremation were showing an auspicious sign with different beautiful colors including pink and green.

The auspicious sign appeared because of the protection from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, which also protected her mother’s consciousness and prevented it from falling to suffer from the reincarnation of the Six Realms. Her mother’s face calm and peaceful, she believed that the guru’s arrangement would surely guide her mother to the Pure Land. Had it not been for the protection from the blessed rewards of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, she went on, she could not have imagined how much more sufferings her mother would have gone through, or where she would have fallen. She was thankful for the blessings rendered from His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s compassionate merits, which gave her the opportunity to repay the debt of gratitude to her mother. She expressed deep gratitude and also repented for causing the guru to exert so much effort.

The disciple also shared her own experience of receiving help from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. In March 2010, she was in a hurry to go to the Buddhist Center to participate in the puja. But before she could arrive, old as she was, she fell in the restroom so seriously that her right arm hit against the wall heavily, making a loud noise that even shocked herself. Feeling that it might have been broken into many pieces, she only knew that time was running out before the puja started. At that moment she did not feel any pain. Anxious as she was, she only wanted to apply some Bao Yuan Gao healing ointment. Then she found out that she was not able to bend her arm. At the Buddhist Center, she asked a Dharma brother, who was also a doctor, to check it out and was told that it was nothing serious. At that time she only felt feeble instead of pain or swollen until the puja was over. If it had not been for the guru’s invisible blessings, the help from Protector Achi, and the protection from the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, how could this miracle have been possible that such a heavy impact only caused a minor injury! After the puja, the Dharma brother went with her to the hospital to have an X-Ray taken and discovered that there was really nothing to worry about except a small bone fracture in the right hand. And it was healing quickly, thanks to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings. She was grateful for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s care that made it possible for her to lessen the effect of heavy karmic retribution and escape from it almost unharmed.

Five years ago, she went on, she bought a pre-sale house which was a combination of two units merged into one. But she didn’t move in there because there wasn’t enough causal condition to do so. Upon delivery of the house, the monthly mortgage and the property management fees were causing her much pressure. However, she received assistance from the Glorious Jewel Group, which helped to restore it to the way it was with two separate units. She was able to sell them within only two short weeks. Had it not been for the guru’s compassion, that would not have been possible. She remembered that when she just took refuge under Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, a Japanese practitioner came to visit the guru at the Buddhist Center, where he told all disciples, “You have such blessed rewards!” To such a statement this disciple shared her confirmation, that all those now sitting here had great blessed rewards since they were able to seek immediate assistance from the guru when they came across any difficulties. They were living a peaceful life only because of all the care of the guru. She gave thanks again and repented for causing the guru to exhaust so much energy.

Her thanks went to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for everything done on behalf of the disciples and sentient beings. As it was not easy to manage the business, she felt that she should give great support and help to make it grow every day, and to repay the grace that she had received from the guru. She had been praying for the prosperity of the Drikung Kagyu Order, the continuous turning of the Wheel of the Dharma, and the good health of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who will abide in this world hundreds of kalpas. She sought her own repentance with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, Protector Achi, and Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, as well as with all forefathers, karmic creditors,  all beings, sentient or non-sentient, which had been hurt in her past and present lives, including chickens, ducks, fish, shrimps, eels, crabs, and frogs. She used to help her mother raise pigs, and hurt rats, cockroaches, ants, termites and borers, and even had a miscarried baby. To all these she repented that it was all her faults, and that she would never repeat such wrong deeds. She wished all sentient beings of the Dharma Realm to have the causal condition to listen to Buddha Dharma the way she did, so that they could all be liberated from the sufferings of reincarnation, have the causal condition to be protected by Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara and Buddha Amitabha, and obtain salvation through the compassionate merits of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Finally, she once again thanked His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, Protector Achi, and Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for giving her the opportunity to repent her many evil acts.

Following this, another female disciple also gave her public repentance. She thanked Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for giving her the opportunity to do so right here. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche often reminds them of the importance of repentance, saying that disciples only apologize without knowing how to truly repent until karmic retribution comes, and only then would they realize that all they are trying to do is apologize without repenting. So yesterday, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked her why she was repenting. It is like listening to a story when you only have to watch others behave themselves. But when you are the lead actor yourself, you would realize how important it is to examine your own faults from within with a high standard, and to repent.

Both her parents were liberated by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Her father, in particular, passed away during Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s retreat at the Snow Mountain of Lapchi in 2007. Her wish was that her father be transferred to the Pure Land of Buddha Amitabha through Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s guide. After her father died, there were quite some auspicious signs, one of them being that there was a small round hole on the skull after cremation. She confessed that had it not been for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, she would never have known what filial piety was, and that she had not been filial to her parents when they were still living. She still regretted deeply till this day that she had not been a filial daughter when she was young. “When a child wants to serve her parents well, she does not have that opportunity any more for the fact that they are both gone.” But with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche teaching her and serving as a living example, she had been able to somehow repay the debt of gratitude to her parents by caring for them during the few years before they passed away. She could not have done it, if it had not been for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

As a Cantonese, her husband had always enjoyed seafood and soup. He had been using the hotpot to make the soup for 20 years. So many sentient beings had been harmed, she repented, that included chickens, fish, shrimps and various other life forms in the sea. In time there came the karmic retribution. Both she and her husband now suffered from intervertebral problems. In her case it was disc herniation, which pressed onto the nervous system, forming a very critical condition. Since she liked keeping clean, she continued, she did not know how many insects and ants had been harmed. At one time her house went under remodeling in the downstairs section causing large numbers of ants to try to flee upward. In the ensuing panic, both she and her husband used the vacuum to deal with the situation, resulting in the destruction of many sentient beings.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche teaches that the karmic retribution of not being filial is discord in the family and difficulties in getting things done, and that women should be more tolerant in marriage. She confessed that there was a lot of bitterness in her heart following her husband’s two major business failures, causing hardship in their life. At that time she had no idea how to accept the karmic retribution as it was. She confessed that after starting to learn Buddhism, her words and actions were still nothing like those of a true believer, and that she was not able to understand the meaning of endurance, did not know how to endure, and wasn’t even willing to do so. That may be one of the reasons why till now her husband had not had the causal condition or the blessed reward to receive the help of Buddha Dharma through Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. She repented the abortions she had that hurt innocent lives before and after marriage, and that her husband left his first wife in Hong Kong in order to come and form a new family with her in Taiwan. That had been a cause of pain for her for over 20 years. When she was young, she could get away with excuses that she was just too naïve and capricious. But when she grew older and learned Buddhism, she realized how dreadful the karmic retribution might be. All that made it even more difficult for her to forgive herself.

Last week, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche revealed on the Dharma throne that another disciple had been diagnosed with breast cancer and she just could not understand the importance of giving charity and making offering. She was that truly rotten disciple. She was diagnosed to be at the second phase of breast cancer early last month. Currently she was having her health taken care of in the Glorious Jewel Chinese Medicine Clinic. With regard to western medicine, her Dharma brother who was also a doctor was helping her with hormonal therapy. So she was in a fair health condition. She repented that she gave priority to her stomach over Buddhism, not knowing that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was in need of strong support in his grand cause for the salvation of sentient beings through Buddhism.

As a disciple at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, she felt very fortunate. She had so many Dharma brothers in the profession of western medicine offering help. When they were helping her with the biopsy in the hospital, the nurse was trying to explain to them that there would be a piercing wound after the biopsy. But the doctor – her Dharma brother – simply said no worries and recommended the Bao Yuan Gao healing ointment, another form of care created by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche! When the nurse told her to return to the clinic for the report, he again said that it was not necessary, and that it would be perfectly fine just to discuss the condition over the phone. Thus she knew the result of the biopsy three days before she was scheduled to come back to the clinic. The Dharma brother who was serving as the group leader at the Buddhist Center also phoned her at the earliest possible time to send her his regards, and even found Dr. Liu of the Glorious Jewel Chinese Medicine Clinic to help take care of her health. If it had not been for the guidance and help of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Buddha Dharma, she would not have been so calm in facing her own critical condition. Her family, on the other hand, respected her decision of facing it directly and dealing with it positively with a light heart, without the involvement of surgery or chemotherapy. Even the boss at her company gave her permission to continue coming to work. She repented that she had not been learning Buddhism earnestly, consuming Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessed rewards, and hoped that all her Dharma brothers would learn from her lessons.

On her way back yesterday after seeking an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, she started telling her kids about the importance of repentance. When they asked her what to repent, she told them that there were many things to repent, and apologized to them for the wrong things that she had done when she was young. Her tight-mouthed husband, who was known to never acknowledge any fault except that, if he did, it always was someone else’s, said something rather sensibly by admitting that it was his fault that his business failed, causing hardship for the family. Her son and daughter were dumbfounded at hearing this. She had never heard her husband talk like that. And their kids attributed this to the all-embracing power of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Before seeking repentance and requesting to see Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, she particularly went to Gloje Hair Salon yesterday to first get a head spa and a massage, and then have her hair cut, neat and short. All this really helped her relax a lot. She could only say that she had done many wrong things, in the hope that she could get repented. But she never really knew what true repentance was, with a gratitude that was beyond her expression that could never be untold. Only the guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche can help sentient beings obtain liberation from the suffering sea of reincarnation. May the guru have the Wheel of Dharma turning all the time as well as a long-lasting life in this world.

Today, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche carried on with the teachings of Master Gampopa from last week, giving instructions as to how to make offerings and almsgiving in order to break egotism and the cycle of reincarnation. This was a method used in Exoteric Buddhism. Master Gampopa said, “We should first learn to make small offerings such as those with water and fire. Then we can proceed to make offerings with inferior things, and finally things that we ourselves need most, things that we hold dearest to us.”

The inferior things that Master Gampopa was referring to here do not mean bad things or undesirable things, but rather all worldly things. From the Buddhist point of view, everything in the world comes into being as a result of cause and effect and karma. Things such as money, body, blessed rewards and so on all belong with those that are inferior. The most important Buddhist doctrine is to cultivate a method with which one can be liberated from the sufferings of reincarnation in the world and get onto the supramundane path. Every effort that you have made in the world for the sake of career, family, money, health, etc., is just for what arises as a result of cause and effect, karma, and cause and condition, such that they are not in eternally real existence. So from the perspective of the Buddhist supramundane path, they are all inferior. However, as far as you are concerned, you cannot even practice giving with inferior things, let alone the supramundane Dana.

Many of the contents in the Dharma texts are about making offerings and almsgiving, which are the things that you offer when you perform Dharma. These originally were also inferior things from the Buddhist viewpoint. However they have been converted, through meditative contemplation of the guru, into some of the best things in the universe to be offered to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. This makes it possible for those of you who do not have the blessed rewards to have the blessed rewards to hear Buddha Dharma, and to listen to the teachings of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

There was a believer who came yesterday to request an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. He introduced himself as someone running a spiritual growth consulting firm. If you are after worldly pleasures, you can go and ask them, and they would tell what is in your mind. That’s because these are all you desires. Some people may think that they are learning Buddhism as they chanting mantra, reciting sutra, being a vegetarian, and participating in the pujas. But these are actually activities that only help to create favorable conditions and cultivate blessed rewards. Others think that by opening a vegetarian restaurant they can help to create favorable conditions on behalf of many people, and that they are being compassionate. Does the restaurant charge for its service? With charges, it is a business. With all the foods free and no other charges, then it may just have managed to qualify as giving charity.

Then how to make offerings and almsgiving in order to break egotism? Buddhist sutras teach that offerings fall into three kinds – offerings of goods, of Dharma, and of fearlessness. Offerings of goods are not what you normally would think that only involve goods. Such offering is further divided into offering of worldly possessions and offering of Dharma assets. And only the former is mentioned above, things that you would hold dear in the world for which you are willing to exchange with your intelligence, knowledge, and physical efforts. On the other hand, Dharma assets are what may be obtained as a result of your belief in and practice of Buddha Dharma according to the guru’s teachings. Those who do not believe and practice Buddha Dharma in their current life would not be really rich regardless of how much fame and wealth they have gathered in their lifetime, because they have no Dharma assets. When a practitioner has practiced in such a way that merits have been attained, Dharma assets would keep coming his way.

The purpose of learning and practicing Buddhism is to obtain Dharma assets, with which you can obtain merits, which in turn will allow you to turn the karma of your past lives and have the opportunity to be liberated from reincarnation. As of now you are not in a position to make offerings and almsgiving with Dharma assets, but you should start doing so with worldly possessions. Only this way will you be able to receive the nurturing of Buddha Dharma step by step and cultivate the mind of renunciation, ridding yourselves of the cravings that you have attached yourself to through the past lives. From the perspective of Buddha Dharma, money is a means to lift sentient beings from poverty and hardship, as poverty and hardship are also a form of suffering. The fact you are poor in this life is because you had not been willing to make offerings and almsgivings in your previous lives. You are wealthy in this life because that is a result of you having made such offerings in your previous lives. There is no eternal wealth in the world, since it keeps changing over time, and nobody has ever seen anyone taking money with him when he dies. Even so, people of this world are still not willing to make offerings and almsgiving, knowing only to gather wealth for fear that they’d be poor and that they’d have no money to rely on when they become old. Poverty as referred to in Buddhism does not only mean financial hardship. When one has complete ignorance of Buddhism, and has not learned or practiced it at all, he then puts himself in a true state of poverty.

Many people think that persuading others to become a vegetarian, to chant Buddha’s name and to perform the Penitential Rite, and tell them about Buddha Dharma, are all acts of Dharma offerings. No, they are not. An offering of Dharma can only be performed by someone capable of benefiting sentient beings with Buddha Dharma. As a human being, one should have kind thoughts; but only an act that helps others liberate themselves from the sufferings of life and death can be referred to as an offering of Dharma. Practices such as the Chan-Seven activity and the Eight Precepts Retreat are just efforts to create favorable conditions. Reciting the sutras, performing the Penitential Rite, and sitting for meditation cannot help you attain merits, rather, such acts may increase your blessed rewards of Human and Heaven Realms a bit for use in your next life; they cannot be used to turn your karma in this life. So it is wrong to think that the Chan-Seven, the Buddha-Seven activities and the Eight Precepts Retreat are acts of cultivation. But the Eight Precepts Retreat at least can prevent you from falling into the Three Evil Realms. The Amitabha Sutra has it that, if one can keep chanting Amitabha’s name for one or two days, meaning 24 hours; that is, doing nothing except chanting Amitabha’s name during the Eight Precepts Retreat, and living the life of an ordained practitioner for one day, he thus can have the causal condition of being ordained in his next life. All ordained practitioners present today have had to go through a process like that. It is not like the way you’d think that they became ordained for some particular reasons.

His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang told you to listen to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. This carried profound significance. You should listen attentively to what Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has to say, and avoid doing things that he did not instruct you to do. Since Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has attained his achievement through actual practice and true realization, his words will certainly be of help to you. But some disciples who took refuge a long time ago think that they have listened enough to know the thoughts of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, and try to instruct those who recently took refuge not to do this and not to do that in the name of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche! This is not right.

The non-Buddhist doctrines as mentioned in Buddhist sutras provide a way to seek the truth in the outside, with the Lord. Non-Buddhist practices are intended as a means for people to go to the Heaven Realm, but it would be impossible for them to do so without first forsaking sexual activities. A disciple who had been a Catholic follower also expressed that according to Catholicism, one should forsake sexual activities before he can go to heaven.  As a matter of fact, Islam, Christianity, and Taoism all hold that sexual desires have to be forsaken before one would be able to go to Heaven. Taoism has a practice that aims at helping people forsake such desires, so does the Zen School, whose method in this respect is called the Pure Practice. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued to say that the Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows has it that those who indulge themselves into sensual desires will go to hell after they die. The sensual desire referred to here does not simply mean the man-woman relationship, and this part will be further discussed later.

Neither the Amitabha Sutra nor the Five Sutras of the Pure Land School mention anything about forsaking sexual desires. This has to do with the audience who was receiving Buddha Shakyamuni’s teachings at the time.  Buddha’s teachings were tailored based on the audience’s affinity. At that time, Buddha Shakyamuni’s followers were all ordained practitioners. But both lay and ordained practitioners could practice Pure Land Buddhism. Practitioners who have forsaken their sexual desires certainly will not fall to the Three Evil Realms if they keep practicing Zen meditation. However, at the Age of Degenerate Dharma, sentient beings had such heavy karma that Buddha Shakyamuni compassionately introduced Buddha Amitabha’s Pure Land Dharma method to the lay and ordained practitioners so that they would be able to go to Buddha Amitabha’s Pure Land with their karma; only that it had to be virtuous karma.

Ordinary people often misunderstand and think that learning Buddhism requires forsaking sexual activities, thus many wives are afraid their husbands will be learning Buddhism and will forsake them as well. Some husbands, on the other hand, are afraid their wives will learn Buddhism lest they would make offerings by selling their houses or they would want to sleep alone in separate rooms. Currently some Dharma masters would tell believers to sleep alone from their husbands in order to keep clean, so that when Bodhisattvas comes to see them, He would see them sleeping by themselves. These are not right. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is not against sexual activities, without which, how would we have been born into the world? And without babies being born, Buddhism cannot be carried on from generation to generation, causing discontinuity to Buddha Dharma. There is no mentioning of the requirement to forsake sexual activities in the Pure Land Dharma method, neither was it mentioned in the Five Sutras of the Pure Land School when it was introduced by Buddha Shakyamuni.

In the Five Sutras of the Pure Land School was mentioned the Sixteen Kinds of Contemplation in Pure Land School, which included Contemplation of the Sun, the Moon, and the Pure Land. However, since the Sixteen Kinds of Contemplation in Pure Land School have been lost, nobody really knows how to contemplate any more. If you go and ask a master with Dharma transmission of the Pure Land School how to perform the Sixteen Kinds of Contemplation in Pure Land School, he’d be dumbfounded, since no sutras have described how to contemplate. Buddha Shakyamuni was only talking about it without mentioning how to contemplate. This is Tantra. But many Dharma masters have criticized that there is no Tantra, and even there are organizations that question tantrism. If these people and organizations question Tantra, that is the same as questioning Buddha Shakyamuni, because the Sixteen Kinds of Contemplation in the Pure Land School is Tantra.

Buddha Shakyamuni was born in the same year when his biological mother passed away and he was raised by her sister. The Sixteen Kinds of Contemplation in Pure Land School was used, at her request, to transmit Buddha Dharma to her on a one-on-one basis. And she went to the Pure Land as a result of practicing it. How to perform contemplation of the Sun and the Moon, where both were only used in metaphorical references? But this was Tantra, which was by oral transmission only. Not each and every sentient being has the causal condition, qualities or qualifications to do this practice. Buddha Shakyamuni later introduced the Five Sutras of the Pure Land School, so that those who do not qualify for learning Tantra may be able to practice it in order to go to Buddha Amitabha’s Pure Land. This practice is not like what is taught among ordinary people, that it can be done by looking at the first rays of the Sun as it rises from the horizon for a few minutes, or by keeping the eyes on the Moon during the night. A disciple, who happened to be an eye doctor, warned that the macula in the eye may be harmed if people look at the Sun directly at any time, and in the worst case scenario they may even become blind forever.

To practice Zen Buddhism, you are required to be ordained as a practitioner, forsake sexual desires, and have a great guru to instruct you and observe subtle changes in your mind. There was an ordained disciple, who was thinking of calming his mind during meditation. This is a thought too. Why is it that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has not yet taught you to meditate? Because there is no way to break egotism before the Dharma method of almsgiving has been mastered. This ordained disciple thought that to learn Buddhism one must sit for meditation. But meditation only helps to create favorable conditions. One cannot get sick by chanting sutras or worshipping the Buddha, but he can if he does not meditate correctly. Besides, the ills of meditation have no medicine to cure, and in serious cases one may even become paralyzed. So there is a prerequisite for practicing meditation. The Surangama-Sutra says, if you have any wrong thoughts during your meditation, the devil will send his evil spirit flying into your mouth. What is a wrong thought? It is any thought which does not help to liberate oneself from reincarnation. For example, “I want to let everything go,” or “I am in meditation,” and so on, are all included. Both the Surangama-Sutra and the Lankavatara-sutra have recorded such things, for the purpose of reminding those who want to practice meditation what they need to be careful with when there is no guru available for instructions and how to deal with the devil of mind.  Do not try to meditate without a guru’s guidance, and do not think that sitting down every day trying to calm down your mind a little is the same as cultivating yourself with the right practice. Meditation also brings about blessed rewards, and therefore it requires dedication. Even a one-minute meditation a day will result in the blessed reward of one minute’s worth, so it requires dedication as well. We need to dedicate our blessed rewards to the merit ocean of all practitioners in order to turn such blessed rewards into merits. Because meditation is not for the sake of the corporeal body, egotism can be reduced through Zen meditation. Practices in non-Buddhist path also involve meditation.

In ancient times, the Main Shrines tended to be quite small, whose size might only be about a quarter of this Buddhist Center of ours. All practitioners would sit inside of their rooms instead of the Main Shrine. Their retreat rooms were also rather small, more or less the same size as retreat room where Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performs retreat. There were no pujas, and only the greeting bonze would come out to take the believers to the Main Shrine to worship and pay homage. Some older Buddhist temples of the Zen School in Japan have very small Main Shrines, with the rest being rooms of the practitioners. For hundreds of years this has not changed a bit, unlike the Buddhist temples of the Northern, Central and Southern Zen Schools in Taiwan nowadays, which were built very large.

Master Gampopa teaches, “With regard to true practices like this, if we summarize the law of transmission from the Paramita Teachings, then the relationship between reincarnation and nirvana may be stated in no words other than the two sentences of the Buddhist hymn, as often described in the Abhidharmas, “As long as someone still has egotistic attachments to worldly things, he would suffer from agonies in number and strength that equal to those of his attachments.  If we have no reference to “me” or “mine,” then we’d obtain the most extreme form of being pure and clean – nirvana.”

The Paramita Teachings mentioned here refer to methods from Exoteric Buddhism. Why do people have agonies? Because of egotism. Practicing Buddhism is to restore one’s simple true nature, and in this process, prostration, reciting sutras, worshipping Buddha, chanting mantra, or turning oneself in complete submission to the guru would all be helpful. For people in modern times, the more they learn Buddhism the more agonies they would have. But learning Buddhism really should help you to get rid of things instead of adding more things to yourself, and Buddha would not want to teach us to increase desires. If you don’t have a heart for making offerings and almsgiving at all, then it would be impossible to break egotism. “What I think I have been doing” and “what I think I have been thinking” are only to satisfy “me,” about something “mine.” Emperor Wu of Liang once asked Bodhidharma, “Since I have done so many good deeds, do I have merits?” To which Bodhidharma replied, “No merits.” No merits because something is being sought in this process. Learning Buddhism means that you should seek nothing in return for your efforts. If you do, all you have done would be only for blessed rewards, which cannot be used to change your karma. Those whose efforts do not have dedication are all seeking something for themselves.

If you are ill, then you should turn your illness to be used in the Buddhist practice, and understand better why egotism comes from your “self,” causing you to do such wrong things that it is time for karma to give its retribution, making your corporal body suffer. For minor ailments you can take medicines to care for it. But for terminal conditions you may face it with the Buddhist practice. If these things may be repaid with physical sufferings of the corporal body, then let it suffer! If one is not willing to repay with the corporal body in this life, then he may only go to hell.

It is very important to have a heart for making offerings and almsgiving, like the disciple who gave public repentance last week. When she came the Saturday before the last, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not accept her offering, because in her heart she had the wish to live a little longer as she was making the offering. She passed away the following Tuesday, and last Saturday her husband came to make an offering on her behalf because she had told him to do so before she died. This time Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche accepted it, as this represented the heart of true offering. So it is important to have the right mentality of making offerings.

Her younger sister came to express gratitude to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche yesterday, saying quite happily that her sister had not suffered much pain from the onset of the disease to the time when she died. But Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche enlightened her that it would be highly unlikely for a patient with cancer of the terminal phase to suffer no pain. But she really had not suffered much, except her not-so-pleasant-looking face due to the high level of jaundice, and feeling somewhat uncomfortable. She had been very following the guru very closely, and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told her to follow the arrangement that her husband had made for her and accept her surgical treatment in the hospital, which she was ready to do. As a result of following the guru’s directions, she had started accumulating some merits and able to turn the karma. The hospital had decided against a surgery, somehow due to the high level of a certain item in her medical analysis. This normally would not be the case with a hospital which had been known for cancer treatment through surgery.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche helped to prevent the disciple from suffering from a major surgery – whose cutting wounds may be compared to those made in a bayonet battle. While there is no bayonet battle any more nowadays, similar suffering may still come from a surgery, a car accident, or a major bone fracture. Although Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had promised to help her with the Phowa, it took four hours after she passed away before her family could find Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to perform it. Today it may appear that they were making offerings to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, but it was Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche who actually was helping them save money. The costs of a surgery, chemotherapy, and rehabilitation would have been far more than the offerings that they had made, helping them save at least three quarters of the money.

When the disciple requested to see Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche the Saturday before the last, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave her blessing so that she was able to come to the stage of the puja the next day to make her public repentance for as long as 20 minutes. As a result of her repentance, she had obtained some blessed rewards, so that instead of having to suffer for more time, she was allowed to pass on completely peacefully on Tuesday two days after. It’s like she had been able to exchange all her possible sufferings in the form of surgery and illness for a shorter life. According to Buddhist sutras, those with heavy karma resulting from killing will suffer from various diseases and a short life, and will go to hell after they die. It’s as simple as that. But since she had been following the guru closely and accepted impermanence, she did not have to suffer before passing on. You never would have thought that she was gone so quickly. Yesterday her husband brought back many Dharma tapes that had recordings of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teachings, to which she had been listening before. It’s a pity that after listening to so many Dharma tapes, she still had not been able to mend her way based on that, so her karma still could not be turned. But she had been under refuge for eight years, participated in the pujas and the retreats, and even followed the guru to attend pujas abroad, all of which had enabled her to accumulate some blessed rewards that allowed her to go to the Pure Land.

When you are sick, you should be happy because you are starting to repay your debts. Based on the karma resulting from killing by this disciple, she surely would have gone to hell. You would think, haven’t the karmic creditors been transferred? But Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has only transferred the bitterness and resentment that exist between the karmic creditors and yourself, the karmic retribution resulting from your deeds still exists. As you start to learn Buddhism, there is an opportunity that you may be able to reduce karmic retribution and its flavor. So why cry over being ill? If you cry over your illness, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would not accept this kind of behavior, but if you cry as a result of repentance, then Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche can accept it.

Why should you praise the guru? It’s not like Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and the guru are asking you to do so. Rather, it’s because you want to praise the merits of the guru and Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, so that your families may know what your guru has been doing! When the disciple’s husband came over yesterday, he said that he was very touched, knowing what Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had done! You don’t praise the guru with the excuse that people do not wish to hear it. But strangely, many times you keep talking about things that people obviously don’t want to listen to. Then why are you afraid of praising the guru simply because you fear that people do not want to hear it?

Offerings should be made with the most precious things that you have. But what you are doing now is that you take those things that you need first, and only make offerings with the leftover. There are even people who make offerings with things that had been received to offset outstanding debts, thinking that these are of no use to you anyway, and why don’t you just use it to make an offering to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche? Leaving it there would only remind you from time to time that someone owes you money. This is not an offering; it’s charity! Fortunately, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has no greed. As a matter of fact, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has started collecting things since his early thirties, and has seen many things over the period.

At this moment, there was a disciple who kept watching her daughter sitting on her right. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked the two people to immediately leave the Buddhist Center, saying we were talking about making offerings and almsgiving now, which would be very important for your future Buddhist practices! This person thought that it had nothing to do with her, as she did not have the money anyway, thinking that her daughter had been making offerings and almsgiving and it had nothing to do with her. So she was not being attentive. This kind of people were here only to seek protection. So from now on the offerings made by these two people would not be accepted. If you have a mentality like that, why don’t you just go home then? You don’t need to come on Sundays either. Instead, you can take your kids out to enjoy the so-called family life.

Nowadays everybody is trying to show their affection and closeness to their family the way Westerners do; they want to be there for their children as they grow up, and stay with them even on holidays. They think that by enjoying this kind of family togetherness they are giving the best they can to their children, who in turn will grow up to have great filial piety and respect for them. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche teaches that filial piety surely would not be with them because what they are doing is only to satisfy the desires of the children. In ancient times, people left their children with their foster mothers to be brought up, or with their private tutors to be instructed. Seldom were they together. Yet on the other hand, children would turn out to be very filial. If you are too close to your kids, they would clearly see you through and know what you like and dislike, and would try to take advantage of such a situation. It’s good to keep a proper distance. Kids today are very smart and know how to take advantage of their parents.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then asked the general director of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center if there were quite a number of people who were not allowed to make offerings. When he replied yes, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche expressed that if the Buddhist Center did not have enough funds to maintain its operation because of that, they should send a notification and upon receiving it Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would provide some financial assistance.

Making offerings and almsgiving is the most important thing in learning Buddhism. Those who are willing to make offerings naturally have blessed rewards, but Buddha taught us the purpose of making offerings and almsgiving is not to obtain blessed rewards. The true significance lies in the act of giving up. Only with giving up comes attainment. What to attain then? Merits, which can be used to turn your karma. Blessed rewards can only be used in your next one or two lives, or a certain future life of yours. If you only cultivate blessed rewards, cancer will not be cured. Some people think they are leading a better and smoother life now as a result of their good chanting and Buddhist practices. You are finished if you have this idea! because you are afflicted with egotism and self-pride. Humans are bound to have errors before they become Buddhas. If you are so self-proud even before reaching the state of Buddhahood, who can imagine what you’d be when you would have achieved Buddhahood. Not even the universe, as immense as it is, would be quite enough for you.

At this point, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked one of the disciples who was also an ophthalmologist to describe the changes in the conditions of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s eyes before and after the recent retreat. The disciple explained that when a person reaches the age of 65 or so, the accumulation of cholesterol and triglyceride inside the eye white, or the iris, would generally cause it to become yellowish and cloudy gradually. Since the retreat before the last, the yellowish and cloudy parts in Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s eye white had been gradually disappearing. After the recent retreat, the eye white had become transparently clear with a bluish tint against a white background color. This was so obvious. It would have been medically impossible. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked, maybe you would think that only seven days of the retreat had been enough to bring about such a change? Why Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche can slow down the aging process? It’s a natural thing, as a matter of fact, that there will be some changes in the body when merits have been cultivated successfully.

All things in the universe lack self-nature; and only Dharma nature has its own nature. The so-called “lacking self-nature” means that nothing comes into being naturally. Things come into existence as a result of causal conditions. They die because of causal conditions, and with life and death, they are not eternal. Such is the law of life and death based on causal conditions. You even can apply the law of life and death to any disease. No matter what kind of disease you have, it will be gone as you die. Don’t ever believe ordinary people when they say if you die of cancer and become a ghost, it would be a ghost with cancer and would be able to shout out about where it hurts. Have you ever heard of any cancer cell becoming a ghost? Only when it does become a ghost, the consciousness still has this memory, and the illness of egotism will hurt.

Not only people may become ill, but all sentient beings in the Six Realms also can suffer from diseases, with the illnesses and diseases having different types. Even the animals may have diseases of their own, and there are illnesses in the Heaven Realm as well as the Asura Realm. Sentient beings in the Ghost Realm, on the other hand, also may suffer from diseases, which would make them want to die rather than living with them. Buddhist sutras have it that sentient beings of the Ghost Realm, when their bodies have been crushed into many small pieces by moving vehicles, and after they die, these pieces would then get combined together by the force of wind and the body comes back to life. Then, it would be crushed into many small pieces again in a similar manner. This process keeps repeating itself like that, resulting in sufferings that would not end.

We don’t have to wait until we die to see to which Realm we’d be headed. Each individual’s particular way before death would tell that. Those who are in coma and who suffer from unconsciousness would surely go to the Animal Realm, so would those whose saliva flows all over the place. All of those who will be reborn in the lowest three realms have ugly looks, very different from those who are headed for the Human and Heavenly Realms.

The Paramita Teachings are actually what Exoteric Buddhists practice. The so-called Nirvana is a state in which, upon entering it, you no longer generate new karma and all the previous karma has been repaid. When no new karma is generated, it severs the power to drive the cycle of reincarnation, so there would be no more reincarnation. “Nirvana” seems to be a simple word, but it is very difficult to achieve this state of accomplishment. When people die, they do not take with them anything except their karma, which is saved in the Eighth Consciousness. The Amitabha Sutra describes that karma is the only thing that people can take with them when they die. Karma has been a result of egotism, and only virtuous karma may be taken with death. Whether in reincarnation or in nirvana, as long as there is egotistic attachments, there surely will be affliction, all of which is a reflection of karma.

Master Gampopa teaches, “You should know, from egotism comes craving, and from the same comes resentment. From attachment to children comes craving, and from attachment to enemies comes resentment. From attachment to good reputation comes craving, and from attachment to notoriety comes resentment. From attachment to praises comes craving, and from attachment to slanders comes resentment.”

Many people will think that resentment comes because there are petty people in the company or someone is criticizing themselves. As a matter of fact, no matter how long you have been a colleague, it is impossible that you spend all 24 hours with them, and things will change one day. Do not always remember those who treat you meanly. Instead, let it go, as it also will follow the law of life and death based on causal conditions. When you keep thinking why someone has criticized you, you’re putting it into your memory and give it your attachment, which gives it a new life to start all over again. On the contrary, we should be thankful to those who criticize us, as it is mentioned in the Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas, that you should thank your enemy as he is giving charity. Before your virtues are fully completed, someone will come to hurt you because your karma has not been repaid. When someone is criticizing, some of you who are better practitioners will look within and examine to see that their virtues have not fully completed and the attack is only a result of the incomplete virtues. But those of you who are not as good as the other practitioners would think – what did I do wrong to cause this to happen to me? Some would even think, but I have been really nice to him! However, what you think as being nice to him may not be something nice in his mind.  So when they are willing to give us a piece of their mind, it’s like they are giving charity to us. It would be best if you can readily accept it and make corrections accordingly. Those who have been making offerings and almsgiving do not have a heart for attachment and gain and loss, and will always welcome criticisms from sentient beings as opportunities to look within and examine themselves to reduce affliction for themselves. Reduction of affliction cannot depend on the help from Buddhas and Bodhisattvas or the guru. Rather, it can only be done with your own determination. Whenever you have an opportunity to help others, do not think of that as doing a favor; you should instead thank them for giving you the opportunity to make an offering and almsgiving.

There are a lot of cravings in a marriage, and getting married itself is a result of craving. Is there anyone who has learned everything about his spouse-to-be and her family background before getting married to her? When she treats you nicely, there will be craving; but when she treats you poorly, resentment will arise. Now that you are married, which came into being as a result of causal conditions, then you should reduce craving with things that have happened in the marriage. If cravings are not satisfied, there will be resentment. This is also true with medical malpractice, in which sometimes it is not all the fault of the medical professionals. If patients have blessed rewards such things would not have happened in the first place. It is easy to have cravings with people who have not made offerings and almsgiving. It is also craving if you are attached to the idea that your family should not pass away so soon and you wish for them to live a bit longer.

Everyone has a different affinity. When you have the affinity to be related with someone as family, you may want to cultivate yourself through this family relationship. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is a lay practitioner, who also has experienced love, marriage, having children, etc. just like you.  Every step of the way, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would look within and examine, not what was wrong with the other party, but what had been the craving from within. Craving arises with attachment to the self, so it’s necessary to examine where the craving comes from, and to know the true nature of marriage, so that you may be able to reduce egotism. Everything is a result of cause and condition. That is not to say you should see one and fall in love with one. Women want their husbands to be loving and caring; but men would think that their wives should be more willing to listen to them since they go out to work very hard to make a living for the family. All these are cravings.

If you believe that you can rightfully demand the other to repay you in some form and to be nice to you just because you gave him your first time, what difference would it have from a business transaction where you demand to receive the value of one cent after you have paid one cent? If this is the case then why don’t you clearly write it down beforehand? It may be that you had been karmic creditors in your past lives, who have come to be family in this life. The reason that you love him more may be that you might have owed him more in your last life. By the same token, if he loves you more then he might have owed you more. The one who said that he would love you to death might have been the same person who had hated you most in the last life. Otherwise why would he create all the difficult times for you after marrying you? He wants you to take care of him at 2:00 a.m. because he is hungry, or he calls to ask you to go shopping with his mother the next day. If he hires someone to do these he’d have to pay a wage, but asking you to do so does not cost him one penny. In some other cases, you have someone who loves you to death and treats you like a princess, but he is suddenly gone in a car accident, leaving you crying so much that for the next one or two months you would not want to eat, crying to the point of dying. If the two do not part from each other, then they would when they die. This is so-called parting from the loved one in life and at death.

Attaching to your self will give rise to resentment inside you. When your other half is having an affair, complicated issues exist between the two of you. It is not all the third party’s fault, both of you have problems as well. All the vows, including those that involve the Sun coming out from the west, may be deceiving. From the perspective of the Earth, the Sun of course rises from the east. But when you leave the Earth, it would be hard to say if the Sun still comes out from the east if the observation is made from different places. When we have a situation that involves a third party, we must repent. It’s not like what you may think – that I repent on his behalf and dedicate it to him because he has violated the precept of refraining from sexual misconduct. But you should repent similar things that you have done. Because you have done it in your past life, you have someone else do it to you in return in this life. In addition, you should also repent that you are in the Age of Degenerate Dharma, which is why there are so many temptations, which turn normal people into abnormal.

Whatever you have encountered in this life, it absolutely was caused in your last.  If you let egotism rise from all this, which on the other hand makes you feel hurt, and you regard the other as your enemy, then resentment will keep going on and on one life after another. Therefore Buddhists look at everything in the world upside down, completely different from the way you do, which is based on your life experience. Chanting the sutras and sitting for meditation are processes in which egotism may be broken and one may be trained to reduce false thoughts. They are also the Dharma method of making offerings and almsgiving. Learning Buddhism is not intended for gaining things; rather, affliction may be reduced through learning Buddhism. As we have accumulated life’s experience – karma because of reincarnation, we are prevented from showing our pure and clean nature. Learning Buddhism is to help us reduce these. But the way you are learning Buddhism, as compared to before you started learning it, is that the more you learn the more cravings you have. If this is the case then you’d probably be better off without learning it at all.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche wants to once again remind all of you, do not watch the TV programs about extramarital affairs any more. The more you watch the more likely it is that you’d have resentment. Since all such programs are about bad men, which were designed for the sake of audience ratings of the show, there are more women watching them than men. But as a matter of fact, there are bad women as well.

Many things happen as a result of actions from both parties, like the fight between a husband and a wife, with either party thinking that the other is at fault. That is to say that they believe such things have self-nature. But on the other hand it is also the law of cause and condition. Even if you have done a lot for your other half, it may be likely that the way you did is not readily acceptable to the other party. Furthermore, come to think about it, are you not at fault at all? The world is so vast, and why on earth have you had to pick this particular person? During the period when you were in a steady relationship, did you ever try to rationally analyze that person’s strengths and weaknesses and personality? At that moment it was all cravings, with one party wanting the other to satisfy each other’s needs. Most people would not make careful observations at this time. Thus when a problem pops up, absolutely it is not just the other party’s fault. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche does not believe in platonic love or the kind of love that only appears in romantic novels.

Many have attached themselves to such an idea that the children are theirs who must obey them. When the children are not obedient, there is affliction. People who think this way are not likely to accept the idea of impermanence. Without accepting impermanence you will not be able to see through things. Everything has its own cause and effect. Only those who have accepted the idea of impermanence will be able to see this, and as such, will reduce their attachment. If you keep praying to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas every day just for the blessing that the children would be obedient, such an approach to learning Buddhism would surely lead you to become a non-Buddhist within Buddhism.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has made numerous offerings and almsgiving, many of which were not even made known to his disciples except a few who have been following him closely. That’s because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is completely beyond the interest in reputation. However, when you have accumulated enough blessed rewards, your reputation would naturally spread among the people by word of mouth. You may know that the National Palace Museum has recently published the Lung Tripitaka, which has only been made possible through funding and efforts from both His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. It is no longer a secret now since someone has already disclosed it and the media has reported it. So now you have all learned about its causal condition. When you learned from the media or news, or visited the National Palace Museum to see that there is the Lung Tripitaka from the period of Emperor Kangxi in its treasured collection, you would only think that the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang knew that the Palace Museum in Taiwan had it in its collection and instructed Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to try to record it using a digital camera.

When the guru has a vow, his disciple of course would like to take it as his own and fulfill it! Now that the guru instructed so, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would give his life to get it done. Back then it was Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang who said that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was quite familiar with the National Palace Museum and hoped that the Lung Tripitaka could be photographed with a digital camera. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche put it rather humorously, the vow was fulfilled but the instruction was not followed to the letter, as there was no way that a digital camera could be used to “click” it down. The Lung Tripitaka was a Kangxi edition which was extremely rare, and those who even just want to take a look have to wear gloves and masks. Besides, there are numerous volumes. It would be very difficult to use a camera for this purpose. Instead, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had to rely on the previous business experience and many good connections, and involve many people, among whom there were those who provided assistance and there were those who actually presented obstacles. It took as long as two administrations before it was completed and money that amounted to eight digits. With the help of the great merits of Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and the lesser merits of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, as well as the blessings from Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, the vow was fulfilled and the classic of the classics was presented to the world. This had been a very difficult process which made it possible for the complete Lung Tripitaka of the Kangxi period to be finally published this year. It surely would be of great benefit to the people of the world. Being able to get something as good as the Lung Tripitaka published would be particularly beneficial to the local people, but not exactly the political circle. On the other hand, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had no craving for reputation and could easily let it go without mentioning it. If it had been someone else, there might have been a lot of fanfare about a feat like this.

Master Gampopa teaches, “From attachment to good reputation comes craving, and from attachment to notoriety comes resentment. From attachment to praises comes craving, and from attachment to slanders comes resentment.” Resentment comes if someone feels that he is associated with infamy. This is within the scope of the Eight Winds. It is hard to make offerings and almsgiving, as we had not been educated to do so from a very young age, nor had we been taught how to do so. Our textbooks only taught us to be nice to other children and to be good people. But this is not offering or almsgiving. To be kind is the very essence as a person. Buddha-Dharma teaches you to reduce attachment to the self and to make offerings and almsgiving with a heart of respect. Even if there is no money to offer, as long as the heart is upright, according to Buddhist sutras, one may make an offering with a sewing thread. This was the likely case in ancient India.

On the last trip to Jalandhar, India, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was passing through a slum area. That is a really miserable slum area where people make a few rupees a day, surviving near what is the local garbage dump site. In a situation like that, it really doesn’t matter what conditions you are in. Surely you would be able to find something to offer, as long as you still have something to eat. So don’t come to make an offering to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche with a sewing thread, or say you don’t have money.

You all may know that in India’s history, it was King Ashoka who got Buddhism spread throughout entire Asia. Why could he become a king? Legend has it that as a young boy in his previous life, King Ashoka was playing along the river with a group of kids. When he saw Buddha Shakyamuni passing by, he built a pagoda with the sand and, with utmost respect, used it to make an offering to the Buddha. That became the causal condition for him to become a king in his next life. Would you say that the sand is of much value? It was really his heart full of respect that earned him the blessed reward. Besides, he was only a young boy, and normally when boys at his age were playing they would not pay any attention to strange passers-by at all. But King Ashoka knew to make an offering with a pagoda built with sand, and did so with utmost reverence to the Buddha. All this could be attributed to the virtuous roots that he had accumulated during all his past lives, so that in this life he could enjoy the blessed reward and causal condition to see the Buddha with his own eyes and with utmost reverence.

Master Gampopa continues, “If we look at things like that with a split heart of binary oppositions (and allow our egotism to bind our mind in such a way that we treat a simple phenomenon as something very complicated that bothers our mind and body), then not only would we be unable to liberate ourselves from the prison of reincarnation, but in fact, ultimately, we would also be pushing ourselves constantly towards the abyss of endless sufferings. So we must turn ourselves around from this egotism before it is too late, and cut ourselves off from the culprits of ‘I’ and ‘mine’.”

Many people would curse someone who was seen to be doing something bad. Do not say words like “I will wait and see what’d happen to you when your time comes.” It is hatred and cursing itself underlying such words. When he has enough blessed rewards, he goes the way he wants no matter how you criticize him. But when his karmic fruit is ripe, he wouldn’t be doing well even if you don’t mention anything. However, you don’t want to become part of the influence of his karma.

In China’s history there had been three major periods during which Buddhism had been severely suppressed and banned. Ancient Tibet had to go through a similar period of time when an evil king tried to destroy Buddhism. You would say, why didn’t the lamas perform Dharma to stop this kind of thing from happening? They surely had performed Dharma. But these would also follow the law of life and death based on causal conditions. If the karmic fruit is not ripe, what would exist will still exist no matter how hard you try to change that. But when the karmic fruit becomes ripe, causing karmic retribution, then things would naturally go away. Padmasambhava had prophesied such events in his times, and wanted a statue Dorje Purpa built with iron facing the east. He even provided dimension specifications. But no one took any actions based on his prophecy, and events like those happened.

Buddhism sees all things as cause or effect instead of right or wrong. Buddhist teachings tell us not to distinguish anything as good or bad, and not to have a split heart of binary oppositions. Rather, we should look at things using our wisdom. Binary oppositions refer to the distinction of things viewed as “yes” or “no,” “good” or “bad,” and “right” or “wrong.” Human life experience teaches us that things form in opposition, but after starting to learn Buddhism, we should try to not view things in binary oppositions. Everything in the world is cause and condition without self-nature. They naturally come into being upon the ripening of the power of karma. The mind of binary oppositions is the most unwanted with those learning Buddhism, and it is difficult to break once it has been established. One can give it up by making offerings and almsgiving, and hence get away from the prison of reincarnation. So turn away from the idea of binary oppositions before it’s too late.

Master Gampopa enlightens, “During our real experience of Buddhist practice, we should carefully observe whether the so-called “I” is in existence or non-existence, with permanence or impermanence, with self-nature or without self-nature. With such practical observation, we would find out that there is “no existence,” “no permanence,” and “no self-nature” with the so-called “I”. Accordingly, we may get far away from the cravings that arise because of “I”. If we can clear ourselves from cravings resulting from the “self,” then naturally, we also should be able to stay far away from cravings for everything else which is related to “mine.”

“I” is a subjective concept that came as a result of accumulation of experiences of many past lives. Between “neng” (subjectivity) and “suo” (objectivity), “suo” is the root and “neng” is the energy generated from the reaction of “suo,” and therefore such energy enables the eyes to see and the body to feel and act. Because we are all attached to the “I,” we have in our hearts the Six Roots, which are the roots of the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind, whose actions give rise to affliction and the influence of karma. We were born with the Six Roots, and this is true with all sentient beings. There come the senses and feelings a result of the contact of the Six Roots with the outside world, and that prompts the brain to take actions, leading to the production of the power of karma – “neng” (subjectivity), which is the cause of our “egotism,” which in turn subjects us to reincarnations in the world.

On the other hand, “mine” is generated through what is seen and experienced through the Six Roots. This is what makes you feel that the “I” exists, and react to the “I.” As a matter of fact, both “I” and “mine” are non-existent, according to the law of life and death based on causal conditions. For many people, they have a lot of affliction due to their attachment to the “I” from their life experience. But come to think of it, what is the “I”? If information such as your name, birth date, identification, and passport is removed from you when you go to a strange place, who’d know who you are? Someone feels the existence of the “I” simply because of the information of name, birth date, identification, job and so on, and if such information is removed, this “I” would also be gone. We have close to 1,200 people here. If all the names and other such information are removed of you, would you really be able to tell the difference between you and me other than the difference in appearance?

The “I’s” are just a pile-up of numbers and symbols. In representing this “I”, the Chinese use their Chinese language, the Americans use English, and the Japanese use Japanese. The “I” is in constant change due to its nature of impermanence, which is constantly changing as well. Therefore there is nothing that does not constantly change. The concept of impermanence is applicable to everything in the universe. You don’t need to look into the future. Simply look back from before to the present and ask, has everything been in constant change? Or has it not? You may feel that except your job, everything else including your salary, colleagues, and the content of your position has been changing. Someone would say, all this time there is no change with my other half. But, isn’t your other half getting older? Does he still look the same as he did on the wedding day many years ago?  Perhaps he would even give you quite a start when you see him all out of a sudden in the middle of the night. When you come to think about your kids growing up, that’s one kind of change. You look quite different from what you appeared to be when you were just a kid. If you have a large family and your parents show a picture of you as a child, upon seeing it you may want to ask, “Was this really me?” “How could I be so ugly?” You would doubt that it was really you. Knowing impermanence may help you reduce attachment to the “self.” So you need to nourish the idea of impermanence and your heart to be willing to give. Only by giving up the egotistic attachment in the heart can you provide genuine help to others.

An ordinary person always regards impermanence as permanence and is unable to see whether or not such a thing has self-nature. So when the realm looms large in front of him, he would have great sufferings. Buddhists do not view the world from a split perspective. Rather, they look at all things to see whether there is permanence or impermanence, existence or non-existence, self-nature, or no self-nature. Such contemplation should constitute the essential approach of all who are learning Buddhism. Therefore from time to time they should observe from within themselves, their families, their friends, to the society as a whole, to experience everything that has no permanence, existence or self-nature, and to accurately cultivate themselves with Buddha Dharma. Constant practice in accordance with Buddha Dharma enables us to cut off the false “I” and “mine,” hence helping us reduce the sufferings and stay far away from cravings and resentment.

Attachment to all afflictions and the “self” should be observed with the recognition of impermanence, non-existence and no self-nature. Only by doing so can we get away from cravings and resentment. On the other hand, it is not possible for those who still have cravings and resentment to cultivate compassion, nor can they experience emptiness, which is a prerequisite for attaining merits with offerings and almsgiving, so that the karma may be transferred. Life after life we keep being born into reincarnation because of the notion of the “I.” So you have to cultivate your “forbearance” through observation in accordance with impermanence, non-existence and no self-nature. That way you can see through all good and evil of the world and readily accept inflictions that you have received, and stay away from the “mine.” When the “mine” no longer has any effect upon you, the karmic influence of “neng” (subjectivity) would naturally be gone as well, allowing you to restore and return to the pure and clean self-nature.

The Buddhist concept of endurance differs from that of a non-Buddhist notion that goes, “If someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” The latter is not considered to be a practice of forbearance. The “forbearance” as referred to in the Six Paramitas is about endurance of all that the human cannot endure, including good and evil things. This also relates to the notion of “relinquishment.”  Ordinary people don’t like those bad things and they have no problem casting off what does not make them feel good. But they are unwilling to relinquish those good things, which lead to egotism. So you need to remember that the key here is to relinquish egotism, and try not to see things with consideration of binary oppositions that they are either good or bad for “me.” This is not the kind of forbearance people usually think of. Many things are natural reactions of the body and cannot be endured, such as the sense of hunger or urination.

To practice like this is not to say that we don’t care about anything. There will be feelings where there are sentient beings, among whom Bodhisattvas are the enlightened ones. We are not blindly opposed to or negating things of others. Instead, we stress the importance of observing them so that they wouldn’t give rise to egotism, so that affliction may be reduced. Buddhism does not teach us to be negative. Rather it wants us to make accurate observations so as to recognize the truth, from which we will understand that the “I” is actually both illusory and impermanent.

We should carefully observe the “I” during true practice. Careful observations should be made in everything we do because if we attach ourselves to the false “I,” then we would go astray from the guru’s teachings and keep breaking the precepts. In particular, we should observe everything that happens to us, to see whether it has permanence or impermanence, existence or non-existence, self-nature or no self-nature.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche keeps good health, so as to be able to do many things in helping the Drikung Kagyu Order as well as the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. Do not think that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will always be here in Taiwan. Maybe one day Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will be in a state all out of a sudden so as to be unavailable to you, and you will have nowhere to find him. Many times Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has warned you of this but you may think that he would still be in Taiwan after so many kind reminders! It would be a good place to be where there are virtuous causal conditions, just as the Long Life Prayer His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang gave to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, which says, “Be at home in the land of various virtuous causal conditions” As long as you still have the opportunity to participate in Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Buddhist teachings in Taiwan every week, you should take them into your heart and act upon them immediately. Don’t even think of saying I have to wait until I have recovered from my illness. Don’t come to attend the pujas only in pursuit of blessings. That wouldn’t help anybody.

Through these processes which help you realize the truth of “non-existence,” “impermanence,” and “no self-nature,” your egotism will be reduced gradually. With reduction of such, compassion will be able to grow, which in turn may lead to the state of emptiness through cultivation. With emptiness, Ultimate Bodhicitta may be attained. It would be empty talk if any of the sequence has been interrupted. This is why in the Threefold Wheel of Essential Emptiness it is mentioned that there is no “I” to give almsgiving. If you have not cultivated to the level of attaining compassion of emptiness, then you would not be able to help sentient beings. That is to say that your compassion is contrived and false. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is giving you the advice; but to some people, it may sound like scolding. If Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche really wants to scold you, the tone and the language would be very harsh. It is likely that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s mandarin with a Cantonese accent may sound harsh.

Master Gampopa teaches us, “To sum up what we have been talking about, there was no “I” in the first place. Rather it was something that we falsely created in our mind and attached ourselves to it. As a result we have a lot of “my’s” and “mine” such as “my children,” “my enemies,” “my properties” and so on. Since we have attached to such concept of “I” and “mine” from out of nowhere, we then have to drift in the sufferings of reincarnation! So we must understand that this so-called “I” is nothing more than just a dream or an illusion, and that it is not only dangerously fragile, but also impermanent.

In reference to the so-called dream or illusion, I’d like all of you to think back a bit about those things that you have ever experienced in the past, whether you liked them or not, no matter how long time ago they occurred, do they still exist now? When you have to face all kinds of things that you either like or dislike, you should do your Buddhist practice so that you may be able to face them with a mentality of impermanence following Buddhist teachings.  When you are able to see through “non-existence,” “impermanence,” and “no self-nature,” you will realize that all things are only the results of causes and conditions according to the law of life and death. They will come to an end one way or another. In this way, you will not get yourself attached to such thought.  When you have no attachment to it any more, you will no longer remember and there is no concept of something being good or bad. Just like the fact that there have been so many sentient beings who requested to see the guru, but Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche really does not remember seeing these people because there is no attachment in the first place.

Some people would wonder if they had accumulated much evil karma from their past lives when they fall ill or find their children are not obedient. As a matter of fact you don’t even need to look back at your past lives, the evil karma resulting from your actions and killings in this life would be more than you can repay. Even though Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has accumulated far less evil karma from the past lives, there still is karmic retribution. Some people may have less karma resulting from killing, but on the other hand they may often have had evil thoughts and over time this kind of karma has been accumulated to shorten their lives. But all lives are also subject to the beneficial influence of their blessed reward – the more they have it, the longer they may live.

Some people would like to tell others that such and such had been princesses or princes in their previous lives; others like to ask about what they had been in their own previous lives. Those who claim to know about what someone was in his previous life are simply lying, as only the Buddha knows what you are in every life that you have had. According to the Ratnakuta Sutra, when a Boddhisttva has attained a certain level of realization, his dreams would show him some signs, telling him the future direction of his practices. This is to help him with his further cultivation. For Buddhists, what is the most important is the present instead of the past, because if you can cultivate yourself well in the present, then it may help and influence your future.

Human life is both dangerously fragile and impermanent. In the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, you can see the manifestation of Buddha Dharma. As you have witnessed three examples this year, do not take it lightly as if you were just listening to a story. Impermanence will occur to every person. The disciple had appeared very well the week before he suddenly died of myocardial infarction. He was gone only in a matter of one week. Furthermore, you probably would not have thought the disciple would be gone the following Tuesday after having made her public repentance, as she had appeared to be energetic enough on the stage. Even she herself might not have thought that it would happen to her that fast.

Master Gampopa continues to speak, “When you come to realize that it is as such, you would not have any reference to your ‘self’ any more. And without referencing your ‘self,’ you would not have the reference to all things ‘mine.’ That’s why the sutras say, ‘If we have no reference to “me” or “mine,” then we’d obtain the most extreme state of being pure and clean.'”

Buddhism teaches the importance of affinity. If your affinity is such that you have to follow Catholicism, Christianity, or Taoism, then try to be an upright person, as you don’t really belong with those who learn Buddhism. That is to say, unlike the other religions, Buddhism does not pit itself against other religions, nor does it try to drag you to it. We respect your affinity. But that does not mean that Buddhists can be easily bullied. As far as Buddhism is concerned, no one can take advantage of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Once there was a disciple who came to request Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to rename his child that he brought along. This could have been something nice. But the disciple was very impatient and lost his temper. Whatever his reasons might be, this gave the whole thing some bad conditional causation. Naming a child by a practitioner or by his grandparents in itself is like seeking good blessings for the child, but his poor attitude caused it to be related to some bad conditional causation. Tibetan Buddhism attaches much importance to conditional causation. Maybe this disciple comes from a rich family, thinking that his family is more important than others. So since a young age he may have formed a habit that his words should be followed. Following others’ arrangement may seem to be a hassle that’s unacceptable to him. But so what if you have money? Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has seen many rich people. One of very well-known entrepreneurs in Taiwan once came to request help with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche on behalf of his brother who had been diagnosed with cancer. But he did not show due reverence so there was no affinity for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to offer any help.

At this point, upon seeing a baby crying and crying, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told the mother to take it to the bathroom at the back. Just as they were approaching the bathroom the baby stopped crying. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then said, normally it does not matter to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche when a baby cries. But this time it was found that the mother might not be experienced enough in taking care of her baby, telling them to go to the back for the time being might help to calm down the baby. The baby stopped crying as soon as they got there. Sure enough, this advice from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had an immediate effect on the crying baby, as everyone there had the opportunity to once again witness the power of Buddha Dharma.

We should try our best to reduce the concept of “I” and “mine,” even to the point where they no longer have any effect. Remember what The Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows says, “Every movement and thought of an ordinary person generates karma and vice.” Because of the existence of the “I,” anything that is being done would produce karma. The Buddhist practice is not meant for the exterior looks, rather, it is meant to cultivate your contemplation in the mind, so as to correct those inherently wrong things as they relate to the body, speech and mind. Even if both the “I” and “mind” cannot be broken altogether, efforts should be made in this direction. So think twice before something comes out of the mouth.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche can perform the Phowa to help the deceased because there is no “I” any more. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche does not have the concept that “I’m performing the Dharma now,” or even that “I’m helping the deceased.” As Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche shares the same Dharma nature with the deceased, the cultivation has reached such a level so as to attain the great compassion based on sameness in essence as well as a state in which the notion of “sentient beings” is broken. To Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, there is no distinction between sentient beings and “me.”  When sentient beings are seen suffering, the self is suffering as they. There is no consideration of his son or disciples when it comes to the help they may receive, as they are helped without distinction.  On the contrary, the disciples may even take the precedence over his son. If a practitioner cannot cultivate himself to the level of the compassion of emptiness, he will not be able to help the deceased.

Master Gampopa continues to teach, “Because of this, we should abandon all kinds of egotism, and in order to abandon reincarnation, as harmful as it is without any benefit, we should perform our true Buddhist practice without the devil of egotism along our side. In the quotation, “If we have no reference to “me” or “mine,” then we’d obtain the most extreme state of being pure and clean,” being “pure and clean” is the way of nirvana (attaining the “pure and clean” state is the same as attaining nirvana). Therefore, we should start from small matters such as making offerings with water and fire, as described above, and keep learning all the way till reaching the state of giving of self, and even to the state that we abandon all forms of cravings and cut off all egotism, recognize and abandon all faults. We should carefully observe where all the faults have been, and relinquish them immediately once we find them.

This is how Master Gampopa teaches, “We should carry on with our learning all the way till the stage of giving of self.” The “giving of self” is not like donating one’s body. This has nothing to do with donation of the bone marrow or the body after one dies. The true giving of self cannot happen until the realization of the Bodhisattva’s emptiness, like what Buddha Shakyamuni did when he cut off his flesh to feed the eagle and then let the missing flesh grow back. It is not something anyone can do to scoop out the eye and let it grow back, as it is only possible when you have attained the Bodhisattva of the Eighth Ground. Nothing is mentioned in the Buddhist sutras about donating the body or the bone marrow. If this is beneficial to sentient beings, then it would have been touched upon by the Buddha a long time before. So don’t donate your bone marrow. Besides, after donating the bone marrow, the donor’s health would gradually deteriorate, and the recipient would not benefit much from this either.

A doctor-disciple expressed his confirmation by explaining that bone marrow donation may only be done by people of older age, as the bone marrow produced in younger people is fresh and healthy, indicating that they would need it as much as possible and so such donation may not be suitable for them. The bone marrow as produced in an older person may not be as beneficial to his body, so the Western medicine thinks that it matters less in doing so. As a matter of fact, once the bone marrow has been taken out, the body is unable to reproduce and replenish it. It’s like someone has donated one of his kidneys and after a while he would find that the function of the other kidney gradually deteriorate. Of course this does not happen overnight. On the other hand, the recipient of the donation may seem to be extending his life at the beginning, but may soon find that the transplanted organ is being rejected as some symptoms start to appear. There are cases in which dialysis is eventually required for both the kidney donor and the recipient.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche carries on, “From the perspective of Tantrism, we do not encourage organ donations. Bone marrow represents our essence and blood, and it cannot be reproduced and replenished. That means that the donor’s health would deteriorate, which would have bad impact upon his Buddhist practice in the future. It may not necessarily bring benefit to the recipient as well. If he cannot be brought to learn about cause and effect from the Buddhist perspective, it would only help the patient increase the cravings about his own body, leaving the recipient first with great hopes but then big disappointment. The efforts to match the right type again and again keep the hope high, only to result in bigger disappointment later, until all possibilities have been used up. How would he be able to put up with this kind of a blow? Besides, it really doesn’t matter how well it can be matched, the actual effect may not necessarily prove helpful to the recipient.

True practice is not about sitting for meditation, reciting the sutras, or worshipping the Buddha. Rather, it’s about whether you really set out to correct the vices as they relate to the body, speech, and mind in accordance with the guru’s teachings. Those who do  will get things turned around, because the mundane path is karma. The supramundane path is about everything being done in order to get oneself liberated from the cycle of life and death. True practice in the supramundane path would lead to the ability to turn karma and result in merits, so that all things along the mundane path may be turned around too.

Relinquishing your faults is in fact another form of practicing giving, because those who think that there is nothing wrong with being egotistic would not be able to recognize their own faults and set out to correct them. That’s why Master Gampopa teaches us to carefully observe where our faults come from and to relinquish our egotism so that we can acknowledge our faults and relentlessly get rid of them.

There is no right or wrong with Buddhism except cause and effect. Repentance is also a form of making offerings and almsgiving. The biggest difference between the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center and other Buddhist centers is that you have the opportunity to see many living examples. In the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, our teachings start from the Dharma method of repentance where Buddha Dharma is revealed directly instead theories being taught. The power may be demonstrated only through public repentance rather than repenting silently in your mind or facing the Buddha’s statute at home. Silent repentance does not count unless you speak it out to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. You must request with the guru for an opportunity to make open repentance in order to speak out all your faults in public without reservation.  All of us know that to stand in front of the audience you’d have to be courageous enough to throw away all your concerns about saving your face, and to repent in public will help you break egotism. Only repentance like that has the power for the merits to start growing.

Even though the disciple who suffered from brain hemorrhage and a stroke a few months ago was repenting by holding the toilet as if it were the guru without any consideration to save his face, his sincerity has helped to save his life. Repentance is one form of making offerings and almsgiving, and it is one of the Seven Branches of Offerings, which may lead to transformation of merits and turning of karma. Merits may also come as result of following the guru’s teachings closely. The first part of “repentance” is to acknowledge and accept the karmic retribution resulting from the evil karma. If the repentance is not sincere, karma will not be turned. All this is not going to take effect without the second part of “repentance,” which is to correct the wrong doings. The disciple who had been diagnosed with cancer and made her public repentance in the puja had expressed her thanks to her boss for letting her continue to come to work after the diagnosis. But how come she had forgotten to express her gratitude to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche who had given her a lot of help during her illness.

Since everyone has his own attachment to the self, he would think himself as being correct and the others as wrong. This is like every family has its own house rules, but such rules differ from household to household. The conflict between the mother and her daughter-in-law comes into being when the latter moves into the house, where the mother wants everything done following her house rules while the newcomer wants to have all things follow her own house rules before marriage. That’s how problems between a mother and her daughter-in-law are created.

Master Gampopa continues, “Because nobody knows when things like the egotism and faults would come back, making complaints and remorseful regrets only when disasters hit you or when you’re lying on your deathbed is indeed a bad act, ignorant as it is ridiculous. Therefore we all need to take actions immediately now, and carry out true practice with diligence!

Learning Buddhism is a process in which you do things with spontaneity instead of deliberation. You can sometimes find people deliberately sitting for meditation or chanting the Buddha’s name on board a plane or a bus. You can see many of them doing so particularly on board a plane bound for Tibet. As a Buddhist, you don’t need to purposefully differentiate yourself from all the other people. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is Rinpoche, who usually sleeps on board a plane. With regard to learning Buddhism, we should practice it from within, and make changes in the mind accordingly, instead of showing it off.

Buddhism is also about introspection. This does not mean that after recognizing the concept of impermanence, non-existence and no self-nature, you should regard everything as unpredictable, and that you should not have any subjective ideas of your own. To break egotism is not the same as to break the subjectivity. Rather, it means that you should not attach your “self” to anything with a sense of permanence. If you try to retreat while still being attached to the “I,” the retreat itself would not be of much benefit. You’d still be doing what you are expected to do on a daily basis, like eating when hungry, sleeping when tired – such needs as sleeping and eating are required by the corporal body. Nor should you think that nothing matters any more as impermanence is with everything! When you’re not as attached to the self as I do, you wouldn’t be making so many mistakes. And when there are not that many mistakes that you make, you’d be living a happy life.

Some people continue to eat meat and smoke after taking refuge. You choose to do what the guru expressly teaches you not to. On the other hand, you choose not to do what the guru teaches you to do. You must know it may be all right if you make a mistake and break the precept but later on you can truly repent and mend your way. But the problem is more serious if you do not want to follow the guru’s teachings. Some people think that they cannot handle it without eating meat or smoking. This is a sign that they have not recognized the concept of impermanence, thinking that their attachment to these things is permanent. When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche went to the retreat in India last November, it was noodles, noodles and noodles for the three meals every day. During the three months of the retreat in the Snow Mountain of Lapchi in 2007, the only food for the three meals every day was white noodles boiled in plain water with two leaves of wild vegetable floating above. If it had been you there, you would not have been able to swallow at all.

A person with so-called affinity does not necessarily mean he is a person who has the affinity to take refuge, take part in the pujas, or become a vegetarian. Nor does it mean that he must have the affinity to be an ordained practitioner. It means that if you cannot follow the way of the Buddha to truly practice it and modify your behavior according to it, then you don’t have the affinity.  So don’t think that you still have a lot of Buddhist sutras to study, or have the knowledge about a certain Buddhist classic, or that you don’t understand anything but still do not want to truly practice.

What is diligence? It does not mean you more or less chant the mantra or perform the Penitential Rite on a daily basis. Diligence refers to being focused and concentrated while exerting your efforts on a certain undertaking. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche does not teach what is not on the Buddhist sutras. If you involve the “I” when attending the teachings, you would not be attentive enough to understand it. Do not think you are not at fault while you would easily forgive yourself but never want to forgive others. Buddhism is about the contrary – be strict with oneself and carefully observe everything in the mind. Otherwise the attachment to the self and afflictions will surely come back. True practice is based on diligence and concentration.

It may sound very easy to break egotism, but the concept of the “I” has been consolidated through many past lives, making it actually very hard to achieve this goal. Thus it is necessary to undergo special training, to put oneself under the gradual influence of the Buddhist practice, and to take a bit of time to do it every day. You may not be able to analyze the situation immediately after the occurrence of each incident, but after going home in the evening you may take some time to review each and every occurrence. This practice is hard to perform at the beginning. So don’t ask how well you are doing it or how long it is going to take. Nothing is mentioned in the Buddhist sutras about how well you have to do it; what is mentioned is that you should keep doing it. Since you are unable to make your observations from one moment to the next on a continuous basis, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is now trying to teach you to at least examine your deeds of the day as they relate to the body, speech and mind. Do not tell me that you cannot correct your acts. Those who say so may be those who do not want true repentance, because they don’t think they are at fault. How would such people feel grateful to sentient beings, or cultivate a heart of compassion?

It is not right to simply seek one’s own enlightenment. That is to say, it would not be right if one is in pursuit of his own enlightenment in order to have his level of accomplishment upgraded. You really do not know how powerful Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is except the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. You remember the disciple who had had a surgery scheduled for her before passing on that Tuesday. But eventually she had been prevented from the surgery and let die immediately. Would you not say that it was powerful? You wouldn’t be able to really know how nice Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is to you until the moment you are about to die. But it may not be so good for you to try to request help with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche when you are ill, because maybe you will pass on very quickly as well.

As a conclusion, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once again stresses in earnest, that you should pay attention to Master Gampopa’s teachings and take immediate actions to practice Buddhism truly and diligently! In learning Buddhism, you should not wait. Make observations in the present instead of the past, be focused, and take immediate action. There is no profound method other than that.

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Updated on January 20, 2012