Event Calendar of The His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche

December 11, 2011

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche presided over the regular puja at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center in Taipei, conducting the Three-In-One Dharma rituals combining those of Buddha Amitabha, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, and Padmasambhava.

Before the puja, a female disciple who took refuge in 2011 shared her experience in which His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche helped her son. It was in 2009 when she first heard the Dharma name of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche as she was invited by her uncle, who took refuge under the guru earlier, to participate at the Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness. In the puja, she felt that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is a great practitioner who has tremendous compassion to sentient beings, and that even the puja was not only different from but far more excellent than all other pujas that she had attended before. In retrospect, she felt she could not have imagined what miserable condition her family of three would be in, had it not been for this conditional causation.

In August 2010, her son began to keep asking for drinks and was suddenly becoming so thin that he was looking quite sick. She thought it was just because the kid had stopped drinking from the milk bottle and lost his appetite. But soon, he was also having trouble sleeping throughout the night. The couple then brought the child to many places to have the frightened soul recalled but to no avail. Then they took him to the hospital for examination. No sooner had they arrived than the doctor tested his blood glucose with a glucose meter and found that the reading had shot over 500. The nurse blamed the couple, “Why did you wait so long before sending him. Don’t you know that he could be going into a coma if you waited a little more?” The doctor told them their child had type I diabetes and was in critical condition. He needed to be sent to the intensive care unit for treatment.

Early next morning, the doctor told the couple that when the child couldn’t find his parents after he woke up, he wreaked havoc in the ICU. So he was transferred to the general wards sooner than scheduled to be taken care of by his parents. In the general wards, the child had to be sent to different departments for all types of testing, and even when he was in the wards, he would receive injections or have his blood glucose tested every two hours. The child got so frightened that no sooner had he seen a nurse entering the room than he jumped out of the bed and cried and tried to run away. Then there would be another struggle trying to catch him. The couple was at a complete loss as to what to do facing this situation except that they kept crying.

At this time it suddenly came to her mind that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was a very powerful practitioner and might be able to help her boy. Immediately she tried to contact her uncle, who in turn would arrange for her to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. As she was requesting a leave of absence for her child to see Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the doctor put it quite politely, “Medically speaking, Type I diabetes is incurable. But you should trust the doctors instead of some folk remedy. Even seeing Rinpoche may only turn out to be another form of psychological comfort.” Upon hearing this, she believed that her child may have to live with an illness with no cure for the rest of his life.

Upon arriving at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, the boy thought that it was just another place for testing and started crying very loudly outside. He was struggling so hard that her husband almost couldn’t hold onto him. At that moment she was kneeling in the Center, anxious as she was. She was worried that the commotion from her son might have distracted other people and disturbed the tranquility of the Buddhist Center, and she was also worried that they wouldn’t be able to see Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. To her surprise, upon hearing the boy’s crying and struggling, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche waved her family to step forward and asked the child to come into the Center. As soon as he saw Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the boy immediately stopped crying. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told the boy not to be afraid, as there were no doctors or syringes here. The child looked to the left and right nervously but found that it indeed was a different place, and started to listen to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in silence. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked her, “What seems to be the matter?” She replied, “My child was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. I was hoping that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could give him blessings and make him less painful, so that the whole family will be able to accept this as a matter of fact.”

At that time, she only knew that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was very powerful. But she had no idea how powerful, and even thought that Buddhism might only be used as a form of psychological comfort. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche looked at them with kindness all written on the face, and said, “I don’t understand a word that you said. But I only cure the incurable – those illnesses that the doctors have no way to cure.” After a little pause, the guru continued, “I understand all your sufferings, as I have children of my own. Of course I know the sufferings of parents when their kid has a serious illness.” “The poor child,” the guru went on, “was scared of the injections in the hospital, and was thinking that he now has come to another such place.” The guru then told them if they didn’t get help from Buddha Dharma, the child would have to go through even more sufferings, and may even blame his parents for that in the future. The guru then asked them to do some serious thinking whether they would like to accept the help of Buddha Dharma.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche teaches them: the family’s heavy karma resulting from killing was a reason that the kid got so sick, who, having heavy karma of killing, came to be born into the family. Typically, the family feasted on different kinds of meat and fish on a regular basis and had no knowledge about the importance of worshipping the Buddha or cultivating the field of blessedness for the child. Sure enough, her husband’s grandfather had been a fisherman. With Keelung as his hometown, they normally ate more fish, meat and seafood than ordinary people. And on top of all that, she was an epicurist, often enjoying a feast in many different places. Only after attending the pujas did she realize that a child’s illness was the manifestation of karmic influence. Before that, she had always felt that she was a nice person, feeling that she was not at fault. She was not aware that intentionally or unintentionally she had been hurting many sentient beings just to satisfy her cravings and egotistic desires. She even thought that it was her right to eat meat and fish and didn’t regard those sentient beings, which she had hurt, as important. In retrospect, now she felt she had simply been selfish and had had no compassion.

She was very grateful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for giving her family the opportunity to learn Buddhism, and for making her and her husband realize their faults and understand impermanence. She felt even more so for the teachings given her by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche on how to make offerings and almsgiving so that she could accumulate blessed rewards and causal conditions. This would allow her to make up for the offenses as related to the body, speech and mind. Her gratitude also went for the many opportunities in which she might be able to create favorable conditions with Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Now that she could depend on the guru as well as Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, she had a good opportunity to mend her way and eventually pass on to the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss.

Her son currently is in pretty good condition. The doctor suggested that he be administered the injection of 30 units of insulin every day when he was being discharged from the hospital. But he now only requires six to seven units to keep his blood glucose stable, which is something miraculous that the doctor may feel difficult to explain. Every time she went back with him to the hospital for his check-up, she would see so many kids sufferings along with their parents just like her and her husband before. She was eager to share with them the miraculous experience that her son had with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, but more often than not she would see that they kept a distance while maintaining their politeness and a reserved attitude. At one time she was even upset and wondered why they would not accept something as beneficial as this. She told Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche about this observation once she was able to see the guru, who advised that it was all a matter of affinity. Every time she comes to think about the sufferings that some people and their families have to go through, she really feels that her family is so blessed that they could have the affinity to see a grand practitioner, who has the merits just like Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and receive help and be bathed with the nurture of Buddha Dharma.

If it had not been for the illness of her child, she would not have known how serious her offenses and how grand her faults had been. Only when you have to go through sufferings would you be able to understand the severity and profundity of the sufferings brought about to sentient beings. Nor would she have realized how important it was to learn Buddhism – without doing so it would just be like living in the world for nothing – or how important to repent the evil karma resulting from her thoughts and actions. She will take good advantage of this opportunity to repent every vice that had come from the evil karma through the body, speech and mind, including eating animals that flew in the sky, crawled on the earth and swam in the water, killing, stealing, cheating on the time cards in the company, sexual misconduct, associating with people that her parents had not approved of, lying, verbal abuse, dual personality, overly flattering, cravings, disbelief in Buddhism, and strong subjectivity, and so on and so forth. In particular, she had been very self-righteous during her childhood, constantly talking back at her parents and making them upset. Now that her own child is saddening her – the karmic retribution of all her past vices coming back to her – she must endure it all.

Now she examines herself every day with the Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas, to see if she has gradually mended her way. But often she would find that she is not doing well enough, and not able to always act according to the guru’s teachings. Only by contemplating what Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has taught would she be able to control her own desires. The help that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has provided the disciples is so tremendous comparing to the gratitude received from them which is so insignificant. Only by closely following the guru’s teachings and mend their ways would they be able to live up to the expectations of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche as well as Buddhas and Bodhisattvas who gave them such an opportunity. They can only hope that one day they would be able to repay this debt of gratitude by making offerings with what they have through the purified and undefiled body, speech, and mind.

She continued to share with the attendees. There was a friend of hers who had been practicing Exoteric Buddhism for a long time. He came to attend the Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness presided over by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche personally this year (2011). Afterwards, her friend, as impressed and touched as he was, told her that the guru was a rare treasure of the world, since the guru did not install or honor anyone into the so-called “major donors” in the grand puja as other Buddhist centers generally do, and every Saturday was used to meet with the believers who needed help followed by the Sunday lectures where Buddha Dharma was taught. Tirelessly, the guru continues exerting efforts on behalf of sentient beings. He thought that such a practitioner no longer existed in the world. Acts like those may only be found in Buddhist classics instead of the real world. Particularly, there were even auspicious holes in the skull of the deceased who had been liberated by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. How incredible! While we are grateful for the painstaking efforts of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, there are so many sentient beings with no one to depend on or teach them how to be saved just like her who was in urgent need of the help and teachings of the guru. So we can only pray that His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche be healthy, the Wheel of the Dharma keep turning, the Drikung Kagyu Order and Buddhism flourish throughout the world.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performed the Three-In-One Dharma combining those of Buddha Amitabha, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara and Padmasambhava in the puja. As it was started, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche talked about the likely mispronunciation that many people tend to make with regard to the first character of the name of “Amitabha” in Mandarin, which would be “Oh.” But the correct pronunciation for this beginning character should really be “Ah.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had made comments on this many times in the past. It is true that in China, everybody knows about Amitabha, and that chanting his name would enable them to pass on to the Pure Land. But is making a vow really enough for you to go there eventually? Not necessarily.

It is stated in the Amitabha Sutra, “Those good men and women who make a vow to be reborn to the Pure Land must have no lack of virtues and causal conditions.” It’s not as simple as making a vow and chanting Buddha’s name before you die and you’d be able to pass on. To qualify, you must meet the condition of being one of “Those good men and women who have no lack of virtues and causal conditions.” The Buddha had set a standard of “good” for the Human Realm. So if you are in the Human Realm then you have met the requirement of being “good.” Those who did not meet this requirement would not be there. On the other hand, the essence of being a human is being a good human. If you don’t meet this requirement, you’d not be able to move on to the Pure Land. The “good” referred to in here does not mean the “good” as in being a “good” person. Instead, it refers to the “Ten Meritorious Acts.”  Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has elaborated on them before so no details will be touched upon today.

The meaning of “must have no lack of” refers to the practitioner’s cultivation of virtues on a continuous basis without interruption. Do not think that you would be qualified to move on to the Pure Land simply by attending the annual Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness. If it were that easy, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would be the first to raise his hand to stop performing retreats. During every grand event as such, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche always reminds that the Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness is for the purpose of liberating the deceased instead of the living to the Pure Land. Your attendance here gives you an opportunity to create favorable conditions with Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

“Virtues and causal conditions” may be divided into two parts. “Virtues” refer to that which is attained through offerings and almsgiving, which have been elaborated upon in previous pujas when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was teaching the Dharma method of making offerings and almsgiving. Offerings and almsgiving do not have the function of making you healthy or giving you the ability to make a fortune, or what many people consider as “going in secret but coming back in an open manner.” As a matter of fact, these benefits in the world are all related to the Law of Dependent Origination. True merits resulting from offerings and almsgiving will lead to all egotism being severed. If there is still egotism, not even making a vow would help you go on to the Pure Land. You still remember the disciple with breast cancer who had passed on the week before the last. Egotism arose because she had heard her family talk about burying her in the earth, resulting in having to wait for four hours before Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could be found to perform the Phowa for her.

Do not think that you no longer have any egotism. In fact all your hearts are filled with egotism. If you still have a strong sense of discrimination between what you like and dislike, that means you still have much egotism and wouldn’t be able to pass on to the Pure Land. In your everyday life you don’t make any offerings or almsgiving, and even have trouble coming to the puja with others telling you there is something more important than the puja. If you really think there’s someone or something that’s more important than the puja, you don’t have to come in the first place. The phrase “must have no lack of,” if applied here, means you should keep coming to the puja. We are not a school or a company here, so you cannot ask Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for a leave of absence. If you really want a leave of absence, then simply don’t come at all.

Some people come to see Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche only when they are sick, hoping that the guru would be able to cure them, saying that they have little children to look after and their wives are still quite young. Words like these are actually a threat or an intimidation to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. All humans die, and even Buddha Shakyamuni’s corporal body had to die. How can ordinary people like us not die? After you joined in learning Buddhism, you may consider it as a privilege to live a little bit longer, but never an opportunity to threaten and intimidate Buddhas and Bodhisattvas by saying that you’d go and benefit sentient beings after your illness has been cured. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gives you more time so that you can practice more instead of enjoying more of yourself being together with your family.

There was another female disciple with breast cancer who, instead of being allowed by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to participate in the puja, was asked to sit outside of the entrance of the Buddhist Center. This was so because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had told her when giving her blessings that the extra time that she had had to live was for her to learn Buddhism so that she might have an opportunity to be reborn to the Pure Land. But she did not want to listen, thinking that the blessings Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave her were for her to enjoy her family life better. She had believed that her brothers and sisters were more important than the guru. But after she gave them all her money, nobody was really interested in keeping her as a family member. Only then did she realize that it was the guru who had truly treated her kindly.

If you come to the puja with a mentality to take advantage of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas like that, you may go to other Buddhist centers, which can be readily recommended to you by our ordained practitioners present here today. If you only want to “listen to Buddhist sutras” without “acting on them” and mending your way, you would not be able to accumulate enough virtues. Those who do not make offerings and almsgiving surely have egotism. It exists in all of you. What you are able to accumulate are virtues of the Human and Heaven Realms, which cannot be used to change the karma and may only be used in your next lives. But merits are something that you can only obtain through cultivating – the kind of Buddhist practice in which you do not expect anything in return to satisfy your own self-interest.

Perhaps you would say, isn’t it that we are required to make a vow to be able to go to the Pure Land? To make a vow in order to be able to go to the Pure Land is not the same as to request something in return to satisfy your self-interest. The vow is something you make to enable you to receive Dharma teachings from Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in the Pure Land, so that you may have the opportunity to attain the state of Buddhahood in your future lives and benefit many more people. The Pure Land is not meant as a place where you enjoy yourselves or shelter an asylum. Nor does going there mean that you may leave all illnesses such as cancer to the Evil World of Five Turbidities. While according to Buddhist sutras the Pure Land is a wonderful place, where you can have whatever you want, eat whatever you desire, and everything comes to you naturally, it is not intended for you to go and enjoy yourself there. So don’t think that once you get there, you’ll be able to have as much money and children as you want. That wouldn’t be possible. The Pure Land will provide you with an excellent environment in which you can learn and practice Buddhism.

Buddha Amitabha only exists with Mahayana Buddhism, but not with Southern Buddhism or Theravada Buddhism. If you ask about Buddha Amitabha in a place where Theravada is popular, they would tell you that they do not know, as He is not mentioned in the Agamas or the Samyuktagama. Buddha Amitabha is a Buddha who was especially introduced by Buddha Shakyamuni for the sake of sentient beings in the Age of Degenerate Dharma.

Whether you possess “causal conditions” or not depends on whether you attentively and diligently follow the teachings of the guru and Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. You need to create such causal conditions for learning Buddhism. The heart of compassion of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas is constant. But yours is at times on and at times off. How to keep this heart of compassion going on? It’s important to keep your heart in constant remembrance and reverence of the guru and Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, follow their teachings, and continuously creating favorable conditions. Only by doing so can we continue to have causal conditions with Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Even if it may require painstaking efforts, we still need to carry on by following the teachings of the guru every day. The same is true with mantra chanting, which should be carried out consistently regardless of whether we are in good mood or not.

No matter how much I talk, and how hard I try to convince you, it just cannot seem to get into your ears. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once told you a story about a male disciple’s mother, who took refuge under a Dharma master in Exoteric Buddhism. This Dharma master had been ordained for over 30 years and reached the position second only to the abbot of the temple. She had a large number of disciples, and hosted pujas in which she chanted Buddhist sutras in front of an audience of followers that were more in number than all the ordained practitioners present here. But she was diagnosed with cancer. As she had such egotism that she must see Buddha Amitabha with her own eyes, she did not even dare to sleep with her eyes closed toward the end, for fear that she might miss the coming of Buddha Amitabha and thereby could not be guided by the Buddha to the Pure Land. It was Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche who later helped her to the Pure Land by performing the Dharma. Even though she had been an ordained practitioner for many years, the fact that she had only been listening to instead of acting on the Buddhist sutras lead to her illness with cancer. It was too bad that nobody was able to teach her how to act on the Buddhist sutras, resulting in her inability to implement the Dharma in her daily life.

The Three-In-One Dharma that is being conducted today has been performed many times by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in the past, at least two or three times a year. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is performing this Dharma for you today as it is the yearend, which means the guru has one year less left to do so – time is running out. However, from your perspective, you may think that you still have many things to do. In fact, there are more things that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will be doing on behalf of the Drikung Kagyu Order, having come here as soon as stepping off the airplane to perform the Dharma for you today, with tons of things waiting to be done in the evening as well.

It’s quite popular among ordinary people to request a Dharma master to help liberate the deceased. A well-known Dharma master may charge anywhere from one million New Taiwan dollars to host a puja held specially for a particular person who has passed on. Even Dharma masters not so well-known may charge 300,000 NT dollars. Some people think that they can be liberated to the Pure Land after they pass away with the help of sutra chanting by 100 or 1,000 ordained practitioners. None of Buddhist sutras has mentioned about how much should be charged for helping liberate the deceased; but if this service is charged, not even 1,000 practitioners chanting together would help.

The one last thought through the ten last thoughts as mentioned in The Amitabha Sutra refer to the thoughts that occur in the mind of the dying person instead of the action of chanting the sutra. If the last thought of the dying is about Buddha Amitabha, then he surely will pass on to the Pure Land. Thus it’s important to keep the thought of Buddha Amitabha in mind. No one who spends money to request such a service will be able to help get the deceased liberated, nor will these who accept money to perform the Dharma be able to help the deceased to go to the Pure Land, as the Five Sutras of the Pure Land School does not mention any fees for helping with the liberation of the deceased. If the Buddhist temples do not have enough funding, Dharma practitioners may request the believers to make offerings with flowers, fruits, and incense. And the believers themselves may decide in which form they should make offerings so that the Dharma can be performed. Dharma practitioners are supposed to provide service to the believers and such service should be free of charge in the first place.

The Dharma practitioners should not have to worry that their Buddhist temples will not be able to continue the operation for lack of funding. To do so would be to underestimate the power of both Dharma Protectors Skanda and Garan. As long as they have a temple in which all practices have been conducted in accordance with Buddha Dharma, these two protectors should make sure that nothing happens within the temples. On the other hand, if something does happen within, then it may mean that their practices have not been following Buddha Dharma. If, in the future, someone tells you something which is not depicted in Buddhist sutras, you may ask him to show you in which part of the sutras it was written. If anyone is claiming to be performing Dharma but it is not stated in the Buddhist sutras, such dharma is false. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will absolutely not perform any false dharma. If the Dharma as conducted by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center had not been true, then there would not have been more and more followers in the Center. So nothing is performed if it is not described in the Buddhist sutras.

Today is Buddha Amitabha’s birthday, which is a day not suitable for conducting anything according to the Chinese yellow astrological calendar. However, it is believed according to Buddha Dharma that a puja is needed more on such days than on others. Thus even if it means extra work, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would like to perform Dharma for you on this special occasion, so that you may be able to create favorable conditions with Buddha Amitabha. It is also hoped that this puja will benefit all sentient beings in the Six Realms. In all of Taiwan, only Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is taking it so seriously and earnestly in promoting the Dharma, and that’s why you should cherish such an opportunity. “Belief” is the mother of all merits. You must deeply believe in the Dharma, believe that you’ve committed much evil karma and believe in the notion of impermanence. Only in such a manner, can you attain the realization.

The key to learning Buddhism is your mindset. But that does not mean that you should have no temperament. Some people have the idea of learning Buddhism in order to become gentler and not to lose their temper so easily. Thus way their boyfriends would be fonder of them. If you have this thought of using Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, you don’t need to come again. Being good-tempered has nothing to do with learning Buddhism, as temper is a reflection of your physical condition as well as the accumulated habits through many past lives. Stop using Buddhas and Bodhisattvas any more as you have wasted one year’s time now. Stop wasting time. Others come to the puja in the hopes that they can have better health or better business, and if this is the case, please don’t come either. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche may, on the contrary, request the Dharma protectors to add troubles to your business. If it is your purpose to participate in the puja so that you may achieve a petty goal of being healthier, unfortunately you don’t have the right intention in the first place.

You remember the disciples who came to the front to share their story before the puja. If they had not mentioned, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would have forgotten the help given to them. When the couple brought the child and requested to see Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the boy was crying and struggling quite hard. You might think that he was like that because he had just seen a ghost. They didn’t tell Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche about the injections he had been receiving in the hospital. Nonetheless one of the first things that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said to comfort the child was that there were no needles here and that he needed not be afraid. Upon finding that it was indeed a different place from the hospital, the boy immediately calmed down. That was how you put Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to the test.

When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is helping you by performing the Dharma, you need to calm down your heart and not think too much. Do not ask too much in your mind, as today you have the opportunity to farm your field of blessedness. Don’t assume that you’re farming the field of blessedness simply by giving offerings to the ordained practitioners because they wear the garment of the field of blessedness. Only by making offerings to the Buddha like this today can we say that you’re really farming the field of blessedness. When you attend the puja, you should have a mentality that it’s not only for yourself, but also for helping others. Those who farm the field of blessedness in front of the Buddha surely shall be able to liberate themselves from the cycle of life and death and become a Buddha in one of their lives.

Next, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began performing Buddha Amitabha’s Ritual. The first part consisted of the arousal of aspiration, making offerings to the Yidam, prayers for the enthronement of Buddha Amitabha, and then another round of offerings to the Yidam. Exoteric Buddhism also has a ritual for establishing the Dharma boundary, such as with chanting Praises to the Incense. But this is not enough. In Tantrism, it is important that the presiding guru must perform a retreat, during which he contemplates the Yidam very clearly and becomes attuned to the Yidam. After the guru conducts the ritual of Yidam well, attaining perfect attunement with the Yidam, as a result, Buddha Amitabha appears within movement of a thought. But if it is just an ordinary person who performs the ritual simply by reciting the Dharma text, nobody would even know if Buddha Amitabha really comes. Today, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is performing the Dharma here for you so that you’ll all have an opportunity to create favorable conditions with Buddha Amitabha. Don’t assume that Buddha Amitabha would know you whenever you’re chanting the mantra. No, Buddha Amitabha would not know you. Buddha Amitabha only knows His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, the grand practitioners, and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche because you have not yet made the vow.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performed the Dharma for all, and took the lead in chanting the Buddha Amitabha’s heart mantra. After that, the guru instructed the attendees to sit in silence. After a few moments, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked who the mother of the child was, who was allowed to stand and walk around. The guru commented that she had not fulfilled her responsibility to teach her child how to behave so that the boy was allowed to wander about at a moment as important as this. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche further instructed that the female disciple leave the Buddhist Center immediately, and should not be allowed to attend the puja in the Center in the future. Nor should her offerings be accepted any more. She would only be allowed to sit at the entrance. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then asked the general director of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center whether it currently had enough funding for its operation. When he answered “yes,” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then advised that since many people were prohibited from making offerings, in the event that the Center did not have enough funding, it should be reported to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who in turn would make necessary subsidies as needed.

It was one of the most important moments when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed everyone to sit in silence. Yet the mother of this child allowed him to wander about, distracting the others. Obviously she had not lived up to her responsibility of teaching him how to behave. As young as he was, his behavior had interfered with the others trying to sit in silence. This showed that the child’s mother was not paying enough attention to the guru, thinking that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s instruction to sit in silence had nothing to do with the child, and did not bother to keep him well behaved. Had it been an event to bestow blessings or empowerment, she would have thought that it had to do with the child. How could you carry on with learning Buddhism if you have a discriminating mind like this? This clearly showed that she was not paying attention while following Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in chanting the mantra, causing her to lose focus when the guru instructed for all to sit in silence, and allowed her child to go to the bathroom at that moment. This also showed that she was here just for the blessings and protection rather than truly wanting to learn Buddhism.

After each mantra chanting, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would tell everyone to sit in silence. The guru knows that you don’t have the natural capacity to learn to sit in meditation. In the puja, if the guru leads you in sitting in silence, it would be quite easy for you to enter into meditative state. Even if you’re not able to enter into meditative state, you should be able to enter into the realm of tranquility. As a matter of fact, during the time you were just sitting in silence, the guru has already completed performing a tantra.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed that part of the offerings be shared among all the disciples present so that we could create an opportunity in which there would be the affinity that we could enjoy the food with Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in the Pure Land in the future.

After that, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performed the Dharma of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, and taught that the great Six-syllable Mantra is the very essence of all esoteric mantras. To chant the mantra, you should not follow what is taught among ordinary people as the correct method, with one hand hold onto the prayer beads and the other pressing the counter. That way it will be useless. Instead, this process involves many rituals, and you should chant the mantra following such rituals in order to make it effective. Some people, when they are chanting the mantra, have a lot of thoughts, or feel drowsy, sleepy, or fall asleep. All this is bad. According to the Dharma text, if any mantra is chanted with a mind of confusion and distraction, mantra chanting is of no use at all. A mind of confusion refers to a false heart, or a mind that does not understand the purpose. The purpose of mantra chanting is to carry out constant remembrance of the Buddha and learn Buddhas’ and Bodhisattvas’ compassion, wisdom, and aspiration for benefiting sentient beings. We must constantly remind ourselves that Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are dedicating to a grand cause in which their compassion will benefit countless sentient beings.

None of the Buddhist sutras mentions anything about using a counter to calculate how many times you have chanted except the prayer beads. Don’t think that the counter may help you keep the count. Every time you click it, your heart makes a move, distracting you from the chanting. As far as sitting in meditation is concerned, what matters is not how long you can sit; rather, it is the moment of sitting in which you have entered into meditative state that counts, even if that moment only lasted one second. One second of sitting in meditative state is better than ten hours of sitting with confusion and distraction.

Just at this point, another mother was taking her child to go to the bathroom. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche scolded immediately, and instructed that they leave the Buddhist Center and should not be permitted to make offerings in the future. The guru continued to comment that this disciple’s husband had once complained about the sufferings of having no children. Now that they do have a child, don’t they still have suffering? Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed again that in the event of lack of funding for the Buddhist Center to maintain its operation since more and more people have been prohibited from making offerings, it will be subsidized by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche upon proper notification. The guru further warned the believers who were present that they had seen the guru expel a disciple for improper conduct today and should be careful before deciding to take refuge under Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, as any of them might be the next one expelled, and it now looked like there were too many disciples. The ordained practitioners here would be able to introduce you to other Buddhist temples to learn Buddhism as many of them didn’t have enough believers.

It is the end of the year again and there are quite some actions that many people are conducting on behalf of their many Buddhist centers. They try to call you in order to get contact information of someone you know, and invite them to the pujas. The entrance fees that they charge individuals start from 1,000 NT dollars, as comparing to the practice of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center which does not charge anything at all. If we follow their mode of operation, as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is performing the Dharma today, we can set up a lamp of bright light on each side of the Buddhist Center, with many red and yellow name tapes decorating the walls. No one would dare to refuse if the entrance fee of the puja is set at 1,000 NT dollars per person. We have more than 1,150 people attending the puja today, which would translated into more than one million NT dollars just for one puja. On top of that, if we add the name list of the deceased who are to be liberated, charging 1200 NT per name, it would come to another significant amount of money. So it is quite obvious that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is financially suffering a huge loss by helping all of you perform the Dharma free of charge today.

Because of the attention given to their children, those mothers were not able to concentrate on the puja. These little friends at the puja were not to blame but due to their mothers’ distraction they had been impacted as well. When you are sleeping at night, you usually sleep through quite a few hours like a log that you wouldn’t even notice if you children have wet the bed. Why then have you become so sensitive at the Buddhist Center? Each time you come to attend the puja you aren’t expected to spend more than three hours here. Do you really need to change the baby during this short period of time? Aren’t you taking advantage of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas by doing so? Also, some older people often walk around during the puja, thinking that they cannot understand Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Mandarin, so they go to the bathroom and then find out what the guru will be up to when they come back. How can you learn Buddhism with this kind of discriminating mind? In the future if there are older people who go to the bathroom during the puja, they don’t need to come back again. They can wait to see if they have the causal conditions to receive the Dharma by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche when they die. The guru instructed the general director of the Buddhist Center to prepare special diapers, so that those who has the need to go to the bathroom during the puja may wear them instead. If the baby is sick and needs to be changed, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would make an exception without scolding. But that was not the case with those who left for the bathroom as none of them appeared to be ill at all.

You can pass on to the Pure Land when you don’t have any egotistic thoughts any more. So don’t take anything lightly. Every syllable that the guru utters and every move that the guru makes is eventually meant for the moment when you die. Therefore you should remember this special day before you pass on and that will help you. Even though you may not know when it will become of use to you, it will surely be conducive to the reduction of the seeds of five poisons, which refer to craving, resentment, ignorance, pride, and doubt. With regard to doubt, stop having a heart of doubt any longer, as doubt about the teachings of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and the Buddha Dharma, and even attempts to try to learn Buddhism your own way, would all prevent you from being liberated from the cycle of life and death.

When you chant the mantra, you should do so with a concentrated mind. If only your lips are moving, it would be like playing a tape recorder. There were a lot of explanations in the Dharma texts about this, but Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche uses the tape recorder as a metaphor. Your mind cannot be concentrated, as it’s normally in a state of mess. But if you cannot get it focused, it doesn’t matter how much mantra chanting you complete. This is why Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has been holding the puja every week no matter how busy and how tired he is, in order to expound the Buddha Dharma for you so that during the few hours while you are shut in, you may be trained to concentrate your mind. Or at least you wouldn’t have so many thoughts during these few hours.

According to the Dharma text, if you follow the guru’s pith instructions and practice meditation diligently starting from the Development Stage but still cannot attain realization, then the Vajradhara is telling a lie. From the perspective of Drikung Kagyu Order, Vajradhara is regarded as the No. 1 Buddha, and attaining realization means liberation from the cycle of life and death. Why then do we need to listen to the guru of Vajrayana expounding on the Dharma? It’s because every word the guru says is of effect in that it may help you connect the Development Stage and the true meditative practice with diligence. From the point of practitioners with superior root capacity, if connection can be made between the Development Stage and the meditative practice with diligence and concentration, surely the cycle of life and death can be broken.

As beginners, surely you are not expected to reach this level. But at least you should conduct true practice by following the Dharma text: take refuge with simple but true practice. “Simple” means simply follow the instructions of the guru without adding any thoughts or modes of your own. What the guru instructs, follow to the letter; what the guru does not mention, never put into action. What Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche does not teach would not be found in the Buddhist sutras. It’s as simple as that. With regard to a mind of confusion and distraction, confusion comes into being when you use your own thoughts. According to the Dharma text, if you chant the mantra with a mind like that, you’d be very far from reaching the attainment. That means that you’d be far away from being liberated from the cycle of life and death.

There is a saying among ordinary people that when chanting the mantra, you should not jump over the Buddha-head on the prayer beads. Instead, you should turn it over, as it does represent the head of Buddha. However, in every retreat, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would chant the mantra from hundreds of thousands to even over a million times. If the Buddha-head is turned over and over again, who would know where it would have been turned to? Would you call that as being respectful? Others say you should chant the name of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara during the day and that of Buddha Amitabha during the night. Chanting the name of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara during the day because the former is responsible for liberating beings in the Human Realm and chanting the name of the latter because Buddha Amitabha is responsible for liberating beings in the Ghost Realm. None of such assumptions is found in the Buddhist sutras, and they are just making a simple matter complicated. What the guru and the Buddhist sutras are teaching is such that it is meant for you to put into the true practice through life, and if you can just do that, you’d be able to have the cultivation reach the Human and Heaven Realms in this life of yours.

So why should we particularly practice the Dharma of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara? That’s because Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara was a disciple of Buddha Amitabha, and when the Dharma period of Buddha Amitabha comes to an end, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara will take over and be in charge of the Western Realm of Ultimate Bliss. Then, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began to lead attendees in reciting the Refuge Prayer, and stressed the importance of taking refuge and arousing the aspiration before performing Dharma. In the prayers the guru and the Three Treasures are mentioned. Why is the guru mentioned first? It’s not that the guru is more important than the Buddha. Rather, it’s because you are not qualified or able to see Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Therefore, Tibetan Buddhism attaches great importance to the guru, since you will only receive the teachings of Buddha Dharma by way of the guru. The prayers also state that the practitioners, along with all sentient beings, reverently takes refuge under the yidam and the Dharma Protector in order to be liberated from the suffering sea of reincarnation by attaining the fruit of enlightenment through diligent practice and Stage Completion, and thus benefit all sentient beings.

The merits resulting from chanting the great Six-syllable Mantra will bring benefit to all sentient beings. When you are chanting it, do not allow yourself to have a discriminating mind or any thought regarding things you like or don’t like. You should have compassion. You cannot have compassion if you still have the thought of likes and dislikes. The dichotomy between likes and dislikes should not be a notion associated with the mind of those who cultivate on the path of Bodhisattva. It may be acceptable that someone says “I like you” in a romantic relationship. But everyone has his own strengths and weakness, so the dichotomy of likes and dislikes should not apply.

It is mentioned in the Dharma text that one has to perform the true practice with diligence and vigor in order to sever the Six Faults, i.e., faults resulting through the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind. Chanting with vigor does not mean using brute force when you are chanting the mantra; instead, it refers to the kind of chanting with constant concentration and calmness but without yielding to tiredness or exertion. Having the right mentality when you are chanting the mantra is the most important. If your mind is set right, it does not matter even if your pronunciation is not always correct. Only in this way can the offenses and hindrance in the mind-continuum be cleansed. According to the Dharma text, if you conduct the true practice by following the lead of the guru, you will be able to “cleanse all the offenses and hindrance.” But try not to misunderstand it. “Cleansed” does not mean disappearance of karmic retribution, which surely will come to you. Rather, it means that when it does come to you, it will not interfere with your Buddhist practice. Without this process of cleaning, you would have great difficulty carrying on with learning Buddhism. In fact, karmic retribution is the result of what you have done yourself, so it’s right to come back for you to suffer. Only by chanting the mantra with diligence and vigor can you connect your body, speech and mind with those of the yidam. Many times Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has helped you with cleansing in the puja, but the poisons would occur again through the body, speech and mind after you have been out, continuing the accumulation of new evil karma. Such cleansing will not be helpful any more.

When we start chanting the mantra in a moment, do not assume that it will be beneficial to the improvement of health condition with regard to particular parts of your body. With this idea, your chanting will not have any effect. But with compassion, we expect that Dharma will bring help to all sentient beings.

After chanting the great Six-syllable Mantra, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed everyone to sit in silence for a while.

After that, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued to perform the simplified Ritual of Padmasambhava for all the attendees. Padmasambhava is not worshiped in Exoteric Buddhism as shown worshiped only with Tibetan Buddhism. Legend has it that Padmasambhava was born inside a lotus flower instead of via a human body. Buddhist sutras even recorded the history of the period when Padmasambhava came to Tibet: Lama Atisha was building a Buddhist temple in Tibet. He finished the building during the day, and the devil came to demolish it during the night. This went on over and over again. In the end, Lama Atisha requested the Tibetan king to send in Padmasambhava to Tibet, who then turned the devils into submission. During this period there were also some Chinese Dharma masters in the Zen School of Exoteric Buddhism who introduced the Zen School to Tibet. According to the Buddhist sutras, Padmasambhava had some debates with them on the subject of Buddha Dharma. As a result, Padmasambhava proved to be more insightful in the elaboration of the Buddha Dharma. And so he stayed on to further promote the Dharma in Tibet. There are many rituals in Tibetan Buddhism, which have been passed down since Padmasambhava came to Tibet. It can be said that without Padmasambhava, Tibetan Buddhism would have no tantra. Accordingly, all four major Buddhist Orders practice the Dharma Ritual of Padmasambhava.

According to the Buddhist sutras, Padmasambhava left Tibet riding a white horse after promoting the Buddha Dharma there for more than 700 years. He prophesied upon his departure that he would become the king of the Rakshasa Kingdom in the East. Rakshasas are ghosts that eat humans. Many people are nowadays contracting nameless diseases which make them skinnier and weaker. Such are victims of the Rakshasas. Padmasambhava went to the Rakshasa Kingdom to rule them in the hopes that their harm to the humans could be reduced.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche mentioned when performing the Dharma for all the attendees that there was a prayer in the Dharma text praising Padmasambhava – the Yidam of nirvana wisdom, protected by Dakas and Dakinis. It wishes that Padmasambhava can remain as the guru of the practitioners life after life, removing all obstacles for learning Buddhism, revealing the nature of illumination, i.e., Dharma-nature, and benefiting all sentient beings. Your body, speech and mind will be no different from those of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. But in order for that to become true, you have to achieve it through cultivation.

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Updated on February 12, 2012