Event Calendar of The His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche

December 18, 2011

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche presided over the auspicious Green Tara Puja at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center in Taipei.

Before the puja, a female disciple shared her experience of being helped by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

In March 2011, her husband was facing a middle-age crisis in that he might lose his job, causing him to live in depression, fear and nervousness every day. Though she had been learning the Exoteric Buddhism for quite a long time, she felt helpless and didn’t know what to do. So she began busying herself with a series of activities such as setting up the memorial tablet for the purpose of ancestors’ liberation, participating in Buddha-Seven activities and the Penitential Rites, chanting the sutras as well as attending Pujas of Water and Land, making pilgrimage to famous temples, and providing volunteer work. Every time she went out it would be a week, 10 days or even half a month. But contrary to her good wishes, her husband became even more fearful and nervous, to the point that he didn’t even want to eat or drink. At this point she suddenly realized that something was very wrong. Fortunately her sister, an ordained practitioner, recommended to her with sincerity that the compassionate Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would be able to guide and help her to resolve her afflictions.

After she talked with her husband, he agreed and they both went to request to see Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.  As they were kneeling in front of the guru, she saw that this Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was completely different from other Rinpoches that she had ever seen before in person or in the media. She was completely taken in by the guru’s awe-inspiring and all-embracing power. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked her husband compassionately, “Is there anything that I can be of help to you?” He replied, “My company has been very unstable and I don’t know what to do with the situation.” When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked if he had any plans, her husband said, “I want to go for it myself. But I don’t know if that’s a good idea.” “You want to be your own boss!” said Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, “But you don’t want to do that as there is no such fortune in your destiny. So don’t even think about it. How much money are you prepared to lose? One million, two million, or even sell your house to cover the losses? Do you really think that it’s so easy do business? Alas!”  Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued with a sigh, “Your boss’ heart is no longer in Taiwan. It’s gone abroad. If he owes you salaries, you can go and sue him in the court! But if you’re your own business and have lost money, who are you going to sue? Don’t think of taking away your boss’ clients as your own. That is the result of many years of hard work on his part. You absolutely should not take what’s not yours.” Then Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told her husband quite compassionately, “Around the mid-Autumn in August, your boss would be making a decision on behalf of the company. You should wait and see what will happen till then and come to see me again.” With this, her husband was no longer fearful and nervous but still went to work for a salary that was not to be paid. His boss did not return from mainland China until the end of July. But after he came back, he sat down with the few employees to whom he had owed salaries of a few months and settled the issue peacefully. He even agreed to hand over the clients in Taiwan for them to manage. So she and her husband were both very grateful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for the help and blessings that they had received.

She saw that when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was helping sentient beings, the guru would always teach according to the principle of cause and effect in Buddhism. She felt that she should not miss such a rare opportunity. When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked her compassionately, “Is there anything that I can help you with?” she then asked for the guru’s advice why she still would not be able to help the suffering people around her after such a long time of learning Buddhism. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked her, “Do you often try to be close to your master?” She shook her head, not knowing what to say out of a sudden. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked again, “Does your Buddhist master teach you and help you as often as you would like?” She shook her head again, feeling more helpless this time. Indeed, in many temples it’s difficult for an ordained disciple to see his master, not to mention a lay disciple.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued to teach her patiently, “Learning Buddhism is not something superficial, like you’d be feeling you are learning it if you are holding prayer beads in your hand and wearing some Chinese clothing. Nor should it be that you use it to teach lessons to your family or friends, or that you think you are learning Buddhism by simply attending the Buddha-Seven activities, reciting the Buddhist sutras, or participating the Penitential Rites. To truly learn Buddhism you must have a guru with the virtue, who leads you in your cultivation, is able to observe if you are conducting yourself properly all the time, and correct your wrong thoughts. If you are not doing all these, then you should not be telling others that you are learning Buddhism.” Upon hearing this, she started to have tears running down her face, ashamed of the fact that she has not learned anything for more than 20 years, and that she had not lived up to the standard of a Buddha’s disciple.

Just when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said she might leave if there was nothing else, she asked again, trying not to give up her effort easily, “May I ask something else please?”  Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche replied, “Oh, you have something else?” She then asked for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s advice on her idea of becoming an ordained practitioner, which had been in her mind for a long time. Upon hearing this, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche started to reprimand her, “Did you not hear anything that I just said?  Buddha Shakyamuni’s Maharatnakuta-Sutra says that there are four kinds of ordained practitioners: one who leaves home, body and spirit; one who physically remains at home but whose spirit leaves home; one who physically leaves home, but in spirit remains at home; and one who, body and mind, remains home. With regard to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the guru physically remains at home but whose spirit leaves home. Even though the guru has a family, children, and the business, nothing can have any impact on the heart that is devoted to Buddhism.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche paused at this point, turning to her husband, “May I continue the criticism?” Her husband nodded his head in strong agreement, thinking it was great as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was saying all that which he himself dared not to say to his wife.

Looking within to examine herself through more than 20 years, she found to her surprise that instead of being a good Buddhist disciple, she had been full of arrogance, mistaken understanding of Buddhist principles, slanders of the Buddha, and adding affliction to sentient beings. She had been so heinous all this time. Tears of shame kept running down her face. But Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued, “Don’t keep yourself mesmerized with the idea of becoming an ordained person. If you had the affinity of doing that you would have done it a long time before. You have the affinity for a normal family life in this life, and such affinity should be brought to an end in this life so that you don’t have to repay it in the next! The way you’re learning Buddhism is driving you crazy. Go back and think carefully about it. That’s all, and now you may go.”

On her way home, she kept asking herself why she had been learning Buddhism, and realized how readily applicable to the reality of her life Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s perception, knowledge, words, and acts were as expressions of the attainment that the guru has reached! Now it all came so clearly to her. Learning Buddhism only has two purposes – that it can lead to liberation from reincarnation and that it can bring benefits to sentient beings. She firmly believed that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was surely able to help her. So one week after that, she was asking the guru again whether she might participate in the puja. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, as compassionate as always, posed the questions, “Have you seen it through? Have you thought it through?” “I have felt all the compassion of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.” was her reply. So Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told her that she could.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was teaching Universal Gate Chapter of Lotus Sutra to the attendees when she first attended the puja. Upon completion of the session, she came to realize that the explanation of Universal Gate Chapter of Lotus Sutra as previously presented in Exoteric Buddhism, which she was familiar with, was so shallow and unrefined.  She had never attended a session with such insightful and detailed explanation of the Universal Gate Chapter of Lotus Sutra, powerful and touching. This was the guru she wanted to follow, she told herself, believing that only Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could help her resolve all the puzzles and problems that she might encounter in the process of learning Buddhism. She felt very fortunate to be able to formally take refuge under the compassionate Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche on July 10th, 2011, just in time before the journey to Tibet in the following September and to India in November. These two trips have revealed to her how hard the guru has been working in upholding the Buddhist spirit and wisdom of the Drikung Kagyu Order and the Buddhist cause and uplift individual disciples by arranging for any opportunities for causal conditions in which blessed rewards may be fast accumulated and karmic hindrances removed. As deeply touched as she was, it would make her heart ache every time she saw Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche exert so much effort leading the disciples on these long and tiring trips. What a grand cause Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has! How fortunate the disciples are to have a selfless practitioner so devoted to the Dharma as their guru!

Then she continued to share the very nightmarish period that her husband’s family had to go through from the latter half of 1999 to the first half of 2000, during which first her mother-in-law took her own life, then her brother-in-law killed his wife and then committed suicide, and then her father-in-law became paralyzed resulting from a stroke. Six years after that, her own father committed suicide as well. Early in March of this year, her sister-in-law called her, saying that she had been dreaming about her mother-in-law every night who tried to drag her to hell. And in the dream, her mother-in-law told her sister-in-law that her brother-in-law was suffering heavily in hell and requested his liberation.

So she tried to convince her husband that they should request Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to help with the liberation. But her husband showed no interest. And she had to go about it and made the request with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche herself. “As a daughter-in-law in your husband’s family,” instructed Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, “you cannot make a decision for them. Instead, you should go and tell your husband and his brother and sister not to worry about the arrangement for liberation as no fees will be charged.” Thus all of them came to see Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who in turn told them with compassion that they might attend the puja, and the only requirement for enrollment was that the attendee had to be a vegetarian. So only her husband attended the Chod Puja.

She expressed with great regret that her mother-in-law had been suffering in the Three Evil Realms for more than ten years since passing away but she could not do anything about it. She once tried to approach the abbot of a major Buddhist center but he turned around and left immediately upon hearing her request, leaving her in a helpless situation. Fortunately, in the second half of her life she was able to meet such a compassionate and virtuous Vajra Guru. She sincerely hoped that all her Dharma brothers could treasure this opportunity and use her experience as a mirror so that they might be able to avoid making similar mistakes. Toward the end, she gave her sincere gratitude for the blessings of Vajra Guru. Now that out of the three most difficult things in life she had achieved two – meeting a virtuous guru and listening to Buddha Dharma, she only had one more to go, and that was, to achieve enlightenment, even though she was not sure when. She wished Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche great health, the Wheel of Dharma constantly turning, Buddhism flourishing, and sentient beings liberated from the sufferings of reincarnation.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche ascended to the Dharma throne and presided over the Green Tara Puja.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche teaches all the attendees in the puja: The Green Tara Dharma that we are performing today is not practiced in Exoteric Buddhism. Performing the Green Tara Dharma is like performing Dharmas of all twenty-one Taras, as Green Tara is the very first of them. Taras are an embodiment of the tears of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. Legend has it that when Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara had seen so many sentient beings still in the sea of suffering without being liberated, she was so anxious that two drops of tear were shed, with one of them turning into White Tara and the other Green Tara. The former is said to be able to bring salvation to those who have been put under a spell, or suffering from disasters or accidents, while Green Tara can help to liberate sentient beings from sufferings. Taras have not yet attained Buddhahood so they are not Bodhisattvas of Dharmakaya. This is why when they see sufferings of sentient beings in the world, they may be more likely to answer the prayers of sentient beings and provide them with help.

However, you should not learn Buddhism with a mentality to seek only blessings, just like those who come to pray only for peace and protection, after which they would no longer keep worshipping the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. As mentioned in Ratnakuta Sutra, when sentient beings receive the help from the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, they lose their motivation to keep learning Buddhism diligently. But the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are not there to satisfy your desires. If there is no arousal of the aspiration to liberate oneself from the cycle of life and death, then only blessed rewards and causal conditions may be accumulated. Do not assume that participating in Buddha-Seven and Zen-Seven activities or volunteer work are the same as cultivating. Such activities can only help you accumulate causal conditions for learning Buddhism, to create favorable conditions. Take Emperor Wu of Liang Dynasty for example, his egotism made him think that he was doing a lot for Buddhism, which, in fact, only helped him accumulate blessed rewards in the Human and Heaven Realms.  That was why Bodhidharma said that he had no merits. And without merits, one would not be able to turn the karma. This explains why Emperor Wu had been surrounded by the rebels and starved to death in the end. Blessed rewards are not to be used in this life. Rather, they will be used in the next life. And one should not assume that he will be born human again, and may use them as a pet if born as such.

While Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche repeatedly advises you not to attend the puja with the mentality to seek blessings only, some people have heard and listened to it, but others have heard but chosen not to listen to it. Still there are others who have their own ideas, as each and everyone has different realization resulting from different causal conditions and blessed rewards. It’s like Buddha Shakyamuni was teaching an audience with a flower in his hand, but out of a large number of attendees who were listening to the Dharma, only Venerable Mahakasyapa was smiling as he was brought to enlightenment alone!

If you come to learn Buddhism but do not want to learn the Dharma method of liberation from the cycle of life and death, it doesn’t matter how many times you have come, and you may even be driven out by the Dharma protectors some day. This is so because the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center is a Buddhist center that is conducted in strict accordance with the Dharma, and hence there are powerful Dharma protectors with it, unlike other places without such Dharma protectors. At the beginning, the protectors may give you a period of time, during which they will prevent your problems from interfering with you so that you may settle down and concentrate on learning Buddhism. But after a while, when it is found that you have no true purpose of coming to the Center to learn Buddhism except seeking better health, smoother business, obedient children, etc., the protectors naturally will have their own ways in preventing you from coming; maybe without any particular reason your family will stop you from coming to the puja.

Every sentient being has different causal conditions and blessed rewards, but that has nothing to do with one’s ability to learn Buddhism. Your life style in this life is a result of accumulation of the karma over your past lives. It is not that learning Buddhism will give you a better life, or that it will make you poor. The Buddha cannot change your karma, but can give you time to cultivate yourself so that you may have an opportunity to transform your karma through Buddhist practices. It is wrong to use the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to help you make money, improve health, teach a lesson to your husband or wife, or even your boss.

Do not try to bargain with the Buddha. Everything you have in your current life is a manifestation of the karmic retribution resulting from the causes that you had planted. If your purpose of learning Buddhism is to prevent bad things from happening, and to prevent the evil causes that you had planted before from bringing evil results, then the good cause of your learning Buddhism today will not result in good results. It would not be Buddhism if this rule is not followed, and what you seek now is only for the purpose of satisfying your desires. But the true purpose of learning Buddhism is to reduce desires, instead of increasing them. The Bodhisattva will surely provide help to sentient beings in various kinds of suffering, but if you pray to the Bodhisattva for help without following the rule of cause and effect and get it, it still will not really resolve your problem. The Buddha Dharma as taught by the Buddha only has one purpose, and that is to teach sentient beings to be liberated from the cycle of life and death. If you come here without the intention to learn this, it’d better if you don’t come at all. If you learn Buddhism only for your own sake in order to seek something, it would be just like those who come and pray for peace and protection, and all your efforts will be in vain!

With the end of the year approaching, many other Buddhist centers will be calling you to go back. Many people will phone you, particularly those who have not yet taken refuge, telling you that the master has been missing you very much and wants you to come back; telling you that there will be a puja in which you are invited to write the the name list of the deceased for liberation, to be the primary donor or associate donor, and that they will give you a warm welcome. None of such practices is mentioned in the Buddhist sutras, nor should the amount of money be prescribed for making an offering. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will never call you to ask you to come and attend the puja, and the many Dharmas that the guru performs for you toward the end of each and every year are not designed as opportunities to take in more offerings. Throughout the year you’ve done many bad things, so hopefully through performing today’s Dharma, the evil karma that has been accumulated in the year can be somewhat cleansed, and hindrances reduced, so that you may have the causal conditions to continue with the learning of the Buddha Dharma.

The  Dharma text that we are performing today is the Tantra that has been passed down from Padmasambhava, and usually such a Tantra would be passed down in person by the Dharmakaya of the yidam. There are many different types of the Dharma texts of Green Tara, and the one that we’ll perform today will have a focus on offerings. The presiding guru will represent all the sentient beings to make offerings to the yidam, establishing an affinity between the yidam and the attendees so that you all can learn Buddhism. The Dharma text that will be performed today does not require too many rituals and the procedure is relatively simple. There are two kinds of rituals for a Dharma text – the expansive and the simplified rituals. The expansive ritual requires reciting for a long time. But the simplified ritual that will be performed today will be the heart essence of the yidam’s Dharma and it is very streamlined. The presiding guru will need to prepare the statue of Green Tara, and the attendees should bathe and perform ablution, prepare the Eight Offerings and four different kinds of mandalas, and should not drink alcohol or eat meat before the puja. Prior to attending the puja, the attendees should condition their mind to the impermanence of the world in such a way that it arouses the mind for renunciation, the Bodhicitta, and the mind for taking refuge that lead to the liberation from reincarnation.

The mind for renunciation should be based on the perception of the sufferings of reincarnation, and the purpose of learning Buddhism is liberation from the cycle of life and death. This should be the perspective from which we approach all the changes that represent impermanence in the world. Only by doing so can we set ourselves free from attachment to everything that happens. If you do not learn Buddhism with this mindset, you will only be able to accumulate a little bit more blessed rewards of the Human and Heaven Realms for use in your next life. What kind of thought you have matters. You have not reached the level of accomplishment as a Rinpoche, hence you have no capacity to bid welcome to the presence of the yidam. So you need to follow the teachings closely, and arouse the aspiration for liberation from reincarnation as well as two kinds of Bodhicitta, including the Relative and the Ultimate Bodhicitta. You have the causal conditions and blessed rewards to attend the puja today, but there are a lot of sentient beings who do not have such an affinity to do so. That is why you should be representing all sentient beings when attending it, hoping that all sentient beings that are not able to attend the puja may also be liberated from the cycle of life and death in the future. This is the expansive mind that you should have when you come to attend the puja.

Many people here still have their doubts, and they want to say why they are still not better from their illnesses after having attended so many pujas. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche advises them, as long as your condition does not continue to worsen, that’s getting better; as long as you don’t have to spend a lot of money that’s getting better. That means that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have helped you already.

When you took refuge under the Three Jewels – the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, you’re not simply doing it for others to see, but rather you need to take the Buddha’s teachings into your heart. If you come to the puja trying to figure out if today’s Dharma is useful to you, in what way can it be useful to you, and how to practice it so that it will be useful to you, then you don’t have the mind to take refuge at all. Before you can starting studying at the school, you must first go through proper enrollment procedures and let your teacher know who you are. By the same token, you need to properly take refuge and let the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas know that you want to learn Buddhism. When you are in the very first grade, do you dare to ask your teacher what he is going to teach?  Do you dare to ask him whether it’s useful? You accept whatever the teacher teaches you. Now you are learning Buddhism and want to ask what use there is to learn Buddhism. People become more complicated as they grow older, just like those ordained disciples here, in that the more they learn, the more complicated they become, with a lot of thoughts of their own, wondering: What kind of Dharma is it that is performed today? Is it useful to remove my karma and hindrances? Can it be used in the future to benefit sentient beings? When will I be able to attain enlightenment? All these are a result from a mind of doubt.

There would be no Buddhism without the mind for renunciation, Bodhicitta and the mind for taking refuge. No Bodhisattva exists without these kinds of mind. Only a practitioner with such a mind can help sentient beings with the four Dharma methods – causing calamities to cease, improving benefits (prosperity), showing reverence and love, subduing the evil. Don’t think that Buddhas have formidable powers. They come in metamorphoses and manifestations that have resulted from the affinity of sentient beings. If there is no suffering with sentient beings, there wouldn’t be Bodhisattvas in the first place. But as Bodhisattvas, they would not wish to see any sentient being fall into the Three Evil Reams, and will try to provide help prevent this from happening.

It is wrong to think that a certain yidam is only helpful to some matters while not so helpful to others. The fact is that all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are in the same state and none would wish to see sentient beings suffer. When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is performing the Dharma, often times a Bodhisattva other than the yidam to whom the Dharma is dedicated comes to receive and lead sentient beings. Sometimes when the Dharma is dedicated to Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha comes to bid welcome to sentient beings; sometimes when the practice is honoring Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara comes to welcome them. Every sentient being has different causal conditions and blessed rewards, so don’t assume that if the Dharma is dedicated to Buddha Amitabha, and Buddha Amitabha will come to receive and lead the sentient beings. If there is no affinity with Buddha Amitabha, Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha may come to bid welcome, since Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s aspiration is to liberate sentient beings from the Evil Realms.

Upon conclusion of the Green Tara Puja that you attended, do not let your mind wish the third party to leave your husband; your family and business to be smooth; your neighbor to stop cursing you; or yourself to become telepathic. Nor should you think that after dedicating your practice to Green Tara your body will turn green. Buddhism is not superstition. There was a very well-known religious person in Thailand who once came to Taiwan and told a local girl there that she had the affinity with him in her past life. He wanted her to be wearing white 365 days of the year. She followed his advice, and as a result, ended up ruining not only herself but also her family.

Tantra is divided into Kriya Tantra and Charya Tantra. There was a lama who was in the practice of the Four-Armed Chenrezig. Every time he was passing through a door he would turn sideways before entering, as he thought that since he was in the practice of the Four-Armed Chenrezig, there would be two more arms in addition to the two that he had, and if he did not turn sideways, the two additional arms would be blocked by the door frame. This was superstition, commented Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The purpose of practicing both Kriya Tantra and Charya Tantra is not that you must practice in such a way as to transform your appearance like the yidam. Rather, it means that you need to conduct the cause of the Dharma like the yidam. When we refer to “no difference from the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas,” it means that the Dharma-nature is like that of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

Buddhism should not be learned in such a way that it drives you crazy. Instead, you should observe things with wisdom. If it were the Four-Armed Chenrezig trying to pass through the door, wouldn’t he put down the arms before entering? Moreover, according to Exoteric Buddhism, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara has thirty-two manifestations in different forms. You want to practice to the same level of the yidam, which form would you adopt? If your family sees you practicing Four-Armed Chenrezig and every time you need to pass through the door, you need to turn sideways, what would they think? It is not the exterior appearance that matters in learning Buddhism. Nor would it be right to assume that once you started learning Buddhism, you feel you are different from other people, and want to do something that normal people would not do to make people believe that you are learning Buddhism. It is not what you do that should make you different from others. Instead, the difference lies in the mentality. As a Buddhist disciple, you should have the mindset to follow the teachings of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and mend your way accordingly.

The first part of the ritual is to make offerings to the yidam, with four mandalas. Pray for the blessings of the yidam, which may be used to remove all obstacles, eliminate all hunger and wars, bring joy to the land near and far, including helping the government become more blessed, and helping the people live without nightmares and ominous signs. We hope that this practice will help transcend us until the time of liberation from the cycle of life and death, and make us no different from the yidam.

It is mentioned in the Dharma text that the practice of Green Tara may help us live longer and increase our wealth. That you are blessed with a longer life and more wealth does not mean to let you enjoy yourself better. As time goes by, your life will be reduced by that same amount of time whether you are ill or healthy. Life will shorten for those who eat meat and curse others. More so for those who remain doubtful about the Buddha Dharma, particularly those who have been disrespectful to the guru. Such are some of the factors contributing to a shorter life. The blessed longer life referred here is for you to be able to have enough time in this life to learn Buddhism so that you can be liberated from the cycle of life and death in this life. And the increased wealth is for keeping alive the corporal body of yours for that purpose. If you don’t yet have a job, it may help you get one to support yourself and enable you to keep learning Buddhism, since poverty is also a hindrance to learning Buddhism. Such increased wealth is not intended for you to pay your mortgages of the house or pay off the outstanding balance of your credit card. The increased wealth will not be realized if it is for those purposes. If you don’t have the money to pay your mortgage, let the bank take the house back; and if you don’t have the money to spend, then don’t use your credit card like crazy.

You would not want to say after attending the puja: “Why have my life and wealth not been increased?” Those who have said so may have to prepare to go to hell. To pray to be blessed with a longer life and more wealth as stated in the Dharma text, you must arouse the aspiration for renunciation, Bodhicitta, and taking refuge. Only people with such a mind may be granted an increased life and wealth. It shall work if your resolute determination is for continuous practices until liberation from life and death; and it won’t if it is for your own desires.

Green Tara will surely help those sentient beings who pray to her for help, on the condition that those have the aroused aspiration for learning Buddhism. All kinds of suffering will pose a hindrance to learning Buddhism, as it will prevent you from being able to concentrate. So when you pray to Green Tara, you will get her help as she stops such sufferings for you temporarily so that you can have a determined mind to learn Buddhism. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas cannot turn your causes and conditions as well as karmic influence around. Just when you think that you are being blessed with a good life as everything seems to be going more smoothly recently, you karmic creditors will come to look for you and then things start to happen. As it is now approaching the end of the year, I’m reminding you that another year is just passing by and you all have less time for learning Buddhism. Don’t waste any more time now. And don’t leave it to chances and think that when such a time comes, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will help you. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche believes in the impermanence of death and it may come any time, unlike you who believe that death is far away from you.

During the Dharma ritual, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was praying to Green Tara on behalf of everybody, hoping that she would regard you as if you were her only child, and give you blessings to help you cut off from demonic hindrances, plagues, diseases, and sufferings, and bring you auspiciousness, happiness, prosperity and success so that you will be able to keep practicing Buddhism diligently, and promote all the meritorious acts.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche wanted everyone to listen carefully – what has been prayed for just now was only meant to stop your suffering on a temporary basis instead of making it disappear! If your purpose of attending the puja is such that you want to improve your ill conditions, to see your son grow up and get married, rather than to seek liberation from life and death, then your illness will come back to you. You can see many living examples in the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center.

Take the disciple who died of breast cancer some time ago for example. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche clearly had told her that the blessings she was granted by the guru to live a little longer was for her to spend more time on learning Buddhism so that she might be liberated from the cycle of life and death, rather than for her to enjoy herself or take care of her family for their future. But she would rather choose not to believe, thinking that she had brought up her brother and sister single-handedly and was responsible for them, and as such she should continue to make money for them. If she would die, she would not be able to take care of them anymore. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had tried to persuade her to stop working but she thought she could not go on without money and continued working. She had forgotten that it was the advice from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and broke her commitment to the guru. After receiving blessings from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, she saw that her health condition was improving unlike those of other patients, and thought that good days were ahead of her again. She didn’t carry on with the practice diligently because she thought that she was still quite young and would not die. As a result, her condition deteriorated again fairly soon.

The prayer in the Dharma text mentions that we may be able to live a long life disease-free and worry-free. Worry-free means free from the cycle of life and death, liberated from reincarnation. We hope that are in reincarnation because of the vow rather than the karmic influence or cause and effect. Bodhisattva’s fearlessness is not reckless boldness. Rather, it means that the Buddha has a brave and resolute mind for liberating sentient beings from reincarnation. Everything is done for the benefit of sentient beings and nothing for the self, with vigor and a resolute mind for renunciation, Bodhicitta, and taking refuge. That is fearlessness.

Upon perfect conclusion of the puja, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche explained, the dedication that I was reading during the practice prays for the yidam to understand my suffering. This is not the worldly suffering of cause and condition, nor is it illnesses or suffering resulting from feeling no love from the husband or wife. True suffering comes from not being able to be liberated from reincarnation – the kind of suffering that Green Tara will really come to save you from. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will not save your corporal body, since it will be one day fall into disuse. To continue to use it for additional years beyond its design also leads to suffering. It is the vow of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to liberate sentient beings from reincarnation. So if you are resolute in freeing yourself from such suffering of reincarnation, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will surely come and help you upon hearing your prayers. Of course, such little problems of causal conditions in the world would naturally be resolved. This is the experience of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche from many years of Buddhist practice.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had every attendee come up to the mandala, where the guru granted blessings to each one regardless of the fact that he was tired. With the right hand supporting the torma dedicated to the Yidam of Green Tara, and the left hand continuously ringing the bell, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was having more than one thousand puja attendees come up to the mandala one by one to receive blessings. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has no cartilage on the shoulder joints, and keeping the arm raised for an extended time has a significant impact on the body that requires tremendous efforts. But Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was in complete disregard of this difficult situation and did not show any sign of discomfort, fatigue, or impatience while continuing to grant blessings to each attendee. During this process, whenever there was a disciple in wheelchair, the guru would raise the heavy torma of the Yidam to place it on top of the disciple’s head to grant the blessings for an extended period of time. In the entire procedure, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche took the lead and kept all chanting the heart mantra of Green Tara, and everyone was able to feel the guru’s incomparable grace and merits as well as his all-embracing power. Many attendees of the puja were moved to tears by the compassion and efforts of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche granting blessings to them.

After the completion of the Dharma ritual, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche expressed that the guru’s mother had been a very traditional Chinese woman all her life who always followed her husband’s advice and never cursed or lied to anyone. But her brother was in the business of selling fish, and because of this she would often help him with killing and cleaning fish. Sometimes this happened in her kitchen as well. As a result, she had to be fitted with a device next to her heart to help it beat. But at least she didn’t have to have some organs cut and severed like other people. Other people’s heart devices can go on for more than 10 years once it’s been fitted in. But just yesterday Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s mother had to go through another surgery to have hers replaced after only a few years. All this was the cause and effect at play with the cause being the karma resulting from killing. The surgical procedure of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s mother went on for only about 20 to 30 minutes. Though she had been under anesthesia, she came to before leaving the operation room, with a very clear mind, and even asked why they were not returning to the ward. Upon arriving at the ward, her blood pressure was back to 130/70, more normal even than that of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. She also was saying that she was hungry and could eat a big bowl of porridge immediately. That was something incredible for an 87-year-old lady.

One of the disciples, also a doctor, thought that this was truly miraculous, and that he was very surprised. At Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s mother’s age, after the administration of anesthesia, usually it would slow down blood circulation, which in turn would cause problems in blood circulation in the lower limbs. Thus the heart would have to work harder to move the blood, causing the patient to be dizzy and to vomit. They then would be put under observation for three days, and with people at older age more care would be required. It was indeed very unlikely for a person at her age to recover so quickly and have a normal blood pressure reading as she just did.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said that he was not using this story to boast how he could make a miracle happen or how powerful he was. Instead, the guru was trying to show that it was the Buddha Dharma in manifestation. Thanks to vigorous Buddhist practice on the part of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and the many offerings and almsgiving that the guru had made, with the blessings from the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, the guru’s mother could recover to normal blood pressure so soon, allowing her to have no fear. Some people plead with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to save their lives. But that is something impossible. Not even the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas can change karmic retribution. As powerful as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is, the guru’s mother still could get ill. How could it be possible to make your karmic retribution go away?

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could not change her karmic retribution, as close to the guru as the mother. But thanks to her two surgeries during the lifetime, the karmic retribution that would take her to hell was gone. Normally one goes to hell with the karma of killing before he passes away. So in her case the effect of heavy karmic retribution had been reduced. Why did she have to suffer from surgeries? It was karmic retribution. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche profoundly believes in cause and effect, and accepts karmic retribution. As the mother does not know how to read, the guru, as a son, has been helping her in silence all the time. The Buddhist sutras say that Buddhist followers are the only truly filial people, just like Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, helping the parents leave the Evil Realms through learning Buddhism.  So you need to come to your senses and do not try to threaten the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas with your own thoughts.

The last part of the Dharma text is about dedication, which is not to be intended for your husband so that he can have better business, nor should it be meant for your husband’s lover so that she would stay away from him. If you have such things happening to you, that’s because of your causal conditions, and they have to do with you. The true purpose should be such that you give the dedication to all sentient beings, so that they would have enough time to have the affinity to learn Buddhism, set themselves free from reincarnation, and liberate themselves from the cycle of life and death during this life time. We hope that all sentient beings can attain Buddhahood like us instead of satisfying our own personal desires. Take for example that disciple who had made public repentance in front of the puja. Though she had learned Buddhism for many years, she had not gotten it right. Her former master used to teach her that if she dedicated the Penitential Rites, Zen-Seven activities and so on to her family, all problems would be resolved. This is also how Buddhist believers are being taught among ordinary people nowadays. But without understanding the true purpose of learning Buddhism, they would not be able to prevent such things from happening to their families. The good thing was that when her husband came to see Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the guru told him the truth, enabling him to realize that the Buddha Dharma could truly help sentient beings.

Do not try to learn Buddhism by using your own thoughts, thinking that you would not see ghosts if you keep coming to the pujas. Those who see ghosts all day long may have so much greed, anger and delusion that they are ghosts themselves. And don’t claim that you’ve seen Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. There are 32 manifestations of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara in different forms according to Exoteric Buddhism. Which have you seen?

The guru and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas can help you temporarily suspend the hindrances for you. But it will only be temporary. If you don’t follow the teachings of the guru and learn Buddhism earnestly, the hindrances will come back. There were people who left the Buddhist Center before, and problems came to them after they did that. There are many such examples. Do not misunderstand it as a punishment to them from the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, because they did not have that kind of longevity in the first place. The guru and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas were only giving them the blessings so that they could live a little bit longer for learning Buddhism. When they left, so did the blessings. It’s not like what ordinary people would say, that so and so came with a heavenly life; and when he proved to be unable to complete his mission, the heaven then took his life back. This is wrong. None of the Buddhist sutras mentions anything as “a heavenly life.” A life is not granted by heaven or given by someone. It is the result of what you have done. Nor is there such a thing as “a mission that has been assigned to learn Buddhism.”

If you come to learn Buddhism without the motivation that I was talking about previously, or the mind for three particular purposes mentioned above, you really don’t need to come again from now on. With the year coming to an end, there are many other Buddhist temples that would tell you that your master has been missing you badly, that he wants you to come back to check it out. But it’s different with the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche never will miss you, except when you have trouble, the guru may think about you and help you. It’s not like Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will miss you very much because you try to be close to the guru. But the guru of course will take notice of you if you try to do that. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have all sentient beings kept in their mind but without giving particular attention or being nice to a certain individual. They wouldn’t be Buddhas and Bodhisattvas with such a mind of discrimination. To the contrary, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche may stay far away from you when you are doing all right, since you can take care of yourself and there is no need for help. Do not assume that it’s something good when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche misses you or calls your name. Sometimes it’s the opposite. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will not easily invite someone to dinner. But when that happens all out of a sudden, it’s not because the guru is being particularly nice to you. It may well be that you need help.

Learning Buddhism is a wonderful and pleasant experience. If someone in your family does not agree to this, that’s because the way you do things makes them feel that you’re out of your mind. If someone is posing hindrances for you, it’s because you have not made up your mind firmly to practice the Buddha Dharma until liberation from the cycle of life and death. So the hindrances are in your mind, making it difficult for you to learn Buddhism. Since Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche started learning Buddhism, there has never been anyone who can pose any hindrance. Buddhist practice is something you should feel at ease and in peace instead of something that drives you to put up a show for yourself or others. Don’t try to appear sanctimonious or pretend to have a level of accomplishment, with an assortment of things on the hands and the body to show off that you’re learning Buddhism. Nor should you attempt to live in seclusion, because you need help from sentient beings and cannot truly live in seclusion all your life.

Live a normal life like a normal person would do; but in your mind there should be a resolution to learn the Buddha Dharma. You do not necessarily need to appear differently from other people, as only the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas may judge how good your practices are. Towards the end of the puja, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche earnestly advises everyone to cherish the causal condition for learning Buddhism instead of wasting it.

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Updated on February 18, 2012