His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings – August 16, 2012

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche presided over the Avalokiteshvara Empowerment Puja at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center of Kyoto, Japan. This extremely rare and auspicious Puja was attended by a total of 138 people, including 22 local believers, 18 believers from Taiwan, and 98 disciples from Japan and Taiwan.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche started performing the preparatory Dharma for the Avalokiteshvara Empowerment Puja at 2:00 p.m., compassionately blessing the nectar water so that all the attendees could drink it before entering the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center of Kyoto. Upon perfect completion of the preparatory Dharma, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once again ascended to the Dharma throne at 4:00 p.m. and began to perform the mandala-offering ritual after chanting the mantras and giving blessings. The Japanese believers who were selected to make mandala offering by lot at the time of entrance came up to implore His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for the Dharma on behalf of sentient beings.

Before bestowing the Avalokiteshvara Empowerment, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave the attendees some precious teaching: The Dharma to be performed today is different. It’s to bestow the empowerment. There are two categories in which Dharma methods may be practiced – Exoteric and Esoteric Buddhism. Exoteric Buddhism serves as the theory and basis for Buddhism and takes the form that you’d normally see when an ordained person is reciting the Buddhist sutras and tapping the wooden fish with a wooden mallet. But when you have learned the theory, you need a method to apply it. That’s when you need Tantra, which requires that you have learned Exoteric Buddhism for 10 to 12 years before you can learn Tantra. 500 years after Buddha Shakyamuni entered nirvana, Tantra started flourishing and was introduced into China during the Tang Dynasty. At that time it was called Tang Tantra. In the same period, it was also introduced into Japan where it was called East Tantra. Tantra was also brought into Tibet, and Tibetan Buddhism has preserved the most complete Tantra whereas East Tantra of Japan only managed to conserve two Tantric sections. Some people may think: If there is Tantra in Tibetan Buddhism, then is it true that every Tibetan understands Tantra? That is not true as a matter of fact. Only those who have cultivated with the fruition of a Rinpoche understand Tantra.

The biggest difference between Exoteric and Esoteric Buddhism lies in empowerment. In ancient India there were empowerment rituals. When a king would like the prince to inherit the throne, he would perform a ritual in which he empowers the prince by applying pure water on the top of the prince’s head, signifying that the prince had been empowered and was now eligible to inherit the throne in the future. In Tibetan Buddhism, empowerment gives a person who is learning Buddhism the eligibility to learn and practice the Dharma of the Yidam. However, not everyone can empower others. Only a practitioner with the fruition of a Rinpoche is eligible to bestow empowerment, as it is a ritual in which the guru shares his merits and blessed rewards with the disciple so that the disciple can have blessed rewards and causal conditions to learn and practice Buddhism. That is why only a practitioner with the fruition of a Rinpoche can do the job.

The significance of empowerment does not lie in what a person being empowered can receive, but rather in the empowerment itself with which he can start learning this particular Dharma method. Through stages of cultivation, he can reach the same level of attainment as the Yidam with regard to his acts, thoughts and merits, and thus benefit all sentient beings. When a person participates in the puja, his motivation is very important, which should be pure, and he should have reverence for the guru. According to the Dharma text, there are six types of attitude that one should not have when receiving the profound and supreme Tantric empowerment: Arrogance, lack of confidence, lack of desire to implore the guru for the Dharma, lack of concentration, internal shutdown, and a tired and bored mind.

Arrogance has two levels. One is where you feel like you understand everything because you have learned Buddhism before. So there is no reverence for the guru. The other is when you think you have money and social status, or have accumulated the so-called knowledge in the world, feeling that you are clearer about worldly things than the guru, resulting in arrogance toward the guru.

Lack of confidence especially refers to absence of confidence for the orthodox Dharma. Inviting a monk to recite the Buddhist sutras and give blessings at home or reciting the Buddhist sutras at home by yourself has nothing to do with the orthodox Dharma. Such activities would only help form favorable conditions.

No desire for the Dharma: If you think you only come to the puja for protection and blessings, this would mean you have no desire for the Dharma.

Lack of concentration: Though the body is at the puja, the mind is thinking of something else.

Internal shutdown: Referring to the shutdown of all six roots of the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and the mind, unwillingly to receive messages from the outside, or pay attention to the guru, or falling into a drowsy state. There are two little kids playing in the venue now, and this is also considered as someone having “internal shutdown.”

A tired and bored mind: When one thinks that the puja has nothing to do with him, or wonders why the guru is taking such a long time for the puja, or feels tired and bored, wondering when the puja will be over and why he is attending the puja in the first place. This would mean that he has a tired and bored mind.

According to the Dharma text, when you have the correct motivation, you then need to arouse an auspicious mentality, regarding the guru as the Yidam who is not different from the Yidam and regarding those who attend the puja together as your own family. As you are receiving such an auspicious empowerment together today, you are family in the practice of the Dharma, and all of the attendees here today receiving the empowerment together are like family members of each other. The right mentality in attending the puja is that you are not here to seek for protection and blessings, but rather to learn Buddhism and liberate yourself from life and death so that you can benefit sentient beings in the future. Only when your mind is set right, your act and speech would be right.

After receiving the Avalokiteshvara Empowerment today, if you do not continue to learn Buddhism, your attendance at the puja would only help you form affinity with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas but you would not be able to change the karma of this life. Nor would you be able to change karmic retribution and liberate yourself from life and death. Practicing Buddhism is not just about reciting the Buddhist sutras, worshipping the Buddha, and praying for blessings. Reciting and copying the Buddhist sutras, and worshipping the Buddha would only help you form affinity. But the purpose of learning Buddhism is to set yourself free from life and death so that you can proceed to help liberate all sentient beings from reincarnation of life and death.

Many Dharma masters dare not teach this part of the Dharma text for fear that they would not be able to have fame and offerings, since some believers would be scared after listening to this. Then , they would not come and learn Buddhism or make offerings. Thus many Dharma masters are very polite with believers, failing to tell them the true purpose of learning Buddhism. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche does not promote Buddhism for the sake of fame or offerings, and would certainly teach you what had been taught by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. It’s your call if you would like to learn Buddhism in the future. As far as for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, once he has given the teaching to you, he has fulfilled his duty.

Next, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche started performing the ritual of the Avalokiteshvara Empowerment. Then the guru led the attendees in reciting the Dharma text in Tibetan, imploring the Yidam for his blessings and allowing them to receive this auspicious empowerment, so that they can be liberated from life and death through actual cultivation and attain the fruition of a Bodhisattva in the future.

Before Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestowed the empowerment of the “body,” he instructed the attendees to sit up straight and look at the treasure bottle held in his hand. After you have received the empowerment of the “body,” you would be able to cleanse the filth, hindrances and bad habits that have been accumulated through past lives from your “body,” allowing you to have the causal conditions for realizing the Nirmanakaya in the future.

Then, before Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestowed the empowerment of the “speech,” he once again reminded the attendees to sit up, and instructed them how to visualize when receiving the empowerment of the “speech,” and then led them in reciting the Dharma text.

After leading the attendees in chanting the Great Six-Syllable Mantra, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued: Now that you have received the empowerment of the “speech,” if you speak well, praise others, and help others through your speech, then you can quickly accumulate good merits and your blessed rewards would be rising soon. Relatively speaking, after you have received the empowerment of the “speech” and you still speak badly, lie, or harm others through your speech, then the bad effects will emerge soon too. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said humorously: Now that you have just followed Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in reciting the Dharma text, you have all been taken in! After you have received the empowerment of the “speech,” you would be able to, through cultivation according to the Dharma, cleanse the filth, hindrances and bad habits that have been accumulated through past lives from your “speech,” allowing you to have the causal conditions for realizing the Sambhogakaya in the future.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued to bestow the empowerment of the “mind” on the attendees. After you have received the empowerment of the “mind,” you would be able to cleanse the filth, hindrances and bad habits that have been accumulated through past lives from your “mind,” allowing you to have the causal conditions for realizing the Dharmakaya in the future. The thought of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara is the same as that of the guru, so the empowerment of the “mind” by the guru would allow you to attune to Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara in the future through your cultivation. The Torma that was placed on Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Dharma table serves as the mandala of the Yidam. In a moment, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would hold the Torma in his hands to help you cleanse the filth, hindrances and bad habits from the “mind.”

Today, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has bestowed upon you the Dharma of Avalokiteshvara Empowerment of the body, speech and mind, and through the visualization of the guru, you would have the body, speech and mind that are not different from those of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then elaborated on the methods of seven-point-posture meditation, and led the attendees in entering a state of meditation for a short period. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche stated: You must feel happy during meditation, particularly as you have received the empowerment of the body, speech and mind today, you should be free of selfishness. Those who often practice meditation should have a clearer mind, smoother job performance and better health, and will not have Alzheimer’s disease. Though Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is already 65 years old, he does not need to take notes during those frequent business meetings. If you don’t want to have Alzheimer’s disease in the future, you’d better meditate often. It does not have to be long. Nor is it that you have to think of nothing or have no thought. Just do it naturally.

After you have received the empowerment, your work performance will be better, your wealth will increase, and your health will improve. According to the Dharma text, practicing the Dharma method of Avalokiteshvara can help eliminate diseases, karmic hindrances, demons and injuries and allow the practitioner to increase his fame and wealth, eliminating all obstacles and help him attain the fruition of a Bodhisattva. However, even though you know the benefits of practicing the Dharma method of Avalokiteshvara which allow the practitioner to improve health and wealth, you should not receive the empowerment with the purpose to seek such interests. Since you cannot practice Buddhism without good health or money, if a practitioner practices the Dharma method of Avalokiteshvara in order to liberate himself from life and death and benefit sentient beings in the future, then it will naturally bring those positive effects allowing the practitioner to feel at ease in practicing Buddhism.

It was also mentioned in the Dharma text that you should make offerings with the virtuous causal conditions and the wealth obtained through empowerment to the guru and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Your merits will increase when you do so, and the guru and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will in turn bestow upon you these virtuous causal conditions and wealth. Because you make offerings with reverence rather than selfish purposes, you will be able to accumulate blessed rewards and join them with those of the guru and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. The guru and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, on the other hand, always benefit sentient beings. So they will not owe you any debt. Since you have made offerings to the guru and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, they will return to you with more blessed rewards for you to use.

Then, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche rose and descended from the Dharma throne. Tirelessly, he went around the venue with the treasure bottle in hand, placing it on the top of the head to give empowerment to the attendees one after another and to bestow the nectar water upon them. Though Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has no cartilage in the right shoulder and every movement would be an extreme burden to the body, he continued, with the treasure bottle in hand, giving compassionate empowerment and bestowing the nectar water upon each and every one of the attendees in disregard of the discomfort resulting from the friction of the shoulder bones. All the participants expressed their gratitude to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for the compassionate and auspicious empowerment, creating auspicious and virtuous affinity for the attendees so that they could benefit sentient beings in the future. Everyone was moved to tears.

After blessing the attendees one after another with the treasure bottle, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once again returned to the Dharma throne and continued to give Dharma teaching to the attendees: According to the Dharma text, today’s empowerment would allow you to temporarily cleanse your body, speech and mind so that you will not have obstacles in practicing Buddhism. However, after the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas helped you cleanse the filth, hindrances and bad habits from your body, speech and mind, if you continue to do evil, do not continue the good affinity that have been formed today, and fail to mend your ways and practice Buddhism, the empowerment that you have received today would be nothing more than just affinity for you.

It was also stated in the Dharma text that those who have received the profound and supreme empowerment today should be able to learn and practice the Dharma method of Avalokiteshvara. A practitioner should arouse the uncommonly distinctive and auspicious motivation and attain the fruition that is no different from that of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara in the future through cultivation in accordance with the truth and the Dharma. “The truth” refers to the elaboration given by the Buddha which serves as principles in practicing Buddhism in order to liberate sentient beings from reincarnation of life and death. Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara would send Dharma protectors and their families to protect you if you practice this Dharma method according to the guru’s Dharma teaching. If the Dharma had no effect on Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the guru would not be teaching it to you, as he can serve as the best example in receiving the help of Buddhism. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was supposed to die at the age of 47. In 1995, he went bankrupt, and did not even have the money to buy food. At the age of 45, he had skin cancer. But Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not undergo any treatment or implore the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to help. The cancer was cured without any medication but through his Buddhist practice over a long period of time. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has been continuously practicing Tantra and has attained great accomplishment. He did not have to implore the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas even when he had cancer. Just as the Dharma text describes, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas promised to protect the practitioners of this Dharma method after they have received the empowerment.

Since you have received the auspicious empowerment today, you can spare the efforts of going up the mountain to collect the ashes, because the power of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara is greater than that of ghosts and spirits. Today is the Daimonji Festival when fire-offerings will be made on the top of five mountains around Kyoto. We can see the characters of “Daimonji”, “Wondrous” and “Dharma” right here from the courtyard of the Kyoto Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center.

You have very auspicious causal conditions to have been able to attend this Avalokiteshvara Empowerment Puja and you should treasure such a great opportunity. Life goes fast, and you should think carefully what kind of life you have been living. Don’t think that you wouldn’t be able to make friends or do business because you’re practicing Buddhism. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche often does business around the world while practicing Buddhism. Many of you here are older than 50, but have you seriously thought about the meaning of life? Is it about drinking cold beer in the summer? Or are you satisfied with making a lot of money?

You should know that you had past lives and will have future lives, and that this life is a result of what you have done in your past lives. What you have done in this life will affect your next life. You must have learned Buddhism in your past lives, which allowed you to come and attend today’s profound Tantric empowerment. With this rare causal condition to receive the profound and supreme empowerment, you should also arouse the auspicious mentality. The Yidam has authorized Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche with this empowerment so that you can practice this Dharma method in the future and attain fruition like that of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. But to receive these benefits you have to refrain from smoking and drinking alcohol. Otherwise today’s empowerment would have no effect on you at all.

According to the Dharma text, after a practitioner has received the Avalokiteshvara Empowerment, his body, speech and mind would be cleansed of the filth, hindrances and bad habits that have accumulated through past lives. Therefore, he should often chant the Great Six-Syllable Mantra all the way until attaining Buddhahood. After today’s empowerment, you may chant the Mantra. If you chant the Mantra without receiving empowerment, you would just be forming virtuous affinity without the possibility of changing karma. Now that you have the virtuous affinity to attend this Puja today and received the auspicious blessings and empowerment of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, you should cherish such a rare affinity so that you can have the opportunity to practice this Dharma method in the future to liberate yourself from life and death and benefit sentient beings. If you’d like to learn the Dharma method of Avalokiteshvara, you can implore Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to transmit it to you.

If you still go and drink beer after today’s Puja, then your participation in the Empowerment Puja today would have no effect. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would like to treat you to dinner today so you don’t go and drink beer in the evening. There will be no meat for dinner so you don’t have meat to eat. Please eat enough. That way you don’t need to eat some BBQ for midnight snack. In a moment, the entrance to the Buddhist Center will be opened.  If it’s too hot outside, you may have your dinner inside with the air-conditioning on. Generally, you are not supposed to eat anything within the Buddhist Center. But the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara is compassionate and wouldn’t want to see you feel uncomfortable eating outside because of the hot weather; rather, he would like you to enjoy your dinner.

Upon perfect conclusion of the Puja, all attendees expressed their gratitude in unison to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for the auspicious, profound and supreme Avalokiteshvara Empowerment. The participants had a buffet in the courtyard of the Kyoto Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center while enjoying the beautiful scenes of the Daimonji Festival celebrations with fire-offering rituals on the five mountains around the city. Just one day before the Puja, there was flooding in the Kyoto area due to torrential rains, causing heavy losses and suffering to the local residents. The weather forecast predicted that such rainy conditions would last for another few days. But it actually cleared up the very next day. There were many rapidly changing clouds over the sky before the Puja started. Upon perfect completion of the Puja, the weather had all changed for the better with no clouds in sight. It became very pleasant with stars twinkling in the sky. Just as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had stated during the Avalokiteshvara Empowerment, all filth and hindrances had been cleansed. Naturally, the local sentient beings benefited from this auspicious Empowerment Puja as well. As the attendees witnessed this auspicious sign, they felt extremely joyful.

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Updated on September 29, 2012