His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings – September 2, 2012

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche presided over the puja at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center in Taipei and gave the attendees precious Dharma teachings.

Before the puja, a couple and their son and daughter who all took refuge in 2011 expressed their gratitude to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, with the mother sharing the story of how Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had compassionately saved her son.

In June 2008, her son at the age of two years and seven months old was diagnosed with severe enterovirus 71 (EV71), and he became unconscious. He had to rely on the inserted endotracheal tube and nasogastric tube to sustain life. Because his brain was gravely invaded by the virus, it led to serious damage to his intelligence and mobility, and he had to depend on a respirator. After a few times of extubation and intubation, he was still not able to breathe on his own. So the tracheostomy was the only choice left. Half a year later, although he didn’t need the respirator anymore, he was unable to swallow and had to rely on the nasogastric tube for feeding. In order to train his swallowing function, the tracheostomy tube could not be removed for a while. Every time when it was time to change these two tubes, she could still vividly remember his painful expression and struggling. During this period, the couple had been to many places seeking divination in the hope that their son could get help. But his conditions hadn’t improved and he was left in suffering, sadness, and helplessness.

This situation lasted until November 2010 when they went to seek an audience with His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. They were kneeling in front of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche nervously. But Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked them compassionately, “What’s the matter?” They were afraid that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche didn’t know their son’s conditions, and so they self-righteously described the situation. In the end, they even said, “We implore Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to help our son.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “I have already helped him!” Then the guru gave them great blessings. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had known in the beginning that the couple didn’t have faith in him. There came to him only with a “give it a shot” mentality. They approached the guru in the same way as they had been seeking helps from all different places. So the guru wanted them to examine and reflect on themselves. Only then did they realize that they were only trying to take advantage of the guru and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. They not only came with the wrong mentality in the first place, but also were not repentant at all. Later, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave them another opportunity to come in front of the Dharma throne, and told them compassionately that such suffering was the illness resulting from eating meat. So the guru asked them if they could become vegetarians. Immediately they nodded their heads and agreed. Then, with compassion, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told them that they could attend the regular puja and the Chod Puja.

Three months later, they came to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche again, and asked the guru if their son’s nasogastric tube could be removed. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knew that they were quite nervous, and told them, smiling, ” You must be concerned that the elderly would be worried!” They were dumb-founded and didn’t understand what that meant. So Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche stated, “January 15 of the lunar calendar.” But as silly as they were, they still didn’t have enough faith in the guru and dared not to remove the tube during the daytime on January 15. In the evening, after they got off work, they tried to feed their son with some yogurt by mouth. Sure enough, their son swallowed it. A doctor of the Western medicine had told them that their son’s brain damage had also affected the normal swallowing function, and brain damage could not recover once it occurred. When she saw that her son could swallow, both she and his caregiver had tears welled up in their eyes. She was extremely grateful, realizing that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was really the great medicine king! That night, she removed the nasogastric tube from her son. The next day, her son could even eat a whole sweet potato, in a natural way. Later they went to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche again, to express their heart-felt gratitude. But selfish as they were, they implored the guru if they could remove their son’s tracheostomy tube. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche not only didn’t scold her for being greedy, but told her like a kind father, “As a mother you may need to continue to work hard and wait a bit longer before removing the tracheostomy tube!” She was very grateful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for blessing her and telling her that she needed to watch the area around her son’s mouth as the tracheostomy tube might cause saliva to flow out, which could easily cause rash there, and that she could apply the Bao Yuan Gao Ointment to take care of the rash.

Three more months had passed before they went to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche again about whether they could have their son’s tracheostomy tube removed. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told them that they could find out with the doctor, who agreed that the tube could be removed. But in order to be sure, the doctor wanted to keep him for three days under observation in the hospital. During this hospital stay, her son’s oxygen concentration had remained between 99% and 100%. The doctor told them that tracheomalacia occurred due to long-term use of the tracheostomy, and a reconstructive procedure had to be performed if the tracheostomy tube was to be removed. In addition, the use of the nasogastric tube for an extended time had led to severe gastroesophageal reflux. The doctor of Western medicine had suggested that a gastric fundoplication and a gastrostomy tube were necessary to help prevent such reflux. But with the care of the Glorious Jewel Chinese Medicine Clinic, her son had significant improvement in the gastroesophageal reflux, along with the improvement of overall health. She was very thankful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for his blessing that led to her son’s smooth recovery! The hospital’s ENT doctors and medical staff all liked to talk about this particular case and were all amazed by her son’s incredible recovery!

She took this opportunity to thank Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for giving her blessings and for allowing her to attend the puja every Sunday. As a nurse, she was required to work different shifts, so it would have been difficult for her to attend the puja every Sunday. But soon after she had an audience with His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, she was transferred to the outpatient clinic, which allowed her to attend the puja every Sunday. Previously she also had attempted to transfer through the interview process but had not been successful. She was thankful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for the blessings that allowed her to learn Buddhism without hindrance!

At the same time, she repented that as she was born in the countryside of Yunlin County, her family members all had been farmers since she was very small. They raised many pigeons, chickens, geese, sheep, pigs, and killed some for food. She also liked to eat seafood, creating much killing karma without knowing it. She ate a lot of sentient beings to the extent that no meal was served well unless there was meat on the table. When she was little, she often caught the scarab and insects to play with, causing them to die fast. Later her family started the business of aquaculture, making money with the lives of sentient beings and creating immeasurable killing karma. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had taught: Those with heavy killing karma will surely die young, or suffer from various illnesses, or have family that is not harmonious. Her second aunt died at a young age in an accident; her father passed away due to leukemia, and two of her uncles died of illness at a middle age. After she started working, she often took what belonged to the company for her private use, and made copies of her private documents using the company’s Xerox machine. She was miserly to her co-workers and often made complaints about them. She often had temper tantrums, applying strict rules to others while treating herself as an exception. She had harmed countless sentient beings and did not believe in cause and effect. Now she realized that all that was wrong after she started learning Buddhism! If she had not received help from the guru and the Dharma, she would still have been living in misery. She thanked Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for allowing her to take refuge and have the privilege to listen to the auspicious orthodox Dharma and learn about the horror of cause and effect. Now her life has the guru to rely on. She could not repay the debt of gratitude and benevolence of the guru except act in accordance with the guru’s teachings and mend herself.

Finally, she pray for His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to have good health, to keep the Dharma wheel turning, to have eternal presence in the world, and for the Drikung Kagyu Order to flourish forever!

Then another female disciple shared how His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche helped her and her family and made a public repentance on her various evil acts.

She took refuge with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in 2009. In 2008 she was able to have an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for the first time, as her mother had begun attending the puja and encouraged her to attend the Chod Puja as well. Initially, she was very impatient and did not want to come. But her mother reminded her by telling her that this kind of puja would be beneficial to her grandmother who suffered from Alzheimer disease and all ancestors of the prior generations. She repented that she had not been filial! From her childhood, she had been loved and cared for by her grandparents on both sides, but she failed to have filial piety for them in time and to help them proactively. When her mother and maternal grandmother and she were kneeling in front of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, she was suddenly very moved, almost to the extent of shedding tears. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked them, “What’s matter?” They replied that they would like to attend the Chod Puja very much. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then told them, “Then you must become vegetarians.”  Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche even particularly looked at her. Her mother had been curious about this, as the entire family had been vegetarian. Later her mother found out that she not only ate meat secretly when she went out with others, but also bought meat to eat on her own. In fact, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had known that already!

She repented loving to eat meat secretly, killing countless sentient beings, and eating lots of chickens, fish, beef, pork, and shrimp, and even drink in secret! In addition, when she was having an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the guru saw that she had long bangs and told her, “You have beautiful eyes, don’t hide them.” As a matter of fact she had been hearing her mother and grandmother nagging about the bangs covering her eyes since her childhood, but she chose not to be obedient or show her filial piety. She did not want to change only until Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche reminded her of that.

She also repented that she had been selfish and overbearing. Once when she was aboard the MRT on her way to the Chod Puja, she sat down regardless of the fact that the passenger standing next to her was holding heavy bags. She was even reminded of her improper behavior after her move had squeezed someone else. During the puja that day, she kept moving her feet in a selfish manner, but her acts did not escape the sight of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who gave her the blessings, “Stop moving your feet!! How could you be so selfish? How could you ignore those sitting next to you? Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?” She was grateful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for the wake-up call, enabling her to see her faults that she had been repeating.

She repented that since she was very young, she had been selfish, disobedient, and inconsiderate. She had liked to take advantage of others and showed no filial piety. She had been impatient and liked to talk back. After she took refuge, she did not act in accordance with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teachings or what was taught in the Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas. She attended the puja only with the intention of seeking blessings and did not have reverence for the guru. She had also been reluctant to make offerings. Moreover, she had been careless while serving as a volunteer for the puja, picking and choosing what she liked to do and wanted to go back inside the Buddhist Center without finishing her assignments outside and causing believers to be unable to receive tickets. She wanted to repent especially that she had always been complaining to her parents, demanding more while refusing to make her share of the efforts, and not appreciating how hard her parents had been working for her sake. She repented that since childhood, she had been a bully and a jealous person who liked to steal things and often lie and use abusive language.

Shortly after taking refuge, she went to study abroad. She repented that she often neglected to learn Buddhism diligently while she was abroad and often indulged herself with strong desires for various things and tried to find ways to get them. She had even read some bad books as well as failed to mend her bad acts and praise the guru.

She was thankful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for always tirelessly helping sentient beings and for helping her entire family compassionately. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had not only blessed her maternal grandfather and grandmother, but also liberated her paternal grandparents during the Chod Puja. The guru even reminded her to balance her nutrition and gave her more blessings, helping her to restrain her restlessness and arrogance and focus on her study and learning Buddhism. Moreover, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also bestowed upon her father an opportunity to work and auspicious Dharma teachings. She repented that she not only failed to often share with her father the stories of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche helping sentient beings, but also dared not tell her father clearly about her plan to attend the puja abroad for fear that her father would reprimand her, causing her father to be unable to understand her or the auspiciousness of the puja presided over by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Since her father saw for himself that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was benefiting sentient beings compassionately without any differentiation, he supported both her mother and her in attending the puja. She repented that she failed to give her respectful greeting to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche when she saw the guru at the Glorious Jewel Company, feeling that she had been rude and lacked reverence. She was grateful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for enabling her to see her disrespect for the elderly. The guru had asked her mother whether someone was going after her during her stay abroad, and as disobedient as she was, she honestly admitted that indeed someone was courting her. Then Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche advised her, “Don’t make a decision yet.”

At the same time, she was also very grateful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for allowing her to read a quotation of his teachings at her high school graduation ceremony. This graduation ceremony was intended for student representatives from different religious backgrounds to read a prayer. As she was the representative of Buddhists to read a prayer on stage, she wrote a letter to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to implore for instruction. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche wrote her back attaching a speech that he made in India and told her in the letter, “This is the speech that I made in an Indian University a few years ago. As Buddhism is so vast and profound, it would be difficult, in a short time, to find a speech that is suitable for students to accept. But you can read out my speech and explain that it is the blessings and encouragement of your guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for all students, their parents and teachers of C. L. School.” That day, many students’ parents and teachers were very moved at hearing Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s speech being read out. But she repented that she did not check clearly with the school how much of the prayer she could read and only read one paragraph of the speech, leaving the attendees to miss the opportunity to listen to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s entire speech.

Finally, she thanked His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche! Had it not been for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, she would certainly have remained an evil person who failed to see her own faults. She knew she was wrong! And she knew that she must truly repent, make a vow to act in accordance with the guru’s teachings, learning Buddhism diligently so that she would be liberated from reincarnation of life and death. At the same time she prayed for His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to have good health, to keep the Dharma wheel turning, to have eternal presence in the world, and to spread the Dharma far and wide!

Then the puja began. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche ascended to the Dharma throne, and gave the precious Dharma teaching to the attendees:

During the previous pujas, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche taught you seven out of ten conditions that a disciple had to meet before being able to follow a guru, according to Master Gampopa. Today before the guru continued with the rest of these conditions, he was afraid that you might have forgotten what was taught previously. So he reviewed the conditions that had been taught first. According to Master Gampopa’s teachings, the first condition for a disciple to meet in order to follow a guru is, “He should have persistent faith in following the virtuous mentor without any tiresomeness.” The “faith” mentioned here is not the same as referred to by other religions in that as long as you believe, you would have everything working in your favor – whether through divinations or worshipping the ghostly spirit, or worshipping the guru like a god. All this is superstition. The “faith”, as taught in Pure Land sect, means that “Faith is the mother of all merits.” That is, in practicing Buddhism, you should not have any of your own ideas but follow the guru’s teachings completely. Act in whatever manner the guru teaches you, without adding or subtracting anything. The second Chinese character of “faith”,“Yang”, means reverence. When you have reverence for the guru, would you still harbor your personal views? You must truly believe that you can actually carry out the teachings in Buddha Dharma in order for Buddhism to be effective for you. If you have no faith in Buddhism or the guru, you wouldn’t have merits at all.

Some people think that they can attain accomplishment by reciting the Buddhist sutras at home. There was a believer who came to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and told the guru that he had been practicing Buddhism at home and that Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara would take care of him. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told him: It is impossible for this kind of practice to be effective. Some people think that they have seen the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and even claim that they have dreamed of a Bodhisattva talking to them. Then they would tell others that they have attained realization. The Buddha does not have a fixed appearance or voice. In the entire Dharma Realm, only the human beings need languages to communicate with one another. The heavenly beings in the Heaven Realm do not need to speak and can communicate simply by their eye expression. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has had this experience and knows that it really is so.

Buddha Shakyamuni had made it very clear in the Vajra Sutra, “One who looks for me in forms, or seeks me in sounds, practices a deviant path and will never see the true Buddha.” Why did the Buddha instruct you not to look for him in forms? First of all, it’s because you really have no way of seeing the Buddha. But the most important reason is that it’s for your own protection, for fear that you may see ghosts and be deceived by them. In this space, there are many ghosts that are constantly coming and going. Since ghosts have ghost powers, they know what you want. In case you encounter a mischievous ghost that wants to play a trick on you, he knows that you desire for telepathy and wish to see and hear the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. He would then let you see or hear something, making you believe that you have telepathy and supernatural ability. If the ghost knows that you wish to recite the Universal Gate Chapter of Lotus Sutra, he would tell you to do so. If he knows that you like to hear the Heaven “talk,” he would then speak something beyond your understanding to make you believe that it’s heaven “talk.” All this is the reason why many people have mental problems nowadays.

Buddha Shakyamuni stated 3,000 years ago that either a Buddha or a Bodhisattva has the Truth Body (Dharmakaya), Enjoyment Body (Sambhogakaya), and Emanation Body (Nirmanakaya). The Emanation Body refers to representation of the Buddha, such as Buddhist sutras, statues of the Buddha, Dharma instruments and gurus. Whereas only the practitioner who has attained the fruition of a Bodhisattva could see the Buddha’s Enjoyment Body. And none of you has the qualification to see Buddha’s Enjoyment Body. Furthermore, if you have not cultivated to the state of Truth Body, it is impossible for you to see the Buddha’s Truth Body and realize the truth of all phenomena.

Nowadays in Taiwan, it is very popular for people to take the Bodhisattva vow. Many people claims to be Bodhisattvas themselves, thinking that if they make a burn scar on their arms, they’d be Bodhisattvas. In addition, ordinary people even call elderly believers as “old Bodhisattvas.” But there are problems with all such claims which bring harm to many people. The Ratnakuta Sutra has a very detailed description about the language, acts and appearance of a practitioner who has attained the fruition of a Bodhisattva. It even goes further to say what qualifications that one must have before he can be truly referred to as a Bodhisattva. It’s not that you can be a Bodhisattva if you claim to be as such. Some people would argue that this is just a reference to a theoretical Bodhisattva. But the fruition of a Bodhisattva is not divided into a theoretical and an authentic Bodhisattva. If one has attained the fruition of a Bodhisattva, he is a Bodhisattva; otherwise, he is not.

That was why Buddha Shakyamuni said in the Amitabha Sutra that this is the Dharma that is hard to believe. Why did he say that it is the Dharma that is difficult to believe? It’s because the Buddha knew that in this evil world stained with the five turbidities it would be too hard for you to believe in Buddhism. The turbidity of view, which is one of the five turbidities, refers to wrong views that sentient beings have in the Age of Degenerate Dharma. Why is Buddhism so hard to believe? It’s because it’s completely different from the experience of life. Many people practice Buddhism in a self-righteous way, believing only in their own method. All of you are learning Buddhism in your own ways, and naturally you don’t believe in cause and effect. You should believe in the Dharma that is taught to you by the guru without adding or subtracting anything. It’s not that you don’t use your brain to think. Rather, it’s about you stop resisting. If you cannot accept that, no matter how many pujas you attend and how much Dharma teachings you listen to, it will be of no use. Before you have attained the fruition of the Truth Body, you should only listen to the Dharma taught to you by the Buddha and the guru. But this is difficult for you to do as you have a very strong sense of self.

So do not think that you’d be able to see Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara simply by reciting the sutras and prostrating to the Buddha at home, as the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas do not have fixed appearances or voices as you think. For example, the statues of the Buddha made before the dynasties of Tang and Northern Wei in China all look more like Westerners, with high noses and deep eyes as well as a profound profile. The statues after the Tang Dynasty look more like the Chinese of the central region. Then what exactly is the true appearance of the Buddha? In fact all this has been a result of human imagination. The reason that the Buddha stated that you should not look for the Buddha in forms and sounds was that he hoped that none of us would take the wrong path. So you should not assume that you have practiced Buddhism well or attained accomplishment just because you have seen or heard some sounds, or chanted the mantras well.

Some people arrogantly feel that because they have virtuous root, so they are able to come to learn Buddhism. But arrogant people can never cultivate compassion; nor can they learn Buddhism. On the contrary, those who have done evil would come to learn Buddhism, as it allows them to realize their faults. So in that sense, Buddhism should be for those evil-doers to learn. If none of you have any problems, would you still follow Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and learn Buddhism? You have all done evil, and the guru is meant to help you evil-doers reform through Buddhism so that you can be turned into virtuous people. If you had been acting as an all-virtuous person, you’d have been in the Pure Land already. Just as described in the Amitabha Sutra, you must be the virtuous men and women with virtuous root, merits and causal conditions before you can go to the Pure Land. You have the opportunity to attend the puja only because you had been in touch with Buddhism and learned it in your past lives. Moreover, if you had not acted in accordance with the Ten Meritorious Acts, you would not have been born human in this life; however, you still are in the cycle of reincarnation due to your greed, resentment, ignorance, arrogance and doubt. Furthermore, Amitabha’s light sheds on all sentient beings in the Six Realms in the ten directions of the Dharma Realm. So you must have received help from Buddhism in your past lives of reincarnation in the Six Realms. All sentient beings are endowed with Buddha nature, including those in the Animal Realm; hence they also have the condition to attain Buddhahood in the future. So don’t be arrogant by thinking that you have virtuous root. Rather, you should feel that you’re just like anyone else, as all sentient beings are equal.

Then what does it mean to have virtuous root? We can look at that from several perspectives: In the process as you are learning Buddhism, have you met an enlightened guru? When you meet a meritorious guru, do you have absolute faith in him? Do you follow the guru’s teachings completely? And do you accept Buddhism without reservation? All these, in addition to your words, actions and thoughts in your daily life constitute conditions by which you can examine if you possess the virtuous root.  Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara will come to the rescue of those who do when they encounter troubles in their life, because such people are rare and precious and they will be the future Buddhas. As to whether you possess virtuous root or not, it’s not up to yourself to decide. Rather, it will be determined through the observation of you by the guru, the grand practitioner and the virtuous mentor.

Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara will save lives, but those need to be people who meet certain conditions, i.e., they must be virtuous people instead of those who seek to satisfy their own desires. If you come to learn Buddhism with your own desires, the Buddha would not come to your rescue. It’s not that the Buddha has a mind of differentiation. Rather, it’s because you don’t meet the conditions, as you are still full of greed, resentment, ignorance, arrogance and doubt. Therefore, saving you is like empowering you to do evil, which would cause more harm to other sentient beings. The Universal Gate Chapter of Lotus Sutra described a lot of examples that illustrated how Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara came to the rescue of people as he heard their cries for help. If people go treasure hunting in the sea and are in trouble, as long as they pray to Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara for help, He will come to their rescue. But all of them must be virtuous people, and treasure hunting is intended for making offerings instead of their own sake. Virtuous people are those who practice the Ten Meritorious Acts. When you have followed all the Ten Meritorious Acts, the Bodhisattvas and the Dharma Protectors would definitely protect you without you having to pray for it. However, this is quite different from praying to Mazu (the local deity) – the fishermen would pray for Mazu’s protection and blessings before sailing out to catch and kill fish, hoping that they are blessed while committing evil acts. Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara has saved Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once in this life, and Lord Jigten Sumgon has come to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s rescue twice. Why did the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas save Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche? It was because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche possessed virtuous root and would bring benefits to many sentient beings. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was supposed to die during his retreat in the Snow Mountain of Lapchi, but Dharma protector saved Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in order for him to benefit more sentient beings. Otherwise, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would have passed away in July 2007.

None of you have the conditions for the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to come to your rescue yet. So you must have faith in the guru and follow the guru’s teachings. You should practice the Ten Meritorious Acts in this life in order to have the causal conditions to be liberated. Never assume if you repent after you have done evil, you will live a good life thereafter. If this is the case, you can all go and rob someone first before you come and repent. Religions in society make you believe that after your wrong-doing, it will be fine as long as you repent and apologize. However, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche emphasizes again here that your repentance will give you the opportunity to start all over again, but you must accept the evil karma and retribution, thereby resolve to avoid such faults in the future. It’s not that everything will be fine as long as you repent. The key is that after your repentance you should practice Buddhism diligently. You need to deeply believe in cause and effect. What you are now resulted from what you have done. If you hope that karmic retribution could be changed after your repentance, then it would be going against the law of cause and effect. If you think that your repentance can prevent your karmic retribution of your past evil acts from taking place, then it also means that your repentance will not bear any effects.

Why is it that those who truly repent and genuinely learn Buddhism have fewer obstacles and overcome many difficulties in life? Why does it seem that problems would be resolved for them? It does not necessarily mean that once you have learned Buddhism, all bad things would be prevented from happening. Rather, it means that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas would help you block your hindrances and tell your karmic creditors: Now give him a break and let him have the opportunity to learn Buddhism. Lord Jigten Sumgon stated that many people still refused to learn Buddhism after they had received help from the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas that allowed them to recover from illnesses. Instead, they continued indulging their body, speech and mind, resulting their illnesses to recur. At the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, such things have happened over and over. And it is very special because you can see many manifestations of the Dharma. It also lets you witness what cause and effect one would get depending on what he has done.

Repentance is a way to accept the responsibility for the evil karma that one has incurred. It is not meant for you to live a good life. Rather, it is an opportunity for you to start over. Venerable Milarepa had killed a lot of people as he listened to his mother. Later, he followed the instructions of his guru Venerable Marpa and spent the rest of his life practicing Buddhism in a cave so that it enabled him to not only avoid falling into hell, but also repay all his debts during that life and attain Buddhahood. Venerable Milarepa must have repented. But the key was in what he had done after repentance. After Venerable Milarepa had attained fruition through cultivation, even though Venerable Marpa had passed away, he continued to obey his guru’s instructions completely and practice Buddhism in the cave, refusing to come out of the cave to promote the Dharma even though the king had personally and repeatedly invited him to do so. It’s because Venerable Milarepa knew that this would be his only chance in this life in which he should repay all his debts. There would be no next life. So he went all out to repent and practice Buddhism. But why is it that you cannot do the same? It’s because you think that you still have chances.

If we use a worldly metaphor, repentance is like a promise you make to pay back the money you owe someone in exchange for reduced interest rather than a waiver of your debt altogether. Because of your repentance, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas would help you temporarily block the creditors to give you time. Wouldn’t you be working harder to make money in order to repay the debt? Similarly, from the Buddhist perspective, it means that you should practice Buddhism more diligently to accumulate blessed rewards in order to repay your karmic creditors.

You must listen to the meritorious guru and profoundly believe in what he says with reverence without any doubt. Do not learn Buddhism only to take advantage of the guru. If you are tired in your faith, you wouldn’t be able to follow the guru. Many people nowadays think that they have understood it after learning some Buddhism and started to teach Buddhism to others. In addition, because they took refuge a long time ago, they assume that they know the preferences of the guru and order people around, trying to lead the guru by the nose and treating him like a fool, to the extent that they even criticize the guru. Many people come to learn Buddhism for the sake of receiving blessings, feeling that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and the guru should offer what they want. It’s all wrong to learn Buddhism with this kind of mentality. And once you are on this wrong path, it’s very hard to make it right. So stop taking advantage of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

Secondly, there is the so-called saying that “You should make offerings with your money and property without holding a grudge or being miserly in order to follow the virtuous mentor.”

Thirdly, there is the so-called saying that “You should follow the virtuous mentor with undefiled and ever-increasing virtuous mind.” By “ever-increasing virtuous mind,” it means that you must work hard and grow your virtuous mind, so that you can increase faith in learning Buddhism and make progress. By “undefiled,” it means that you should have no idea of your own and learn Buddhism by following the guru with a pure mind, seeking no personal gain. It is like the way in which Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche took refuge with His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang with a pure mind without any defilement or expectation that one day he would become a Rinpoche. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche completely acted in accordance with His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s teachings without any such thought at all, but this accomplishment naturally came to him, unlike you who are taking advantage of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, wanting the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to fulfill your wishes – only to make a deal out of learning Buddhism.

Sometimes the disobedient disciple thought that it would be impossible for her to have a prospective spouse who would not listen to her, but it happened to her, unfortunately. For example, when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was receiving believers and disciples, one of the disciples did something wrong but argued that it was not her fault. She deliberately brought her boy friend to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in the hope that the guru would reprimand him so that he might change. This reflected her impure mind, showing that she intended to take advantage of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, instead of following the virtuous mentor with undefiled and ever-increasing virtuous mind.

Some people came to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche with a defiled mind. Once there was a believer who had an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and said that he wanted to learn Buddhism in order to benefit sentient beings. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told him that in fact when the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas made a vow, they have already attained their fruition and fulfilled their vow. Nowadays people often brag that they want to benefit sentient beings, while they are still unable to resolve their own problems or mend their own bad habits, or are unsure whether they’d be liberated from life and death in the first place. These people are full of egotism and arrogance.

Many people think that their intention to benefit sentient beings is the same as making a great vow to learn Buddhism, and many ordinary people believe that this is the case. But when it comes to make a vow, you need a meritorious guru to lead you to do it in the right order. You cannot do it correctly just by imagination. Rather, you will be able to make a vow naturally when you follow the guru’s teachings through the right cultivation stages. It’s not right that you make a vow according to some ordinary people who teach you to do so. But the key is that you must first have the determination to renounce reincarnation of life and death. If you are sure that you definitely have renounced the reincarnation, and then vow to come back, in this way you can benefit sentient beings.

There are many accomplishments that you will not be able to attain, at least not in this life. That’s why you should arouse aspiration to be reborn in the Pure Land. The reason that you are instructed to recite the Aspiration Prayer for Rebirth in the Pure Land toward the end of the every puja is that this is something you can be absolutely sure that you can accomplish – you will be able to do so in this life, as long as you follow the guru’s teachings completely.

When someone is seeking an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, hoping to cure his own illness, he would say that he has an elderly mother to take care of, his wife is still young, his children are too little, and that he has not fulfilled his responsibilities. This is to pressure Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, so the guru would have no choice but to help him. It shows that he does not have any reverence for the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas at all. But in fact what unfinished responsibilities does he have? He is no head of state. In other words, he uses different tactics to intimidate the guru in order to satisfy his desires. These are examples in which people implore the guru with defiled mind.

Fourthly, there is the so-called saying that “You should follow the virtuous mentor with the unhindered wisdom.” Wisdom is innate with everyone. But your innate nature is hindered by your greed, resentment, ignorance, arrogance and doubt to the extent that your wisdom cannot come to light. A person who is learning Buddhism should reduce these five poisons or prevent them from coming into being. Even though you are not able to eliminate them completely yet, as a Buddhist practitioner, you should set them aside and do not learn Buddhism with your personal desires. Many people implored Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for wisdom. As a matter of fact, all sentient beings were born with wisdom. The only thing that they need to do is to unlock this wisdom through learning Buddhism and following the precepts. The wisdom that is obtained through practicing Buddhism is “acquired wisdom,” which can unlock the innate wisdom and hence reveal the ”primordial wisdom.”

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has heard someone explaining “listen-ponder-cultivate” as a process of thinking, and “precept-meditation-wisdom” as action, dividing up the meaning intrinsic in these phrases, which is not right. “Listen” is not only just thinking; in fact it is an action. Furthermore, when you keep the precepts, you can listen to the Dharma in the state of meditation. This is also why Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could listen to the Dharma in the state of meditation even though he could not understand the Tibetan language in which His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang was teaching during the puja. Because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had abided by the precepts perfectly well, he could understand and naturally fulfill it later even though the teaching was conducted in Tibetan. Only this way can one truly “listen.”

It’s very important to keep the precepts, particularly for Buddhist practitioners. Without abiding by the precepts, your mind will be full of distractions and unable to be calm. Only when you keep the precepts will you be able to listen to the Dharma with a calm mind, and hence enter the state of meditation. It will further enable you to think in what area you have failed to be in conformity with the Dharma teachings and mend it. When you have both “precept” and “listen,” you’d be able to “ponder” and “cultivate” in the state of meditation, which would lead to unlocking of your wisdom. Therefore, the “listen-ponder-cultivation” and “precept-meditation-wisdom” would work well only when you link them together in your practice.

You need to practice “listen- ponder- cultivate” and “precept-meditation-wisdom” simultaneously. Only this way can your wisdom be attuned to that of your guru. The so-called “attunement” does not refer to something you see or hear. Rather, it’s about applying the guru’s teachings to your life and attuning to the aspiration of the guru, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, which allows you to integrate yourself into the merit ocean of the guru, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. If your practice does not lead to unlocking of your wisdom, and you are unable to attune to the guru, you will absolutely have no way to find out the problems with your body, speech and mind based on your own consciousness. This part is very difficult to explain clearly. But Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has been able to give you this clarification since he has attained accomplishment through diligent cultivation without seeking money or consideration for his own life.

Why is a guru so important? Because a guru is an experienced practitioner, knowing all the difficulties that you may encounter in your Buddhist practice. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has different approach in teaching each disciple, and only gives you teaching at the moment when you need it most, but he does not open his mouth if you don’t need it. In addition, the guru would take immediate action if he sees that you have a problem. This is why it’s so important to follow a guru. But before you do, you need to find out whether the guru has the qualifications for you to follow.

Once when he was interviewed by a reporter for a certain magazine, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said that even the fruition of a Rinpoche may be divided into A, B, C and D classes. With your capability, you are not able to distinguish which class of fruition your guru is in. If you encounter one in the D-class, you are in trouble. Moreover, you wouldn’t be able to tell which Rinpoche has the A-class, as nowadays there are a lot of people who pop up from nowhere claiming that they have attained the fruition of a Rinpoche without being able to tell you clearly about their lineage. There are also others who know the need to learn Buddhism but don’t want to bother to find out the details about the lineage and qualifications of the guru. Instead, they just go to the ones closest to their home. It doesn’t matter whether you want to learn Buddhism with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, but he has always identified publicly his guru and lineage.

Fifthly, there is the so-called saying that “You should follow the virtuous mentor reverently without any arrogance.” What we are talking about here is that you must have reverence without arrogance. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will give you an example. In transmitting the Dharma to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang sometimes needed to make references to the Dharma text, since there were quite a few different versions. At other times, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang transmitted the Dharma in a certain way, but changed it the next day. If it were you, you would think: How come the guru needs to refer to the Dharma text? Is it that the guru has not cultivated well enough? You would even argue with the guru: “Guru, you are wrong. You didn’t say so yesterday. Which one is correct, the one you taught yesterday or the one you are teaching today? I would not be sure how to practice like that.” But in Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s mind, there was only one thought – no matter what the guru did, he would be teaching his disciple for the disciple’s benefit. So Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has never wondered the changes made by the guru. If the guru said “revise,” then revision would be made. Perhaps this was how His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang purposely tested to see whether Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was truly reverent to his guru or not.

The so-called saying that “There is no fixed Dharma” does not mean that there is no method or stage that you have to follow while practicing Buddhism – cultivation stages must be followed in practicing Buddhism. Rather, it means that the Dharma methods taught by the Buddha vary, depending on the sentient beings’ different root capacities and causal conditions, so there is no certain fixed way of doing that. A guru who has attained the fruition as that of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has many different methods immediately available to help sentient beings. Just as Buddha Shakyamuni was holding a flower and smiling, Venerable Mahakasyapa immediately attained enlightenment. If it were you, you would wonder: What happened to Buddha Shakyamuni with a flower in hand? A guru helps his disciples in many different ways, using all means to enlighten them. But it’s not that you would attain Buddhahood right after enlightenment, which is divided into many stages and levels. For example, after learning about your attachments to certain aspects of your life, such as family or career, you decide to let go of your attachments and practice Buddhism wholeheartedly, realizing that the ultimate purpose of Buddhist practice is to be liberated from life and death. This may be considered as a type of enlightenment.

From the smallest behavior, we can see that some people do not have reverence for and follow the guru without arrogance. For example, during the Amitayus Mantra Puja in honor of His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s birthday, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche noticed that, after chanting the Amitayus Mantra, some disciples bowed to the mandala before leaving while others left in a hurry. That was a demonstration of no reverence. These people came to attend the Puja for fear that they would have pressure from others if everyone else was attending it. They were too embarrassed to be absent, or were worried about being punished by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche if they did not attend. Such attendance is their way to muddle through. This kind of mentality is quite bad, and such irreverent mind will also cause them hindrance in their future practice.

Some couples said when they came to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, “My fellow practitioner and I…” This showed an arrogant mentality. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could not agree with this kind of reference as soon as he heard it. The so-called “fellow practitioner” only refers to a person who learns and practices the same Dharma method under the same guru in the same Buddhist Center. It is never mentioned in the Buddhist sutras that a husband and a wife are to be called fellow practitioners. Nowadays many people enjoy being inventors, abusing Dharma terminology. The guru has no idea why it’s become popular that people talk in such a pedantic manner.

Sixthly, the so-called saying that “You should follow the virtuous mentor filially without any hesitation” means that when we follow the virtuous mentor, we must firmly believe in all the mentor’s teachings just like children are filial to their parents.

This is very difficult for you to do, as people nowadays do not have much filial piety and parents, on the other hand, are permissively spoiling. When the children grow up and do not look for a job, their parents would give them money to go out to have fun with their friends. Such parents even try to justify themselves by saying that the children are still inexperienced yet. But how can you say they are inexperienced if your sons already go out to date girlfriends and your daughters go out to find boyfriends? When many young people do not work hard or encounter something unpleasant at work, they simply quit and live off their parents and spend their parents’ money, feeling there is nothing wrong with it, since their parents have a lot of money anyway. There are many such cases right here at this Buddhist Center. You, the parents, are helping to produce for the future society of Taiwan the “rice borers,” – a term used to describe those who choose not to work, idling and contribute nothing to society while only consuming food.  As parents, you must teach your children to work hard and show filial piety from their childhood. Family members are all karmic creditors. When the debt of this life has been repaid, all will be over. Don’t assume that it is enough to bring your children to the puja. You must teach them the ethics and moral values. As a matter of fact, whether a child is obedient or not has to do with your blessed rewards. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s children used to be disobedient as well. But they naturally became obedient after Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche started practicing Buddhism and accumulating blessed rewards.

Once there was a believer who came to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, saying that she would like to learn Buddhism and implore the guru for permission to attend the puja. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could see that she was already 40 years old and had no intention to find a job. She thought that she didn’t have to work and it would be fine to regard learning Buddhism as her living. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then told her: If you don’t have a job, you will not be allowed to learn Buddhism in the Buddhist Center. An ordinary person might say that she has heavy karma so she should first come to attend the puja and accumulate blessed rewards before being able to find a job. However, nowadays there are a lot of jobs available. How would it be possible that she could not find a job? Later she really found a job and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche let her attend the puja. If you choose not to work, how can you even start to talk about learning Buddhism? Many business owners are not able to find employees now, so there are many job opportunities. But on the other hand unemployment is high because many people do not want to work.

You think that you are all grown-ups and have a lot of life experiences, and that your parents have grown too old to understand anything; so you can now self-righteously criticize your parents. Or you think that you’ve grown up to the extent that you’re no longer subject to your parents’ discipline or don’t need to listen to their advice. It shows that you have no filial piety. Would those who listen to their parents commit faults? If a person has filial piety, he would act by following his parents’ advice in order to prevent them from being worried.

Those who don’t have wholehearted filial piety for their parents absolutely would not be filial to their guru either. Why didn’t the board members submit the video to be shown in the Great Puja to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for approval earlier until one week before the Great Puja? Because each of you tried to edit it the way you like without any consideration for the guru and left it to be taken care of by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who finished it in just two days. Why was Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche able to finish it in two days but you could not? It’s not because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could do it on account of “Rinpoche.” Rather, since you are not filial to your parents and don’t normally pay enough attention to your parents’ needs, naturally you don’t have filial piety for the guru either.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has always had filial piety for his parents since childhood, and even now still keeps paying close attention to his mother’s needs. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s mother now stays in Taiwan. When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche saw that his mother kept drinking water, he thought that it must be a problem with salivating function of her mouth and immediately asked a physician from the Chinese medicine clinic to give her a check-up. The physician gave some pills for his mother to take – two pills per day. Sure enough, it resolved his mother’s problem. If it were you, you would at most grumble after such observation, “Don’t drink so much water. You’d end up with edema!” You only stop at where the problem is rather than coming up with a solution.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is filial to his parents and pays attention to what they need. Naturally he also has filial piety for his guru and pay attention to what the guru needs. The so-called “attention to the guru” means that you should pay attention to what the guru needs rather than the guru’s private life. Every time Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is by the side of His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, he naturally keeps close attention to the guru and knows his needs, sometimes even noticing fine aspects of the guru’s needs that the guru’s attendant failed to see, thus telling the attendant on a timely basis. Many grand practitioners in the past, such as Masters Marpa, Milarepa and Gampopa could attain accomplishment because of the filial piety that they had.

When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was a primary school student, his teachers gave reviews describing him as a stubborn child. In this world, only His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang could change Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who would do whatever His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang told him to. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche used to provide financial support for many monasteries in Qinghai, and each year such financial support totaled more than an 8-figure amount. Later His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang told Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche that these supporting funds were sufficient for these monasteries and instructed him that such support was no longer needed. As soon as His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang said so, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche stopped providing further financial support. If it were you, you might think that providing such financial support for monasteries is a virtuous deed and continue to do it secretly. Or you might think that the reason the guru told you not to do it anymore was that he wanted you to make offerings with this money to him instead. But in fact, the guru never said that, just as His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang never instructed Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to use this amount of money as an offering to him. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would do whatever His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang instructs him to do, because he believes that the guru must have good reasons for what he says, for the benefit of the disciple. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche truly is one with filial piety.

However, this society is now paying less and less attention to maintaining the order in which the younger ones respect the elderly, even news reports are referring to the elderly as simply old people. They refer to people over fifty as old men and nobody is being called “an elderly” anymore. It’s because the journalists who write these reports are in their twenties and have no respect for the elderly people at all. On the other hand, there are senior people who brag about themselves and show no care for younger generations. Thus the society is becoming more and more chaotic.

Then, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche started teaching the seventh condition taught by Master Gampopa, “You should follow the virtuous mentor uprightly without falsification and deception.” That is to say, when we follow the virtuous mentor, we must sever any false and deceptive acts and revere the guru with sincerity and consistency.

Once a whole family came to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche after their elder died. Their son-in-law showed great reverence, but Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knew that he had no faith in his heart. So Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave them the full account of what had happened before and after the elderly passed away. Such things were only supposed to be known within the family. After that, the guru said to the son-in-law, “You had no reverence earlier. After you’ve listened to what I had to say, now you have aroused real reverence.” At hearing this, the son-in-law nodded in agreement. This means that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knew his mind and taught him to be reverent. If Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had not known his mind, the guru would have been unable to help him.

There was also a couple with a sick child who came to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. They appeared to be quite reverent, crying and making prostrations. They said that the doctor had given up on the child and implored Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to let them attend the puja and save the child. You have absolutely no way to see what they were thinking from the way they acted. But Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche felt something was wrong. Then, through meditation, the guru came to know what was in their mind. So Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told them that they actually did not want to attend the puja for the sake of curing their child. Rather, it was only another shot that they tried, just as they had tried in so many other places already. Buddhism could not help them cure their child’s illness, and they should go to see a doctor. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told them that in a relatively loud voice so that others could also hear it. Sure enough, they didn’t come back, because they didn’t really have reverence. If it were you, you could have been deceived. Then Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked a disciple who was familiar in the legal area: What would they do if their intention was not satisfied? The male disciple replied: If Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could not cure their child’s illness, they might slander the Buddha or criticize the puja.

The key here is that you should not falsify reverence. In fact, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is very clear what kind of problems and thoughts you have except that he pretends to know nothing sometimes. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knows exactly when it’s a good time to take drastic action to help you, or temporarily take no action at all. So don’t assume that you can “hide out” – as a matter of fact there is no escape.

Even if Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has no supernatural power, he has the big backer – Dharma Protector Achi to rely on. When you do something wrong, as long as it does not harm the guru or the Drikung Kagyu Order, the Dharma protector would not take any action. But if you have the intention to harm the guru or the Drikung Kagyu Order, then Dharma Protector Achi would set out to take an action. The Dharma protector does not mete out a punishment on you but would let you leave on your own, because you have cut off the blessings from and severed the affinity with the guru. Hence you will naturally feel guilty and leave.

Once there was a journalist who was dispatched by her supervisor of a certain newspaper to the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center to see if there was any news that she could report. After a whole year’s stay, this journalist found out that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was truly promoting the orthodox Dharma. This, in addition to the fact that many people kept asking her out of curiosity why she came to learn Buddhism, made her more and more diffident as she was unable to answer the question. So she couldn’t stay on and left the Buddhist Center on her own. She went back to report to her boss that the Buddhist Center was really promoting Buddhism and there were no problems there. Strangely enough, during that period of time, all of a sudden there were a group of female disciples continuously asking her why she had come to learn Buddhism, causing her to feel diffident and leave. There was another person, who was an employee in Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s company. He had kept something hidden very well but something mysteriously happened causing his secret to come to light and everybody knew it. So later he quit and left. This shows that the Dharma protector always provides protection because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has been practicing Buddhism according to the Dharma so that such things would be exposed to prevent the guru from being harmed.

Recently there was a disciple who said that he did not want to subject himself to discipline. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told him: If you have this kind of thought, you don’t need to come and learn Buddhism anymore. Recently there was some TV report about activities in which people set captive animals free. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said humorously: My disciples were often “set free” – let them go and live their own lives. When you take refuge to learn Buddhism, the guru and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will protect you, as if you are shielded by a protective net, so that all good or evil karma that poses obstacles as you learn Buddhism would temporarily stop hindering you or reduce harm to you to a minimum.

Once you have broken the precept, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as well as the Dharma protector will not punish you, but the blessings you receive from the guru and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will be cut off. Once the protective shield disappears, you would live your life under your original karmic influence. Without the protective shield, flies and mosquitoes will start to bother you! Later, if you come to implore Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for help again when you are riddled with various problems, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would still help you but it may be too late. If it’s too late and your body is beyond repair, the most Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche can do is to help you not to fall into the Three Evil Realms.

Eighthly, there is the so-called saying that “You should follow the virtuous mentor humbly without any arrogance.” This is to say that when we follow the virtuous mentor, we should not be boorishly rude or arrogant of our ethnicity or family background, and should not flaunt self-importantly. Instead, we should have a peaceful mind, calm and pure. The Buddhist sutras and theories also mention the commandment that “If you are in the processing of writing one character when the Vajra guru is bestowing teachings upon you, you should immediately stop without continuing to make even a cross or a dot.”

As we are talking about the guru bestowing teachings, it means that you should act in accordance with what the guru teaches you. Many of you continue to have various kinds of thoughts now while the guru is teaching you. It means that you are failing to meet this requirement. Even if you’re doing something important, you should stop and pay attention to the guru as he is talking to you. Today one of the attending disciples was reprimanded by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche because he was not paying attention when the guru was speaking.

Many people like to say “I do not know” as an excuse. But when you say “I do not know,” you are in fact being quite rude to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Those who say it have no reverence. Come to think about it, when you go to a place to visit someone, if you really respect that place and its people, wouldn’t you carefully watch what you say, no matter whether you understand it or not? Wouldn’t you carefully observe around you before taking an action? But when you say “I don’t know,” or “This is the first time for me…,” that just shows your boorish rudeness and arrogance. Who doesn’t have the first time? When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche took refuge with his master of the Exoteric Buddhism for the first time, and when he had an audience with His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang for the first time, nobody had taught him how to do it. But he did it all very naturally and smoothly with reverence.

The so-called saying that you should not be arrogant based on your ethnicity or family background refers to the fact that India used to have the caste system, and Tibet and China also used to have their respective aristocratic systems. Even until today such systems still exist. In Taiwan there are government officials, legislators and other people with social status and backgrounds. For example, a wealthy female disciple once brought someone to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. But her friend, being wealthy and arrogant, had no reverence for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. As a matter of fact, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, does not judge a person based on how much money he has – the guru would not pay attention to you just because you have money. Neither would he ignore you because you’re poor. It also does not necessarily mean that he would only help the needy and avoid the wealthy. Your money, scholarly achievement and social status are the blessed rewards that you have accumulated from your past lives. And such blessed rewards are changing constantly and will be used up. So they are not eternal but illusory. Moreover, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would not be using your money. So, what does it have to do with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche if you have money? And what is it that you are so arrogant of?

Recently, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told a disciple’s son that if he couldn’t be a vegetarian, he did not need to come and seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, nor would he be allowed to enter the Buddhist Center. Yesterday, this disciple brought her non-vegetarian son to the Buddhist Center to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche again. Her son ended up being asked to leave the Buddhist Center once again. If this disciple brings her non-vegetarian son again, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will ask her to leave as well. Do not assume that if you keep at getting approval of something, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would have to do that. She wanted to use Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to bless her son, thinking that she had some social status and should be treated differently. But Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche promotes Buddhism in accordance with the Dharma teachings and will not let her lead him by the nose.

When you have any thoughts or demands and hope the guru to make them happen for you, it means that you don’t have a pure mind. As long as you arouse any thought that is irreverent to the guru, you should immediately set it right in the manner set by what the guru has said and done. It is important to set your thought of irreverence right. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has not seen this condition before, but today, as soon as he saw it he realized that he had already fulfilled it. But none of you has done so, hence it is taught to you right now.

Recently Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche learned that a disciple’s highest ranking official had been attending the Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness presided over by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for seven years. At hearing the news, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was very pleased as this served as an indication that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had not done anything against the law. If Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had done something illegal, this well-respected and powerful high-ranking official would not have attended seven times, since he was very clear and cautious in this respect. The fact that this high-ranking official was willing to come quietly without any fanfare and sit quietly through the Puja meant that he had remained very modest, unlike you who are afraid of not being recognized by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. There were over 20,000 people attending the Great Puja and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche barely knew any of them. You hope that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would notice you after you make offerings, but he may not necessarily know. On the contrary, the guru may notice those of you who have not made any offerings.

A lot of people like to show off their capabilities in front of the guru, for fear that the guru fails to notice you and recognize how capable you are. Even if you do know a few more Buddhist terms than others, it only means that you have a bit more Buddhist common knowledge than others, and does not signify that you have practiced Buddhism. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche does not prefer one person to another. Everyone is a sentient being and all disciples are equal. Sometimes, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche speaks to someone more than others but that does not represent that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche prefers him to others. Rather, it means that at the moment he has such need. If he currently does not have such need, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would not speak one word to him. By nature Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche does not like to speak, and will not say anything that is useless.

Had Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche failed to meet all the conditions mentioned above, it would have been impossible for him to hold the Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness for eight years in a row. Even if it had been possible, the Puja would not have been so successful. Even if the Puja had been successful, it would have been impossible for those ancestors of yours who were waiting to be liberated to let you know that they were very pleased before and after the Puja. Ghosts have ghost powers, and sentient beings in the Ghost Realm are quite clear who can really help them. You can deceive people but not the ghosts. When you arouse a thought that you are going to attend the Puja for transferring consciousness, you ancestors are overjoyed, as they finally meet a capable practitioner who can help them. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said humorously: Because they were too delighted to wait and afraid that the 65-year-old Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche might oversleep, they all came one day earlier to remind Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, resulting the guru to have a sleepless night.

Though Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not sleep at all through the whole night before the Great Puja, he was still full of energy the next day to perform the Dharma and give teachings for four hours straight. Yesterday Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche spent seven hours receiving believers and today he is still full of vitality, teaching the Dharma continuously. You saw just now that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had the energy to reprimand people. Even the physician of the Chinese medicine has said that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s physical condition can be compared to that of someone in his thirties despite the fact that the guru is now 65 years old.

Why was it that the board members frequently having the meeting on “the video about Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche” that was to be played in the Great Puja all the way until well after midnight and still were unable to solve the problems, saying that there were legal issues involved? It was because they were not sincere to the guru and sentient beings. The Buddhist Center had a legal advisor that they could go for help. Why did they choose to have meetings that often lasted until after midnight instead of consulting with the legal advisor? Their purpose was to show off how capable they were. Furthermore, the content of their final resolution almost made Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche vomit blood, because it contained different numbers of attendees – in some places it said there would be 10,000 attendees while in others it said 20,000 people had registered for the Puja. They even found an excuse saying that the venue could not hold as many as 20,000 people and if all was shown as attendees it would be against the law.

Right then Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed a disciple well-versed in the area of law to explain it to the attendees whether such description would be against the law. The disciple with good legal knowledge explained that it was not violating any law. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then commented: You are all educated people and should know that registration for the Puja does not equal actual participation. In other words, people who registered for the Puja don’t necessarily come to attend it, so the fact was distorted. When you took refuge, the guru taught you to praise the guru’s merits. What they did not only failed to praise the guru’s merits, but even belittled such merits. The legal expert-disciple was at fault too in not upholding his stand for fear that he might offend his Dharma brothers. Instead, he has offended the guru, thinking that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was compassionate and would not mind if he took advantage of the guru. True, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would not make a fuss with him. But he will have to face karmic retribution in the future for treating the guru this way.

The board members of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center had spent one year preparing this video and in the end there were still a pile of problems with the content. But why was Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche able to get it done in just two days after the video material was submitted to him? Moreover, the video used only 10 minutes to systematically and clearly introduce the relation of lineage between His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche as well as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s experience of cultivation. It’s because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is a very detail-oriented person and edited the video wholeheartedly for the sake of sentient beings, unlike you who often say, “Don’t do anything that guru has not instructed, otherwise you’ll get reprimanded.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche always takes the initiative to consider and do many things for His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. And His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang wouldn’t know until when something has been done. But His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang never reprimands Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche pays constant attention to what His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang needs and considers from the perspective of His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang how he can help the Drikung Kagyu Order while remaining reverent for the guru. Why have you been continuously making mistakes? Moreover, the mistakes you made in the translated Japanese and English versions show that you never consider things from the guru’s standpoint; rather, you keep doing things according to your own ideas.

In the so-called saying of “Acting according to the teachings,” the “teachings” are explained by many as Buddhism or Buddhist teachings. As a matter of fact it’s not true. It refers to every teaching that the guru has given. So “Acting according to the teachings” really means that you should act in accordance with the guru’s teachings, following them to the letter no matter how the guru expressed them. However, you only listen and follow what Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche says while he is on the Dharma throne as Dharma teachings, but fail to listen and act on what Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche says after he has descended from the Dharma throne as the Dharma teachings. It indicates that you have not acted according to the teachings. In fact, no matter where or when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche says something, it is all Buddhism.

Before this year’s Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness, there were a married couple of disciples who told the Director of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Culture Exchange Association that they were specialized in organizing such events, and that they could secure very favorable prices with the vendors. They requested to take over the organization of the event from the Director. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche commented: This couple thought of themselves as experts, but did not realize that the whole event had been based on Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s ideas and no vendors could provide services without the approval of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. This couple had tried to make business out of the Buddhist Center, and it showed that they had no reverence for the guru! It was not the money that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had been concerned about, rather, it is about whether these vendors would be sincere in providing their service for 20,000 people. Moreover, it was the Buddhist Center’s money rather than Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s, therefore the guru was more prudent with regard to how the money was spent.

Over the years since 2002 when the 10,000-people Great Puja was held in Taoyuan, the collaborating vendors have gradually been learning what requirements Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has. It’s not that the guru would never listen to the disciples’ suggestions. But when His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang was giving instructions, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would definitely first finish listening attentively to what His Holiness had to say before reporting his own analysis and thoughts. It was up to the guru to decide whether such analysis and thoughts were adopted. But you often have an arrogant attitude, thinking that others must accept your ideas and do things according to your thoughts, and that the guru must accept what you have said, showing no reverence at all. His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang has enough blessed rewards and is happy to have such a disciple as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. On the other hand, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has heavy karmic hindrance as he has over 1,000 disciples and a mountain of problems. More people bring more problems. It looks like it’s time for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to start to “let go” some of them.

Many times, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche reported to His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang about the societal situations while chatting . Practitioners are different from ordinary people in that the former would quickly gain knowledge in professional areas in which they originally had no training or background through quick listening or learning. Many years ago, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was escorting His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang to visit a believer’s home in northern Taiwan. That night, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang saw a Chinese chess set and asked Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche what that was. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told him that it was a Chinese chess set. After Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche explained the rules of the game, they started playing it. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche won the first game. During the second game, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche loosened up a bit out of respect for his guru and immediately His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang won it.

It was the first time that His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Drikung Chetsang ever played Chinese chess but he understood it right after hearing the explanation of the game. Because a practitioner has his wisdom unlocked and can gain insight with a brief introduction even though he had never played it before. In order to keep the disciple from feeling bored, the guru asked the disciple to play Chinese chess. In addition, the disciple should also know to give courtesy. If you are to play this game, you would only be preoccupied with chasing and killing until the end. Should you really “chase” and “kill” while playing it with an elderly, let alone your guru?

Take the Grand Puja held in Nangang for example. It was difficult to arrange the sound system as the venue was huge. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was no expert in sound systems and has not spent a lot of money on an expensive stereo system at home, but knew that such a huge venue would have a serious echoing problem. However, the problem was resolved with his one comment. At that time, the disciple in charge of the sound system stood up and reported to the attendees that since the venue was huge, it was not suitable to set up the sound system originally. Even the vendor had no idea how to address the echoing problem. But upon hearing the report, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche simply reminded them that they might try to raise the speaker box to 45 degrees. The problem was resolved as the echo was limited to the side and back of the venue. That was so phenomenal that even the professional vendors were completely impressed, to such an extent that they offered a discount to the original charges. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche stated: This is because the practitioner was holding the Grand Puja to benefit sentient beings instead of gaining his own interest. So the Dharma protector naturally came to help. Even though the guru was not an expert, he was able to resolve the problem based on the wisdom revealed from his self-nature.

Some people consider themselves to have the worldly knowledge and in certain aspects know more than practitioners, as a result they have no reverence for practitioners. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche saw that some believers in society even made disrespectful remarks to Dharma masters. For example, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once overheard a dentist talking to his former Dharma master over the phone in a tone like this, “It’s not that I want to criticize you, so Dharma master, you should not say something like this! You don’t understand it!” This kind of people did not have the reverence that is without any arrogance. He might think that he was a dentist and thus enjoyed a higher social status and more knowledge than others. But shouldn’t he be respectful when talking to an elderly person, let alone a practitioner?

As long as they are practitioners, they have something that you all lack. So you must show your due respect to them no matter whether they are ordained practitioners or lay-practitioner-gurus. The person he was talking to over the phone was an ordained practitioner who still patiently waited until the dentist finished talking before hanging up. If it were the Vajrayana practicing guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, at hearing the disciple’s disrespectful remarks, he would have reprimanded the dentist in roaring and thundering voice long before the dentist had finished talking.

Today’s society is in chaos, and there is no more respect for Confucianism. Nor are ethics and moral values taught any longer. In families, parents stop teaching their children about filial piety. Why is it easy for the Chinese to accept Buddhism? It’s because Buddhism attaches importance to filial piety for the elderly, which is shared with the Confucian ideals. Why have there been particularly many typhoons in Taiwan in recent years? It represents that people there do not believe in cause and effect, nor do they maintain ethics and moral values. Why is there more and more social chaos in Taiwan? Isn’t it that the more social news you watch the more afraid you are? All this is the result that they don’t believe in cause and effect. What they have in mind is: Let’s do it first and get it over with. If it becomes a problem later, we’ll deal with it then. So Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche hopes that you can all set right the mentality and behavior of your next generation through learning Buddhism, and restore the life that the normal people should have instead of the life full of deceit against one another. We’ll stop here today as we finish the eighth point and will continue with the remaining two points next time.

Next, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed the believers who have not taken refuge to leave the venue before orally transmitting the Dharma of Protector Achi to the new disciples who took refuge recently.

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Updated on November 8, 2012