His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings – September 9, 2012

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

Before the puja, a female disciple shared with the attendees how her father was liberated through the Chod performed by His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

She got the news from her family that her father had passed away on the afternoon of Saturday, July 28. She was quite shocked, as her father just returned from Taoyuan to Pingtung on Tuesday, and had not had any illnesses except the diabetes which he had had for many years. As a 67-year-old man, her father’s health was pretty good and he had often gone out for some odd jobs. Her father passed away so suddenly that she now felt the “impermanence,” which Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche often taught about from the Dharma throne.

She immediately made prostrations to the Dharma photo of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche on the mandala, praying that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could help her father. She also called her Dharma brother that her father had passed away and in the meantime told her family not to cry by her father’s side. As soon as she finished the call, she quickly packed and took the high-speed train to go back to Pingtung. In the train, she started chanting the mantras and visualizing her father kneeling in front of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche giving blessings to him at the top of his head. She remained quite calm all the way back home and firmly believed that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would help her father leave suffering.

As soon as she got back to her parents’ home in Pingtung, she first put a nectar pill in her father’s mouth, and told him not to be afraid as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would help him. She also continued to chant the mantras according to what Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had instructed. Eight hours later, her father’s face became ruddy with a serene expression, appearing as if he was sound asleep.

The next day, after checking up her father’s body and changing him, she found that there was still no livor mortis appearing on him. She put another nectar pill into her father’s mouth. About half an hour later, she saw that her father had a smiling face, and the large white mark caused by emergency intubation had also turned into pink. Right before the coffin was delivered, she saw a rainbow emerging from the mountainside in the distance and all of a sudden there was a thunder followed by a few minutes of heavy shower. Upon seeing these auspicious signs, she had heart-felt gratitude for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s great compassion and aspiration in liberating sentient beings and never abandoning them, and praised the auspiciousness and greatness of Buddhism!

She registered to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and was notified the next day that there would be a Chod Puja on August 5. She repented that she did not often praise the guru or act in accordance with the guru’s teachings. Nor had she been able to arouse her family members’ reverence for and faith in Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, as her family did not go along with her to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. At that time a typhoon was sweeping over Taiwan. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche stated before that there are many sentient beings in the typhoon, and she hoped that those suffering sentient beings could also be liberated. When she had an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche on August 4, she implored that her father be liberated during the Chod Puja. That day, she witnessed Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche tirelessly help sentient beings resolve all their sufferings in spite of the fact that the guru was not feeling well. The next day, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued to help sentient beings by performing the Chod in disregard of his own well being. She thanked compassionate Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for helping innumerable suffering sentient beings leave the sea of suffering through the Chod Puja.

As she recalled the period of mourning for her father, she felt that there was no sense of sadness in the family at all. Even her younger brother was amazed at seeing how ruddy his father’s face was. Not only was her father’s skull complete without cracks after cremation, but also there were seven colors and a neat hole in it. In the crematorium, she saw so many dead bodies being pushed in and out, how many of them could have been liberated? She deeply felt how privileged she and her family were to have the blessings and help of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who, on the other hand, sought nothing from the disciples. She asked herself how much filial piety she had for the guru. This made her feel very ashamed and repentant! Every time she heard her Dharma brothers share their stories how Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche helped their families and friends, or someone who had passed away, the most sincere and consistent feeling that they shared was: How fortunate we all are to have Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche! Thank you, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche!

In fact, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knew long time ago that something was about to happen in her family. As early as June when her Buddhist group had a dinner gathering, the group leader forwarded Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s concern: Is there anything wrong with her family? Foolishly she replied, “There is nothing wrong!” Thereafter, she had been worried but did not think of bringing her parents to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche as soon as possible, causing her father to suffer later. She felt deeply repentant about that! It is hard to attain the human form; it is rare to listen to the Buddha Dharma; and it is difficult to encounter a guru. She vowed to follow Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to learn Buddhism diligently and be liberated from the suffering of reincarnation so that she could repay the debt of gratitude to the guru, the Buddha, her parents and the sentient beings.

She prayed for His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to have good health, to spread the Dharma far and wide, to turn the Dharma Wheel constantly, and to benefit all sentient beings in the ten directions of the Dharma Realm. She also thanked all her Dharma brothers for their earnest help during the mourning period and their efforts in making the trip all the way from Pingtung to participate in the farewell ceremony.

Next, a second disciple told her story of taking refuge with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and how Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche helped her and her family.

First of all, she thanked Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, Protector Achi and throne-holders of all generations of the Drikung Kagyu Order for giving her the opportunity today to share her stories, the help that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave to her and her family.

She had an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche on Sunday, September 4, 2011 and was able to implore the guru for her to attend the puja successfully. On September 11, she attended the puja for the first time. Upon completion of the puja that day, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche transmitted the Three-Refuge, allowing some believers who had been granted the permission of refuge to become Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s disciples. She did not have the approval of her family whether she could take refuge. But she witnessed how tireless and compassionate Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was, receiving believers on Saturday. But since there were more believers, the guru continued to receive them on Sunday after the puja. In addition, she listened to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teachings in the puja and felt that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was a truly meritorious guru with accomplishment through genuine cultivation; therefore, it could not be wrong to follow him. So she kneeled down right there to implore for refuge. And compassionate Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche agreed. In the refuge ritual, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche cut off a lock of hair of each person, signifying that that person was now ordained, but not in the same sense as an ordained practitioner leaving home. Rather, it signified that the new disciples would follow the guru in leaving the “home” of suffering from reincarnation of the Six Realms.

Upon taking refuge, she immediately received her refuge certificate which showed a Dharma photo of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. In the period before she was given a Dharma name, her mother-in-law broke both legs and received two separate surgeries within a matter of two weeks. After the second surgery, her mother-in-law was sent to the ICU of the operating room without waking up. The hospital wanted her husband to sign many papers and told them that if her mother-in-law did not wake up the next day, there was a possibility that she would remain in coma for the rest of her life or, worse yet, they should prepare for her funeral. That night, she put the refuge certificate on the cabinet and kneeled down to pray to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to save her mother-in-law and let her wake up from her coma. The next morning at 10:00 when the ICU was open for visitors, they heard the nurse calling for the family of her mother-in-law to be by her bedside as the patient was returned to the ward. She and her husband sobbed out of happiness, not expecting that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had heard her pray as she was kneeling down in front of the refuge certificate and helped her mother-in-law to regain consciousness despite of her very low hemoglobin. This was the first time she witnessed Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s compassion. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche saved her mother-in-law after hearing the call for help just like Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, even though she was just a new disciple and had not made any offerings or contributions. She was very grateful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for the compassionate help and realized how phenomenal Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was!

As she attended more pujas, she listened to more of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teachings and the stories about the guru’s help shared by Dharma brothers, and profoundly felt that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was a meritorious guru with the capacity to help sentient beings leave suffering. Once in the puja, she heard from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche that the husband of a Dharma brother passed away and still had hindrance as he was worried that his wife did not know the password to his bank account. With Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s great power, the guru even knew what the deceased was thinking about and told the wife of the deceased about it. Only then could the deceased receive help from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche without hindrance. After hearing this story, she was very moved by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s great compassion and capacity and shared it with her husband after going home. She joked with her husband that he should tell her all the important things at once so they wouldn’t need to bother the guru to tell her the password of his bank account. These things had become something they often talked about.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche kept his words in consistence with his acts, benefiting sentient beings without any consideration for himself. Such compassionate aspiration of the guru deeply touched her. So she talked to her husband about offering a large piece of agarwood to the guru. She explained to her husband, “We are people full of evil karma. Now we have met the meritorious guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, and he is the only one who can help our elderly mother to avoid falling into the Three Evil Realms and be liberated from the suffering of reincarnation after she passes away.” Her husband, after hearing her remarks, was not against her wish to make offerings to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. So, she took it, along with a jade statue of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara bought from the jewelry store, and a quarter of profit that she made from a business trade in cash, to make offerings to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

On April 28, 2012, the Buddha’s birthday, she brought the cash offering, the piece of agarwood and the jade statue of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who asked her upon receiving her with such a large wrapped piece in her hands, “What’s this?” She replied, “It’s a piece of agarwood.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked again, “Do you have any motives?” Quickly she answered, “No!” Then Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed other Dharma brothers to unwrap the agarwood and authenticate it. Just as the Dharma brothers were unwrapping it, she immediately reported to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, “Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche! Whether this is a genuine piece of agarwood or not, my heart is sincere.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said to her at once, “Of course I believe your heart is sincere!” She was really touched. Just then, the Dharma brother reported that the agarwood was authentic. At that time, a thought came up to her mind – how wonderful it would be to make offerings on behalf of all sentient beings! Surprisingly, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche actually read her mind and told her, “All right, you may make this offering on behalf of all sentient beings!” She really couldn’t believe how phenomenal Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was! Then Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also accepted the jade statue of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara and the cash offerings. Compassionate Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed a few of the disciples to place the agarwood on the mandala of the Buddhist Center as an offering to the Buddha, and thereby she could see her old friend every Sunday when she comes to the Buddhist Center.

After making the offering to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, she asked the guru a question, “I’m very sorry to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, as I have been providing my personal Buddhist shrine as a place for my friends in Exoteric Buddhisn to practice every Tuesday.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told her, “You don’t need to be sorry to me, but you need to be sorry to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. I can tell you from my own experience that I may have regression any time before I have attained the state of “Great Master of the Dharmakaya”. His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang is now still observing what I say. The Dharma is for you to practice but not for discussion. One wrong thing to say and you’d end up being a fox for 500 lives. They should go to a Buddhist center and learn Buddhism by following an accomplished Dharma Master. And you should focus on your own practice!” All of a sudden, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s face showed the appearance of a wrathful vajra and said to her harshly, “Do you hear me clearly? Do you understand it?” She replied without feeling scared at all, “Yes. I hear you clearly. I understand and will take care of it after I go back.”

On the morning of the Monday after she made offerings, she invited her sister along with her mother to go and seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Unexpectedly, her sister agreed right away, unlike the previous times when she would always say, “Let me think about it.” Then, the following Tuesday, one of her clients repaid a loan of NT$2 million to her which had been delayed for nearly one year. She was really grateful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for his help. Within one week, all her younger brothers and sisters went to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche at the Buddhist Center – the most stubborn brother even had arrived at the Buddhist Center earlier, waiting for them. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also blessed their mother who had a stroke so that her condition would not become worse. She really felt that only a truly meritorious guru could help them transform their karma, and in doing so, it has reduced much of her suffering. She felt extremely privileged to be a meritorious guru’s disciple.

Due to the blessings from the meritorious guru, all her problems had now been resolved and her life started to settle down, gradually. She felt fortunate to be able to attend the Acalanatha Fire Puja presided over by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in the Kyoto Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center of Japan on May 25. She saw the stately and graceful set-up of the Buddhist Center in Japan, amazed that only a meritorious guru with great wisdom and blessed rewards was able to establish such a perfect Buddhist Center. Through Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teachings she learned about the origin of the statue of Acalanatha. She was particularly touched by the way the statue was arranged by the guru. The compassion and tireless devoted work that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had shown as he was performing the Dharma were very touching to the attendees. For two hours in a row, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had been using his right hand to pass out offered items from the Fire Offering to the attendees so that they could cast them into the fire in turn. For most people, repeating one action continuously for two hours in a row would make them tired. But Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not show any sign of fatigue. She was very grateful that the guru allowed them to have the opportunity to participate in the Fire Offering in order to accumulate blessed rewards.

When a Dharma brother asked her whether she’d like to go to Caoxi Temple in Kunming where the guru had practiced Buddhism in one of his past lives, she thought that she just went to Japan the previous month and her husband would not agree that she went abroad again. But she went home and told her husband anyway, saying that her Dharma brothers were organizing a tour group to go to Caoxi Temple in Kunming to pay tribute to the place where the guru had practiced Buddhism in one of his past lives and it would take eight days. Unexpectedly, her husband replied, “Hurry up and go if you’d like to go. You’d regret it when you cannot make the trip later.” She had never expected that the guru’s merits gave her blessings again, enabling her husband to agree on her trip to Caoxi Temple. When paying tribute to Caoxi Temple, she wasn’t immune to the custom of seeking divination by Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, and she got a divination of No. 40, a good sign that indicated her current status – she had found a meritorious guru and should strive to follow him, act in accordance with his teachings in order to go to the Pure Land.

Her mother-in-law did not believe in Buddhism nor was a vegetarian. She made an offering with the money that her mother-in-law had given her on the latter’s behalf so that her mother-in-law could accumulate blessed rewards in the hope that when her mother-in-law passed away, she would not fall into the Three Evil Realms. In addition, she really wanted to thank Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for his compassion, as her elder son, while driving his delivery truck at work, collided with a car driven by a woman in the 6th or 7th month of pregnancy on the Monday following the next. Both vehicles were totaled but both drivers were unharmed. She thanked Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for helping her son through this dangerous situation.

The next day, which was a Tuesday, the administrator living downstairs told her youngest son that there was a company on the fourth floor that was currently hiring and told him to go for an interview. Her youngest son had been discharged from the army for over a year and couldn’t hold onto to jobs whether he found it himself or through the reference of a friend. Unexpectedly, he could now go to work without having to spend one penny on transportation. For a young person, having a job where he could improve his skills was an encouragement. For an elderly person like her mother-in-law, it was comforting to see her grandchild going out of the house and entering the workplace. She didn’t believe that this was just a coincidence. Instead, she knew that all the changes that were happening in her family were bestowed by the guru. The compassionate guru understood the elderly grandmother’s concern and expectation for the child. All three generations of the family were blessed by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. She did not know how to thank His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

This series of miracles that had happened to her and her family made her more convinced that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was no ordinary person but a reincarnated Bodhisattva. She took a photo of her Buddhist shrine and showed it to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche when she had an audience with the guru the next time, explaining to him that the practice session that she had with her fellow Buddhists was over, and implored Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for performing consecration of the statue of the Buddha in her Buddhist shrine once again. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then instructed a few Dharma brothers to go and check to see whether the statue could be prepared.

All her siblings attended this year’s puja, planting the seeds of learning Buddhism with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. She firmly believed that they would have the affinity to learn Buddhism with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in the future. But on the other hand, she also was feeling apologetic to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche as her siblings were non-vegetarians and did not believe in Buddhism. It was their first time to attend the Great Puja, so the sentient beings that had to do with her siblings must have disturbed Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s sleep. She implored for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s compassionate forgiveness. She also expressed her gratitude to the guru for so tirelessly presiding over the puja, allowing her family members to have the opportunity to be liberated.

She was also thankful for the hard work of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and all the Dharma brothers, which resulted in such a comfortable and stately Buddhist Center where the disciples could learn Buddhism with the meritorious guru – Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. She praised that she was so privileged in meeting the meritorious guru who was continuously bringing benefits to sentient beings in disregard of his own life and seeking nothing in return at all. She said that she would surely treasure her current causal conditions, follow His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in learning Buddhism forever – life after life, applying the orthodox Dharma taught by the guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to her daily life, correct her wrong thoughts and wrong acts, make offerings to the guru the best she could, and provide support to the Buddhist Center, praying that the Dharma lineage of the Drikung Kagyu Order would have eternal presence in the world. Finally, she prayed for Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to have good health, to keep turning the Dharma wheel, to have prosperous Dharma activities and to benefit countless sentient beings.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche stated after ascending to the Dharma throne: In the previous few weeks, we talked about the first eight of the ten conditions that a disciple must have in order to follow a guru. We’ll continue with the last two today. According to Master Gampopa’s teachings, the ninth condition is “To follow the virtuous mentor forbearingly without any complaints and resentment.” Modern people who are learning Buddhism are very strange. They would listen to the guru’s teachings at the beginning, thinking that they should follow the guru’s teachings. But one or two years later, they started to have their own ideas, like the example that we mentioned last time in which a dentist told his Dharma master, “Master, it’s not that I want to criticize you. You’re not correct in saying so. It should be…” This disciple mentioned here did not have the qualifications and conditions to follow a guru.

You often say that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche misunderstands you, that he does not know you, and you try to explain that’s not what you meant. You even blame Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for not being compassionate and for not listening to your explanation. Why does Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche not listen to your explanation? It’s because when you try to explain, it means that you think you are right and the guru is wrong! Everyone was once a child. Every time a child makes a mistake, when his parents blame him, he would say that it’s someone else’s fault and never admit that it’s his fault. The fact that the guru does not accept your explanation does not mean that dictatorship is good. Rather, it means that the guru’s requirements, correction, and reprimand are all for your own good. Why are they good for you? It’s because all of you make the same mistake – you take too good care of yourself, only thinking of protecting yourselves from being wronged or accused. However, if you cannot even tolerate being wronged by your guru and insist on giving an explanation, how would you have forbearance? If you think that the guru does not know you or misunderstands you, it only means that you have the greed, resentment, and ignorance. It also means that you harbor complaints and resentment against the guru.

In this Buddhist Center, you see that when some young people come to attend the puja, they don’t want to sit cross-legged on the cushions on the floor. Instead, they prepare their own chairs or a pile of cushions so that they can sit high and comfortable. In Tibet, puja attendees sit on the grassland with scorching sun over their heads, unlike you who have the cushions and air-conditioning. So we can only say that those born in Taiwan are really fortunate, where even the poorest are faring better than the poor in other countries. But because they have a comfortable life, they are not willing to follow the Dharma teachings accordingly.

You might think that because you health is not good, so you are afraid of having leg pain or injury and don’t want such physical pain. But you have never thought that each time you have such physical pain you are paying off your debts. How much karma have you created over your past lives? How much debts have you owed to your karmic creditors? Wouldn’t we all have to repay such debts? If you don’t want to repay the debts now, you’d have to do so after you go to hell. You may think: How would I know what it’s like in hell? In fact, you don’t need to wait until you go to hell, you would know it even before you die. For example, nowadays people are often intubated, cut open and operated on in the hospital before their death. You think that it’s medical treatment, but in fact it’s a sign that you are going to hell. Don’t blame the doctors, as it is just the result of the karmic influence upon you. According to the Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows, those who love to eat meat would go to the hell of cutting, chopping, inserting and poking, just like the kind of medical treatments that the dying people would have to go through in the ICU before they die.

Your attendance at the puja is not meant for you to sit comfortably while listening to the Dharma. You are so used to have a comfortable life that even when you listen to the Dharma you demand to be comfortable and are unwilling to tolerate any  discomfort. As the disciple who has just shared her story with you before the puja, this Buddhist Center is in fact already too comfortable a place for you. If you cannot even stand the little discomfort of sitting on the cushion on the floor during the puja, what can you endure? If those of you who are below 50 years of age cannot put up with such discomfort and want to sit comfortably, I ask you not to come anymore. You may go to some other Buddhist centers for the Dharma. There are Buddhist centers in the north and south of Taiwan and in these places they have prepared comfortable sofas for you to sit on which also have back support for you. Additionally, in front of each seat there is a small table. As the Dharma master elaborates on the Dharma, you may stand up and applaud when you hear the part to your liking. As for the part that you don’t particularly like, you may continue listening to the Dharma while sitting on the sofa with your back comfortably leaning against it, as you please. No one is there to reprimand you. You may say – Isn’t Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche being too much of a dictator? Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche isn’t being a dictator at all, because he has set an example for you that physical pain can be endured.

Though Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is sitting very high, it is because of the height of the Dharma throne. With the leg-crossed posture, he is in a more physically demanding position than you. According to the medical report by a disciple who is also a doctor of Western medicine, the scoliosis that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has was shown from the X-ray image to be the result of a severely deformed spine, which has been crushed and distorted to the extent that even the nerve and blood vessels have been compressed, causing huge pain. The spine depends on the muscles on both of its sides to maintain it in a normal position. When the spine has been deformed, it would not be able to support the body in balance. With the uneven stress of the muscles, it is easy to cause fatigue or injury. The upper part of a human body is heavier than the lower part. If the weight of the body relies solely on the muscles of one side, it won’t take long before the body can no longer handle it. The worst case of scoliosis can cause incontinence and paralysis. Generally, it is difficult for someone to endure this condition for five minutes before he finds it hard to sit or stand, let alone sitting for so long in an upright position on the Dharma throne giving Dharma teachings and walk so fast after descending from it like Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Another disciple who specializes in the Chinese medicine of traumatology also reported that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has scoliosis with kyphosis, with narrow intervertebral disc spacing. Long-lasting structural condition of uneven muscular tension has caused poor blood circulation in the lower body, easily resulting in numbness of the lower waist and feet. Normally speaking, a person with this condition would not be able to sit for a long time, not to mention sitting cross-legged on the Dharma throne for a long time with an upright upper body like Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. In addition, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also has cervical dislocation with vertebral kyphosis and clamping, which affect the blood circulation of his head and neck. So it’s easy for him to develop soreness and stiffness of neck and shoulders. But this has not troubled Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s daily activities. Furthermore, the cartilage of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s right shoulder joint has worn out. Generally, a person with this condition would feel hard to raise his arm high, which can easily cause inflammation and pain to the joint, and his recovery would take a long time. It is impossible for him to carry out action like Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche who continuously raised his arm high and waved the kusha-grass soaked with nectar water to purify the attendees in the entire venue during the puja for a few dozen minutes.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued with the teaching: Why can Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche sit up straight on the Dharma throne for quite a few hours with a condition like that? Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche does not use a cushion to make the Dharma throne higher and you cannot see if Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is feeling uncomfortable. You may say that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has a very determined mind. Of course it has to do with his determination. But Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also has a body of flesh with nerves, so he has feelings as well. However, why is Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche not subject to physical pain? Or you may say: Because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has attained the fruition of a Rinpoche, but you are just ordinary people, so without a doubt, he is different from you. Nevertheless, even though Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has attained the fruition as a Rinpoche, like you, he also started as a believer when he began his Buddhist practice.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s spine had problems as early as when he was in his twenties before he started learning Buddhism. Once a doctor told Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche that with a development like that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would probably have his head hanging low without the possibility of raising it high after the age of 50. But Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has been able to change all that through practicing Buddhism. The purpose of learning Buddhism is not to cure your illnesses, help you have prosperous business or a harmonious family, or let you live a good life. Many people think that as long as they chant the mantras and conduct the penitentiary rites they would be able to repay the debts. If this is the case, then why does Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche still have spinal problems? The trouble you have is that you love your body too much. The more you love yourself, the more problems you will have. Why is Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche able to endure the suffering? It’s because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche believes in cause and effect, and he wouldn’t be able to repay the debts if he only wants to live a comfortable life. That is, we need to repay the debts with our physical body. Furthermore, it would be impossible for you to be liberated from life and death if you haven’t repaid the debts in this life. Those who come to attend the puja with the intention of sitting up high and comfortable are not acting in accordance with the spirit “To follow the virtuous mentor forbearingly without any complaints and resentment,” because they are unwilling to stand even a little discomfort in their feet during the puja.

“To follow the virtuous mentor forbearingly without any complaints and resentment” means that when we follow the mentor, we should tolerate the intolerable and act the impossible like Master Naropa practicing the 12 ascetic acts. When Naropa was following Tilopa, Tilopa instructed Naropa to carry out such hard acts such as stealing, indecent acts against imperial concubine and jumping off the cliff, etc, all of which Naropa did accordingly. Of course, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would not want you to do something like that. If he does, you would come up with whatever criticism that you may think of, to the extent of even slandering the Buddha.

The ninth condition required to follow a guru is to tell you that the world is full of troubles because you have too much affliction and attachments, only seeing problems of others. Learning Buddhism means that you need not only see the problems of others, but also those of your own, and know that everything is a result of cause and effect. People of ancient times respected teachers and would not criticize the teachers no matter how the teachers taught. Nowadays, teachers are not so respected and are not even treated as such. Teachers would be considered as teachers only when what they teach is in agreement with your requirements. When it is not, the teachers become rats and everyone can denounce them in public, without any trace of respect for them. Some people came to ask Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche which realm their deceased family members went to after they were liberated. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche usually does not answer such a question, because in the Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows, it is clearly described how much charity the family is required to give on behalf of the deceased in order to know which realm the deceased went to. How does it become so simple by just asking such a question? This also is showing irreverence for Buddhism.

People in modern society, especially those between the ages of 20 and 35 years old, are easily distracted from what they are supposed to do, as they are exposed to far more stimulation than people of ancient times. They would go online to gossip after watching a series of soap opera, and after gossiping online they would check their cell phones. Nowadays smartphones are particularly popular. Fans of smartphones would check their cell phones to see if there are new messages first thing in the morning after getting up. Even if there is nothing new, they would like to press its buttons, keeping their brain stimulated without rest. You may think that using a cell phone is nothing significant. But come to think of it carefully, do you need to think when you are using the cell phone to send instant messages or chat? Wouldn’t doing so consume energy of your eyes? On the other hand, a cell phone in use generates electromagnetic waves that could affect one’s health. Practitioners who practice meditation and Tantra would not be affected by such electromagnetic waves. But you would have its interference as long as you use the cell phone.

From the Buddhist perspective, such acts are constant indulgence of your mind. Moreover, when you see something exciting sometimes, your breathing would become faster. When you see something you don’t like, your heart rate would increase. So such things would reduce the length of your life. The Buddha stated that people now are in a stage of decreasing lifespan. Sure enough it’s true that those who like to use smartphones would have their life shortened. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche finally understands why people’s lives are shortened. From the perspective of a practitioner, what people are doing is harming themselves. They may say the average life expectancy is increasing. But in fact that is not true. Moreover, young people of this generation are used to distractions. For example, when they carry out a task, they do not focus on doing it well – with their eyes looking at one thing while their ears are listening to something else, and yet their hands are busying doing still something else. This way they have formed the habit of being distracted. How then can they do things well?

Everything the guru does is to help you concentrate better so that you can see the subtlety of your faults. It’s difficult for those, who do not understand that it’s imperative to let their brain have an opportunity to rest, to focus their attention, which would be drawn away by the six senses: the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and consciousness. This is also why it’s so important to keep the precepts. At this time, a doctor-disciple reported the following analysis from the medical perspective: Normally, the human brain continues to receive messages from the external environment. If it is constantly being stimulated, there will be an impact on one’s ability to focus. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued: The purpose of practicing Buddhism is not for you to satisfy your desires. On the contrary, what you like will be taken away from you or even destroyed by the guru. What you don’t like will be shown to you by the guru. It’s because all your affliction, attachment and greed start with what you like. And all your resentment and hatefulness start with what you don’t like. So you must keep your forbearance, which means that your mind abides in the pure nature without any desires, and you must completely accept everything that the guru requires you to do. Thus, it’s not about tolerance in the general sense.

Some people may say: Why is it so strict in learning Buddhism? Anyone who doesn’t like this Buddhist Center is free to go to another Buddhist center, which would be just the same as it’s also about Buddha Amitabha. Taiwan is a country of free religion and Buddhist centers are everywhere. However, although they all have the same Buddha Amitabha, they have different gurus. And it all depends on whether there is a guru that acts in accordance with the Dharma. Furthermore, when you’re used to jumping from one Buddhist center to the next without the determination to follow one guru, you would be like duckweed without roots – there is no way that you would be able to practice Buddhism with solid and profound foundation. It was easier for people of the ancient times to attain accomplishment for the fact that they had no distractions and had loyalty and devotion to their gurus. Once they found their truly meritorious guru, they would follow him through to the end and receive all the blessings from the guru, just the way Naropa followed Tilopa mentioned before.

A few years ago, there were believers who invited Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to promote Buddhism in Holland. The time had been set and it was even made known to His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, who, knowing that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was about to go to Holland, still instructed Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to do something else. The time to do this thing had been changed repeatedly for three times. However, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not implore His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang to change the time for the purpose of promoting Buddhism in Holland. If it had been you, you probably accepted the changes for the first and second times. But when it was changed for the third time, you would have brought about the schedule of Dharma promotion to His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, saying that you were doing something for the Order, putting forward the facts that the airline tickets had been bought, the venue rented and the human resources arranged, and so on and so forth. In other words, you are not able to accept everything that the guru requires you to do – not that you feel difficult, but you are not able to do it at all.

If you cannot do it, it means that you are not able to have forbearance without complaints and resentment. But Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche completely accepted His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s instructions about changing the time without saying anything or having any second thought, knowing that the guru was doing that for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s good. Perhaps His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang made such arrangement because something might happen to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Maybe His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang did not allow Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to go to Holland to promote Buddhism because he knew that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would die if he went to Holland as planned. But His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang did not give a reason and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not ask about it either. That was acting in accordance with the guru’s teachings. A guru is an experienced practitioner, knowing what the disciples’ most urgent problems are in their Buddhist practice. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was able to have forbearance without any complaints and resentment because he knew that the guru must be doing something to benefit him, instead of arrogantly thinking that his mission to promote Buddhism was very important. If it had been you, you would have brought it up, or even have thought that the guru might have forgotten about your trip. With such kind of thoughts, it shows that you do not follow the guru forbearingly without any complaints and resentment.

Later, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche heard about something. Another Tibetan Buddhist Order previously was planning a puja in Taiwan and they would like to have two Geshes to come over to Taiwan to serve as interpreters. But both of them were unwilling to come to Taiwan using excuses that they had other pre-arranged Dharma-promoting activities. Later something happened to each of them respectively. One got very ill and another had something really serious happen to him. Why did that happen? It was because they did not act according to the guru’s teachings. The guru had spoken but you found a bunch of excuses to avoid fulfilling your duties, cutting off the blessings from the guru. It was not the guru was punishing you. Rather, the blessings were severed and the guru’s protective shield disappeared, hence you had to go your own way led by your karma.

The Buddha provides help based on each sentient being’s karma and causes. If every thought you have is evil, then there is no way you can get help, since the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as well as the guru are not able to transform your karma. The Lotus Sutra states that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas bring various benefits to sentient beings in the hope that sentient beings can accept Buddhism and leave the house of fire. But sentient beings go right back into the house of fire thinking that there are their toys in there. What are the toys? They are your attachments. Therefore, the Buddhist sutras have reminded you not to indulge your desires. Furthermore, if you don’t change your mentality toward the guru, you simply don’t need to learn Buddhism anymore. You are not able to have forbearance at all if you are arrogant, thinking that you have such social status and educational achievement that you don’t need to listen to the guru. Without forbearance, you wouldn’t be able to cultivate compassion, and without compassion there is no Buddhism.

No matter what kind of life experience you have, you wouldn’t be able to tolerate other people and things if you cannot tolerate your guru. Consequently it would be difficult for you to survive in this society. When your mind is pure, you wouldn’t have a heart of distinction when you look at sentient beings, as there is no compassion with people who do have a heart of distinction. If you can abide tranquilly within the pure self-nature, how would you still have your own thoughts?

The mentality toward the guru that you should have is to bear all that is unbearable and accept all that is unacceptable. As a result, you will receive blessings from the guru. If the guru sees that you have the conditions required to be a disciple, he would often pick out the problems that you may have and teach you ways to address them, testing you and changing you in many ways. Or when he sees that you are stumbling, he would give you a helping hand and teach you ways to get out of such situations. If you are obedient, you may be able to turn the whole thing around because of that. But if you aren’t obedient, then there is no way. The guru will not try to find out why you are not obedient. However, when the guru has told you but you would not accept it, thereby, you revert to the influence of your original karma, and thus your future life will be at the mercy of your karma.

What kind of people has Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche not seen since he started working at the age of 17 years old? What kind of tricks has he not seen? In terms of Buddhism, there are a lot of methods that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche can use if he wants to address a certain problem. If the guru smiles at you all the time, it only means that you are beyond a state in which you may be saved. Some people left after a few years of learning Buddhism here, and reverted to their original karma as soon as the guru’s blessings were cut off. When their karmic retribution appeared, they came back to implore Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for help. More often than not, it would be too late to transform the karma as it has been set and matured. There have been many such examples in the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center.

In recent years, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has held the puja on the first day of the Chinese New Year. But there were always some people who could not attend it with such excuses that their families were having a reunion, or that their families did not allow them, or other obstacles that prevented them from coming. An ordained guru may not be able to challenge you on such excuses. But Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is a lay practitioner with a mother and children just like you, nonetheless he was able to make proper arrangements in advance and held the puja on the first day of the Chinese New Year. This is because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has aroused the bodhicitta to help sentient beings. Perhaps some people think that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was holding the puja in order to collect offerings. But truthfully, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was really not interested in the meager offerings of yours that may not even qualify as offerings in the first place.

Offerings may be made with things other than money. In Vajrayana there are many different kinds of offerings – external, internal, and secret. The so-called secret offerings are not the type that is hidden away or too secret to tell. There are some conditions for that. But which type of offerings can you make? In fact, you really are not able to make any of these offerings, thinking that it would qualify as an offering if you offer some money, and thinking that you are very important and great because you have made such an offering. As a matter of fact, the guru is not at all interested in your money. There was someone who came to make an offering with NT$20 million. But since he did not have the right mindset, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not accept. Those who took refuge quite long time ago knew that all the money offerings that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has refused to accept would amount to the value approximately equivalent to two mansions. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would accept your meager offerings only when you have the right mindset, so that you can have the opportunity to accumulate blessed rewards and therefore clear away the obstacles in your Buddhist practice.

The 10th condition: “Follow the virtuous mentor as the Yidam instead of an ordinary person.” This is to say that when we follow the virtuous mentor, we should always “regard the guru as a Buddha” rather than “an ordinary person”.

This condition of following a guru tells us that we should regard the guru as being no different from the Yidam and as a Buddha. It is because you often have your own opinions, so there is no willingness to tolerate the guru. If you regard the guru as an ordinary person, you would only receive blessings from an ordinary person. But if you regard the guru as a Buddha, then you would receive the blessings from the Buddha. If you regard the guru as the Yidam, naturally you are able to listen to every word that the guru speaks. The so-called “blessings that reach the mind and soul” have been experienced by many people. When you don’t have enough blessed rewards, you are prone to have wrong thoughts, doing wrong things or even hearing something incorrectly. Why do you hear the guru’s words wrong? It’s because you have not acted according to these 10 conditions at all. The reason why you forgot or could not listen to what the guru has taught is that you have failed with regard to these 10 conditions. If you can fulfill the 10 conditions which are required of a disciple, you would remember Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teachings firmly without forgetting any of it.

The guru is not negotiating conditions with you. Rather, these are standards that a disciple must meet, just like the prerequisite which must be satisfied before a student can be admitted to a certain school. The aspiration of a Vajrayana guru lasts life after life. Even though a disciple may have karmic influence in this life, he would be able to go through harmlessly as long as he abides by the 10 conditions, as the Vajrayana guru, along with the Buddhas and gurus of lineage of all the generations would give him blessings life after life before he attains Buddhahood. If a disciple has the  aspiration that is the same as that aroused by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and the guru, and if his aspiration is strong enough to suspend temporarily the karmic influence, then he would have lessened effect of his heavy karmic retribution, which allows him to have the chance to continue learning Buddhism in this life. The fact that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has been saved twice by Lord Jigten Sumgon indicates that in the past lives, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had been in touch with Drikung Kagyu Order and had fulfilled these 10 conditions; otherwise he might have died in the car accident already.

In the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, you can see the manifestation of the Dharma over and over. If you don’t listen to and believe in the guru’s words, it means that you wouldn’t believe in the Buddha’s words or the Buddha himself either. For the reason that you are not able to see the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, if you refuse to accept the words of the guru who you can visually see, it would be impossible for you to follow the Dharma as taught by the Buddha who you cannot see. How do you possibly know what the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Dharma protectors are doing? Maybe something that you like would happen but it turns out to be bad for you. Or maybe something that you don’t like would happen that turns out to be good for you, on the contrary.

You would think that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gives Dharma teachings only when he is on the Dharma throne and the instructions that he gives off the Dharma throne have nothing to do with Buddhism and you don’t have to follow them. When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is sitting on the Dharma throne, you regard him as a Rinpoche; but when he is off the Dharma throne, you’d consider him to be a fool. In fact, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is a Rinpoche of 24 hours. If not, how would people often see Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche appearing in front of them and helping them when they are in danger? Why is it that you can go through a dangerous situation without being harmed by chanting the Dharma name of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche? Whatever Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche says and does, whether on the Dharma throne or off it, is to benefit sentient beings. Every word that he says is the Dharma. On the other hand, you are only disciples of the two hours every week when you are inside the Buddhist Center and indulge yourselves when you leave it.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is completely receptive of what his guru says. But when you hear Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s instructions, you would think whether they are beneficial to you, or you would often guess whether Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has some other purposes than the literal meaning, or doubt if such instructions are beneficial to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche himself. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche always gives Dharma teachings to you according to the Dharma taught by His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. When you think that there may be a problem with what the guru teaches, it means that you have a problem, because you cannot see yourselves clearly, not knowing what your fault is. This is also why when you learn Buddhism you need a guru who can supervise you. A person who is learning Buddhism should abide by the 10 conditions of following the guru as a disciple. That is to say, he should surrender himself completely to the guru’s teachings. Of course, he needs to see clearly whether the guru he has encountered is meritorious or not. Otherwise, there would be big problems if he still observes the 10 conditions of following the guru. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has already taught the 10 conditions that a meritorious guru must have. You can browse them in the website of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center.

If you want to learn Buddhism and become a disciple of the Buddha, then you must fulfill the 10 conditions described in the last few pujas. You may not be able to do it all at once, but you need to start doing so step by step, uncompromised. Master Gampopa said: with “regard to following the guru, it is imperative to meet the above conditions. Remember, if you do it casually, you would not be qualified as following the guru!”

A female disciple was working in the store owned by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Every day she dragged until 10:00 p.m. to get off work. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche doesn’t like employees working after hours, and wondered why she had to stay so late. Was it because she did not know how? Was the job too complicated? Or no one taught her? Yesterday around noon time, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche thought of having her make grand prostrations. Unexpectedly and coincidentally, the female disciple came to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche yesterday evening. So Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche immediately instructed her to make grand prostrations in the Buddhist Center. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said humorously that as soon as he thought of something, it came true quickly, so he must not arouse thoughts casually. When the female disciple was making the grand prostrations, she saw Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performing consecration for the Dharma photos of other disciples. She immediately stopped her prostrations, ran to get her Dharma photo and joined the other disciples in getting consecration for their Dharma photos by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche immediately detected what her problem was – she was prone to distraction from acting according to the guru’s instructions. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed her to make grand prostrations, but she left as she pleased to bring her own Dharma photo. Obviously she would also be easily distracted while at work, doing things the way she pleased and not in accordance with the rules laid down by the company. It never came to her mind that what Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed her to do was to make grand prostrations rather than bringing her Dharma photo and joining the others for consecration. If his guru instructed Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to make grand prostrations, and if his guru was performing consecration for the Dharma photos of others, he would only look up at his guru and continue such prostrations if his guru did not give him any other specific instructions.

There was another female disciple who also worked at the store. She actually let her boyfriend sit in the store waiting for her to get off work, bringing her date to the workplace. Perhaps she might say that she was quite young and needed to date. But was it  appropriate to bring her date to the workplace? Which company do you know that would allow its employees to do so? She could go and work there. I believe that none of you have heard of such a company. That female disciple even argued that she did know that she could not let him wait outside the store’s entrance but did not know that she could not let him wait inside. If she was so capable of arguing and was so eloquent, she should have used her talent to make more sales for the store. But that didn’t happen. Apparently she had not been paying attention to the guru’s words while learning Buddhism. The fact that she was slacking off during work, spending time on the love affair with her boyfriend is tantamount to stealing money from the boss, who pays her salary. Doing so means that she has broken the precept of “Do not commit theft.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche reprimanded the female disciple right there that she spent all day thinking about dating her boyfriend, allowing herself to be distracted from work, that she was stealing money from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche by doing so, and that she had completely failed to fulfill any of the 10 conditions required of a disciple.

The female disciple’s boyfriend came to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche yesterday, looking quite like a gentleman and saying politely, “Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche! My girlfriend wanted to break up with me after listening to your Dharma teachings. Could Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche also give Dharma teachings to me as well?” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche admonished the female disciple that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had never instructed her to break up with her boyfriend. It was obvious that she gave pressure to him in the name of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, causing her boyfriend to misunderstand Buddhism or, in a more serious case, even say something to slander the Buddha. So a Rinpoche has the most depressing job in the world. When she started dating this boyfriend, she did not seek Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s approval. Now when they had problems, they both came to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for help. In a more extreme case, perhaps her boyfriend would come to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche with a hidden knife, planning to harm Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, on the other hand, is not afraid of threats or losing his life. If this is determined by cause and effect, then let him take his life. But killing a grand practitioner will result in extremely heavy karma.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is not interested in your private life, such as who you date and go along with. When you happily fall in love with each other, you never share the happiness with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, but why do you use Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to pressure the other when you’re breaking up? When you were dating each other, it was none of the business of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas – you didn’t ask for approval before you started dating, so you should not throw this problem to the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and the guru when you’re breaking up. You should be responsible for your own business instead of trying to achieve your goal by using the name of the guru. Do not indulge your own desires. That is to say, with regard to any problems that occur, you must see your own desires clearly and find whether it’s cause and effect or karmic influence. You can avoid continuous faults only when you have seen your original karmic influence clearly.

When you are at work, your boss has clearly given you the scope of work. If you are slacking off rather than doing a good job, then you have violated the precept of “Do not commit theft.” But you would not be willing to return the part of the salary proportionate to the time that you used to do your personal things at work, as you are afraid of being fired by your boss. Some people’s money would be mysteriously lost or stolen, because they have broken this precept. If you do the wrong things at work, it means that you fail to live up to the salary given to you by your boss. Since the boss provides you with a salary but you do not work diligently or do the wrong things, you would owe to your boss. But why is it that you’d rather go shopping after work than taking the time to reflect what you’ve done wrong at work and how to do it correctly? It is because you only want to have fun first, which would exhaust your blessed rewards.

When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was working as a young man, there was no such a notion as the so-called “overtime”. He would do all his best to make sure the work is done well as assigned by the boss. It would be a big deal if something was done incorrectly, which would make him very ashamed of himself. Because receiving a salary from someone, he needed to be worthy of it, and thus he rarely did the wrong things. He always had gratitude toward his work, and thanked his boss for allowing him to work in exchange for his salary. In contrast, you think that you’re helping your boss make money, and if you do something wrong you’d say that it’s because your boss didn’t tell you or didn’t teach you. Why does Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche engage in business? It’s because he can help many people through the business too. Some people don’t like to be in contact with ordained practitioners. But since Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is a lay practitioner, they are willing to be in touch with him, and thereafter they would receive help from Buddhism.

Why were there always problems with the group to which these two female disciples belong? The reason was that the group leader did not care for or pay attention to her members. She only took care of the elderly members in the group and called more often to those members whom she was more familiar with. Why did she not care about the young members who recently joined the group? Or did she show no concern to them because they don’t have money? It’s not that the two disciples took refuge recently; rather, it’s been a while since they became disciples. But the group leader has never cared about them and naturally did not pay attention to any problems that might exist. Moreover, it’s been a long time since the group leader took refuge with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche! Members of other religions usually care for and support one another. There are only over 1,000 members in the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center but why can’t they do the same?

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche reminded the attendees that he is getting old and doesn’t have many years left in this world. But you have long days ahead of you. If everyone in this society is selfish, how would it be harmonious and peaceful? How would the country make progress? Take nowadays Europe for example, everyone wants to have fun. They indulge themselves from a very young age. If something bad should happen, they would blame the government for not doing a good job. In Taiwan, people also think that the government has been elected by us, so it should help us do all things well, without having any sense of gratitude. But if people are selfish, they would find it more and more difficult to live in this land of Taiwan.

We fall into reincarnation because of the ignorance and attachments accumulated through our past lives, so let’s not create new trouble in this life. If we are all striving for the good of society, it wouldn’t be like this today. But if you continue to be selfish, not even the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas can help you, as you are still filled with greed, resentment and ignorance. Such help would only enable you to harm more people. You must realize that you still have faults; however if you think that you have no faults and all faults are others’, then you’d be a Buddha rather than a human being now! Don’t assume that you were once the Sudhana, and that your cultivation is different from others, or that you can attain accomplishment by practicing Buddhism at home!

The 10 conditions required of a disciple in order to follow a guru, which were taught in the last few weeks, are very important. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has fulfilled all of them in past lives, so he naturally could fulfill them in this life even before they had been read. In order to help you with what you need, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche read the Buddhist sutra and saw these contents. Only upon seeing these contents did he realize that he had fulfilled each and every one of the 10 conditions. The way Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche practices Buddhism is quite special – he had always attained the state of realization depicted in the sutras before proving such of his fulfillment through the Buddhist sutras, the Dharma texts, and the sastras written by great virtuous practitioners throughout generations. You should not learn Buddhism for your selfish desires, nor for liberating yourself from life and death. Rather, you should arouse the aspiration to help all sentient beings with affinity.

Perhaps some people would say that they do not want to learn Vajrayana, and would be happy if they can just recite the Buddhist sutras, chant the mantras, and attend the pujas. But as long as you have come to the Buddhist Center of Vajrayana, you have to fulfill this no matter whether you are learning Exoteric Buddhism or Vajrayana. These 10 conditions are not only for the disciples, they also serve as principles for being human. The Rules for the Disciples, which was written in ancient China in accordance with Confucius’ thoughts, served as a written standard for a disciple. Some organizations have been promoting The Rules for the Disciples, but the conditions within it are not thoroughly laid out and may only serve as basic principles for being human. You must be resolved to fulfill the 10 conditions required of a disciple to follow a guru. If you cannot, you wouldn’t be worthy of being a disciple or even a believer, nor should you come anymore. Instead, you may just do charity and help others with money, then you would have the opportunity to be a wealthy person in your next life.

We have many people in the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center already – today, there are over 1,200 people attending the puja, almost too many for the Buddhist Center’s capacity. Besides, there are also those who are being punished with no permission to come into the Buddhist Center. They cannot even be driven away. There are more than a hundred such people waiting outside, and that can be enough people to set up another Buddhist Center. If you cannot fulfill the 10 conditions, you don’t need to come to the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center anymore. In the Grand Pujas, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told the attending believers to learn Buddhism but not to come to the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center due to over-crowdedness. But many of them chose to come to the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center anyway. Why is that? Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had never thought of himself becoming a Rinpoche except arousing the aspiration of helping all sentient beings with affinity. Some people  perhaps think that helping only those sentient beings with affinity shows a mind of discrimination. However, the Buddha only helps those with affinity. In fact, all sentient beings in the Six Realms throughout their lives have affinity with us. And the opportunity of helping them really depends on whether this affinity is ripe.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then quoted Master Gampopa as saying, “For practitioners who have stepped inside the door of Buddhism, if they have upper root capacity, they would go to bliss in a happy, smiling, and tranquil manner when life comes to an end; if they have intermediate root capacity, they would have no suffering or fear when life comes to an end; and even the general practitioners, when life comes to an end, they should not regret and resent over the improper acts that they have done against the Dharma in their body, speech and mind.”

For practitioners who have stepped inside the door of Buddhism, if they have upper root capacity, they would go happily from bliss to bliss when life comes to an end; if they have intermediate root capacity, they should at least be without suffering or fear when life comes to an end. Take for example, disciple Yu  passed away in the Buddhist Center recently. His life came to an end with no suffering or fear, and he stopped breathing even without being noticed by the doctor-disciple who was sitting right next to him. Those who are doctors or nurses know that there usually would be some struggles before one passes away, with changing voice and heavier breathing. But he had none of that and even had his eyes closed, since he had faith in the guru. He was a disciple who had committed serious faults but he came back. In his last days, his eyes could not see. But since he was repentant, the guru helped him anyway. He completely accepted all the things that had been imposed upon him by the guru, many of which would be considered as unreasonable by you but he accepted them. Because he had fulfilled all the 10 conditions, he had been able to repay all the evil karma, which had been accumulated throughout his past lives, and which had ripened and manifested in this life, allowing him to pass away without any suffering and fear.

Those believers who have not taken refuge need not be afraid of dying in the Buddhist Center. You will not die in this Buddhist Center, as doing so requires much blessed rewards. We practice Buddhism diligently in this life precisely for this very moment before death. Whether you have practiced Buddhism or not depends not on how much you can talk, but on whether you can go in peace when life comes to an end. Besides disciple Yu, there have been many other disciples who had similar situations. If Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had not been a meritorious guru, then such disciples would not have come into being. It’s because only a meritorious guru can help the disciples and teach them how to transform their karma.

“Even the general practitioners, when life comes to an end, they should not regret and resent over the improper acts that they have done against the Dharma in their body, speech and mind.” Before an ordinary person passes away, he would usually have the affliction that he has not done something well. You may also have heard that some people, before they die, cannot help but regretting and worrying about not having practiced the Dharma diligently or recited enough sutras, for fear that Amitabha would not come to guide them. That is why you are taught to fulfill these 10 conditions so that not only the obstacles in your Buddhist practice can be reduced, but also you will have no hindrance upon your death. If you haven’t fulfilled these 10 conditions, there is no way that you will truly be liberated from life and death. Venerable Milarepa said: If you cannot be liberated from life and death in this life, you definitely will fall into hell in one of your future lives.

It can be achieved that the mind is capable of transforming the environment, according to the Buddhist sutras. During the retreats, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had the experience of “the mind transforming the environment” quite a few times. As described in the Buddhist sutras, Buddha Shakyamuni had shown a variety of supernatural powers to the Bodhisattvas of Sambhogakaya in order to verify their state of cultivation, hence it is beyond the capacity of ordinary people like you who do not have the blessed rewards to see it. If you see manifestation of supernatural power, it only satisfies your desires. The sutras stated, once there was a Bodhisattva asking Buddha Shakyamuni where the Pure Land was. Buddha Shakyamuni led them into a state of meditation, and then showed them that they were already in the Pure Land. The sutras describe that Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara has his own Pure Land, and provide clear descriptions about and locations of the Pure Lands of Buddha Bhaishajyaguru, Buddha Amitabha, and Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha. Only Buddha Shakyamuni’s Pure Land was not mentioned, because it is right where you are. The earth we see is an evil world stained with the five turbidities, but what the Buddha sees is a Pure Land. You see that there are mountains and rivers on the earth, but Buddha Shakyamuni sees a Pure Land – this is the difference of the minds.

If a person can change into different forms, then he surely is a magician rather than a practitioner. What the Buddha has said can absolutely be proven, and whether you can see it or not depends on whether you have enough blessed rewards. When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was learning Exoteric Buddhism before and read about this in the Buddhist sutras, instead of doubting whether it was true or false, he wanted to know how to achieve it. He did not know how to achieve it until he learned Tantra, which required him to follow the guru’s teachings through the right stages of cultivation. Why are you taught to be forbearing? Because the only thing that changes is your mind whereas Buddhism will not change. If you don’t listen, when the situation arises, you would have resentment and that is slandering the Buddha.

When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was learning Exoteric Buddhism before, he once went with friends to participate in the one-day Buddhist retreat. On the night before, they slept on the shared floor, and the persons on both sides happened to be quite plump who kept snoring throughout the night, with loud stertor alternating between them, causing Rinpoche Dorjee Rinpoche to be unable to sleep. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche thought that he needed to do the retreat activities the following day from morning till night, but if he did not sleep at all that night, he wouldn’t be able to get up early in the morning and it would affect the activities. So Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche prayed for Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara’s help. Surely enough, in a short moment of about three minutes, the two people on both sides stopped snoring and became quiet, allowing Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to fall asleep. Because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was doing the retreat for the sake of sentient beings, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara truly helped him fulfill his aspiration when he so prayed. This was not the so-called “the mind transforms the environment.” Rather, it was an aspiration, which, if it was aroused for the sake of sentient beings, was fulfilled with the help of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

A doctor-disciple, who took refuge over ten years ago, always says that the guru is a Buddha. Naturally he is able to have many obstacles eliminated as he is learning Buddhism. He used to have another family member in charge of their financial matters. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knew that he had always wanted to make more offerings but couldn’t, as another family member was in control of the financial matters. It so turned out that last year there was a change in his job situation, which caused the whole arrangement to be changed without affecting the harmony of the family – allowing this doctor-disciple to take control of his own financial matters once again without a revolution in the family. The way the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas help sentient beings leaves no sequelae. As long as the disciple truly acts in accordance with the teachings of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, they would naturally help him remove obstacles.

As we all know, the stronger the medicine, the greater its side effects. Though medicines that are beneficial to your health may take effect more slowly, they would prove to be helpful without sequelae, just like Buddhism. If this doctor-disciple only wanted to change it all rather than having tolerance for it over the past few years, things might not have turned out so smoothly. He also once implored Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to reschedule the Chod Puja to a time period in which he did not need to see patients in the outpatient department in order to be able to attend it. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told him that it was impossible to change the commitment to sentient beings just for his sake, but if he sincerely wanted to attend it, he naturally would be able to do that. It so happened that after a while, his working schedule was changed and he was able to attend the puja.

There was another female disciple who wanted to attend the puja as a believer many years ago but her father did not agree. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told her that she should wait first and that she surely would be able to come in the future. She followed the guru’s advice. Later, when she got married, her father could no longer restrict her and she could come to the Buddhist Center as her husband agreed. At that time she could have chosen to go to another Buddhist center. But she didn’t. This may be because she was used to be obedient in her past lives.

The conditions that have been taught today are for you to fulfill no matter whether you are a believer or a disciple. If you cannot fulfill them, you don’t need to come anymore. Don’t feel arrogant because you think you are well-educated or you have certain backgrounds, as arrogant people will not be able to cultivate compassion or learn the Buddha Dharma. Buddhism is different from mundane path in that the latter is about gain and loss of benefit. You must realize that you need the guru’s help in your Buddhist practice regardless of how much worldly knowledge and accomplishment you may have.

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Updated on December 3, 2012