His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings – November 11, 2012

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

Before the Puja, a female disciple who took refuge 3 years ago gave thanks to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. She also praised Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for helping her and her family with his great compassion and Bodhicitta.

11 years ago, her mother was diagnosed with Endometrial Cancer, and had to undergo Hysterectomy. She also received chemotherapy twice, but not only was the treatment ineffective, she also developed serious ascites in her abdomen. By that time doctors told her the cancer has spread to other parts of her body, and each time ascites developed, doctors had to perform aspiration of ascetic fluid. They felt sad and helpless whenever they saw the discomfort and suffering of their mother. Since their mother had ascites in her stomach, she had to endure the pain of tubes. She was feeling weakness and pain, and since the treatment was too painful she committed suicide in the hospital. The shadow of this event would haunt her forever.

Later, she had the causal condition to implore Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for her to attend the Chod Puja so that her mother could be liberated. In compassion, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche allowed her to attend the Puja, so her mother was liberated from suffering. She heard from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche that the reason for her mother’s cancer and suicide was due to her mother’s heavy killing karma. Her mother wanted better foods for her children, so she killed various sentient beings such as chicken, duck, and fish for food, and for that she received her karmic retribution, which was leaving this world by suicide. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said that when you eat so much, kill so many, you have to repay them in the future. She realized she has harmed so many sentient beings, and eating their meat is the same as harming them. She repented of her and her family’s cruelty, harming sentient beings because of their desire for food. When sentient beings were being slaughtered, they also experienced fear, terror, and suffering, but they were unable to speak. She saw many Dharma brothers at the Buddhist Center who looked well and could carry out their normal daily activities because of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings and help from Buddhism. They were able to go abroad to attend pujas , unlike her mother who had to suffer through medical treatments, and later committed suicide because she was unable to bear the pain.

She took refuge in His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche on March 22nd 2009. Before she took refuge, she had a good job and spent her earnings on herself, pursuing happiness without suffering. Her life was full of greed, resentment, ignorance, arrogance, and doubt. She had many desires, strong emotions, selfishness, lack of consideration for her parents, and lived the so-called “normal life”. She did not have the causal condition and blessed rewards to hear about Buddhism, nor did she understand why she should learn Buddhism, thinking all she needed to do was to worship some deities at temples. After her mother passed away, she still harbored selfish thoughts despite listening to Buddhism at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center. She had limited attention span and was not grateful for her opportunity to learn Buddhism, so she left after 6 months of attending the Chod Puja. After a few years, her days of suffering began, just as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had taught: “Once your blessed reward is exhausted, and your life is going downhill, your days of suffering begin.” Her old sickness came back, and this disease caused a great deal of shame and embarrassment, as well as fear and uncertainty in her heart. Not only that, she was picked on at work. Her coworkers would abuse her verbally and reject her, building up her work stress to the point of wanting to quit. When she lost all hope in her life, she contemplated suicide. She also visited a psychologist twice. Her throat was very uncomfortable, and then at that time she thought of her mother’s illness that caused her suicide. Even then she still foolishly pursued her mundane happiness.

When she first took refuge, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche stated during the Chod Puja: “There’s a chance that you will go to hell if you take sleeping pills, and your sore throat is caused by your heavy karma.” From that day forward, she stopped taking sleeping pills as well as seeing psychologist. It has been 3 years since she took refuge, her mental state has improved, and for some reason her sore throat stopped. Her relationship with her father has also improved, and her home became more peaceful. Her days became more stable, and she would no longer have wandering thoughts. Whenever things did not go well, she was able to let go, because she knew that anything that happened to her was the result of cause and effect.

She regretted that she did not truly believe in cause and effect ever since she took refuge. She failed to implement the Ten Meritorious Acts and the Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas, and she often complained about life. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche stated during the puja: “Those who commit suicide will fall into the Three Evil Realms.” She realized she neglected her responsibility towards her parents, and repaid kindness with evil. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche liberated her mother because he was compassionate, yet she was ungrateful. She repented that she did not learn Buddhism diligently to repay Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas’ kindness.

She was grateful that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche understands sentient being’s suffering, and gave her another chance to learn Buddha Dharma and attend auspicious Grand Pujas both in Taiwan and overseas, to accumulate her bless rewards. She was given the opportunity to transform her black karma to white karma, so that she may be liberated from life and death and be free from reincarnation. She believes that doctors can only heal the physical bodies, but they can’t heal the minds. Only Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche can heal the minds. She was once again grateful that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche saved her, She was also thankful for the Dharma brother who took her to seek an audience with the guru and the thoughtfulness of all Dharma brothers in the Buddhist Center had shown to her after she took refuge.

After that, another female disciple shared with the attendees how His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has helped her and her family, and of her repentance.

She took refuge in His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche on January 31st 2010. Before that, she took refuge in Exoteric Buddhism. While learning Exoteric Buddhism, she has taken many courses, attended many pujas and volunteered at many events. All of those experiences were used as subjects for after-meal gossips with her friends. At the time everyone would tell her: “You are so diligent!” But that was just flattering words, and all it did was making her more arrogant and self-righteous. During one course, the Dharma master asked them to make vows, and everyone took the vows of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas along with their own self-righteous vows as their own. Upon hearing Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teachings, she realized that she was making false speech before.

The first time she attended the puja at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s strict teachings shocked her. She realized in the past she was abusing Buddhism for her own interest, her compassion was false, and all she talked about was mundane Dharma that would not liberate her from life and death. Only teachings from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche can liberate sentient beings from life and death. Her life is only meaningful if she takes refuge in Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Her parents are 87 years old (2012). In 2009 her father visited hospitals frequently due to diarrhea, but doctors were unable to determine the cause. Every time he went to the hospital, the doctors would say it was caused by inflammation of the intestines. His diarrhea would go away after spending a few days at the hospital, but it would start again shortly after he was discharged, requiring further hospitalization. This continued for 3 years, by then her father was so skinny that he looked like a skeleton. She and her sister had both taken refuge in Exoteric Buddhism, despite frequently attending courses, participating in pujas, and volunteering, they have been unable to do anything for their father. So she felt helpless.

At this time, a Dharma brother gave her the web address for the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center. She read Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Traces of Liberating Beings, his Journals and various sharing and teaching in the pujas. She was touched by the fact that there is such a living Bodhisattva in this world and thought only Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could help her father. So on August 29th 2009 she visited Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche who is not different from the Buddha. Even though she only implored to attend the pujas, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knew of her worries. After attending the pujas as a believer for a few weeks, her father gained about 10 kilograms, and his health improved dramatically. Now her father rarely visits hospital. She was thankful for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings. She knew without the guru’s blessings and protection, she would not be able to sit here in peace. She would only be able to watch helplessly as her father goes in and out of hospitals.

Last year after registering with a group to attend a puja in Japan, her parents agreed to go with her to seek the audience of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. During the audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the guru gave her father a precious nectar pill and asked him to take it immediately. On the way home her mother asked how come she didn’t get any, and the disciple told her mother it was because there was nothing wrong with her. On the surface Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche didn’t give her mother anything, but in reality the guru has given her mother great blessings. Under the blessings and protection of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, her mother’s health was fine other than minor problems.

Until June of this year (2012), her mother was in a very sleepy state most of the time, and she would not eat much. She showed a page from Happiness and Suffering that contained a Dharma photo of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, and asked her to remember the guru’s Dharma appearance. She reminded her that when her life ends, she must follow Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and no one else. Her mother asked if the person she saw last time was Rinpoche, and she said yes. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has stated that he would surely help those who remember Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Dharma name, voice or appearance and reverently implore for his help whenever they encounter difficulty. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is truly the merciful and compassionate Bodhisattva who helps anyone in suffering!

On June 27th at 5am, her mother passed away in her sleep peacefully without any pain, and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche liberated her with the Chod. Without Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings, her mother would not have passed away so peacefully. With Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s liberation with the Chod, her mother’s funeral was not gloomy and disorderly. Instead it was a peaceful remembrance of her mother’s life. Her mother’s ash was white and beautiful pink. It was an auspicious sign of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s liberation. She was thankful for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s liberation of her mother, because her mother has had much killing karma and she would not have left so peacefully without the guru’s blessings.

Before attending the puja in Japan last year, her dog suddenly started bleeding and looked ill. The vet said it was due to bladder stones, and surgery would be required. She didn’t want surgery for her dog, so she took the dog to another vet and received the same answer. Since she needed to go to Japan, she wasn’t able to take care of her dog, so she decided to take the dog for surgery after she returned from Japan. However after she returned from her trip, she saw a healthy and active dog that never took any medication or had any surgery done. She was thankful for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche who even looked after her dog. She praised that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is a remarkably capable practitioner.

Before she sought an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, she couldn’t raise her arms. Every day she would feel exhausted in the afternoon, and would need someone to massage her in order to gain a little comfort. Shortly after she started attending pujas, while she was at the beauty shop, she suddenly felt her arms had recovered when the beautician was about to massage her. She no longer needed massage, and she was able to raise her arms. She was grateful for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings. Recently her finger looked as if a bug has stung her, and it was swelling. Her colleagues suggested her to visit a doctor, because they suspected that it could be cellulitis. She didn’t like visiting doctors, so she kept applying Bao Yuan Ointment. Two days later her finger healed, so she thanked Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for making such a good Bao Yuan Ointment available for everyone as well as for blessings and protection to all Dharma brothers. She praised that everything Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did was for the benefit of all sentient beings.

Then she repented of her past bad deeds. She used to be very arrogant, selfish, and self-righteous. She repented that she had abortion, thinking it was a simple and effective solution. She repented eating the meat of many sentient beings such as chicken, duck, beef, lamb, fish, shrimp, oysters, and sea creatures, snakes and rabbits, and also harmed countless sentient beings. She killed many ants, cockroaches, flies, and mosquitoes. She repented that she was indifferent, working half-heartedly at her job, therefore she made many mistakes. She repented promising to give something to someone, but due to her greed she broke her promise. She repented for the desire to elevate herself and she gossiped about others. She repented for stealing pocket money from her father, eating noodles without paying, and thought she was smart. She regretted for not changing for the better, so her family was unable to see the auspiciousness of Buddhism. Currently, other than her sister practicing Exoteric Buddhism, she was the only one in her family that has taken refuge in Buddhism.

Finally she commented that everyone is very fortunate to learn Buddhism at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center. Dharma brothers are always living in peace and security under the blessings and protection of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. However she was still complacent, lacking the spirit to learn Buddhism diligently. Everyday her body, speech, and mind are still filled with greed, resentment, and ignorance. She must remember to follow Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teachings and rectify herself in her body, speech, and mind. She resolved to learn Buddhism wholeheartedly so that she would be liberated from life and death, no longer falling into reincarnation. Thus she would repay the debts of gratitude to the guru, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, as well as the sentient beings. 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!

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche ascended to the Dharma throne and bestowed precious Buddhist teachings upon the attendees:

At the last puja, the topic of compassion was taught, and it has been taught many times. Anyone with ears should listen but there is nothing we can do about those who won’t listen. Sentient beings like to learn Buddhism in their own way, however Vajrayana stresses that we must listen to the guru. That is because the guru is an experienced practitioner. Buddhist practitioners must surrender to their guru, so anything not taught by the guru or Buddha is forbidden. Buddhism isn’t a religion where everything is forbidden, and it should not interfere with your lives. Your families, jobs, or businesses will not be interfered because of your Buddhist practice. Your lives are only interfered because of your karma and causal condition from your previous lives. The society is full of conflicting information, causing people to become confused about what Buddhism actually is.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche recently heard a joke. A woman broke up with her boyfriend, and someone told her to recite the Lotus Sutra as a dedication to her ex-boyfriend, thinking that it will save the relationship. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked her if the Lotus Sutra talked about romance, and she said no. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then stated that the Lotus Sutra teaches about the practice of following the Bodhisattva Path. It also talks about how one can be liberated from the reincarnation of life and death and to help sentient beings. How can it help with romance, and save a broken relationship? Nowadays anyone can watch someone teaching Buddhism on TV, thinking they don’t need to go to a Buddhist Center to learn Buddhism. They think that they can listen at their own convenience, practice in their own ways without supervision. This environment causes the erosion and destruction of Buddhism. People who cause destruction of Buddhism aren’t Buddhists, because those who did not learn Buddhism do not understand Buddhism. Truly these so-called “Buddhists”, who have distorted Buddhism and fostered misunderstanding, are destroying Buddhism.

Exoteric Buddhism teaches the basic principles of Buddhism. You cannot attain result by chanting at home, but a guru’s teaching and supervision are required. That is because Buddhist sutras only provide basic outlines, but not detailed information. You might say: “Yes there is!” In reality, at the beginning of each puja, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed everyone to recite Refuge Aspiration, Four Immeasurable Minds, and other prayers that are all outlines. Anyone who has been reciting for a long time, do they understand what it means? One ordained disciple answered: “These prayers say that the purpose of Buddhist practice is to give rise to the aspiration of compassion and Bodhicitta, so that one can be liberated from reincarnation of life and death and attain Buddahood to benefit sentient beings. One should give sentient beings supramundane happiness, not just mundane happiness. Furthermore one must equally renounce joy and suffering.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then stated: “Why is it at the beginning of a puja you must first recite Refuge Aspiration and Four Immeasurable Minds? It’s to allow you to understand the direction and purpose of Buddhism, not just reciting them mindlessly. In fact every word is a method to practice Buddhism. If you can do it, many things will change. The Refuge Aspiration and Four Immeasurable Minds are the standards for Buddhists. If you do not follow these standards, then you are not learning Buddhism. Those who can follow are truly disciples of the Buddha.

A few days ago a disciple’s father passed away. He brought his father to seek an audience of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche a week before his father passed away, but he did not implore the guru to liberate his father. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knew that his father was about to pass away, but the disciple only asked for blessings, so the guru only gave his father blessings according to his causal condition. Yesterday this disciple also brought his mother to seek the audience of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, not only he ever asked the guru to liberate of his father, he also made no offerings. Offerings have nothing to do with how much money you give, but it’s about a heart of reverence. That is because reverence itself is offering, and having reverence allows you to accumulate blessed rewards so you can receive help from Buddhism.

The disciple came to seek the audience of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche yesterday. Once the guru entered the meditative state to bless the deceased, he saw two things: A deceased person was hit on the left side of his body and was uncomfortable, and there was a small red booklet pressing against his chest. When the guru asked about this, it turned out that the disciple’s sister placed a copy of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s book Happiness and Suffering on the left side of the deceased’s  body. The book hit the deceased on his left hand causing discomfort. The red book was a copy of the Surangama Mantra which the disciple’s mother placed on the chest of the deceased. Even though the deceased no longer drew breath, he could still feel discomfort on his hand and chest from these books. They both thought by placing those books on the deceased he would receive protection. If there is any Buddha Dharma in the sutra book, then Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche should have been able to visualize the bright light, but all he saw was a small red booklet. They did this because of superstition from the society, thinking that a sutra book or a Buddha statue could give blessings. Therefore, they thought placing these items on a patient would give him protection.

As a matter of fact, only mantras that were blessed or meditated by a meritorious guru, or sutras and mantras that have been recited by the practitioner will be effective. Otherwise these Buddhist sutras are just pieces of paper or books. However you superstitiously believe that you can print and place them on sick people. Now the society promotes superstition, and it is popular to use amulets and Buddha’s images, thinking that it will help the sick people not to fall into the Three Evil Realms when they die. Is it that easy? If you don’t tell the deceased what you have placed on him, he will not understand without knowing Buddhism. He has no affinity with the Buddha, so even if the Buddha and Bodhisattvas were in front of him, they wouldn’t be able to help him because he does not know them. This also includes spraying water on sentient beings, claiming that it will help them. These are acts of slander to Buddhism. Using any mantras, including hanging Tienma flags, requires permission from a guru. They will only be effective when a guru has given it mantra blessings. For example the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center requires Dharma texts or Buddhist sutras to be orally transmitted by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche himself in order for disciples to recite them. Because with the guru’s oral transmission, it represents that the lineage gurus of past generations have given their blessings.

When this disciple’s mother approached the guru, she sat cross-legged in front of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Perhaps his mother learned Exoteric Buddhism, and believed false interpretations of Tantrism from the society, so she didn’t believe that Tantrism is Buddhism. Since her son wanted her to come and she only followed, she sat this way without any respect for the guru. Let’s not talk about what Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s fruition level is, but at least he is a practitioner. When people show a lack of respect towards a practitioner, they are arrogant. When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche mentioned the Surangama Sutra, his mother did not wait for the guru to finish, and interrupted him by saying that the Surangama Sutra was taught by Buddha Shakyamuni. His mother didn’t believe that Tantrism is Buddhism, and did not enshrine Buddha Shakyamuni at home. Moreover, she also did not see that Buddha Shakyamuni is clearly enshrined in the center of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center’s mandala.

This disciple was responsible for his mother’s insolence. Although he has taken refuge, he did not understand Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s accomplishment, and he never praised the guru’s merits in front of his parents. He never mentioned how the guru benefited sentient beings with Buddhism, so his parents never understood. When some mishaps happened they still harbored misunderstandings regarding Buddhism. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not need your praise, neither did the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas; however praise is a form of offering, which gives blessed rewards so you can receive help from Buddhism. His mother was lucky to have met Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, a practitioner who has cultivated to the extent that his mind is no longer swayed by anything. Otherwise his mother would be subjected to serious karmic retribution according to the sutra. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche only asked them to leave after helping them. Afterwards, the guru reprimanded this disciple again, because he was never patient to his mother. He thought his mother nagged too much, so he was too lazy to say anything. He thought they could just practice in their own way, causing his mother to display an attitude of insolence. Her disrespect towards the practitioner was caused by a lack of regular praise of his guru in front of his mother. In addition, he only took refuge because of his selfishness, just like most people who wanted an easy life. His selfishness caused his father to suffer, not having the causal condition to receive the Phowa after he died.

After this disciple’s father passed away, when someone moved his corporeal body he resented it. It showed that his children did not take good care of their father while he was in his deathbed, causing his resentment. When someone resents easily during his lifetime, he will also continue the resentment in death. While he was alive, if he did not practice Buddhism or the Dharma method of giving in the Six Paramitas or he never cultivated the practice of “renunciation”, he would get angry whenever someone touched his corporeal body. It was fortunate that the deceased’s son, although not fully listening to the guru’s teachings, took refuge with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and accumulated blessed rewards, therefore his son had the causal conditions to implore the guru for mantra blessings to protect the deceased’s consciousness and calm his resentful mind. However receiving mantra blessing does not mean liberation of the deceased. Without enough blessed rewards, it is impossible to receive mantra blessings from a meritorious practitioner. Do not think that reciting sutras is enough to liberate the deceased. It isn’t that simple. Even if family members recite for the deceased, it will not actually help him, only reducing the deceased’s fear. Even though Buddha Śākyamuni introduced the Dharma method of Amitabha’s Pure Land later in his life, one must fulfill the conditions described in the sutra – one must be a virtuous person with indispensable merits and causal conditions in order to be reborn in the Pure Land.

Upon hearing Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s reprimand, the disciple expressed his extreme remorse over his behavior. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then stated: “He did not have to apologize to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, but he should apologize to his parents. Don’t think that a disciple only needs to respect his guru. Gurus, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas do not need your kindness or respect. However you need blessed rewards in order to listen and accept Buddhism and remove any hindrance from your practice. It has more to do with you than the guru, the Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas. With Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s level of fruition, it is not for you to judge whether he has done right or not, but it is only for the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to make that determination. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas would not continue to protect Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche if he does not benefit sentient beings.” When the disciple brought his father to see the guru for the first time, he was already unable to eat, and he was as skinny as a skeleton. After seeing this, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was sympathetic and went ahead to give his father blessings. Why couldn’t his father eat? It was because he lost the will to live. His father’s days were numbered, yet this disciple just foolishly hoped his father would be able to eat again when he visited Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. He should have implored to the guru that his father would be liberated from the suffering soon. At that time the disciple didn’t say it, but Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knew what was in his mind. This disciple answered: “That was my thought at the time.”

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then stated, as he was blessing the disciple’s father, he knew his father was about to pass away. However the disciple did not implore for his father’s liberation, so there was no origin of cause to offer such assistance. The guru did not say it then, but he quietly gave the disciple’s father blessings, to allow him to remove his hindrance, die peacefully, not to fall into the Three Evil Realms, and at least to be reborn into the Three Virtuous Realms. A few days after receiving the blessings, his father passed away. Because they have asked Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for blessings, knowing that his father received help from Buddhism, they did not let his father subject to any further painful medical treatments in his final hours. He passed away peacefully, free from suffering. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said humorously: “So do not take asking for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessing lightly, especially if you wish to live longer.” Then Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked when did this disciple take refuge and he answered, “less than one year.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then reprimanded him, saying that do not think that a year was very short. During the year, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has taught many principles of Buddhism, and he could tell that this disciple did not truly listen. He learned Buddhism because he was greedy and only hoped for protection. He would buy gifts for his wife and children, but never made offerings and gave to charity. If you can’t make up your mind and change your attitude toward learning Buddhism and only sought protection instead of liberation from reincarnation of life and death, then don’t waste your time.

Why did Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche require the recitation of prayers such as Seven Branches of Offerings and Short Mandala at the beginning of each puja? These are all offerings, and you need to do offerings in order to accumulate blessed rewards. You need those blessed rewards to learn the Dharma, because without blessed rewards, you could never understand or remember the Dharma, and you could even misunderstand it. The Dharma wasn’t what the Buddha taught voluntarily, it had to be implored by the Bodhisattvas, disciples, or heavenly beings. The Buddha was not giving anyone a hard time, but an origin of cause was necessary for the Dharma to be taught. If sentient beings did not implore for the Dharma, nor would they listen and accept the Dharma or if they slandered the Buddha, it would be useless to teach it, thus the need for imploration. This is because the Dharma taught by Buddha Shakyamuni provides methods for sentient beings to overcome their affliction and karma. Therefore there isn’t any right or wrong, good or bad Dharma. Every Dharma method taught by the Buddha can benefit sentient beings. If sentient beings feel their lives are free of affliction, suffering and thought they do not need the Dharma, then the Dharma, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas would not exist.

Why did that disciple’s mother place a copy of the Surangama Mantra on the deceased’s body? Many people think the Surangama Mantra is a very powerful mantra so if you wear it the devil will not come. In fact, Buddha Shakyamuni was concerned that sentient beings in the Age of Degenerate Dharma would easily give rise to evil in their mind, so the Surangama Mantra was transmitted to help Zen practitioners subdue the evils in their minds and the evils outside, and to prevent the evils from hindering their practice. Outside evils come from the mind, and evil mind comes from the ghosts within which allow outside evils to enter. The Surangama Mantra was meant for ordained practitioners to recite, but lay practitioners must abstain from sex in order to recite it. So it isn’t something ordinary people can simply recite. In ancient times, some lay practitioners were married, but after they abstained from sex, they could then be reborn in the Realm of Form and Realm of Formlessness through meditative practice. In the Age of Degenerate Dharma, it isn’t possible for you to abstain from sex. Even without actual acts, it would still be in your mind. So that is why during the later period of Buddha Shakyamuni’s propagation, there emerged the teaching of the Pure Land School, the Bodhisattva Path, and Vajrayana. It was because the Buddha taught the Dharma based on sentient beings’ causal conditions and root capacities. Consequently, ordained practitioners have their own Dharma methods, and lay practitioners have their own Dharma methods too. However, these days people wrongly mixed the two, even lay practitioners have started reciting the Surangama Mantra. This is not in accordance with the Dharma.

Right when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was teaching the Dharma, a female believer went to the bathroom with her children for a long time. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche reprimanded her, telling her that if they wanted to stay in the bathroom then stay, otherwise leave the Buddhist Center right away. Then Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche pointed out a female disciple, reprimanding her for taking her children to the bathroom and spending too much time in there frequently during the pujas. Furthermore she allowed her children to play in the space between the men’s bathroom and the women’s bathroom. Before she took refuge in Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, she had practiced Buddhism for a long time, so did she learn that she could do this during a puja? Did she do this because she did not want her children to listen to Buddha Dharma? Is the bathroom an appropriate place for playing? By doing this she showed disrespect to the Three Jewels. The female disciple then admitted her fault immediately, saying that it wasn’t her intention to prevent her children from listening to the Dharma. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said if this ever happens again, she would be banished from the puja. The guru also instructed disciples who volunteered at the restroom area to prohibit any disciples to let their children play in the bathroom. Otherwise they would have to leave.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued: Certain conditions must be met before anyone may recite the Surangama Sutra. Such practitioners must abstain from sex, and they must be well cultivated enough to be reborn in the Realm of Form, or even the Realm of Formlessness. But you cannot practice Zen, because it is simply impossible for you to abstain from sex. Why did the Sixth Patriarch Huineng say Zen School would blossom five leaves, instead of bearing five fruits? The Six Patriarch Huineng’s teaching wasn’t passed down because he knew no disciples have great root capacity to inherit the lineage, so Zen teaching was lost. In the Age of Degenerate Dharma, sentient beings have heavier affliction and karma, so it is difficult for them to practice Zen. Many people here have participated in Seven-Day Zen activity, One-Day Zen activity, and discovered they were unable to attain the state that was depicted in the Buddhist sutras. Meditation practice requires the guidance of a guru and it is not something you can simply do by yourself. Otherwise you will be deviated and be possessed by evils. Without the guidance of a guru, it is easy to make a mistake and become ill. That is why even today meditation has never been taught in the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center. You haven’t changed your mindset, and you’re still learning Buddhism with too many afflictions and desires, constantly breaking precepts, therefore it is impossible for you to be cultivated and enter the meditative state.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche spoke to a female disciple who was diagnosed with breast cancer. He asked if her disease and edema were better after blessing her yesterday. This disciple answered: “I am grateful for His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, after listening to the guru, I stopped worrying about my daughter. After Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings, my edema has gone away, and I am feeling much better.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then asked her how long has she taken refuge, and she answered “9 years”. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then stated: Why is it that cancer patients often experience edema? Edema isn’t caused by cancer cells attacking healthy tissues like most people think. Many people thought they had cancer, and they would finally have edema due to irregularities in their immune system. It wasn’t always like this.

What causes edema? It was caused by greed. Your desire for food has harmed sentient beings, and after eating them they turned into water inside your body, causing your suffering. Having cancer means that you have committed evil and you should waste no time to repent daily. This female disciple of 9 years became ill, and she was dying. She did not act according to the teachings and she was worried what would happen to her daughter after she passes away, what arrangements to make for her daughter, and hope her daughter would be okay, etc. Furthermore, once she was diagnosed with cancer, her daughter spent all her time crying by her side. Seeing this, she thought that her daughter loves her, making her not want to leave this world. These are all greed. Despite the fact that she took refuge for so long, she wasn’t acting according to the guru’s teachings!

Anytime you heard of what happened to other disciples, you always thought it had nothing to do with you. When things had not happened to you, you would treat the sharing during pujas like they were just stories. What is so special about learning Buddhism at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center is that you have the opportunity to hear many lessons about Buddhism, which allows you to experience the auspiciousness of Buddhism, opening the way to Buddhist practice. Last week, a female disciple shared her experience before the puja. Her sister was also a disciple who had taken refuge, and who was also diagnosed with breast cancer. Before she passed away she still worried about her siblings. She did not listen to any teachings from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, thinking she could decide what to do for herself. Because of that she endured much suffering before she passed away. This was talked about last week, and both of them had breast cancer. The disciple who implored Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche yesterday still was not listening! When you don’t listen, it is not the guru who suffers. On the other hand it is you who will suffer. Do not think that attending pujas will cure you of cancer. When you learn Buddhism without following the teachings and rectifying your acts and behavior, all it will do is just initiating some causal conditions, and accumulating some blessed rewards. In these two examples, one worried about her siblings, and the other worried about her daughter, both have made the same mistake. They are unable to let go of their family members, and their attachments afflicted them. When you hear of these things, you might think they are someone else’s problems, and it has nothing to do with you. When you do not learn from others and take caution, and these things happen to you, you will also make the same mistake.

This isn’t to say that Buddhists are not allowed to think of their families, or should abandon them. Do not become complacent because everything is impermanent. Buddhists practitioners live like normal people, but they must have a different attitude in life. Do not be attached to mundane matters. Do everything according to your responsibilities, but live by adapting to each rising condition and keep calm despite your circumstances. Your heart should be set on learning the Dharma that liberates you from life and death. Do not think that practicing Buddhism is difficult. All you need to do is to follow your guru, and implement Buddhism in your daily lives. Nevertheless most people still fill their lives with worries, attachments, and desires, and they would indulge their mind in their desires without constantly reflecting on their thoughts according to what the Buddha taught. It’s just like this disciple who has breast cancer. Even though Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche taught much, and she saw another disciple who also had breast cancer making the same mistake. She knew her time was running out, yet all she could think about was her daughter. She refused set her heart on Buddhism, and did not believe in impermanence. That is an example of indulging in your desires.

The Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas stated: “A mind of attachment to loved ones wavers like water.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed an ordained practitioner to explain: “Family members are like water, they waver back and forth.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then stated, “We are not saying to disregard all relationships with your family members. But since you are learning Buddhism, you must know that relationships with your family members are nothing but causal conditions from past lives, and they are impermanent. In this life we must take care of our children within our own abilities, but do not become attached to them.

Many people who came to learn Buddhism would dedicate merits to some special persons, hoping that their family or children would benefit from it. But in reality, they are in your family because they are karmic creditors. Many family members actually come to collect debts or seek revenge, and once the debts are repaid, then affinity will be over. Also some people hope once they have learned Buddhism, they can dedicate merits to their children so that they will marry soon. Don’t you know that your son’s spouse may actually be your adversary? But none of you would listen. This female disciple who kept thinking of her daughter could not let go. How would she know that perhaps her daughters would be better off without her? They probably wouldn’t need to tell their mother every detail of their relationships. Do not think that your daughters are innocent. If you want to take care of your children, then you should vow to be reborn in the Pure Land. After you are reborn in the Pure Land, you will have supernatural power, and then you’ll be able to help your children when they need it. Even Buddha Shakyamuni couldn’t change his own tribe’s causes and effects and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s family members are not practicing Buddhism. You are an ordinary person, so what makes you think you can change your family? I know you hope your children would learn Buddhism like you, but if they do not have enough blessed rewards, there is nothing you can do.

The Thirty-Seven Practice of Bodhisattvas mentioned: “All pleasures of senses are like salt water.” It means that most people think that pleasure is wonderful. A parable for this is when you are shipwrecked and you are thirsty. You knew you would die from drinking saltwater, but you still drank it. People are like that. They think that their pleasures are wonderful, yet they are afflicted by it, and thereby they would commit evil acts. As a matter of fact, our daily lives are merely the beginning and end of causal conditions. “Live every day by adapting to each rising conditions” may seem fatalistic, but it does not mean not fulfilling your personal responsibilities or not doing anything. On the contrary, you must actively fulfill your responsibilities, because after you have learned Buddhism you would believe in cause and effect, meaning you must be careful with everything that you do. You might think that if you must live this way, then isn’t life too hard? Actually we should carefully and diligently fulfill our responsibilities anyways. Therefore the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center does not allow unemployed people to come and learn Buddhism here. That is because learning Buddhism isn’t an excuse to be lazy, and it is not a mean to escape responsibilities. An irresponsible person will never revere the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and he will never fulfill his promises. Practicing Buddhism isn’t meant to let everyone live an easy life, but it is to allow people to be liberated from life and death. Everyone wants to take advantage of the guru, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. While they are happy to be taken advantage of, you must have the right abilities to use them, not anyone can just use them.

The Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas has explained it so clearly, that all desires are like saltwater, yet you refuse to listen! You don’t listen to the guru, thinking you can practice Buddhism according to your own desires. Some would recite Buddhist sutras, and dedicate merits to their children, hoping they would score higher on tests. So does that mean non-Buddhist children won’t do well on tests? If you dedicate it to your children, and they go from third place to first place, does that mean Buddhist children will always be first place? So children who study hard but aren’t Buddhist would then go from first place to third place? Are the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas so unfair? Many people would slander Buddhism in this way. In fact, whether or not children can study hard and be accepted at good schools have to do with their blessed rewards.

Some parents would dedicate merits to their children, hoping that they would partake in pujas, removing any barriers against learning Buddhism from them. Perhaps that is a good reason. However, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s children did not learn Buddhism, and he didn’t make them come. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has already told them once, and since they did not listen, it would be up to their causal conditions. They will come when they have enough blessed rewards. Not even the Buddha can change sentient beings’ karma. Children should ask to attend a puja, but now it is reversed – you are begging your children to come. It shows that you are not able to let go.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked: “Did a certain female believer come today?” Another disciple said she didn’t come. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed: “She didn’t come today, tell her don’t bother coming anymore.” This female believer who was once a disciple came to implore the audience of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche on Saturday, because her mother passed away the day before. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche liberated her mother with the auspicious Phowa right there and then. She did not ask for the Phowa for her mother, and her mother never asked for it before she passed away. However, when she came to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, she said her mother made a request to donate the small savings she had upon her passing as an offering to the guru before she passed away. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche liberated her mother with the Phowa before he even received the offering money. Offering has nothing to do with the amount, but it has to do with the heart. When you have a heart of offering, then the deceased will gain blessed rewards. Do not think Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche only wants money. The important thing is whether you have a heart of offering or not.

One thing everyone should know, do not think that old people do not know anything. Older people may have slower reactions, but their mind is still very sharp. So do not make fun of your parents as they get older, not all elderly people have dementia. Some people like to make fun of and laugh at their parents, thinking that it is funny. In reality elderly people know everything in their mind they just don’t say it. If you make fun of your parents, in the future your children will also make fun of you. Picking on your elders causes them to harbor resentment, making them constantly angry. When they pass away they might become like that disciple’s father, who got angry when someone touched him. It is wrong for children to be impatient towards their parents and ask doctors to solve their problems for them. This goes for taking care of people who are in a vegetative state. Do not think that they have no feelings; rather, they can feel everything you do to them. Anytime Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche got close to someone in a vegetative state, even though his consciousness has left him, the guru knew his thoughts, his likes and dislikes.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche pointed out an older disciple. The guru had instructed him to come back to Taiwan from the US in order to learn Buddhism, but he has always concerned that his wife, who had taken good care of his father, still lives in the US. He felt he would hurt his wife by leaving the US and that he should not come back to Taiwan on his own, only sneaking back to Taiwan sometimes. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche stated: It is natural for a daughter-in-law to take care of her parents-in-law, and this disciple has financially supported his wife, so he has fulfilled his responsibility as a husband. A husband should take care of the family, but that doesn’t mean you should be the cooking husband of the family, rather, you should take good care of everything in the family. How come he didn’t think that his wife is the daughter-in-law of the family, who would be able to accumulate blessed rewards and merits by taking good care of her parents-in-law? He only thought he owed it to his wife. But the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have taken care of him and allowed him to live until now. Why doesn’t he think that he owed it to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas? In reality he was afraid that his wife would bother him, because he was afraid of trouble. When you are married as a couple, either you owe her, or she owes you. It’s always about repayment of debts or collection of debts. It is very rare in this day and age for people to repay a debt of gratitude, but people are often seeking revenge.

If a married couple has the causal condition to be together, nothing will separate them. You were married because of karmic attraction, and as long as the attraction runs its course it is impossible for the couple to separate, until all debts to each other have been paid. But you are not making it easy for yourself, just like this disciple who paid his debts little by little. However, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche rapidly repaid his debts, and after repaying them he said “good bye” to his spouse. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche compassionately reminded this older disciple again, he must take advantage of the opportunity to learn Buddhism in this life. If he does not listen to the guru, he would have planted the cause of disobedience. Then the guru would no longer have anything to do with him. If he continued to feel he owed to his wife, then he would never be liberated from reincarnation. Therefore he will have to come back to repay them in the next life.

You are not terribly vicious people, and you are doing both virtuous and evil deeds in this life. Even though you have done some good, but because of your evil karma, you will suffer at the time of your death. This is why Buddha Shakyamuni introduced the Pure Land of Amitabha: by cutting oneself from evil and doing good deeds through learning Buddhism to open the way to the Pure Land. One can then be liberated from the reincarnation of life and death, and benefit sentient beings. Actually you can tell which realm someone will enter after death by looking at how he dies. Dying during sleep is not necessarily a good thing. Normally people who pass away in their sleep are ignorant, and chances are they will fall into the Animal Realm. A cancer patient might finally develop ascites and have a bloated stomach. His neck becomes thin so that he would be unable to eat, and he would be skinny. This is a sign that person will enter into the Hungry Ghost Realm. If you see this in your family members, you must accumulate blessed rewards on their behalf, and implore the gurus for help. Those with strong resentment will usually show resentment after death whenever anyone touches them. So, there is a good chance they will enter into the Hell Realm.

Therefore while you are still in this world, you should train yourself to renounce the worldly matters and refrain yourself from arousing the mind of greed, resentment, and ignorance. Furthermore, while some people would worry about their family members when they are dying, but people without heir could still be attached to other things. For example here is a story illustrated by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche: A Zen Master who has practiced Zen in his whole life thought of his favorite food on his deathbed: peaches. After he died he was reincarnated as a worm that eats peaches. All it takes is a single thought, and it will change your next life. So you must train your thoughts constantly without indulging your mind in your desires.

Yesterday two believers who are also married couple came to seek the audience of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The wife asked: “Even the sight of a Buddha statue caused me to have evil thoughts and disrespect. What should I do?” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked an ordained practitioner this same question that when they were practicing Exoteric Buddhism, how would they answer? This ordained practitioner answered: “We would say to believers that she must constantly repent, because her karmic hindrance is too great.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then stated that this answer wouldn’t help her, not only that, it would hurt her. At this time, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was not talking to the wife, but to the husband: Your wife isn’t there to be your slave. You have been married with children for many years. Ever since your wife came to your family she has been taking care of her parents-in-law. Her in-laws asked too much from her, and she has been holding the anger for a long time. She could no longer handle it, and as a husband you must act as a mediator. You should let your parents know that daughter-in-law is also someone else’s daughter. They should not demand their daughter-in-law to do anything that their own daughter could not do; only then, the situation would improve. Because your wife has been holding her anger for a long time, she resented everything in this world. She no longer believes that there is any good in this world, so even the sight of a Buddha statue causes her to have evil thoughts.

The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas represent the highest form of good and signify the highest state of virtue. Before you have any real understanding of interdependent origination, you must show the upmost reverence towards the Three Jewels. When you show reverence towards the Three Jewels, you will naturally give rise to virtuous thoughts. If you continue to indulge your mind in wandering thoughts, showing a lack of reverence towards the Three Jewels, once evil thought has risen, your mind will become impure. Then your mind will not be attuned to Buddha Dharma. Therefore, even the sight of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, who are the embodiment of the greatest good, will cause you to give rise to evil thoughts. When your mind is impure, your good deeds will only bring blessed rewards of Human and Heaven Realms, which can only be used after many lifetimes. However some disciples said it is fun to be human, and they wanted to be human in their next lives. None of these thoughts are correct. Do not think you can learn the Dharma by watching TV. When Lord Jigten Sumgon was alive, there were no TV and telephone, how did he have 180,000 disciples? These are all people with affinity. Listen carefully, especially long time disciples, if you do not listen and follow the guru’s Dharma methods, and not practice accordingly, constantly indulging your mind in wandering thoughts, then don’t ask the guru for help when problems arise.

When believers experience problem like this, others in society might say it was due to heavy karma, so they must repent, but they have no idea of what kind of karmic hindrance. How do you repent then? If they only told the wife that she has this problem because of karmic hindrance, then this couple wouldn’t know to reflect on their own behavior. If it was all due to karmic hindrance, they have no need to take responsibility. Upon hearing Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teaching, they started tearing up. If a practitioner lacks supernatural powers and do not understand cause and effect, he could not benefit sentient beings. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was not an incarnation of Rinpoche and his life was just like yours, who started his practice as a believer. So Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knows difficulties lay practitioners face while learning Buddhism. Constantly he knows how to help you at the right time.

Many people have misinterpreted “continuum of pure thoughts”. Pure thoughts refer to that you know the purpose of doing virtuous deeds is for you to be liberated from reincarnation. Or at least keep yourself from falling into the Three Evil Realms. In contrast, when someone nurtures evil thought, this thought will grow in his mind. Naturally anything he sees gives rise to evil thoughts. So when he dies, anyone who crosses him would trigger evil thoughts in him, causing him to fall into the Three Evil Realms. So as long as you can maintain pure thoughts, and if the force of purity is strong, the force of evil will decrease and be delayed. Furthermore, the force of purity can even be so strong that the force of evil will never have an opportunity to surface. If you can carry out the pure virtuous way, naturally you will not be affected by anything when you die. You can even hold those evil thoughts at bay, so that you will never see things with an evil thought, knowing that once the force of evil rises, you would fall into hell.

The Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows states every thought of a sentient being generates karma and vice. The Buddha taught many methods in order that people may take the virtuous path. The Buddha also taught people to avoid resentment, otherwise everything they see will be evil. Many people use “heavy karma” as an excuse to explain their wrongful thoughts so that they may get out of their responsibilities. Some might say, “I can’t help it, because my karma is heavy. I can’t change it. That is just the way I am.” These are all excuses to get out of responsibilities. Only through learning Buddhism, knowing cause and effect to cut oneself from evil, long-term training and learning of the Dharma, can one truly do good, and avoid evil. Buddhism teaches us to reflect upon ourselves, and seek to change ourselves. Buddhism may call any other religions a non-Buddhist path, but this is not to devalue them. Rather, Buddhism is the only religion that teaches one to examine one’s own mind. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche saw so many disciples who were not acting according to the teachings, only seeking help when something happened. The guru was going to transmit the Dharma today, but after seeing these things, he felt everyone’s attitude and action towards Buddhism have not changed. Therefore the guru decided it was meaningless to transmit the Dharma.

Only the Dharma transmitted by the Buddha is taught at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center. However everyone seeks comfort in the Dharma according to his or her desires. For example, many sick people who were fearful of death would say that they have not fulfilled their responsibilities, and implored the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to heal their disease. You must know that if you have enough life, you will live. It matters not how much you want to live, the Buddha will not give you more life than you already have. Consequently it matters not how much you want to die, the Buddha will not end your life if it’s not meant to be over. Why was it after the blessing was given, the sick person would die painlessly without hindrance? That was because the guru actually blessed the sick person’s karmic creditors, allowing them to subdue their resentment and hate and not continue to punish the sick person. They would then be liberated along with the sick person. The purpose of learning Buddhism isn’t to make everything easy and allow you to escape from your debts. The guru and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas only help you block karmic creditors for a while, so that you would have enough time to practice Buddhism. Subsequently, once you have achieved a certain accomplishment in your practice, your karmic creditors could ascend with you. On the contrary, after you started to learn Buddhism, you decided to stop paying your debts, hoping your sickness would be instantly healed, and all your problems would be solved. It’s like when someone owes a great deal of money; even he flees to other countries, he still live his days plagued with worries. The purpose of Buddhist Practice in this life is to repay debts, so you can live freely.

From now on, recite Refuge Aspiration and Four Immeasurable Minds wholeheartedly, otherwise you’re wasting your time. Right now your recitation only arouses your aspiration. You must implement what you recite in order for the aspiration to be effective, and the strength to take action will naturally appear. Refuge Aspiration, Four Immeasurable Minds, and Seven Branches of Offerings are all basics that were already taught to you before. You should ponder after reciting them each time, but how many of you actually did it? Not many! Recitation only helps everyone to accumulate resources of virtues and merits. Merely knowing many Buddhist terms does not mean you are practicing. The Sixth Patriarch Huineng attained great achievement despite being illiterate. It was a long time ago, and people might not know that the Sixth Patriarch Huineng was illiterate. Old Monk Guan Chen in Taiwan was also illiterate, but he also attained great achievement. No matter which mantra or verse you have quoted, the Old Monk Guan Chen could always explain it to you.

Learning Buddhism is neither an academic pursuit, nor is it meant to increase your knowledge. Merely having knowledge doesn’t mean you have attained anything in Buddhist cultivation. The key is to implement what you have recited. In practicing “precepts, meditation, and wisdom”, those who observe the precepts can calm their mind. But if you do not listen to the guru’s teachings and not cultivate yourself, your mind will always be in turmoil. When your mind is in the meditative state, you will be revealed the same pure primordial wisdom as the Buddha. On the other hand, when you break precepts, the guru will no longer speak to you as you were told when you took refuge. Moreover, once you do not act according to the teachings, the guru’s blessings will be immediately cut off. The speed of the cut off will be faster than pushing a button on a remote control. This is very easy, but you wouldn’t believe. Besides, you still hold incorrect views, thinking all you have to do is attending pujas to receive protection, and the guru has an obligation to help you compassionately and unconditionally, just like that male disciple whose father just passed away.

A female believer said that she knew someone who has the power to cast curses and she suspected this person cursed her husband. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked her: “Why were you friends with this person who can cast curses?” This female believer thought about it for half an hour, and still could not think of an answer. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then stated: “Because of greed. You thought by knowing this person he can help you change your luck.” Upon hearing this, the female believer had a sudden realization. The reason you were deceived or tricked was because you were greedy, so your judgment was clouded. Anyone without greed would have been able to see things clearly, then, would he be deceived? Many celebrities have been scammed out of several million dollars, how did this happen? Perhaps the person who was scammed thought he was special, thinking people should be good to him and he could gain more popularity. For example, someone told him that he could buy a cell phone or a sport car at half price, and then he got scammed. Are things so easy and wonderful in this world? These scams all stemmed from greed.

Whether men deceive women, or vice versa, there is always greed involved. So female disciples should stop watching TV shows that discuss “How you were deceived in romance”. The reason men are scammed out of their money by the lure of female charm is always because of greed. He thinks he still possesses certain charm in his old age, but in reality the only thing those women want is his money. What do you think will happen once your money runs dry? And women should not think that men like them because of their beauty and tenderness. In reality those men are lusting after something. These things are all impermanent. Therefore you should understand the cause and effect of life through learning Buddhism in order to reduce greed and attachments, so that you will no longer fall into the suffering of reincarnation.

Methods of practicing Buddhism are actually meant to be implemented in everyday life and the Dharma teaches people how to be a better person. If you are always thinking about how to benefit sentient beings in your everyday life, then people will naturally come to your aid when you are in trouble. However, if you regularly cause harm to others, then others will often attempt to sabotage your life – the principle of cause and effect. Do not think that learning Buddhism means you have to live differently than others, it is only meant to change your thinking and behavior. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche taught that you should check whether or not your body, speech, and mind go against Buddhist teachings every night before you go to bed. How many of you have actually done this?

Yesterday a female disciple brought her daughter to seek the audience of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Her daughter was pregnant, and her uterus developed myoma. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked her daughter and son-in-law to become vegetarians. They asked if it is ok to eat vegetables that have been mixed with meats. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche stated: “If you eat vegetables mixed with meats, then Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche can only help you with on-the-surface Dharma.” This female disciple’s daughter was a nurse. She was regularly pressed for time, so she would hurriedly administer injections to patients regardless of their condition. Buddhist sutras state if you cause pain for others, you will face karmic retribution. Medical workers who cause pain for their patients will also face karmic retribution. That isn’t referring to patient’s pain caused by removing bandages, but caused by a lack of sympathetic caring by the medical practitioners during medical treatments, as a result the medical practitioner will also face karmic retribution and fall into the Evil Realms. After this daughter and her husband sought the audience of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, they discussed the question of becoming vegetarians for a long time. They still couldn’t come up with a conclusion even after Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche descended from the Dharma throne.

Why wouldn’t pregnancy and giving birth go well? It was because of killing karma. The reason Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked her husband to do full prostrations at the Buddhist Center was to give him the origination in order to accumulate blessed rewards, so that they may receive help from the Dharma. It didn’t mean that everything will be fine after worshipping the Buddha like most people think. They discussed the question of becoming vegetarians for a long time but still did not reach a conclusion, which showed they did not believe in cause and effect. Some cancer patients came to seek the audience of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche hoping that the guru can make those cancer cells disappear immediately. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche isn’t one of those self-proclaimed miracle doctors in society who can take out a blood clot from a sick person by hand. If worshipping the Buddha or participating in a few pujas can change one’s life and heal his disease quickly, then Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche wouldn’t need to work so hard to cultivate in Buddhism; the guru could simply go home and take a vacation.

Last week Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche quoted Avalokiteshvara Universal Gate Chapter of Lotus Sutra, “The suffering of birth, aging, illness, and death will be gradually eliminated.” What does it mean by “gradually”? It means “slowly, not immediately”. When Buddha Shakyamuni walked out of the city gate, he saw the suffering of birth, aging, illness, and death and realized that people would always suffer birth, aging, illness, and death. As long as you are reincarnating, you will always experience those four sufferings. Each reincarnation begins the cycle of birth, aging, illness, and death anew. Once you stopped reincarnating you will be free from those sufferings, so we ought to hate reincarnation. Buddha Shakyamuni stated “the sufferings of birth, aging, illness, and death”, not the “the retribution of birth, aging, illness, and death”. It is the sufferings, not the retribution that the Buddha was talking about. That is, we eliminate sufferings, not retribution. When something bad happens, it is the manifestation of karmic retribution. While karmic retribution still exists, it is possible that the sufferings can be gradually decreased and eliminated. Those who are practicing Buddhism know they must clear their karma in order to cut themselves from reincarnation. Do not be afraid to repay your debts, and practicing Buddhism will allow us to lessen the effect of heavy karmic retribution.

Many say that the Dharma mixes cause and effect with suffering; this is actually not correct. When Buddha Shakyamuni first turned the Dharma wheel, he first taught “suffering, desire, the way to emancipation and elimination – the Four Noble Truths”. Then the Buddha taught the Twelve Links of Dependent Origination in which the Buddha consolidated the four sufferings and combined all the merits of practicing the Four Noble Truth so that people may eliminate the effect of sufferings without eliminating the karmic retribution.

So why does change have to come gradually? It was taught before, for example, when someone uses up all of his money it takes time to accumulate again. Think about this, if a poor person suddenly found 10 million dollars, wouldn’t he either spend it, or be scammed or robbed of it? At least he would not be able to sleep well at night! It was because he could not handle it. Just as a sick person, when he has been cured of the illness can’t eat too much food at once. He must eat gradually in order for his body to accept it! The merciful Buddhas and Bodhisattvas do not want to harm you, so they help you remove the force of karmic retribution gradually. Once you gain enough blessed rewards and eliminate suffering, even when you face karmic retribution it will not affect you.

The central doctrine of Buddhist practice is Refuge Aspiration and Four Immeasurable Minds – the essence of the Buddha’s teachings. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will help those who deeply believe in cause and effect. It’s just as teachers will always take care of and give more credits to students who study hard. Even though you are not bad students, you are not good students either. In learning Buddhism, you must believe in cause and effect so that you will not go astray. Those who practice the pure virtuous way know they are repaying debts. They accept that everything is cause and effect, everything that happens, good or bad, is the result of karmic retribution from their actions. They also know evil karma accumulated from previous lives caused their health to suffer, so they will not complain of their illness, but they are glad to repay their debts. When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was diagnosed with skin cancer, he never implored His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, nor did he implore the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to heal him. From time to time, you would hear someone say his bodily form went wrong. In fact, your poor health is an opportunity to repay your debts so you should be happy; do not think you are suffering in your mind. If you can live, then live, if not you die. If you worry about it and you are not willing to pay your debts, or only want to pay half of it, then the other half will have to be repaid with interest when you fall into hell after death.

Those who do not believe in cause and effect will implore the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to cure their illness, or prolong their sick family members’ lives. Just like that male disciple who only wanted his father to be able to eat so that he can live. He did not implore the guru to help his father be reborn in the Virtuous Realms. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has stated several examples like this to everyone. For example, a famous cartoonist was diagnosed with cancer, and before she passed away her family didn’t want her to die. So they set up a longevity lamp in a Buddhist temple on her behalf, thinking that it would help her. But all it did was to keep her alive in suffering. Another example is that many years ago a believer’s mother suffered from long-term stroke, and had underwent tracheotomy. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche saw that she was living on borrowed time, so he asked her family what they would like. Her family said they wanted the patient to live a little longer. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would not violate cause and effect, so he suggested to the family that they should let her pass peacefully into the Virtuous Realms. However they did not listen, so they went and found another Rinpoche to perform the Dharma to extend the patient’s life. Once the other Rinpoche performed the Dharma for the patient, all it did was to extend her life by 3 months. However her mouth and trachea were full of maggots, and she died from being bitten by maggots. So would you say that it is good to be bitten to death by maggots? 3 months isn’t a long time in this world, but many people wanted their family members to live just another day to show their filial piety. They never thought that it was better to let her save some blessed rewards and pass into a better place rather than let her suffer in this life.

That was what described in the Heart Sutra, the distorted imagination, which means a lack of belief in cause and effects, seeing effect as cause, and seeing cause as effect. In daily life, many people would act without any regard for its effect, always putting a priority on their desires. They act first, without any regard for what might happen, thinking that they’ll just take it as it comes. That was why they are always constantly making mistakes. For example, for those who do not understand the Dharma, they are unable to accept it when they are told they should not cry by the side of their deceased parents. Nonetheless, they would hire someone else to cry, which was also distorted imagination.

All kinds of things have happened at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, allowing you to see the manifestation of the Dharma. However, the purpose of this isn’t to show you how remarkable Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is. It is not for you to judge what fruition level Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has attained. Nor can you find out how much the guru has accomplished after only attending pujas for a few months. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has taught that a meritorious guru should meet certain conditions. When you are evaluating a guru, other than conditions listed in Buddhist sutras, you can also tell from the consistency of his compassion, whether or not his aspiration has decreased, and if he has become tired of benefiting sentient beings.

The essence of learning Buddhism taught today is something that you can accomplish as well. The Buddha does not make false speech but only speaks the truth. Unlike you who are constantly making false speech and think that you can teach the Dharma despite that you have only barely scratched the surface of the Dharma. Misuse of Dharma terms and thinking you have the ability to understand and teach before you attained realization are all violations to the precepts and acts of making false speech. You must listen to everything the Buddha teaches, and do it step by step. If you do not listen and follow, all the attending pujas will do is to give you a small amount of blessed rewards, which will not turn your karma from past lives.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has patiently and repeatedly taught so much about the proper attitude of learning Buddhism that your ears have grown cocoons, yet you still did not truly listen! As long as you follow the teachings from the guru and the Buddha, your future will be bright. It doesn’t mean you will become wealthy, but the light of the Buddha illuminates everyone and removes all your hindrance. Otherwise, no matter how incredible Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is, it will not do you any good.

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Updated on January 14, 2013