His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings – January 3, 2013

His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche presided over the auspicious Ksitigarbha Blessing Puja at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center in Kyoto, Japan in which 11 Japanese and 8 Taiwanese believers as well as 121 Japanese and Taiwanese disciples took part. In all a total of 140 people participated in this rare and precious Puja.

Before the beginning of the Puja, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche arrived at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center Kyoto to bless the prayer flags, instructing the disciples to erect the flags at the center of the courtyard of the Buddhist Center. On that day the weather in Japan was severely cold, with strong wind and an overcast sky and a day of rain or snow was expected according to weather forecast. However, when His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began reciting mantra for the prayer flags, warm and glorious rays of light emerged to shine on the earth, penetrating and dispersing the dark clouds, thus revealing a vast azure sky. The brightening of the weather was indeed an auspicious sign heralding the success of the Ksitigarbha Blessing Puja to be presided over by His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, signifying that the Puja, filled with pure Dharma, would relieve the suffering of sentient beings and bring happiness to them!

At 2 pm, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche ascended to the Dharma throne, performing compassionately the Dharma method of Ksitigarbha and disseminating to the attendees precious Dharma teachings.

Today Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would be performing the Dharma of Ksitigarbha. Ksitigarbha, whose full title is ‘The Ksitigarbha of Great Vow’, is a Bodhisattva with whom people from China, Japan and Korea are familiar. There are eight great Bodhisattvas in Buddhism, from Bodhisattvas of the-first-ground to that of the tenth-ground. Bodhisattvas higher than the tenth-ground could attain Buddhahood and are given the title ‘Great Bodhisattvas’. One might wonder why would Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche perform the Dharma of Ksitigarbha? In 2011, Japan incurred the wrath of nature in the form of the Tohoku Earthquake. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche watched the scenes of Tsunami destruction on TV where many houses had been swept away by the giant waves. What touched the guru was that in the aftermath of the catastrophe many Tsunami victims re-erected the stone statue of the Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha and made sincere offerings. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was moved by the faith shown by the victims for the Bodhisattva despite having gone through untold sufferings and horror. However, even though their offerings were sincere, it does not mean that they had been learning Buddhism. In the view of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche who is a Buddhist practitioner, although the victims had been devout in their offerings, they could not accumulate merits because they did not make offerings according to the Dharma. For this reason Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche felt very sad for them.

Many believers in China, Korea and Japan have gravely mistaken ideas about the Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha. In Japan, the statues of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha were always found in cemeteries. Women who have had their fetuses aborted also made statues of the Bodhisattva. However, Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s power is not limited to liberate the deceased sentient beings. Rather Ksitigarbha liberates all sentient beings in the Six Realms: Human Realm, Heaven Realm, Asura Realm, Hell Realm, Hungry Ghost Realm and Animal Realm. The aspiration of Ksitigarbha is: not to achieve Buddhahood unless and until all hells are emptied. The Bodhisattva has also vowed: if I don’t go to hell to help them, who else will? The aforesaid aspiration of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha ‘not to achieve Buddhahood unless and until all hells are emptied’ refers to the fact that people in this world have heavy karma and it is the avowed wish of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha to save those sentient beings in hells and also help all sentient beings from falling into hells. As long as no additional sentient being falls into hell, and when all those sentient beings have repaid their karmic retributions completely, there will be not sentient beings left suffering in hell. So long as people practice Buddhism while living and do virtuous deeds, even if they have not attained Buddhahood before death, Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha will come to save them from falling into hell.

What Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha means in saying ‘If I don’t go to hell to help them, who else will?’ is that the Dharma always comes in aid of those sentient beings who suffer the most, even though these are the ones who have done evil acts and are hence fallen into hell. The important thing is that if these sentient beings could arouse their repentance, thinking of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, remembering the Dharma they once heard, they will, owing to this causal condition, obtain help and salvation from Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha. Therefore, it is vital that human beings keep in touch often with the Dharma during their lives in order to be armed with such rich and enlightening resources when they leave this world – even if no one helps them to extricate them from hell. Possessing the resources, if they could recall the Dharma while in hell, they will be able to obtain help from Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha.

In many Buddhist temples of China, Japan and Korea one can always find bells. The Japanese sound the bells believing that this will bring good luck and fortune. However, in the Dharma the purpose of striking the bell is that the sounds will wake up the sentient beings in the Six Realms from their stupor, allowing them to stop temporarily the impure thoughts occupying their minds. This is especially beneficial for the sentient beings in hell and is a very good form of charity-giving, bringing many merits. If one strikes the bell for one’s own sake, then one can not accumulate merits and blessed rewards. In Tibetan Buddhism, hand-bells are used.

Many people today still harbor misunderstanding and superstitions about Buddhism. In fact, quite many practitioners do not inform the believers correctly the true Buddhist teachings. They merely ‘quote a price’ and ask the believers to make offerings to them for performing the Dharma. Today Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would be performing the Tantra and reciting “Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows”, which could take 3 to 4 hours to finish. The disciples of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche are patient enough but the same might not be said of the Japanese believers. It was therefore opportune for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to take about half an hour to explain the true meaning of the “Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows”. It had been observed by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche that some monks at certain Japanese Buddhist temples knelt before the statue of the Buddha, quickly flipping through the pages of Buddhist sutras. They probably thought that the Buddha would be delighted seeing the sutra pages; or they reckoned that by flipping through the pages of the sutra they had read through them. Now we should ask ourselves: Does the Buddha need to read the sutras? Who in the first place spoke of the sutras? Was it not the Buddha Himself? What then is the point of flipping the sutra pages for the Buddha to see? To put it bluntly, those who flip through the pages of the sutras are probably not diligent enough in that they do not wish to finish reciting the sutras. Ironically people who are sitting or standing behind the monks very happily partake in that performance, not knowing that such deeds do not accumulate any merits.

The Buddhist sutras contain words spoken by the Buddha and they represent the basics and theories of Buddhism. All Buddhist practitioners must not deviate from the sutras in their practice. So why do practitioners recite Buddhist sutras?  The whole idea of reciting sutras is to reinforce repetitively the teachings and exhortations of the Buddha. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche cited an example of Buddhist practice in Japan whereby some Japanese go under the waterfall in winter to bathe in cold water while chanting mantras. They think that by doing so they will be cleansed of their vices. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche noted that he had read through the Buddhist sutras but could not find such cultivation method being described in them. The guru therefore ascribed such practice to be the local custom of the Japanese. The Dharma would not attack cultures and customs of any nationality. Instead the Dharma could be adapted for any nationality in order that the people would accept the Dharma. Buddhism spread from India by Buddha Shakyamuni to China and many other places. Buddhism is capable of assimilating local cultures and one could attain Buddhahood like the Buddha on the condition that one is willing to learn and practice diligently.

It is not every place that can hold Dharma performance pertaining to Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha. According to Dharma texts, the place to perform the Dharma must be ‘pure and unblemished’ in the sense that no killing acts or business have been carried out there. It must be a place where no selling of cigarettes or liquors have occurred, no sleazy or sensual businesses have ever operated, no murders committed, and is a place with no polluted water and garbage. Only localities and houses that satisfy the aforementioned requirements qualify as suitable for the performance of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha. Further, the Dharma texts prescribe that the room in which to perform the Dharma of Ksitigarbha must be clean and perfect, not in the sense that it must be swept clean of all dirt but that none of the proscribed events has ever occurred. In addition, there are special requirements pertaining to the mandala in the performance. It would not suffice just to build a statue of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha in stone, or offer some flowers and expect that the Bodhisattva would give help. One must remember that to perform the Dharma of Ksitigarbha requires that the presiding practitioner be endowed with pure aspiration and he must not be motivated by money. It would not be ‘pure’ in the case of some Japanese or Taiwanese who collect money for the performance. In like vein, it would be unbecoming if the purpose of the presiding practitioner is to attain fame in the said performance. Instead, he should arouse the aspiration of Bodhicitta and compassion, cleanse his physical body, and enter the meditative state before he could implore the coming of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha to the mandala to give help to disciples and believers. It would be insufficient to implore the Bodhisattva by only putting the palms together or wearing the prayer beads or praying with eyes closed.

Thus His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began performing the Dharma of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, blessing the land so as to become Pure Land and Buddha Land, blessing the house in order that it would be a palace of the Buddha, and blessing the Dharma throne of the presiding practitioner such that it would become that of the Buddha. The guru also blessed the offering food. Next, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed the ordained disciples to kneel on the floor on behalf of sentient beings. The attendees were also directed to follow suit. Then the ordained disciples, on behalf of sentient beings, made the Khadak offering to the statue of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued to perform the Dharma and after a while directed the ordained disciples and attendees to sit down. He stated that the attendees’ seats had been blessed and were now no more ordinary seats but were vajra seats as that of the Buddha. Today, said Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, he would be performing the Tantric Dharma of Vajrayana. He further explained to the attendees that all sentient beings possess the pre-requisite of becoming a Buddha and hence have the same condition as the Buddha. Through the guidance and instructions of the guru, your sincerity would be offered to the Buddha and thus your pure nature  which is no different from that of the Buddha would be revealed. The guru therefore instructed them not to let their thoughts go wild and astray as they were now sitting on the vajra seats.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche next introduced the Dharma appearance of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha. The body of the Bodhisattva is yellow with his upper garments in yellow. His eyes are red and he dons a blue flower garland on his head. In his right hand he holds fruits while his left hand carries lotus flowers. He also wears the Five-Buddha Crown which emits immeasurable green light. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told the attendees that the object of the Dharma performance was to accumulate resources of virtue but emphasized that the said accumulation was not for the purpose of seeking wealth, health and longevity: it was to allow everyone to continue listening to and practicing Buddhism.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then recited the verses of the “Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows”, which constitute the eulogy to this classic sutra. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche stated that the nest section was to accumulate everyone’s wisdom resources, entreating the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to have pity on us and help us learn the Dharma. It was originally intended that the Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha be recited, but in view of the possibility that the Japanese believers might not be patient enough and that they might be going elsewhere after this Puja, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche therefore gave a brief summary of this classic Sutra.

The guru said: In the outset, you must know who taught the “Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows”. The first verse reads ‘Thus I heard’. Whatever Dharma the Buddha taught had been heard by the disciples present on site. After the Buddha entered Nirvana, 500 disciples who had attained the fruition of Arahant gathered to record all the Buddha’s teachings in 49 years. ‘Thus I heard’ means “This is what I heard correctly” and not “this is what I know”, “this is what I say” or “this is what I think”. This Sutra was what Buddha Shakyamuni spoke of for His mother at the Heaven of Thirty-Three. The Buddha’s mother passed away shortly after giving birth to the Buddha and she was then reborn in the Heaven of Thirty-Three, one of the Realms of Heaven. After the Buddha attained Buddhahood, He came to this place to give Dharma teachings. You must not think that it is very good for a deceased person to be reborn to the Heaven Realms after death. While it is true that one might enjoy life in the Heaven Realm, he is still not free from falling into reincarnation – and that is why Buddha Shakyamuni went there to give Dharma teachings to His mother. While the Buddha was teaching there, many Buddhas and great Bodhisattvas came to implore for the Dharma. Upon hearing the Dharma, Bodhisattva Manjurshri asked Buddha Shakyamuni: what merits had Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha? The Buddha explained that Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha was the son of an elder before the period when time was not computable. At that time, Ksitigarbha had asked another Buddha how to cultivate to become capable of possessing such good appearance and a body endowed with auspicious virtues as a Buddha. The Buddha answered thus: this could only be achieved by attaining the realization and intention of eternally liberating all suffering sentient beings with body, speech and mind. Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha hence made a vow to help all sentient beings life after life.

The Sutra next mentioned the history of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha. In one of the lives of the Bodhisattva, he was born someone’s daughter. After the death of her mother, she asked for the help of the Buddha as she did not know where her mother was reborn. Her mother had committed many evil acts and did not believe in cause and effect while she was alive; hence her consciousness fell into Avici Hell after death. The Sutra also described how the Bodhisattva helped her mother leave the Avici Hell. It also mentioned that those who defame or make sarcastic remarks about the Three Jewels shall fall into hell, even though they have once been believers but have turned away from the Three Jewels thereafter. In addition, Buddha Shakyamuni told Manjushri how to help sentient beings leave hell and entrusted in Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha to help sentient beings in the Saha World (Earth) until the arrival of Bodhisattva Maitreya. Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha had promised to do so.

The Sutra then describes how Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha spoke of the Dharam for Buddha Shakyamuni’s mother. Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha said that people in Jambudvipa (the Realm where human beings live) do not have filial piety toward their parents or even kill their parents; they would fall into Avici hell in which there is no known date they could get out. Those who cause the Buddha to bleed, defame the Three Jewels, show disrespect to sutras, or infringe upon sangha’s properties, desecrate monks and nuns, monasteries or temples, carry out carnal activities in the temples, steal or take away properties in temples without permission will fall into hell. Furthermore, those who impersonate ordained people or put up ordained appearance when in their hearts they are not willing to be ordained in order to hoodwink lay people, those who falsely claim that they helped people without following the Buddha’s teachings, as well as those who make false speeches and violate the precepts (the precepts for the ordained are many: among them are the precept against sensual activities, precept against doing business, accumulating wealth etc) will also end up in hell. Similarly, those who steal food and drinks from temples or take money and clothing from temples without asking will also fall into hell.

According to the sutras, there are many hells but today this shall not be elucidated. One characteristic feature of hells is that one feels very crowded and crammed. This is true regardless of the number of sentient beings present. Even if there is only one occupant, it would also be ‘congested’. Some might say that different religions and nationalities will have different hells. In Buddhist sutras, there is no difference as to sex, class, age, or creed as far as hells are concerned. Even naga deities and heavenly ghosts – if they commit the same mistakes – they will fall into the same hell to suffer the consequences. The hell depicted above refers to the Avici Hell of the Five Major Vices.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then explained that in the Sutra the Buddha told Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha that the sentient beings of the Earth are reincarnating unceasingly and the Buddha was worried about the suffering sentient beings. Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha therefore vowed to liberate all sentient beings. There was mention of a Bright-eyed girl whose mother suffered badly in hell after death. One Arahant asked her what her mother did during her life that brought about such suffering. At this juncture His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche compassionately reminded the Japanese attendees not to doze off. Then the guru continued. Apparently her mother loved to eat fish, terrapins and other seafood, including caviar or what the Japanese popularly call mentaiko. She ate with relish mentaiko either cooked or fried and that’s why she fell into hell. At that time Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche pointed at one Japanese believer who liked very much to eat mentaiko, saying that he could end up in hell. As the Buddha never speaks falsehood, there are many stories of cause and effect in the latter part of the Sutra.

According to the Sutra, men and women who do not do virtuous deeds and instead do evil – not believing in cause and effect – would have grave consequences befall upon them. Some people suffer from heart diseases because all their lives they are scheming against others for self-gain. However the Sutra states that if these evil persons repent to Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, the Bodhisattva would help them by preventing them from falling into the Three Evil Realms. For people who love killing or are engaged in killing businesses, like butchers and restaurant owners, they might likely die early or unexpectedly. The reasons why people nowadays get cancer, hypertension, heart diseases, diabetes and stroke are because they kill and eat meat.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued referring to the Sutra which illustrates many examples of the dictum ‘what you reap is what you plough’. Since there was not enough time to talk about all of them, the guru emphasized the reason that so many deadly disasters had occurred on Earth in the past one to two decades which brought great suffering for sentient beings is due to the fact that people are not showing filial piety to their parents and even going against their parents. Also, some Japanese believers present are in horticulture business using toxic insecticides to kill insects, and as a result, they could beget retribution of a short life.

Cause and effect are not superstitions, as pointed out by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Last Saturday Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche received believers in Taiwan, one of whom was a 40-year old believer who suffered from the dreadful Lou Gehrig’s disease. This is one ailment for which all medical doctors in the world could do nothing to cure. The muscles of the sufferers will slowly become immobile and degenerate until finally even their eyeballs and heart stop moving – whereupon they die. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could see that this believer had toxins in his central nervous system. The guru enquired whether he was involved in works of killing. The believer replied that he had indeed been a cook. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche explained that this believer had planted vegetables and sprayed insecticides, thus killed many insects that became motionless and died as in the case of Lou Gehrig’s sufferers. The guru told the believer that’s how he got this disease.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche went on referring to the statement ‘eating and drinking excessively’ that appeared in the Sutra. What this means is that people who indulge in gluttony and over-drinking of alcohol will have the karmic retribution of starvation to death. Some of you might wonder how anyone in Japan can die of hunger. For example, people with terminal cancer who are so ill that they can’t take in any food will die of starvation. Likewise, some of these patients just can’t take in water and require intravenous fluid in order to survive temporarily. People who have mouth and throat cancer probably have taken too much food, drinks and meat. Buddhism is not superstition but speaks of facts and truths. So for people who steal and appropriate properties or money of others, their ill-gotten gains will not last and will eventually be gone.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Ripoche noticed that some of the attendees were getting drowsy. With compassion the guru rang the hand-bell and reminded all attendees to pay attention. The guru continued: Everything that you do will plant a cause and hence a consequence. Do not think that hell is somewhere far away. In fact, the Sutra states that hell is situated right here on Earth, to the East. The Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha has also described vividly the name of each hell and the severity of the suffering. One passage from the Sutra is particularly important and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked the attendees to pay special attention: The karma of evil-doing sentient beings on Earth is grave; it is deeper than the sea and higher than mountains, hence it becomes a serious hindrance to our mind. It is therefore essential that sentient beings do not take the small evils lightly.  There will always be ‘precise’ retribution after death and no one could be your surrogate to pay for your evil acts. According to the Sutra, even businessmen who cheat customers or who supply inferior products to do a slip-shod work would also fall into hell.

The Sutra goes on to say that great benefits will accrue in enshrining and paying homage to Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha. The Bodhisattva knows well the women’s heart. So if women who feel disgruntled because of their ugly looks make offerings and perform prostrations to Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha according to the Dharma, in millions of kalpas, they will be reborn with good looks and perfect shapes. In addition, they will be reborn as princesses or queens or the elder daughters of high-ranking officials. The Sutra also mentions about how to pray to the Bodhisattva when family member dies, the meaning of bad dreams and how to implore the Bodhisattva’s protection for the new born.

According to the Sutra, every thought of people on Earth generates karma and vice. People indulge in killing sentient beings, stealing, sexual misconducts and telling lies, so they must repent. Furthermore, sentient beings on Earth forget the fact that Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha had helped them before and they still go back to their erstwhile ways. People who are on the verge of death are also warned absolutely not to kill any sentient beings and not to ask for fish, or drink soup with meat. They should not worship ghosts and deities, for such acts will further aggravate the offenses of the soon-to-die. If these acts are done, even if the deceased were to be reborn into the Virtuous Realms, the rebirth will be delayed.

The Sutra also describes how to help the deceased so as not to fall into the Evil Realms. In Japan some people pray to the King of Hell who is actually the emanation of a Bodhisattva. At one time, he went to the Heaven of Thirty-Three to ask the Buddha why Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha helped sentient beings get away from suffering but they would commit the same vices soon after being saved. Why is it that the sentient beings leave for the Evil Realms instead of the Virtuous Realms? Buddha Shakyamuni explained to the King of Hell that sentient beings on Earth are obstinate and conceited and they refuse to listen to good advices, always finding reasons to rebuke. Moreover it is quite difficult to exercise control and to teach sentient beings on Earth whose characteristic nature is to turn deaf ears to advices. For instance, a little while ago Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche pointed out that a Japanese believer who was engaged in horticulture business and sprayed insecticide to kill sentient beings would face evil retribution later.  However this believer thought in his mind: everybody is doing it, so there should be no problem. This is an example of ordinary people who are difficult to tame and teach. We must remember that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas never tell lies. Towards the end of the Sutra, ways of making offerings to Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha in accordance with the Dharma were instructed. For people who have performed such offerings accordingly they would be protected and no evil would get near their homes. That is because both Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha and the king of ghosts would protect their homes.

Merely burning incenses and putting palms together, or offering fruits will not prevent the King of Hell from taking away your life. If your life is not meant to be over, even if the King of Hell stands before you, you could not be taken away. The job of the King of Hell comprises two aspects: to help those who do good from falling into hell and to help those already in hell leave hell sooner. Comparing the King of Hell with human beings, it is the humans who are more despicable because humans kill one another for the most trivial reasons. That is, only people would take away people’s life, not the King of Hell.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued by saying that one final part of the Sutra was very important in that it referred to problems of child-birth and upbringing of children. Whether anyone is alive or dead, there are always ghosts who wish to make them suffer and deviate from the virtuous path. The Sutra describes ways to address this problem and one of which is to make big offering. Even the Buddha wishes that all kings of ghosts would protect the sentient beings on Earth from harm at the times of their death – on one condition that the sentient beings must deeply believe in the Dharma and practice Buddhism diligently.

The views of life and death in various customs of different nationalities are not helpful to us. Only by learning the Dharma and having a good understanding of it could we find help. Towards the end of the Sutra one could find descriptions of the Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha reporting to the Buddha what benefits sentient beings will beget in respecting the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and what merits could be granted by giving charity. The Buddha has also said that the charity given by people on Earth could be various in its degrees and extent. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche added that since today many attendees had no patience to listen, he would just give a summarized explanation. Giving charity is akin to breathing and is therefore very important for us. We should reach out to help when help is needed as long as we do not kill, harbor greedy or selfish thoughts or commit illegal acts. Stories such as how to  give charity and make offerings to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas abound in other sutras as well.

Does it have to be a great deal of money or properties when one gives charity? It is remarked in a verse found in the Sutra that one must give charity with praise and reverence as this will give rise to immeasurably great effects. Fortune and blessings cannot be bought with money. If fortunes could be purchased with money Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would be the first to announce that he would no longer practice Buddhism. Meanwhile when we help others we must do it without seeking any fame or gain in return. In fact, when we do good deeds, we should not be greedy in our heart – this is the only right way to give charity.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued: Today there was merely simple explanation given, however if the attendees wish to learn the Sutra and understand the merits of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha,  you may implore Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for teaching the Dharma. Since Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara has very good affinity with human beings on Earth, therefore Buddha Shakyamuni asked Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara to widely promote the Dharma method of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha. That is why many who practice the Dharma method of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara at a later stage also cultivate the Dharma method of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha naturally.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche next performed the Dharma of Ksitigarbha with Tantric method. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche reminded all attendees not to commit any killings in the next few days as today they had attended the Ksitigarbha Puja.  Simply put, they should go vegetarian. The Bodhisattva would also help those who pray for the relief of suffering from poverty and sickness. Even in the Sutra the Buddha has praised the merits of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha. If there are sentient beings who should have been thrown into the Evil Realms, into hell, even at the very gate of the hell, as long as they remember the Dharma name of a Buddha or a Bodhisattva or a verse in the sutras, Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha will emerge to save them and prevent them from falling into the Three Evil Realms. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said that a short summary of the “Sutra of Fundamental Vows of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha” was given in the hope that the attendees would revere and pay homage to this Sutra. They should harbor no doubt at all – this way great benefits would follow.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then announced a 20 minute recess to allow attendees to go to the wash rooms.

After the recess, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche re-ascended to the Dharma throne and continued to perform the Dharma. First the guru explained that practitioners of the Dharma who chant this mantra would be bestowed the assurance of merits and the nature of which was elucidated. Chanting the mantra 108 times would be very meritorious. If everyone chants the mantra in great faith and sincerity, without any doubt, resistance, impatience or untoward desires, they will soon be liberated and emancipated from suffering in this life. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said humorously that one verse from the Sutra would be used here to lure the attendees – according to the Dharma text, if the mantra is recited while in retreat, the practitioner could achieve whatever he wishes.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then received the mandala-offering presented by the representative of local Japanese believers led by ordained disciples. However, during that time the disciples made mistakes in the ritual of mandala-offering, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, with great compassion, reprimanded the disciples severely.  After the completion of the mandala-offering ritual the guru continued to disseminate Dharma teachings to the attendees.

It was noted in the Dharma text that the Dharma of  Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha which was performed today  could remove affliction and sorrow, but how? First you must accept all the effects resulting from causes planted long before. From now on you must put all efforts to do virtuous deeds and refrain from doing evil. Naturally there will then be no worries and sadness. The easiest way to start this is to be a vegetarian. There are many who think that going vegetarian means eating non-nutritious food and vegetarians do not have friends and family. Some even think that vegetarian businessmen would not do well in business. However, all these do not apply to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. While the guru wouldn’t describe himself as a successful businessman, he is making progress in business continuously; that’s because he goes vegetarian which allows him to reduce his desires and opportunities for killing. Once you practices these ways, one day you will reap good effects.

There is high incidence of hypertension and heart diseases among the family members of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The guru’s brothers and sisters have suffered from various illnesses and have undergone surgeries. In the past the guru’s great-grandfather was involved in sericulture business hence he had killed countless silk-worms. As a consequence, all the male members of the family did not live beyond the age of 60, and everyone’s marriage had not been happy and blissful. In the case of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, he has since the age of 36 begun to be a vegetarian and practice Buddhism. The guru is now 66 yet he has no prostate problem like most elderly men; his heart is very healthy and he has no high blood pressure or diabetes. This is due to the fact that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has been practicing Buddhism according to the Buddha’s teachings causing his whole life to change. Members of the guru’s family fell ill or they were short-lived – all because of the killing karma – the cause and effect of doing evil. These consequences are well-depicted in the “Sutra of Fundamental Vows of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha”.

The guru said: After attending today’s Puja I hope you pay attention to everything related to cause and effect. It is not something invented by the Buddha but is the absolute truth of the universe, telling us that whatever we do follows the law of cause and effect.  It is only a matter of time when the effect will occur.   Buddhism does not teach us to seek for protection but exhort us to turn our evil deeds into virtuous ones; thus all of us will live in good health. Moreover, if people from an area do not commit killing acts, there will be less natural disasters.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche proceeded to lead the attendees in performing the ritual of Dharma Protector Achi. During the ritual, the disciple responsible for striking the cymbals did not sound the cymbals strongly enough, resulting in the guru reprimanding him. The guru asked him why he struck the cymbals so weakly, whether he had taken his meals. Though the manner was strict, Rinchen Dorjee Ripoche patiently instructed the disciple the correct ways of striking the cymbals. After that, Rinchen Dorjee Ripoche instructed an ordained disciple to lead everyone in performing the ritual of dedication, meanwhile asked the local Japanese believers proceed up to the mandala. The guru then compassionately placed the “Sutra of Fundamental Vows of Bodhisattva Ksitigarba” atop the head of each believer and chanted mantras of blessing for a long time. The Japanese believers respectfully and in an orderly manner went forward to receive the auspicious blessings and they felt very happy and grateful.

After His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave blessings to the believers, he again tirelessly gave Dharma teachings and reminders to the attendees: For the year 2013 there will be extreme changes of weather. During periods of drought, the land will be very dry and people will be troubled with no rain falls; when it does rain, it will rain cats and dogs. If everyone can stop evil acts and do virtuous deeds, many disasters could be prevented. 2013 is a year of fast changes and people would do well by acting more conservatively. Not that you should not invest or stop working but you should think things over more thoroughly and not to jump into any decision impulsively. People should be wary of what they eat as diseases of the stomach and intestines could become rampant – especially those who crave seafood and meat. Now that spring is near it would be best that those who suffer from influenza and gastrointestinal diseases make sure they take care of their ailments before spring. For people with problems of the lung, with phlegm, coughs and smokers and those who like to take icy food, the probability of falling sick in 2013 will be higher.

In 2013 the air in the whole world won’t be good.   At this time Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche still doesn’t know what caused the poor air quality. In Japan they are advocating the closure of nuclear-powered electricity plants but if they were to adopt the fuel-generated plants there would be air pollution. So you see nothing in this world is perfect to all. 2013 is a year in which forces of good and evil alternate.  When the Buddha asks us to do virtuous deeds, it is not so much He wants us to believe in the Buddha; rather He wants us to stop doing all evil deeds and do all good and virtuous deeds. Once we do that, evil forces will leave us and good fortune will come our way. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche hoped that today’s Puja was helpful to the Japanese believers. All the Dharma teachings had been instructed by the Buddha and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is the Dharma practitioner who believes absolutely in cause and effect. All the teachings disseminated by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche while sitting on the Dharma throne come from the Buddhist sutras and His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. Whether you believe, accept or not – it’s all up to you and any benefits would also accrue to you. According to the “Sutra of Fundamental Vows of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha” human beings are stubborn, obstinate and difficult to ‘subdue’. So Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche hoped that all attendees listen to the teachings given today. With this the guru ended the Puja and wished all a good year!

At the successful conclusion of the Puja, all attendees rose with palms together to express thanks to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in unison for having auspiciously performed the Dharma. They sincerely paid their respect as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche descended from the Dharma throne. With His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s great mercy and compassion, sentient beings had such auspicious causal conditions to attend the precious Ksitigarbha Blessing Puja in the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, Kyoto, Japan, learning the Dharma of right knowledge and right faith, and thus accumulating the resources of virtues and wisdom for their Buddhist practice. It was a cold day but during the Puja, many attendees felt warmth in their body, signifying that they had received the guru’s auspicious blessings. Furthermore, they all praised Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for performing the Dharma to benefit sentient beings with his attainment in the cultivation of Tantra. At the start of the New Year, the Ksitigarbha Blessing Puja presided over by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would definitely benefit Japan and countless sentient beings in the void as well as bring the incredible blessings to Japan and world peace.

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Updated on March 9, 2013