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

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche presided over the Amitayus Puja at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center in Taipei.

Before the puja began, a female believer who had participated in editing Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s work, Happiness and Suffering, expressed her gratitude to the Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for having given her an opportunity to make public repentance.

In early August of 2012 she committed an act that was evil enough to send her down into Vajra Hell, and of which she was completely unaware.  She was grateful that His Eminence the Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would never abandon a single sentient being. During the general puja on December 9th, her evil act was clearly pointed out—while proofreading His Eminence the Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s most excellent work, Happiness and Suffering, she scribbled directly on the pages of the book, destroying the Three Jewels to the point that other people could not read this book and obtain help from the Dharma, thus cutting off their wisdom life in learning Buddhism.

When she was informed that she was to proofread Happiness and Suffering and correct any typos directly onto the text, she thought to herself, “Why me?” Afterward she told herself that this was a book written by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche; how could it be allowed to contain any mistakes? And so she hurried to finish proofreading it within the time limit. Little did she know at the time that she was making a very serious mistake and committing a grave and disrespectful evil act against the guru and the Three Jewels. The Buddhist teachings written in the vajra guru’s book amounted to Dharma texts, a sutra book; how could someone with even the slightest bit of respect or gratitude dare to find mistakes in His Eminence the Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Happiness and Suffering, a book that has saved countless lives, and scribble directly on its pages? Her attitude was such that she was looking for mistakes written by a guru who is not different from the yidam; she was looking for mistakes of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Can the guru or the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas be mistaken? The mistaken one was she herself!  How truly reckless and daring she was; how haughty and arrogant; how lax her heart to do such evil. The five poisons welled abysmally in her heart, and she was very ill. It was an outrageous mistake to allow herself to commit such an evil act after having taken refuge with His Eminence the Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. It really was detestable to the extreme.

As the guru said, ever since she took refuge she had never been respectful to the guru and the Three Jewels. Committing a disrespectful and evil act against the Three Jewels and a guru who had been so benevolent toward her was tantamount to not surrendering herself to the guru and not being obedient. She did not regard the guru as the yidam; she did not put the guru first; she did not see the guru as being more important than her own life. She was haughty and arrogant, did not believe in cause and effect, did not believe in the Dharma, and was self-indulgent within her heart. How truly obstinate and self-righteous; how truly difficult to tame and difficult to teach!

She was grateful that during the puja, His Eminence the Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche clearly pointed out the evil act she had committed. This allowed her to suddenly realize that with a lax heart she could unwittingly commit such an outrageous offense, an offense so great that it could send her directly down into Vajra Hell. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once said, “The Venerable Milarepa taught us, ‘As long as one is not liberated from reincarnation in this lifetime, he will most certainly fall into the Hell Realm in one of his future life times.'”

Thankfully the guru, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and the Dharma protectors were merciful enough to help her realize how easy it is to fall into hell. She believed that she would fall into hell more than once; she was already going to fall into hell simply because of what she had eaten and killed before she took refuge. But because she did not believe in cause and effect and the Dharma, she had forgotten the pain and suffering of being on the road to hell. Thus, at the same time that the guru was mercifully doing everything He could to take her to the Pure Land, she was still running carelessly straight toward hell. She had let down His Eminence the Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche as well as all sentient beings.

She was grateful for the guru’s extremely compassionate reprimands. Without the guru’s compassionate reprimands and having pointed out her mistake, she would still have thought she had always been respectful toward the guru, that she had changed her arrogant habits after she had taken refuge, and that she was following the Buddhist teachings taught by the guru. All of this self-righteousness showed that she did not believe in impermanence; she was not acting according to the guru’s teachings; she was not obedient; she was haughty and arrogant; she was constantly self-important; she allowed this “me,” her “self,” to repeatedly cause mischief, to constantly mix with greed, resentment, ignorance, arrogance, and doubt, allowing her heart to go lax and do evil. Her heart was crammed full of filthy garbage; how could she possibly think of the guru, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, or the existence of sentient beings? In conducting herself, she had not even achieved a fundamental respect for her teachers. She was nothing more than someone who had the shape of a person. Not only did she feel deep shame in the face of His Eminence the Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche; she also felt remorseful toward all of her teachers and superiors.

She repented that sometime ago all of the members of the Torma team had disobeyed His Eminence the Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s instruction that they must “refrain from collecting and accumulating funds amongst one another,” and she had followed along with their evil actions.

In 2011, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche took his disciples to New Zealand, where His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestowed upon the disciples the blessed honor of sharing a meal with them. During the meal, she glanced involuntarily at Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, and right at that moment she saw a movement. A very disrespectful thought immediately flashed through her mind, and just then her entire body broke out in goose bumps. She thought to herself that she was dead for sure; how could she have had such an evil thought? In her memory, it had been many years since these words had made an appearance in her mind. As soon as the guru tested her, the thought manifested itself. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had once said, “I will not show you what you wish to see; what you do not wish to see, I will show you anyway.” With a simple test her disrespect toward the guru manifested itself.

In the same year, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche took His disciples to participate in the Hevajra Puja in India. Prior to the trip, she saw a post on the Drikung Kagyu official website that His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang would not be presiding over this puja. At this, a discriminating mind rose within her. On the first day of the puja, upon seeing Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche sitting together with the disciples, she felt sad and thought about criticizing the organizers.

She once heard His Eminence the Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche say, , “Reading through all of the sutras….” The words, “All of the sutras?” abruptly crossed her mind in the form of a doubt. Though she repented immediately, the evil thought had already taken form, and her haughtiness and arrogance was again doing mischief.

She was grateful that His Eminence the Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche allowed her to participate in the Ksitigarbha Blessing Puja that took place in January of this year (2013) in Japan. During the guru’s auspicious lecture on The Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows, she felt suddenly very ashamed, thinking she had never really listened to the guru’s constant teachings regarding cause and effect, and that that was the reason she had made her mistake. When she heard Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche mention that those who would like to learn The Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows could come and implore the Dharma, she self-righteously went to implore the Dharma, hoping everyone could hear such an auspicious teaching as well, she felt ashamed then and there, and asked everyone to be careful not to make the same mistake she had made. Haughtiness, arrogance, and self-righteousness again climbed within her; having forgotten her current situation, how could it be appropriate for her to implore the Dharma? Every thought aroused by an ordinary person generates karma and vice. She was wrong again.

As His Eminence the Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed: Ordinary people do everything with themselves at the center of their thoughts; they are afraid of getting hurt, and want to protect themselves. That is exactly how it was with her: every time she opened her eyes, she treated people with greed, resentment, ignorance, arrogance, and doubt; all she saw were areas where other people fell short of her expectations. She frequently acted out without regard to other people’s well-being, while thinking to herself, “this is for his or her own good.” If it really was for his or her own good, then why did she not amend herself? Was she in fact asking others to change the way she wanted them to? If she herself had not changed, what right did she have to expect others to change? Even if she had modified herself, she still would not have been qualified to ask that other people change. Not to mention, this assumption that she was “good” was based on a consideration of her “self,” a demand that other people change the way she herself hoped they would in order to satisfy her own greed, resentment, and ignorance. She thought she was the best, and that she was the only one who was correct. She was not being grateful for the favor that sentient beings had done her; she had forgotten that everything is cause and effect, and cause and condition. In the organization, she had taken advantage of other people’s tolerance. She had not worked hard to amend her problems, doing both tangible and intangible harm to her coworkers. And so she confessed her shame toward all those she had harmed.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche pointed out that she had participated in the puja in order to make herself feel good. She attended the pujas without following the guru’s teachings truthfully and faithfully. This showed that she was actually just trying to feel good and seek protection and blessings. She remembered the first time she participated in a puja. On that day, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performed the Vajrasattva Dharma. She remembered that His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “For those who have not taken the refuge, today’s empowerment is only for them to form a connection; they may not learn the Dharma just yet.” At the time she thought, “May not learn the Dharma yet? Well then what am I doing participating in the puja?” Though she did not know what she could learn, that Tuesday she went to implore His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for her to take refuge. She was grateful that His Eminence gave her permission to take refuge and learn Buddhism. Recently she thought about another thing the guru said: “If one does not practice what one learns, then what is the point in learning?” Exactly! How could one say that she was practicing Buddhism? Every day she told herself that in this life she must be liberated from reincarnation, that she must be reborn in the Pure Land. However, the Dharma of how to be liberated from reincarnation taught by the guru was something she had not put into practice in earnest. She repented to the guru, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and sentient beings. She had not complied with what she had been taught to earnestly try to amend herself; not only was she unworthy of the guru, she had wasted the guru’s time that could have been used to save other sentient beings, and had affected her fellow Dharma brothers by delaying the teachings passed on to them by the guru. She repented.

She was grateful to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Without having made this mistake, she would not be able to face her problems or take a deep look at them and make a determined effort to modify herself. This incident clearly demonstrated that she had not surrendered herself to the guru. When the situation arised, she forgot that the guru was a great benefactor, a Buddha and a Bodhisattva who had saved her. She was grateful to the guru for allowing her disrespectful attitude to the guru and the Three Jewels to be completely exposed through this incident, and for mercifully saving her before she harmed even more sentient beings.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “Do not think that just because you spend money on a book, that book is then yours.” Indeed, she merely formed a connection with this book, but could not take it with her after death. But the karmic retribution was all hers for having cut off others’ wisdom life in learning Buddhism, and of being disrespectful to the guru and the Three Jewels, for destroying the Three Jewels, and preventing others from being able to read the book Happiness and Suffering and thus from obtaining help from the Dharma that would help relieve their suffering.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche pointed out that she was audacious in the extreme, looking everywhere for the guru’s mistakes. If she had been so haughty and arrogant even toward the guru who had offered her such great benevolence, then her attitude toward others must be such that she did not take them seriously at all. She had been doing well simply to show a bit of courtesy toward others in everyday life; she did not even have the patience to offer a few extra words of explanation. She did not have even a little bit of empathy, and often thought that if someone did not perform up to par, it was because that person did not work hard. In this way she hurt countless people. She herself had never really taken a hard look at this problem, and even thought, “If my words hurt people, then I will talk less.” But talking less is just a superficial effort; in the end, she would harm people just the same. The reason she had never really put in the time and effort to change herself, was that those harmed had always been other people, and not herself. She was in total disregard of whether other people lived or died.

She repented that ever since she was little, she had been arrogant, impatient, and with a tongue as sharp as a sword.  She had a strong subjective awareness, was self-centered and unconventional, and had harmed many people. In this lifetime she had killed many living beings; her father had supported them by earning money working on a fishing boat. They all had a karmic share in the killing of all those living beings. Before learning Buddhism, she had once worked in a company that manufactured leather products. Again, this had to do with the killing of living beings. At the time she had even advised a pregnant coworker that for the health of the baby she should not eat vegetarian. This did harm to the two of them, both mother and child, by making them kill living beings. She, too, had a karmic share in the killing of those living beings; not to mention all the countless seafood and animal flesh she ate prior to taking refuge. A lot of that, too, had spread harm to her parents, for they killed living beings in cooking for her. Then there were all those mosquitos, ants, cockroaches, spiders, centipedes, and so on that she had killed. She had also committed the karma and offenses of taking things without asking as well as harboring evil intentions in her heart. In this life she had committed karmic vice after karmic vice, yet still she could make such a thorough mistake.

She admitted, faced, accepted and took responsibility for the various evil acts she had committed in the past, nor did she try to evade them one bit. She was happy to accept all of the karmic retribution. She had already done too much harm to too many sentient beings and karmic creditors of past lives. She would certainly never again default on her debts; she prayed that the karmic creditors of past lives would allow her to repay all of her debt as soon as possible so that in this lifetime she and they could be liberated from reincarnation and be reborn in the Pure Land.

Her sick heart provoked the evil act of looking for mistakes in the guru’s most excellent work, Happiness and Suffering, and scribbling in it. She was grateful for His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s most excellent reprimands, for having mercifully pointed out her mistake and the root of the problem, and for prescribing the medicine of taking back her disciple’s vest and Dharma texts. She joyously took on board this most wondrous lesson, and was grateful for His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for saving her.

She well knew that without His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, she would merely be dragged through the rest of her days in this lifetime by karma, and float into the next lifetime along with karma. With nothing but helplessness and not the slightest capability to act for herself, this life of hers truly is lived in vain. The only ones she could trust and rely upon are the guru and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Without His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, she would not know of her mistakes, not to mention she would not be liberated from reincarnation and be reborn in the Pure Land. Everything is cause and effect, cause and condition. She really did not know what she had cared about in the past? What she had been fighting for? Why she had been so arrogant? Why she had been so disobedient? Nothing would be hers besides cause and effect and karmic retribution.

Once again she was grateful to the guru for having granted her the great favor of being able to learn Buddhism without interruption, and she repented again for the various evil acts she had committed. Every single movement or stirring of thought creates karma and offenses; in addition to repentance, there is still repentance. She prayed that His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would eliminate her karmic retribution and evil thoughts while she practice Buddhism. She vowed that she would conduct herself according to the guru’s teaching, earnestly amend her ways, be liberated from reincarnation, and be reborn in the Pure Land.

In the end, she prayed that all sentient beings caught in the cyclic sea of suffering could gain the help of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, be liberated from the reincarnation of the Six Realms, and be reborn in the Pure Land.  She prayed that His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would continue to be healthy and keep turning the Dharma wheel, and that the Dharma lineage would flourish forever and remain in the world for hundreds of kalpas, that the Dharma would be successfully promoted, and that the Drikung Kagyu Order would be spread to all five continents and thus would benefit countless sentient beings.

After that, a female disciple came forward with her son who had also taken refuge as a disciple and shared with all attendees the course of events that had led their family to be profoundly helped by His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

In February of 2007, her husband was diagnosed with liver cancer. This was what gave her cause and condition to seek out His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. She recalled that at the time, in her ignorance the only thing she wanted with all her heart was to ask for a way to cure her husband’s illness. On the contrary, however, she caused him to suffer even more. She was grateful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for saving her husband by preventing him from falling into the Three Evil Realms. After her husband passed away, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche protected his consciousness first and liberated him at the Chod Puja subsequently. Later, she heard a colleague say that people who suffer from liver cancer often vomit up a large amount of blood prior to passing away. Only then did she realize that her husband’s body had been very clean, and it was all because of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings.

She was grateful that her husband demonstrated to her and helped her understand the impermanence of life, leading her to have the causal condition and good fortune on January 6th, 2008, of taking refuge with His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and learning the right Dharma.

In November 2010, her mother sought an audience with His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche because of oppressive spondylosis in her spine that had made it difficult for her to walk. When her mother saw Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the mother became speechless with tears and was unable to articulate a single word she had originally wanted to say. She was grateful that His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche chanted mantras to bless her mother.

A few days later, she received a phone call from her father asking her if the scales at home had broken, for in only a few days’ time her mother’s weight had dropped from 62 kg to 58.6 kg. Only after she went to her parents’ house and saw that her mother’s ankles had gotten thinner did they realize that the merciful blessings given by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had caused the edema in her mother’s feet to dissipate naturally within a few days. Apart from praising Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s great and unimaginable ability, her parents also finally initiated the causal condition for attending the Chod Puja.

Her father told her that he had never before seen a temple that would refuse an offering from its believers, nor had he ever seen someone able to bless so many people with serious illnesses who had come seeking an audience. In May of 2011, her parents finally implored His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and got permission to participate in the Chod Puja. After her father went to the Buddhist Center to participate in the Chod Puja, he told her that the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center was very solemn and stately, with more than a thousand people participating. He said it was nothing like the chaotic hubbub of the pujas he had attended in the past, however, and the most important thing was that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teaching methods were very strict and very good.

In August of last year (2012), her mother felt a lump in her left breast. The day after participating in The Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness on August 26th, she discovered her breast was bleeding. Only then did her mother tell her father about the lump in her breast. Unexpectedly, her father became so worried about it that he fainted in the bathroom at home and knocked the toilet askew. She was grateful to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for mercifully protecting her father. Even after falling and hitting the toilet so hard, her father somehow had not been hurt. They just had to spend a thousand or more yuan to fix the toilet.

When her parents came to express their thanks to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told her father, “Your life has not been spared so that you can live comfortably.” After reflecting on this precious revelation, her father decided to implore for permission to participate in the regular Sunday pujas.

During a visit with her mother to a well-known hospital in Taipei, her father, who had always considered himself to be one in good health, decided to have a check-up of his bowels done while he was at it. To his great surprise, test results revealed a malignancy in his colon. The doctor recommended having an operation to remove it. Her father decided to undergo surgery, but fear and worry led him to experience a severe fainting incident on November 27th. This time her father’s head slammed into the wall and broke through its porcelain tiles. Luckily, his head injuries were successfully treated with Bao Yuan Ointment. But as for her father’s psychological trauma, her family could do nothing to help him. All she could do was to keep telling her father that life is impermanent, and that he must grasp the causal condition of learning Buddhism from His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Her father’s operation had been set for December 20th, but ever since he fainted for the second time, he was unable to sleep at night for nearly half a month, and he was becoming weaker and more haggardly. They had no choice but to take him to seek an audience with His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche again. Her father implored Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche that his operation would be going smoothly. When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked her father whether or not he wanted the guru  to bless him so that he would not die on the operating table, her father was stunned and at a loss for words. Eventually, he had to answer honestly: “Yes.” She was grateful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for blessing her father and bestowing upon him two precious nectar pills, and for advising her to have her father hold one in his mouth both before and after surgery. Afterward, her mother implored that she and her husband take refuge with His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “You only thought about taking refuge after something bad happened. Let’s talk about it after the operation!”

After her father received Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s auspicious blessings, his insomnia problems immediately went away, and every day he listened to a tape with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teachings on repentance over and over. She was deeply thankful that only through Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s great mercy and great power could her father’s suffering have been alleviated so quickly.

On December 29th, they received a call from the hospital informing them that a bed had opened up and that they must report there immediately. However, the Chod Puja was to be held on the morning of December 30th. She told her father that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had instructed from the Dharma throne that one must have confidence in the puja, so her father decided to give up the hospital bed he had waited so long for. He definitely wanted to participate in the puja. To his surprise, an hour or so later the hospital called to inform them that they would leave the bed open for her father, and that her father could report to the hospital the next day after participating in the puja. They really felt it was incredible that such a well-known hospital, as busy and sought-after as it was, would reserve a bed for them. This was all thanks to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessing.

On January 2nd, her 71-year-old father underwent surgery, during which they removed about twenty centimeters of his large intestine. Under Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessing, the operation went without a hitch. On day one after surgery, they were able to remove his nasogastric tube; on day two they removed his abdominal draining tube and urinary catheter; on the third day even intravenous fluid was no longer necessary; on day four, her father was discharged and went home. That same week they requested to seek an audience with His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to express their gratitude, and her parents finally were granted their wish and allowed to take refuge.

On January 24th, her father was rushed to the emergency room because of headaches, vomiting, dizziness, weakness in his legs, and even some loss of consciousness. Tests revealed the cause to be subdural bleeding, likely cause by the trauma his head suffered the last time he fainted and fell. The ER doctor told them they had to agree to immediate surgery before he could be transferred over to the regular hospital. Furthermore, even after surgery there was still the possibility of a relapse. This put them in a dilemma, and they could not decide what to do. They were very afraid her father, in his weakened state, would not be able to bear the stress of having two operations within the same month. She was grateful that in their moment of helplessness, a Dharma brother, who happened to be a doctor working at the same hospital, did them the favor of taking the time to understand her father’s condition, and got in touch with her father’s primary doctor so that he could arrange time to examine the patient himself. She was also grateful to this Dharma brother for reminding them that as long as they had faith, they could overcome any difficulties, and they could take her father to seek an audience with His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. And so her father was able to come to the Buddhist Center to implore to give offerings to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche on January26th.

That day, after she reported her father’s condition to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the guru mercifully chanted mantras to bless her father for a long time. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not accept the father’s offerings, but instead said words to him that could not be bought, even for all the gold in the world. They were, “Don’t worry; you’ll be fine.” The power of these words made her and her family fell as if they finally could see a light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel.

She told her younger brother who did not have the causal condition to seek the audience of the guru about the blessings and revelation given by His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. She was very surprised to hear him say, “Your Rinpoche is a Dharma practitioner. He would not just look at what’s happening currently; he must have looked at this life, the next life, and eternity.” When her father got himself all tied into knots over whether Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s words had meant that he would be fine if he did not have the operation, or that he would be fine after he had the operation; her younger brother advised the father that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is not an ordinary fortune teller; how could he tell him whether or not he should have an operation? He said the father himself needed to decide, and also told him that if Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had said “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine,” then he had better believe it. Sure enough, day by day her father’s condition improved. On January 27th, the Dorje Phurba Puja was held, and her father was able to attend in a wheelchair with the help of a volunteer Dharma brother without any problems. On January 29th the doctor informed her father that he could be discharged from hospital.

She knew that all of this had come about as a result of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings having lessened the effect of heavy karmic retribution for them. In her heart she truly was penitent for the many evil acts her family had committed in the past, and she wanted to give a heartfelt repentance for her parents’ sake. She repented for all the slaughtering of livestock they had done in the past when they had lived on a farm. At the time they had taken it as a matter of course; to this day she still remembered back when she was little, a time when her family was slaughtering their prize-winning hog; she remembered the shrill cries the animal had made. It had truly been so very scary and so very cruel. Her parents had even said that children growing up in the countryside did not play with toys; they spent their time fishing, catching loaches, or playing with bugs they caught until they died. And while planting crops, they had also helped spray insecticide. She felt in her bones that had it not been for His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s all-embracing power, how could they know how much evil karma they had committed with all of their naughty mischievousness?

She repented to the guru and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for the various evil acts of body, speech, and mind she had performed in all her lifetimes: she repented for having eaten the flesh of so many sentient beings; she repented for having harmed many sentient beings while capturing fish, shrimp, and bugs for her own amusement; she repented for not having acted with filial piety, for feelings of lustfulness, for doing things selfishly and for her own benefit, for being narrow-minded and harming other people; she repented for having told lies, for foul language, for stealing, for loving to listen to gossip, for gossiping, for having evil thoughts and intentions; she repented for not having implemented Buddhism in daily life, for not having put an immediate stop to her evil and changed her own behavior. Although she had spoken normally in the early days after she took refuge, she had difficulty making the sound when she chanted mantras; it sounded as if she had an egg stuck in her throat, and only after much difficulty was she able to finish her daily prayers. This showed how serious her evil karma was.

She realized that in this lifetime, becoming aware that any shred of thought or behavior was evil was all thanks to the guru’s merciful blessings. She did not dare to imagine the terrible consequences she would face if she did not follow His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and learn the Supreme Dharma. She could not reciprocate this boundless benevolence; all she could do was to listen, act according to the guru’s teachings, and closely follow the guru while learning Buddhism.

Finally, she prayed that all sentient beings could be like her and have the causal condition and good fortunes to get to see Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche; and she prayed His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would remain healthy, have an eternal presence in the world, and keep turning the Dharma wheel!

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche ascended to the Dharma throne and presided over the Amitayus Puja, and bestowed precious Dharma teachings upon all the attendees.

Today Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was going to perform the Amitayus Dharma. In Exoteric Buddhism, the Amitayus Dharma is not performed; it is only performed in Tibetan Buddhism. The Dharma performed today was also the Earth Terma, a Dharma transmitted personally by the yidam. The ritual of the Amitayus Dharma was bestowed by Mother Buddha Machig Drubpejema. In Exoteric Buddhism there is no mention of the Mother Buddha; Mother Buddha is more merciful, and as told in the sutras, men and women are equal; sentient beings are equal. In Tibet there are many master practitioners who are female. For example, the Chod was created by a female lay yogini practitioner –  the Venerable Machig Labdron. In the Avatamsaka Sutra, there is mention of female believers imploring the Bodhisattvas for teaching them how to practice; Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha was a female in one of His lifetime. In general, Mother Buddha is a representative of compassion.

Amitayus is a yidam not practiced in Exoteric Buddhism. He is Amitabha’s Sambhogakaya. The Buddha has three bodies: the Dharmakaya, the Sambhogakaya, and the Nirmanakaya. The Amitabha Sutra says that if a person, while living, practices the Ten Meritorious Acts and aspires to be reborn in the Pure Land, then when he or she passes away, he or she will be given guidance from Amitabha’s Nirmanakaya. So it can be seen that if your family members have not practiced the Ten Meritorious Acts, learned Buddhism, or aspired to be reborn in the Pure Land during their lifetimes, and if all you do is to hire people to recite sutras or Buddha’s name after your family members pass away, then how can they possible be reborn in the Pure Land? The Nirmanakaya is a manifestation of a Buddha’s body, speech, mind, and aspirations which changes and appears as you want to see it, helping you form a causal condition with the Dharma. Buddhist sutras, Budda statues, and gurus are all Buddha’s Nirmanakayas.

The Buddha’s Sambhogakaya helps practitioners who have already attained the fruition of a Bodhisattva, and who practice the Bodhi Path. Though Buddhism in Taiwan is for the most part Mahayana Buddhism, most of it is within the scope of Exoteric Buddhism. Although it includes rituals in which burn marks are left on one’s arm at the time of taking the Bodhisattva’s precepts, it still is based on practicing Exoteric Buddhism, or in other words on the fundamental theories of Buddhism. Tibetan Buddhism includes Exoteric Buddhism and Vajrayana Buddhism. Vajrayana Buddhism is Tantrism; Exoteric Buddhism includes the distinct theories as taught by the Buddha which are the foundation of all Buddhism. Vajrayana Buddhism, on the other hand, is a means for benefitting sentient beings. Vajrayana is for people who wish to practice the Bodhi Path. In Tibetan Buddhism, the Bodhisattva precepts are transmitted, but not by way of rituals that burn marks on one’s hands. However, any practitioners who are learning Vajrayana Buddhism will definitely have the Bodhisattva precepts transmitted to them, representing the practitioners’ ability to attain Buddhahood to benefit sentient beings by way of making the Bodhi vow and carrying out the Bodhi conducts. Thus, they are future Buddhas.

In fact, all sentient beings possess the conditions for becoming a Buddha, because all sentient beings have Buddha nature, so they will definitely attain the fruition of a Buddha and are themselves future Buddhas. Those who practice Vajrayana Buddhism achieve this rather quickly; they do not need to undertake very many recitations or rituals. This is because Vajrayana Buddhism is practiced directly from the Effect Ground. All sentient beings have Buddha nature; it’s just that this has been concealed by the fundamental darkness from beginningless time. People’s attachments bring them afflictions, thus causing them to repeat the cycle of reincarnation. Exoteric Buddhism is practiced from the Causal Ground, beginning with the reciting of sutras; it can take a very long time. Those who practice Vajrayana Buddhism follow the guru’s teachings in order to reveal their true nature, so they can attain Buddhahood relatively quickly. A Bodhisattva is “one who enlightens sentient beings,” a practitioner who has realized the torment of life and death; however, because he or she still has the remains of some fundamental darkness obscuring his or her view, he or she still has a trace of attachment and wants to liberate and benefit sentient beings. Therefore, a Bodhisattva is still a sentient being.

If a practitioner vows to practice the Bodhi Path in this lifetime that does not merely involve participating in pujas and lighting lamps. In many temples, the current going rate for lighting lamps is between 1000 and 2500 yuan. Do you think you can attain results simply by spending one or two thousand yuan? So-called “benefitting sentient beings” does not mean introducing people to come participating in the pujas, encouraging people to support the printing of sutras, or bringing people to worship the Buddhas. One must practice according to the Dharma method of Six Paramitas as told by the Buddha. For those who practice the Bodhi Path, their body, speech, and mind are all contained in the Six Paramitas; simply saying the words is not practicing. When the sutras mention “Ten Thousand Acts of the Six Paramitas”, it refers to the Six Paramitas. For practitioners who practice Vajrayana Buddhism, they must also practice Ten Paramitas. “Ten Thousand Acts” does not mean that doing it ten thousand times is enough; it is not a specific number, but means, rather, that one must do it constantly every day. “Ten Thousand” means to do it continuously.

Of the Six Paramitas, the most important is giving charity. Money is not at all essential to learning Buddhism; everyone thinks giving charity means spending money and making offerings, or that giving charity usually means giving 100 yuan, 200 yuan, 500 yuan, 5,000 yuan, or 10,000 yuan. We are attached because we are not willing to let go, and the distress this causes can lead us to break precepts and do all sorts of things that harm sentient beings and that harm ourselves.  Giving charity can lessen the impediments to practicing Buddhism in this life, but we must understand how to give charity. To teach the true meaning of giving charity would require a very long explanation; there is not enough time for that today, so we will not go into further detail for the time being. Simply put, the important point is not how much money one gives as charity; charity cannot be given with a greedy heart, nor can the giver seek anything in return. When you give charity but constantly expect something in return, then you will not obtain the merits from giving that charity; the merits from giving charity will instead turn into fortune, and that is the good fortune of the Human and Heavenly Realms. It cannot be used in this lifetime; in can only be used in the next.

Vajrayana practitioners give charity by making offerings of everything that is best in them to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and giving the merits of all of their cultivation as charity to sentient beings and not leaving a single bit for themselves. This is not something you ordinary people can accomplish or learn. The purpose of practicing Buddhism is to leave the cycle of life and death; even the mindset of practicing Buddhism so as to be reborn in the Pure Land is not exactly correct. All practices should be done in order to leave the cycle of life and death. To leave life and death, one must not cultivate good fortunes of the Human and Heavenly Realms, because these cannot transform the karma accumulated from one’s past lives. If one practices Buddhism in order to cultivate good fortunes of the Human and Heavenly Realms, then many problems may arise. So long as one wishes to obtain the slightest self-benefit by way of Buddhism, then one can only obtain good fortunes of the Human and Heavenly Realms, which are useless in this lifetime.

The second practice in the Six Paramitas is keeping precepts. If one understands giving charity, one naturally will keep one’s precepts. This is because of not wanting to harm any sentient beings, and not because of being afraid of falling into Hell for not keeping the precepts. Ordinary people keep their precepts out of fear that if they do something wicked, it will result in a bad consequence. But practitioners should discipline themselves to follow the rules so that they are keeping precepts so as not to harm sentient beings. The third Paramita is cultivating forbearance. One can only understand forbearance after one can keep the precepts. In the Six Paramitas, “forbearance” means being able to bear all that is difficult for everyone to bear. Forbearance is not simply enduring admonishments from others; achieving that type of forbearance is not actually very difficult. The most difficult is being able to forbear when things are going smoothly. It is easy for us to be aware of adversity. When something happens that does harm to ourselves, we become alert, and then we can know that we must forbear. But if today everything were going smoothly, it would become very difficult to remain forbearing. If we think everything is going all right in our lives, we begin to slack off, become lax, and pursue what we desire. As a result we become attached and possessive, do all kinds of wicked acts, and are thus unable to leave the cycle of reincarnation.

Only when the practitioners have fulfilled the acts of giving charity, keeping precepts and cultivating forbearance, can they practice meditation. Meditation is not sitting still without any movement, nor letting go of all of one’s thoughts means one has entered Samadi. The sutras make no mention of letting go of all of one’s thoughts. If someone in society taught you to let go of all of your thoughts, it means that person is not a qualified meditation practitioner. The point of meditation is not to make the practitioners feel calmer after letting go of their thoughts, but rather to help them understand how fearsome are the thoughts that arise from within. So-called “Samadi,” or meditative state, refers to the point in time after one thought has appeared and gone and before the next thought has appeared. The Buddha has already entered the great Samadi; that is, achieved a meditative state, and would no longer arouse any thoughts. But the Buddha’s mind still moves according to His aspiration. Sentient beings implore the Buddha to fulfil their wishes. If sentient beings ask for mundane things, the Buddha will not be moved; however, if what the sentient beings ask for is in line with the Buddha’s aspiration, that is, to benefit sentient beings so that they might be freed from reincarnation, then they will be attuned with the Buddha.

You should not implore the Buddha to fulfill your desires. People who vow to attain Buddhahood are in total confusion. In today’s society, it has become popular among some to chant a Buddha’s name as a way of seeking to attain Buddhahood for themselves. This way of practicing Buddhism is inappropriate. Can you imagine someone who never even finished elementary school suddenly wanting a PhD? Could he get one, just like that? If one has not even achieved the attainment of the First to the Tenth Bodhisattva Grounds, then how can one understand the fruition of Buddhahood? At the First Bodhisattva Ground, one cannot even understand the fruition of the Second Bodhisattva Ground; how could one possibly understand the fruition of Buddhahood at that level? Besides, if you have not even reached the equivalent of an elementary school education in learning Buddhism, then vowing to attain Buddhahood is extremely unrealistic. Learning Buddhism should be done one step at a time, and followed in order. One must begin with stopping evil and doing good deeds, practicing the Six Paramitas, and cultivating compassion. While you are still ordinary people, you have no way of understanding the Buddha’s aspirations. This is why the sutras say that the realm of the Buddha is incomprehensible: for ordinary people, it is unimaginable.

Some people think that they can understand the sutras after only having practiced Buddhism for a short while. You should not think that you can understand the Buddha’s words after only a few days of learning. These days it has become popular to practice Buddhism at home; these people think they understand everything, and that they can achieve simply by watching television and reading the sutras at home. Even Shakyamuni Buddha had to be reborn many times before becoming a Buddha. What makes you think that you can attain the fruition of Buddhahood just by practicing for a few years? And this is why Tibetan Buddhism emphasizes the importance of gurus; one must practice Buddhism with a guru as one’s guide. Only by learning Buddhism under the supervision of an experienced practitioner can one avoid going astray or deviating. Furthermore, you must follow a meritorious guru, and a meritorious guru should maintain in line with the sutras the various conditions he or she must meet.

Some people think they’ve learned it all after only having practiced Buddhism for a few years. They think they can see the Bodhisattva Avolokiteshvara. If you truly attained enlightenment, do you think you would still be concerned about your children? By then you should understand that everything is based on causal conditions and impermanence of life. When your children are grown, you do not actually need to worry about them anymore; they are in charge of their own actions. Why not use your time practicing Buddhism, rather than be attached to your sons’ and daughters’ affairs?

Today Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is helping you perform the Amitayus Dharma, but this is not to help you increase your longevity. Sentient beings shorten their lifespan due to evil karma accumulated in past lifetimes. It goes to reason that these days the human lifespan should not be a mere 70 years. This is because people begin to create killing karma the moment they are reincarnated: before a child is born, its parents kill living creatures in order to give the child nutrition, so the child’s life has already begun to be shortened. After birth, more are killed in order to give nutrients to the child’s body so that it can be healthier and stronger, and so the child’s life expectancy is again shortened. When the child is a month old, a banquet is held and guests are invited, and again a large amount of living beings are killed, and so the child’s life expectancy is again shortened. In order to feed the child, more creatures are killed out of worry that the child will not otherwise get enough nutrients for growth. And so the child’s life expectancy is again shortened. When the child is grown and gets married, and holds a wedding feast, more sentient beings are killed; the child’s life expectancy is again shortened. You have done many things that you think are good for your children, when in fact you are creating more killing karma, and thus, on the contrary, shortening their lifespan.

If you have never killed any living beings, both in this life and in past lives, then prior to passing away you would not feel any pain even if you were sick. If one were to fall unconscious before death, he would have no way of repenting and chanting Buddha’s name. When this happens to a family member, you must make haste to help him accumulate good fortune. Only if he has good fortune can he find a Dharma practitioner to help him when he passes away. The Pure Land Sect mentions that a Buddhist practitioner who obtains a Buddha guide prior to death will not fall unconscious or be in disorder, but only on condition that the practitioner can chant Buddha’s name with a tranquil mind, keep his precepts while he was living, and practice the Ten Meritorious Acts. Unconsciousness represents the presence of “ignorance;” because when one falls unconscious, he is not able to listen to the Dharma, then he could fall into the Animal Realm. Therefore, being a son of someone, if you do not hurry up and help your mother accumulate good fortune, instead you are just frantically asking around all over the place, then how can you help your mother obtain help from the Dharma?

Many people do not believe in cause and effect, or do not think killing karma is very horrible. They think that many people kill living beings yet still get by just fine. Everything that comes to us in this life is the result of our actions in past lives; everything we do in this lifetime affects what will come to us in future lives. Everyone received different good fortune; if you are wealthy in this life, it is because you practiced charity in past lives. However, as you all know, once a person passes the age of fifty, his or her body begins to deteriorate and become afflicted with a whole heap of different ailments. This is due to killing karma in one’s accumulated past lives as well as this life. Common sense dictates that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who is sixty-six this year, could not possibly be so physically healthy. Nevertheless, the guru performed the Chod for everyone on Thursday, received believers on Saturday, and today, Sunday, is performing the Amitayus Dharma. Never mind that most people do not have such energy levels at this age; even young people might have trouble holding up through such a schedule. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is able to do all this because of the guru’s accomplishments in practicing Tantrism, and importantly, because from the moment Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began learning Buddhism, he was willing to change, to follow the guidance of his guru and the Buddha’s teachings, and to learn the Dharma step by step. Only by doing so has Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche been able to accomplish so much in this lifetime and demonstrate that if you do as the Buddha instructs in accordance with the Dharma, you really can transform karma and change things for the better.

One can only accumulate merits and transform one’s karma if one practices in accordance with the Dharma, just as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche learned Buddhism and acted according to his guru’s teachings and thus has been able to extend his longevity that he may have enough time to practice Buddhism. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas can help practitioners lessen the obstacles to learning Buddhism and extend their longevity, but this extension is to give the practitioners more time to practice Buddhism and thereby be able to benefit sentient beings. It is not given so that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche can live into his eighties or nineties and be able to watch as his sons have grandchildren and daughters get married. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has nothing to do with all these things mentioned above.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knows that children come to each family only to form connections; when they would marry is completely up to them. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will not decide for them, and after his children are married they should move out of home, because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would not wish to extend his connection with them. This is unlike all of you, who want your children to live nearby so that it is convenient for you to monitor them. Those of you who are elderly should not spend all day wanting to monitor your sons and daughter-in-laws; if you see them too much, it can cause problems.

If you practice Buddhism successfully, your family members’ situations will get better naturally by themselves without you praying for them. As the sutras say: “If one attains achievement, nine tribes would be lifted to the heavens.” Take Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s own mother as an example. When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was young she committed killing acts very seriously and often fell. Luckily, however, she has a son who practices Buddhism and is able to bask in the shade of the good fortune her son accumulates. Thus, although she is eighty-eight years old now, her bones are still quite strong. If any of you have family members living in a coma, that is actually your own problem; you must repent that the good fortune from your Buddhist practice cannot give shade to them.

If you do not make the decision to repent, if you do not develop a respectful mind toward the Three Jewels, if you do not believe in cause in effect, then decades of your lives will flash by in the blink of an eye while you muddle through like this day after day, constantly shortening your lives by killing karma. Then you will not have enough time in this lifetime to practice Buddhism so as to be liberated from reincarnation. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performs the Amitayus Dharma for you not to extend your longevity, but rather to help you to recover the life span that originally belonged to you but which was shortened because of the evil karma you have created. The extra longevity is not given for your enjoyment; it is given so that you have enough time to practice.

In the Dharma texts, it is mentioned that performing the Amitayus Dharma can prevent you from suffering an untimely death. During last week’s puja Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performed the Dharma of Dorje Phurba, and taught that people have yearly conflict, monthly conflict, daily conflict, and hourly conflict; if you meet with one of these, you are gone. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once rescued a disciple who had fallen into a coma due to a cerebral hemorrhage; he had met with one of the above mentioned conflicts. When that disciple succumbed to illness, he was not at the end of his life span yet, but he met with a yearly conflict. While he was in a coma he heard Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche call him to come down, and so he came down. Actually, by that time he had already begun to die; if he had not followed the guru’s instruction to come down, he really would have gone. In normal times he had loved photography; he would innocently follow Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche around, taking photos for the guru. He was often scolded, and grew accustomed to being scolded. And so when he succumbed and fell into a coma, as soon as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche called for him to come down, he immediately did as he was told and came down, and this is what saved his life. Tibetan Buddhism emphasizes that one must follow the guru’s teachings and act accordingly. When he heard Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s voice, if that male disciple had aroused other thoughts, had any hesitation whatsoever, or even paused to think, “Why is the guru calling me?”, then there would have been no way to save his life. This illustrates how vital it usually is to do as the guru says. At your time of death, your karmic creditors will come to you in the guise of your family members and close friends. They will want to take you with them. If you follow, you will fall into the Three Evil Realms. However, although your karmic creditors can disguise themselves as family members and close friends, they are not able to transform their appearances to look like the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas or the guru. This is why you must cultivate the habit of obedience while you are alive; it can be of great use at your time of death.

When the guru transmits the Dharma, you must receive it with a pure mind. No matter what his fruition level is, the guru is either an ordained practitioner or a lay practitioner. As long as the guru transmits the Dharma with a pure mind, it will be beneficial to you. A practitioner who acts in accordance with the Dharma is not after gains and profits; he will not hold a puja as an excuse to earn money, because if he is practicing in accordance with the Dharma and has enough good fortune, he does not need to fabricate excuses to charge a fee. He would be able hold pujas naturally, because he obtains supports from the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, the Dharma protectors, and their retinue. As far as the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center is concerned, it has never honored its main donors, nor does it charge fees to attendees for lighting lamps during the puja. The money you donate to the Buddhist Center is just enough for all the expenses, and nothing extra is collected. Every year, the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center holds two Grand Pujas which are supported by the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center members. These are specific funds for specific uses, and you are not obligated to pay any other fees for any reason. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche lets you participate in the pujas without charging any entry fee whatsoever. Take today’s Amitayus Puja, there are 1300 people in attendance. If each person were charged 5000 yuan, that would be 6.5 million. But has anyone approached you for fees since you got here today? Not at all! So, if a guru transmits the Dharma neither for fame nor fortune, and yet you still are feeling suspicious, then you truly do need to repent. Because your arousing such an evil thought has to do with your own haughtiness and arrogance, and will immediately cause obstacles to your Buddhist practice.

The Dharma texts mention that performing the Amitayus Dharma can help replenish the four great elements of earth, wind, water, and fire. When your earth, wind, water, and fire become imbalanced, you will fall ill. The Buddha’s words are universal truths; the Dharma Buddha imparts is the result of seeing the suffering of sentient beings. Everything must be done in a proper way, and this includes practicing Buddhism. Buddha does not believe ascetic practice is a way to leave all suffering behind. This is why the Buddha left the place in which He practiced asceticism for six years and accepted a shepherdess’s offering of goat’s milk in order to regain His strength; after that the Buddha attained Buddhahood. Those who learn Buddhism must be diligent in their practice, but that does not mean to practice themselves to death; they must listen to the guru and do as the guru teaches step by step, and do their utmost in line with their own causal conditions, but if they do not have good fortune they must not force it. We are humans, after all; we still must live as humans do. Not everything can be done just because you think of doing it; if you force yourself to do something for which you do not yet have the causal condition, as some people seek to attain Buddhahood, then you will quite easily run into problems.

In 2007, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche followed the instruction of His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang to perform a retreat on the holy mountain of Lapchi, a peak in Nepal that is more than four thousand meters tall. His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang prepared for three or four years before allowing Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to perform this retreat.  His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang kept observing Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to determine whether or not Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had earned the qualification to perform this retreat. Moreover, His Holiness was waiting for the causal condition to be ready and events to play out naturally. If the four great elements of earth, wind, water, and fire all balanced within one’s body, then that person’s worries will naturally subside and the body will be relatively healthy. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once saw with his own eyes a disciple of Tenzin Nyima Rinpoche who, due to much meditative practice, no longer needed to eat or drink. Even so, he still needed to breathe. Even if we practice to the point of not needing to eat, we still definitely must breathe. Having desire is a human instinct, but one should not overdo it. These requirements are there to allow the karmic body to be able to produce the function of benefiting sentient beings, so one must act in accordance with causal condition and not be scrambled.

If you have good fortune, you will naturally obtain wealth and property; if you do not have good fortune, then do not insist on it. You must do what you should do within the scope of your own abilities; do not look at a person who has a house and then, in an effort to be the same as that person, think of a way to force your spouse to buy a house for you even though you clearly have no way of doing so. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is not opposed to your buying houses per se , but if you are unable to buy one, then there is nothing wrong with renting. If, however, you absolutely insist on purchasing a house, there will naturally be many consequences. Buddhism and traditional Chinese medicine both speak of anastomosis , and for people who have trouble focusing their thoughts or who have many greedy thoughts, this means they will have a lower level of water element in their bodies. This is what traditional Chinese medicine refers to as having low kidney water. They will have endocrine disorders, weak kidneys, and their bodies will become ill. For people who are quick to anger, their fire element will run out of control. If their fire element flourishes, then their water element decreases, and their wind element will decrease as well which can cause the heart to be susceptible to illness.

Do not spend all day watching gossip programs on TV on the one hand while cursing your spouse on the other. Things which would not originally have happened can happen, as your curses become real after a while, and people who do so may develop senile dementia. These sorts of TV programs are created to drive up the network’s ratings; you must not start thinking you yourselves are characters within the show. You should not think women are all pitiful or that men are all gruff and bad; those stereotypes can often be reversed, for in modern society the roles of men and women have changed. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has a female disciple who used to beat her husband, and beat him quite fiercely. Her husband was a man who had quite a high position in society. Everyone’s causal condition is different; it is very difficult to judge who is right and who is wrong. You all must not be mesmerized by the television.

For people practicing Buddhism, their four elements will tend to be in relative balance. All of the precepts taught by the Buddha are taught with this goal in mind. People who are quick to anger risk the possibility of descending into the fiery hell; people who often feel hatred toward other people experience a burning sensation in the pit of their stomach. This is because they have grown accustomed to fire and heat, and have planted within themselves the seed of “descending into the fiery hell.” People who are exceptionally greedy risk the possibility of descending into the icy hell. If you see something you like, you inhale deeply, right? That air is relatively cold, and when you breathe it in, it goes into your lungs. That is a symbol of descending into the icy hell. A person who insists on her husband buying her a house could descend into the icy hell as well. Haven’t you thought about all the debt you might be in after buying a house?

Do not think that owning a house will necessarily give you a sense of security. In fact, the house does not belong to you at all. If you don’t believe me, try not paying any mortgage for six months. Will the house still be yours after that? The house is nothing more than a place the government and bank have lent you to live in. It is exactly because there are so many people with this idea of “wanting to own a house” that the banks keep needing to hire employees. Do not be a slave to houses. If you are able to buy a house, that is great, of course; but if you are not able to, but still want to just because other people have one, then you should reconsider. It is not that people who practice Buddhism cannot do anything or cannot want anything; it is that you must not have attachments, and knowing that everything is impermanent, you must live according to the rising and ceasing of causal conditions. Do not be greedy. You cannot help but feel moved when you see a beautiful person, but you must refrain from wanting to possess that person; instead, think of it in terms of learning to appreciate what you see. If something is yours, then it will come to the ends of the earth in search of you; if it is not yours, then trying to force it to be by your side will cause you problems.

Today you participated in the Amitayus Puja. If you make a connection with Amitayus in this lifetime, then in the future your fruition level in the Pure Land will be higher. But this will only be useful if you keep the precepts, sever your connection to everything that is evil or wicked, and make sure everything you do is a good deed. All Dharmas are empty in nature. This means that everything arises and ceases according to conditions. After the Dharma is performed, the practitioner would let go of it and would not attach himself to it. You must not think that since the Dharma is very powerful then it will definitely bring power to you, and it gives you free reign to act however you want after the puja is finished. The Amitayus Dharma is performed in order to help you recover a little bit of the longevity that you originally deserved to have; the longevity that was lessened because of your past evil acts. I will remind you all again that this gift of longevity is not given so that you might enjoy it and have a better life; it is given so that you may have enough time to learn Buddhism. Therefore, you must not think that just because you participated in today’s puja you will necessarily live until you are two hundred years old, unless you have practiced enough.

As for those believers who attended today’s Amitayus Puja and listened to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teachings, yet who still end up eating meat during the New Year, that is like “if one knowingly commits transgressions, one’s offense doubles.” Just imagine a thief; if he is caught, he will face punishment. On the other hand, if a policeman were to steal things, then his punishment would certainly be much more severe, because he was so well-acquainted with the law yet broke it anyway. In a little while, when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is performing the Dharma, you all must listen with a pure mind; do not just think about yourselves. The Dharma can only help you if you broaden your mind. This was not something invented by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche; when practicing Buddhism you must have a pure mind in order to receive the Dharma, or else it will be of no use.

Next was the mandala offering ritual. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche teaches that there is no mandala offering ritual in Exoteric Buddhism; however, in Tibetan Buddhism, this offering is always made prior to the puja. Why is the ritual of mandala offering performed? Because fearing that sentient beings do not have sufficient good fortune, the presiding guru represents all the Buddhas in the ten directions and the three times by accepting offerings from sentient beings and offering all the best offerings to all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas at Mt. Sumeru and the four dvipas. Having made these offerings will allow sentient beings to have good fortune to learn this Tantra; otherwise the sentient beings will not have enough good fortune and will not be able to benefit from the Dharma. While performing the Dharma, the presiding guru must wear a Dharma hat to represent the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and the lineage gurus to accept the sentient beings’ offerings.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began to perform the Amitayus Dharma, and then continued to teach after performing the Dharma for a while.  Some of what was performed cannot be explained, because it contained the Tantra. The later ritual included an offering to those sentient beings outside that you cannot see and that cannot come inside to participate in the puja, so that they would not interfere with the puja. After the offering was finished, a prayer was raised to Shakyamuni Buddha, the Dharma protectors, and their retinue to please them. The significance of an offering has nothing to do with the amount of money it contains; in fact, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have everything, and do not need our offerings. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas accept offerings from sentient beings in order to help sentient beings accumulate good fortune. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are compassionate; they know that sentient beings do not have many good fortune. They give them a chance to give offerings so that the sentient beings’ good fortune will increase; we obtain huge good fortune from giving offerings to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and doing so can eliminate all negative causal conditions that hinder our Buddhist practice.

Next, after performing the Dharma, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led all the attendees in a chant of the Amitayus antra for a long time. After that, the guru performed the Tsok ritual to allow all the attendees to have the causal condition and good fortune to enjoy offering food together with the guru and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued to teach that the Dharma texts mention that performing the Amitayus Dharma can eliminate all obstacles and negative causal conditions, allowing you to not suffer an untimely death, avoid the Eight Catastrophes, free yourself from the Sixteen Disasters, be without evil causes and negative causal conditions, increase your longevity and wealth, and remove all obstacles to learning Buddhism. All of this is in order to achieve Buddhahood. Performing the Amitayus Dharma can help you free yourselves from disasters; this is not for your enjoyment, but rather to make you able to eliminate the obstacles preventing you from learning Buddhism. Being without evil causes makes you not have any opportunity to create evil causes. Evil causes do not simply include friends who tell you to take drugs or do bad things. What you should still be careful about and guard against, and be afraid of, are those that appear good for you. At first they make everything go your way, but after a while they will advise you that you do not need to be so strict when practicing Buddhism; they will encourage you to take it easy in terms of your Buddhist practice. They will tell you things in an effort to make you liable to relax, such as, “You can practice again in the next life.” Thus, evil causes are all the things that will make us become unable to be liberated from reincarnation.

When learning Buddhism we must be determined within ourselves; otherwise, even if the Buddha helps us ward off evil karma, you still will rush over and embrace bad karma and not let go. There is no such thing as a “human-only world of Buddhism.” In society there are those who say, “I’ll come back in the next life as a member of the such-and-such organization.” But you will not necessarily be reborn immediately after you pass away; causal conditions are not set. If you were not to come back until a few centuries later, that organization might not exist anymore; whom would you look for? Furthermore, if you have not attained the fruition of a Bodhisattva in this lifetime, and have not liberated yourself from the cycle of life and death, then in the next life you will certainly return to this world at the mercy of your karma. It is impossible to return to fulfil your aspirations; your fate will be decided by your karma. If you haven’t even attained the fruition level of a Bodhisattva, then there’s no point in even talking about attaining Buddhahood. At the very least you must vow to practice in the Pure Land after passing away, and not remain any longer in the sea of suffering of reincarnation, because as long as you have not left reincarnation, you will continue to be affected by karma. In His later years, Shakyamuni Buddha introduced the Pure Land Sect. This was done to help and teach sentient beings to at least vow to be reborn in the Pure Land that they might continue cultivating themselves. You must not make unrealistic vows, or vow that in the next life you will become an abbot in some temple, because if you are not careful you might choose the wrong door while being reborn and instead might come back as an insect in that temple’s abbot seat. Thus, you must not make reckless vows; it is enough to vow that you will go to the Pure Land after you pass away. This is also whence Shakyamuni Buddha introduced Amitabha Buddha.

You all must clearly understand the purpose of learning Buddhism. Practicing Buddhism is not simply refraining from committing evil acts. After learning Buddhism, you will have a natural ability to differentiate between good and evil. Every sutra teaches that we must liberate ourselves from life and death, but what you do in this life also decides what happens to you in the next life.

Living in Taiwan, although we have many opportunities to come in contact with evil causes, we can choose for ourselves not to do them. If we arouse a covetous thought, this will produce an evil cause. For example, a lot of people like to go to “all you can eat” restaurants and eat until they vomit. Such action could make you descent into the Hungry Ghost Realm. There are also those who obviously have eaten their fill yet run to the bathroom and intentionally force themselves to vomit. Afterward, they came back out and keep on eating. Restaurants have to pay for the ingredients they cook; forcing yourself to eat until you puke is being greedy, and that risks sending you down into the Hungry Ghost Realm.

Why would Amitayus help you increase your wealth? It is not so that you can buy a house or anything, but rather so that you can maintain a calm and stable life, because practicing Buddhism requires resources, too. Don’t think that making an offering means dropping a hundred, a thousand, or ten thousand yuan while participating in the puja. A true offering does not depend on its monetary value; a true offering is when you have made a firm resolution to give up everything. Do not think that you will make money after participating in the puja, or rush out and buy a house because you plan on having money; this is not a good attitude. The Dharma texts mention the various benefits of performing the Dharma. The purpose of accumulating good fortune is to be able to attain Buddhahood in the future. In the Dharma texts there are also appeals to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to give blessings to help us do good and stop doing evil, and implore the yidam to give us blessings and never leave us. The presiding guru represented sentient beings, and with Shakyamuni Buddha as the yidam, appealed to the Buddha to bless everyone until they all attain Buddhahood. This is a bit like being rascally shameless toward the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and praying that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas can continue to be the sentient beings’ yidam, and bless everyone that they might eliminate the obstacles to learning Buddhism all the way until they attain Buddhahood.

While performing the Dharma, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche wore a Dharma hat, carried a five-colored flag with which to bless the attendees, and stated that what was just performed were the four great elements of which everyone lacks: earth, wind, water, and fire. By way of self-blessing, the practitioner shared the merits of the yidam and the practitioner himself with the attendees.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led the recitation of the dedication prayer in the Dharma texts, and bestowed teachings upon everyone. Nothing that the Dharma texts say about dedication mentions that dedication must be given to a specific object; instead, the merits are dedicated so that oneself and sentient beings may attain Buddhahood in the future. In society it has become popular to recite the Great Compassion Mantra a lot and pray that it will change your husband’s mind so that he will not keep you from coming to learn Buddhism, or hope that this can cause his mistress to leave. You absolutely must not mimic this non-Buddhist behavior. Reciting the Great Compassion Mantra is not supposed to be done with a specific object in mind; the Great Compassion Mantra is the Buddha’s heart mantra. He would not anger your husband in order to help you participate in the puja. The Buddha is very compassionate; none of the Buddhas’ names should be used to curse other people. It is meant as an incantation for yourself; a mantra to rid yourself of ignorance. We have harmed sentient beings out of ignorance; we are chanting a mantra so that we can change our ways through practice, but we are not asking others to act according to our standards. So-called karmic creditors are our own family members. When someone is hindering you from practicing Buddhism, it is because in the past you hindered someone from practicing Buddhism yourself; this is the only reason someone is hindering you from practicing Buddhism now. You yourself must repent; you must never again recite mantras dedicated to your husband, children. You must broaden the scope; do not just dedicate the merits of chanting mantras to yourself, your family members, Taiwan, the Earth, or even the void.

A lot of people go all around praying and worshiping as soon as something bad happens to them, hoping this will alleviate their problems or make them go away. Only the Buddha is perfect and totally without shortcomings. You should not ask for things to change immediately. Good fortune is like a circle: if one piece bulges outward, another piece will necessarily become smaller. You will not obtain everything just because you prayed for it. If something were fixed because you prayed about it, then perhaps something else might happen; if you have everything perfect, then you would already have attained Buddhahood. If you have not yet attained the fruition of a Bodhisattva, then naturally the fortune you can enjoy in this life is set. Unless you are like Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche who has already had achieved accomplishments from practicing. Only by benefiting sentient beings can you increase your good fortune in this lifetime.

The purpose of the Amitayus Dharma performed today was to help sentient beings attain Buddhahood as quickly as possible, and dedicated to other sentient beings so that they would also have the causal condition to attain Buddhahood, extend their longevity, and help restore some of the longevity that all living beings have lost due to having committed evil acts in the world, and so that they would have enough time to practice Buddhism and be liberated from reincarnation. What society calls “robbing wealth” or “robbing longevity,” including praying to the ghosts and spirits or taking advantage of Buddhism to make a buck, all of this will shorten your lifespan. For example, if you do something the Buddha did not teach but you pretend it is something the Buddha said, and then use this as a justification for you to make someone satisfy your desires, this, too, will shorten your life span.

The Ratnakuta Sutra mentions that people or disciples of the Buddha who promote Buddhism may not sweet-talk believers or distort Buddhism for the purpose of fame and wealth; such behavior is tantamount to slander against the Buddha. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche believes in causal condition, in the conditions of sentient beings, in the Buddha’s condition; the guru would not sweet-talk you, but he always acts according to the teachings of the guru and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. If you hope for other people’s flattery, by all means you can go someplace else. If you go there, they will be very happy, and will not require you to be a vegetarian; nor will you need to take any more strict teachings from the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center. Still, no matter how strict Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has been, the guru was not able to drive you away; try as he might, but there are still so many people. If you are not willing to listen to the Dharma and practice according to its teachings, if you still eat meat during the New Year even after listening to the guru’s teachings, then do not come back. So-called “benefiting oneself and others” is hoping that in the future, after practicing and attaining Buddhahood, you will have the opportunity to help all sentient beings to also attain Buddhahood. Buddhist practitioners do not attain Buddhahood for the sake of attaining Buddhahood. They aspire to attain Buddhahood so that they can help sentient beings attain Buddhahood.

At the last puja, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche taught that any change in the universe will affect the Earth as well. For example, if solar flares occur, they will affect the Earth; if the moon gets too close, the tides will change, and lead to many changes across Buddhas’ lands. Every Buddha’s Buddhaland contains sentient beings; it is not only the Earth that is home to sentient beings. Any little change in the universe has an an impact on us living on Earth. Some of these are things which the eye cannot see; even so, they are constantly affecting us. Nowadays medicine has proved that our stomach and intestines contain many beneficial and harmful bacteria. All of the bacteria in our stomachs are sentient beings, too. When your thoughts are good, the harmful bacteria will turn into beneficial bacteria. If they are healthy, then naturally you will be healthy, too. Everything is the result of your own thoughts. If you have evil thoughts, then even beneficial bacteria will change into harmful bacteria.

Today you had the causal condition to participate in the Tantra Puja. This was because of your good fortune accumulated over this and past lifetimes; you should make a firm resolution to stop doing evil and do only good. Today Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performed this Dharma for everyone because the guru was afraid that evil karma committed in this lifetime might shorten your potential lifespan and make you suffer an untimely death. Ever since Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began performing this Dharma in 1997, not a single disciple has died from an accident. But nothing can be done about someone who passes away due to illness. As you can see, this Dharma truly can benefit sentient beings. You all should make a firm resolution to mend your ways.

Do not think that Shakyamuni Buddha did not transmit Tantra; Exoteric Buddhism does indeed include Tantra, and all of the sutras mention Tantras. The Ten Small Mantras, for example. Greetings and mudra are in fact Tantras. You can go and ask about their meaning from Dharma promoters with whom you might come in contact, and see if they know or not. Do you know why the greeting’s hand positioning is how it is? Why does it point to the brow, and not to the mouth? When meditating, why are your hands, while holding the mudra position, placed over the navel rather than the heart? Is it to keep your hands from getting sore? of course not. All of this is related to Tantra; if you have not learned Tantra, you would not understand. When teaching the Dharma, only the Exoteric Buddhism parts are spoken publicly. Exoteric Buddhism involves theories, which are common teachings to all; Tantras are the uncommon teachings. If you have not practiced to that level, you would not understand what you heard; it would be like an elementary school student wanting to know the details of a PhD’s research: they would be incomprehensible to her. A Tantra is not something that is mysterious or cannot be made public; it is simply that the listeners have not yet achieved that level of comprehension, and so they cannot be taught.

There is mention in the sutras of the Sixteen Visualizations of the Pure Land. It was transmitted by Shakyamuni Buddha to His aunt, and was a Tantra. The Sixteen Visualizations of the Pure Land is no longer transmitted, because Shakyamuni Buddha transmitted them to His aunt but His aunt did not pass them on to anyone else. So all that remains of the Sixteen Visualizations of the Pure Land is a name for each visualization, but the sutras do not mention how to visualize them. Why not? Because it is a Tantra. Tantras cannot be publicly spoken of; they are orally transmitted from guru to disciple, and in this way passed down from generation to generation. They are not written in the sutras. There are many parts to do with visualization that have not even been recorded in the Dharma texts.  If you think visualizing the sun involves looking directly at the sun or moon with your eyes, then you would be lucky indeed to get away without going blind. Actually, many clues in the sutras point to Tantras. The purpose of any Dharma is attaining Buddhahood to benefit sentient beings. Anything a guru who acts in accordance with the Dharma does is to benefit sentient beings, and such a guru would work continuously and selflessly to perform the Dharma.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestowed the Dharma teachings upon all attendees tirelessly, knowing full well that they needed to be blessed, and very compassionately fulfilled everyone’s wishes. The guru instructed the more than 1300 attendees to come up to the mandala one at a time and receive Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessing, along with longevity balls and longevity wine (made from fruit juice). During the blessing, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led the attendees in recitation of the Amitayus Mantra, and rang the bell continuously for thirty-five minutes. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued to chant the mantra, tirelessly, wholeheartedly blessing all believers and disciples who had participated in the puja, with a deep look of clarity and compassion in the guru’s eyes. The guru took pity on all sentient beings for their suffering, reserving no merits or good fortunes for himself, but bestowing them all on sentient beings. All attendees were extremely moved and voiced their gratitude to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in unison.

At the perfect completion of the puja, all attendees were grateful for His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s compassionate performance of the Dharma, benefiting all sentient beings, and stood with their palms together, paying homage to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche as the guru was descending the Dharma throne.

« Previous Puja TeachingsNext »

Updated on April 26, 2013