His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings – April 14, 2013

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

Before the puja began, a disciple expressed gratitude to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for having bestowing an opportunity upon her to praise the guru for saving her from committing suicide, and told of how on September 30th, 2012 during a Chod Puja, the guru had saved her. She also wanted to repent for having sought an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche on October 26th but having arrived late, and for how disrespectful this act of hers had been toward the guru.

In 2002, by way of an introduction from one of her Dharma brothers, she had had the opportunity and condition to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to implore help for her mother, who suffered from dementia. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed her to continually participate in the Chod Puja on behalf of her mother; under the guru’s blessings, her mother finished out the rest of her days smoothly. However, because the disciple had been unfilial by not promptly taking refuge and practicing Buddhism to help her mother accumulate good fortune, her mother had suffered greatly on her deathbed from intubation. Luckily right before her mother died, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had kindly bestowed a nectar pill upon her to protect her consciousness, and she was liberated during the Chod Puja later. Whereas the disciple’s cancer-ridden father, because his children’s foolish filial piety had led them to insist that he undergo a tracheostomy, surgery, and a series of radiation therapy sessions, had been subjected to an extreme amount of physical and psychological trauma. In the end he had chosen to end his life by jumping into the ocean. When she sought an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the disciple’s father had been dead for four years. However, thanks to the guru’s compassion, her father was liberated in the Chod Puja as well, allowing this greatly troubled family to gradually find peace.

Ever since 1988, she had been troubled by depression, and she had implored the deities for help, seen both Western and traditional Chinese doctors, and tried all kinds of treatments, but still she continued to have ups and downs and to suffer both physically and mentally. The thought of hanging herself randomly popped into her head, and from that moment on she was constantly on the search for the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. She believed there were Buddhas and Bodhisattvas; They knew about her darkness and helplessness, and They would tell her she could not kill herself! She painfully held on, all the while thinking that if one day she could no longer do so, she would just give up. She wondered to herself, where in the world were the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas? Thus it was in a state of great physical and psychological chaos that she sought an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in 2002. She could not even bring herself to implore the guru for help, nor did she realize that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas were right in front of her. She did not explain her predicament to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche at all; she merely implored the guru to help her mother! Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche looked at her and said, “Continue to attend the Chod Puja on your mother’s behalf.”

This compassionate and precious prescription continuously created opportunities and conditions, allowing their entire family—as well as the sentient beings they had harmed—to be helped and liberated by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche during the Chod Puja. In this way she wandered between life and death, following the Buddhist Center from its old location on Minsheng East Road to its location in Jian Kang Elementary School to its location in the Datong District Office, and finally to its new location. She participated in countless weekly and monthly Chod Pujas, and time after time Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche selflessly and compassionately liberated the sentient beings her family had harmed and appeased the hateful rage of her karmic creditors. The all-embracing power of a meritorious practitioner is so auspicious and unfathomable that with even just a few soft words he can deliver mighty blessings. At the same time, the guru’s compassionate prescription liberated the disciple’s mother who had suffered from dementia, her father who had killed himself, and saved her and her family as well. At some point over the course of her constant participation in the Chod Puja she unconsciously stopped taking her antidepressants, and her suicidal thoughts quietly disappeared.

In the past, when she was unable to eat or sleep and her body felt extremely uncomfortable, resentment would often well up within her heart: Why must I be tortured so?!? After taking refuge, she heard Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche teach that when practicing Buddhism one must give rise to repentance in one’s heart. She had never considered such a perspective before, but she believed the guru was leading her in the right direction. During the Chod Puja held last year on September 30th, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche again liberated the sentient beings she had harmed, allowing her to understand even more clearly what suffering she had caused for sentient beings. During the two weeks prior to the puja she had neither eaten nor slept well, and on the day before the Chod Puja, when Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was to hold an audience to receive believers, she thought she would go to the Buddhist Center and kneel in repentance at the guru’s side. While transferring at the rapid transit station something felt wrong, and suddenly she hesitated, wondering if it was too late to go to the Buddhist Center! In this way she entered and exited the rapid transit station three times, unsure of what to do. In the end she decided to go to the Buddhist Center to repent, which was the most sensible choice.

The power of the guru’s blessings is absolutely incredible. That evening when she returned home she was able to eat, and all of a sudden physically she felt a lot more comfortable. So she read through some entries from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s journal until she found a passage that explained that the reason the guru could perform the Phowa even from afar and while not next to the deceased was that he had broken free of the Four Forms. Only by breaking free of the Four Forms can one break the cycle of reincarnation: the form of self, the form of humanity, the form of beings, and the form of time. Breaking the form of time means no longer being subject to the limits of time and space! Upon reading this she abruptly broke down weeping, completely overcome by her emotions. As the profound sorrow doubled her over and racked her with tears, a voice rose from the pit of her stomach, saying, “Rinpoche can help us, Rinpoche can help us;” and “We want to go home; we want to go home.” Very clearly the words resounded over and over in the pit of her stomach. She covered her face and cried until the early hours of the morning, not knowing what to do, when suddenly she remembered that the auspicious Chod Puja was to be held the next day. Hurriedly she stood and lit some incense before the Dharma photo of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, and then kneeled before it. She implored that during the Chod Puja the guru would compassionately liberate all the sentient beings she had harmed in her accumulated past lives! After her prayer, she gradually began to calm down.

During the Chod Puja the next day she sat in the Buddhist Center, trembling with fear, knowing that she must concentrate hard on maintaining a respectful attitude toward the guru and a repentant attitude toward sentient beings so that her karmic creditors of past lives could be liberated by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche! She could do nothing to help; she was still very afraid. While harming sentient beings she had been so brave and fierce, yet when it was time to pay her debts she was so cowardly and weak! However, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche still liberated her with the utmost compassion. When the guru began blowing on the Dharma instrument fashioned from a human leg bone, she was able to endure the first couple of notes. But that day Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche blew and blew and blew, causing her ears to go rigid and a wave of resentment to pulse through her chest: What are you going to do? Without warning she cried out and stood up, holding her head tightly with both hands, and began to yell furiously, “Rinpoche, Rinpoche!” The sentient beings she had harmed were expressing the anger and resentment they had against her to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. However, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche mercifully appeased the sentient beings for the suffering she had caused them, and pacified the karmic creditors’ hatred toward her.

She was so frightened she felt weak in the knees. All along she had been so malicious and had harmed so many sentient beings in their intangibility. She had so much hatred in her heart that just because she did not kill someone did not mean she had not killed someone before. That day, had she not been at the Buddhist Center, had she not been fortunate enough to encounter His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, she would have killed herself in the instant that she stood and cried out. And that instant would have been enough to send her to the Three Evil Realms where she would continue to wander. As it happened, her hesitation beneath the tree had been caused by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s repeated efforts to protect her. The guru had been liberating her karmic creditors and sending them to a good place while at the same time helping her accumulate good fortune so that she could get closer and closer to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas until she had enough causes and conditions to learn the right Dharma! Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had given her so much protection, yet she, who had harmed so many sentient beings, still continued to be disrespectful toward the guru and the Three Jewels. As before, she did not truly feel repentant toward sentient beings; as before, she selfishly continued to put her own affairs first above all. She turned around and forgot about the kindness the guru had shown her as well as the suffering she had caused sentient beings!

On October 6th, the first weekend after the Chod Puja, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not receive believers, so she did not have the opportunity or condition to express her gratitude to the guru. On October 13th she should have gone on to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, but she chose to return to Kaohsiung to attend her cousin’s wedding. On her way back she succumbed to severe vomiting, and it truly served her right. On October 20th Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche journeyed to Ishinomaki, Japan to liberate sentient beings. On October 27th she signed up to seek an audience with the guru, but she ended up being tardy. She was so disrespectful toward the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and the guru that here it was a Saturday, yet she could neither enter the Buddhist Center nor seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Only as she stood outside the Buddhist Center, unable to enter, was she finally able to reflect in detail on her actions. For more than a decade she had been bestowed so much benevolence by the guru, yet she had been unable to engender respect for the benefactor who had saved her life, so she certainly had no way of respecting other sentient beings. She had been disrespectful toward Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and the Three Jewels because her haughty and arrogant habits were so severe. It turns out the reason the guru has taught us over and over that we must maintain a respectful attitude is so that we can overcome our bad habits of haughtiness and arrogance! These things cause us to fall into the path of the Heavens and make us have to continue to be reincarnated. She was not even able to empathize with the her parents’ suffering; she had wasted eight years before she was willing to practice Buddhism, causing them a lot of extra pain. To be sure, when it came to the suffering of other sentient beings she cared even less; nor did she feel any compassion for them. She had been given a human body, but in words and in deeds she was not different from an animal.

She was grateful that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was incessantly exhorting to rid the disciples of their bad habits of body, speech, and mind, thus allowing her the opportunity to amend her chronic habits of greed, hatred, and ignorance. This also made her understand clearly that she had created countless evil karma over the course of her lifetimes. For the sake of the precepts she had broken with body, speech, and mind throughout her accumulated lifetimes, and for all the sentient beings she had ever harmed, she prayed and repented to the guru and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. “I repent for all the evil karma I have created; I rejoice in all virtues and merits.” She repented to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, saying, “I was wrong.” She sincerely implored the guru for repentance and for him to forgive her for her ignorance. She implored the guru to liberate and guide her! She repeatedly thanked Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for saving her and the sentient beings, and prayed for auspiciousness to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche! Auspiciousness to the guru! Auspiciousness to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas!

Only because she believed in the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas was she saved, and her karmic creditors were liberated, too! A Buddha and Bodhisattva had truly manifested in front of her; His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was a Buddha and Bodhisattva, and she knew the guru would lead her and the sentient beings home! The sentient beings were delighted to no end; they all wanted to follow the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas closely so that they could leave the home of reincarnation! She prayed that the sentient beings in the Six Realms would listen to the right Dharma and that their causal conditions would soon ripen, and she prayed for His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to have good health and keep turning the Dharma wheel, for the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to maintain an eternal presence in the world, and that the Dharma would be propagated to benefit sentient beings throughout the void!

Afterward yet another disciple ascended the dais to praise His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and to share with everyone how she had come to take refuge.

She came into contact with Buddhism in 1994. In 1996 she took refuge in Exoteric Buddhism. At the time, because she had young children and a busy job, she only occasionally participated in penitential rites and Zen assemblies, though every day she chanted the Great Compassion Mantra. When she was practicing Exoteric Buddhism, it was exactly like the saying, “The Dharma master will bring one in through the Buddhist door; however, it is up to the individual to carry out the practice.” She had to decipher the sutras and guess at the meaning of their words all by herself; sometimes she hit a wall and had to stop reading. If she had any problems in her everyday life, she neither knew nor thought to use Buddhism to solve them. She practiced based on what she knew and the methods that felt right to her; how could she know that there is a proper sequential method to practice? In this way she muddled through, one confused day after another.

In 2009, she continued in her wish to help her ancestors be liberated. Although she would register by submitting a liberation recommendation tablet twice each year, at the Lunar New Year and during the month of July, she never stopped thinking about her ancestors’ liberation. Her second elder sister was a disciple at a well-known Buddhist temple in the north. She told her sister to remind her to participate in the Grand Dharma Ceremony of Water and Land to be held at a famous northern temple in 2010, but her sister forgot. It was not until 2011 that a Dharma brother from the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center gave her a copy of Happiness and Suffering and invited her to participate in that year’s Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness. Thrilled at having been given such a precious opportunity, she immediately signed up to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Before seeing the guru she read her copy of Happiness and Suffering two times from front to back.

The first time she sought an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, when she and the others entered the Buddhist Center, a Dharma brother shared something with them, reminding them that when seeking an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche they must maintain a respectful and repentant attitude. At the time she thought to herself that having a respectful attitude was certainly necessary, but why should she be repentant? After listening to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche she immediately implored to take refuge and to be allowed to participate in the regular Sunday pujas. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told her compassionately, “You are permitted to participate in the regular pujas. As for taking refuge, first go back and think on it awhile; then we’ll talk.” The guru also said, “I am very strict.” How could she give up just like that after having encountered a guru with such all-embracing power? The next week, she again sought an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, and was given the guru’s compassionate approval. And so she took refuge on September 11th, 2011.

Back when she was practicing Exoteric Buddhism, most of what she did involved reciting sutras, performing penitential rites, and meditating, and these only included the activities performed while at the temple. Afterward she was left to her own devices; she continued to muddle through the great sea of elation, anger, sorrow, happiness, life, and death, not knowing that she should repent. Only after taking refuge in His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did she learn the importance of repentance, that Buddhism must be used in one’s daily life, that she had to learn cultivating compassion, that good and evil karma are both hindrances, that she must not let her mind go lax, and that she must pay attention to every thought she has, watch it carefully, and maintain the proper view and the proper mindfulness.

She was grateful for His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teachings. Every time the guru admonished the disciples for what some of them thought were minor transgressions, she always felt horrified. As it turned out, all of these “minor” transgressions created “causes for descending into hell.” However, if she was the one being admonished, her immediate reaction would not be very good, either. She was grateful for His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s earnest teachings; they allowed her to understand that she must discipline her body, speech, and mind, and pay attention to every evil thought and unintentional word or deed.

She was grateful that His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teachings had allowed her to understand that her pain and turmoil had resulted from her ripening karmic retribution. After it had ripened, her suffering would subside, so she needed to wait patiently so that she could face it and allow her evil karma to be cleared one layer at a time. In the end she prayed for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to have good health and to keep turning the Dharma wheel, for the Dharma to maintain an eternal presence in the world, and that all sentient beings would be able to practice Buddhism without hindrance.

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

The Dharma performed today is the Amitayus Empowerment of Mother Buddha Machig Drubpejema. Exoteric Buddhism does not have empowerments; they only exist in Tantrism. Furthermore, a guru must attain the fruition level of a Rinpoche before he or she can bestow an empowerment. The meaning of “empowerment” had already been taught to everyone, so this would not be explained again today. For those of you who had not yet taken refuge, cultivated compassion, and cultivated a Bodhi mind, the only thing you could do today, even if you participated in the empowerment puja, is to form an affinity with the yidam Amitayus. Tantra can be divided into Kriyayoga (Action Tantras), Charyayoga (Performance Tantras), Yogatantra (Yoga Tantras), and Anuttarayogatantra (Highest Yoga Tantras). Today Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestows the Kriyayoga and Charyayoga Empowerments.

The Amitayus Buddha is a reward body of Amitabha. In Exoteric Buddhism they do not perform the Amitayus. The purpose of performing the Amitayus is not to make you live longer so that you may complete any so-called “unfinished business” that you might have. For example: establishing a family and career, buying a house, marrying and having children, watching your children grow up and get married, etc. The Amitayus helps practitioners who do not have enough time in this life to practice Buddhism by extending their longevity. This does not mean your life will necessarily be extended in this lifetime; it could be in your next life that you are given more time to practice Buddhism so that you can be liberated from life and death. You all think that you can learn Buddhism just by practicing it for a little while; on the contrary, learning Buddhism takes a very long time. Even Shakyamuni Buddha practiced for many lifetimes, yet here you are, always thinking you are doing a good job practicing and that you have already done enough!

If you have not cultivated compassion or a Bodhi mind, you will have problems while practicing Buddhism, just as one of the ordained disciples did. Similarly, yesterday, while seeking an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, a lay disciple complained that his career was going badly, he was divorced, his parents were sick, and so on, and he implored the guru to help him get past this difficult time. Many times Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has told everyone that he himself once went through such trials and tribulations as not having money to buy food, a failed marriage, and so on. Perhaps if the guru had not experienced these things while learning Buddhism he might have taken pity on the disciple; however, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche never once asked the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for help out of a tough spot. Rather, the guru accepted his cause and effect and karmic retribution completely. Though this disciple had taken refuge more than six years ago, he had not listened.

He said he had taken refuge with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for more than six years, and that he chanted the Six-Syllable Mantra three thousand times a day—by now he had chanted it 1.1 million times—yet still his life was not going smoothly. So, he wondered, why did things keep on happening to him? Despite this disciple’s more than six years spent in refuge, his face was not all that familiar to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Obviously in all that time this disciple had never participated in any volunteer work to do with the Buddhist Center, nor had he ever appeared before the guru. When things were going alright for him, he had made himself scarce; now when he had a problem he had come to ask the guru for help. During his time as a disciple he had come and gone to and from the Buddhist Center, married, and then later divorced; he had beaten his wife, and kept on beating her even at the police station. What sort of Buddhist was he?

You all think that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knows nothing of your deepest, darkest secrets. You only know you’re in the wrong once you’ve been caught out; if you don’t get caught out, you think you’ve been lucky and gotten away with it, and you continue to keep your secrets hidden. After having taken refuge for more than six years, this disciple thought he had done a fine job of hiding his faults. As it turned out, this time when he was in trouble and sought an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the guru knew the disciple had been practicing Buddhism with an incorrect attitude. Only then did the disciple recall his past acts. The Dharma protectors truly are amazing; this person was just using the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, the Buddhist Center, and the guru to his own end; he was not really practicing Buddhism. If your attitude while practicing Buddhism is incorrect, then one day things will come to a head; something will happen to make Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche aware of you. Even if you run far away to hide from the guru, Dharma Protector Achi will catch you out. This is exactly what happened to this disciple who had taken refuge for more than six years.

Many people think they can implore to get back years of their lives, but that is impossible. You can only get them back by practicing Buddhism; you should not think that you can get them back by imploring the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. If you do not have compassion or a Bodhi mind, or are not practicing Buddhism to benefit yourself and others so that they can liberated from life and death, then no matter how much you implore, it still will not work. Longevity is a type of fortune. People’s lives get shorter because they are constantly using up their good fortune. From the instant you are conceived, your life continues to get shorter; any time a pregnant mother eats meat, the longevity of the child in her womb is reduced. Many children born these days die prematurely from incurable disease or other reasons. Though it is claimed that medicine is getting more and more advanced, it should go to reason that children for whom many prenatal tests have been conducted should be born very healthy; so, why would there still be so many bizarre illnesses? It all has to do with the evil karma their parents have accumulated.

You should not think that every person who learns Buddhism is then good in body, speech, and mind; there are still many who speak evil things or have evil thoughts. If you do not listen and do not make offerings and give charity to accumulate good fortune, then whatever happens is karma that you yourself created; it is the result of your past acts. Don’t just implore the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to help you get past hard times; you don’t give rise to any sort of repentant mind with which you accept your own karma. Everyone is afraid of making mistakes or being admonished by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Some of you even frighten other people by saying that if they do certain things they will be reprimanded by the guru. This is all evil.

No matter how much I’ve said you do not listen; you have not put a stop to evil. That being the case, why would Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestow the Amitayus Empowerment today? The reason is that there are some disciples who really are sincere in their offerings. However, many people still do not listen or change. Don’t think you can fool Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche by doing just enough to appear to be practicing; sooner or later the Dharma protectors will inform the guru. As long as you can act according to the guru’s teachings by doing things such as being respectful toward the Three Jewels and surrendering yourselves completely to the guru, then today’s bestowment of the empowerment will definitely be of use to you. The point is not to make your worldly affairs go smoothly without a hitch, nor is it to satisfy your desires; rather, it can help you accumulate good fortune for practicing Buddhism.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche again reminded everyone that practicing Buddhism does not mean imploring for protection. Do not think that nothing will happen to you just because you have taken refuge, attend the pujas, recite mantras, and make prostrations; people whose only desire is for their lives to improve will not be able to learn Buddhism. Do not think that you can achieve these things by yourself, or that you have accomplished them simply by chanting the Six-Syllable Mantra three thousand times a day as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche taught. Doing that is not yet practicing Buddhism; it is merely a way for you to clear your minds of chaotic thoughts. There is a sequence that must be followed when practicing Buddhism; simply chanting mantras at home a million times does not mean you have mastered it. There are those who say that they have chanted so many times that now they very rarely quarrel with their family members; of course this is true, for if you are chanting mantras you won’t have time for fights! You think this has something to do with how awesome you are or how many times you have chanted a mantra? Furthermore, since ordinarily you do not listen, then why are you so obedient to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche on this particular subject? The guru taught that you should chant this mantra at least three thousand times a day; some of you count to three thousand and then stop, saying that this was what the guru told you to do. Three thousand is the bare minimum; what harm would it do you to chant it more than that? It is no wonder that sentient beings in the Age of Degenerate Dharma are so difficult to liberate or help.

Buddhism cannot be “learned” just by practicing it for five or six years. In ancient times, too, people said that it would take a lifetime to learn Buddhism. If you do not live long enough, then even if you make a vow you still will not be able to fulfill it. In Exoteric Buddhism, the way one practices is to cultivate one’s nature, not one’s body; emphasis is place on practice that involves the mind, not the body. In Tantrism, both the mind and the body must be cultivated. This is because in Tantrism it is believed that the body is a Dharma vessel; only if one’s body is healthy can one carry out the practice. Furthermore, people whose bodies are unhealthy are relatively unstable emotionally. You should know that the reason you have been able to enjoy good health since taking refuge in Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is that by helping you to become emotionally stable, you are then able to focus and listen to the Dharma and be diligent in your practice. This is why the yidam Amitayus is performed in Tantrism. Amitabha is also called “The Buddha of Immeasurable Life.” The Amitayus is Amitabha’s Sambhogakaya ( reward body); if you master the cultivation of Amitayus, you will certainly be able to achieve attainment in the cultivation of Amitabha, and you will definitely be able to be reborn in the Pure Land. The purpose of practicing the Amitayus is to allow us to practice Buddhism longer; in addition, it can help us by making our bodies healthy. Doing evil is what causes your lifespan to decrease; anything you do, say, or think causes you to drain your good fortune. These days doctors already know, too, that people who do many evil deeds and eat a lot of meat are relatively susceptible to cancer. People who like to kill living beings, eat meat, and eat fish will have shorter lives as well. As is stated in the sutras, every bite of meat you take you must pay back in kind.

The empowerment bestowed upon you today represents an authorization, allowing you to be qualified to begin learning this Dharma. However, this Dharma method of empowerment Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestowed upon you today is not generally transmitted; only a few disciples might be picked for oral transmission. If you do not listen, you are not qualified to learn it; if you are like the disciple who had taken refuge for more than six years yet still would not listen, and are just practicing Buddhism in order to enjoy a better life, then Dharma Protector Achi will certainly drive you away for even entertaining such thoughts. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche mentioned the comings and goings and marriage issues of that disciple while he was taking refuge not because the guru was opposed to his actions; the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center is a place to practice Buddhism, so if you want to come to learn Buddhism, you should practice as hard as you can. Some disciples at the Buddhist Center have personal relationships with one another, but Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would not mind your business. Do not, however, turn the Buddhist Center into a pandemonium! If you really desire a relationship with one another, then by all means, get married immediately. If you are not planning on getting married, then you should not come here pretending to learn Buddhism when in fact you are just trying to find a relationship. When you get into strife, do not come seeking Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. If you do wish to marry, then you should take time to understand your partner, and not simply hope that your partner understands you.

After today’s empowerment you will be able to accumulate good fortune, too. If you squander your accumulated good fortune on worldly matters, it will be drained very quickly. If, on the other hand, you apply it in your Buddhist practice, only then will it be truly useful: you will be able to add yours together with the great sea of merits of the guru and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Not only will this good fortune not be drained; it will continue to grow, rapidly.

There was once a believer who implored Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to help cure her mother of her illness. When the guru saw that her mother already did not have much of her lifespan left, he told this believer that her mother’s body was no longer usable, and that it would be better to help her mother accumulate good fortune than to allow her to live a bit longer in such a condition. She should transform her mother’s longevity into good fortune so that she could pass away smoothly and be granted a chance to obtain the Phowa and be liberated. This believer did not listen, however, and later sought out another Rinpoche to perform the Amitayus in order to extend her mother’s life. Her mother lived for another two or three months after that, but on her deathbed the wound from her tracheostomy became infected and covered with maggots, and they bit her to death.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche propagates the Dharma to benefit sentient beings, not for fame or fortune; no matter what Dharma method the guru teaches you to practice, it is to help you accumulate good fortune, not so that you can have a bit more time to take care of things in your lives. You should not think that people in vegetative states have no consciousness. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has great powers, and knows what people in comas are thinking. Do you think a living person who was bitten to death by maggots felt no pain? Where was the significance in extending her life like that? Many people believe that their duty as children is to make sure their parents live as long as possible, and that in doing so they are being filial. They do not know, however, that an erroneous filial piety can do harm to their parents, and will only bring them more suffering. This incident left a very profound impression on Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Usually it is beneficial to perform the Dharma; however, if there are not sufficient causes and conditions, or one insists on performing the Dharma in spite of going against them, the result would be counterproductive to the person involved. Now is the Age of Degenerate Dharma; practically no child comes to repay debts of gratitude; all are karmic creditors. Don’t think that your sons and daughters doing as they are told is a good thing; it isn’t necessarily.

Performing the Amitayus is not done to extend your lives, but rather to reduce the hindrances to your Buddhist practice. Every time you take a bite of meat or have an evil thought your life is shortened a little bit; people who do not know how to repay kindness will also have their lives shortened. When you’ve just about used up all of your good fortune, your evil karma will begin to generate force. Why do you fall ill or have accidents? It is because you do not have enough good fortune. Some people think sickness is caused from eating the wrong things or from catching viruses or germs. These are merely assisting conditions. The true cause of sickness is that you have used up just about all of your good fortune, and you do not have enough fortune to suppress the retribution from your evil karma, thus, many things will happen.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche berated a male disciple on the spot for often beating his son. He even beat him until his entire family fainted. What sort of man is that? He actually made his wife faint from watching him beat their son. Did he really not know that his wife was physically ill? Was he doing this to vent his stress? That he still had such a terrible temper even after having taken refuge for so long shows that he had not learned Buddhism at all. In the past this male disciple’s brother-in-law looked after him; now Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was looking after him. How much stress could he possibly have? If he liked to beat people so much, he should see what it felt like to be on the receiving end for a change. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said that you all think he knows nothing of the things you do in private, but the Dharma protectors are very formidable, and will certainly expose you. No matter what kind of problem or fault you have, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has a way to cure you of it. Maybe this will involve taking the pain and suffering you enjoy imposing on others, turning it around, and imposing it on you; perhaps it will involve taking away the thing you like most or are the most attached to, and so on.

The male disciple who came seeking audience yesterday liked to beat his wife, and this was wrong, too. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is not gossiping about him; rather, if a person practicing Buddhism does not break away from evil causes and evil conditions, then no matter how diligently he practicee it would be useless. Women have it harder than men; they are weaker, too. A man who lifts his hand against them is less than human! If Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche hears again of a male disciple who beats his children, wife, or girlfriend, the guru will kick him out. Ladies, you should not listen to these words from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and then go home and use them to threaten your partners by saying, “Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche says women are weaker than men, so you can’t bully me,” using this as a pretext to intimidate or even hit them. If any female disciple does such a thing, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will kick her out, too.

Men and women are inherently equal. What this means is, whether you are male or female your essential nature is the same. Being reborn as a man or a woman depends on one’s karma. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche does not allow men to bully women. This is not because domestic violence is illegal, nor does the guru mean for you to either be fearful or overly pampering toward your wife. Rather, it is because as a married man, you have the responsibility to face all of life’s pressures. And you must understand that women bear more hardships than men in life.

Your karma and causal conditions from past lives decide whether you would be born as a male or a female in this one. There are reasons which cause people to arrive in this lifetime as women; therefore they should control their emotions and greed, because women are greedier than men. You might not think this is the case, because out there it’s men that are doing all the robbing. But behind this sort there usually is a woman egging him on or saying things like, “Other people own houses; why can’t we?” Without someone egging him on, how could he possibly act? If she says it once, her man might not show any reaction; if she says it a second and a third time, then eventually the words will influence his decisions.

The sutras mention that women suffer more than men in general. At the very least men do not need to suffer a few days out of every month the way women do. They are spared many inconveniences, and they neither need to bear children nor suffer through menopause. This is why the Buddha taught that men should empathize with women. Men, you should not think that just because you married her you then have free reign to abuse her or take advantage of her. Men should not use women. In the past because of the Negotiable Instruments Act, many men asked their wives or looked for women to sign and issue negotiable instruments for them, so that if anything bad ever happened the women would be liable in their stead. Many women have gone to prison precisely for this reason; this is a terrible thing for men to do.

Today Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestowed the Amitayus Empowerment upon you all so that if one day in the future you give rise to the earnest intention to follow the Bodhi Path, you will have enough time to practice Buddhism. This morning Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche completed the preparations for the empowerment early, because a practitioner bestowing an empowerment must first empower himself before he can bestow the empowerment upon others. If any Rinpoche bestowing the empowerment has not mastered it or does not possess enough merits, then forcing the empowerment will do harm to the practitioner himself. After the guru bestows the empowerment, those who receive the empowerment are bound to the guru by the Samaya Commandments. During the empowerment the practitioner gives everyone the merits and good fortune he or she has cultivated. The Dharma texts mention that if a Rinpoche bestows empowerments frequently, then in order to continue benefiting sentient beings, he or she must replenish by going into retreats and accumulating more of his or her own merits and good fortune in order to continue to benefit sentient beings. As can be seen, empowerments are extremely hard to obtain.

You made an oath during the empowerment. If you break this oath, you will have broken the Samaya Commandments; if you do this, you cannot be liberated from life and death or attain Buddhahood. Because you are not qualified to receive Tantra, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will not transmit the Dharma method of this yidam to you. Therefore if you break the Samaya Commandments the consequences will not be as serious. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s bestowment of the Amitayus Empowerment upon you planted the seed in your minds for attaining Buddhahood in the future. You do not have enough time in this life to attain the fruition of Buddhahood. Nonetheless, after having received the Amitayus Empowerment today, the Amitayus will help you all to have the causal conditions to continue practicing Buddhism throughout your future lives, allowing you to continue practicing until you are liberated from life and death.

After having received the empowerment today, you must not commit any more evil acts; if you do, your karmic retribution will be severe. Receiving an empowerment means you have been given the authority to practice that yidam’s Dharma method. Furthermore, you have the opportunity to be liberated from life and death. Therefore anyone who does not possess sufficient good fortune cannot receive an empowerment. You all might often see some Tibetan Rinpoches come here to bestow empowerments, but this is because linguistic barriers make them unable to teach the Dharma over a long period of time in Taiwan. Although these Rinpoches bestow empowerments, they would not transmit the Dharma to believers; all they do is help them accumulate a little bit of good fortune. Once the believers have the right condition, they can learn that yidam’s Dharma method. These sorts of empowerments are categorized as empowerments of forming a connection. The empowerment that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestowed upon you all today is not that sort of empowerment.

After having received the Amitayus Empowerment today, it will be of great benefit to you in the future whenever you practice the Amitabha’s Dharma method. From now on, if you can listen to the guru’s teachings and act accordingly, then it is almost certain that you will be liberated in this lifetime. You will absolutely not descend into the Three Evil Realms, and there is a very good chance that you will be reborn in the Pure Land. The precondition for this is that you must no longer commit evil acts; you must make a break from all evil, only do good deeds, and give charity and make offerings to accumulate good fortune—and all of this you must do ceaselessly. Don’t think that you are blessed with good fortune just because you have participated in a lot of pujas and have made light offerings; good fortune comprises many things. Having a lot of money is not enough to bring you good fortune; true good fortune comes from having no hindrances to your practice of Buddhism, for only then can you be perfect and complete in this lifetime.

While transmitting the Dharma method of Avalokiteshvara, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once taught that it is stated in the Dharma texts that if a practitioner chants the Great Six-Syllable Mantra in accordance with the Dharma a million times, then he or she must be liberated in this lifetime, and that if he or she cannot be liberated then the Vajradhara was lying. Would the Vajradhara lie? Of course not. But then why won’t it work? Because taken in context, what was meant was that one must chant the mantra a million times while in retreat. Since you have not practiced it in accordance with the Dharma, the mantras you chant can only accumulate the good fortune of the Human and Heavenly Realms and allow you to have the causal condition to practice Buddhism in the next life; they cannot help you to be liberated from life and death.

The mind is very important. A Buddhist must cultivate a Bodhi mind and compassion. If one has not cultivated these two things, then sooner or later that person will encounter problems while practicing Buddhism. One of the ordained disciples who came out last time to share her story with everyone, for example, was in this exact predicament. She had taken refuge in Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche longer than any other ordained disciples; however, she had not truly listened to the guru’s teachings. She thought keeping the precepts was enough to avoid being scolded, and that as long as she was practicing each of the Dharma methods transmitted by the guru she would be fine. But if one’s attitude is incorrect, then sooner or later his or her true nature will be revealed. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had given these ordained disciples two opportunities, but both times while sharing her experiences, this particular ordained disciple had been unwilling to speak out for fear of offending somebody. It was obvious that she was very good at protecting herself, but she had not cultivated a Bodhi mind at all. She labored under the misapprehension that since she had already kept the precepts and practiced every Dharma the guru had transmitted, she was cultivating herself. She thought that she was being a very good Buddhist simply by not breaking the precepts. Even now, she is still very good at protecting herself; because of this it is apparent that she is not qualified to learn Tantra.

You often say you are afraid of making mistakes and of being scolded by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. This is the most evil kind of attitude; all you care about is protecting yourself. It is impossible for people like that to cultivate a Bodhi mind or compassion. If you do not listen to the guru’s teachings, then no matter how much you practice you’ll only be able to accumulate a little bit of good fortune of the Human and Heavenly Realms; this will not help you to be liberated from life and death. Some people might think Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has these ordained practitioners come out and speak to everyone because the guru has begun to attach importance to them, but they do not understand that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche uses many different methods to examine everyone.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche taught the most important aspect in Buddhist practice is one’s mindset. If one’s mindset is not right, then nothing is right. If you have not adjusted your mindset, then no matter how well you keep the precepts it is no use, because it cannot help you to be liberated from life and death in this lifetime! Keeping the precepts is not enough. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has kept the precepts very well in the past; if he hadn’t, his fingers would not look so pretty in this lifetime. Even so, the guru still was unable to be liberated from life and death, which is why he came back again in this lifetime. An ordained disciple should serve as a role model for lay disciples; if even the ordained disciples are doing a poor job practicing Buddhism, then how can Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continue to transmit the Dharma? Keeping the precepts is very important; Buddhists absolutely must keep the precepts, because doing so helps us abstain from all opportunities to commit evil acts. The next step after refraining from evil, however, is to cultivate compassion. After cultivating compassion comes the cultivation of a Bodhi mind. There is an order to these things.

There was a pair of brothers who had taken refuge in Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. A little while back the guru admonished them for not making offerings. They did not take the guru’s reproach seriously; they thought it would be okay to do it later. As a result, soon afterward their father passed away. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has mentioned before that making an offering does not simply mean giving money; giving rise to a repentant mind is also a kind of offering. While their father was still alive, the brothers had taken him once to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. When they implored the guru to perform the Phowa for their ailing father, the guru told them that even if he agreed to do as they asked, it did not mean their father, after passing away, would necessarily be able to find the guru to perform the Dharma for him. It would all depend on the causal conditions and good fortune of the deceased.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed the two brothers to come to the Buddhist Center and make grand prostrations, and taught them that children can accumulate good fortune for their parents. However, the brothers did not listen; still they did not give rise to a repentant attitude. As a result, their father passed away just a few days ago at three o’clock in the morning. How could they find Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche at such a late hour to perform the Phowa for their father? Unable to find the guru, there was nothing for it; their only recourse was to help their father be liberated during the Chod Puja. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had already helped their father go to the Heavenly Realm after passing away; what happened next would depend on what the two brothers did. They could continue to accumulate good fortune for their father in order to give him a chance to practice in the Heavenly Realm and thus be liberated from life and death.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche does not speak of money with you all, nor does the guru draw a single penny from the Buddhist Center. Nor have you made offerings to pay for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s living expenses. The Dharma cannot be bought with money; you could not barter for it even if you possessed all the treasures in the entire universe. If the guru really wanted your money, you would likely be broke by now. That being the case, you really should make a firm resolution to stop using your own modes of thinking when practicing Buddhism.

Next His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began to perform the Dharma and to bestow the Amitayus Empowerment. The guru led the attendees in the recitation of a prayer that included the Seven Branch Offering and the Samaya Commandments. “I take refuge until I attain enlightenment” is the precept taken when following the Bodhi Path. After a practitioner takes refuge in the guru, he or she must follow and rely on the guru through lifetime after lifetime until the practitioner attains Buddhahood, and during this time he or she must never break that precept. If you break the precept after receiving the oral transmission, it will be very difficult to overcome the great obstacle to being liberated from life and death.

After performing the Dharma awhile, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche taught everyone that next they must see the guru as no different from the Amitayus, and that the guru’s torma represented the Amitayus. The Dharma texts mention that performing this Dharma can replenish the essence of all earth, wind, water, fire, and air that is damaged, scattered, broken, bent, cracked, shaken, or stolen by demons. “Damaged” refers to longevity that is consumed as a result of evil acts; “scattered” and “broken” refer to accidents that cause untimely deaths; “cracked” and “shaken” refers to illness or bad health; “bent” refers to a life that is crooked from encountering many hindrances rather than straight and unimpeded. “Stolen by demons” refers to longevity that was stolen away by demons when you do such things as worship ghosts and deities in a temple. When you ask a ghost or a deity to do something for you, you must pay a price; that price could be that it steals away years of your life. Some people think by praying to the popular patrolling deities they can get something they want. This is also an incorrect concept.

The Dharma texts state that blessings from the guru, the yidam, and dakini can help everyone replenish his or her longevity, fortune, wealth, fate, body, authority, and chi. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche noted that even in the Dharma texts it is said that one must have blessings from the guru. This has nothing to do with how great the guru may or may not be; rather, it tells us that we absolutely cannot learn and practice Buddhism all by ourselves. We must rely on blessings from the guru and the yidam. All day long you think what you practice comes from yourself. This is arrogance and haughtiness; if it weren’t for the guru, it would be impossible for you to practice. What you see with your eyes may appear to be no more than a single guru, but the guru represents the blessings and teachings passed down through generations of lineage gurus. Next, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche blessed all attendees while holding the flag of five primary colors, and reminded them that they should sit up straight and give rise to a repentant mind.

During the ritual, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestowed the empowerment while holding the torma of the main yidam Amitayus and taught how to visualize the body empowerment. The guru explained to everyone that they could use this to rid their bodies of all evil karma, achieve the fruition of immortal longevity of the Amitayus, replenish any damaged blood and chi, purify their bodies, and become the body of the Amitayus. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche taught how to visualize the speech empowerment, and that everyone could use it to rid their speech of all evil karma and attain the fruition of the true essence of immortal Vidyadhara of the Amitayus. The guru then taught how to visualize the mind empowerment, and that everyone could use it to rid their minds of all evil karma and attain the fruition of the mind essence of immortal Vidyadhara of the Amitayus. “Immortal” does not mean that you will not pass away; rather, it means you can be liberated from life and death and go to the Pure Land where you will cease to be born and to die. In other words, you will neither live nor die, and will enter the Realm of Emptiness.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche went on to say that after you receive the empowerment, it can help you reduce and even eliminate the hindrances to your practice of Buddhism. If you have hindrances to practicing Buddhism in this lifetime, it is because you had hindered others in your past lifetimes. Usually if a person has a grateful attitude toward a lot of things, he or she will not experience any major problems. Furthermore, when a problem does arise, he or she can recognize and handle it with relative ease. Why must you be grateful to the guru? This is in order to train and nurture your grateful attitude so that you naturally can feel grateful toward people and situations you might encounter. If you do not even have any gratitude toward the guru who has transmitted the Dharma to you, then how can you possibly feel grateful toward anyone else?

Next Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led everyone in a recitation of the Auspicious Verses. Reciting these is the equivalent of making a vow; you must do what they say, and you cannot violate them. If you recite them yet do not follow through with actions, there definitely will be obstacles to your future practice of Buddhism. For the time being the guru did not tell everyone what the words of the Auspicious Verses meant; however, the guru explained that anyone who was afraid of not being able to follow through with the vow could refrain from reciting it. It was up to the attendees; they could either recite along with the guru or not.

Presently, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led the attendees in a recitation of the Auspicious Verses:

With the blessings of the yidam,
May I dedicate myself to attending and pleasing the guru;
May I make offerings of my body, speech, and mind to my honorable guru;
May I remain as your disciple lifetime after lifetime;
May I abide and serve my guru, never to be separated from you;
And please dispatch me at any time.

Afterward Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche went on to teach that in the Dharma text it says, “With the blessings of the yidam….” This part is very important. After receiving the empowerment you will act with the blessings of the guru and the yidam through lifetime after lifetime until you attain Buddhahood. So you finally understand that you can’t do without a guru; if you do not have the guru’s blessings, it is quite possible that you will not have the opportunity to practice Buddhism in the next life or another future lifetime. This is especially true if you do not achieve attainment in this lifetime; if this is the case you will have even greater need of the guru’s blessings in your future lifetimes. You think Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s demands are unusually strict. But really, have you thought about how the ancient Zen masters used to discipline their disciples? They were not above beating, scolding, and driving disciples away; all of these were teaching methods in Vajrayana Buddhism as well. Nowadays, in the Age of Degenerate Dharma, many people flatter and sweet-talk their believers, distorting the Dharma as they will. In fact, this has to do with market demands in Taiwan; many propagators of Buddhism are afraid of offending their believers. “Dedicate myself to attending and pleasing the guru” does not refer to the satisfaction of the guru’s desires; it means that only by practicing according to the guru’s teachings can one please and serve the guru. As your understanding of Buddhism progresses and as you cultivate a respectful attitude toward the Three Jewels, the guru will naturally be pleased. The ordained disciple that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche berated just now was not serving the guru; she was just protecting herself.

“Make offerings of my body, speech, and mind to my honorable guru” means what it says. The act of making offerings is very important; the guru is not talking about money here—making an offering means from the heart, and has nothing to do with a monetary amount. If you can make an offering with a repentant and respectful attitude, then even if the offering only involves a tiny bit of money it still is genuine. On the other hand, say you made an offering of millions of dollars, yet were not genuinely doing it from the heart: that offering would be useless. One time a person made an offering of an enormous amount of cash to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. However, this person’s heart was in the wrong place, so the guru refused it, and kept returning it over and over.

“May I remain as your disciple lifetime after lifetime; may I abide and serve my guru, never to be separated from you.” This means a Vajrayana guru’s relationship with his or her disciples lasts through lifetime after lifetime. This is different from the relationship that exists between the disciples and their gurus in Exoteric Buddhism. In Tibetan Buddhism, taking refuge means “I take refuge until I attain enlightenment;” that is, the disciple takes refuge with the guru through lifetime after lifetime until he or she attains Buddhahood, all the while abiding and serving the guru without separation. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche stated, “As long as you recited along just now, it counts; you will be the guru’s disciples for lifetime after lifetime.” All attendees were filled with joy, and in unison they expressed their gratitude to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The guru said that they did not need to express their thanks, as it was how the Dharma text was written and he could not do anything about it. But if you are not obedient, or are unwilling to practice according to what you are taught, then you will not be able to keep up—because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche sets a very quick pace.

How can one go about “abide and serve the guru without separation?” Just as His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang announced on DVD, “In the future, I will walk together along the path of Buddhism with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.” Prior to that, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had never once heard His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang say this; neither publicly nor privately. His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang said it directly on DVD. When a guru says publicly that he will walk the path of Buddhism together with his disciples, this means the disciple really can abide and serve the guru without separation. Why would His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang say such a thing? It was because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had done it; he had accomplished what a disciple should do. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche followed His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s instructions no matter what they were and no matter how difficult the task might be. A disciple does everything in his or her power to comply with the guru’s vows; only by letting go of his or her own ideas can a disciple remain with the guru without separation. Do not think that the fact that His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang said he would walk along the path of Buddhism together with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had anything to do with offerings made. It was said because His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang was very sure that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was already meritorious and had done what a disciple should do, and thus Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would not be separated from his guru in the future. “Future” here means walking together with the guru along the path of Buddhism through lifetime after lifetime.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche constantly cares about sentient beings. The guru would never harm you—”harm” meaning, allowing you to fall into the abyss of reincarnation; instead, he will never satisfy your insatiable desires and will definitely go against them. You always have your own ways of thinking; you’re perpetually worried about getting scolded by the guru. The guru would not harm you; if you are not even willing to listen to what the guru says, then of course you won’t listen to anyone else. Why do some people get in trouble at work? It is because they don’t listen. If they’re getting paid, they should listen to the boss; they should do whatever the boss says. People who ignore their superiors’ instructions and who often have their own opinions on things are bound to have problems. Disciples with such an attitude cannot remain disciples through lifetime after lifetime and will be separated from the guru, and such a separation will be absolute. Even if you recited these lines just now, if you do not want to practice Buddhism or do not practice in earnest then you’ve done no better than sing along as with the lyrics of a song. It will be useless to you, and in future lives you will not be able to find Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. For a disciple practicing according to the Dharma, these lines are very important and very helpful, because along the path toward Buddhism he or she will definitely need the guru’s guidance. What was taught today will definitely be helpful to you in your future practice of Buddhism.

Practicing Buddhism seems to be just a routine for you. For instance, if Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche were to tell you to chant the Great Six-Syllable Mantra at least three thousand times a day, each one of you would recite it exactly three thousand times a day. Someone might say, “That’s how everyone does it,” in which case you do it that way, too. You should know, however, that everyone’s causal conditions and cause and effect are different; it is not necessarily wise to copy what someone else does. Even when making offerings you tend to be calculating and make your offerings with a discriminating mind. If you have the wrong attitude while making an offering, then it doesn’t count. In the past Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has said that so long as your offering is made with the correct attitude, then even NT$10 is not too low; if your attitude is incorrect, then the guru will not accept your offering even if it’s to the tune of millions. Actually, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knows whether you have money or not just by looking at you. A little while ago the guru mentioned that disciple who said he’d gone bankrupt. He cried so miserably that afterward the Buddhist Center and the guru would no longer accept his financial support and offerings. There are others who have said they wanted to make offerings of their body, speech, and mind, but have they really done so? Or did they just say the words without backing them up? Have they truly put Buddhism into practice in their daily lives? Have they really used their body, speech, and mind to practice the Dharma? Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche supports the Order by paying for many things, but has not told you about all of them; words are useless compared to practical actions. If a disciple wants to be inseparable from the guru, then simply saying so means nothing; it is only useful if the guru recognizes that the disciple has actually accomplished it.

The Auspicious Verses say, “Please dispatch me at any time.” This does not mean that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche wants to send you on random errands. Whatever His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang asks of him, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche does, and does to the best of his abilities—this is what is meant by “please dispatch me at any time.” But in today’s society, how could Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche send you on errands at will? You might say the guru had gone mad, isn’t that so?

Yesterday a married couple came to seek audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The two of them had each taken refuge in Zen Buddhist centers in the northern and middle parts of the country for many years, but they had not eaten vegetarian. Some people propagating the Dharma do not teach their believers to stop eating meat; these “practitioners” are happy as long as their congregations are full. The sutras state that eating the flesh of sentient beings breaks the seed of compassion. Eating vegetarian can help us cultivate the seed of compassion; if you do not go vegetarian, it means you don’t even have this seed, so how could you get it to grow into compassion? Buddhism is nothing without compassion; the most you could do would be to accumulate a little bit of good fortune of the Human and Heavenly Realms, but it would not help to transform your karma. Stop trying to justify your actions by saying you can eat meat that has met the three conditions, or the five conditions, or the nine. If you were asked to eat that kind of meat you wouldn’t actually do it either. For example, one of those conditions is that if another animal has eaten it—a sheep on the side of the road, say, that has been dead for a couple of days—so, if another animal had already masticated that sheep’s corpse, would you dare eat it? How about your pets at home? Would you put their leftover food in your mouth? The reason people talk about the three conditions and so on is that in the past, ordained practitioners in certain environments were unable to cook food for themselves; they had to go out and beg for food. If they were unsuccessful they had to do what they could to survive; if there happened to be an animal corpse by the side of the road, they had no choice but to cut some meat off its corpse and get a few bites to fill their stomachs. But in today’s environment it is possible for everyone to go back to what the sutras say and become vegetarian.

Yesterday there was also a pregnant believer who came seeking an audience, hoping to obtain the guru’s blessings. But after being questioned, she revealed that she was not a vegetarian. She went on trying to explain that she was unable to remain vegetarian due to her mother-in-law. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche cut her off so that she would not create verbal karma. Why did the guru go ahead and bless her in spite of this? Bodhisattva Avolokiteshvara is particularly merciful toward pregnant women; all Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has to do is look at a pregnant woman and he goes all soft-hearted. And so the guru went ahead and bestowed the blessings upon her so that mother and unborn infant would both survive the birth. But since she would not do as the Dharma says and eat vegetarian, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had no control over what might happen to them afterward.

If you’re going to implore the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for help, then you really should do as They tell you to do. If you do not listen then mantras and sutras will be of no use no matter how many times you chant or recite. Blessings from the guru and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas can temporarily help you bypass any hindrances keeping you from practicing Buddhism, but it cannot make them disappear completely. If you do not listen, and instead continue to commit evil acts, then the blessings’ power will dissipate very quickly. It would be like you asking a favor of someone, and then you didn’t listen even though to what he or she said was helpful. That would be rather self-contradictory, wouldn’t it? Some people might tell you to take it easy and not be so strict when it comes to eating vegetarian. Do not forget, however, that Bodhisattva Samantabhadra once said that you should practice Buddhism with the same sense of urgency as you might feel when your eyebrow or hair has caught fire and you are desperately trying to put it out.

The karmic creditors of past lives are right in our homes; most children these days are here to take revenge and collect debts, and those who have come to express their gratitude and repay debts are rare indeed. Have you stopped to think how many good deeds you would have to have done in order to deserve one child who is filial? Even Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche does not dare hope for filial children, because the guru knows he did not do much good in his past lives. So stop expecting your children to be filial toward you. There were also some disciples who feared that they might be broke and came to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, hoping that the guru would take pity on them. But what they did not know was that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had been in their shoes before! The guru’s determination to practice Buddhism is different from yours; back when he was too broke to send his children to school, still the guru spent what money he could on offerings and charity. This was because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knew that if his children could not go to school, it was a result of their own lack of good fortune. And so, in order to accumulate more good fortune for them, the guru prioritized making offerings and giving charity.

The Dharma performed today will definitely be of benefit to you all in the future, but only if you fulfill your role as Buddhist disciples according to the Dharma. If you only do it superficially, and your mindset has not changed, then it will be useless. For example, as the ordained disciple mentioned a little while ago, she had taken refuge for many years, yet her mindset had not changed. She was a disciple to whom Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had transmitted methods of visualization, yet she still was far too adept at protecting herself; she did not wish to offend anyone. So she did not perform the tasks the guru instructed her to do. She would not say the words she needed to say; she continued to cling to her own ideas. How can someone like her serve the guru? How can the guru entrust tasks to her?

You might be thinking that since Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has supernatural powers, then shouldn’t he be able to read people’s minds? Why should he have to utilize all sorts of methods to test people? Indeed, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche does know what you are thinking, of course. However, if the guru did not allow your issues to come to a head, then you would not believe that you are that sort of person; the other reason is that your thoughts will change. Don’t think that just because a person is close to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche it means he is well cultivated in his practice. In the meantime, it is easier for the guru to examine more clearly someone who is at his side.

The content of the “Auspicious Verses” you just recited was Samaya. Your having received the empowerment and recited this vow today signifies the Samaya Commandments that now exist between you and the guru. You should now begin to act in accordance with this vow. In the future you absolutely must not commit evil acts, nor should you swear at people. Any curse you utter at another person represents an evil thought that has arisen in your mind, and this in turn has led you to commit an evil act. If you had received the empowerment without the oral transmission, the extent of the consequences from breaking the Samaya Commandments would be relatively slight. However, if a disciple who received the oral transmission were to break the Samaya Commandments, the consequences would be quite severe. This is not because the guru and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas would punish you; They absolutely wouldn’t. Rather, you would suffer from many severe hindrances to your future practice of Buddhism, and you would not be able to be liberated from life and death in this lifetime. Those who have many hindrances to their practice of Buddhism are certain to encounter many obstacles in their worldly matters as well.

As the puja was drawing to a close, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave special instructions for the ordained practitioners to distribute the longevity wine and longevity fruit to all the attendees, and stated that the longevity wine was made of fruit juice rather than alcohol. Why should you partake of these things? It has to do with Tantra, so no explanation will be given. But in short, it has definite advantages for you.

Upon perfect completion of the puja, all attendees stood and paid reverent homage as His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche descended from the Dharma throne. In unison they expressed their gratitude to the guru for having tirelessly bestowed the auspicious empowerment and teachings today. It happened to be the monsoon season, and while the puja was underway it had been pouring down rain outside, and there had been a thick fog. As soon as His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche presided over the perfect completion of the Amitayus Empowerment Puja, however, the rain stopped and the fog dispersed without a trace. As the brilliant sunlight pierced through the clouds, golden rays illuminated the Buddhist Center from all directions. The view was exceptionally auspicious. As His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche used the Dharma to benefit countless sentient beings and purify their layers of heavy karma, the guru’s awe-inspiring power was far-reaching, and all attendees sighed in praise as they bore witness to such an auspicious spectacle.

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Updated on June 22, 2013