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

Today marked the 796th Anniversary of the Drikung Kagyu Lord Jigten Sumgön’s Parinirvana. Under the direct guidance of His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche presided over the Grand Memorial Puja Commemorating the 796th Anniversary of Lord Jigten Sumgön of the Drikung Kagyu Order of Tibetan Buddhism at the National Taiwan University Sports Center. The Minister of the Interior and the Chairman of the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission each specially presented a centerpiece calligraphy scroll wishing the puja a perfect success.

This year’s Grand Puja was held under the blessings and protection of Lord Jigten Sumgön, the lineage gurus, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, and Dharma Protector Achi. With no media or posters used to advertise or publicize the event, the puja still had more than 5,300 attendees, including one Khenpo and three Lamas of the Drikung Kagyu Order as well as one hundred and fifty ordained practitioners of Exoteric Buddhism. The fourfold assembly from both Exoteric and Esoteric Buddhism participated together in this auspicious Grand Memorial Puja.

At ten o’clock in the morning, with the prayer flags, a treasured umbrella, musical instruments, incense burners, and eight offering girls leading the way, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche slowly entered the venue and ascended the Dharma throne to preside over the puja personally, and to bestow precious Dharma teachings upon all the attendees.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed the lead ordained disciple to lead everyone in a recitation of the Refuge Prayer, after which the guru bestowed the Dharma teachings: You have all begun with the recitation of the Refuge Prayer. At the start of a Buddhist puja there are always preliminary practices; these are very important. They are similar to the preparations one must do prior to starting a project; if they are done adequately, then naturally the work will go ahead without a hitch. Refuge, prayers, and offerings rituals are conducted at the beginning of every Dharma text. To practice Buddhism one must take refuge; taking refuge means to transform from evil to good. You must not think that you can achieve attainment without the help of the guru by staying at home, watching television, listening to the Dharma, and reciting the sutras. Nor should you think that the simple fact of being literate enables you to understand what is written in the sutras. It is not very likely that you will achieve attainment with a self-righteous mindset. One makes offerings in order to accumulate good fortune to learn Buddhism, because only with the resources of good fortune can one continue his or her Buddhist practice. While practicing Buddhism, you must have a guru to teach you, and making offerings to the guru is the fastest way to accumulate good fortune. You’ve heard of the three forms of giving—of property, of Dharma, and of freedom from fear. Making offerings to the guru and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas during today’s puja can help you accumulate good fortune, so that in the future you will have further opportunities to practice Buddhism—and fewer hindrances in doing so.

Today is a workday; it is no simple thing that you were able to take the day off work to participate in this puja. It seems like we modern humans are all kept very busy with mundane affairs. Today you had the causal condition to come participate in this puja, so for the time being you should forget everything else and use the next few hours to participate in the puja with a pure mind. Though on the surface it is Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche who is presiding over the puja, it is in fact thanks to your participation that this puja can even be held. Thus, your participation is the causal origination of this puja. You must cultivate the merits of rejoicing in the virtuous acts of others. Rejoicing is not used to answer how much money someone should include in a donation envelope; rather, it means rejoicing when you see someone who is able to use the Dharma to benefit sentient beings. This is rejoicing in the virtuous acts of others. If, while participating in the puja, you only think about how you yourself can benefit, then your merits will turn into good fortune. This cannot help you transform your karma in this lifetime. When your merits are transformed into good fortune of the Human and Heavenly Realms, you can only use it in the next lifetime.

While participating in the puja, you should not be thinking about what time it will finish or about leaving early in order to get to some appointment you might have afterward. It is perfect for you only if you attend the puja from beginning to end. If affinity exists between you and the person you are planning to meet, then he or she will certainly wait for you. If not, then he or she might not show up even if you were to get there early. As you have the virtuous root to participate in today’s puja, you must keep focused and not nod off. You should sit upright; leaning against your chair back makes it too easy to fall asleep. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is not afraid of offending you; the guru will be straightforward with you and tell you the truth. If you nap during the puja, you might come back in the next life as someone’s pet dog. You can accumulate good fortune by participating in the puja; however, if you do not accept the Dharma or believe in cause and effect, then you are “ignorant.” As such, you could descend into the Animal Realm. However, given that you have come to participate in the puja, you still would accumulate a little bit of good fortune; you therefore would turn into a pet in the next life. If one of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s disciples were to nap at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, the guru would kick him or her out. Because there are so many people attending today’s puja, however, it is impossible to see everyone clearly. If you discover that the person next to you has fallen asleep, give him or her a gentle push. This, too, is a show of compassion. If he or she gets angry with you, you may ask the assistance of one of the puja staff to make this person go ahead and run around the venue once.

Next, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performed the ritual of The Seven Branch Offerings Prayer, during which a young female believer seated near the back fell asleep against her mother’s shoulder. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s eyesight is quite keen, so he pointed her out on the spot and berated her for her disrespectful behavior. The guru said that if she did not enjoy participating in the puja, she was welcome to leave immediately. Her seat was extremely far away from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, but no one believed the guru’s eyesight was that good, so they continued to do as they pleased. Why would such a young person nap like that? Because she did not believe, and because she thought the puja had nothing to do with her. Only a moment before, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had stated quite clearly what the consequences of napping during the puja would be, yet still she had dozed off. This meant she did not believe in cause and effect. If you do not believe in cause and effect, if you participate in the puja with a disrespectful attitude, and if you fall asleep during the puja, then you will not be able to receive blessings from the guru or the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Thus, this puja will be of no use to you. You will not be able to accumulate merits, nor can you transform your karma from this lifetime; you cannot be given an opportunity to be liberated from the cycle of life and death.

Today is the 796th Anniversary of Drikung Kagyu Lord Jigten Sumgön’s Parinirvana. It is an extremely auspicious day. Dharma Lord Jigten Sumgön was an emanation of Nagarijuna; in a past life, Nagarijuna was Vimalakirti, a master lay practitioner in the time of Shakyamuni Buddha. The Indian master practitioner Tilopa transmitted to Naropa, who in turned transmitted to Marpa, who in turn transmitted to Milarepa, who in turn transmitted to Gampopa, who in turn transmitted to Phagmodrupa, and Protector Jigten Sumgön was Phagmodrupa’s most important disciple. Later, Lord Jigten Sumgön established the Drikung Kagyu Order and passed on a tradition that now enjoys more than eight hundred and thirty years of history. The Drikung Kagyu Order’s Uncommon Protector Achi was Lord Jigten Sumgön’s grandmother. “Uncommon Protector” means a Dharma protector who pledges to specially protect a certain Order. There are thirty-seven throne holders in the history of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage, and the current throne holder is the 37th, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. The Drikung Kagyu Order’s tradition is extremely pure; it has not once been broken in more than eight hundred and thirty years. It enjoys the blessings and protection of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and the lineage gurus, so the Drikung Kagyu Order’s blessings are especially powerful.

Back in the day, the Drikung Kagyu Order was quite prosperous throughout Tibet, and far and wide it was said that “the mountains are Drikung Mountains, and the dams are Drikung Dams.” Wherever there were mountains, one was bound to find Drikung practitioners; wherever there were dams, one was bound to find Drikung monasteries. The Drikung Kagyu Order places great emphasis on true practice and performing retreats. “Drikung” is the name of a place, while “Kagyu” means oral transmission. In addition, “Kagyu” has many more layers of meaning, but we will not get into them here today. In the Drikung Kagyu Order, any teachings related to the Dharma must be transmitted orally by the guru in order for the disciples to be able to practice it. Most of the Drikung Kagyu Order’s monasteries are located deep within the mountains, and some remained so remote over the years that they have only recently been discovered. During Jigten Sumgön’s time, he had 180,000 ordained disciples, and they all learned by way of oral transmission. Some people might argue that oral transmission was only necessary due to the lack of television, computers, and the internet in ancient times. If these methods could be used to learn Buddhism, Shakyamuni Buddha certainly would have mentioned them. The sutras mention many things which have happened in modern times, because the Buddha was able to foresee the future. The Buddha did not, however, mention that one could achieve attainment by watching television and practicing by oneself.

The Dharma being performed today is the Drikung Kagyu Order’s Guru Yoga, and the puja being held is the Grand Memorial Puja for the Drikung Kagyu Lord Jigten Sumgön. The significance of this is twofold: First of all, it is hoped that the Dharma painstakingly propagated in the past by Dharma Lord Jigten Sumgön will continue to be passed on; secondly, it is hoped that today’s puja will help everyone to plant a seed so that in the future, when you give rise to the Bodhicitta, you can obtain blessings from the guru and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Buddhism places great emphasis on the importance of the guru, because to learn the Dharma you absolutely must have a guru. Having been born in the Age of Degenerate Dharma, none of you has the good fortune to see the Buddha with your own eyes. The guru represents the Buddha, teaching you the Dharma so that you have the opportunity to be liberated from the cycle of life and death and attain Buddhahood to benefit sentient beings. Thus, the guru is extremely important, especially for practitioners of Vajrayana Buddhism and the Bodhi Path. In the Dharma texts it is mentioned that until one attains Buddhahood, one needs the blessings of the guru through lifetime after lifetime. Actually, the blessings of the guru and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are always present; whether you feel it or not, the Buddha’s light illuminates all sentient beings. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are constantly, silently helping and blessing all sentient beings. Without the Dharma, this universe would long ago have ceased to exist.

The Buddha is constantly bestowing blessings upon everyone; not everyone, however, is able to receive them. Why is that? An analogy would be when you participate in a puja and the presiding guru performs the same Dharma for everyone, but not everyone benefits from it in the same way. The reason for this is not at all that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have discriminating minds; the blessings They bestow upon sentient beings are universal and constant. Your minds, however, are used to being closed, so you cannot receive them. It’s like someone calling you on the phone; if you do not pick up, you will not hear what that person has to say. Similarly, if your television is not turned on it cannot receive a signal, and you will not be able to view any programs no matter how many might be available. The Buddha’s light from the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas illuminates all sentient beings in the Six Realms. When your mind is closed, it is full of your own thoughts, desires, doubts, and needs, so naturally it cannot experience or feel the blessings and compassion of the guru and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is performing today’s Dharma so that you can accumulate good fortune to open your mind over the next hour or two. Thus, you will be able to receive the blessings of the guru and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and form a virtuous affinity.

We can definitely achieve anything the Buddha said. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s own actual practice and experiences prove that this is indeed true, which is the reason the guru teaches you to learn by this method. All of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas hope that every single sentient being will be liberated from reincarnation; They are constantly preoccupied with benefiting sentient beings. If you try to approach learning Buddhism from your own life experiences, then you will not be able to understand anything, let alone follow the teachings of the Buddha. Exoteric Buddhism is the theory behind all the Dharma taught by the Buddha. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is a lay practitioner; like you, the guru began practicing in the capacity of a believer, so he understands very well the process and problems you face in practicing Buddhism. While practicing Exoteric Buddhism, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was very diligent in reciting the sutras and chanting mantras, and meditated for at least an hour every day without fail. The guru spent four or five hours practicing Buddhism each day, but after a certain point he hit a wall; no matter how much the guru chanted or meditated, he felt he could not attain the state referred to in the sutras. Only later, after being given the opportunity to meet and take refuge with His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and practice Buddhism at the foot of his Dharma throne, did Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche understand that while practicing Exoteric Buddhism he had merely been learning theory, and that only by learning Tantra would he be able to put that theory into practice.

Some people have a misconception of Tantra. They think that practicing Tantra is mysterious, and that it must involve some very strange telepathic methods. There is actually nothing at all mysterious about Tantra, but at the same time it is very mysterious from your point of view. It would be like an elementary school student not being able to understand a PhD’s research; the former would naturally feel the latter’s research was quite mysterious, and even that it was a kind of secret! This is also the reason ordinary people cannot comprehend the state of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. You cannot comprehend the state of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas because you have not attained it; likewise, you do not understand the guru’s state because you have not attained that, either. Another meaning of Tantra is that its practitioners are very firm and unyielding in their intention to benefit sentient beings. Exoteric Buddhism is not at all unimportant; to learn Tantra, one must first have a foundation of Exoteric Buddhism. In the Drikung Kagyu Order, one must first have a foundation of at least ten years of Exoteric Buddhist practice. Only after the guru confirms a disciple’s root capacity and level will the guru transmit Tantra to that disciple.

In Tibetan Buddhism the guru is very highly regarded. This is especially true among Vajrayana practitioners, who attach extreme importance to the relationship between the guru and the practitioners. The teaching methods of the Drikung Kagyu Order are very rigorous; one must practice according to a strict sequence. A disciple must practice step by step—from taking refuge to keeping the precepts to cultivating compassion and a Bodhi mind—acting according to the guru’s teachings, practicing, and performing retreats, all under the supervision of the guru. In the Ratnakuta Sutra, the Buddha mentions the thoughts, speech, and behavior a practitioner walking the Bodhi Path should have; without attaining these, the practitioner is not a Bodhisattva. These days, however, very few people teach the Ratnakuta Sutra to their believers; on the contrary, they mislead their believers with flattery, distort the Dharma, and allow their believers to be very casual. All of this is very bad.

In Vajrayana Buddhism, the guru first checks to see if the disciple’s root capacity meets the qualifications necessary to practice Tantra before bestowing an empowerment and transmitting the Dharma. Furthermore, Tantra must be transmitted one-on-one, without any outsiders present. One time while His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang was transmitting Tantra to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s mother walked into the room. Without a word, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang immediately stopped transmitting the Dharma. Only after the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s mother had left the room did he resume transmitting Tantra to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Next the ritual of exorcism was conducted so that demons, ghosts, and so on would not obstruct the progress of today’s puja. Afterward, offerings, prayers, and implorations were made to the gurus and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to come forward and bless the mandala so that the Dharma could be performed to help everyone. After that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche blessed the bell and vajra, and then the guru said that you should not think that performing the Dharma involves nothing more than ringing bells and beating drums. It is written in the Dharma texts that if a practitioner is not qualified enough, the Dharma protectors will not allow that practitioner to remain on the Dharma throne. Furthermore, only a practitioner who has attained the fruition level of a Rinpoche can use the bell and vajra. Prior to performing the Dharma, the practitioner must bless the bell and vajra in order to purify these Dharma instruments and to maximize their effectiveness in benefitting sentient beings.

Next, so that the attendees could focus their attention on participating in the puja, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestowed the meditation empowerment upon everyone. Don’t think that meditating at home by yourself is the same sort of meditation; all you’re doing there is sitting quietly. By sitting quietly for a time, you will naturally feel relatively at peace; however, this is not meditation. The Dharma must be transmitted orally; to perform meditation, you must be taught how to by the guru. Only after the guru transmits it orally to you and empowers you can you perform it; it is dangerous otherwise. In the past, while Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was learning Exoteric Buddhism, he thought that sitting cross-legged by himself was the same as performing a meditation. As a result, he nearly got himself into trouble. There is a very subtle difference between sitting cross-legged and eventually being able to enter a meditative state. Without the guru’s guidance, it is very easy to go astray; you think you are performing Buddhist meditation, but in fact it is non-Buddhist meditation. The Surangama Sutra mentions the various changes a practitioner’s thoughts undergo while meditating. Therefore, without empowerment and guidance from a meritorious, genuinely cultivated, and truly realized guru, a practitioner’s thoughts can quite easily and unconsciously turn into non-Buddhist thoughts. Furthermore, the meritorious guru must meet all sorts of conditions as laid out in the sutra.

Moreover, so long as you think about benefitting yourself instead of sentient beings, the merits from practicing Buddhism will transform into good fortune which cannot help you to be liberated in this lifetime. Everyone knows of Emperor Liang’s Repentance. Emperor Liang erected many temples, printed Buddhist sutras, and he himself had written commentaries as well. However, when Emperor Liang asked Bodhidharma whether he had obtained merits from doing these things, Bodhidharma told the emperor that he had no merits; he had only accumulated good fortune. Because Emperor Liang had no merits he was unable to transform the karma he had accumulated over his lifetimes, and in the end he starved to death. Therefore, whatever the reason was that brought you here today, while attending the puja you should hope that the Dharma will help sentient beings, and in the meantime you must participate with a respectful attitude toward the Three Jewels, for only then can the puja be beneficial to you. Originally the Four Empowerments are not bestowed lightly; they are classified as Uncommon. However, so that you can be relatively at ease in body, speech, and mind while participating in today’s puja, all the way through to the end, and so that you have the good fortune to be able to receive the Dharma, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will bestow the meditation empowerment upon you. There are many types of empowerment, but the empowerment being bestowed today is an empowerment of forming a connection.

Before His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began to bestow the meditation empowerment, the guru instructed the attendees to sit up straight without slumping and to not have their feet crossed. For any of you slumped against the backs of your chairs this empowerment will have no effect. Next the guru conducted the preliminary, main, and final rituals for the meditation empowerment. When this came to an end, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said humorously, “You’re probably wondering if the empowerment is finished after just a few recitations like this. That’s right; it doesn’t take very long. You might think it only involves reciting a bit from the Dharma texts; however, the presiding guru had already done a lot in preparation. Only after receiving the meditation empowerment will everyone have good fortune, be able to sit still through the rest of the puja, and be able to receive Dharma blessings with body, speech, and mind.”

After performing the Dharma for a time, the ritual of mandala offering was conducted. Khenpo Namdol representing and leading the ordained disciples from the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, eight offering girls and five believers who had been randomly selected by lottery when they entered the venue today offered the mandala to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and implored for the Dharma. When the ritual of mandala offering was complete, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche stated that mandala offering is a Tibetan Buddhist ritual of offering and imploring the Dharma. A moment ago there was an old lady who took her grandchild to the toilet during the mandala offering, thinking that the puja had nothing to do with her. She just happened to choose to leave right in the middle of this most important mandala offering, so they will get no share of the good fortune that comes from the offering. Some people do not know Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s age. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is sixty-six years old; he has sat on the Dharma throne performing the Dharma for more than an hour without going to the bathroom. You are still young, yet you can’t forbear; you run back and forth during the puja without any respect for the Dharma whatsoever. Without respect, you make no offerings; without making offerings, you get no fortune.

A moment ago during the mandala offering, you could all see Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche wearing a Dharma hat. In Tibetan Buddhism, Dharma hats have a special significance. You cannot make one just because you want to; it must be bestowed upon you by the throne holder of your order. There is a difference between ordained and lay Dharma hats. By looking at the Dharma hat, you can tell the practitioner’s Order and fruition level. The presiding guru dons the Dharma hat during the mandala offering, signifying the acceptance of the sentient beings’ offerings and the transmission of the Dharma to sentient beings on behalf of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and the gurus.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued to perform the Dharma and conducted the Tsok, instructing that the food offerings be distributed to everyone. In other temples, they let their believers fight over the food offerings after they have been offered to the Buddha. The offering goods in the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center’s pujas are distributed to everyone by the presiding guru; there is no need to fight over them. When you get your offering goods, you may eat a few, but don’t eat them all; you can take them home with you to share with your family and friends. Each person should take one of the offering goods out to give to the volunteer staff, and after being given Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings, these goods will be offered to sentient beings that did not have the causal condition to come in and participate in the puja. Allowing all attendees to eat a little of the offerings during the puja gives them the causal condition to enjoy the offerings together with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in the future. In the Amitabha Sutra it is mentioned that in the Pure Land one can eat together with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

After performing the Dharma for a while, the eight offering girls sang a song by way of offering. Afterward the tea- and rice-offering rituals were conducted. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche went on to say that because the climate in Tibet is very cold, tea- and rice-offerings are given to the presiding gurus during the pujas to replenish their strength. You, on the other hand, are sitting down there doing nothing, yet somehow you, too feel tired. The eight offering girls who came forward to the mandala and sang just now represent the eight Dakinis. The song they sang is not a song of the mundane world; it is a Dakini song, not created by humankind. The lyrics are primarily about praising and making offerings to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and the gurus.

Next, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche descended the Dharma throne to perform the lamp-offering. All the attendees rose to their feet and stood waiting reverently as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performed the Dharma. After lighting the lamps and offering them to the Buddha, the guru again ascended the Dharma throne and continued to bestow Dharma teachings.

Pujas held by the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center are extremely pure; no one is honored as a major donor, and such things as charging fees for lighting lamps and writing the names of the deceased on memorial tablets cannot be seen here. There are not any lamp towers in the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, either. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche joked, “Lamp towers should be by the sea, not in a Buddhist temple.” No buying or selling should be done for the purpose of holding a puja. When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche presides over the Grand Pujas, everything is paid for by the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center so that you may all attend free of charge. Here you will find none of those various schemes to trick you into paying for things, either. To put it bluntly, if Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not have enough fortune then the guru would not hold the pujas. If one practices according to the Dharma, one will definitely obtain the protection and blessings of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. As such, there will be no need to resort to such methods.

You, too, have seen people out there who encourage you to light lamps. They even call you on the phone, urging you to go there, telling you that if you buy certain things from them you will have good fortune; that if you go light a lamp, your life will go smoothly for a year. If you think spending just one or two thousand NT$ to light a so-called bright lamp is enough make things go your way for a year, you’re wrong; it would be too good to be true! In Buddhism, lamp-offering symbolizes the Dharma illuminating every corner of the world like a bright flame. Making this offering to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas transforms the five poisons within us into the five wisdoms of the Five Dhyani Buddhas, burns away our hindrances to practicing Buddhism, and reveals our originally pure nature so that we can do all good deeds and break away from all evil. In this way, your future will certainly change for the better. You think you’re spending a bit of money on this so-called lamp lighting, when really all you’re doing is turning paper money into copper coins, and then knocking the coins together to produce a shiny light. On the other hand, the lamp-offering Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performed today is the true lamp-lighting; it can help you eliminate hindrances to practicing Buddhism.

In Buddhism we talk about cause and effect; that is the truth. If you neither believe in it nor are willing to listen to the Buddha’s teachings and act accordingly, but hope that merely by attending the pujas and imploring for blessings you will be completely protected, you are gravely mistaken! Things that are happening to you now, or have happened recently, are all the result of your past actions. It is too late to change this karmic retribution that has now emerged. Only through Buddhist practice can you transform your karma and change your future. Things of the present have already happened; don’t think that by coming to participate in the puja you can change things. Nor should you think that doing a good deed can change the karmic retribution you will encounter for having done evil. Good and evil are two separate entities; they cannot offset each other. They are two parallel lines, and each will result in its own karmic retribution. However, when you cease to commit evil acts and continue to do good deeds, your power of good will increase; there is then the possibility that your evil karmic retribution will be suppressed, delayed, or even not have the opportunity to occur. If you continue to commit evil acts while thinking that you will be secure and at peace simply by participating in the pujas, or if you participate in the pujas with your own desires and needs, then you are going against the vows the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas made to benefit sentient beings, and Buddhism will not satisfy your desires.

Next, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led the attendees in a recitation of the Great Six-Syllable Mantra. The Great Six-Syllable Mantra comprises the essence of the aspirations, wisdom, and merits of all the Buddhas in the past, present, and future. If you can perform the Great Six-Syllable Mantra according to the Dharma and cultivate the generation stage and the completion stage while in retreat, you will absolutely be able to achieve attainment in this lifetime; in the future, you will attain Buddhahood, and in this lifetime you will be liberated from life and death. However, the recitation led today by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will merely help everyone form an affinity with the Great Six-Syllable Mantra, so that in the future you all will have an opportunity to practice the Dharma method of Avalokiteshvara. This is because you still have not heeded the Buddha’s teachings—never mind being obedient; you have not even experienced the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Dharma taught by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas—and you are still approaching Buddhism with your own ideas. As such, it is not yet possible for you to benefit from it.

While His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was leading everyone in a recitation of the Great Six-Syllable Mantra, a believer left her seat to go to the bathroom. Right then and there, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche admonished her in a loud voice. In the middle of transferring consciousness for the deceased, someone actually ran out to the bathroom! Which was more important: sentient beings or you going to the toilet? You also saw in the prayer just now that the presiding guru implored Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara to help liberate all sentient beings, including both those that have affinity with us and those that do not, and even including the most evil of sentient beings and those that are suffering the most. All of these sentient beings have some sort of relationship with you. How can you come participate in the puja with an attitude that none of this concerns you, leave your seats as you please, and then expect that you will obtain good fortune from having sat here? If you participate in the puja with an incorrect attitude, and are disrespectful to the Dharma, then the merits that come from today’s puja will not have anything to do with you either.

Next Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued to lead the attendees in a performance of the Dharma and a recitation of the Great Six-Syllable Mantra. Many times in the process, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bluntly admonished and criticized the attendees for how disrespectful their behavior was toward the Dharma. One male believer held his arms crossed in front of his chest; Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche berated him, saying that such a posture was extremely disrespectful to the Dharma. If he did not like it, he could leave. A male and a female believer were sitting together not paying attention to the puja, participating in it without respect, as if they were on a date. Admonishing them on the spot, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked them to respect the Dharma and said that if they did not like it and wanted to go out on a date somewhere, they were welcome to leave. There was also a female believer who was fanning the air to cool her son. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche admonished her; if she was worried about her son having a heatstroke, she should take him out of the venue. It was so hot up on the Dharma throne where Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was sitting, yet still the guru had not fanned himself. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche sighed. “Why is everyone so disrespectful toward the Dharma? If you’ve come to participate in the puja, then how can you disrespect the Three Jewels and still say you believe in the Buddha? Followers of other religions would shout about their faith at the top of their lungs, saying it was their lord’s gift to them. Why, then, do those of you practicing Buddhism not dare to say you are Buddhists? Congregations of other religions all keep a very respectful attitude when participating in their events, but not you.” The reason Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche points out your disrespectful attitude during the puja is that you have all entered the venue for free; of course the guru may criticize you for your faults.

Two more believers, young women, got up to go to the bathroom. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche again berated the attendees. Those of you who do not like it and are disrespectful may leave immediately. Even if you were to attend a lecture for a fee, you still should pay the speaker a modicum of respect; make no mention of the fact that you paid no entrance fee to attend today’s puja where Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has performed the Dharma for you all while seeking nothing in return. You should not bully an old man just because he did not charge an entrance fee. You have all heard the adage that “prayers must be sincere to work.” You must have a sincere attitude for your practice to be effective; you must respect the Dharma and have respect for all people, affairs, and things. You must not be casual about it. If you are someone who casually leaves your seat or falls asleep during the puja, this means you believe that today’s puja does not concern you. A little while ago, during the recitation of the Great Six-Syllable Mantra, all of the sentient beings we implored the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to help do indeed concern you; how can you believe they are none of your business? A person who is capable of respecting other people is not as likely to commit illegal acts, whereas someone who is used to acting as he or she pleases is naturally more likely to break the law. Someone used to doing as he or she pleases would not be very rigorous in keeping the precepts, either; if you are not good at observing the precepts, then your Buddhist practice is nothing but an empty shell. In the future, whenever you participate in any religious ceremony, you should do so with an attitude of respect.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led the attendees in song as all recited The Auspicious Dharmadhatu Prayer. The blessings evoked by the guru’s compassionate Dharma voice were extremely auspicious, filling the entire venue, and all the attendees felt His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s incomparable, all-embracing power. Afterward, the guru instructed the lead disciple to lead the attendees in a recitation of a prayer for the propagation of Buddhism, and to carry out the dedications.

After the dedications ritual, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued to bestow teachings: Many people think the dedications are meant for their own family members. It is still popular out there to teach people to make dedications to their partners so that they will join them in practicing Buddhism, or so that their partners will not obstruct them from their own Buddhist practice. This is actually a misconception; such behavior warps Buddhism into witchcraft. Everyone should focus on his or her own practice; if you have not yet amended your own behavior, how can you possibly influence that of your partner or family members? At the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, any underage believer must have parental consent before he or she will be allowed to take refuge. Married believers may not take refuge without obtaining the consent of their spouses. If you are being hindered in your practice of Buddhism by another person today, it is because you yourself hindered someone in a past life. You absolutely must not incite afflictions or even criticism in your family members over your Buddhist practice, because this causes them to slander the Buddha and sow the seeds that will send them down into hell. Don’t think that dedicating a sutra recitation to your family members will give them good fortune or cause them to follow you into Buddhism. In fact, as long as you yourself practice diligently, then once you have cultivated to a certain degree your family members will naturally begin to practice Buddhism with you.

Today’s puja was perfect. A very special thing was that many Exoteric Dharma masters came to participate in the puja. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not send out any invitations or appear on television, nor did the guru know them personally; they took the initiative to come participate in the puja after having heard about it by word of mouth. They participated in the puja with joy in their hearts, and as a result their merits from rejoicing are truly great. Seldom have so many ordained practitioners of Exoteric and Tibetan Buddhism, and so many believers, come to participate in a puja as those who attended today; such a puja is very rare in Taiwan. You came to the puja because of your good fortune and virtuous roots. You should thank the people next to you who also came to participate in the puja, and you should thank yourselves for coming to participate as well. There is no need for you to thank Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, as this puja only happened because so many people attended. You did not attend because the puja was being held; rather, the puja was held because of your attendance. If you had not come to participate, today’s puja would not have been held. It is not an easy thing to be part of the causal origination of a puja; you must cherish such good fortune as this. Everyone should cherish this rare affinity and hope that it can open up the causal condition for you all to practice Buddhism in the future. However, you do not necessarily have to come to the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center to learn Buddhism, because there are already too many people at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, and we might not even have enough seats for them all. Another thing is that the way in which the Dharma is taught at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center is extremely strict.

Given that you had the opportunity to come and participate in such a rare puja as this, after the conclusion of today’s puja you must never again eat meat; if you go eat any meat dishes after we disperse, then any merits you gained from participating in today’s puja will disappear. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is already sixty-six years old this year; you must not bully an old man. If you are to be so ungrateful as to continue to eat meat and commit evil even after an old man helped you and sought nothing in return, then you should stop coming to any future pujas over which Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche presides. Why did the guru speak so sternly to you all just now, asking those believers who fell asleep or otherwise acted disrespectfully to leave? It was because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche believes in cause and effect, and knows that anything you do during a puja will result in certain karmic retribution. This is also true if you think it is enough for you to come participate in the puja, yet you do so without any respect whatsoever and think that none of this concerns you. Actually, as long as you have come to participate in a puja then it is your business; moreover, it concerns you throughout your future lifetimes as well. Right now while the guru is speaking, there are still believers wiping their brows. If you think the puja does not concern you, then participating in a puja with such an attitude is completely useless. Don’t think that just because you attended the puja it will cause good things to happen and bad things not to happen. Buddhism can in fact cause good things to happen and bad things not to; however, this all depends on whether you heed the teachings of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and the guru, whether you can change yourself, break away from all evil, and only do good deeds. If you do this, then the power of good will increase and can suppress your evil karma so that the power of your evil karma is retarded or ineffective; as such, you will naturally change for the better. Coming to participate in the puja one time, however, will not make everything better.

For you to be able to set your affairs aside and come to participate in the puja is in itself a sort of offering. You must heed the guru’s teachings; otherwise, you have wasted your time. Having participated in today’s puja will allow you to become disciples of the Drikung Kagyu Order in a future lifetime and be able to learn from the Order’s auspicious teachings. When will this happen? Will it be in this lifetime, or many lifetimes from now? Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche cannot foresee the answer; it all depends on your decision. As long as you participated in today’s puja with sincerity, it will certainly be helpful to you. Today Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performed the Dharma for everyone, but originally, in Tibet, this Dharma used to require an entire day to perform. Nonetheless, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche sped up the process and finished performing the Dharma within a few hours without abridging anything or cutting any corners. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has helped you all while seeking nothing in return, and hopes that in the future you will all be able to practice perfectly, without any hindrances, and that all your worldly matters will go smoothly for you as well. Amitabha.

At the perfect completion of the puja, the attendees rose one after another to give spontaneous and enthusiastic applause, expressing their gratitude to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for performing the Dharma tirelessly and bestowing auspicious Dharma teachings to all the attendees and benefiting all sentient beings.

At this puja no fees were charged whatsoever, nor was there any commercial activity such as charity sales and so on. Witnessed by the accountant, the bank commissioner, and the attorney, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche donated the entirety of the NT$3.01 million given as offerings by the attendees to the Department of Social Affairs of the Ministry of the Interior as funds for charity and social welfare. The puja concluded purely and perfectly, benefiting countless sentient beings. The entire fourfold assembly was filled with Dharma joy.

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Updated on August 18, 2013