His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings – August 16, 2013

On August 16th, 2013 His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche presided over the auspicious Ksitigarbha Puja at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center in Kyoto, Japan. There were 141 attendees in total, including twenty believers from Japan, Spain, and Taiwan, as well as 121 Japanese and Taiwanese disciples. The puja came to an auspicious and perfect completion.

Before the puja began, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche transmitted the Dharma method of Avalokiteshvara to the Japanese disciples for the first time. On the day of the puja the sky was clear, with only a few clouds covering the sun from time to time. When His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began to transmit the Dharma, many beams of sunlight shone suddenly through the clouds, dazzling in their brilliance as they illuminated the world in all directions. It was an extremely auspicious sight to behold. That such an auspicious sign would manifest while His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was transmitting the Dharma meant that the Drikung Kagyu Dharma lineage would continue to flourish in Japan, and that its pure Dharma teachings could be spread far and wide to benefit countless sentient beings!

At 4:30 in the afternoon, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche ascended the Dharma throne to preside in person over the auspicious Ksitigarbha Puja and to bestow precious Dharma teachings upon all the attendees.

Today Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will perform for you the Dharma method of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha. In Japan, everyone thinks practicing the Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha Dharma is done by reciting the sutra. First Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche explained the meaning of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s name. “Ksiti” does not refer to hell, but rather the Earth; Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha is as tolerant and inclusive as the Earth, and nurtures many sentient beings. “Garbha,” or “treasure,” does not mean buried treasure; it is a reference to the fact that every sentient being possesses a pure Buddha-nature that is no different from the Buddha. This Buddha-nature is also called the “Embryo of Wakening,” as in the treasure of Shakyamuni Buddha and Tathagata. Every sentient being possesses this Embryo of Wakening; it’s just that it has been covered and obscured from us by greed, hatred, and ignorance. Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha helps us to learn and practice Buddhism. Once we have unlocked and recovered the functionality of our Embryo of Wakening, we can then benefit sentient beings. The title “King” often included in the Chinese translation of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s name does not at all mean Bodhisattva “King” Ksitigarbha is in charge of hell. Most people tend to think Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha specializes in the liberation of sentient beings in hell, because the Bodhisattva’s vow was, “I vow not to attain Buddhahood until all the hells are empty.” Actually, Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha liberates and helps humans on Earth so that they will not fall into hell. If sentient beings cease to descend into hell, then one day hell will no longer contain any sentient beings. Therefore, the word “King” actually refers to the fact that Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha has the greatest, most unfathomable, and most auspicious of merits, aspirations, and compassion.

In Japan, many statues of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha can be seen wherever there are cemeteries and graveyards. Upon seeing Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, all Japanese people will put their palms together reverently and make offerings. Perhaps they believe that as statue of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha exists in a cemetery then the local ghosts can be liberated, so that the residents of the area can live free of worry. Actually, this is not the case. When people put their palms together in reverence before a statue of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, all this does is allow them to accumulate a little bit of good fortune; it cannot help to liberate the ghostly beings.

Today Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s purpose in performing the Dharma method of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha is to help you to form an affinity with the Bodhisattva. If you remember Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, then even if you committed a few minor evil acts during your lifetime—giving you cause to fall into hell—you can still obtain the help of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha and have the opportunity not to go to hell, so long as you are mindful of the Bodhisattva and give rise to a truly repentant attitude when you are on the verge of passing away.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began making trips to Japan to propagate the Dharma in 2005. Over the past several years, the guru has discovered that there are not many people in Japan who sincerely wish to learn and practice Buddhism; most people participating in the pujas there simply wish to worship the Buddha in seek of blessings and protection. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, however, only offer protection and blessings to people who devote themselves earnestly to their Buddhist practice. Long ago, because the monks who introduced Buddhism from China to Japan understood the character of the Japanese people, they put forth much effort into promoting the Dharma method of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha so as to reduce the chances of Japanese people falling into hell.

Today’s Dharma is based on Tantra; its purpose is to allow you all to form a deep affinity with Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha in this lifetime. The Dharma text associated with Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha is The Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows, which gives special attention to describing the origin of causes and effects. It also mentions that of the various evil acts and karma created by sentient beings on Earth, the most severe is the act of killing. In the sutra it is recorded that in one of the Bodhisattva’s lifetimes, Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s mother loved to eat turtle eggs, and that after passing away she fell into hell. In many Buddhist sutras Shakyamuni Buddha stated that the world’s constant wars, diseases, accidents, and mishaps are all the result of karma from killing and from eating meat. The sutras also mention that if a lot of killing occurs in a certain location over a long period of time, then a war or other disaster could possibly occur there. The character of the Japanese people, which has formed over the course of many years, is very difficult to change; therefore, the Dharma performed for you all today by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is based on the aspiration of Japanese monks from hundreds of years ago. It is a continuation and development of that vow, and it can allow you to form a profound affinity with Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha and be able to have the future opportunity to obtain the Bodhisattva’s help so that you will not fall into hell.

The Dharma text mentions that before the Dharma is performed all the attendees should prostrate themselves before the guru and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. For Buddhist practitioners, the guru is extremely important. The beginning of the Dharma text teaches that everyone should have aspirations; this means giving rise to a Bodhi mind and vowing to benefit sentient beings. People participating in the puja should have an attitude of genuine sincerity and extreme respect. Here “genuine” means not asking for anything at all in return; “sincerity” means being honest and sincere; “extreme respect” means being completely respectful and devoid of one’s own ideas. All of you who have come to participate in today’s Ksitigarbha Puja should maintain an attitude of extreme respect and sincerity, for only by being respectful can you make offerings; only by making offerings can you accumulate good fortune. Only if you have good fortune can you receive the help and benefits of the Dharma, but very few people are able to accomplish this. If you are unable to be sincere and respectful, then at the very least you should have faith in the guru; this is the most important thing of all.

Next His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began to perform the auspicious Dharma method of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha. First, after performing the Dharma for a short while, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche stated that the ritual that the guru had just performed was something any practitioner performing the Dharma should always do first so that he or she would be no different from Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha. This Dharma method must first be cultivated by the person performing it, and that person must definitely be able to be liberated from life and death, before he or she can perform it for others. The purpose of the next ritual was to implore for Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha to approach the mandala and bestow help upon you all; it praises and illustrates the merits and undertakings of the Bodhisattva.

After performing the Dharma for a while, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche went on to state that Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha is one of the eight great Bodhisattvas of Buddhism. These eight great Bodhisattvas are actually equal in importance and the scope of their undertakings to that of the Buddha; they are the same as the Buddha. In essence, the eight great Bodhisattvas have already attained Buddhahood; it is just that time and time again they take the form of Bodhisattvas in order to help sentient beings according to their individual causal conditions and root capacities, appearing in various emanations to liberate sentient beings from the sea of suffering.

The Dharma performed just now helped purify you all in body, speech, and mind. During the Dharma to be performed next, in body, speech, and mind you will be no different from Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha. Therefore, while participating in the puja you must concentrate and not give rise to evil or wandering thoughts.

The Dharma being performed today is classified as Tantra. It was transmitted by Vajra Varahi herself to a practitioner from southern India. Vajra Varahi had 108 different Dharma methods, and that being performed today is just one of them. In other words, this Dharma was not orally transmitted by Shakyamuni Buddha; rather, it is a Dharma that was passed down personally by Vajra Varahi while representing the yidams of the Yoga Tantra and the Anuttarayoga Tantra. Because of this, its blessings are very powerful. This Dharma method did not used to exist in Tibet; it was transmitted by Vajra Varahi to a practitioner in southern India. After that a venerable practitioner went to southern India to implore the Dharma and later brought this Dharma method back to Tibet. Altogether the venerable practitioner had twenty-four Dharma methods. Blessings from these Dharma are all especially powerful and auspicious, and can benefit countless sentient beings.

Next the ritual of mandala offering was conducted. The Japanese and Spanish believers, selected by lot upon entering the venue, were led by the ordained disciples in an offering of the mandala, and to implore the Dharma from His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led all of the attendees in three recitations of the Refuge Aspiration Prayer, giving special instructions to the Japanese interpreter to recite from the Japanese translation of the Dharma text and have the Japanese believers and disciples repeat the recitation. During the recitation, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche exhorted the attendees again and again to recite from the text with an attitude of respect.

Next there was a prayer from the Dharma text that was about imploring for the guru to bestow auspicious Tantra. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed everyone to imagine that they each had a white lotus flower within their minds, and that on top of that blossom was a white full moon disk with the character for “hong” in the middle of it. The mantra comes from the yidam in the guru’s mind, exits the guru’s mouth, is transmitted directly into yours, and then to the yidam within your own mind. The Dharma text mentions that while imploring for the Dharma to be transmitted, your mindset must be one of sincerity and respect – to the extent of shedding tears of gratitude. In other words you must feel very, very grateful to the guru to the point of weeping. Only with a sincere and grateful mindset can you implore for the guru to orally transmit the mantra to you.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche stated that the next ritual to be performed was visualization. However, the guru would help you to visualize and implore for Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha to approach the mandala and to bestow help upon everyone; this would only be possible if everyone were to participate with a respectful and purified mind. The Dharma text mentions that a disciple’s thoughts must not wander while listening to Tantra. The purpose of the mantra you were all led to chant just now was to purify your minds, calm your chaotic thoughts, and rid you of wandering thoughts and afflictions; only in this way can you receive the help of the Dharma.

The Dharma text also mentions that the location in which the Dharma method of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha is performed must be either clean land or a clean building. “Clean” does not refer to how dirty or clean the place is; rather, it means no slaughter, murder, or prostitution can have occurred in the location in which the Dharma is performed, nor can that place be the site of a restaurant, jail, graveyard, and so on. The Kyoto Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center’s location is exactly that; historically, during the Qing Dynasty, the emperor once dispatched an envoy to live in this location, and as a result this piece of land has been very clean throughout history. Furthermore, none of the abovementioned activities have ever occurred within the Buddhist Center’s building. The fact that you can come here to participate in the Ksitigarbha Puja indicates that all of you have a lot of good fortune. You should do your best to cherish this opportunity, and in a little while, when the Dharma is being performed, you should give rise to a Bodhi mind and hope that the Dharma can benefit all sentient beings.

It is also written in the Dharma text that while performing this Dharma one must set up a mandala, and that the ritual is divided into three parts: the aspiration, the main practice, and the closing practice (also known as the dedication). According to the Dharma text, the person performing the Dharma must meet two prerequisites: One is having a pure aspiration; the practitioner cannot perform the Dharma for the sake of fame or profit. Only through purely virtuous behavior can the practitioner use a pure Bodhi mind to help sentient beings. The other prerequisite is benefiting all sentient beings by way of four types of blessings. After that the Dharma text speaks of the rituals and methods to be used while performing this Dharma. It also mentions that the practitioner must have attained Emptiness, and must enter the samadi state of meditation before being able to perform this Dharma. Samadi is a kind of meditative state; the Rinpoche performing the Dharma must enter a certain degree of meditative state before he or she can perform this Dharma and cause sentient beings to obtain its benefits.

The Dharma text also mentions that the attendees should have calm and settled minds. You should not think random thoughts, nor should you feel tired, bored, or think that you can’t understand the Dharma anyway, etc. While participating in the puja you should bear in mind that there are still many sentient beings in need of the Dharma’s help; you should give rise to a pure Bodhi mind, and hope all sentient beings can leave the suffering of reincarnation. Next, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche went into a meditative state, and after coming back out, continued to bestow precious Dharma teachings upon all the attendees.

There is a very significant line in the Dharma text: After coming out of the meditative state, the practitioner performing the Dharma must look upon all sentient beings that have not yet attained enlightenment or Buddhahood with compassionate eyes. In the practitioner’s eyes no sentient beings are different from each other; they are not divided into those that are intelligent or those that are unintelligent. All the practitioner sees is sentient beings that have not yet attained enlightenment and been liberated from the cycle of life and death; furthermore, the practitioner uses his or her own merits to continuously bestow help upon these sentient beings.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began to perform the Dharma method of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha while explaining the key points of the Dharma text. Led by the ordained disciples, all the attendees faced the mandala, knelt down on their right knees, and held up flowers with both hands, sincerely and respectfully imploring Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha to come. Next was the khata-offering ritual; after His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performed the ritual, the ordained disciples hung khatas from the top of the Thangka of the statue of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha. While performing the Dharma, the guru orally transmitted the auspicious mantra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha.

Just then His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked a disciple in charge of the Dharma affairs whether the sutras had been distributed to the attendees or not. Upon learning that this had not yet happened, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche severely admonished the disciple: “Why do you wait for the guru to say something before you do everything?! You really are getting old; when are you going to retire?”

After orally transmitting the auspicious mantra, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestowed teachings from the sutra. Originally the plan was to next lead you all in a recitation of The Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows. That would take about two hours to recite, but modern people are all so very busy, especially Japanese people, so Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will simply give a brief description of the key segments of the sutra. Just then a Japanese believer was leafing through the sutra. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked him to stop and berated him, saying that this action of his was very disrespectful to the Dharma; before the guru had even begun to speak, the believer had opened the sutra out of curiosity to read what was written in it. In Tantra, no Dharma texts or sutras can even be opened, let alone read, without the guru’s express permission. Imagine if you were still back in elementary school; on the first day of school, would you dare open up your text book before the teacher had told you to? You would wait until the teacher had given you permission to do so, right? Yet here you are, before the Buddha, not even as disciplined as elementary school students. Don’t think that just because you are able to read a sutra’s words, you can necessarily understand their meaning. Buddhism is neither an academic subject nor a book; please, you must not carry an attitude of curiosity, or of wanting to research it and understand it. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is different from other practitioners out there; any time you are disrespectful toward the Dharma, or go against anything related to Buddhism, the guru will immediately call you out and put a stop to such behavior. This is not for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s own benefit; it is for yours.

Now you may all open up the sutra. Turn to any page you want. In a little while Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will go over the key points of the sutra one by one for you all. No matter what page you turn to, when the guru speaks the Dharma it will bless you.

The origin of The Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows was when Shakyamuni Buddha went to the Trayastrimsas Heaven to expound the Dharma for His mother; in order to liberate her from the cycle of life and death, Shakyamuni Buddha introduced Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha to her. When Shakyamuni Buddha did this, many sacred beings, Bodhisattvas, devas, nagas, and Dharma protectors all came forward to listen. Shakyamuni Buddha spoke of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s merits, vows, and experiences accumulated over lifetimes of practice, and bestowed very clear teachings about cause, effect, and karmic retribution. You should not think being born into the Heavenly Realm is a very good thing; there might be many things to enjoy there, but in the end one will fall back into reincarnation, and one might even descend into the Three Evil Realms.

In The Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows Shakyamuni Buddha stated that there would be virtuous men and women in the future. This meant men and women who would practice the Ten Meritorious Acts, not people who donated money to charities. To cultivate the Ten Meritorious Acts means not engaging in the following ten behaviors: Killing, stealing (including taking other people’s things or pirating CDs, DVDs, and so on), sexual misconduct, harsh speech, divisive speech, frivolous talk, speaking falsely, being greedy, feeling anger or hatred toward others, and not believing in cause and effect.

For any man or woman who can cultivate the Ten Meritorious Acts and—upon hearing Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s name—is able to give praise, make prostrations, make offerings, or make sacred images of the Bodhisattva by painting, carving, or sculpting from clay, this person’s karmic retribution will be to be reborn in the Heaven of the Thirty-Three for one hundred lifetimes. Furthermore, if that person recalls the image of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha while on his or her deathbed, then he or she will never fall into the Three Evil Realms (the Hell Realm, the Hungry Ghost Realm, and the Animal Realm). With regard to Exoteric Buddhism, this method of practice is already the simplest of methods; in terms of Tantric practice, you would not be able to achieve attainment in it. Therefore, anyone who continues to eat meat or fish cannot possibly cultivate the Ten Meritorious Acts, and is therefore not a virtuous man or woman. Don’t think that having someone recite the Buddha’s name after you pass away will allow you to be reborn in the Pure Land; if you do not listen to the teachings of the guru, the Buddhas, and the Bodhisattvas, then no matter how much you worship the Buddha it will be useless.

Chapter One: Miracles in the Palace of the Trayastrimsas Heaven. Here the sutra mentions that in one of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s lifetimes the Bodhisattva saw the Buddha, who at the time had taken a very dignified form. Might I ask, what would the Buddha have had to do to take on such an appearance? The Buddha stated that only by using one’s body, speech, and mind to liberate and benefit suffering sentient beings through lifetime after lifetime can one take on a form as dignified as that of the Buddha. Thereupon Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha made a great vow to always use expedient Dharma methods to liberate all sentient beings who were suffering in reincarnation. The sutra also mentions that Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha spent one of his lives as a Brahman girl who was born into a noble family. However, her mother had false views and was contemptuous of the Three Jewels. Though she had once given rise to respect toward the Three Jewels, she had later stopped believing in them and looked down on them, and as a result after passing away she fell into hell. Thus, the reason Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche admonished that Japanese believer just now and stopped him from leafing through the sutra was that such behavior is contemptuous of the Three Jewels.

Chapter Two: The Assembly of Innumerable Transformational Ksitigarbhas. This chapter talks about how Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha appears in many different forms.

Chapter Three: Contemplation on the Karmic Connection between Sentient Beings. This chapter describes the various karmic affinities that tie sentient beings together. Sentient beings on earth do different things to obtain different rewards or punishments; for every karma created, there is a different karmic retribution. Among these it is mentioned that hell does not discriminate according to gender, age, race, or wealth; any being that commits an evil act—including nagas, deities, devas, ghosts, and so on—will fall into hell according to his or her karmic retribution. Do not misunderstand; hell is not a place created by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to punish sentient beings. Rather, it is a state of being attracted by the actions of sentient beings themselves.

Chapter Four: The Karmic Retribution of Sentient Beings in Jambudvipa. One focus of this chapter is the special mention that Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha was once born as a maiden who, while offering food to monks, encountered an arhat. Not knowing where her mother had gone after passing away, Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha asked the arhat. The arhat asked her what her mother had done in her lifetime that warranted suffering so much in hell. Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha told the arhat that her mother had been fond of eating the eggs of fish, turtles, and other seafood, and that while still living had fried, boiled, baked, and eaten countless eggs. This is just like Japanese people; they, too, love eating seafood, especially the eggs of such sea creatures. Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha performed numerous Dharma activities before her mother was able to leave hell and be reborn into the Human Realm. However, she was born into poverty as a servant, and had a very short life; she died at the age of thirteen. Just now it was mentioned that the heaviest type of karma is the karma from killing. If you frequently succumb to illness, experience accidents, have heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and so on, it has to do with the fact that you have heavy karma from killing.

This chapter also states that the karmic retribution from killing is having an early, untimely death. Anyone who steals from other people will have the karmic retribution of suffering in poverty. For men, engaging in sexual misconduct includes rape, sex with a woman who is unconscious, getting a woman drunk and having sex with her, or having sex with someone who is underage, a married woman, or a woman under the care of another man. For women, if a man pays her a living allowance, sends her gifts, or benefits her in any other way, yet she has sex with another man, then this is sexual misconduct, and the karmic retribution for that is to succumb to a disease of the uterus or kidneys. Furthermore, such a woman will age very easily, and could be reborn in her next life as a sparrow, pigeon, or duck. To engage in harsh speech means frequently swearing at others, quarrelling or fighting with one’s own family members, and taking part in the subsequent lawsuits. Those who slander others will lose their tongues in the future or will grow sores in their mouths. If you often give rise to hateful thoughts, your karmic retribution will be to look ugly or become crippled. For people who are miserly and rarely give to charity, their karmic retribution will be to never get what they want and for them never to succeed at doing anything. For those who eat and drink to excess, without any moderation at all, their karmic retribution will be to suffer hunger and thirst, or to succumb to a disease of the throat. For people who like to hunt, fish, or trap animals, their karmic retribution will be to die a violent death; this is the same karmic retribution as dying from a mental illness. People who are unfilial and disobedient toward their parents will suffer the karmic retribution of dying in a natural disaster, and this can include heavy rain, floods, earthquakes, wildfires, and so on. There is one more very important category: For anyone who slanders the Three Jewels, your karmic retribution is to become blind, deaf, and dumb in the future so that you cannot see, hear, or speak.

Right then and there, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche berated a disciple who was taking photographs during the puja. The guru had clearly stated that he was not allowed to pursue any more work as a photographer, so why was he still taking pictures? Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed this disciple to leave immediately.

Chapter Five: The Names of the Various Hells. This chapter introduces all the different hells. The sutra mentions that sentient beings will descend into hell and suffering according to whatever evil acts they themselves commit. When this happens, no one can suffer in their place, even someone as close as a father or a son. Don’t think committing an evil act is no big deal as long as it’s just something little, or think you can just go ahead and do it without caring about the consequences. The sutra states that people who continue to lie and cheat will fall into the Tongue-Plowing Hell; there, an ox will plow furrows back and forth atop your tongue. This will especially be true of those who swindle people who have been kind to them such as their parents; they think they can cheat them a little and it won’t matter. Many people, when they don’t want to continue talking on the phone, will hang it up, turn it off, or even not answer, and then make an excuse by saying the call ended due to having a bad signal. They think it’s no big deal if they do this just once, but this, too, counts as lying and cheating.

Chapter Six: Tathagata’s Praises. This chapter states that if a woman feels that she is ugly or suffering from multiple illnesses, then as long as she sincerely and respectfully makes obeisance and prostrations before a statue of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, in the future she will have a perfect appearance. Furthermore, over the course of millions of lifetimes she will often be born as the daughter of a king or into a rich or noble family, have an upright countenance, and everything will be perfect for her.

Chapter Seven: Benefiting the Living and the Dead. This chapter teaches the family members of someone who has passed away how to help the deceased. If someone in your family is about to die, you must not allow him or her to eat meat—including meat broth, fish soup, and so on—or implore the ghosts and deities, for such behavior is very bad for the soon-to-be deceased. In addition, the sutra also mentions that you absolutely must not use anything made of meat to offer a sacrifice to the deceased, because doing so would add to the deceased’s karma.

Chapter Eight: The Praises of Yamaraja and Others. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has seen Japanese people who have the custom of offering sacrifice to Yamaraja. They think that as long as they put their palms together respectfully and make a flower offering to Yamaraja, Yamaraja will keep them from dying early and will not come looking for them. However, this concept is incorrect. In the sutra it is mentioned that if one wishes to have the blessings and protection of Yamaraja, then one’s family must carry out virtuous deeds and recite the names of the Buddhas or Bodhisattvas. If you can achieve this, then not only will ghosts, demons, nagas, and so on not come to harm you, even the King of the Ghosts and deities will pay homage to you and offer their protection. The focal point of this chapter is that when someone in the family is on the verge of death, that person’s family members should help him or her to accumulate good fortune; only by making a great offering can they help. Making a great offering does not mean spending money to hire professionals to assist with the recitation; if the causal condition does not exist for finding a virtuous mentor to help the deceased, then only if the family members themselves recite for the deceased will it be helpful. This is because they are the ones who most earnestly wish to help their loved one who is passing away.

Chapter Nine: The Recitation of the Buddhas’ Names. This chapter lists the various benefits that come from reciting the different Buddhas’ names.

Chapter Ten: Appraisal of the Meritorious Virtue Gained from Almsgiving. This chapter states the various benefits that can be obtained from giving different types of charities. The merits from almsgiving should be dedicated to all sentient beings in the hopes that they can attain Buddhahood; they should not merely be dedicated to one’s own family members.

Chapter Eleven: Protection of the Dharma by the Deities in Charge of the Land. These Land Deities are very important to us; the one mentioned in the sutra is Prthivi (the Secure-Firm Deva). The occurrence of landslides, earthquakes, and avalanches actually has to do with the Land Deities. If you are engaged in farming, gardening, or construction, you should pray to the Land Deities. A certain Japanese person working in the construction industry might think that it was enough to have participated in a Ksitigarbha Puja held by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in the past, and so that person is not here for today’s puja. Little did he know that the guru would be discussing matters that are directly related to his profession. Therefore, whenever there is a puja, you all should make every opportunity to attend. Don’t think that just because you have participated in one in the past you therefore do not need to attend anymore. The fact is, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has new things to give you at every single puja.

If you were to read this sutra by yourselves, then just going by the words written therein you might think it rather simple. However, if Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche were to teach this sutra, it would take between one and three months to explain it thoroughly. If you would like to learn The Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows in detail, then you should do your best to implore this—not from Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, but from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. This is because the Bodhisattva would not speak to you, nor would you be able to see Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha.

Chapter Twelve: The Benefits of Seeing and Hearing. This chapter mentions the benefits you can obtain by seeing an image of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha or hearing the Bodhisattva’s name. It also states that if a person does not have enough clothing to wear or food to eat, is afflicted with many illnesses, feels that harsh and unfortunate things somehow keep happening, has begun to decay and go downhill, has unrest or instability in his or her family, often experiences difficulties such as family members being scattered, or has frequent nightmares, then as long as that person practices the Dharma method of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha diligently and respectfully, these unpleasant things will gradually go away. He or she will have plenty to eat and wear, and everything will be peaceful and happy for the person even while dreaming.

Chapter Thirteen: The Commendation of Human Beings and Devas. This chapter makes special mention of sentient beings on Earth, stating that their personalities are not stable; they want to have everything, and are accustomed to creating evil karma. There are many who commit evil, and even when they give rise to a few virtuous intentions, these recede and disappear very quickly. However, when they encounter evil conditions, it is actually very easy for their evil thoughts to increase in number. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave an example: It’s like when someone wants to quit smoking, and knowing full well that he wants to quit, the people around him nevertheless continue to offer him cigarettes or encourage him by saying that smoking just one won’t matter. After being egged on by these people, he immediately builds a craving, and then chain-smokes one cigarette after another. This is because it is fairly easy for evil behavior to build on itself; with every thought it increases.

In the end it says that if a virtuous man or woman sees an image of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, listens to The Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows, or even recites the sutra, gives charity and makes offerings of perfumes, flowers, drinks, food, clothing, and treasures, giving praise and obeisance to Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, then that person can obtain twenty-eight sorts of benefits. What the sutra says is true; Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has acted in accordance with what is written in The Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows, and as a result has obtained many benefits. Don’t think you can obtain help from the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas simply by clapping or tossing in a coin or two; if, after participating in the puja, you go back to your lives and continue to eat meat or kill living beings, is it possible that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will help you?

After explaining the sutra’s key points, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche indicated that he would continue to perform the Dharma, but that first the guru would extremely compassionately allow all the attendees to take a ten-minute break. This was because some people had weak bladders; those who wished to go to the restroom could hurry up and go.

After continuing to perform the Dharma for a while, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestowed precious Dharma teachings upon all the attendees.

The purpose of the last section of the Dharma text is to help everyone to extend their condition to continue practicing Buddhism; it can reduce your afflictions, false views, hunger, epidemic diseases, wars, laziness, hesitations, and forgetfulness, and can keep away all virtuous karma that would hinder you. Hesitation means needing to think it over and wait awhile, hesitating over whether you want to practice Buddhism right now or wait until after you have finished doing something, etc. Then there is forgetfulness; for example, the things you all say most often such as “I forgot,” “I don’t remember,” or “I don’t know, no one told me.” An example of virtuous karma that hinders you from practicing Buddhism is like when you want to participate in the puja but you don’t because of hindrances such as something happening in your shop or with your family. Many of you are like this. For such people, today’s Dharma is being performed in the hopes that Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha will help you so that you no longer make the aforementioned excuses, and allow you to distance yourselves from any virtuous karma that hinders you so that you can become more resolved in your determination to practice Buddhism.

The puja has come to a perfect completion. Back in Tibet, the Dharma performed by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche today used to take an entire day to perform. Because you are all busy, the guru has performed it relatively quickly; however, while performing the Dharma Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not skip any of the Dharma contents. The purpose of today’s Dharma was to allow you all to obtain the merits of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s body, speech, and mind; from now on, however, you will only be able to continue to accumulate such merits based on your own willingness to cultivate them. Much more is written in The Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows, including how to give assistance to an ill family member, the changes that occur during pregnancy, and the things you should do before and after pregnancy. However, our time here today is limited, so Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will not get into all that for now. If you would like to learn more about the Dharma method and sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, you are welcome to implore for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to transmit the Dharma to you.

From now on, whenever you see a statue of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, you should prostrate yourselves before it reverently. If you are unable to, then at the very least you should chant silently to yourselves, “Namo Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha.” As long as you have a great deal of faith in Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, the Bodhisattva will look after you through lifetime after lifetime. This is a saying from Exoteric Buddhism. In Tantric terms, with the utmost respect in your heart you must act in complete accordance with the guru’s teachings, earnestly implore the guru to transmit the Dharma method of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, and practice it diligently. Only then can you obtain the benefits and blessings of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s body, speech, and mind.

Today is August 16th. In Kyoto there is a tradition to hold the Daimonji Festival, and it just so happens that it can be viewed from the location of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center. In a little while there will be a dinner, which has been prepared for every believer who has participated here today; you are all welcome to remain and partake in the meal, as well as enjoy the festivities. It could be said that today’s puja was an amalgamation of customs from Tibet, China, and Japan. Is the Daimonji Festival actually helpful or not? In truth, the Daimonji Festival has the effect of pacifying ghosts and deities to some degree, but it is only temporary. If you wish to obtain any real help, the most important thing for you to do is to practice Buddhism, and to change yourselves beginning with cause and effect.

At 7:30 in the evening, the puja came to a perfect completion. In unison all the attendees expressed their gratitude to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for tirelessly performing the auspicious Dharma and for bestowing precious Dharma teachings upon them. They stood to pay reverent homage as His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche descended the Dharma throne.

On the day of the puja the weather was sunny and clear. After His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche ascended the Dharma throne, a cool drizzle of sweet nectar rain began to fall from the sky over the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center in Kyoto, only to stop a short while later. While the puja was underway, thunder rumbled continuously through the heavens; upon the perfect completion of the puja, however, the sky became clear and bright once more. These weather changes occurring throughout the puja were extremely auspicious signs. They signified that the heavenly beings and Bodhisattvas had all come forward to pay homage and give praise to this auspicious Ksitigarbha Puja held by His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche at the Kyoto Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, during which the guru used pure Dharma nectar and great, awe-inspiring, all-embracing power to benefit countless sentient beings!

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Updated on October 15, 2013