His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings – September 15, 2013

On September 15th, 2013, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche presided over the ninth annual auspicious Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness of the Drikung Kagyu Order of Tibetan Buddhism at Nangang Exhibition Hall in the Taipei World Trade Center. The puja came to a perfect completion under the blessings and protection of Lord Jigten Sumgön, the lineage gurus, the Three-Grace Root Guru His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang, and Dharma Protector Achi. Its merits filled countless sentient beings and all of the attendees with Dharma joy.

At dusk on the day before the puja, a giant dragon-shaped cloud appeared in the sky. It had an extraordinarily vigorous look, and was quite spectacular. It meant that all the devas, nagas, and Dharma protectors had come forward to bless and protect this auspicious Grand Puja. On the day of the puja it was sunny, though early that morning a brief and wonderful rain of nectar had fallen. In the sky above the venue at which the puja was held, an auspicious sign appeared in the form of a double rainbow. This was a symbol of the Buddhas’ and Bodhisattvas’ incomparable praise for the puja, and also meant that His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s superb teachings would be able to benefit countless sentient beings.

Although no media advertisements or public announcements were published for this Grand Puja, as many as 21,868 people attended, including Khenpo Namdol and 5 lamas of the Drikung Kagyu Order of Tibetan Buddhism, 6 lamas from other Orders, and 147 ordained practitioners of Exoteric Buddhism. Also participating together at this auspicious Grand Puja were disciples and believers from Mainland China, Japan, India, Nepal, Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, the U.S., Canada, Austria, Germany, France, Spain, Australia, and Taiwan. The fourfold assembly from both Exoteric and Esoteric Buddhism attended this auspicious puja. Ma Ying-jeou, President of the Republic of China, presented a special flower basket with the inscription, “Perfect Merits.” Jiang Yi-huah, Premier of the Executive Yuan, presented a flower basket with the inscription, “Perfect Success,” and Li Jyun Yi, Deputy Secretary of the Democratic Progressive Party, also presented a flower basket with the inscription, “Perfect Merits.” They all wished that the ninth annual Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness of the Drikung Kagyu Order of Tibetan Buddhism would come to a perfect completion, and that its merits would spread far and wide to benefit countless sentient beings. Premier Jiang Yi-huah of the Executive Yuan, Minister of the Interior Lee Hong-yuan, and Chairman of the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission Luo Ying-shay presented special centerpiece calligraphy scrolls on which were written “Praying for the multitudes with compassionate and benevolent hearts,” “Perfect Success,” and “Great Success,” to wish the puja a smooth and perfect completion.

As in previous years, no fees were collected for entry to this year’s puja, the transferring of consciousness, lamp-lighting, or mandala offerings. The five mandala offering representatives and two thousand representatives who lit lamps in offering to the Buddha were all chosen from believers who had drawn lots from the ballot box as they entered the venue. Furthermore, in order to maintain the purity of the puja, no charity sales or other commercial activities were permitted on the premises. Under His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s supervision and guidance, all of the expenses necessary for holding the puja were supported jointly by members of the Republic of China Glorious Jewel Buddhist Cultural Exchange Association, and no donations were accepted from any external fundraisers.

Before the puja began, a precious audio-visual recording was played at the venue depicting the close guru-disciple relationship that exists between His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, and in which the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang also praised Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for his achievements and for the many contributions he has made to the Order. Another short film was presented which documented Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s 2007 trip to Nepal during which His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang led him in a three-month retreat on the 4,500-meter-high snowy Mount Lapchi, as well as the auspicious details of the three-day Fire-Offering in which the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang led Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche upon the perfect completion of the retreat. Throughout the video was evidence of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s complete surrender to, and respect for, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. It also included footage of The Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness over which Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche presided in faraway Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture in Japan in October 2012. While performing the Dharma, an auspicious sign appeared in which rice and flower petals stopped in mid-air and then slowly fell back down. This meant that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas had given their praise and that the puja would benefit countless sentient beings. Furthermore, just as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had predicted, after the puja, remains were found of shipwrecks and victims who had been killed during the tsunami.

In addition a video was broadcast of the 2013 trip to India during which Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led the disciples to participate in the Long Life Mandala Offering Puja held for His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. It also documented the precious treasure Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had spent eight years preparing—a Shakyamuni Buddha bowl fashioned from thirty-five kilograms of lapis lazuli—as well as how Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had reverently made an offering of it to the Three-Grace Root Guru His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s cultivation was authenticated and blessed by many Mahasiddhas of the Order. In July of 2013, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang made a public announcement during the Grand Puja being held at Ladakh, explaining that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had achieved attainment as a Rinpoche in this lifetime and praising Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for having spared no effort to protect and support the Order and the guru. The video clearly depicted the lineage relationship between the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and his mandala root disciple Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, as well as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s fruition level and wholehearted support of the Order.

At 8:20 in the morning, led and escorted by prayer flags, incense burners, musical instruments, eight offering girls, and a jeweled parasol, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche slowly rode into the premises on an electric car. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s solemn Dharma appearance was extraordinarily dignified, and was preceded by continuous music which had great breadth and depth and was inspiring to everyone who heard it. In quiet reverence and with palms clasped together, every single one of the attendees stood to welcome His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. After stepping up to the mandala, the guru prostrated himself respectfully before the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and presented a khata to the wish-granting jeweled Dharma throne of His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang, lit lamps as an offering to the Buddha, and finally ascended the Dharma throne.

Before performing the Dharma, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestowed precious Buddhist teachings upon all the attendees.

You have all come here today to participate in The Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness, a puja which has been held every year for nine years beginning in 2005. The Dharma to be performed today was transmitted to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche by His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. After revising and compiling the texts of the Great Amitabha Dharma for Transferring Consciousness, it was eleven years ago before the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang orally transmitted the Dharma in person to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, and to him alone. After obtaining permission from His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has continued to hold The Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness on an annual basis. The number of people coming to participate in the puja has continued to grow; in recent years more than 20,000 people have come to attend, and every year there are new people coming to participate for the first time. That such a large-scale puja can continue to be held means that it has obtained the blessings of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas; the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas approve of this puja, which is the reason it can come off each year without a hitch.

Those participating in today’s puja include Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis from Exoteric Buddhism as well as khenpos, lamas, and anis from Tibetan Buddhism, all of which comprise the fourfold assembly from both Exoteric and Esoteric Buddhism. The protagonist of today’s puja is not the presiding guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche; rather, the protagonists are you, the attendees. Without your participation this puja could not have been held, even if Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had wanted to. Every year that it holds The Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness, the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center does not publicize, advertise, or make any public announcements for the event, yet so many people still come to participate in the puja. This means that you all have an affinity with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. In your past lives you must have listened to or recited the Amitabha, or perhaps you even once practiced the Amitabha Dharma method in the past. However, your practice was not effective, so in this lifetime you are all able to come and participate in The Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness.

Your attitude while participating in the puja is very important; you must participate with repentance in your hearts. Why must you have a repentant attitude? It is because your minds are full of delusions and afflictions that make you fall into reincarnation, and for this reason you must give rise to repentance. You also must participate in the puja with compassion and the Bodhicitta, hoping that all sentient beings can be benefited. As for why you have come today, some of you are here for the liberation of your ancestors; this is a virtuous thought. However, if you can spread this virtue to other sentient beings, then you can produce merits. On the surface it might appear that you are the ones that have come to participate in the puja, but in fact you have come on behalf of friends and relatives who have passed away. You should expand this intention so that you are here on behalf of all sentient beings. Whatever your reason for participating in the puja, whether you are here for the liberation of your own relatives or have come in the hopes that participating in the puja will cure you of an illness, all of you have come of your own volition. That being the case, you should listen to the teachings of the guru, the Buddhas, and the Bodhisattvas to broaden your minds. Don’t just hope that you can obtain benefits for yourselves; instead, hope that the power of this puja can help all sentient beings, whether they have an affinity with you or not, so that they can be liberated from the suffering sea of reincarnation.

Two thousand years ago Shakyamuni Buddha introduced Amitabha Buddha in front of 1,250 disciples, the great Bodhisattvas, devas, nagas, and the other eight groups of non-human beings so that sentient beings living in the Age of Degenerate Dharma could practice the Pure Land Dharma method of Amitabha and thereby leave the suffering of reincarnation. The Dharma to be performed today is the Earth Terma that Padmasambhava implored in person from Amitabha Buddha after journeying to the Pure Land. It is a very rare Tantra. This year Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is sixty-six years old; in today’s terms, he is already an old man. There is a strange phenomenon in Taiwan these days: If you’re over the age of fifty, you’re called an old man or an old woman. This is not actually a very elegant way of putting things, but Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche can still accept it. Therefore, if the guru is an old man already, then there is no telling how many more years he will be able to preside over this sort of Grand Puja. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was originally going to retire last year, but His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang would not give him permission to do so. Actually, every time Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche holds The Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness, the guru thinks of it as the last one over which he will ever preside, and hopes that you all can cherish the causal condition for each puja in which you participate.

In The Amitabha Sutra it is written that to be reborn in the Pure Land one must be a virtuous man or woman who is not lacking in virtuous root, good fortune, and causal conditions. Don’t think that simply assisting the deceased with a recitation will cause him or her to go to the Pure Land; it is not so simple. Such a journey is only possible if the deceased meets the conditions described in the sutras. “Not lacking” means continuously accumulating virtuous causal conditions, non-stop; it does not mean just having participated in a few Grand Pujas. As is stated in The Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows, sometimes a few virtuous thoughts will arise in the minds of sentient beings, but these virtuous thoughts can disappear very quickly. After they do, if the sentient beings commit a lot of evil acts, then their virtue is not continuous. The sutras list the three ways to purify one’s karma. Due to time constraints, we won’t explain the three ways in too much detail today, but essentially they are that you must be filial toward your parents, venerate your teachers and elders, be compassionate, and not kill. The primary one is being filial to your parents; if you cannot even accomplish that, then don’t even think about being reborn in the Pure Land. As for maintaining compassion by refraininging from killing, if you still consume the flesh of sentient beings, then no matter how much you worship the Buddha and recite the sutras, it will still be impossible for you to be reborn in the Pure Land.

The word “de” here refers to merits. Reciting sutras, chanting mantras, and attending penitential rites do not amount to practice; only through actual practice can you accumulate merits. In order to obtain merits, you must heed the teachings of the Buddhas, the Bodhisattvas, and the guru, and implement the Dharma in your daily lives. You all separate your Buddhist practice from your daily lives; you think they are two entirely different things. You only maintain the mindset of practicing whenever you participate in a puja; after the puja is over, however, you go back to your lives. This is all wrong; Buddhism is not separate from life. You must take the Dharma that you learn, implement it in your daily lives, and use it to amend any behavior that would cause you to reincarnate; otherwise, your Buddhist practice is nothing more than empty talk. Once you have good fortune and merits, you still need to possess causes and conditions. Today you have come to participate in this puja, during which you will form a profound affinity with Amitabha Buddha so that you can have the causal condition in the future to practice the Amitabha Dharma method and be reborn in the Pure Land. That you have come to participate in today’s puja is also an indication that you have begun to accumulate good fortune. From now on, you must do your best to cherish the causal condition to practice Buddhism. Whether or not the condition unlocked for you today by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continues on into the future is entirely up to you.

The “virtue” of which the Buddha spoke refers to the fact that one must carry out the Ten Meritorious Acts, which are: Refraining from Killing, Refraining from Stealing, Refraining from Sexual Misconduct, Refraining from Speaking Falsely, Refraining from Divisive Speech, Refraining from Harsh Speech, Refraining from Frivolous Talk, Refraining from Greed, Refraining from Hatred, and Refraining from Ignorance. The most fundamental aspect of Refraining from Killing is not eating the flesh of sentient beings; Refraining from Harsh Speech means not being verbally abusive toward people—and this includes hollering out negative criticisms while watching the news on TV. Speaking Falsely refers especially to practitioners who have obviously not achieved a certain state of practice yet who claim that they have, or that they’ve cultivated a certain fruition level—but when someone approaches to implore the Dharma, they say they have not achieved attainment in it and therefore will not transmit it. People who engage in Frivolous Talk like to gossip about this and that and discuss superfluous topics that have nothing to do with the Dharma and which cannot benefit sentient beings. Refraining from Divisive Speech means not bad-mouthing or criticizing others.

In The Sukhavativyuha Sutra and The Amitayurdhyana Sutra it is written that the people in the Pure Land are all people of ultimate virtue. So-called “people of ultimate virtue” means people who are constantly doing a lot of good deeds and cultivating the Ten Meritorious Acts. Practicing Buddhism does not mean being unable to do anything; rather, it is after taking refuge that one must keep the Five Precepts, observe the Ten Meritorious Acts, break away from all evil, do only good deeds, and cultivate compassion in order to accumulate good fortune and merits. According to the sutras, as long as you are a virtuous man or woman who possesses good fortune, causes, and conditions, who has been able to cultivate the Ten Meritorious Acts in this lifetime, and who has vowed to be reborn in Amitabha Buddha’s Pure Land, then you will definitely be able to go there. However, it is also mentioned in The Amitabha Sutra that Shakyamuni Buddha believed that in this Evil Time of the Five Turbidities, the Dharma method of Amitabha Buddha’s Pure Land is a Dharma which people find very hard to believe. In the past, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could not quite understand why the Buddha would say that this Dharma was difficult to believe; after all, so many people wanted to be reborn in the Pure Land, were chanting Amitabha Buddha’s name, and believed in the Buddha. Only after practicing Tantra did Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche realize the truth in what the Buddha said.

Death is a stage through which everyone must pass. Despite knowing that death is inevitable, everybody spends a large amount of time thinking up ways to improve the quality of this lifetime. Many people do not want to face death, because they are afraid of suffering; nor do these people give any thought to what will happen after they pass away, let alone in their next lifetime. However, what Buddhism teaches us is exactly how to face the problem of death. You all think that when you get sick you should go and see a doctor. Many illnesses can be cured by doctors, but there are actually many which cannot. One type for which doctors have absolutely no remedy is old age. However, most people do not accept their age; people in their thirties act like they are in their teens, people in their forties say they are only in their twenties, and people in their sixties proclaim that they still feel young. Is this not just totally bizarre? Everybody, at every minute and every second of the day or night, is constantly aging. We will all face death sooner or later; it is only a matter of time. None of you, however, has taken the time to ponder this problem in earnest. Among Chinese people there is even quite a taboo against discussing death, even though every single person alive must meet with it in the end. From the day a person is born, he or she is doomed to come face to face with his or her moment of death. Would it not be better for you all to conscientiously come to terms with the subject of death?

In fact, beginning a few years before a person’s death, it is possible to know where he or she will go after passing away. Since achieving attainment in performing the Phowa, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has been able to know with much clarity all about a person five years before his or her death, and as such can see what realm he or she will be reincarnated into. Ever since first coming out to help sentient beings in 1997, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has liberated many deceased, and 99% of them still have attachments and hindrances in their hearts before passing away. If a person is subjected to cutting and slicing, such as on a doctor’s surgical table, then there is a good chance that he or she will fall into hell, because this sort of suffering would be endured there. If someone goes into a coma before passing away, then even if that person practiced Buddhism in his or her lifetime it is still very possible that he or she will fall into the Animal Realm, because being in a coma clouds one’s consciousness and therefore makes one unable to hear the Dharma or chant mantras. If you tend to haggle over everything with people during the last few years before you pass away, or if, on your deathbed, you are still thinking about material wealth, possessions, and how they should be distributed, then there is a high chance that you will descend into the Hungry Ghost Realm. If you were benevolent and did a lot of virtuous deeds in your lifetime, yet you have begun to feel proud of that fact as well as all the good deeds you have done, then there is a possibility that you will be reborn in the Human Realm. If you practiced during your lifetime—and this is particularly true of Buddhist practitioners—yet you are arrogant, like to compare yourself with other people, tend to have conflicts with others, or think that you chant better than anyone else, then you might be reborn in the Asura Realm. If you practiced Buddhism throughout your life but are smug and self-righteous, and look down on others, then you might be reborn in the Heavenly Realm. Although you might live comfortably there, eventually you will fall back into reincarnation.

To hold a Grand Puja is quite a difficult thing. It requires a very large amount of manpower, material resources, and financial resources, and the local people must possess good fortune for this to happen. The Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center began preparing for this Grand Puja a year ago; furthermore, prior to performing the Dharma, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had to make many offerings and do a large number of preparations, and even had to go into retreat for two days. While performing the Dharma the guru benefits sentient beings without asking for anything in return. You should pay attention while participating in the puja; don’t let your thoughts wander or think that you cannot understand what the presiding guru is doing. There is no way for you to understand it; only His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, the Buddhas, and the Bodhisattvas know what Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is doing. All you need to do is to concentrate on participating in the puja with respect and repentance in your hearts. If this many people were to do the exact same thing as one, with one unified mind, it would be very powerful indeed. As for everything else, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will take care of it for you.

While participating in the puja you should sit up straight; only in this way can you give rise to an attitude of respect. Do not slump against the backs of your chairs; your posture should be upright. Otherwise it is very easy to fall asleep. Do not dose off during the puja, and do not converse. If you fall asleep, it means you do not wish to listen to the Dharma; it means you are ignorant and have no faith, and in the next life it is very possible that you will fall into the Animal Realm. Because of having participating in the puja, however, you will have some good fortune, so you might be reborn as someone’s pet and be called “Doggy Son” or “Doggy Daughter” or something. Speaking during the puja is very disrespectful and means that you do not revere the Three Jewels. It will also prevent you from accumulating good fortune from participating in today’s puja. Why is that? Giving rise to respect is a form of offering, and only by making offerings can one accumulate good fortune. In addition, it can eliminate all sorts of hindrances to practicing Buddhism. The greatest offering is obedience: To listen to the Buddha’s teachings, and then act accordingly. In the past, whenever participating in pujas, from the moment Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche entered the venues he would clamp his mouth shut and not say another word unless instructed to do so by the guru. As long as you participate in today’s puja with a respectful mindset, this puja will help you by planting a seed in your Eighth Consciousness, where it will remain forever and allow you to have the causal condition to practice Buddhism in the future.

For some of you this is your first time participating in The Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness. The puja in which you are all participating today belongs to the Drikung Kagyu Order, an Order with more than 830 years of history. “Kagyu” means “oral transmission,” and the Drikung Kagyu Order places much importance on actual practice. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is a disciple practicing Buddhism under the Dharma throne of His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang of the Drikung Kagyu Order. The Dharma title “Rinchen Dorjee” was bestowed upon him personally by the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang; “Rinpoche” means “treasure in the human world.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began practicing Buddhism when he was thirty-six years old; even so, it was not until eleven years ago that His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang transmitted the Great Amitabha Dharma for Transferring Consciousness to him. What this means is, Tantra cannot be transmitted casually; if the time or place is not right, it cannot be transmitted. Furthermore, before transmitting a Dharma the guru must observe the disciple in question for a long period of time to gauge how strong the disciple’s aspiration to liberate sentient beings is; a disciple cannot learn it just because he or she might want to. At present the only true “Indiscriminate” Grand Puja being held is this one, hosted by the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center under the supervision and guidance of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. It is our hope that more and more Buddhist centers will also be able to achieve this.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began to perform the auspicious Great Amitabha Dharma for Transferring Consciousness. First the ordained practitioners led all the attendees in a recitation of the Refuge Prayer and the Aspiration Prayer. Next Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche conducted the Ritual of Exorcism so that any sentient beings that might hinder the progress of the day’s Grand Puja would leave. After that, prayers were conducted which described and praised the Dharma appearances of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, Amitabha Buddha, and Bodhisattva Vajrapani, and the yidam Amitabha was implored to approach the mandala to help all suffering sentient beings. After performing the Dharma awhile, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche announced that next would be performed the Ritual of Eight Offerings, to give praise and make offerings to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. The guru taught that making offerings is extremely important for people who practice Buddhism. You all must make sincere offerings to the Three Jewels. Offerings cannot simply be made at your convenience; rather, you must entreat earnestly that the Three Jewels will accept your offerings. Next Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will perform the Dharma and make an offering to the yidam, the Buddhas, and the Bodhisattvas on behalf of sentient beings. You do not need to do anything, but the most fundamental and important thing is that you must have a sincere attitude of offering toward the Three Jewels. As long as you keep this in mind, you will be fine. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will perform this next part on behalf of you all.

After performing a section of the Offering Ritual, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche stated that the Dharma texts contain many offering prayers, all of which the guru has performed on your behalf. For each type of offering there is a different karmic effect. You will be glad to hear about one of them; it includes a section that involves making an offering of all one’s material wealth, and the karmic effect for that is being able to obtain the treasures of the void. The Dharma texts list many forms of karmic effect that will occur as the result of various types of offerings; most of them have to do with practicing Buddhism. However, many among you do not practice, so the guru specially chose that particular one to describe to you because you would be happy to hear it. Next Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued to perform the Dharma. During the ritual, the Dharma appearances of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, Amitabha Buddha, and Bodhisattva Vajrapani were again described, and the merits of The Trinity of the Western Paradise were praised. The guru implored The Trinity of the Western Paradise to approach the mandala to help the attendees and any sentient beings with whom an affinity had been formed. Afterward, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche conducted a ritual of offering and led the attendees in a chanting of the Amitabha mantra for a long time. Next the guru received the empowerment from the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas on behalf of all the attendees as well as the sentient beings with whom they all had affinities, and then gave everyone the four types of empowerments of body, speech, mind, and essence, so that they could receive the Dharma.

After performing the Dharma for a while Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche berated some attendees; a moment before, while giving the empowerment to them and to the sentient beings with whom they had affinities, some people had actually stood up, moved around, and left the hall to go to the restroom. People who left during the empowerment are not entitled to any of its merits. For every second that you leave the puja’s venue, you miss out on a second’s worth of it merits. This is especially true of Tantra. Everything you do and think during a puja produces enormous consequences. Only a little while ago, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche reminded everyone that you must be respectful toward the Three Jewels, yet as it turns out many of you have no respect for the Three Jewels. After Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche resumed performing the Dharma for a while, still some people left their seats to go to the restroom. The guru reprimanded them: “Those of you headed to the bathroom keep gaping and gawking this way and that. Do you think you are out for a stroll?” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed these people going to the restroom to run there and back instead of walking slowly: “This place is not here so that you can go for a walk; if you do not believe in the Dharma, then you are welcome to leave immediately. If you take your time getting to and from the bathroom, then in future your karmic retribution will take its time getting to you as well. You reap what you sow. It will be especially terrible when your karmic retribution hits you right in the moment before you pass away; this is the sort of karmic retribution that results from your having liked to do things slowly.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche went on to perform the Dharma for a short while, but again paused to admonish some believers who were walking around the venue. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche meant what he said; right then and there, the guru gave instructions to all of the volunteer workers at the venue that if they saw any attendees walking too slowly, they were to ask them to leave directly. This is not a concert or a movie theater; if you don’t like it, you can go ahead and leave, and no one will scold you. You are welcome to leave, but you can’t get your money back, because you did not pay any entry fees. If coming to participate in the puja has made you feel bored and caused you to drag your feet to and from the bathroom, then you might as well get out. Remaining here at the puja with that sort of attitude will do nothing but harm you.

After performing the Dharma awhile longer, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued to bestow teachings upon the attendees. The section of Dharma performed just now was meant to help the deceased whom you hope to have liberated. Before they are liberated, you must first receive the Tantric empowerment, and this is true for your ancestors as well. Therefore, if you were one of those people who left the venue just now, then you did not receive the empowerment, and neither did your ancestors. You have not come to participate in today’s puja by yourselves; all of the sentient beings that have anything to do with you have followed you here. If you leave, however, they all leave with you. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is not trying to be harsh or overly strict; doing so would serve no purpose for the guru. In order to preside over this puja, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had to make many offerings and do a lot of preparatory work in advance, as well as go into retreat for two days. Thus, it is not that the guru wants to be strict with you; rather, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s desire to benefit sentient beings is more urgent than yours. The guru would like for all sentient beings to receive help. In Tantra, every action has its own significance, but the purpose of all of them is to benefit you. Sentient beings are very high-strung; if you leave your seat, then the sentient beings you wish to have liberated today will not be liberated.

Next the eight offering girls sang an offering song, and the Tsok-Offering and Tea-Offering rituals were performed. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told everyone that they could go ahead and eat some of the food offerings they received, and caringly oversaw the distribution of the food offerings. Afterward the guru said, “Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is not being unreasonable. Those of you who wanted to go to the bathroom may go ahead and go.” Upon seeing many people scurry off to the restroom, the guru said humorously, “Despite being sixty-six years old, it seems Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is in better physical condition than you are; even after sitting on the Dharma throne for a few hours, I still don’t need to go.” Subsequently, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued to perform the Dharma. After conducting the Rice-Offering Ritual, the guru began to perform the Ritual for Transferring Consciousness.

At this time, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed all the attendees to stand. “Any of you able to stand should do your best to stand. Unless you are unable, after standing you should face the mandala and bow down in three prostrations on behalf of the deceased.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche compassionately asked the attendees to speak the names of the deceased they wished to help many times, and reminded everyone that they should say the names rather loudly. While performing the Ritual for Transferring Consciousness, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led the attendees in the recitation of a supplication prayer. The guru’s earnest and sorrowful voice while reciting revealed his incomparable compassion and mercy, deeply moving all of the attendees. They sincerely prayed that His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would help the deceased who were suffering in reincarnation. During the ritual, the guru’s Dharma voice moved and awed everyone present, resounding endlessly through the void. As with the boundless power of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s compassion, it awakened all sentient beings in reincarnation.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave instructions for the Dedication Ritual to commence, and extremely compassionately led all the attendees in recitations of the Aspiration Prayer for Rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land in both Tibetan and Chinese. The guru’s solemn Dharma voice was full of compassion as it purified the afflicted minds of sentient beings. Everyone who heard it was overcome with a heartfelt respect and gratitude, and many of the attendees could not help but burst into tears of sincere joy. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had immense mercy on the ignorant, suffering sentient beings, and while reciting the prayer, the guru got so choked up that he was momentarily unable to speak and began to shed tears on the spot. Selflessly, the master practitioner used every ounce of his being to propagate the Dharma in order to fulfill his vow to benefit sentient beings. All of the attendees were deeply moved, and felt incomparably ashamed that they were still drifting through reincarnation.

Upon the perfect completion of the Dedication Ritual, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche stated, “The next item on the program was for the guru to descend the Dharma throne and make rounds through the audience to sprinkle nectar water on everyone. While Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is sprinkling the nectar water, it would be better for you to sit in your seats. After the guru is finished, you should not rush to leave the venue; there are still more goodies for you a bit later.”

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche stepped off the mandala and boarded an electric car. Preceded by the eight offering girls, the guru rode back and forth through the entire audience, sprinkling Kusha grass-steeped nectar water and blessings upon the more than twenty thousand participants, thereby purifying everyone’s body, speech, and mind. All of the attendees sat quietly waiting, completely enthralled by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s all-embracing power. The Kusha grass the guru held in hand was extremely heavy with nectar water as he sprinkled it. Nevertheless, completely ignoring the pain from his chronic S-type scoliosis and in his right shoulder, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche kept on waving the Kusha grass he was holding to send the nectar water sprinkling down upon the attendees who were waiting respectfully with their palms held together. All the while, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continuously chanted mantras to bless all the attendees, and for this they all felt extremely joyous and grateful.

After sprinkling nectar water on all the attendees for twenty minutes, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was extremely exhausted. The guru’s clothes were soaked from constantly waving the Kusha grass wet with nectar water back and forth; nevertheless, the guru still ascended the mandala once more. Although his hands had lost all their strength, still Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche managed to hold onto an attending disciple’s arm and, speaking through the attending disciple’s handheld microphone, the guru continued to compassionately bestow precious Dharma teachings upon all the attendees.

Earlier you each received a bottle of nectar water. In it is a nectar pill which is extremely precious and difficult to obtain. In Tibet, it is extremely difficult for most believers to get their hands on nectar pills; only major benefactors have the good fortune to gain possession of them. Nectar pills are in keeping with what the sutras refer to as “Dharma medicine.” There are no nectar pills in Exoteric Buddhism, as they are made from Tibetan herbal medicines. They are blessed by many master practitioners; while they are being made, many mantras are chanted, the most common of which is the Great Six-Syllable Mantra. Some of them are mantras of Vajrasattva, and some are mantras of relatively special yidams; their blessings are very powerful.

If you have a young child at home who constantly cries and carries on at night because of being frightened, you can give him or her a little nectar water, and it is certain to be effective. However, if you are feeling ill as the result of having eaten seafood or meat, and have diarrhea, then nectar water won’t work at all; on the contrary, it could cause your condition to worsen. If a deceased did not practice Buddhism while alive, then if you place a nectar pill in the deceased’s mouth as he or she is passing away you can prevent him or her from falling into the Three Evil Realms, unless the deceased has committed any of the Five Uninterrupted Evil Acts. When this bottle of nectar water is nearly empty, you can top it off with mineral water. It doesn’t matter what brand; when the time comes, if you can’t find this same brand, don’t come looking for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Any sort of mineral water will do.

It is very difficult to obtain nectar pills in the Tibetan region. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche revealed that there is yet another secret about nectar pills, but that he would not speak of it today. Those of you who know, know; those of you who don’t know, don’t know. Otherwise, you would all run up looking for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. When you take the nectar water home, you should place it in a high, clean location. Don’t worry about the water going off after keeping it for too long a time; the nectar water Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche kept while reciting the Great Compassion Mantra forty-nine times a day back when the guru was practicing Exoteric Buddhism is the same nectar water he still places on the mandala, and in over twenty years it has neither spoiled nor gone off. To this day the water is still clean and pure, and not the least bit muddy. If nectar water becomes turbid it is not a problem with the water or the nectar pill; rather, it means there is a problem with your mind. Because your mind has become turbid, the nectar water’s blessing has left it. A moment ago while Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was sprinkling nectar water upon everyone, some of you were very happy to receive it, while some of you ducked to avoid it. Actually, that nectar water is cleaner than any of your bodies; Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would never give you anything from this mandala that was not clean.

By coming to participate in today’s puja you have already unlocked the causal condition for practicing Buddhism. During the entire puja, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has constantly been making offerings to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas on your behalf, helped you to make many offerings, and recited many prayers. In doing so the guru has paved the way for you all by making preparations for the future so that you can accumulate the resources necessary for practicing Buddhism. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche hopes that in the future you all can appreciate your good fortune and practice Buddhism with diligence. The guru has not asked for you to follow him in your Buddhist practice; you should not attend the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, for it is a small Buddhist center. Currently there are already more than 1200 disciples who have taken refuge in Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, and the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center could never accommodate all the people who have come here today. If you have faith in the Buddha and wish to learn the Dharma, then you may go to any Buddhist center which respects the Three Jewels and practices according to the Dharma; it is not necessary that you learn from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. When learning from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the scene just now with the guru making rounds through the attendees to sprinkle nectar water is the least of your worries; learning from Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is very hard work. A little while ago, while reciting the Aspiration Prayer for Rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s tears were not shed as the result of feeling moved or sad; rather, the guru felt anxious to the point of tears because the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas were anxious upon seeing all these sentient beings who refused to heed the Buddha’s teachings. Thus, sentient beings are very difficult to save.

In The Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows it is written that the human beings of Earth are the most difficult sentient beings in the entire void to liberate. The sutra describes Earthly humans as stubborn, conceited, difficult to tame, and difficult to teach. If you want to learn Buddhism, then never eat meat again; a Buddhist practitioner absolutely does not eat meat. As for any of you who continue to eat meat after participating in today’s puja, in future don’t bother coming to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, because the guru would certainly scold you out the door. Today’s puja succeeded in gathering together the Fourfold Assembly; everyone present has come together to do a great and virtuous deed. It is our wish that all of the puja’s merits be dedicated to making all of Taiwan an even better place. We hope that Taiwan can become what is referred to in the sutras as the Pure Land. Believers from such places as India, Japan, America, and so on have also come to participate in today’s puja, and we hope that after this they can carry the good fortune and Dharma affinities they gained from participating in this puja back with them to their respective places of origin so that their countries, too, can obtain help from the Dharma. All of you who have attended today have a responsibility to spread the power of participating in today’s puja all around the world so that Buddhism can be propagated everywhere.

Upon the perfect completion of the puja, the venue’s more than twenty thousand attendees stood to pay reverent homage to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. While boarding the electric car to leave, the guru held the vajra high in hand and gazed around with a compassionate look in his eyes, never forsaking any sentient beings, all the while chanting mantras and bestowing blessings upon the attendees. All the attendees expressed their gratitude toward Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche by clapping non-stop, and many times they thanked the guru in unison.

In Tibetan regions, the Great Amitabha Dharma for Transferring Consciousness usually takes an entire day to perform. Employing great, unfathomable meditative powers, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was able to bring it to a perfect completion in just over three hours’ time. Furthermore, using the vast merits he himself has accumulated, the guru liberated all the sentient beings that came forth, and for this every single attendee was full of praise and gratitude. As a result of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s all-embracing power, the entire Grand Puja progressed in an orderly fashion and very smoothly without the slightest hint of chaos or clamor. All of the attendees had a profound sense of the solemnness and auspiciousness of this Grand Puja. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche acted in complete accordance with the Dharma, seeking neither fame nor profit. Under the blessings and protection of His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, the Buddhas, and the Bodhisattvas, and drawing on his own great attainments in Tantric practice, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche selflessly propagated the Dharma to liberate sentient beings, benefiting countless sentient beings in the void.

After the puja, witnessed by the Director of the Secretariat of the Social and Family Affairs Administration, Ministry of Health and Welfare, attorneys, and representatives from the bank, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche donated the more than NT$7.55 million in offerings from the attendees to the Social and Family Affairs Administration, Ministry of Health and Welfare as charity to be used for social welfare, thereby forming vast and virtuous affinities for all of the attendees. Ever since 2005, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has presided over the Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness of the Drikung Kagyu Order of Tibetan Buddhism for nine years in a row. Over these nine years a total of more than 150,000 people have participated, causing the Drikung Kagyu Order to become widely known amongst the people of Taiwan. Not only has this helped to propagate the Drikung Kagyu Lineage, but has also endowed it with the causal condition to flourish throughout eternity. This puja truly is a grand, auspicious event for the Drikung Kagyu Order which is causing Buddhism to be spread all around the world and benefiting countless sentient beings.

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Updated on October 29, 2013