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

Before the puja began, an elderly ordained disciple thanked His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for bestowing upon her the chance to express her gratitude and to repent. She wanted to use this opportunity to thank His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for caring for her by putting a roof over her head and food in her belly, as well as for allowing her to find safe residence in the dormitory where she could practice Buddhism in peace. She also thanked the Dharma brothers with whom she lived for looking after her.

She had fallen down twice. One of the times was while participating in a puja at the Buddhist Center in Japan, when she had fractured her left hand; the other time was recently, while on her way back home from evening prayers, when she had fallen and broken her right hand while going up the stairs. Both times she had been grateful for the Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s protection and blessings which had allowed her to bypass the suffering of surgery and lessen the effects of heavy karmic retribution.

After falling she had gotten up and taken the elevator to the sixth floor of the dormitory, and by then her right hand had begun to swell and was hurting. A Dharma brother had accompanied her to check into the hospital emergency room. By the time her X-rays had been taken, it was already eleven o’clock at night. After looking at the X-rays, the doctor had said the bone was broken, but that the operating room was completely booked the next day (Saturday). As a result, the doctor had arranged for the medical personnel in the emergency room to put a cast on her at seven o’clock the following morning. She was grateful for His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings which had allowed her to avoid the suffering that comes from surgery. She also thanked her Dharma brothers for having made a special trip to see her. During the five weeks that she’d had the cast on, her everyday needs had been attended to by her Dharma brothers; for this she expressed a profound gratitude.

That Monday, she had gone for a check-up at the Glorious Jewel Chinese Medicine Clinic and brought her X-rays with her for the doctor to see. After glancing at them, the doctor had said that her bone was broken, and prescribed some traditional Chinese medicine for her to take. She was very grateful to the Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and the personnel at the Chinese Medicine Clinic for the great care they had taken to look after her. On Friday morning she had gone back to the hospital clinic for another appointment, and the doctor had said that in three weeks’ time she would be able to remove the upper half of the cast on her right hand, and that another two weeks later she would be able to remove the other half. She was very grateful for His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings, for allowing her to recover so quickly. That Saturday, when she had gone to the Buddhist Center to thank Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the guru had shown much concern while asking her why she had not telephoned her team leader as soon as the incident had occurred, and why she had not immediately gone to the Clinic or seen a traditional Chinese doctor. In compliance with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s instructions, she had continued to see a traditional Chinese doctor and applied a traditional Chinese ointment, and her wound had healed very quickly. She was very grateful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche!

She also wanted to take this opportunity to make a public repentance. She repented that before beginning to practice Buddhism, she had enjoyed eating chicken wings; now that she had tasted the karmic retribution for that in the form of having had both her hands broken, she repented that she should never have harmed sentient beings in order to satisfy her own epicurean desires. She also wanted to repent for all the evil karma she had created in the past, and for countless sentient beings she had harmed. She hoped that they could all be liberated by His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and leave behind the suffering sea of reincarnation. She also wanted to repent for having frequently dozed off during morning and evening prayers, as well as for not having been able to concentrate while chanting mantras. She had known deep down that she should not be doing these things, and had warned herself that she must strive to improve and devote her attention to chanting mantras. She wanted to thank the ordained Dharma brothers for having taught her to focus on Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Dharma photo while chanting mantras. After listening to them and following their advice, she really had stopped dozing off. Finally, she prayed that His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would have good health and keep turning the Dharma wheel, and that the Drikung Kagyu Lineage would flourish forever, benefiting all sentient beings.

Next, a second disciple expressed gratitude to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for allowing her the opportunity to praise the guru’s great awe-inspiring power and compassion, and shared her story of how the Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who is no different from the Buddha, had helped her and her family.

In 2002 she, who at the time had still been living in Hong Kong, had suddenly received a telephone call from Taipei informing her that her mom had been found to have tongue cancer, and that the feasibility of surgery was being assessed. At the same time, her younger brother’s friend, a disciple at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, had given her brother and mother a referral to seek audience with His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, and so they had been given the guru’s compassionate teachings and blessings.

After more than two weeks of recurring examinations and assessments, her brother, relatives, and friends had all urged her mom to undergo surgery as soon as possible. At the time her mom had been struggling in extreme pain, but at the insistence of her relatives and friends she had finally agreed to be treated by way of surgery. Prior to the operation, her mom and younger brother had again sought an audience with His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The guru had berated her younger brother: “How can you put it all in the doctors’ hands? Can they guarantee that the surgery will cure your mother?” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had then instructed him to ask this of the doctors, and to not give consent until all of the medical care arrangements had been made. At the same time, the guru had compassionately blessed their mom.

As their mom was preparing for the operation, she had returned to Taipei to take care of her, and had gone to seek an audience with His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The guru had compassionately bestowed guidance upon her, telling her that he would help her mom’s operation go smoothly, and had agreed to allow her to participate in the Chod Puja. Her mom’s surgery had gone without a hitch, and she had recovered quite quickly as well. Later, lab results had shown that the cancer had not metastasized to her lymph nodes. She knew that all of this had been thanks to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s compassionate blessings and protection. She was grateful to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Her marriage had led her to relocate to Hong Kong with her husband. There she had gone from experiencing a total language barrier to gradually adapting to her environment. For more than ten years, however, her life as a full-time housewife had involved almost no one other than her husband and their two children, for none of her close friends lived there. In addition, during her second pregnancy her advanced age and the occurrence of a placenta previa had led to premature child birth, and taking care of the child had required even more physical and mental effort. This had gradually weakened her constitution and given her a problem something like an anxiety disorder, and as a result her homesickness had worsened. Meanwhile, her husband had met with some difficulties in his job, and all of these factors had combined to make her feel an extreme need to run away from Hong Kong. However, she had never been able to get her husband to agree to leave.

In 2004 she had returned to Taiwan to celebrate the Chinese New Year, and had gone to seek an audience with His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche again. After hearing her describe her situation, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had told her, “You won’t have an opportunity to come back until the year after next.” After listening to the guru’s words, she had felt a little disappointed. She had known, however, that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was now definitely aware of her extreme desire to return to Taiwan. That day she had gotten up the courage to implore to take refuge in His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The guru had compassionately said, “Well then, go ahead and register!” She had answered, “But I don’t live in Taiwan. What should I do?” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had smiled and said, “It doesn’t matter. First go ahead and register.” And so that very same day she had registered to take refuge, and had even bought a string of prayer beads and the Dharma recordings of Repentance and Happiness and Suffering to take back with her to Hong Kong.

She had thought that life would be the same, with her days full of afflictions as usual, but about half a month after returning to Hong Kong, she had suddenly awaken in the middle of the night with an extremely uncomfortable fever. After having built up for such a long time, her physically and emotionally exhausted state had finally caused her body to break down! This time her husband had finally backed down, agreeing that the entire family could move back to Taiwan together that summer vacation. Right at that moment, she had felt like a drowning person who had suddenly grasped hold of and been saved by a floating piece of wood; hope had seemed abruptly to rekindle in her life. She knew that all of this had been thanks to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s compassionate blessings and help which had allowed her to be reborn. Thus, on August 11th, 2004 she had returned safely to her native land. Furthermore, on August 22nd there happened to be a refuge puja being held, which was why she had had the causal condition to have her wish fulfilled to take refuge and begin learning the Dharma from His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche often told the disciples, “A Buddhist practitioner will never starve, nor be without a roof overhead, nor lack clothing to wear.” Over the years, sheltered by the compassionate blessings of His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, she had gone from having been an unemployed housewife for more than ten years, shut off from human relationships and even lacking the ability to speak very clearly, to return step by step to the fold of humanity, where she had learned to communicate and cope with people. She had also returned once more to the workplace. She knew that all of this was thanks to the compassion His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had bestowed upon her.

His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had often warned the disciples that “life is impermanent,” and that they “must deeply believe in cause and effect.” The guru had also often used his own life experiences as examples for the disciples to see, and had taught them to accept and face everything that happened to them with a repentant and compassionate attitude. Furthermore, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had taught them such things as, “Practicing Buddhism is what people of character do;” “Don’t be afraid—you must be fearless and believe in the guru;” “Every time you feel pain from illness, afflictions, or setbacks, it is an opportunity to repay your debt, so you actually should be happy about it;” “Live by adapting to each rising condition and keep calm no matter what happens;” and so on. All of these had been extremely precious exhortations of life skills and attitudes taught to the disciples by His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Thus, when she had gotten hyperthyroidism in early 2008, and after she had returned home from the Chod Puja in 2011 to find that her home had been broken into that evening, as well as when she had fallen down the stairs and sustained an injury in 2012, the words taught by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had time after time given her stability and boundless blessings, allowing her to face these problems and very quickly return to her everyday existence and work with a calm mind. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche often said that smooth and steady days are not for us to enjoy; rather, their purpose is to give us time, helping us by reducing the hindrances to our Buddhist practice so that we can practice the Dharma with our minds at peace. The guru also often reminded the disciples that they should remember never to become mentally lax. She was grateful for His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s earnest and tireless teachings.

“His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche treats each disciple as a cherished treasure, not only taking care of us and our family members but also of our relatives and friends around us, as well as the sentient beings with whom we have affinities. Also, each one of our lives was saved and given to us by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.” No words, written or spoken, could be used to express even a fraction of the gratitude she felt; nor did she have any idea of how she should repay it. All she could do was hope that she could at least do her best to take care of herself, listen to the guru, immediately act in accordance with the guru’s teachings, and not cause the guru any worries. Only then could Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche have more time and causal conditions with which to help even more sentient beings, as well as be able to allow even more sentient beings the opportunity to become liberated from the suffering sea of reincarnation.

His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche often taught, “Faith is the mother of all merits,” and was constantly teaching both verbally and by example that the disciples should have faith in, respect for, and frequent recollections of the guru. This was because these are the foundations of Buddhist practice. The guru also taught the disciples to examine, every night before bed, whether or not they had exhibited any flaws that day in body, speech, or mind; if so, they should amend such behavior immediately. She herself still had not actually accomplished this yet, and for that she felt deeply ashamed and repentant.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche often taught the disciples, “Each of your thousand or ten thousand faults is your own,” reminding them to frequently reflect upon their actions. Because all sentient beings have Buddha-nature, Buddhist disciples should learn to treat every single sentient being “equally” and “indiscriminately.” Every time a disciple lights a lamp, burns a stick of incense, makes a prostration before the Buddha, and participates in a puja—all of this is done on behalf of all sentient beings in the Dharma Realm. All of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teaching are aimed at instructing disciples how to become liberated from life and death and reincarnation, and such auspicious teachings are the same as the Long Life Prayer written for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche by His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang which stated, ” Rare and precious gems, victor’s teachings; Benefiting sentient beings with compassion and great power, as sublime as a marvelous dance.” These appear especially precious in today’s world during the Age of Degenerate Dharma; how, the disciple wondered, could she have been fortunate enough to be taught with such auspicious teachings? For this reason, she would do her best to treasure this rare causal condition to learn Buddhism in the footsteps of His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche!

In mid-July of this year, she had been fortunate enough to follow His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to Ladakh in India to participate in the auspicious consecration ceremony for Hevajra Monastery and the Thousand-Armed and Thousand-Eyed Avalokiteshvara Empowerment Puja. On this trip, not only had she again witnessed with her own eyes the auspicious signs and deeds during which Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche—this master practitioner who was no different from the Buddha—had liberated sentient beings, and thereby given rise to an even stronger faith in the guru, but she also recalled fondly how His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had thought constantly of the wellbeing of sentient beings, the great compassion with which the guru was incessantly helping sentient beings, and the selfless contributions and all-out support the guru provided for the Order.

“The great, wise Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche not only teaches us how to treat people, handle our affairs, be filial to our parents, and educate our children, but also how to put the Dharma into practice in our daily lives and amend all behavior which would cause us to reincarnate. ‘Amending oneself’ is nothing less than the most difficult job in the universe! However, all of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s laughs, smiles, anger, and reprimands are the Dharma; everything the guru does and says is a demonstration for the disciples to see so that they can practice Buddhism in the guru’s footsteps and act accordingly. Actually, all the disciples have to do is be obedient and do as they are told! ‘Acting according to the guru’s teachings’ is the key! At any given time and place, His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is always blessing and protecting the disciples, as well as the sentient beings with affinities. Like the Buddha’s light, constantly shining down on sentient beings, the guru always gives the disciples the best things and is constantly creating causal conditions for them to practice Buddhism, while at the same time teaching the disciples how to make offerings and practice almsgiving so that they can accumulate the resources and good fortune with which to practice Buddhism. The guru’s every thought is for the disciples and sentient beings.” She would engrave it in her mind to redouble her efforts, practice Buddhism more diligently, and put her all into everything she did so that she could follow in Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s footsteps so as to repay the debt of gratitude she owed the guru and the Buddha!

His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once taught that in the Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows it is written, “Every thought aroused by sentient beings generates karma and vice.” Then and there she wanted to repent for all of the various evil thoughts to which she had ever given rise. Most of all she wanted to repent for all of the sentient beings she had harmed—both intentionally and unintentionally—through lifetime after lifetime, as well as various evil acts she had committed and the evil karma she had created as a result of her having acted out of greed, hatred, ignorance, arrogance, and doubt, engaged in divisive speech and theft, and acted haughtily, selfishly, and self-righteously.

It is not easy to obtain human form, to listen to the Buddha Dharma, and to encounter a guru. She wondered how she had been fortunate enough to take refuge in the Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who was no different than the Buddha; this was an extremely rare opportunity of a lifetime, and one which she would not encounter again for who knew how many lifetimes to come. Therefore, she wished to follow closely in Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s steps, act according to the guru’s teachings, and practice Buddhism diligently with the utmost respect, repentance, and compassion in her heart so that she could be liberated from reincarnation! Finally, she prayed that His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would have good health, keep turning the Dharma wheel, and spread his Dharma activities far and wide to benefit all sentient beings, and that the Drikung Kagyu Lineage would flourish forever.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche ascended the Dharma throne and bestowed precious Dharma teachings upon all the attendees.

Today we will continue revealing the constant practice of attitude and methods in regards to cause and effect as taught by Master Gampopa. For most believers and ordinary people, the two teachings revealed last time are relatively easy to understand; however, only a handful of people are actually able to cultivate them. Very few people can succeed in breaking away from all evil, and there are also those who feed themselves a lot of excuses.

Some people make money from the flesh of sentient beings, thinking it’s fine; because, after all, they are not the ones doing it; it is their husbands. They think that if their husbands stop doing it, then they will not have enough money with which to feed their families, and that as such they will starve. As long as the money earned involves evil karma, then so do you, any time you use that money. Even if you say you haven’t taken any money from him, you certainly have, because as a married couple the two of you live together. How is it possible for you not to use a single cent of his money? For example, if he is paying the mortgage and you are living in his house, then you are using his money. If he is paying the mortgage and you are paying the electricity bill, then you are also using his money.

Many people do not believe in cause and effect. They think that as long as they keep performing grand prostrations, they can cause their husbands to come to a realization and stop engaging in such behavior. When is anything ever that easy? Even the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas need many lifetimes in order to curb the desires of sentient beings to commit evil. If you do not break away from evil immediately, then you must not think that worshiping the Buddha and participating in the pujas is enough to turn things around for you. Cause and effect are certainties. Take for example the disciple who came out to speak just now; she is ordained, eats vegetarian, is very well-behaved, and does not have the opportunity to commit evil these days; why, then, did she still fall down twice and break her hands? It was because she had taken life, and had not thoroughly repented or cultivated good fortune and wisdom. She had thought that because she was ordained, no disasters could befall her. Actually, all manner of disasters can happen to you after you become ordained, because if you practiced well in this life, then after you’re gone, where will these sentient beings go to find you?

Because this disciple was ordained, the effects of her karmic retribution were lessened, but it still gave her problems nonetheless. What problems were they? Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s medical clinic treated her free of charge, yet all she said was that the doctor had been good to her. This means that she has no sense of gratitude. People without a sense of gratitude naturally have no sense of repentance. How could she be so confused? It is because she has not thoroughly repented; she still thinks she is devoid of evil. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is not trying to seek merits today from bestowing medicine; for many years the guru has done virtuous deeds in silence, many of which none of you is aware. This disciple is an ordained practitioner, yet she does not even take the lead to let sentient beings know of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s merits. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could easily instruct the doctor to immediately stop providing her with medical treatment, or tell the people at the clinic to ignore her. These people are fulfilling the guru’s wishes because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed them to give medical treatment to ordained practitioners free of charge. This is the only reason they have been good to this disciple, but she does not understand that fact. Everyone at the clinic has a share of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s virtuous collective karma. As an ordained practitioner, everything she eats and uses belongs to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche; how is it that she still has not learned to praise the guru so that her good fortune can arise?

Right then and there Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked this disciple asked whether or not the guru had blessed her hand before, and whether or not she had mentioned this or not. The disciple replied that she had. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said that this disciple had not in fact mentioned it, which meant that she was talking back to the guru. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche went on to say that her talking back to the guru meant that further incidents would arise in the future; even if Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had blamed this disciple in error, so what? She did not believe in cause and effect. Even if she had indeed mentioned it—although Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had said that she had not—what harm would it do her to feel a bit wronged? She was still cultivating the Six Paramitas; what good had that done her? She did not believe in cause and effect, and was haughty and arrogant; did she think she was special just because of her advanced age? Not only that, but everything she ate and used was provided by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche; was she not even able to take on board a few words said to her by the guru?

Just now this disciple was even dozing off down there. Why would she doze off? It is not because she is old and frail; rather, it is that she does not respect the guru. People who respect the Three Jewels would not doze off. Another ordained practitioner, sitting behind her, is in even poorer health than she is; she even has cancer, yet Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has never heard her complain of discomfort before. This disciple who keeps dozing off really is quite the peacock; she’s too snobby to realize where she is at fault. Among a few practitioners, by comparison the ordained disciple sitting behind her, although she is of a similar age and has cancer, has never griped in front of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. What is she cultivating? She is cultivating forbearance and faith in the Three Jewels. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche heavily berated the disciple who had dozed off: “Just who do you believe in? You’re muddling through life in utter confusion! And you’re still being argumentative!” Originally Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was just going to mention her and then forget about it, but she actually talked back. Right then and there, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed the other ordained disciples not to allow this disciple to do any chores inside the dormitory lest she fall down and break another bone.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche went on to state that people who do not believe in cause and effect tend to allow themselves to go lax. All actions produced by body, speech, and mind will cause karma to emerge. Whether that karma is virtuous or evil, it will pull us back down into reincarnation in the future. All of the patient and earnest advice bestowed by the Buddha and the master practitioners is not given for their own benefit, but rather so that in the future everyone can be liberated from life and death. Many people think being liberated from life and death is not the most important thing in practicing Buddhism. Actually, the Buddha mentioned this matter in many sutras, and even emphasized that it was necessary for practitioners to give rise to a very strong mind of renunciation in order to renounce this world of reincarnation. Without a strong mind of renunciation, you cannot be liberated from the effects that lead to reincarnation; this causal condition begins with you. If you still think the purpose of practicing Buddhism is to seek protection and blessings, and that if you continue to worship things will change for the better, then things will indeed change for the better, but it won’t happen in this lifetime; it will happen in a future one. Such good fortune cannot be used in this lifetime.

If you worship the Buddha, it should be done to eliminate your karmic hindrances rather than to obtain good health and riches; this is stated very clearly in Buddhism: You must cultivate both good fortune and wisdom at the same time. Without good fortune and wisdom, you cannot be liberated from life and death; if you have not accumulated both good fortune and wisdom, then you will not be able to ward off karmic hindrances, and therefore you will not be able to attain enlightenment. Sometime during the past few pujas Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche revealed that there was once a Zen master who immediately attained enlightenment after breaking a cup, and that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche himself once accidentally kicked the foot of a stool and immediately came to realize that “all phenomena arise from conditions and are empty in nature.” Where do such things come from? They are not the result of an accident; rather, it happens when a practitioner’s good fortune, wisdom, and resources have accumulated to a certain point so that they possess the proper causal condition, and just a tiny movement or sound is enough to bring the practitioner to total enlightenment. If a practitioner does not possess the good fortune, wisdom, and resources, then even if every cup in an entire department store were to break or all of the legs of a stool were kicked right in half, that practitioner would still not be able to attain enlightenment. If you don’t believe it, you can go home and kick a stool leg every day and see what happens. Why can’t you achieve attainment? It is because you do not possess good fortune, wisdom, and resources. Where does good fortune come from? To get it you must make offerings. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has told you all in the past that the fastest way of accumulating good fortune is to make offerings to the guru, and that the most important offering is respect. The elderly disciple who talked back to the guru a little while ago is not respectful. She just thinks Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is a good person, and that because he is a guru he should be good to her. She thinks that because she is ordained, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has to treat her well. What reasoning does she base this on? She has suffered so much, yet has not changed one bit. If she makes the same mistake one more time, she will have to leave the dormitory. Don’t think that her chanting the Great Six-Syllable Mantra every day means she is practicing; she still hasn’t changed one tiny bit.

Once you possess good fortune, wisdom, and resources, you will be able to listen to and understand the Dharma taught by the guru rather easily. Without these things, you still would be clueless even if the guru were to speak for another hundred years. Why does Buddhism not use the words “know” or “comprehend,” but instead uses the word “realize?” One side of the Chinese character for “realize” is a heart, while the other side is “self”—meaning, “my heart.” This is not academic knowledge that you can listen to with your ears, see with your eyes, or recite with your mouth; it is something from your life which you realize profoundly in your heart. The guru helps you to accumulate good fortune, wisdom, and resources as quickly as possible, but if you are not listening then the guru cannot help you. What is “listening?” It means committing to memory what the guru says; even if you cannot achieve it right now, you should at least not do something different. Don’t use your own way to practice Buddhism; if your way were okay, then you would not have to sit down there, and by now more than a thousand Rinpoches might have appeared. Why is it that not a single one has emerged among you? It is because you do not listen; you think Buddhist practice means understanding your interpersonal relationships so that you can be a better person in the future. This, too, is irrelevant; once you have practiced Buddhism and understand and believe in cause and effect, your interpersonal relationships will improve naturally. They will improve gradually; you will not need to go and deliberately change the way you do things normally. As long as you believe in cause and effect, then the way you do everything will naturally change; you won’t need to act very deliberately.

There was a disciple who, try as she might, was unable to change. Every thought she gave rise to was about protecting herself, not getting reprimanded, and not getting involved in anything; she shirked every responsibility she could. This is an example of not believing in cause and effect. Thus, when she would look for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche one day, the guru would show her that he, too, could shirk the responsibility of helping her. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche often teaches you that some people implore for the guru to perform the Phowa, but even if Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gives verbal agreement, it does not mean the causal condition exists for the guru to perform it for them. This is cause and effect; wherein lies the problem? It is not that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is not compassionate; rather, where there is no cause, there is naturally no effect. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is constantly reprimanding, teaching, and reminding you, but this is absolutely not so that the guru can have an easy life. If Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche wanted to live the good life, it would be quite simple. There are people out there who have tons of treasures hidden in three caves, but Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche doesn’t even have a single one.

You need to be clear about the fact that the Dharma propagated at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center was all taught by Shakyamuni Buddha, and is all based on Dharma passed down by the gurus of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage. One day there was a monastic who approached Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for advice, saying that he did not know how to tell the difference between a fake guru and a genuine one. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not bother to answer, because the man was haughty and arrogant. This also meant he did not have a clear understanding of the sutras. Shakyamuni Buddha stated very clearly that the Four Reliances include: Rely on the Dharma, not on people; Rely on the sutras of definitive meaning, not those of provisional meaning; Rely on the true meaning, not just the words; etc.

In the sutras it is written that finally there was a disciple who asked Shakyamuni Buddha what they should rely on as their guide when the Buddha was not in the world. The Buddha answered, “Use the precepts as your guide.” Why the precepts? There are many kinds of precepts, and they are divided into the Laity Precepts, the Ordained Precepts, the Bodhicitta Precepts, and the Vajrayana Precepts. If a guru is good at keeping the precepts, then so-called keeping them well does not mean telling them to you all day long. In Vajrayana Buddhism, gurus observe their disciples for three years; by the same token, the disciples can observe their guru for three years and see if that guru’s actions change or not during that period of time. A true guru never changes; it is you who keep changing back and forth.

The third teaching revealed by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche today is a bit profound for you, because if you do not have enough good fortune, wisdom, or resources, you will not be able to realize the principle of Emptiness taught by the Buddha. Even though you do not yet possess such realization, as your guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is going to orally transmit a bit of it to you anyway so that in the future, once you have the causal condition to cultivate to this level, you will be able to do so more quickly.

Master Gampopa taught that when refraining from evil and doing virtuous acts, we should use the right views to decide that all true principles of cause and effect are non-dual. What does “non-dual” mean? Actually, it is we who differentiate between cause and effect; whenever a cause is produced, an effect appears at the same time. Many people think that if you slap someone, then that slap will come back to you a hundred years later; that the karmic retribution will not arrive until it’s time. Actually, this is not the case. When the cause produced by your slapping of someone appears, the condition for the effect emerges simultaneously. Unless, that is, you perform a lot of virtuous deeds before the slap comes back to you, in which case it might not be as forceful, or it could be a one-fingered slap instead of a five-fingered slap. People who truly realize Emptiness can understand that all phenomena are without self-nature. They do not leap into being by themselves; they are all thought up by us, and only happen and come to an end after many causal conditions. From the perspective of Dharma nature, all phenomena are neither moved nor changed.

So-called “right knowledge” and “right views” are based on Emptiness. This does not mean when someone eats vegetarian, speaks on the Dharma, or urges people to do good; this are only virtuous deeds, and are not right knowledge or right views. Whenever any guru decides something, his or her judgment of whether a person is good or bad, treats the guru well or not, makes a lot of offerings, or does not make many offerings is absolutely not based on worldly views; rather, it completely comes from viewing everything from the perspective of Emptiness. For example, yesterday a couple of believers came to seek an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, one of whom went on and on about how he was sick and so on, while the other one kept silent the whole time. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche ended up helping the believer who said nothing. The one who spoke so much and had all those illnesses did not obtain the guru’s help, or even the guru’s blessings, because he had come with an attitude of curiosity, wanting only to try and see what might happen. Originally, the other one, too, had simply come out of curiosity, but as soon as he entered the Buddhist Center he had given rise to thoughts of praise, thinking that the Buddhist Center was very solemn and that the guru was working so hard. He did not say anything, but Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was able to sense it. When the guru asked him if he had thought these things, he replied that he had indeed. Because he had given rise to such thoughts, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestowed blessings upon him; that is, his respectfulness was a way of making an offering, thus bringing him fortune and rewards.

Because he had this cause, of course it led to the reward of the guru bestowing blessings upon him. Without this cause, no matter how much someone might have cried and blubbered, no matter how sincere he or she might have appeared, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would not have taken the bait. How did the guru know? It was because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche wanted nothing. The guru does not dare to say he has attained Emptiness. But at least by remaining unmoved, the guru will not give any special treatment to anyone coming to seek an audience based on how nice his or her clothes are, whether or not he or she has a lot of money, etc. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche uses his “mind” to observe people’s thoughts; if those thoughts are correct, then the guru will of course help that person. Whether or not the thoughts are correct is not decided based on any flattery that person might show toward Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche; rather, it is based on whether or not he or she makes prostrations before the Buddha, has achieved the Buddhist path, and is practicing the Buddhist path. That is, when a person gives rise to respect for the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, he or she has begun to walk the path to attaining Buddhahood. A guru’s vow is to help all sentient beings attain Buddhahood, so of course the guru would help such a person.

Don’t think blessings are given to help solve the problems you have right now. Actually, they are for matters that will occur many lifetimes hence. One of the blessings being bestowed today will affect many things in your future. How is this achieved? It happens because the guru does not differentiate between things; instead, the guru sees everything from the viewpoint of Emptiness and the Dharma nature, and therefore is able to decide that they are non-dual and have no prior cause or subsequent effect. To the guru, there is no prior cause or subsequent effect. It’s like those two believers yesterday, for whom cause and effect occurred simultaneously. One of them gave rise to a respectful cause, and immediately obtained the effect of blessings; moreover, the blessings helped him to produce a cause, the effects of which will emerge in the future.

Therefore, to sum up according to Master Gampopa’s teachings: Generally speaking, all Dharmas related to reincarnation and Nirvana, before we have extinguished the phenomena of worldly errors, exist in the causes, effects, and dependent origination which are mutually reliant on each other. This means that before you have attained this state, you should not talk nonsense by saying cause and effect are Emptiness and non-duality, or think that nothing you do exists; you cannot go about things this way. This is because you are still within the limits of worldly affairs; in other words, you are still in the great sea of reincarnation, and still have erroneous views about many things. Given that we see things incorrectly, the Buddha teaches that we must deeply believe in cause and effect. Once you are willing to have a profound belief in cause and effect, you will naturally stop committing all evil acts. You all should constantly tell yourselves this; do not deceive yourselves. Your constant prostrations to the Buddha, hoping to make your husbands stop working as meat merchants, have nothing to do with this. You yourselves will reap any future effects from the causes you plant by prostrating yourselves before the Buddha. Many people labor under a misconception with regard to this; they think that such prostrations can have an effect on other people. If that were the case, then given the magnitude of Shakyamuni Buddha’s powers, the Buddha should be able to influence all of the more than six billion people on the planet to listen to Him. However, never mind six billion; not even all of the twenty million or more people in Taiwan listen to the Buddha. Not even all of the more than one thousand two hundred people at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center listen, so how can you think that your prostrations to the Buddha will influence your husbands into not engaging in that line of work?! What makes you think chanting the Great Compassion Mantra can change your husbands? This is a non-Buddhist idea, and one that comes from those who do not believe in cause and effect.

What led you to find your present family and its members? It was your own causes that did this. What should you do? Repent! Not prostrate yourself. Even if you prostrate yourself, you still need to repent; you can’t give the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas conditions by saying you are making prostrations to Them right now, so They should make your husband stop working this sort of job. Why would she think this way? It was because she did not feel like quarrelling with her husband. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is not encouraging you to get into fights, but taking another disciple as an example, when her father passed away Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was still in Japan, yet the guru still helped her father by performing the Phowa for him. Her father’s only dying words were for her mother not to give her younger brother any more money, and that enough was enough. In the end, this disciple actually said that she would relay this to her mother in secret.

When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche heard this, the flames of the guru’s fury were not just three feet tall; they were three hundred feet tall! Was she ashamed of Buddhism? Did she have to say it on the sly? Why would she think such a thing? It was because she was afraid of getting into an argument. These were her father’s dying words; could she not even tell her family members what his final words had been? She clearly was spoiling this boy by letting him get away with talking nonsense, yet she regarded herself as a nice older sister. She thought that it would be bad to cause a fight with a family member while there was a funeral going on. This also meant that she did not respect the guru, and that she was taking advantage of the guru. You all say you believe in cause and effect; just what sort of cause and effect is it that you believe in? Her father spoke to her family members through Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, yet she wanted to keep that under wraps. Obviously, she has a tendency to deceive people; she lies and covers things up whenever she can get away with it.

Many people act like this; they feel embarrassed, so they want to take their time telling people certain things. Just imagine if you died, and suddenly a virtuous mentor performed the Phowa for you, and you wanted this virtuous mentor to inform your family of your worries for you, but then someone in your family pulled a trick and said he or she would talk about it later. In actual fact, the deceased felt an extreme degree of urgency; otherwise he would not have told these things to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Who will be out of luck if the deceased’s dying words aren’t said? It will be the person who hears the words yet does not relay them to the family. Intelligent people in the world often make a botch of things. Why did the Buddha state that “the straight mind is the Bodhimandala?” Whatever tasks the guru hands to you to do, you should go ahead and complete! As for how to complete them perfectly, you should apply your wisdom instead of sneaking around trying to hide things. In the end, did her relaying her father’s words cause a problem? No, it did not. Moreover, yesterday her younger brother woke up after being reprimanded by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Many people are self-righteous and often play games, treating the guru like a fool. They think very highly of themselves and of their eloquence. Never mind the fact that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is a guru; having lived to the age of sixty-six, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has become quite familiar with all manner of worldly customs and affairs. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s family has lost members to death, too; it is not just you whose family members have died. As old as you are, you can’t count yourselves miserable; Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s own father passed away when the guru was just seventeen years old. At the time, his family only had ten Hong Kong dollars to their names; his mother was illiterate, and his younger brother and sister were both still in school. How hard do you think you have it? How miserable? Today the purpose of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s reprimands is not to vent steam; they are given because you do not believe in cause and effect. If your father passed his dying words for you to relay, and you managed to change them, you would therefore be changing the Dharma taught by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche as well!

These days a lot of people live their lives in this way. They think themselves very intelligent and remarkable, and they do everything they can to avoid offending people. How is it, then, that they dare to offend the Buddhas, the Bodhisattvas, the guru, and the deceased?! Many things, when you overthink them, end up becoming more complicated. Just imagine; if you were her younger brother, and you had seen your older sister and mother muttering secretively about a bunch of things, and then afterward noticed your mother had changed—whereas she used to hold out her hand to give you money, she no longer was doing this now—wouldn’t you suspect that your sister was preparing to take your mother’s money? If she had relayed Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s words, her younger brother would have known right off the bat that his sister was not trying to manipulate the situation, and that these were their father’s instructions. The way she handled things shows that she is too smart for her own good. All of her life she has thought herself clever, eloquent, and intelligent; in the end, it only took one incident to reveal her true colors!

Many things appear to be good on the surface, but if you take a more penetrating look you can see that they are evil. Because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche does not seek anything, the guru has no fear of offending anyone; he just thinks about how much the deceased is suffering. The deceased is in so much pain that he has verbalized his suffering; if his family members are not told, it will be Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s fault. If, after telling them, those family members do not do what they are told to do, then if Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche does not reprimand them, it will again be the guru’s fault. After having reprimanded her, this disciple is welcome to stop coming here; Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche can get by with helping one less person. After speaking of this, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would forget who the person was.

Why does Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche do things this way? It is because the guru believes in cause and effect. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche spoke of something once before; any of you disciples who have taken refuge for a long time have probably heard it. There was once a person who rented an apartment. Every day, at the exact same time of day, she would think about jumping off the building to her death. Finally, she was introduced to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche by way of a friend. At one glance the guru knew her building was a place where someone had once jumped to his death, so Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestowed blessings upon this female believer who had been possessed by the deceased’s ghost. As the guru did so, she pushed Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche away with her hands. After the guru continued to bestow blessings, the look in her eyes became very charming, and she tried to seduce Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The guru humorously said that luckily, he had been plenty experienced at the time, so had remained completely unmoved. If Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s mind had been swayed by her, then the mantra the guru was chanting would not have been effective.

Why was Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche able to succeed? It was because the guru had cultivated Emptiness, so was in a state of samadhi while chanting mantras. When that ghostly being saw that it could not seduce Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, it left the female believer’s body, at which point she woke up. After waking, the female believer implored for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to remember to help the one next to her, for she knew that the ghostly being was sitting beside her. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche consented, but later forgot. Over the following few weeks, any time Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was out doing business and struck an agreement with another party, as soon as the guru left the other party would always make a telephone call to cancel the agreement. Afterward Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche finally realized that he had forgotten to help liberate this ghostly being. This was cause and effect; it was the result of agreeing to do something for somebody, but then not actually doing it.

Ever since then, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has made sure to repeat any words that a deceased might say to him. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said humorously, “Therefore, if you have something going on on the side, then it’s best if you take care of it while you are still alive; otherwise, when the time comes and the deceased tells Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche about it, the guru will have to repeat the words out loud, even if that causes problems. However, sometimes these things are not repeated; this sort of affair is very rarely spoken of.”

Why does Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche propagate the Dharma in such a strict manner? It is not that the guru is in search of fame or fortune. Last year Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche reported to His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang that he wished to retire; not because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche wanted to practice Buddhism diligently on his own, but because he had reached an age where it was about time to stop. However, the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang did not approve. As a result, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is still handing out reprimands to this day, so you can count yourselves lucky. In unison the attendees spontaneously expressed their sincere gratitude for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s auspicious teachings.

You absolutely must not be careless when it comes to cause and effect. Before you take any action, you should first reflect on it. There is no need to act on impulse, so spend a tiny bit of time—you would not believe how short the amount of time is that you need to spend—and go and reflect on whether doing this thing will harm others or not, instead of wondering whether acting in such a way would be of any benefit to you. The reason that disciple did not dare to openly repeat her father’s dying words was that she was afraid they would cause her younger brother to dislike her. She feared that he would talk nonsense; she might even go so far as to say that she was afraid that after relaying the words, her younger brother would create verbal karma by slandering Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. This would not be a good situation. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was not afraid of being verbally abused by him, because it was for her younger brother’s own good; how could the guru worry about being slandered by him? Many people try to find excuses for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, and the guru acknowledges their efforts too.

Once you all can face and deal with everything you encounter in a manner consistent with the teachings of cause and effect, what advantages can you expect? You will have practically no chance of getting into trouble, unless as the result of fixed karma from your past lives, and in this lifetime it will be impossible for you to plant any new evil causes or effects. As long as no new evil causes or effects emerge, then in this lifetime you will definitely be able to settle all of the debts you owe from your many past lives. In other words, you must stop accumulating more debts; this is very important. Herein lies the reason that the Buddha teaches us to refrain from evil and do virtuous acts. You all really must get to where you can completely break away from evil; you must not commit even the tiniest of evil acts. Don’t think that a few words said here or there are no big deal; they will indeed become a big deal. Just a few words can affect a great many people; they can even be harmful to others. People have committed murder as a result of a few spoken words. You might wonder if even having those thoughts can get you in trouble. They actually can, because an overabundance of thoughts will naturally give rise to action.

If, as Buddhist disciples, you do not even believe in cause and effect, then how can you claim that you are Buddhist disciples? Why are you always carelessly committing little mistakes? It is because you do not believe in cause and effect, and as Master Gampopa taught, you do not possess a sense of shame. If you make a mistake today, you should feel very ashamed; you should take a mental note of where you went wrong so that you will not make the same mistake again! You are all constantly making mistakes over and over, yet you continue to look for excuses to explain why you made them. You are just like that elderly disciple who was argumentative earlier today; whenever you make mistakes you still try to explain yourselves.

According to Master Gampopa’s teachings, the relationship between cause and effect can roughly be divided into two types: First is the conditioned “’cause and effect’ of reincarnation,” and second is the “unconditioned ’cause and effect’ of Nirvana.” The so-called conditioned “cause and effect” of reincarnation leads to karmic effects of suffering and happiness, which are felt to varying degrees and which depend on the various virtuous and evil karmic causes everyone produces. Therefore, those people who hope to abandon suffering and obtain happiness must refrain from evil and do virtuous acts. Furthermore, this must be done without compromise, without any room for negotiation or delay. If you hope not to suffer in the future, then you must break away from all evil; you cannot have even a thread of evil in you. Don’t think that it doesn’t matter if your husband sells meat, or that if you tell him to stop he will divorce you. You think that you cannot tell others that you got a divorce because of your Buddhist practice; this would not be good. If such is your situation, there are still many ways of dealing with it; you can go out and work, and each of you pay half of the mortgage. Would the problem still exist then? Why don’t you do this? It is because you are lazy, and you have grown accustomed to living this way. Why is it so hard to propagate the Dharma these days? As a guru, it is very difficult to speak; if the guru says too much, you will say that he is being unreasonable. If Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche does not say these things, however, he will not be fulfilling his duties as a guru. It is quite a predicament.

Master Gampopa stated that the so-called “unconditioned ’cause and effect’ of Nirvana.” means to constantly practice the cause of immensely profound Emptiness in every Dharma which is far away from extreme views and conceptual proliferation, and thus one can attain the fruition of the Great Bliss Body in which the three bodies are as one taste. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche spoke of this last time, but today will refresh everyone’s memory of it. So-called “Emptiness” is not nonexistent; the word “empty” was used by the Buddha to represent the meaning so that everyone could realize the interaction and dependent origination of all phenomena in the universe. Only by realizing Emptiness can all of the Dharmas you perform benefit sentient beings; if you have not cultivated Emptiness, then all the sutras you recite and mantras you chant will merely be expressions of your virtuous mind. This is still useful for sentient beings, because from it they can sense what virtuousness feels like, which then leads them to begin wanting to do virtuous deeds. However, if a guru has not attained the state of Emptiness from which to perform the Dharma, then he or she will not be able to solve for sentient beings their problem of reincarnation.

Why will such a guru be unable to solve it? It is because the reason all sentient beings continue to reincarnate has to do with the karma they have created over the course of their past lives, as well as any sentient beings involved. These sentient beings are spread throughout the Six Realms; don’t assume that in your previous lifetime you were a human or that your family members necessarily were, too. Nor should you think that in the last life you were an animal, or that your family members definitely were animals as well. After having been reincarnated through so many lifetimes, we now have family members in all of the Six Realms. The ones in the Heavenly Realm might be enjoying pleasures, but the ones in the Hell Realm are of course suffering. If the guru had not attained Emptiness, these sentient beings in the Six Realms would not be able to benefit from the Dharma. Once a guru attains Emptiness, he or she will not become attached to help a certain specific sentient being, nor will that guru become attached to any benefit or purpose that might arise from performing the Dharma. As soon as the condition arises, the guru takes action; after it is finished, the condition is extinguished, yet the guru’s mind remains unmoved. Only in this way can the guru spread the Dharma throughout the void, benefiting all sentient beings.

Only by being able to benefit all sentient beings—by helping all of the sentient beings with whom you have ever been involved over lifetime after lifetime to leave suffering behind and stop reincarnating in the Six Realms—only this will prevent the energy of their suffering from dragging you back down into reincarnation in this lifetime. Why do we reincarnate? It is because we still have family members who are sentient beings in the Six Realms. These sentient beings cannot find anyone else; they must seek out people to whom they are related. Their intention is definitely not to harm you; this has nothing to do with harming you. Simply put, if your parents are still living, then if they get sick, can you feel comfortable? Absolutely not; on the contrary, you will feel worried and distracted, and this will influence your job, your psyche, and your sleep; the reasoning behind this is the same.

Why does the Chod exist? The point is not for you to be able to enjoy your lives after your relatives have been liberated; rather, it is to constantly help family members who have been related to you over the course of many lifetimes. How many are there? Even Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche does not know; only the Buddha knows. Why do you have to keep coming to participate in the pujas? It is because some sentient beings are in Hell, and do not have enough good fortune to leave. They must rely on sentient beings to whom they are related to accumulate good fortune for them by participating in the pujas, as well as the Dharma constantly being performed by a guru who has attained Emptiness. They can only get out of Hell once they have accumulated sufficient good fortune. When will this process be finished? Only once you have been liberated from reincarnation and can be reborn in the Pure Land. Then everything from your past will be resolved, and you will have a fresh start.

What is the reason behind the three kinds of non-regression that exist when you are reborn in the Pure Land? It is that you will no longer fall back into the Saha World, because all of the sentient beings who are related to you have followed you there. Even if there are sentient beings who did not go with you, in the Pure Land you begin cultivating from the fruition level of a Bodhisattva; after attaining Buddhahood, don’t you think you will be able to help them? Of course you will; herein lies the truth. Why do we keep returning to the Saha World, and reincarnating in the Six Realms? It is because many sentient beings who are related to us are still there. This karmic force drags us back there. Because they come back, we have to come back, too. If it is not the sentient beings who owe us, then it is us who owe them, so everyone continues to pay each other back over and over again.

The reason Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s reprimands are so severe is that the guru does not want you to owe any debts. Don’t think that being able to escape is good; there was a disciple who always escaped, assuming that he would be fine if he could get away. Actually, he ended up in just as much trouble even though he got away! Why was that? It was because he did not cultivate compassion. Without compassion, any mantras you chant are useless.

Master Gampopa taught that when we are constantly practicing Emptiness, after attaining the level of the conditioned “’cause and effect’ of reincarnation,” but before we have realized the true significance of the ultimate essence of the Dharma nature or been purified of all of our erroneous manifestations, our thus causes will result in their thus effects. During this time, causes and effects are absolutely real and not lacking in the least; as a result, we must refrain from evil and do virtuous acts. Once we have realized the true significance of the ultimate essence of the Dharma nature and purified ourselves of all attachments and delusions, the knot of our causes and effects will naturally unravel amidst the true nature of the Dharmas. What this means is that before we have attained Emptiness, we think that cause and effect are interdependent; this knot cannot be untied unless our karmic retribution matures. Once we dwell in Emptiness and understand the Dharma nature, we can realize the fact that so-called “cause and effect” are without self-nature, and do not exist permanently; thus, the knot of causes and effects within our minds will naturally unravel.

When attaining Buddhahood, Shakyamuni Buddha encountered the Nine Difficulties. However, because the Buddha had already realized Emptiness, these Nine Difficulties were only forms; in substance, there were no difficulties. For us, on the surface Shakyamuni Buddha experienced the Nine Difficulties. However, in the essence of the Dharma nature, they did not exist; they were not real. They were simply manifestations that were then extinguished, over and over. This part involves methods cultivated by practitioners in different states; Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is simply revealing it today, but that does not mean you can comprehend it, nor does it mean you are currently able to achieve attainment in it. Therefore, you absolutely must not say that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche taught you that cause and effect are Emptiness, or that because everything is empty you don’t have to pay any attention to it. You absolutely must not do this.

Master Gampopa taught that at this point the tangle of causes and effects will naturally be purified. If such is the case, then while attaining a realization of Emptiness, because your knot of causes and effects will naturally unravel and be purified, you will transcend from a dualistic state. This dualistic state refers to such dualisms as good and bad or virtuous and evil. Good and bad do not exist within the Dharma nature; take Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s performance of the Phowa to help sentient beings as an example. While a person was still alive, he or she might have committed many virtuous and evil acts; if Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche were to decide whether or not to liberate that person based on how many virtuous or evil acts he or she had committed, then the guru would be employing the law of duality. If Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche were to base the same decision on that person’s degree of wealth or the number of offerings he or she had made, then this, too, would be using the law of duality. If Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche were to help that person out of the compassion of Emptiness, then this would be in accordance with the law of cause and condition. Conditions arise and cease, then arise and cease again.

From Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s point of view, did the guru perform the Dharma? Did the guru help that person? The answer to both questions is “no.” For Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, all that occurred was the emergence of a phenomenon, which then disappeared and was done with. Has Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s mind ever been swayed? Or perhaps, has the guru ever run over to a hospital to perform the Phowa for someone? No; not at all. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s mind remains unmoved, but when the deceased’s mind moves, then he or she will naturally come over to where Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is. Why is Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, while faraway in Japan, still able to cause a hole to appear in the skull of a person who passed away in Taiwan? You are welcome to give it a try. If you have not performed the Phowa to this level, then what you are performing cannot be considered to be the Phowa. Having cultivated to this level at the very least indicates that a guru is able to attain Emptiness with regard to liberating sentient beings, and has already transcended time and space. As is stated in the Diamond Sutra, such a guru is free from the notion of time; he or she has gone beyond the limits of time, distance, or duality, and does not differentiate between the deceased and the practitioner. Only in this way can the guru help the deceased and know what the deceased thinks.

Where does supernatural power come from? It comes from Emptiness. Upon realizing Emptiness, supernatural power will naturally be revealed. If you have not attained Emptiness, supernatural power will not be revealed to you, and the most you might have is just a little ghostly power—ghosts talking next to you, telling you what’s what. Once you have transcended from a dualistic state, you naturally will no longer need to refrain from any evil or practice any virtuous acts; moreover, you will be able to distance yourself from such dualistic methods as accepting or rejecting and so on. According to Master Gampopa’s teachings, if, while in a causative ground, you are able to distance yourself from the concepts of accepting or rejecting, then while in a ground of effect you will naturally be able to distance yourself from thoughts of hope and worry. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has taught you in the past that ever since the moment he began practicing Buddhism, he has never hoped to attain any sort of fruition. All Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has known is to constantly practice in accordance with the Dharma texts, his guru, and the Buddha’s teachings. Whatever follows is not at all anything Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche worries over or hopes for.

In your state of being, as long as you go and act, there are certain to be effects in your future. As for whether these future effects will be good or bad, big or small, or virtuous or evil, it all has to do with your behavior; it is not based on any evaluations other people might make of you. The praise and criticism of others have to do with your actions, and are based on your attitude, how you normally conduct yourself, and so on; these are what resulted in such praise or criticism, and are causes that you yourself have planted. Naturally, you will reap the effects of whatever causes you plant; it has nothing to do with who likes or dislikes you, or who would or wouldn’t harm you. Once you are able to realize Emptiness, then for you, as a practitioner performing the Dharma, concepts of accepting or rejecting will cease to exist; you will not at all be afraid that the Dharma you perform might be bad, that someone might not like it, that it might offend people, etc. Only when a practitioner does not hold such concepts will the deceased trust the practitioner and allow the practitioner to know his or her attachments. Otherwise, the deceased would not voice them. Ghosts possess ghostly power; they are a hundred times more sensitive than people, and know with an extreme degree of clarity who can help them. They cannot be deceived.

Just because you have listened to what Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has taught today does not mean you are now able to succeed in doing it; nor does it mean that you can realize its significance. However, you should still listen closely. You don’t need to comprehend it; given that you still have not cultivated this state, you might not understand. As long as you listen, then one day in the future—after this seed has been sown into your Eighth Consciousness—you will be able to realize and comprehend the truth of the Emptiness the guru has been talking about. From a causative point of view, all of the virtuous and evil acts we do are committed first by our minds. This principle is very simple; without evil thoughts you would not cuss at people, nor would you do virtuous deeds unless you had had virtuous thoughts. Everything begins with the mind. There is no such thing as blurting something out without thinking or doing something unintentionally; if you had not had certain thoughts stewing in your mind, you never would have given voice to them or acted on them. There is no such thing as a so-called “split personality” or “disorder of nerves breaking apart.” The nerves are supposed to be divided; since when are they ever whole? This is nothing more than self-delusion.

Many people excuse their abnormal actions by saying they suffer from mental illness. What causes mental illness? It comes from thinking all day and thinking too much, until what was there all along disappears and what wasn’t there now exists. While in retreat in a cave, the Venerable Milarepa once thought he saw a demon inside a stone in front of him. Even though he ignored it, he kept thinking it was there in front of him. When his retreat had nearly come to a perfect completion, the demon appeared. When the Venerable Milarepa asked it where it had come from, the demon replied that it had been produced by the Venerable Milarepa’s own mind.

Simply put, the occurrence of mental illness always starts from one’s own mind. What does Buddhism teach? It teaches you how to control and manage your mind using the Dharma. These days our minds are controlled by the concept of benefiting oneself at the expense of others; people are all like this nowadays. As a result, even the Dharma we learn has been transformed in such a way; it is all about benefiting oneself at the expense of others, and some people even harm others without benefiting themselves. We have grown accustomed to this way of doing things. It is like that disciple who altered her father’s dying words because she had grown accustomed to trying not to offend anyone in everything she did, to not letting herself become someone else’s target, and to operating surreptitiously behind people’s backs. She had already formed habits out of such behavior, and this transformed anything that came her way.

In the sutras it is written that all of these things are created by the mind. Therefore, don’t blame or complain about others, saying that your husband or wife is no good, or that it was that person out there that tempted him or her; actually, it all began with you. You might argue that you have never seduced anyone in this lifetime, so why would someone snake your husband from you? However, it is quite possible that in a past life you seduced someone, so in this lifetime someone will tempt your partner away from you. Just be happy and accept it, for it means your karmic retribution has been paid; don’t talk about living or dying, or fight back and forth, for all of that is meaningless.

Master Gampopa taught that all emotions that come from the effects of suffering and happiness are felt within one’s own mind, and that they absolutely cannot exist externally to it. This is a classic teaching; when you feel happy or sad, how do you define it? You say you are very happy, but where is that happiness? Is your hand very happy? Is your head very happy? Or is it your feet that are very happy? The answer to all of these questions is “no.” After eating, you say you are very happy and satisfied, but a few seconds after the food enters your mouth it disappears into your stomach, where there is no longer any sense of taste; how can you then feel happy from eating? All of this is an effect of the mind; it is nothing more than your mind being manipulated by desire. When your desires are satisfied, you feel happy. This includes when you are practicing the Dharma and think you have done a good job reciting, or that you feel extremely focused that day. This, too, is none other than desire. Actually, your mind never moved, because it was only your desire which led you to feel that you had done a good job practicing or meditating. All of these thoughts are from desire.

All happiness and suffering is felt by the mind, not the body. If these sensations did not exist in your mind, then even if you were wearing fancy clothes, you would feel it was cumbersome and want to take it off. Every mental function is serious, and very powerful. If you can gain control over your mind, and not allow it to be easily swayed by what you see, hear, smell, taste, feel, or think, then you are beginning to have the makings of a practitioner. Why do you all keep doing wrong things? It is because all day long your eyes are gazing in this direction while your minds are flying off who knows where, so of course you do the wrong thing. Why does Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche make fewer mistakes these days? It is because the guru pays attention to what he is doing, and does not allow his mind to be stolen away by other desires or matters, so naturally the guru does not make as many mistakes.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is so busy, yet does not need to take notes or use the computer. How is it that the guru keeps track of everything? Given Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s age, and the fact that he would be called an “old man” on television, how can the guru remember so many things? It is because Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche uses Buddhism to keep control over his mind, and is completely unmoved by anything that is not related to the Dharma. As such, the guru is afflicted by fewer wandering and distracting thoughts, so is naturally able to remember a lot of things at once. Why do you constantly forget things? It is because you are always thinking about things; you would think all the way to the South Pole and still be thinking.

The only thing we need to deal with is the mind. Strictly speaking, so-called happiness and suffering are simply functions of the mind. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has often said that even if you feel very happy, your happiness will not be extended by a single second; likewise, even if you are suffering, your suffering will not be shortened by a single second. This is the way things are—which is why the guru teaches you to live by adapting to each rising condition and keep calm no matter what happens. Everything will pass, so whether you encounter happiness or suffering, your mind should remain calm. You should abide in the Dharma and in cause and effect; do not moan and groan, or hope that things will immediately change, or that your son or daughter will do this or that. All of such thoughts arise from not believing in cause and effect.

A few days ago Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche suddenly called on a disciple and told her to be careful about her son riding his scooter, but that he would not be disfigured or die. In the end Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was correct again. Why did this happen? It was because ordinarily she had thought that as her son’s mother, it was enough for her to come and practice Buddhism; that her son’s schooling was more important. This was why it happened.

In the sutras it is written that if we take a step further and reflect on our own minds, then we will discover that they have no substance, form, weight, or color. Can you find your mind? Many people talk about “feeling troubled in their hearts,” but where is this heart they speak of? “Heart” here does not refer to the physical organ. You say you feel peace of mind, but where is this mind? Can you dig it out and show it to us? Can you open it up? You say your heart aches, but where is it? Just how much does it ache? If you were a Zen practitioner, contemplating in your own mind, you would discover that you are unable to locate your mind. The mind has no color, weight, or form; nor does it emit red, white, or blue light. What does it look like? It looks like the void; that is, the entire universe. Can you grasp the entire universe? Why not? It is because the universe is infinite, as is the mind.

The mind can accomplish many things, and can expand endlessly. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s ability to perform the Phowa for a deceased in Taiwan while the guru is all the way over in Japan is based on the power of his mind. How could the guru perform it if he only relied on flesh? The scope of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s compassion can expand to help the deceased, no matter where the guru is. This is something that you can train yourself to do; once you understand clearly that suffering and happiness are both functions of your mind, you will realize that you have not grasped their essence, for these are nothing more than the manifestation of desires in your mind. Everyone’s suffering and happiness is different, and the same can be said for every nationality. Just which happiness is the real one? Just which suffering is the real one? It is very difficult to say, for they are all functions of the mind.

Master Gampopa taught, “When such a realization has been attained, then in terms of causes, there is no difference between virtuousness and non-virtuousness. To sum up, there is no difference between cause and effect. In such a state of non-duality, one should straightforwardly and composedly let go of things in one’s consciousness; no other ways exist.” To “let go” does not simply mean to discard things. A little while back a believer with cancer came seeking an audience, saying that he had let go. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said that he still had not let go; if he had, then he would not cry.

To “let go,” as the phrase is used in Buddhism, means to not have even the tiniest attachment to any phenomena that might occur; it means to know they adhere to the principle of cause and condition, they are Emptiness, and that they go back and forth. As such, you will neither chase happiness nor reject suffering. You all should remember this line: Only once you stop chasing happiness and becoming attached to suffering will you have truly let go. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was very happy when he had skin cancer, and did not feel sad at all. This was because the guru understood the law of cause and effect very clearly. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was also very happy when his child was disobedient, because the more disobedient he grew, the more debt the guru could repay. When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could not afford to buy anything to eat, he was happy then, too, because he was repaying his debt. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not reject suffering. Where does your suffering come from? The less you want it, the more it wants you; the more you drive it away, the more it sticks to you. If you want to chase happiness and love, they will always run faster than you. Have you not noticed how the Chinese character for “love” is written? It contains two legs extended in a sprint formation. Can you run faster than it can?

Therefore, our consciousness must be straightforward; we must not make any excuses or allowances for ourselves. We must not think that our lot is the result of having heavy karma, or of our work environments, or how our husbands or children are. We must not give ourselves excuses to reject suffering and chase happiness. Both happiness and suffering are superficial reactions generated by the mind. Actually, in essence, neither happiness nor suffering is real; they are things that come and go and are based on the principle that “all phenomenal arise from conditions and are empty in nature.” Yesterday Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche almost caused harm to an elderly disciple, because as the guru was presenting a gift—a very pretty cane—to give to this elderly disciple, she rushed forward and nearly fell down. This was because of happiness. If Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had not looked her over and blessed her, this happiness could have turned into suffering, for had she fallen down it would have been all over for her.

Buddhist practitioners sometimes speak of eternal bliss and Great Bliss, but these refer neither to worldly happiness nor to happiness that stems from desire. In Exoteric Buddhism, eternal bliss means a happiness that is perpetual; in Tantrism, it means constantly benefiting sentient beings within the state of Great Bliss. This state occurs when a practitioner is benefiting sentient beings yet does not think he or she is liberating them, or that the sentient beings have been liberated. Rather, the practitioner, while in a state of Great Bliss, helps sentient beings to leave suffering behind. If the practitioner has not attained this Great Bliss, then he or she cannot help sentient beings to leave their suffering behind. Why not? It is because exercising compassion means trading something good of oneself for the suffering of others; if the practitioner does not have a Dharma body filled with bliss, then how can he or she trade it for suffering? When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performs the Phowa for the deceased, if the deceased were to approach the guru and see that he was suffering, then how could the guru help, given the fact that the guru is just the same? If a deceased approaches a practitioner and sees that the practitioner is filled with Great Bliss, the deceased can then calm down and receive help. Now you all know what practicing Tantra is all about, right? It is not about the Invincible Iron King or having to cultivate a lot of different Dharmas, as you thought.

The teachings revealed by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche today are very important for the practice of Buddhism. Whether now or in the future, you must all understand that since you are practicing Buddhism, your own attitudes will naturally and necessarily be different from those of most people. Even if you are unable to express them for others to see, and even if your life environments are such that you absolutely must coexist with people who are committing evil acts, your own minds must be pure. You must not covet even the slightest bit of benefit, and you must make a firm resolution to leave reincarnation behind. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is very strict with himself; when he decided to practice Buddhism, he never again came in contact with any bad professions. When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could not afford to eat, someone offered the guru half a million NT dollars, seeking to purchase the statue of Four-Armed Avalokiteshvara which appears in the Dharma photos you have all received. In 1992, half a million NT dollars was a very large sum of money; still, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would rather starve to death than sell it. Why did the guru not sell it? Selling a statue of a Bodhisattva would be a joke as well as an evil act.

In northern Taiwan there is a large retailer which sells Buddhist cultural artefacts, and whose owner got cancer and died, even though a Rinpoche was performing the Dharma for him every day, and where he was located was also a branch location of his religious order. Why did he still die even though someone was performing the Dharma for him every day? Some people would say that his sale of Buddhist statues allowed many people the opportunity to make prostrations before them. He accumulated some fortune this way; however, fortune cannot change one’s karma. In fact, using Buddhist statues as tools for doing business is bad. As far as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche knows, in ancient Tibet the artists who made Buddhist statues worked according to their causal conditions; they would simply tell prospective buyers how much the raw materials had cost, and as for the rest the buyers could give however much they wanted to. Sculpting Buddhist statues in ancient China was much the same; their creators only asked for enough to eat and to pay for a roof over their heads, plus a little bit of travel money; with that they were satisfied. That is very different from these days; such statues are now sold for many times what their materials are worth, and this results in the emergence of evil karma.

From the teachings Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has bestowed upon you today, you should all have come to understand that practicing Buddhism is not such a mystical thing, nor is there anything very profound about it. The most important lesson is that you must have an experienced guru who will bestow truthful teachings upon you. Even if you cannot attain the level of a guru yourselves, you still can rely on the guru’s vast ocean of merits; this will definitely help you in your future Buddhist practice. A meritorious guru is not just a person, but is also a figure in whom exist the blessings of the entire Lineage and all of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. It you are willing to be respectful and cast your egos aside, it will be very easy for you to become liberated from life and death in this lifetime. Yesterday Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche wrote some words for a believer: “The doorway to liberation is difficult to enter.” To enter the doorway to liberation is indeed very hard, but once you have gone through it, things become easy.

None of you has entered the doorway to liberation yet. This doorway is not an explanation of the Dharma as many people out there would have you believe; rather, it is the Dharma method of becoming liberated from life and death. The doorway to practice, on the other hand, determines whether or not you are able to become liberated from your own life and death once you have gone through the doorway to liberation. Who can take you through this doorway? Listen carefully: The guru can. In the past, while practicing Exoteric Buddhism, you would all have heard of the doorway to liberation and the doorway to practice; you probably thought the doorway to liberation was entered by listening to the Dharma, while the doorway to practice was entered by doing your morning and evening prayers. Actually, this is not the case. The Dharma promulgated by the Buddha was not so simple. The doorway to liberation means the doorway that leads to liberation from life and death; the doorway to practice means practicing the Dharma which can help you become liberated from life and death. You need a guru to take you through the doorway to liberation; you definitely have to have a guru to transmit the Dharma to you, and then you need to practice it yourself; the guru cannot practice it for you. How could Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche possibly practice the Dharma for you? A guru has ways of taking you through the doorway to liberation, but after going through it you yourself must practice. So why is the doorway to liberation difficult to enter? It is because there are very few people indeed—not none, but very few—who actually enter the doorway to liberation. A guru who is unable to liberate sentient beings naturally will not be able to take you through the doorway to liberation. A guru who can liberate sentient beings, on the other hand, naturally has the ability to take you through this doorway, but after going through it you must practice faithfully all of the Dharma methods your guru teaches you; only then can the doorway to practice help you to become liberated from life and death.

Listen carefully: In future, you must not think that listening to the Dharma is the way through the doorway to liberation, or that entering the doorway to practice means going outside with an offering bowl in hand. This is not at all true. The Dharma revealed by the Buddha is absolutely related to our liberation from life and death; the Buddha would not speak of anything which did not have to do with that. Even when the Buddha was speaking of other things, it still definitely had to do with liberation from life and death; the Buddha simply revealed various teachings according to the different root capacities of the people the Buddha was addressing. Today we have spoken of the third teaching with regard to cause and effect; as for the fourth, we will talk about it next time. By then, everyone should have a good understanding of cause and effect. After gaining this understanding, if you continue to commit faults, then you have no one to blame but yourselves. You have all made firm resolutions to practice Buddhism, so as you were taught while taking refuge, you must not greedily seek or do anything for your own benefit or convenience. Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara stated very clearly that no Buddhist practitioner will ever want for food to eat, a place to live, or clothing to wear.

Years ago, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was so poor that he could not afford to pay rent or buy food; however, the guru had a profound faith in cause and effect and in the words of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara would never deceive us; your fear of being cheated is the result of your own anxiety, because you reject suffering. Whenever you reject suffering, you are unable to remember the words of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. If you do not reject suffering, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will remain constantly by your side, helping you and never leading you astray. They are certain to help you, because you have already made your decision to practice. However, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas cannot tell you too obviously exactly how they are going to help you, because you still do not have a deep belief in cause and effect; you still possess greed and desires. When the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and the guru tell you They are going to help you, what will you do? Go home and think about this question. If Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche were to tell you, “Relax; Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will help you with everything in this lifetime,” what would you do? You would sleep in every day. Would you still continue to learn and practice?

Therefore, as was taught previously, the guru can take you through the doorway to liberation and teach you what to do, but you yourselves must practice it. You must constantly strive to amend yourselves. Don’t be afraid that you are not good at practicing or doing these things; as long as you are willing to do them, then there will certainly come a day when people will see your achievements. You don’t need other people’s criticism or praise; just keep doing things in silence—one day someone will definitely come to realize what you have done. The Dharma really is helpful to sentient beings; the point is not just to dread or be afraid of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Dreading Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is useless; what you don’t learn is still useless. Humorously, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “Today we’ve just briefly gone over the words, ’cause and effect,’ yet you are probably utterly confused by now. Also, we still haven’t covered everything, so it’s probably better to go someplace else.”

Upon the perfect completion of the puja, in unison the disciples expressed gratitude to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for transmitting the Dharma and bestowing teachings. The stood and paid reverent homage as His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche descended the Dharma throne.

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Updated on February 18, 2014