His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings – November 30, 2013

The Dharma Lord His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang of the Drikung Kagyu Order was invited by His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to visit the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center in Taipei.

Before His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s visit to the Buddhist Center, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had arrived well in advance to make preparations for welcoming the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. The guru had personally given instructions to the disciples with regard to the mandala and the Dharma throne’s seating arrangements, and had confirmed the route His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang would walk upon arriving at the Buddhist Center. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had inspected and double-checked all matters, great and small, surrounding the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s visit to propagate the Dharma, and with the utmost respect and gratitude, had done everything possible to ensure that His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang would be able to propagate the Dharma smoothly and with auspicious perfection. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche constantly showed the incomparably majestic respect he held for his Three-Grace Root Guru, and by way of concrete actions, showed the disciples how to pay homage to one’s guru by personally leading them in a most reverent, courteous, and respectful welcome to His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang.

At 9:30 in the morning, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang arrived at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center and was accompanied with great attentiveness every step of the way by His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. With their palms together in reverence, the Glorious Jewel disciples sincerely and respectfully welcomed His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s arrival to propagate the Dharma. With a solemn contingent of Dharma musicians leading the way and protectively escorted beneath a jeweled parasol, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang walked across the white carpet of Eight Auspicious Symbols, strewn with fresh flowers, and ascended to the main Dharma throne.

As soon as the puja began, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche respectfully prostrated himself before His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and led the ordained disciples in a mandala offering to the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang.

His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang began by orally transmitting The Sutra of Recollection of Three Jewels in both Tibetan and Chinese, and then bestowed precious Dharma teachings upon all the attendees.

The Sutra of Recollection of Three Jewels is very important. In the past we very seldom recited from this sutra, but from now on it will be placed at the front of the fundamental Dharma texts. At Buddhist colleges, many people recite from the Buddha’s Sutra of Recollection of Three Jewels, and it is also one of the principle topics when taking refuge. Speaking of the Three Jewels, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang will bestow verbal explanations today, because as everyone knows much has already been explained with regard to their significance.

When mentioning “the Buddha,” the impression you all have is of Shakyamuni Buddha living in Lumbini 2500 years ago, right? However, the meaning of the word “Buddha” is very important. If you know what it means, you will then know what the purpose of practicing Buddhism is and how to do it. Simply put, in Chinese only one character is used to represent the word “Buddha,” and that does not convey its meaning; however, in Tibetan the word is comprised of two characters, both of which can express the meaning of the original Sanskrit. In Sanskrit the word “Buddha” means “to bloom.” In Tibetan the two sounds from Sanskrit are explained separately. The first is as if there were dark clouds in the sky blocking the sun, and the only way to see it would be to clear them away; therefore, in Tibetan the first sound means “to purge,” to cause to emerge, to develop. Once all of the dark clouds have been completely dispersed and gotten rid of, the sun—which is intrinsic to the sky—will then appear, grow, and shine; this second syllable describes such a condition.

Specifically, when sentient beings are obscured by the Three Poisons, the Five Poisons, and fundamental darkness, they are unable to see their own pure minds. Once we have purged ourselves of the Three Poisons, fundamental darkness, and so on, our inherent pure minds will shine forth like the sun emerging from the clouds. This the explanation of the “Buddha,” and it also represents how we must practice. Buddhist practice means ridding our minds of undesirable karmic hindrances. While purging them, the Buddha wisdom inherent within us will naturally emerge. This is the purpose of our practice, and

There is a good deal of controversy over the meaning of the word “Dharma.” It has been translated in Tibetan, but scholars still dispute a lot when using it, because the word “Dharma” contains many connotations. In the past, when it was being translated from Sanskrit into Tibetan, more than eighty scholars from China, Nepal, India, and Afghanistan got together in the East to translate it, and in the process they encountered many, many problems. As a result, the king himself stipulated how it would be translated. At the time, when translating from Sanskrit, if a word had more than ten different meanings, it could not be translated into a single word, for by doing so it would be impossible to convey the word’s significance in its entirety. Thus, it was ruled that if such a word could not be translated, then the original Sanskrit word would be retained.

The word “Dharma” has been translated into Chinese, but His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang has not yet researched this character’s meaning in Chinese. In Sanskrit it means to “hold,” but the Tibetan translation does not convey this action; rather, it means something close to the English word “character” and “law.” In Chinese it is translated as “law,” and connotes human laws, regulations, and the like; here the implication of “to hold” was not directly translated, either. It means to hold all human principles and laws, and attain Nirvana. Furthermore, all human principles and laws originate from causes and conditions, so one could also say that it means holding the characteristics from which such causes and conditions originate.

In Tibetan there are many different translations of the word “Dharma,” and to this day it continues to be debated quite a bit. His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang was in Nepal recently, where Rinpoches have already started to translate The Tripitaka from Tibetan into English. More than eighty scholars from Tibet and other countries have begun the translation, and all of them are at Rinchen Palri Monastery; they implored for His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s teachings, so the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang spoke a bit on the subject. Thus, in terms of its traditional Tibetan translation, “Dharma” has ten different meanings. His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang feels that these ten terms comprise connotations rather than separate nouns, and are referred to as knowledge, good fortune, Nirvana, action, precepts, mindset, longevity, prediction, certainty, and principles. Having ten different names would be too complicated, because it’s enough for a person to have a single name; having ten names would be confusing. Therefore, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang believes it should be condensed down to one name, such as the word “law” used in Chinese. Thus, currently the Tibetan is translated into a single word, and this is fine; however, there is certainly no way for it to be translated into English that way, which is why we use the original Sanskrit sound for the word.

Nowadays some scholars researching the ten connotations think they should be condensed down to include just three, which respectively are laws, sutras, and knowledge. “Dharma” means holding all laws which originate from causes and conditions; everything originates from cause and condition. Take this table in front of us for example, which is made of wood: Where did the wood come from? Nothing can be made without the four elements; it required water, earth, the sun, heat, wind, and so on. Trees need to drink moisture from the earth, and they need oxygen as well. All of these are causes and conditions that are required for a tree to exist. After cutting the tree down, the wood still had to be processed and then made into such a shape; it also needed workers with tools to carve and lacquer it before it could be formed into a table.

It took an accumulation of a great many causes and conditions for this table to come into being. It looks like a table, but this table has no independent significance, because its existence depends on many, many causes and conditions. It has no independently existing significance, because it must rely on many, many causes and conditions; thus, it is Emptiness. All Dharma are Emptiness, because they have no independently existing significance. Because they are abstract things, they are Empty; they have no absolute nature, so their nature is Emptiness. They are not independent; they are abstract; they are not real. It is we who are confused and attached, isn’t it? When we know the meaning of true Emptiness, we realize that it is abstract, with neither coming nor going, that it cannot be depended upon, and that it is a façade. The purpose of knowing Emptiness is to lessen our desires. This is what “Dharma” means; it means that we must hold causes and conditions.

As for the meaning of “Sangha,” in general it includes Theravada, or ordained practitioners, who completely possess the precepts and ways of thinking of the older monks who have taken the Gelong vows; and Mahayana, which refers to Bodhisattvas who have attained the Eighth Ground or above and are also called Bodhisattas. In this way they can be the “Sangha” who provide people with refuge. This is all His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang will say for now regarding The Sutra of Recollection of Three Jewels.

After that, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang explained a new project that had recently been in the works. The Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang believes that this, too, serves a formal need. The Shravasti Project originated last year when a lot of believers, after studying at Jangchubling Buddhist College, went out and, feeling very lonely after having left the monastery, hoped to gather together each year to hold a puja as a result of the causal condition that had led them to participate in the Long Life Puja at Jangchubling Monastery. This, too, is a human characteristic, and is very important in human society these days.

There is a person in Nepal who appears to be very intelligent; he used to live in the district of Limi in Nepal bordering Gangdise. The Drikung Kagyu Order has three monasteries in Limi, and Lord Jigten Sumgön’s disciples have resided there continuously for more than eight hundred years. There was a person there who was the most clever there was when it came to doing business; in the summer he went to Tibet, and in the winder he went to India, and was always doing business. Now he has moved to New York. He once told His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang that although they did not have a lot of money in the past, and everyone had to walk together everywhere to set up tents and even had horses and cows and so on, they all were very happy nevertheless. They were so close to each other it was as if they were relatives; they were extremely happy.

Nowadays, along with the world’s economic changes, they, too, had naturally been swept up by the tide, and had moved to bigger places to do business. Now things had changed to the point that you didn’t trust your friends, would not tell anyone about any business you might have or where you might be planning on going tomorrow, or when you might go. Everyone held secrets from each other now, and there was no mutual sense of dependence anymore. Now, as soon as you had a certain amount of money, you felt you did not need to rely on or help anybody else, and that you were independent. Over time the relationships between people had become more and more distant, and individuals had become arrogant. If someone had something good, this would give rise to strong feelings of jealousy. This is the impurity brought about by modern society.

Helping each other is a human value; this is very important. These days many centers are places in which everyone gets together to help each other. When times are tough for them, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche helps out. You do so, too; it is all mutual. Actually humanity—and even all animals—can only exist in groups; you all understand this very well, too. Therefore, the value of people lies especially in helping each other, respecting each other, and taking good care of each other, and in assisting others as you would your own parents or family members. His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang often mentions that believers have to help a lot of monasteries. Likewise, nowadays the monasteries should help and guide them in return; this sort of thing is currently being conducted and promoted by the Drikung Kagyu Order in Ladakh. People should maintain a certain distance between each other; in so doing, they will live in relative happiness. Spiritual happiness is more important than material happiness.

Therefore, these people came up with this idea because they hoped to be able to hold a puja together every year so that they could share their experiences with one another. Due to needs of formality, this plan is being conducted in Shravasti. Many of the Buddha’s sutras were expounded in Shravasti, and it is a very important city in Chinese history as well. His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang has not thoroughly researched it, but the Mainland has an abbreviated name for Shravastias well as a former monastery there, but this information has not yet been sorted. Xuan Zang once went to Shravasti, as did a couple of famous Chinese scholars. Ideologically, it holds a very important position as well.

The Buddha stayed in Shravasti for twenty-five years, so Theravada Buddhism is rather popular in that area. The largest group there currently is a Thai group, whose buildings occupy fifty acres of land. The largest structure in the holy land of Shravasti was built by a Thai group. The Drikung Kagyu Order has already bought its land, and this year, after the government gives its approval, construction will begin there immediately. After this His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang will take a trip to America, and after getting back will go to Shravasti sometime in the middle of January. At the time some young Rinpoches will gather there, as well as some groups from Tibet. These Rinpoches gather in such groups every year, so the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang is thinking about doing another workshop. Before going to Lumbini, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang will first go to Shravasti to break ground so that the entire project can begin.

His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang said that the specifications for the Shravasti Project had not been prepared for everyone to see today, so would explain it in person. It includes a 100m² mandala-style monastery equipped with a gold-plated statue of Shakyamuni Buddha made in Nepal. The Dharma throne is four feet tall and the statue is fifteen feet tall, with four feet between it and the ceiling; this is all on the first floor. The second floor is fifteen feet tall and contains a crystal ball around which people from various Orders can gather to meditate. The top floor is ten feet tall, and on it is a life-sized crystal statue of Lord Jigten Sumgön.

Seen from the outside, the top floor will be a round Buddhist pagoda constructed in the style of the era of King Ashkoka of India. The rest will be a Japanese-style monastery, while the styling of the interior will be Tibetan. Why will it be built this way? It is because it will not just be the Drikung Kagyu Order that makes its way there every year to participate in the pujas; rather, this will be a place where Buddhist practitioners from all over the world meet to participate together. The first puja will be held there on January 20th, 2015. Although it is impossible to complete that portion of the building by then, a plot of land has been purchased behind it with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s support which can be used to set up a tent in which the puja will be held. We already have the funds required for the 2015 puja; the date has been set, and the pouches and Dharma texts to be used during the puja have already begun to be made.

A meeting has not yet been convened to discuss which attendees will be participating in this puja. His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang is preparing to allow all ordained practitioners to participate, and people from other countries will come as well. A quota of people from each place will be allowed in accordance with the budget. A large number of spots will be reserved to invite local Indian Theravada Buddhist lay organizations; they are in southern India, and number about a thousand people. From Nepal will be Tantric and other organizations comprising another thousand people or so; a thousand people will come from Bhutan as well, and a thousand people will come from the Sikkim region. This is how it will be for the first year, but in the second year these numbers will gradually be expanded so that eventually all of the world’s Buddhist practitioners will be able to come and participate. This puja will not simply involve recitations from the sutras; sutra recitations will be conducted in different traditions and languages, and specialized practitioners will be invited to give talks on the Dharma. Interspersed there will also be cultural performances and competitions from the Himalayan region, and exhibitions will be held as well; everything will be done from a relatively new approach.

This is all the talking His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang will do today. I am very thankful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for this opportunity. Furthermore, the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang would like to recommend that the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center hold a set Chakrasamvara Puja every year; this would be a very good thing. His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang is currently encouraging every major Drikung monastery to hold the Chakrasamvara Puja and the Hevajra Puja on its own premises. If a monastery does not have a suitable location, it can hold the Chakrasamvara Puja, while the larger monasteries can hold the Hevajra Puja. The Dharma text of the Chakrasamvara Puja has a relatively short translation; in America it has two different translations, and using the comparison versions of the two in the puja is a very good idea. When the puja is being held, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang can participate, too, and can give a few simple explanations.

During the Chakrasamvara Puja there will be empowerments as well as a Heruka. Heruka adornments are also used during the Fire-Offering Puja. Then and there His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang bestowed a Dharma crown upon Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, personally placed it upon his head, and then continued to bestow teachings. This Dharma crown bestowed upon Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is to be worn during the empowerment transmitted during the Chakrasamvara Puja. It does not necessarily need to be worn every day; it is used for this specific ritual. During a week-long puja, it is fine to specifically use this Dharma crown for one of the days.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has followed His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang for so long already—thirty years; as guru and disciple, we have spent one third of a lifetime together. Many people see Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche as a very fierce person, but the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang sees that he has a very tender heart. By comparison, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang feels that outwardly he appears very compassionate, but in his heart he is not that compassionate; he is very fierce. The Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang believes that by comparison, his disciple Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has a better heart. If he did not do a good job, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang would not go soft on him; he would say so directly, without compassion. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has a fierce outward appearance, while his heart is compassionate; the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, however, is the opposite. This teaching method of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s is very good.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has a great deal of loyalty to the Drikung Kagyu Lineage. Many Dharma masters run back and forth, going wherever they can make a profit, and do not just stick to one lineage; a great many are like that. From the beginning, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has always stuck with the Drikung Kagyu Order, working wholeheartedly and putting forth a large amount of effort on its behalf. This has made His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang very grateful. The Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang is not saying these things today as the result of any offerings Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has made.

There is not much time to speak today. The Drikung Kagyu Lineage is extremely auspicious; it is above all else. In India, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang has seen many people without principles; they swap for some things whenever they see there are profits to be made. This is a matter of self-restraint. The Drikung Kagyu Lineage is extremely auspicious; it is above all human wealth. For this very reason, it is above everything. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, too, has always seen the Drikung Kagyu Lineage as being above all else, so everything has gone very smoothly for him. Everyone should follow suit; whether you are a Rinpoche or a disciple, you all should have principles, and see the Lineage and the Samaya Commandment as being above all else. If you do you can lessen the hindrances to your Buddhist practice and walk the Right path—the path to enlightenment. That’s as much as I’ll say today. I wish you all health and happiness. Amitabha.

Upon the perfect completion of the puja, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche announced to the attendees that His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang had compassionately bestowed upon each disciple a pill of precious Dharma medicine. These were Amitayus nectar pills which had been made by a special group of ordained practitioners while performing the Dharma in retreat. In unison all the attendees sincerely thanked His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Afterward, the Glorious Jewel disciples paid reverent homage as His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang descended the Dharma throne, and in unison they again expressed gratitude to His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. After taking a short break His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang was personally escorted from the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center by His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

It was thanks to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s compassionate protection and blessings that the Glorious Jewel disciples had this precious, rare, and auspicious virtuous affinity to see the Dharma Lord His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang in person, as well as to receive the transmission of The Sutra of Recollection of Three Jewels and the auspicious teachings bestowed upon them by the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang himself. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is constantly accumulating all of the most virtuous causal conditions for the disciples, and for this they are deeply grateful.

That afternoon His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche still went on tirelessly to help seventy-seven believers to relieve their worldly sufferings, and to give them Buddhist teachings and assistance, from 2:50 to 6:00 at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center in Taipei.

« Previous – Puja TeachingsNext »

Updated on December 25, 2013