His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings – January 5, 2014

Before the puja commenced, a disciple who had taken refuge for six years stood with his wife, two children, younger sister, and younger sister’s husband to express their thanks for the auspicious blessings and liberation which the greatly compassionate His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who is no different from the Buddha, had bestowed upon the disciple’s mother.

Five years ago, when his mother was seventy-four, she had sought an audience with His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The guru had said that the disciple’s mother was suffering from “water element imbalance,” but she had been unwilling to see a traditional Chinese doctor to get it fixed. At first she had continued to participate in the Chod Pujas as well as the general Sunday pujas. However, because the disciple had not acted according to the guru’s teachings, his mother had not been able to eat vegetarian every day. She later had stopped coming to the Buddhist Center to listen to the Right Dharma, thus breaking her causes and conditions of learning Buddhism from His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Early last year, his then seventy-nine-year-old mother had suffered from blood disorder, peripheral vascular occlusion, pulmonary edema, and other illnesses, forcing her to make frequent visits to the emergency room and be hospitalized for treatment. The disciple was very grateful for the blessings and care His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had granted his mother. Many times she had taken the nectar pills bestowed by the guru; these had enabled her to endure her time in the hospital and be spared the suffering of having to stay there too long. Early on the morning of October 19th, his mother had been taken to the hospital emergency room because she had been having difficulty breathing. After examining her, a doctor had determined that she had excess fluid in her lungs and a possible myocardial infarction, so had recommended that the disciple check his mother into the hospital’s intensive care unit for further observation and treatment. At the time, however, the ICU did not have an empty bed available, so they had had to put her name on a waiting list. The patient in the bed next to them had been waiting for three days. In the end, the disciple’s eighty-seven-year-old father had had to stay with his mother overnight in the hospital emergency room.

The disciple’s wife asked her friend to help arrange for a bed to be available in the ICU, but by the afternoon of October 20th, a Saturday, her efforts still hadn’t yielded any results. His younger sister, unable to participate in the general pujas or make offerings due to having broken her precepts, had been waiting respectfully that day in the downstairs part of the Buddhist Center for an audience with His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. She had telephoned the disciple to express her hope that he could convince their mother to seek an audience with the guru, and to ask whether he wanted to repent to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche on their mother’s behalf. However, mistaking her condition for an old ailment, their mother had not wanted to trouble the guru, so the disciple and his sister had repented to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche by way of a sincere visualization. Both of them had been unfilial and acted against the guru’s teachings by not accumulating good fortune for their mother beforehand, thus causing her to suffer.

Ten minutes later, his wife’s friend had reported that a bed was ready in the ICU. They knew that this was completely thanks to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s great awe-inspiring power and blessings. In the ICU, their mother was the only patient who was conscious and alert enough to eat, drink, and sleep at will. His younger sister had brought a Dharma photo of His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for her to look at, and had told her that she should trust the guru, for the Rinpoche would definitely help her. At the same time, she had reminded her that she should give rise to the most repentant mindset possible. Hearing this, their mother had turned to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Dharma photo and said, “I’ve done wrong.”

By October 23rd, his mother’s condition had begun to change: Her fever had returned, her blood pressure had fallen and become unstable, she’d constantly been drowsy and unresponsive, and she had scored a 3 on the Glasgow Coma Scale. At this time his father had decided to go vegetarian, and would seek an audience with His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to implore the guru to help the disciple’s mother. Later, the doctor had given her a CT scan and discovered evidence in the right side of her brain that she had suffered a stroke. The doctor had proposed that emergency arrangements and procedures be organized to treat her condition, but the family had agreed beforehand to sign a consent form waiving emergency treatment. That evening the disciple’s mother had been completely unable to get her medicine down because it had kept lodging in her windpipe, so his father had agreed to allow the hospital to feed her by inserting a nasogastric tube so that she wouldn’t get a secondary lung infection. On the afternoon of October 23rd, the disciple had registered with the Glorious Jewel Antique Shop to take his father and other family members with him that Saturday (October 26th) to seek an audience with His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Hoping to make an offering to the guru on his mother’s behalf, the disciple had gathered together a meager amount to take with them with which he planned to accumulate the resources for his mother which could send her on to the Pure Land. However, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had not received any believers that week.

On October 26th, his mother’s drowsy, unresponsive condition had persisted. The disciple was grateful for His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s auspicious blessings and ingenious arrangements which had allowed his younger sister to have the causal condition to go to the hospital every day to take care of their mother and their father, who had been staying there with her. He was also grateful that his sister had the causal condition to praise His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for helping sentient beings, and had read to his father from the Journal of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The latter had made prostrations every day to the Dharma photo of the guru in Happiness and Suffering, imploring for help for the disciple’s mother, and had wanted to make an offering to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Seeing the agony and torture his wife was going through, the disciple’s father had told the disciple’s younger sister not to allow her to suffer anymore, but instead to let her pass away sooner rather than later.

On Sunday October 27th, at 4:35 in the morning, there had been an emergency telephone call from the hospital reporting that the disciple’s mother’s blood pressure was dropping rapidly. At 4:50, the hospital had again phoned, this time to report that her heart had stopped beating and that she had passed away at 4:48. His younger sister had reminded him to place the nectar pill they’d prepared in advance into their mother’s mouth as soon as he arrived at the hospital. First, however, he had called the Glorious Jewel Antique Shop and left a message to report his mother’s time of death. After arriving at the hospital, the first thing he had done was to place the nectar pill into his mother’s mouth. His younger sister had brought a Dharma photo of His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The family members, apart from an elder brother who had not hurried there due to his Christian faith, had all surrounded his mother’s bed. While visualizing His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bestowing blessings upon her, they had chanted the Great Six-Syllable Mantra in unison.

His younger sister had reminded him to leave a message on the Glorious Jewel Antique Shop’s answering machine clearly stating their mother’s name, zodiac sign, and time of death, as well as their imploration to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to please liberate their mother. Repenting that the first message he left had not been clear, the disciple had again called the Glorious Jewel Antique Shop to leave another message in which he implored for the guru to liberate his mother so that she could be reborn in the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss, thus eliminating suffering and obtaining happiness. He repented to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for not having fulfilled his filial obligations in a timely manner and thereby causing his mother to suffer.

Because a general puja was being held that day, the disciples in the family had left the hospital early to make their way to the Buddhist Center. His younger sister had reminded him that he could make prostrations before the Dharma photo of His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche on the mandala, and pray that he was making an offering to the guru on behalf of their mother. He should then respectfully place their offering into the offering box. As long as he made this offering with an attitude of respect, repentance, and sincerity while imploring for His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings and help, any arrangements made would be the best the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas made, and this, too, would be their mother’s causal condition. Thanking his younger sister for the reminder, he had entered the Buddhist Center and immediately carried out what he had planned, prostrating himself before the Dharma photo of His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, imploring with great sincerity for the guru to liberate their deceased mother so that she could be reborn in the Western Pure。

After the puja he had telephoned his older sister to inquire about the condition of their mother’s body, and then he and the other disciples in the family had hurried together over to the funeral home to see it. His older sister had informed them that after eight hours of recitation assistance, a smile had appeared on their mother’s face, and her entire body had become soft; in addition, all of her livor mortis spots had disappeared. His uncle and aunt had both said that she had passed away quite peacefully. They had known that all of this was the result of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s auspicious blessings, which had allowed the family members to face his mother’s death without fear. The atmosphere in the funeral home had not felt morbid at all; the family had simply spent time there together, cherishing her memory. His mother’s crown chakra had been slightly warm, and all four of her limbs had been soft; even her fingers had been just as lithe as they had been while she was still alive. The skin discoloration and needle marks left on her arms and wrists had all gone away, and her complexion had returned to normal. Her abdominal distention had flattened back out, and all of the livor mortis spots had disappeared from it. On her face had been a delicate smile, the corners of her mouth and eyebrows turned upward. Her lips had been flushed pink, and a very peaceful expression had appeared on her face. It had been absolutely incredible. He knew that all of this had been thanks to the auspicious blessings His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had bestowed upon his mother.

Afterward, his younger sister and wife had felt extremely repentant that they had not personally telephoned the Glorious Jewel Antique Shop that day to implore for His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to liberate their deceased mother. They certainly had caused her to suffer a great deal, and this had made them feel extremely regretful, sad, and repentant. Later on, after talking it over, the disciple, his wife, and his younger sister had decided that they would definitely take their family members with them to seek an audience with His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and to implore the guru to liberate their mother. They had also decided that they would encourage their father to go vegetarian and implore the guru to allow him to participate in the Chod Puja so that he could accumulate good fortune for his late wife. They were grateful to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for helping sentient beings. Having witnessed the way in which His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had helped the disciple’s mother by bestowing auspicious blessings upon her, the disciple’s aunt had decided that she, too, wanted to seek an audience with the guru.

A total of nine of the family’s members had registered on November 2nd to seek an audience with His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche so that they could implore the guru to reveal the date of their mother’s cremation. That afternoon, during their audience with His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the guru had looked at the disciple and asked, “What’s the matter?” He had not answered. Just then, unable to hold back his tears any longer, his father had entreated earnestly, “Rinpoche, please help liberate my wife; she passed away on October 27th….” His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had immediately responded by asking, “Hasn’t the Dharma already been performed to liberate her? Why are you still asking for her to be liberated? Is there anything else the matter?” The disciple had suddenly been at a loss for words. Hesitantly, he had stammered that his father had been very perplexed as to how to handle his mother’s funeral arrangements. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had said, “She’s already been liberated, so go along with whatever arrangements they want to make.” Then the guru had asked the disciple’s father what he thought, and the latter had answered that he hoped that after the cremation, his wife’s ashes could be placed in the bone-ash tower of a Buddhist temple, but mentioned that one of the children had wanted the ashes to be scattered into the ocean.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had told the disciple’s father that the family should go along with his wishes, and that the matter of the ashes being scattered at sea could be discussed at a later date. Then the guru had asked if there was anything else. The disciple had quickly implored His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to reveal the date of his mother’s cremation. After entering samadhi for a while, the guru had named two dates, and said that it was up to them to choose one. Afterward, the disciple’s father had reverently implored Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to allow him to participate in the Chod Puja, and had then earnestly entreated the guru to bestow a Dharma photo upon him so that he could make prostrations before it every day. After learning that the disciple’s father had gone vegetarian, the compassionate Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had granted his requests while kind-heartedly accepting the offering he had presented on behalf of his late wife.

Next, the disciple’s aunt had also reverently implored Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to liberate the infant spirit she had harmed. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had compassionately asked her, “How long can you be a vegetarian?” The disciple’s aunt had answered that she could eat vegetarian for forty-nine days. Then the guru had said, “Well then, the infant will only be liberated for forty-nine days, and no longer, unless you will agree to eat vegetarian for the rest of your life.” After pondering this a moment, his aunt had replied, “Okay, I will.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had then granted her request to sign up to participate in the Chod Puja. After that, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had chanted mantras while blessing the disciple’s father, aunt, and older sister one after the other, and had admonished the older sister, instructing her to stop talking nonsense and to act more responsibly.

Of the dates for cremation spoken by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the disciple’s family had chosen November 8th. Originally the crematorium had been booked full that day, but everything had gone smoothly and they had been able to book a timeslot. The disciple and his family members were very grateful for His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings. The sky had been sunny and clear that afternoon, and his mother’s funeral had come to a perfect completion. During the memorial service, he and his father had explained to their relatives and other attendees how grateful they were for the auspicious blessings and liberation granted by His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center. It was also mentioned that after his mother had been liberated by the guru, various auspicious signs had appeared on her remains.

At the same time, the disciple was also grateful for the assistance that had been provided by the Glorious Jewel Group helmed by His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche; the generous complimentary gifts had all been made ready in time, and more than thirty Dharma brothers wearing the red vests of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center had taken the day off to come and participate in his mother’s memorial service. He knew that all of this had been thanks to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings. After the cremation, his mother’s bones had appeared white, and a small round hole had formed at the location of her crown chakra. Employees of the crematorium and the assistant manager of the funeral service had listened to his family members as they shared stories of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s auspicious liberation and great awe-inspiring powers, which they all had said were truly unfathomable.

On the morning of November 9th, he, his wife, their two children, and his younger sister’s husband had rushed over to the Buddhist Center to thank His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for the auspicious blessings and liberation he had bestowed upon his mother and which had caused the funeral to proceed with such smooth perfection. They had also reported to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche that his mother’s bones had appeared white after the cremation, and that a small, smooth round hole had formed at her crown chakra. They were all very grateful to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

On December 14th, eight members of the disciple’s family had again registered to seek an audience with His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The disciple’s father had made an offering to the guru, expressing gratitude for the auspicious liberation His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had granted the disciple’s mother. Four years previously, when she had gone to see a doctor in Taipei due to having peripheral vascular occlusion, they had discovered that she was suffering from a leukemoid reaction (her white blood cell count had been hovering between 28,000 and 35,000, whereas a normal person’s white blood cell count should be between 8,000 and 12,000), cirrhosis, hypertension, and other illnesses. Moreover, her memory had begun to go downhill. Later, however, blessings and protection provided by His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s awe-inspiring power and great aspiration had lessened the effects of heavy karmic retribution on her.

His mother had made it through each of her many medical emergencies one by one, beginning to forget many things and even becoming unable to go to the toilet by herself only shortly before she passed away. Moreover, her fever had only come back in the last week that she was alive. This was truly unfathomable; had it not been for His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings and protection, how could the disciple’s mother have experienced such slight symptoms from her leukemoid reaction? Furthermore, the stroke that had occurred in the right side of her brain had actually happened as the result of a blood vessel that had ruptured in quite a deep layer of brain tissue. In normal circumstances, there was no way she could have gone to the beauty salon on her own one month before her death as if nothing had been wrong. From a medical point of view, this should have been impossible.

His mother had grown up by the seaside in Danshui. After getting married, the killing she had committed by feeding her children three meals a day had caused harm to many sentient beings. Reason dictated that it should have been impossible for her to have passed away in such an easy manner; this had all been thanks to the compassionate blessings, auspicious liberation, and guidance His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had bestowed upon them. The disciple’s mother had spent nine days in hospital, resulting in medical expenses totaling less than NT$13,000. He was grateful for all of the benevolent and skillful arrangements His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had made for his mother. Truly, he and his family members were more grateful than words could tell!

He wished to make a public repentance to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and all sentient beings. He repented for having been greedy, stingy, calculating, and ordinarily unwilling to make offerings to the guru. He repented for not having praised the guru’s merits very often, for not having believed in the impermanence of life and death, and for only having professed devotion to the Buddha when his mother had been on the verge of death. He repented for his attitude toward His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, which had been neither respectful nor repentant. He repented for not having been filial toward his parents, for having verbally contradicted them, for having decided to get married without informing them, and for having told his mother that they would be getting married overseas when they plainly had tied the knot in Taiwan. This had hurt and saddened his mother, and for this he repented.

In this lifetime, due to his greed and desire for good food, he had both intentionally and unintentionally harmed countless sentient beings by eating their flesh and destroying their homes. These sentient beings had included those which flew in the air, walked on the land, and swam in the water; for this he repented. Out of curiosity and hatred, he had harmed countless bugs and sentient beings such as mosquitos, flies, ants, spiders, cockroaches, crickets, centipedes, butterflies, lizards, geckos, cicadas, snakes, and so on, and for this he repented. When he was little he had lied to his mother, robbed her of her money, and stolen books from the bookstore; for these things he repented. After growing up and getting a job, he had stolen stationary from his company, made phone calls at his company’s expense, and secretly used his company’s photocopier for his own purposes. While making business purchases, in order to do favors for the manufacturers, he had taken bribes from them, and for this he repented. He had watched and made copies of many pornographic videos, enjoying them as well as pornographic novels with a voracious lust, and for this he repented. He had been selfish, haughty, and arrogant; he had not taken his work seriously, and had liked to shirk responsibility. For all of this he repented.

Five years ago, while he had been volunteering in the Buddhist Center’s wheelchair area, he had improperly arranged things for male Dharma brothers to sit in the female area. This action had gone against the precepts set for the Buddhist Center by His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. While seated on the Dharma throne, the guru had chastised, “Who was in charge?” The disciple’s tendency to shirk responsibility had made him hesitant to step up and admit his wrongdoing. At the same time, this had caused several other Dharma brothers to be implicated; their punishment had been to wear blue vests, and for this he repented.

He would accept the evil karmic effect that was his due for all of the evil acts he had committed. Furthermore, he would thoroughly amend his evil habits, act according to the guru’s teachings, and practice the Dharma diligently so that in this lifetime he could become liberated from life and death, be reborn in the Pure Land, and benefit all sentient beings. He would do all of this in order to repay the debt of gratitude he owed the guru, his parents, and sentient beings. He was grateful to His Eminence the bountifully compassionate Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who was no different from the Buddha, for the care he had shown the disciple and his family. He vowed to follow His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche through lifetime after lifetime, practicing the Dharma in earnest and acting according to the guru’s teachings. Finally, he 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 so that the Dharma could be spread far and wide, benefiting all sentient beings in the Ten Dharma Realms.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche ascended the Dharma throne to personally preside over the auspicious Green Tara Puja, and bestowed precious Dharma teachings upon all of the attendees.

“The Dharma to be performed today is the ‘Green Tara.’ In the sutras it is written that the Green Tara originated when Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, having seen that all sentient beings were constantly being reborn into the suffering sea of reincarnation, embarked upon the endless task of liberating them. However, as is mentioned in the Lotus Sutra, no sooner had the Bodhisattva rescued sentient beings from the forest than they turned around and ran right back in, for they had had a lot of fun playing there. In a fit of despair, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara let fall a pair of tears. One of these transformed into the White Tara, and the other transformed into the Green Tara. What is the difference between a Tara and a Bodhisattva? Strictly speaking, a Tara is a type of Bodhisattva; however, Taras represent the essence and manifestation of a Bodhisattva’s aspiration. Therefore, it could be said that whenever one implores a Tara for help, one’s wishes will be granted.

“Any sutra to be recited or Dharma to be performed always has a certain ritual to it. This is a far cry from the believer who came seeking an audience with me yesterday and said that on his own he had begun to recite the sutras and eat vegetarian. I asked him, ‘Okay, what of it?’ Many people think that if they go vegetarian and recite sutras, it means that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas should come and help them.

“According to what is written in the Dharma text from which we will be performing today—and this is actually mentioned in the sutras as well, but because it is written in the Dharma text, I will be speaking to you all from that—prior to performing the Dharma, everyone, including those who have come to participate in the puja, should ‘pay homage to the guru and the venerable Tara.’ The guru is listed first because without a guru performing the Dharma, it would be impossible for the Tara to jump out and appear before you. For ‘ this reason first you must pay homage to the guru, and then to the Tara.

“In the Dharma text it is written, ‘The aspirations of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, the teachers of the three times, brought about the rare Dharma activities.’ The ‘three times’ refer to the past, the present, and the future. No Dharma activities were thought up by us; they have nothing to do with humans. Many people think that they themselves are the ones who are making vows and practicing Buddhism, but this is not true! Actually, it is the aspirations of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, the teachers of the three times, which led to these rare activities which do not exist among humans. Without the practices, aspirations, and vows of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas accumulated over the course of many lifetimes, none of these rituals, sutras, or mantras could ever have appeared in this world. Simply put, it is absolutely impossible for humans to invent mantras, just as it is impossible for one to attain enlightenment by oneself.

“Everyone often speaks of ‘practicing Buddhism,’ but what exactly are we practicing? It is not meditating, reciting sutras, or chanting mantras so much as it is learning the aspirations and practices of the Buddha; only then would the rare Dharma activities come about. A Tara only manifests as the result of the aspirations of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, the teachers of the three times. This section also shows that this Dharma text belongs to the practice of Kriyayoga and Charyayoga. In simpler terms, this is Tantra, not Exoteric Buddhism. Tantra is divided into four parts: Kriyayoga, Charyayoga, Yoga Tantra, and Anuttarayoga Tantra. The Dharma text from which I will be performing today includes Kriyayoga and Charyayoga. ‘Kriya’ refers to learning to act exactly the same as the yidam, in both behavior and speech. If your guru has not attained Kriyayoga and Charyayoga, then performing this Dharma will not be helpful.

“How do you know whether or not a guru has attained it? At the very least, he or she has to have received empowerments, gone into retreats, and undergone many sequential practices before he or she can perform it. The Dharma text is extremely profound in both essence and significance, but at its core it is also very simple. Therefore, there is no need to overcomplicate it or give too many explanations. It also does not take many days to perform, but a slightly complicated ritual is involved. First, as with the performance of any Dharma or the recitation of any sutra, a mandala must be set up. Tantric mandalas require quite a few things such as placing the Eight Offerings or the Seven Offerings, and each offering item has its own Buddhist significance. In addition, a statue of the yidam must also be placed on the mandala.

“If you just open up a sutra and begin to recite right away, you aren’t quite doing it right. Actually, within the sutras themselves, there are guides as to how you should recite the sutras. In the Dharma text it is mentioned that if you cannot set up a mandala, then you should ‘ observe the purifying precepts and perform an ablution.’ To ‘observe the purifying precepts ‘ is not as simple as just eschewing meat; from an Exoteric Buddhist point of view, it means performing the Eight Precepts Retreat, which involves eight things which one must do prior to participating in a puja.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked the monastics present if any of them had performed the Eight Precepts Retreat. The monastics indicated that they had not. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then said compassionately that in future he would take them on an Eight Precepts Retreat, and in unison they expressed their gratitude.

“The Eight Precepts Retreat involves such things as not sleeping on a raised bed, not killing, not applying perfume or cologne, not speaking, not listening to songs, not watching people dance, not engaging in sexual activity, and not drinking alcohol. Thus, if you did any of these things yesterday, then today’s puja will only help you form a connection. ‘Precept’ here means that you must keep the basic Laity Precepts. ‘Perform an ablution’ means you must change your clothes and bathe. Therefore, if you have come here without first taking a shower, then this puja will not be of any use to you; likewise, those of you who have come here without dressing in nice clothes will not be able to get anything out of this puja either. What are nice clothes? You all tend to simply throw something on haphazardly and come dressed as is.

“I’ll say again that the Buddhist Community really is in a grievous state. In other religions, at their Sunday congregations, the foreign custom is for men to wear suits and women to wear formal dresses. You, on the other hand, participate in the pujas wearing gym clothes, hoodies, sleeveless shirts, and so on. So why is Buddhism in decline? It is your doing; it is the result of your lack of respect. Why are foreigners respectful? It is because they revere their gods. Why don’t you revere the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas? It is because you only respect yourselves; you think that you can attain enlightenment on your own. Shakyamuni Buddha stated very clearly that before Maitreya Buddha comes, no other Buddha will come to Earth. What makes you think you can attain Buddhahood on your own? Why do I urge you to go to the Pure Land? Herein lies the reason.

“Do you see how disrespectful you are? Why did I not mention it beforehand? Of course I didn’t, because coming to the puja and respecting the Three Jewels is something that you all should understand how to do as part of being human. The reason you are disrespectful is that you harbor desires, and think that coming to today’s puja is certain to benefit you in some way. As a result, you have come here wearing casual attire. Let me ask you this: If you were to meet the president, would you wear this sort of clothing? Would you dress so casually if you had come to see the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas? This is the epitome of disrespect. I’m not saying I want you to dress to the nines, but you should at least put on something nicer. It seems that Tibetans keep a nice set of clothes to wear whenever they are participating in a puja; they make their way to the puja on foot, taking a month or two to get there, and then change into their best suit of clothes once they arrive. There are no large dressing rooms here at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center to accommodate all of you, so this is something you should plan ahead of time.

“Why does everyone have to put on socks before entering the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center? I was the one who came up with this rule. The reason was that so many people used to come here without bathing first, and after wearing sneakers for a while, their feet would start to stink. Wherever you go, you should respect others; as a result, the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center has spent a large amount of money purchasing socks. Some people have sweaty feet; after walking around a bunch, over time the wood flooring would easily get damaged. Because the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center is relatively poor, we would rather spend money on socks than on a new floor. I know many believers think that having to put socks on before entering the Buddhist Center is a real pain, but we have no choice; the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center is not a wealthy Buddhist center, so I take what measures I can to protect all of its things.

“‘Even if you are unable to do any of this, the Tara remains compassionate.’ This means that when your conditions are such that you cannot achieve it—for example, not being able to wash due to not having a place at home to take a shower. Everyone has a bathroom at home, however, so why wouldn’t you shower? In addition, you cannot drink alcohol or eat meat. Every time you come and implore to participate in the pujas, why do I always tell you to eat vegetarian? It is because I don’t know what days I will be performing Dharmas in which you absolutely must be vegetarian to participate. Don’t think that it’s okay to eat meat while practicing Tantrism; this is absolutely not the case. How can it be okay to eat meat while practicing Tantrism? The only way is to get a fish swallowed into your belly and then still be alive after its being spat back out. If you can achieve this, then you can eat meat; otherwise, you may not.

“If someone told you that it was okay to eat meat while practicing Tantra, saying that the animal could be liberated after you’d finished eating it, that person would be full of nonsense. If such were the case, then how about I gobble you up first and then liberate you? Why is it necessary to eat vegetarian and abstain from drinking alcohol in order to participate in pujas? It is because while the Dharma is being performed, you must make offerings to the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, devas, nagas, and others of the eight classes. None of Them eats meat, so if anyone participating in the puja were a meat-eater, then They would not come to the Buddhist Center. There are a lot of people who eat meat every day, at home or elsewhere, as well as garlic; no matter how much these people chant or recite, it is of no use, because the Dharma texts and sutras are very clear on this matter.

“As soon as that believer started talking yesterday I stopped paying attention to him, because he was self-righteous. In today’s society, there is a tendency among Buddhist practitioners to be self-righteous. Furthermore, many people have no patience; they are afraid that if they speak too much, their believers won’t attend their Buddhist centers. They are different from me; I am constantly talking all the time. Nor am I afraid of believers not coming; on the contrary, I’m afraid that they will come, because for every new one that attends, my burden gets that much heavier. It the Ratnakuta Sutra it is written that during the Age of Degenerate Dharma, some people will distort the Dharma and mislead believers with flattery in order to gain fame and fortune. As a Dharma master, one absolutely must not act in such a way; it would be better to not have any believers at all than to distort the Dharma. If one were to do so, then that person would be reborn in the next lifetime as an animal with fur and horns. This, too, is recorded in the sutra.

“Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara once said that as long as you believe in the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and are a genuine practitioner, the Bodhisattvas will not let you lack for food to eat, a place to live, and clothing to wear. I myself can verify this; one might say I put Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara to the test. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about whether or not you have believers following you; all you need to worry about is whether or not you have violated the Dharma taught by the Buddha.

“Moreover, while participating in the pujas you must give rise to a very important mindset—the will to renounce reincarnation. If you are only participating in the pujas to satisfy some desire or other, then you won’t be able to obtain very much by way of attunement or benefits from them; all these pujas will do for you is to help you to plant the seeds of some good fortune of the Human and Heavenly Realms for use in a future lifetime. Why should you engender a strong sense of renunciation? Why do the Buddha and the Dharma teach us this? It is not to protect us; rather, it is to teach us how to renounce the world of reincarnation. Thus, it is completely different from how you all think it is. Only if you are a person with a strong sense of renunciation will the Buddhas, the Bodhisattvas, and the guru become attuned with you and be able to reduce—and even rid yourself of—the people, affairs, and things that would hinder your Buddhist practice in this lifetime.

“The people, affairs, and things that tend to hinder your Buddhist practice—your karmic creditors, which you have accumulated over the course of many lifetimes—usually occur within your home. Many people say that dedicating the recitation of a sutra to your husband will make him listen to you, but that isn’t actually the case. Because you do not have a strong will to renounce reincarnation, no matter what Dharma you practice, you will not become attuned to it. There are also those who would ask, ‘Aren’t we supposed to make a Bodhi vow to return to this world to liberate sentient beings?’ Well, if you can’t even renounce reincarnation, then how could you vow to come back? You should first sort out the problem of your own reincarnation; only then can you gain sufficient supernatural power to aspire to pick whichever womb-door you desire. Otherwise, you will be forced to reincarnate however your karma dictates. In other places, they wouldn’t remind their believers about this sort of thing, because as soon as they said it their believers would run off.

“Some people would say that they come to participate in the pujas hoping to change their temperaments, so that their co-workers will be nicer to them and they can get the opportunity to meet new boyfriends. This was not written in the Dharma texts, so I would never dare to say such a thing. You young people shouldn’t think that new men will start courting you after your temperament improves and you become prettier from participating in this puja. Even if they do, it will have nothing to do with me or the Green Tara.

“You must give rise to the Bodhicitta and a strong will to renounce reincarnation. A distinguishing feature of Vajrayana Buddhism is the Bodhicitta. If I were to try to explain what the Bodhicitta is, it would take me more than a year to do so. In simple terms, your purpose in attending today’s puja should not be to satisfy any of your individual desires at all; even the hope to become enlightened or to achieve attainment are desires. Ever since the first day I began practicing Buddhism, not once have I ever thought that one day I might achieve attainment or become enlightened; all I’ve done is to practice according to my guru’s teachings and what is written in the sutras. After meeting these conditions, one must take refuge and give rise to aspirations. Thus, if you open up a sutra at home and casually recite it a bit, but then set it aside after reciting halfway without even closing the sutra book and walk out to do something else—if this is how you recite sutras, then even if you recite for a million years, you still won’t have anything to do with Buddhist practice. What indeed would this have to do with? Because you have recited the sutras, and recited a bit more than average, then perhaps one day the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will allow you to come to the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center to get reprimanded.

“Everything done requires sequence and ritual. It is not that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas need us to do rituals for Them; rather, it is that our minds are already so full of wandering thoughts that we need to perform rituals and form aspirations in order to suppress such improper thoughts. Only then can we have ‘concentration’ in our Buddhist practice. What does ‘concentration’ mean? It means not being distracted by these wandering thoughts. You shouldn’t take a casual attitude toward participating in the pujas, simply coming and going as you please; as I mentioned just a little while ago, there was a disciple who did not attend the pujas three times, so later was not allowed to come here anymore. The Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center is different from other places; if you do not respect the Three Jewels, then what is the point of coming? You all have a lot of excuses, but these just show that in coming to the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center you have never given rise to a mind of renunciation. If you do not have the will to renounce reincarnation, then the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas cannot intercept and obstruct those people who would hinder your Buddhist practice. Herein lies the truth.

“Why is it that ever since the first day I started practicing Buddhism, nothing and no one has ever hindered my practice? I, too, have been married, had children, and engaged in business; has anyone ever been able to stop me? No. Why not? It is because I have a very strong sense of renunciation. You, on the other hand, have not; left and right, you continue to seek protection and blessings. Although Buddhism might appear to be thriving, only an extremely small number of people have actually attained enlightenment, and the reason has only to do with their mindset. Buddhism is different from non-Buddhist doctrines; it is about cultivating the mind, and is not about appearing remarkable or formidable on the surface.

“Today I’m going to perform the Green Tara for you. Of utmost importance is to constantly make offerings to the yidam. I have a profound affinity with the Green Tara. The first time a Dharma photo of the Green Tara was bestowed upon me, I had just lost my job and had no money, so I vowed to the Green Tara that if I were to find employment, I would donate my entire first month’s salary toward the printing of Dharma photos of the Green Tara—including the very one displayed atop the mandala to be used today, the purpose of which is to help form an affinity with all sentient beings. Strangely enough, I did indeed find work, and quite quickly. This was twenty years ago, when a monthly salary of NT$20,000 was not too shabby. I used all of it toward the printing of the Dharma photos. Who among you would dare to do so? No one can get in the way of my actions; not even my family members. You, on the other hand, would certainly keep a bit of your salary for yourselves, thinking it wouldn’t matter and that the Bodhisattvas would forgive you if you just printed some Dharma photos first, and then printed the rest later. When I opened up the Dharma photos that had been printed, a fragrant aroma wafted out from the paper; this was an indication of the Buddhas’ and Bodhisattvas’ praise.

“Practicing Buddhism is very simple. The first thing you need to do is to take responsibility for what you say. No excuse can justify not keeping your promises, even if you say something has suddenly come up that requires your attention. I don’t believe that you have never taken a sick day off from work. Why do you hurry back to work when your company suddenly comes looking for you? It is because you do not respect the Three Jewels. If you were to lose your job as the result of participating in a puja, then this, too, is very simple; it means the affinity between you and that job does not exist anymore, not that you are out of work as the result of participating in the puja. All along your boss has been waiting for an opportunity to cut you loose. This is fine, too, because if you were to get let go as a result of participating in a puja, it means you would have accumulated some good fortune; that’s a lot better than getting fired because you stayed out all night playing hooky.

“Many people don’t follow through with their promises. If you don’t, it doesn’t matter; you’ll just revert back to your original karmic effects. If you fulfill all the conditions, then strangely enough, all of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will be by your side, protecting you. Why? It is because such people are very difficult to find. There are 1300 people participating in today’s puja; who among you could use your entire first month’s salary for the printing of Dharma photos the way I did? And by that, I mean not leaving yourselves any money at all, so that you have to scrape by for another month before getting paid again. You would most likely leave a little bit aside so that you could pay rent and so on. I wouldn’t care about those things, but I’m different from normal people. In ancient times people said it is better that a Buddhist practitioner remains a bit dumb; the smarter a person is, the harder it is for him or her to learn the Dharma.

“What sort of people are smart people? In everything they do, they think of how they themselves can benefit from it. I always think of how others can benefit from my actions. I used my salary for the printing of tens of thousands of copies of the Green Tara’s Dharma photo because I understood very well that the Green Tara could benefit a lot of sentient beings. Even if some of those who received copies did not worship the Green Tara, as long as they gave rise to a respectful attitude, the Green Tara will definitely help them in the next lifetime. As such, what I got out of it was not money. Don’t say you can accomplish even a hundredth of what I have; you can’t even come close.

“I know very well that none of you disciples listens closely. Every one of you thinks that once you’ve gotten married, you’ll change your spouse so that he or she will eat vegetarian like you do. However, even after being married for months, your spouse continues to eat meat. If you were really able to change your husband, you would have done it while he was still courting you; once you’re married and have status in each other’s eyes, how are you going to change him? Have you ever seen such a stupid man? If he won’t change while courting you, then how can he possibly change after he’s married to you? What I say is never false.

“Only once you have prepared all the necessary preliminary practices such as establishing the proper mindset and motive can my performance of this Dharma help you to become liberated from life and death. If you have not prepared the proper mindset, have not been listening, or are still attending these pujas with a self-righteous attitude, then all you will obtain today is a bit of good fortune of the Human and Heavenly Realms. That’s better than nothing, of course, but it cannot be used in this lifetime. Good fortune of the Human and Heavenly Realms can only be used in a future lifetime, and there is no telling in which of your future lifetimes it will benefit you. Like money, it can be spent until it is gone. However, if you have been following the teachings just now and are genuinely aspiring to participate in the puja, then you will obtain merits.

“Merits fill the void, and will never disappear unless you give rise to hatred. This does not refer to losing one’s temper. Many people think that losing one’s temper or being in a bad mood is indicative of hatred, when in fact ‘hatred’ means, simply put, that you hate someone. The saying, ‘ fire burns away the forest of merits,’ refers to the fact that when many people first start practicing Buddhism they are very conscientious and diligent; after a while, however, upon discovering that they have not achieved the goals they thought they would have achieved, they begin to bad-mouth it. This is hatred. Because these people were greedy, yet did not obtain what they wanted, they give rise to hatred; as soon as hatred appears, all of their merits are burned up. It’s not that they are gone completely, however; rather, the merits are transformed into good fortune. For every cause that is planted, an effect is certain to be produced; as a result, you have changed your future effects. I often remind you that when you come to the Buddhist Center, you should come joyfully; however, when the causal condition is gone, you should leave joyfully as well. You must refrain from criticizing this or that.

“Only by having merits can you be liberated from life and death; without them, this would be impossible. The most obvious example of this fact was Emperor Liang. No one seated here, including myself, has ever made more contributions to Buddhism than Emperor Liang did. However, he was still unable to escape his karma, for he had only accumulated good fortune and had given rise to hatred toward Bodhidharma. Bodhidharma said that Emperor Liang had only good fortune, but had no merits; Emperor Liang became angry. As soon as he became haughty and arrogant, his merits disappeared. Only with merits can you transform the karma you have brought with you through lifetime after lifetime. Having good fortune cannot do this for you, so you must cultivate merits. For this reason, every Dharma text begins with mention of the motivation you all should have. A lot of young people do not understand why merits are necessary; they are of the opinion that it is way too soon for them to even think about death.

“Yesterday a believer came again to threaten me, saying that his child was still young. I told him that he had come to the right place, because at forty-seven years old, I, too, had cancer and an elderly mother and children to take care of. Thus, no one can threaten me. Anything you could possibly experience, I have already gone through. Why do people say these sorts of things? It is because they aren’t willing to become liberated from life and death; they still take life as it is given to them: One day at a time. No matter how many more days you remain alive, however, there will always come a day when it’s your time to go. Impermanence can show its face at any time. This is especially true in today’s world, which has been wrecked so severely by humankind; it’s likely that you’ll either be wiped out by an accident or a natural disaster.

“Practicing Buddhism is a wonderful thing; it just depends on you. Next I’ll begin to perform the Dharma, but first I need a sip of water. I can’t help it; I have a cold.” In unison, all of the attendees expressed their gratitude. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told everyone that there was no need to thank him, but that instead they should thank those disciples who had participated in the Fire-Offering. “You should all ponder for a moment on what I have said. Look into your hearts, and figure out whether your motive for participating in the puja is different from the one I spoke of. If so, then you should adjust it.”

After that, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began to perform the auspicious Green Tara. First the ordained disciples offered the mandala and implored the Dharma from the guru on behalf of all the attendees. After performing the Dharma for a while, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said that what he had just performed had included the offerings and praises, and that next the guru would perform the Prayer of Praise for the Twenty-One Taras. While the Dharma was being performed, the Tsok Ritual was conducted, during which each of the attendees received a food offering that had been blessed by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche as well as the rare and auspicious causal condition of sharing food with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas during the puja.

After the Dharma was performed to perfect completion, all of the attendees thanked the guru in unison. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then continued to bestow precious Dharma teachings.

“The prayer we recited just now mentions that if you are attuned to the yidam, then no matter where you live, poverty, illness, and war will all be subdued. Thus, if you are still living in a poverty-stricken area, it means you have not been diligent in your practice. In the prayer, many things are supplicated for. Due to time constraints, for now I won’t explain them all. An important one, however, is that if a practitioner specializes in cultivating the Green Tara, then whether on the supramundane or the mundane path, he or she will be completely fulfilled. The so-called mundane path does not include romantic love; none of this has anything to do with your love or marriage. What it refers to is the possibility of dying an untimely death as a result of evil acts you committed in your past lives; this could include such hindering difficulties as being crushed in a car wreck, getting poisoned from taking the wrong medicine, succumbing to an incurable disease, obstacles from demons, dying in an epidemic, and so on. That is, things which could hinder your ability to succeed in practicing Buddhism in this lifetime.

“If a practitioner specializes in cultivating this yidam, this can help him or her to take care of these worldly affairs—including all mundane and supramundane auspiciousness, virtue, happiness, wealth, and perfect fulfillment. You would be happy to hear this, but having money without making offerings and giving to charity is useless. You calculate and calculate, but your calculations are still selfish. For example, last year I told a disciple to sell his house, but he did not listen, giving a heap of excuses not to. As a result, this year he discovered his roof was leaking so badly that it could not be repaired. If he had sold it last year, he could have made some money; now, however, due to the water leaks, he is going to have to spend a large amount of money on it. Many people think I say things casually or jokingly, but why would I joke after having reached such a level? When I see something happening and mention it to you, if you don’t listen, then it will definitely happen.

“There is something unique about practicing the Green Tara. In the Dharma text it is mentioned that when a practitioner specializes in cultivating this yidam, then he or she should pray when Amitabha Buddha genuinely appears, so that he or she will be granted assurance of future enlightenment. There is no mention of this in the Amitabha Sutra; only the Dharma text of the Green Tara makes special mention of it. Many people think that practicing Buddhism is all about reciting well, because each yidam has a different aspiration and causal condition. Other Dharma texts make no mention that upon truly seeing Amitabha Buddha, one can pray and then be assured of future enlightenment. You haven’t learned Buddhism, so you do not know what the bestowal of assurance of future enlightenment means. It is a clear message that tells you of your future attainment. Only the Buddha can bestow assurance of future enlightenment, with the exception of a guru, who can bestow it upon his or her disciples. Apart from this, no one can bestow assurance of future enlightenment.

“The bestowal of assurance of future enlightenment is not a prophecy; rather, it is a guarantee that the practitioner can attain it. The sutra also makes frequent mention that the Buddha bestowed assurance of future enlightenment upon His disciples and stated which yidams the disciples would become in the future. The Buddha does not speak falsely; if the Buddha said it, then they were okay. By ‘okay’ I do not mean that the disciples were all set for the present time; rather, the Buddha had already seen the definite fruition the disciples would attain if they were to continue to practice in the way they were practicing. His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s bestowal of the Long Life Prayer upon me was a bestowal of assurance of future enlightenment; it was an assurance of a certain fruition which I would attain in the future. The words written by the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang indicated that I would definitely reach the fruition of a Bodhisattva. Furthermore, at the end His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang wrote that these words had been written with ‘sincerity,’ which translated from Tibetan means ‘honest and responsible.’

“I am sometimes rather naughty, saying that if I am not able to achieve attainment, I would hold His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang accountable. It is easier said than done to hold a guru responsible like this. A guru can take responsibility for other things, but absolutely cannot take responsibility for your practice. This is because you should cultivate yourself, unless through constant observation the guru can see very clearly. Therefore, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang watched me for nearly twenty years before bestowing the Long Life Prayer upon me. Others have implored for it but His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang tells them that they are too young, or that the time has not yet come to write one for them. Actually, this is a mere civility, because His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang was very young when another guru wrote a Long Life Prayer for him.

“Every yidam has a different fruition. Because the Green Tara knows ordinary people have an overabundance of worldly hindrances, she first helps to quell them so that you won’t die an untimely death, catch an incurable disease, or fall destitute. Furthermore, the Green Tara would absolutely never answer to people’s prayers of seeking romantic love, because romantic love leads to desire and possession. For example, who would be willing to share her husband with more than a dozen other women? This would be impossible, which is why the Dharma text makes no mention of it. Don’t think that the part recited earlier which said, ‘Tara! Understand my suffering,’ describes such a thing; what it actually refers to is the suffering of reincarnation. The ‘terror’ mentioned in the Dharma text refers to being in terror of reincarnating, while ‘sorrow’ refers to not having anyone to help you become liberated from reincarnation.

“You must not misunderstand by thinking that this means telling the Tara how much you are suffering due to the fact that your husband is having an affair; the Tara would be deaf to such complaints. Why is that? The reason is that if you, or your husband, are having an affair, it is the result of a cause that you yourselves planted in the past. In practicing Buddhism, you must understand very clearly that you will not suddenly rise to a higher level just because you constantly chant the Tara. If you cultivate enough good fortune, then your situation will change. However, until this happens, the Tara can only help you solve some problems which you absolutely should not have, such as falling ill in this lifetime and having your life shortened. The Tara can first help you to solve such problems. The Tara will help you because you need life in order to practice, but as for other things, it depends on your good fortune. Even though it is mentioned in the Dharma text that the Tara can make you perfectly fulfilled in your wealth, the emphasis is that if you help sentient beings, Buddhism, and the Order, then wealth will be provided for you to use toward these endeavors.

“Over the past few decades of practicing Buddhism I have gained deep insight into the fact that I have not obtained money as a result of becoming a Rinpoche; rather, it is because I use it without thinking of it as money. People who are calculating are unable to implore the Green Tara. Still, today I have helped you to plant this causal condition. Even if it cannot be used in this lifetime, it will be useful in the next. When a Mahasiddha who has cultivated the Anuttarayoga Tantra and had assurance of future enlightenment bestowed upon him by His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang is leading you in the chanting of this mantra, I daresay, this is more beneficial to you than if you were to recite it by yourselves hundreds of millions or even billions of times.” In unison, all of the attendees expressed their gratitude. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche told them that they did not have to thank him, and that they should instead thank His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, for it was the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang who had found Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, not the attendees.

“Affinity is very strange. Only because His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang came to Taiwan did guru and disciple first meet. If I had gone to another country, I really would not have met the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. Today you have the causal condition to be here, so you really need to listen very closely: Stop basing your Buddhist practice on your own ideas; stop thinking about what benefits you can obtain from practicing Buddhism. You won’t get anything at all from practicing Buddhism, so if you hope that you can, you will be disappointed. Practicing Buddhism means abandoning the things which we should not possess, such as the evil karmic seeds we have planted, greed, hatred, ignorance, arrogance, and doubt. You must get rid of these a little bit at a time; this is especially true of laziness and wrongdoings—these things you really must change. Only in this way will you have the opportunity in this lifetime to become liberated from life and death or even experience Amitabha Buddha genuinely manifesting before you as mentioned in the Dharma text. What this refers to is the Sambhogakaya, not the Nirmanakaya. Monastics can understand this part. As soon as Sambhogakaya appears, you will immediately be granted assurance of future enlightenment. This is something better than anything else in the whole universe. Having assurance of future enlightenment bestowed upon you means being told that the path you are walking is correct, and that you have not gone the wrong way.

“Along my path of Buddhist practice, after each state has manifested before me, I have not become overjoyed at the thought of having attained it. The first thing I have done has always been to ask advice of His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. Only after obtaining the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s confirmation have I ever dared to speak of it in public. This is not because I cannot know it by myself; rather, it is because one must recognize one’s root in practicing Buddhism. The guru is the one who has taught the Dharma to you, so only the guru understands clearly whether or not you have attained a certain state. If the guru confirms that you have, then you may continue. Until then, if you become overjoyed and think that you have become really good at it, then you are haughty and arrogant. If the guru gives you confirmation, then it means you have achieved and obtained the Dharma transmitted to you by the guru. It also means that because you have attained this Dharma, you can become liberated from life and death, and can help sentient beings as well.

“When you chant and you feel some sensation or sit there completely motionless with your mind becoming calmer and calmer, you then claim you have realized a certain state. This is not at all true. Achieving a calm mind while meditating does not mean you have attained samadhi, for if you are not even clear about the flow of your internal channels in your bodies, then you will not attain samadhi. Many people waste a lot of time by approaching their Buddhist practice with a self-righteous attitude. I have had great good fortune in this lifetime; I have encountered a meritorious guru—His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. Not only that, the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang has done everything in his power to set me straight; this is the only reason I have achieved what little I have up to now.

“Therefore, whether you have or haven’t practiced Buddhism in the past, and whether you have or haven’t taken refuge, you should not use your own methods to practice Buddhism. This is because you are not the Buddha; by what right would you use your own methods to practice Buddhism? By the same token, if you aren’t a professor, then what gives you the right to use a professor’s methods? Would that make you a professor? No; that would be impossible. This is the same as what it means to be human. Therefore, you absolutely must follow a sequential order, step by step. All of the guru’s teachings are for your own good; they are absolutely not said for the benefit of the guru.

“No guru in any Buddhist center is as ‘ill-fated’ as I am: During Thursday’s Fire-Offering, the land was mine and the mandala was mine as well; the disciples just went and got a ready-made one. On Saturday I have to receive believers, and on Sunday I have to preside over the puja. Reason would dictate, and as a doctor would say, a person with a cold should be lying in bed asleep. However, I cannot sleep, because too many sentient beings come to seek me out. Thus, that today you had the causal condition to come to the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center—and ‘Glorious Jewel’ was Lord Jigten Sumgön’s Dharma name—means that in a past lifetime you formed an affinity with the Drikung Kagyu Order. Otherwise, out of so many Buddhist centers in Taiwan, how is it that you came to this one? I am not well-known, nor have I publicized or advertised. There is definitely a reason behind your having come here.

“Why do you still have so many hindrances in this lifetime? It is because of ‘arrogance’ and ‘doubt,’ two of the five poisons. Your willingness to practice Buddhism indicates that your greed, hatred, and ignorance are already waning; however, the most important of the poisons are actually the two that follow: ‘Arrogance’ and ‘doubt.’ ‘Arrogance’ refers to pride, while ‘doubt’ refers to doubting a practitioner. Again I’ll inform you of something: I did not achieve my fruition simply by saying so myself; rather, my fruition was affirmed by His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. If you don’t even believe what the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang has said, then you should stop coming here.

“Don’t think that just because His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang isn’t here by my side, it means that no one is watching me; even when the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang is not, Dharma Protector Achi is. Also don’t think His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang doesn’t keep a close eye on me, because he actually does. The Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang always reads the contents of my weekly teachings. After a while His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang might tell me that it’s good that I spoke a lot on a certain topic, and then a while later he might tell me that I should speak more on the contents of the sutras, in which case I answer, ‘Yes, I will.’ In other words, I cannot escape His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s Tathagata-palm.

“Thus, you should not misunderstand and think that just because I am already a Rinpoche it means I don’t have to listen to what His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang says; such is not the case at all. Last month, while visiting the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang stated very clearly the reason that I was authenticated as a Rinpoche. It was not that I had made a lot of offerings; rather, it was because I am obedient. In Tantrism being ‘obedient’ means that one only has the guru and nothing else. In the eyes of some secular people, this might appear very strange; if you obviously have a husband or a wife, then how can you only have the guru? This question of theirs just means that they do not have what it takes to learn Tantrism. Therefore, you must not prepare to learn Tantra with greed.

“Only people willing to completely dedicate their lives to learning Tantrism are able to practice it. You are welcome to give it a try. Never mind what I have done in the past; simply my activities over the past few days have been exhausting. I performed the Fire-Offering for at least four hours, and while performing the Dharma I had to constantly pick things up and toss them for a minimum of four thousand times. My hands are still okay, however; they still work just fine. By saying this I am not trying to show off to you; rather, my purpose is to illustrate to you that the life of a Tantric practitioner is never easy. Nor would I dare to say that I have contributed very much; I simply don’t care about my own life. Therefore, if you still care a lot for your own personal well-being, then just behave yourselves and keep coming to the pujas; stop thinking so much about how well-cultivated you can become, because you are not qualified.

“What do I mean by ‘caring a lot for your own personal well-being?’ I’m referring to people who make up a lot of excuses about this and that. Others would not know what to do with you, but I do; this is because I am a lay practitioner, exactly the same as yourselves. I’m not some reincarnated Rinpoche who has suddenly cropped up out of nowhere; I have achieved my attainment in this very lifetime. You would not be able to convince me that you weren’t able to attend the puja, no matter what justification you might use. There is no way you could out-argue me, regardless the subject—and this includes getting cancer, death, divorce, unfilial children, and being too poor to buy anything to eat. You couldn’t beat me in an argument about those things, because I’ve experienced them all. Who among you can say the same? That said, you really should not have come. Life is like that; it goes by so quickly—in just a few decades it’s gone. Already another year has passed. That’s all I’ll talk about here today.”

Upon the perfect completion of the puja, the disciples expressed their gratitude in unison. With great compassion and every ounce of his being, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had expounded the Dharma to benefit sentient beings. Despite feeling out of sorts due to having a cold, and giving no consideration to his own discomfort, the guru had continued to perform the Dharma personally and bestow Dharma teachings as precious as gems and pearls, so that the attendees and all sentient beings could receive the auspicious benefits of the Dharma. All of the attendees, without exception, felt sincerely thankful as they stood to pay reverent homage while His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche descended the Dharma throne.

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Updated on March 25, 2014