His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings — August 3, 2014

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

“Back when I first began to follow His Holiness, there were three elderly Mahasiddhas in the Drikung Kagyu Order. One was the guru with whom I had taken refuge—Tenzin Nyima Rinpoche, who resided in Tibet at the Drikung Kagyu’s ancestral monastery, Drikung Thil. He has since passed away. Another was Yunga Rinpoche, who is also no longer with us. He went into a long-term retreat at the Tibetan border, and his great aspiration was to pass on to Bodhisattva Maitreya’s Pure Land and return to the world in Bodhisattva Maitreya’s footsteps as a Buddha.

“Apart from his attendants, Yunga Rinpoche would not receive any visitors. Still, he once transmitted a very secret Tantra empowerment to me. You are all under the impression that imploring the Dharma is the same as making an offering—you say the request, and then you’ll get what you want. But prior to bestowing the empowerment that day, Yunga Rinpoche gave me a test. Tests in Buddhism do not involve asking questions about Buddhist terms; the questions asked are directly related to the practitioner’s mind, and this is especially true for someone practicing the Mahamudra of the Drikung Kagyu Order. Even if you have read a heap of books and listened to a lot of Dharma teachings, the only thing that can have the causal condition to answer such questions correctly is your mind. Only after passing Yunga Rinpoche’s test did the guru transmit this most secret of Tantra empowerments to me. Now this elderly Mahasidda is no longer with us.

“The venerable masters Tenzin Nyima Rinpoche and Yunga Rinpoche both started out as lamas, and practiced until they attained fruition. In 1995, the first time I visited Drikung Thil Monastery, I told a monastic in the main hall that I wished to meet the eldest practitioner in the monastery. At the time I did not know who that was; I was simply asking. As it happened, Tenzin Nyima Rinpoche’s attendant had come to the main hall to do a few things. Upon overhearing my inquiry, this attendant said to the monk in charge of reception, ‘That must be him; Rinpoche wants to see someone today, and said that he would come here from a foreign land. He is determined to see him.’ At the time, Tenzin Nyima Rinpoche was in what the Drikung Kagyu Order calls the ‘death retreat,’ meaning he would neither receive any visitors nor come out of retreat until his time on Earth would end.

“So the attendant led me up to see the guru. The monastery is situated at approximately four thousand meters above sea level, and from the main hall we had to climb another five hundred meters or so, to a height of four thousand five hundred meters above sea level. There was no road, so we had to walk all the way up. Back in 1995 I was still young, so I was able to walk at quite a brisk pace. When we reached the top, the attendant knocked on a little wooden window shutter. A few minutes later, Tenzin Nyima Rinpoche opened the double-layered shutter. When he saw me and realized that I spoke no Tibetan—and he could not speak Chinese—he told me to stick my head in through the window. Had you been in my shoes, then surely you would have been scared and wonder why you should stick your head inside and put it at risk of getting lopped off like that.

“After I stuck my head in, Tenzin Nyima Rinpoche took a pair of scissors and cut off my hair. After that, he recited the Refuge Prayer and the Lineage of the Drikung Kagyu Order, and told me to make nine prostrations. To this day I still do not know why Tenzin Nyima Rinpoche wanted me to make nine prostrations; usually the number is three, not nine. Nevertheless, after instructing me to make nine prostrations, Tenzin Nyima Rinpoche bestowed a Dharma title upon me. I could tell many more stories about him, but we won’t do that today.

“The other elder back then was Drubwang Rinpoche, who had been Tenzin Nyima Rinpoche’s Dharma brother while the two were disciples together back in India. Drubwang Rinpoche made a vow, but did not shave his head even though he was a monastic. He wore his hair up on top of his head and did not wash it, but it did not stink; rather, it smelled great. For this reason, people used to respectfully refer to Drubwang Rinpoche as ‘the fragrant-haired Rinpoche.’ The first time I met him was in a Tibetan village beneath Jangchubling Monastery in India. The village had an assembly hall, and one of His Holiness His Holiness’s attendants took me there to meet Drubwang Rinpoche.

“Inside, Drubwang Rinpoche was sitting at the podium leaning against the Dharma throne, and the audience was full of lay practitioners. After prostrating myself before Drubwang Rinpoche and presenting an offering of US$200, he just stared at the notes and asked the attendant what they were, because he had never seen American dollars before. After accepting the offering, Drubwang Rinpoche gave me a thumbs-up and told the attendant of Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang that I was a virtuous man. By ‘virtuous’ he meant that I practiced the Ten Meritorious Acts. Drubwang Rinpoche and I share a very profound bond.

“In 1997, His Holiness His Holiness publicly enthroned me at Jangchubling Monastery in India. In Tibetan Buddhism, before one can begin to transmit and teach Dharma, one must first become a khenpo, and then a Dharma-transmission master. Because I was a lay practitioner and unable to become a khenpo, only by way of a ritual could I be enthroned as a Dharma master. To do this, a throne holder of the lineage would have to conduct an ‘enthronement’ ceremony at a public venue. The character chuáng in the Chinese word for ‘enthronement’ does not literally mean bed; it is just a metaphor. The enthronement ceremony must be performed before many lamas and important Rinpoches within the Order. As with being named a professor at a university, it involves holding a public ceremony, and this carries the same sort of meaning.

“I needed to be at the main hall bright and early that morning. His Holiness His Holiness first told me to head over to where he was staying. Drubwang Rinpoche had gone to stand at the entrance to the monastery’s main hall first thing in the morning. In Tibetan Buddhist rituals, whenever a puja is being held in the main hall, no one is allowed to enter before it begins except for the staff members. This is different from how other people out there do things; everyone rushes right in, and the Dharma master arrives afterward. On that day, His Holiness instructed me to wait at the entrance to the main hall with Drubwang Rinpoche. His Holiness then led us into the main hall, and the other lamas were then allowed to follow. That day Drubwang Rinpoche had come to witness my enthronement ceremony on behalf of the other Rinpoches.

“Every time I returned to India, I always visited Drubwang Rinpoche. He was very special; he always clasped his hands around my head and held it while chanting for five minutes or more. I couldn’t understand what Drubwang Rinpoche was chanting, but he always chanted it anyway. Anyone else who entered always got scolded and sent out by Drubwang Rinpoche. Both he and Tenzin Nyima Rinpoche scolded people, so if you wish I wouldn’t scold you, you’re wishing in vain. Yunga Rinpoche scolded people, too; he always scolded those Rinpoches who had not done a good job cultivating their Buddhist practice. The more he scolded, the louder his voice would get. All of them used scolding to teach.

“Another very profound causal condition occurred when, one year, the Dalai Lama was going to stay at Jangchubling Monastery for two to three days. For safety concerns, the entire monastery was cleared, and only His Holiness and a few attendants remained inside the monastery. His Holiness instructed me and Drubwang Rinpoche to wait at the monastery’s main entrance. Drubwang Rinpoche was of course provided with a chair to sit in, but those lamas had neglected to set one up for me; so, Drubwang Rinpoche told his attendants to bring me a chair. Thus, that day only Drubwang Rinpoche and I were sitting outside the front entrance to the monastery.

“A minor episode occurred then. A pair of Taiwanese believers—a husband and wife—saw Drubwang Rinpoche and kneeled on the ground to present him with a khata. From start to finish, Drubwang Rinpoche never so much as cast them a glance; as a result, they knelt there frozen in place for about three minutes. After a while, feeling snubbed, they donned the khata themselves and rose to their feet. As you can understand, elderly practitioners usually have quite some attitude. Some would think this was not a very compassionate act; the couple had knelt before them, but Drubwang Rinpoche had his own view of things. Later on the Dalai Lama arrived, and out of the hundreds of people waiting outside the monastery, only Drubwang Rinpoche and I were allowed to enter. His Holiness had invited us in, and this was also a very special causal condition for us.

“When I organized the Vajra Dance that was to be performed in Taiwan, Drubwang Rinpoche was the only Rinpoche to come see it. That day he really enjoyed the show. Drubwang Rinpoche visited the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center before and presided over a puja from this very stage. A few years before his death, Drubwang Rinpoche once gave me the task of reviving a very old tradition at Drikung Thil Monastery. In the past, all of the monastics used to gather there to chant the Great Six-Syllable Mantra continuously for forty-five days, twenty-four hours a day. Due to historical events this tradition had been interrupted, so Drubwang Rinpoche instructed me to revive it. No one was available to make offerings in support of it, so every year I made an offering of several tens of thousands of RMB to pay for it. A few years later a major benefactor emerged, and now they no longer need my help. I also once saw Drubwang Rinpoche in Nepal while he was still alive.

“Why am I talking about these elderly Rinpoches? What point am I trying to make? None of them ventured out to transmit the Dharma. If you ever met them it was because you had an affinity with them; if you had no such causal condition, then you would not have even laid eyes on them. Case in point, in the end Tenzin Nyima Rinpoche would not even receive any khatas presented by sentient beings, because he did not want to have any care—he did not want to owe them anything, instead wishing to leave this world naturally and unfettered. In this lifetime Drubwang Rinpoche never transmitted the Dharma or any empowerments; everywhere he went, he just told people to chant the Great Six-Syllable Mantra a hundred million times. Since I began to propagate the Dharma in 1997, I’ve come to think that this method of his was the better method. This is because you really don’t have what it takes to practice Buddhism; you are just believers, and nothing more.

“Yesterday too I scolded a certain disciple. His mother passed away recently, and when I asked him if she had ever sought audience with me, he told me she had done so last year. I asked him, ‘Is it true that your mom was not a vegetarian?’ He insisted that I liberate his mother, but how could I liberate her if she did not have the necessary good fortune, merits and causal condition? You Buddhist practitioners have forgotten something. Whether you are lay practitioners or monastics, why do people celebrate the Hungry Ghost Festival in July? It has to do with a very important Buddhist parable. It has nothing to do with opening the gates of the Ghost Realm; this was invented by the Chinese. Back when Buddhism became popular in China, those wizards who used to worship ghosts went out of business, so they invented the tradition of opening the gateway to the ghosts and burning paper money.

“If I ever find out any of my disciples are still burning paper money in July, I will not hesitate to tell them to leave, because there is no mention of that practice in the sutras. The tradition of burning paper money dates back to the Shang Dynasty; it was nothing more than a sort of courtesy shown to the deceased that was later reinforced during the Zhou Dynasty. It had nothing to do with Buddhism. Some people might defend themselves by saying that their mothers or mothers-in-law wanted them to burn the paper money, but they are actually the ones who have the desire to do it. If this action was mentioned in the sutras, I would definitely be telling everyone that it’s okay to do it. In the sutras it is written quite clearly what you should do in the month of July; those passages tell everyone what to do to become liberated. However, people often forget this story, whether they have recently taken refuge, taken refuge for a long time, or never taken refuge before.

“Among the disciples of Shakyamuni Buddha, the Venerable Maudgalyāyana had the most supernatural powers and was far more cultivated than I or any of you. The Venerable Maudgalyāyana’s mother did not practice Buddhism, and after passing away she fell into the Hungry Ghost Realm. By way of his supernatural powers, the Venerable Maudgalyāyana learned of his mother’s suffering and brought her food to eat. In the end, however, she was not able to eat any of it. One of the terrible things about being in the Hungry Ghost Realm is that anything you attempt to swallow will turn to fire and cannot go through your throat. Even water turns to fire, which is the reason for the existence of the ‘Throat-Opening Mantra’ in Exoteric Buddhism. Upon witnessing how this happened to his mother, the Venerable Maudgalyāyana knew he could not liberate her by himself. Therefore let me ask you: What makes you think you can liberate someone simply by chanting the Buddha’s name a few times? Are you more powerful than the Venerable Maudgalyāyana?

“Taiwan is a very strange place. So many people here are haughty and arrogant; they all think very highly of themselves, and assume that all they have to do is chant Amitabha Buddha’s name from the sutras to liberate someone. There are prerequisites for this, however. None of you pays attention to the stories written in the sutras; you all think you can attain enlightenment on your own. However, for that to be possible, you must at least cultivate to the fruition level of an arhat, and have great supernatural powers like the Venerable Maudgalyāyana. If you have not even achieved this level of attainment, then what makes you think you have the ability to liberate the deceased? For this reason, Shakyamuni Buddha taught the Venerable Maudgalyāyana to make offerings, but these were not ordinary offerings. A disaster has struck southern Taiwan, and you’ve donated money to help. This is the act of giving charity, and is conditioned Dharma. When making offerings, the targeted recipient is very important.

“The Vassa was observed in ancient times, because Indian summers are extremely hot. As such, monastics back then did not venture out to ask foods as alms with bowls. Another reason the monastics did not go out was that with so many insects on the ground during the summer months, they remained indoors for fear that they might accidentally step on them and crush dead. Thus, everyone remained indoors in a certain place and did not go out. Shakyamuni Buddha told the Venerable Maudgalyāyana to provide meals for all of the thousand plus monastics when they came out of their retreat, and to dedicate these merits to his mother; only in this way would she be able to leave the Hungry Ghost Realm. However—and you all must listen carefully—Shakyamuni Buddha never said she would be able to go to Amitabha’s Pure Land; she could only ascend to the Heaven Realm. Those who went into the Vassa retreat were Shakyamuni Buddha’s own disciples, to whom Shakyamuni Buddha had transmitted Dharma personally. How shameless can you be, to assume you are qualified to serve as Shakyamuni Buddha’s disciples? You have done nothing to deserve that honor! You all think that having taken refuge means you are the Buddha’s disciples, but actually taking refuge is just the ritual that signifies the beginning of your journey.

“In the sutras it is written that making an offering to a practitioner who has given rise to the Bodhicitta brings more merits than making an offering to the Buddha. What is the reason for this? The Buddha does not need you, because the Buddha is already perfect and complete. A practitioner who has given rise to the Bodhicitta, on the other hand, will become a Buddha or Bodhisattva in the future, and in the meantime can benefit many sentient beings. Thus, genuinely and honestly making offerings to such a practitioner is more useful even than providing food for monks every year. The customs of feeding the monks and opening the gateway to the ghosts both come from this parable. If I ever hear again that you have gone to perform such worship as burning paper money, you should just stop coming here, because it would mean you are not Buddhist practitioners.

“How can one become liberated without making offerings? Normally you don’t make any offerings; you only show up when you’re in trouble. The point of what I am saying is not that you need to make offerings, but that you do not have any good fortune. I will use what occurred yesterday as a very simple example; a disciple said that his brother and other family members did not believe in Buddhism, and that he was the only one who had taken refuge. As such, he said, he has not been able to convince his mother to be vegetarian. In my own family, out of all my siblings I am the only one who practices Buddhism; they do not even participate in pujas. How, then, was I able to cause my mother to change? It’s not that I am more adept at doing things than you; it’s just that I listen to my guru’s teachings more carefully. Do you think dedicating sutra recitations to your mother is enough to make her do as you say?

“Everyone makes the same mistake these days; you all dedicate your sutra recitations to your parents and think that will lessen their karmic burdens and make them listen to you. Some people even tell me, ‘My parents have heavy karmic burdens!’ I always answer, ‘You are correct! No wonder they gave birth to such an unfilial child as yourself!’ Of course our parents have heavy karmic burdens; if they did not, wouldn’t they have given birth to Bodhisattvas instead of ordinary people like us? If their karmic burdens weren’t so heavy, then perhaps they would have given birth to someone like Shakyamuni Buddha or a throne holder!

“It is mentioned in the sutras that a genuinely filial person is one who is diligent in their Buddhist practice. You should not think that simply chanting for a while or making a few prostrations is enough to accumulate good fortune; this takes many lifetimes to complete. To put it simply, last time I performed the Avalokiteshvara Dharma method, I taught that you should all be ‘honest.’ Whatever your guru tells you, you should listen carefully and obey. You should not shake in your boots, afraid of making a mistake and getting scolded for it. As I have taught before, people who are afraid of being scolded are the worst kind of people in the world. After all, if you don’t get scolded, then how can you know when you’ve done something wrong? What does it mean if you are afraid of admonishment? First of all, it means you are overly concerned about saving face; secondly, it means you are haughty and arrogant; and thirdly, it means you do not think you are capable of making mistakes. As such, you are afraid of getting scolded. How can a person like that change?

“Even worse is when your mind goes blank and you show no reaction to being scolded; this is evil, too. How could you not have a reaction? You’re human, after all; you have nerves and thoughts. Why would you not react? It is because you are thinking, ‘Let him scold me! I’ll get scolded no matter what I say, so I might as well just keep my mouth shut.’ Isn’t that how you think? That’s quite detestable, isn’t it? So-called admonishment in Buddhism does not mean your guru is angry with you. The sutras are full of passages in which Shakyamuni Buddha was constantly berating disciples; in your opinion, would the Buddha berate anyone harshly? You think the Buddha would only have spoken calmly and delivered courteous exhortations, right? However, after having encountered people like you, it would be a wonder if the Buddha did not scold you!

“Why didn’t those three great Rinpoches scold me? It was because there was no need, for I took the initiative to change. Why do you get scolded? It is because you do not amend your ways! No matter what I say, you continue to act shamefully and self-righteously! Each of you thinks you have made a vow in your practice and are doing quite well; for this reason, I scold you. If the Buddha thought berating was wrong, then the word ‘berate’ would not appear anywhere in the sutras. However, it appears many times; especially in the Ratnakuta Sutra. In those pages, the Buddha used berating particularly to correct the practice methods of monastics and lay practitioners. There are many, many examples of such scolding by the Buddha in that sutra.

“Don’t think that just because you have read the Lotus Sutra, the Avatamsaka Sutra, and the Great Prajna Sutra, it means you are practicing Buddhism. These are merely theoretical texts; to truly start upon the Bodhisattva Path, you must practice from the Ratnakuta Sutra. There are many different explanations of the Six Paramitas and so on within that sutra; it is aimed at practitioners with a higher level of cultivation. If I were to base my Dharma teachings solely on the Ratnakuta Sutra, you would probably all run away! As I taught last time I performed the Avalokiteshvara Dharma method, if you do not possess a higher root capacity, you cannot attain enlightenment in this lifetime, so you might as well be realistic, take refuge, and listen. You will at least still have some protection that you will not fall into the Three Evil Realms. If you keep refusing to listen, you will be like that disciple who came seeking audience yesterday. He was experiencing a few hindrances at home, but was unwilling to mention them; he also did not know he should repent in advance. If he had had a little bit of wisdom, he would have recognized the hindrances at home for what they were, yet he was not even aware that he should help his mother prepare. Only after she died did he finally come here, crying oh so convincingly.

“I began to help my mother prepare for her death more than ten years ago, and only now am I able to bring her here to Taiwan; without that preparation, I could never have succeeded. How did I prepare her? I remained constantly diligent in my practice. Everyone thinks practicing Buddhism means getting emotional support; everyone comes to the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center to get some kind of warranty? Warranty for what? If you are unwilling to change, then how can I give you that? I say the same thing over and over, and it is quite clear: I will help those who are in urgent need, not those who are merely poor. I’ll save each of you once, but no more than that. Why not? How can I save you if you do not listen? The first time I save you, you might be excused because you did not understand cause and effect very well; however, if a benefactor saves you once, but you don’t listen to them, how could they save you another time?

“Many people misunderstand the word ‘compassion.’ Having compassion does not mean you should try to be on good terms with everyone; people who possess no wisdom and misuse compassion are bound to fall into hell. Compassion and wisdom are inextricably linked; one cannot be used effectively without the other. Where does wisdom come from? As I taught you all last time, you must break away from your ego; if you cannot, it means you are still plagued by the law of duality. Thoughts such as ‘I’ like this, ‘I’ do not like that, ‘he’ is such and such, ‘she’ is so and so, ‘I’ don’t want to get scolded, and so on, are all indications that you operate within the law of duality. People with such attachments cannot cultivate compassion; nor can people who attach a large amount of importance to their own emotions. Without compassion, how can you benefit sentient beings?

“If you feel like you cannot break away from your attachment to self, then as I taught last week, you should genuinely keep the vows you made when you took refuge—not to break the precepts, and to completely submit yourself to the guru. If you do, then there still is a chance that you won’t fall into the Three Evil Realms in this lifetime. Don’t think it’s difficult to fall into the Three Evil Realms; it’s quite easy! Even the Venerable Maudgalyāyana’s mother fell into the Hungry Ghost Realm, so how can you think it’s unlikely to happen to you? All it takes to send you there is a single attachment or just one thing you cannot let go! Why am I not holding the Grand Puja this year? It is because none of you listen. Every year I urge you to stop eating meat, yet you continue to think it’s not a big deal if you just eat a little bit here and there. Some people might think I’m not compassionate; after all, I know sentient beings are suffering from more and more problems these days, yet I refuse to hold the puja for them. Doesn’t that make people’s problems even worse? Nothing can be done, however; the karmic retribution must mature so that you know to fear it. Otherwise, you will think that participating in the pujas is enough to provide you with protection and blessings, and you will go on eating meat like before.

“I make frequent trips to Japan. That country has a population of more than a hundred million people, whereas there are just over twenty million people here in Taiwan. Nevertheless, the frequency with which murder occurs here is much higher than it is in Japan. You’ve all read the newspapers; several such violent crimes happen in Taiwan every month. Why is it so awful here? It is because there is so much hatred and karma from killing, and so many people who eat the flesh of sentient beings. Most of the so-called Buddhist practitioners here are nothing more than dilettantes. Buddhism is more prevalent in Taiwan than it is in Japan, and every day there are people here chanting the Buddha’s name, making prostrations to the Buddha, and repenting; according to reason and what was written in the sutras, Taiwan should therefore have been a peaceful place where not even natural and man-made disasters occur.

“There is a place in the south where the scripture library was on fire twice before. As soon as I saw the news, I knew there could not be Dharma there, because the sutras are the Dharma. The first time there was a fire there was a news report about it, but not the second time. Later they kept building expansions to that temple, making it bigger and bigger. All those sentient beings were superstitious; they all thought that building something big like that was a way to make offerings to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. However, none of them actually practiced. You all take advantage of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas far too much; when a plane went down people asked Taoist masters for help and they chanted from Taoist scriptures, and then the whole village kept to a vegetarian diet for seven days straight. When you invite your friends and relatives to participate in the Grand Puja, you tell them not to eat meat for three days prior to the puja; but then during the three days after the puja, they cram their bellies full of meat as if their lives depended on it. If no one is mindful in their actions, then how can this country – this piece of Earth – possibly have peace?

“My refusal to hold the Grand Puja is not done out of spite or to prove a point; I have simply lost interest. Every year during the Grand Puja I urge people to become vegetarians, but you all keep eating meat without understanding the terribleness of collective karma. If we do not stop committing all of these evil acts, we are at grave risk of getting caught up by the whirlpool of collective karma. In the sutras it is written that killing is certain to lead to calamities and war. Taiwan is not currently at war, so this could mean that a car accident, a plane crash, or a mysterious explosion might occur. From a human point of view these are man-made disasters, but if this land were virtuous, man-made disasters would be suppressed and would not have very much of an impact. Why did the Buddha urge everyone to stop evil and practice virtue? It was because there is far too much evil in this world. Whenever you give rise to an evil thought, you will get caught up in humanity’s evil collective karma. If we keep committing so much evil through lifetime after lifetime, the power of evil is certain to overcome the power of good. If we do not become determined to stop this process, then it will happen very quickly.

“Drubwang Rinpoche never said anything except that everyone should chant the Great Six-Syllable Mantra, because he couldn’t be bothered to say anything else. Now I want to be like Drubwang Rinpoche. You all think I’m up here singing songs for your enjoyment; you come to participate in the puja thinking that you can listen to me sing for a few hours and then go home feeling quite comfortable. I can see very clearly that you have not practiced the Dharma, just from looking at your parents. Why is that? Have you helped them? These days you all keep saying you simply haven’t gotten around to it. If I were a monastic, your lifestyle would be different from mine, and then you might have a right to say you don’t have time to do certain things. However, I am a lay practitioner just like you, and I constantly have an enormous amount of things to do. Do you think you are busier than I am? There is no way you could even be one hundredth as busy as I am; I’m even busy when I’m dreaming at night. What exactly is keeping you so busy?

“Why are you lacking in so many ways? It is because you do not listen and are too laid-back. You always think of yourselves and your families first; all your plans are for your own benefit. Who doesn’t make plans? But in the end, all your plans are made for your own benefit, so no matter how much you plan it is useless. In life, Drubwang Rinpoche was compassionate; he taught sentient beings to chant the Great Six-Syllable Mantra, nothing more. This was because by chanting the Great Six-Syllable Mantra, at least you will have an opportunity to keep from falling into the Hell Realm, the Hungry Ghost Realm, and the Animal Realm. You should not think that chanting the Amitabha, being vegetarian, or chanting the Buddha’s name is enough to keep you from falling into those realms; you are still at risk of going there.

“It is merely because you are vegetarian and chant the Buddha’s name that, even if you do fall into the Animal Realm, you will still have someone who cherishes you and calls you their ‘daughter’ or ‘son.’ This is because you have good fortune; if you fall into the Hungry Ghost Realm, you will see that the beings there cannot eat anything, whereas you at least are able to eat excrement. Thus, cursing at people by telling them to ‘eat shit’ is bad; however, for someone in the Hungry Ghost Realm, eating shit would be quite a step up. Generally speaking, if you tell someone to eat shit, you should probably get ready to go to the Hungry Ghost Realm, because you’ve developed a habit for that sort of thing. It is very easy to fall into hell. All it takes is a single hateful or resentful thought; even if you are a Buddhist practitioner, such a thought can send you to hell nonetheless. Why is that? After accumulating a very large amount of hatred in your mind, you will not think of the Buddha on your deathbed; instead you will be blaming everything for your woes.

“People who are extremely greedy are at risk of falling into Ice Hell. Don’t think that practicing Buddhism will prevent you from having greedy thoughts; actually, you are still prone to having them. For example, let’s say you constantly make dedications to your son so that he will hook up with a certain partner and that they will get married very soon; is this how you are supposed to use the Dharma? If it were written in the sutras that the Dharma can help you find the perfect spouse, then I might as well change this Buddhist Center into a matchmaking service. I’d be able to collect my fees immediately; in the two hours I’ve been speaking to you today, I receive less money than people out there get. You all need to pay close attention. If you look at those three elderly Mahasiddhas of the Drikung Kagyu Order, you’ll understand that they have already left us, one by one. In addition, there was a 120-year-old elder Ani whom I met once; two years later, she, too, passed away. Towards the end of her life, she instructed me to build a stupa with 108 Vajrasattva statues in it in Qinghai. All of those elderly Mahasiddhas gave me instructions to do things.

“I have an idea. Starting next week, for a period of thirteen weeks, I will not teach the Dharma. During the pujas, each disciple over the age of twelve and under the age of seventy must chant the Great Six-Syllable Mantra ten thousand times. After thirteen weeks that will add up to roughly a hundred million times. If you chant the mantra a hundred million times, you will at least obtain the merits of chanting it that many times, because they will be shared by all. If I die, you’ll at least have this investment and a chance not to fall into the Three Evil Realms. Over the next thirteen weeks I will be chanting the mantra, not teaching the Dharma. Why you ask? I wouldn’t say that I have become disheartened since yesterday when that disciple came to ask for liberation for his mother; however, I do feel that the Dharma seems not to be of any use to you. You are as dense as wood, except you are even worse; with wood, you can at least hammer a nail through it. No matter what I say, you remain the same; this includes disciples who have taken refuge for a very long time. All of you do whatever you like; you are all occupied with your own affairs, and you think you’re putting on quite a good show.

“Starting next week, I’ll be chanting the mantra. It takes me about an hour and ten minutes to chant it ten thousand times; it will take you a bit more than two hours to chant it that many times. Even if it takes you longer, you have to keep on going until you’re finished before you can leave. If any of you are absent during this period of time, it’s fine; I won’t kick you out. The only consequence will be that you will not have a share of this great sea of merits that are produced by chanting the mantra a hundred million times. For those of you who have not taken refuge, or who have but had to turn in your vest, chanting the mantra a hundred million times will not be of much benefit. Still, it will help you to plant a seed for forming a very profound affinity with Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara in the future.

“If I weren’t this strict, the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center would probably have between three to five thousand disciples. Why am I strict? I am simply trying to find disciples who are marginally better than bad ones; that’s why you have this opportunity to chant the Great Six-Syllable Mantra one hundred million times. Thus, over the next thirteen weeks—about three months—I can have a rest. I’ve said a lot already; especially that disciple who asked for liberation for his mother yesterday—he took refuge more than a year ago, and yet he still acts this way. Then there was also that believer who came here, introduced by one of my disciples, seeking relationship advice.

“The believer who came here yesterday seeking relationship advice said she knows a lot of boys, and knew she had shortcomings; she wanted me to tell her how to choose a good one. I pointed her over to a disciple who sells incense; because of her job, she is very familiar with the area near Xingtian Temple, so she could introduce this believer to some fortunetellers over there. This believer thinks the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are fortunetellers and that this is a matchmaking service. There are lots of people out there who distort Buddhism like that, but what does the absence or presence of causal conditions for a relationship have to do with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas? They are your own causal conditions! If she wants me to introduce her to a nice boy, I’m happy to! I’ll charge NT$10 million. But who would be willing to give me that much? I’m very much aware that if I perform certain Dharma for her, her situation will immediately change for the better. However, why should I do that? This is ridiculous!
“If I want to perform this sort of Dharma, I would have started doing it for myself a long time ago; why should I do it for you? Thus, it really is baffling; it’s like that believer who came imploring for Dharma the other day because his business was losing money. My own business ventures have lost money before, yet I never performed Dharma to fix the problem; why would I do it for you? I might perform Dharma for you if you were dead, but even that would be a stretch. Thus, it is not non-Buddhists who are slandering and wrecking Buddhism; it is so-called Buddhists themselves who do it. In the Ratnakuta Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha mentioned that people in the Age of Degenerate Dharma will mislead their believers with flattery and attempt to distort the Dharma, all for the sake of fame and fortune. The Dharma cannot be distorted; what the Buddha said is as it is, and cannot be changed for the sake of worldly affairs. We can decide not to talk about it or use it, but we absolutely cannot change it. We may be scolded for being unsocial, but we still need to remain compassionate.

“If one were to distort the Dharma to cater to the desires of believers, one would actually be doing harm to them. When you took refuge, I told you to ‘take refuge in the Dharma, relinquish all desire, and become venerable.’ Buddhist practice can help you leave your desires behind; its purpose is not to add to them. Although one of the Four All-Embracing Virtues attracts people and gets sentient beings’ attention by satisfying their desires, you have to be very clear about whether or not these ‘desires’ are harmful to them. An example of attracting through satisfying someone’s desire is telling you that if you continue to practice the Dharma you will be reborn in the Pure Land; this, too, is a desire. If you do not cater to sentient beings’ desires a little, then they will not practice. If you tell them, ‘empty emptiness; eighteen aspects of emptiness’, they will definitely show you ‘emptiness’, and not practice.

“Attracting through satisfying one’s desire does not mean satisfying your mundane desires. If you are suffering from illness, alleviating your symptoms so that your mind is clear enough to listen to the Dharma would be very useful. If you do not listen, and you recklessly choose someone to marry, then don’t come running to me with tears in your eyes if you end up having problems. You’re already practicing Buddhism, so if you can’t change yourself, then you certainly can’t change others; what is there to cry about? I’m not telling you to resign yourselves to fate; rather, take responsibility for the consequences of your own choices. Saying you got married to your partner before you took refuge and didn’t know any better is just an excuse; another way of putting it is that if you possess virtuous causal conditions, then even if you got married before you took refuge, your spouse will still come practice Buddhism with you. Thus, if you have no causal conditions and your karmic burden is heavy, then why don’t you hurry up and repent?

“Do you think that just because your family members haven’t tried to hinder you in practicing Buddhism recently, it means you are doing a good job practicing? They are just too lazy to worry about seeing you; if you aren’t around on Sundays, it gives them a day off to relax. If that’s the case, of course they want you to come to the Buddhist Center. Do you really think it’s because you are practicing diligently? If you were good at practicing Buddhism and had made some progress, your family members would want to come here with you, like how I let my mother come. My mother has never trusted anyone in the world but her husband. My late father practiced Taoism, and my mother is illiterate; she never went to school. Furthermore, she is a very stubborn person. How could I get her to change? I started by changing myself, to the point that my mother felt her son had completely transformed into an altogether different person. Only then did she begin to listen to me.

“What have you done to change yourselves? If you haven’t changed, then how can you possibly succeed? Your spouses and your parents know you better than anyone in the world. Some of you think your relationships will be fine if you just hold back and keep your mouths shut, but all you’re doing is avoiding reality, because if you and your spouse have gotten to that point, then as soon as a quarrel breaks out you’re going to get a divorce. Right now you still can’t divorce, so you should keep from bickering. Some women think, ‘Once the kids are grown up and graduate from school, I’ll divorce him.’ Some men think, ‘Once I retire, I won’t have to listen to her anymore.’ Both of these thoughts are wrong.

“Why would I suddenly change tracks like this? I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m feeling negative; however, after teaching the Dharma for so long, I was disappointed to suddenly encounter that disciple yesterday who turned up to ask for liberation for his mother without an ounce of repentance in his heart. All he said was that he had not done a good job; he did not even repent. It’s okay; the one who suffered was his mother, but yesterday I was compassionate enough to let him make twenty thousand full prostrations to see if he could accumulate some good fortune so that I can help his mother. Even after the Venerable Maudgalyāyana achieved fruition as an arhat, he still had to make offerings; who do you think you are, that you don’t have to give to charity or make offerings? I am not talking about money right now; I’m talking about your attitude. Do you think that I will protect you and your parents completely just because you have brought them here to seek an audience with me? All I’ve done is help them to form an affinity. Do you not understand what I am saying to you? It’s not that I will form an affinity with them; it’s that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will. Not in this lifetime, but in a future one!

“Each and every one of you is lazy! If you want me to take care of your parents, children, jobs, and make sure you don’t have leaky roofs at home, then how much money are you planning on giving me each month? One of my disciples even came to ask my advice because he wasn’t good at flying a plane. I don’t receive his paycheck, but his attitude was that while flying a plane he had a few hundred people’s lives in his hands, so he wanted me to keep them from dying. Actually, he was afraid of having to carry the burden of his own causes and conditions. Two years ago I told him how to fly, so why did he come asking again? All of you have the same sort of evil attitude.

“Master Gampopa said it very clearly: When a practitioner achieves attainment in Tantra, disciples will appear, and that is when his or her karmic hindrances will begin to occur. If a guru is not careful, he or she will be dragged down by his or her disciples. That is exactly what that pilot-disciple did; I had clearly told him how to fly two years previously. Luckily nothing really bad happened, or else people would have said that a pilot who attended a certain Buddhist center had crashed his plane and killed hundreds of people. Why do I want you to go to work? It is because I want you to be cautious. If you are not careful at work, first of all, you will get fired. You aren’t afraid of getting kicked out by me; all you worry about is losing your salary. The only thing that frightens you is the thought of not having an income. You think it doesn’t matter if I kick you out; you think you can just wait at the door to the Center, and perhaps one day I will soften and let you come back in. Even if that were to happen, at least you have wasted a lot of time.

“The point I’m trying to make to you today is that if you continue to refrain from practicing Buddhism diligently and honestly, and if you keep on talking nonsense, then you will naturally distance yourselves without me even needing to ask you to leave. It is very strange, because lately Dharma Protector Achi has been unmasking a lot of people and exposing them for who they really are. I believe it was yesterday that a disciple handed a red offering envelope to a monastic who was attending at my side. Many people have weird problems; it was clearly a very thin offering envelope, but that’s not the issue. However, if you gave that envelope to my attendant, do you think that attendant would find it proper to take it? When she gave it to the attendant, did she intend to make an offering to him instead of me?

“Why did this sort of thing happen? It was because she wanted it to be over quickly so that she could stand up. She thought that she could get the offering over with by giving it to the attendant; as for whether or not that attendant passed it on to me, she did not care in the least. How can someone like this make a sincere offering? She had no respect at all; all she did was go with the flow, thinking that everyone gave me a red offering envelope, so she might as well do it, too. If she had not made an offering, I would not have scolded her; however, given that she made it in an inappropriate manner, I berated her quite harshly.” Right then and there, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed this disciple not to make any offerings in the future, and said that she would not be allowed to learn Tantra.

“She might think the reason she did this was that she was afraid, nervous, and did not know what to do. Why don’t I get nervous when I see His Holiness His Holiness? It’s not like I have been following His Holiness ever since I was little; like you, I started out as a believer and then became a disciple. However, I have never once felt nervous while making an offering to His Holiness. Why is that? It is because when making an offering with a respectful attitude, what is there to be nervous about? If you get nervous, it is because your attitude while making offerings is disrespectful; all you are doing is making the movements. It’s like the story I told you a little while ago, of how Drubwang Rinpoche would not accept the khata offered by that married couple: It was very clear that their attitude was not respectful, so he did not accept their offering.

“If you did not have a respectful attitude, I would not accept your offering even if you were to proffer me NT$20 million. Those disciples who have taken refuge in me for a long time have all heard this story. When it happened, it was 20 million in cash, made up of thousand-dollar notes. Do you think I attach a lot of value to money? Just yesterday I refused offerings of a few hundred thousand NT$. If you do not have a respectful attitude, then it won’t matter how many mantras you chant or prostrations you make. What is a respectful attitude like? Truthfully, it is absolutely unswerving and completely devoid of nervousness. I just can’t understand why you would feel nervous from seeing a Buddha, Bodhisattva, or your guru. You’re just causing trouble for yourselves; are you going to get nervous no matter what you do from now on?

“When it’s time to chant the Great Six-Syllable Mantra, we will base it on the Dharma text of Eleven-faced Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, the Mahni Dedication Prayer of Great Bliss and Rapid Enlightenment. Because we still have some time today, I’ll perform Dharma for a short while, but starting next week we will just be chanting the mantra.”

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led the attendees in a recitation of the Mahni Dedication Prayer of Great Bliss and Rapid Enlightenment, and then taught how it should be recited.

Upon the perfect completion of the puja, in unison the disciples expressed their gratitude to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for performing the Dharma and bestowing teachings. They all stood to pay reverent homage as the guru descended the Dharma throne.

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Updated on May 17, 2020