His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings – November 9, 2014

Before the puja began, five disciples ascended the dais to share their experiences. The first began by thanking His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for giving her the opportunity to speak about what she had learned from having taken refuge for three years.

She had taken refuge on September 11th, 2011. The day after participating in the Grand Puja held that August, she had used divination blocks to ask Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara whether or not what Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had said the day before during the Grand Puja—that all of the sentient beings brought there by the more than 20,000 attendees had been received by Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara—was true. After tossing the two wooden divination blocks, she had been surprised to see one of them land face-up and the other face-down, meaning that it had indeed been true! (She repented for having used this method to ask questions prior to practicing Buddhism, and said that ever since taking refuge in Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, she had not made that mistake again.) These results had inspired her to register for an audience with the guru. When it was her turn, she had implored four things: First of all, for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to bestow blessings upon her mom and her mother-in-law. They had been getting on in years, so she wanted them to be safe, fortunate, and healthy. Secondly, she had implored the guru to allow her to participate in the pujas, thereby enabling her to alter the causes she was currently creating and in turn change her future effects. Thirdly, she had hoped to listen to the Dharma CD of Repentance so that she could repent away all the karmic hindrances that had accumulated over her past lives, as well as the evil karma she had created in this one. Lastly, she had implored Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche—if she was fortunate enough to participate in the pujas—to bestow blessings to rid her of all evil karma, increase her wisdom, and enlighten her, so that she could cultivate her practice, become liberated from life and death, and be reborn in Amitabha’s Pure Land without any hindrances.

After hearing her out, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had said, “Wow, where did you go to learn all those Buddhist terms?” She had quickly replied, “From watching television.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had said, “Surely not only from there? Where else did you get all that knowledge from?” She’d had no choice but to reveal that she had gone to the Buddhist center at Shuangxi. The guru had said, “That’s a very, very good place. I think it would be good if you were to continue to go there!” She had hurriedly reported to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche that she had participated in the Grand Puja, and that she believed that if she were liberated, then the sentient beings that had an affinity with her would be liberated, too. She also believed that if she were saved, then those sentient beings would be saved as well. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had compassionately picked up a Dharma vessel and blessed her with it, and had then granted her permission to participate in the pujas. When she had wanted to make an offering to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the guru had refused it; at the time she had not been a disciple, and so was not qualified to make offerings.

It had just so happened that a refuge ceremony was being held during the second puja in which she had participated. She had thought to herself, Oh no! I’ve encountered such a meritorious master practitioner, yet I don’t know how to take refuge! Suddenly she had heard someone on the dais say, “Those of you who have not registered, but who would like to take refuge, please come up.” Immediately, and without any hesitation at all, she had rushed onto the dais. Another problem had cropped up, however: Taking refuge was a very important ceremony during which offerings should be made, yet she had not prepared one. Right then, she had remembered that in her handbag was a red envelope full of cash that had been there for nearly half a year. She had tried to give it to her cousin when she had come to Taiwan from Hong Kong for a visit, but her cousin had not taken it. Quickly, she had gotten this red envelope out, and it had saved her from appearing rude to the guru presiding over the refuge ceremony.

She was grateful to the greatly compassionate His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for having taken on such a problematic disciple as herself, as well as for having granted her the opportunity to learn Buddhism so that she could change many of her causes and conditions. Since the first time she laid eyes on His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, she had felt that he was a well-cultivated and meritorious guru. In 2012, at the Buddhist Center, the guru had led the disciples in a continuous chanting of the Amitayus Mantra that had lasted for twenty-four hours. In celebrating His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s birthday, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had not only shown respect to his guru, but had also compassionately allowed the disciples to participate to accumulate good fortune. In all respects Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had set a good example and given careful consideration for the disciples.

In 2013 she had participated in the Amitayus Puja held for His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had meticulously prepared a bowl made of lapis lazuli filled with numerous exotic treasures including gold, pearls, and coral, as an offering to his guru, using only objects of the finest quality. This show of respect, gratitude, and offering to the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang had caused all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of Heaven and Earth to give praise and rejoice. So that the disciples could also ascend the dais and make offerings to His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had made the sacrifice of lining up with them to present his offering last. Given Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s fruition level, he should have been the first to ascend the dais and make an offering. However, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche seeks neither fame nor profit while propagating the Right Dharma, and everyone had plainly been able to see this. She was grateful to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for having allowed the disciples to participate in such an auspicious offering opportunity. Shamefully, she had asked herself, Have I ever made such sincere offerings to a guru who is so selflessly devoted to his disciples?

On June 22nd of 2014, after an all-out effort made within an extremely short period of time, His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had established the Buddhism Foundation of His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and helped the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang to obtain permanent residency in Taiwan. Only Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could have completed such a formidable task, and on June 22nd the establishment gala had been held and successfully made known to the community. All of this had been done to fulfil his aspiration.

The Grand Puja held annually by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has never honored any main donors or charged for the lighting of lamps; anyone may participate. Rich or poor, all sentient beings are equal; lots are drawn publicly for both lamp-lighting and offering the mandala. Nothing is done behind closed doors. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche once said, “If we were to set a price for any of our services, then what would poor people do? Buddhism is not the province of the rich, nor can one put a price on it. Before the Dharma, all sentient beings are equals; there is no difference between them.” Other Buddhist centers and temples out there are hardly able to do so. After each Grand Puja, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche takes all of the voluntary offerings and adds them to his own, and makes one large donation to the Social Affairs Administration at the Ministry of the Interior to assist those in urgent need of help.

Last time a soldier had had an accident, but for some reason had been unable to obtain help from the military. After obtaining Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s permission, the Ministry of the Interior had made a donation to the soldier’s family from this special account. The guru’s pure compassion has been consistent for decades. In contrast, prior to taking refuge in Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, she had always gone to the temple at the beginning of the year and paid a fee to light lamps for her family members, quell strife, and placate Tai Sui. In July, she had always written the names of the deceased so that they could be liberated, and the names of the living to pray for blessings for them. She had always spent a lot of money without knowing whether it worked or not. Since taking refuge, not once had she seen Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche charge any fees in the name of Buddhism. Such an impeccable and meritorious guru truly could not be found elsewhere. Looking at Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s eternal and unquestioning devotion to his guru, she asked herself if she had ever been so attentive and obedient to hers. She had not; nevertheless, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued to take care of all of his disciples.

His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche requires that his ordained disciples not accept any offerings, because offerings must be repaid. If they could not repay people with the Dharma, they might fall into hell. For this reason Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche provides clothing, food, and shelter to all of the monastics so that they could learn Buddhism from the guru in peace and focus on their Dharma activities. Where else could she find such a meritorious guru who was always thinking so conscientiously about his disciples? She was grateful to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for frequently giving the disciples opportunities to accumulate good fortune and allowing their tiny drops of water to add to the guru’s great ocean of merits.

Furthermore, after an ordained disciple had passed away, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had immediately taken over the responsibility of caring for that disciple’s elderly mother. The guru’s compassion was so great that he had viewed this sentient being’s mother as his own, tending to her needs and taking good care of her. There had also been disciples unable to afford the cost of a funeral, and the guru had reached a hand into his own pocket to help. For disciples unable to look after their kids, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had asked experienced nannies to watch the children in their place so that the disciples could have peace of mind to complete their schooling. Those disciples who were ill or had tumors, and who had listened in earnest to the Dharma taught by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, had had their pain alleviated and had therefore been able to continue practicing Buddhism. All of this was thanks to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. There had also been a disciple on the verge of death who had luckily been called back by the guru; this had returned the disciple to the land of the living to enjoy a full recovery. All of these events had comprised one long chain of truly praiseworthy manifestations of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s great compassion and awe-inspiring powers.

Soon after taking refuge, without having made any offerings to the guru or donations to support the Buddhist Center, the disciple had been fortunate enough for the Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to hear her supplications. The guru had prevented her mother-in-law from feeling any pain during the two operations she underwent within half a month, and had brought her back from death’s door. Although the disciple’s mother-in-law’s arms and legs did not work very well, and she needed to sit in a wheel chair, she still had her wits about her. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings had saved her from having to spend an incalculable amount in medical expenses and had enabled her to continue attending the Buddhist Center so that she could learn Buddhism from the guru. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had also saved her son. When he and a pregnant woman had crashed their cars into each other, their lives had been spared—including that of the woman’s unborn child. Had something horrible happened, the entire family would immediately have been plunged into a desperate predicament. How then would the disciple have been able to come here and practice Buddhism in the guru’s footsteps? She was grateful for the guru’s compassionate blessings.

One time, as a result of an introduction from a Dharma brother, she had acquired a piece of land. She had wanted to transfer the title over to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche; perhaps the guru could use it to build a retreat center. While seeking an audience with Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the guru had told her that the piece of land was not suitable for building a temple. In addition, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would not build a second home for himself, so he had declined her offer. She praised His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for not being greedy. There had also once been a Dharma brother who wished to make an offering of more than NT$20 million in cash, but who had not been able to persuade Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to accept it no matter how many times he tried. Any other person would likely have quickly pocketed the money first and worried about the rest later.

There had once been a Dharma brother who, feeling ashamed at having taken refuge for years without making a good offering to the guru, had worked hard to save up a sum of money for that purpose. However, while seeking an audience with the guru, His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had said to her, “You don’t have much money, so I’ll just take one bill and call it even.” He had then given her back the other ninety-nine bills. Deeply moved, this Dharma brother had been convinced that the guru has a complete understanding of everyone’s heart. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s every word and action is uttered and taken with consideration for the disciples. As long as an offering is made out of respect and from the depths of one’s heart, the guru is sure to know.

Karmic retribution had presented itself because she had not followed the guru’s teachings. Last year, after listening to a Dharma CD and writing a report on it, she had accidentally written the character si instead of the character shi. For this her punishment had been to not be allowed to make offerings for two months, and she had also been forbidden to learn Tantra. At the time she had felt extremely sad; it had seemed incredible to her that she should be punished so severely for having miswritten just one character. However, the reason the guru used such a strict style of teaching was to remind sentient beings to face their true problems. She recalled that back when she used to practice Exoteric Buddhism, she had mistakenly believed that as a main donor she would be able to accumulate good fortune, so had been carried away in doing so. She had thought she could go to the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss if she participated in the Dharma functions and recited the sutras, chanted mantras, and performed penitential rites at home. Only after taking refuge in His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had she understood that this was not true. Without a meritorious guru to guide her, she would not be able to be liberated from life and death, eliminate suffering, or obtain happiness no matter how many sutras she recited, penitential rites she performed, or mantras she chanted.

She was grateful for the guru’s compassionate and auspicious teachings. They had helped rid her of an arrogance for which she repented. The punishment of not being allowed to make any offerings had been very painful, for she had not been able to take part in Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s vast ocean of merits. This had truly been a great loss for her. Even after having attained such a high level of fruition, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche still continued to give alms; what does this say about ordinary people like us? She remembered the original aspiration she’d had while taking refuge, as well as the promise she had made to the guru. On March 8th of this year, she had sought an audience and implored His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to transmit the Dharma method of Four-Armed Avalokiteshvara. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had given compassionate instructions for her to obtain the signed consent of all the Dharma brothers on her team before he would agree. She had thought to herself, Oh no! I’ve never thought about this before. I’ll have to bow to more than a hundred people in order to get their signatures. In the past she would never have been able to accomplish such a thing, but Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had known that about her. As the guru had once said, his teaching method was to make the disciples do precisely the thing that they disliked the most. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was the guru in which she had taken refuge; as such, everything he showed her—from merry laughter, to angry scolding, to outright punishment—was for her own good. It was only right for her to completely submit, listen, and do what she was told, and she was currently working very hard at this task. This teaching method had hit the nail on the head, and was one that she would not encounter at any other Buddhist center out there.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had said on a Dharma CD that he had once asked His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, “Why do I have so many disciples? Is it that I owe them?” The Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang had answered, “Yes.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had said he owed the disciples because he had not done a good enough job of teaching them. She felt very ashamed, for it was not that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had not taught them well; it was that the disciples had not done a good job of learning. They had encumbered their guru with their many faults, and she herself had not been able to help at all. Everything a guru does to benefit sentient beings is done without asking for anything in return, yet the disciples could not continue to make their guru work so hard to look after them forever.

Nowhere in the entire world—or in the entire universe—could such a meritorious guru be found. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did everything he could to take care of the disciples, their family members, and even their pets; the guru was tireless, omniscient, and ever-present—twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year. Convenience stores might be open twenty-four hours a day, but even their employees worked in shifts; Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, on the other hand, had no one to relieve or stand in for him. The guru could even sacrifice his own life and property in order to propagate the Dharma and benefit sentient beings. Every Saturday Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche received believers and applied the Dharma to rid sentient beings of their difficult problems, all without charging them a single cent. The disciple said that she had been to many places around Taiwan, yet had never seen such a virtuous and moral person as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. If he were not such a master practitioner, he would not be able to do such things.

Every Sunday Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche went to the Buddhist Center to teach the Dharma, allowing the disciples to get close to their guru and listen closely to the Right Dharma and leading them in their evening prayers. She was grateful to Protector Achi and the Dharma protectors for looking after everyone. As soon as she arrived at the Buddhist Center, she would smell the scent of the Right Dharma; after each puja, she would see the Buddha’s light illuminating everyone there. It caused their faces to appear bright and healthy, and was much more effective than any brand-name skin care product could ever be. She was grateful for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s great efforts of compassionately bestowing good fortune upon the disciples and fulfilling their needs of eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind every Sunday. Despite being extremely busy, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performs the Chod on a monthly basis, offering his flesh to the karmic creditors brought by each disciple so that they can obtain help from the Dharma and have a good place to go.

She had taken refuge for three years and had participated in dozens of Chod Pujas, praying for blessings for people still living and liberation for those who had passed away. If each of them had been charged NT$1,000, there was no telling how much money she would have had to pay. However, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has never asked the disciples to pay any fees at all. What would they do without the guru? She believed that if even the world ended and nothing were left, then where else would they find an opportunity to practice Buddhism, become liberated from life and death, and be reborn in Amitabha’s Pure Land? She asked her Dharma brothers to give sincere thought to this: What had they actually done for their meritorious guru, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche? Shouldn’t they all rouse themselves to unite and work together with a common purpose, putting forth every effort to grasp every opportunity to make offerings and support the Buddhist Center? The disciples should genuinely take action and stop making the guru constantly have to look after them; rather, they should do what they could to allow Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to have energy to spare so that his great ocean of merits might encompass even more suffering sentient beings. The guru, the Buddhas, and the Bodhisattvas will all come and help us to become liberated from the suffering of reincarnation so that we can be reborn in the Pure Land without hindrances.

She again appealed for everyone to put forth a concerted effort so that their eternal guru, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could spare his effort to benefit even more sentient beings and propagate the Dharma so that Buddhism would flourish in this world forever. Finally, she prayed that His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would maintain good health, keep turning the Dharma wheel, enjoy prosperity for all of his Buddhist activities, and continue to benefit countless sentient beings. She also prayed that the Drikung Kagyu Order’s lineage and traditions would have an eternal presence in this world to keep the Dharma wheel turning and benefit all sentient beings in the Dharma Realm forever.

Next, a second disciple shared an account of the offerings he had made. He began by saying that while on the Dharma throne Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had once told of a disciple who had come here five times trying to make an offering of NT $20 million, but that the guru had refused to accept it each time. As it happened, he was that good-for-nothing disciple. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had once told him, “Even though you earned this money, you sold a house to make an offering without first speaking to your father about it. As such, you were unfilial.” Over the course of the five times he had tried to make an offering, he had also continuously reflected upon his actions and made adjustments to the attitude with which he made offerings and practiced Buddhism. He truly felt deeply repentant about his incorrect mindset while making offerings. As a result, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had not accepted his offering, not even to this day.

He still remembered when, eight years ago today, while he was living in America, his wife had suddenly suffered a cerebral aneurysm. He had never been more frightened and uncertain in his entire life, and had had to put in long hours at work while simultaneously taking care of his wife and their two young children, both two years old at the time. He had truly been at breaking point, and felt nothing but despair with regard to the future. Had they not been rescued by His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, he really could not imagine what would have happened to him and his family. In fact, in the years that he had followed Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the guru had helped them more times than a trivial NT$20 million could ever repay. He had gained a profound realization that everything Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did—whether from atop the Dharma throne, in his daily life, or in his business—was for the benefit of all sentient beings and for the care of the disciples. Such a master practitioner truly could not be found anywhere else.

The disciple then said that His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had genuinely cultivated and realized the Dharma, and was constantly benefiting all sentient beings. Truly, nowhere under the sun could be found such a guru, let alone one who would give his disciples the opportunity every Sunday to see him and listen to him teach the Dharma. For this reason, the disciples must all do their best to learn Buddhism from the guru. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had once said that making offerings is extremely important; without it, one cannot rapidly accumulate good fortune. The disciple appealed to everyone to work hard at making offerings to the guru and practicing Buddhism in his footsteps. Meanwhile they should also unite in support of the guru so that he did not have to toil so hard. Everyone should work together and really practice so that they could repay the debt of gratitude they owed the guru.

A third disciple told of how Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had helped his family. He began by thanking His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for having taken such good, parent-like care of him and his family. The disciple remembered when his own child, while still very little, had scalded his right hand with hot water. In his alarm, the disciple had hurriedly pulled his child’s sleeve up. However, this action had peeled his skin up along with it, causing unbearable pain. At the time the child was only eleven months old and had only just begun to walk. He’d had the causal condition to meet Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, and the guru had blown air onto the child’s right hand. At the time the disciple had not understood the causal significance of this. Now, after having followed Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for so many years, the disciple had seen how the guru used his own life force to benefit and liberate sentient beings. He had seen Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche blow air on a person and cause many things to change. Such transformations were only possible as a result of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s auspicious teachings and great awe-inspiring powers; not every practitioner could benefit sentient beings in this way.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had once taught that the primary point of practicing Buddhism was to make offerings, including grand offerings. After hearing this, he and his wife had gone home and thought it over. Following Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for so many years and receiving so much help had brought a great degree of peace and stability to their family, so they had decided to make an offering to the guru of their most precious possession: Their house. After much discussion, the disciple and his wife had attempted to act on their decision. However, as they had knelt there before Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the guru had glanced at them and said compassionately, “Your children are still young, so you should keep your house and use it for yourselves. I accept your sincerity in making this offering. ” After so many years, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was still showing all manner of consideration for the disciples, including for his daughter. After seeing her, the guru had told them to take her to the dentist immediately. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche always takes good care of the disciples as if they were his own sons and daughters, and truly does help them in every way possible. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche even teaches the disciples Dharma methods to help them break away from reincarnation, thereby giving them the causes and conditions to leave the suffering sea of life and death behind.

Just then, this disciple’s wife added that when she and her husband were preparing to make an offering of their property rights to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, they had both been working and their two children were in kindergarten and elementary school. At the outset, they had wished to make an offering of their most precious possession to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, but the only thing they owned was their house. As they knelt before the guru, he had looked at the two of them and said, “You don’t need to do so; take this property deed back. Your children are still young.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had not accepted their offering, so they had returned home with it. However, when the Buddhist Center moved from its old location to the new one, some Dharma brothers who had gone to help Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche clear out his room had noticed that the guru’s mattress springs were popping out. Actually, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche did not have much money. All the disciples wished to make offerings to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, but the guru would not accept them. Disciples who have taken refuge for a long time know about this.

Their reason for sharing this story with everyone was to point out that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche never thinks about himself; all of his thoughts are devoted to sentient beings. The disciple’s wife then said that many people did not know this, but there were sixty disciples present who were not allowed to make offerings. She asked everyone, “Have you ever counted how much that would be? If each of them made an offering of NT$1,000 at every puja, that’s about NT$5,000 per month or NT$60,000 per year. Now multiply that by sixty, and that’s NT$3.6 million that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche is refusing to take. Some disciples have offered large sums of money to the guru, but he did not accept those offerings.” She went on to tell everyone not to think making offerings is a simple matter. “If a meritorious guru allows us to make offerings to him, we should treat it as a rare and precious opportunity.”

Next, her husband continued to speak to the attendees. “Here next to you all is such a rare and meritorious vajra guru; you really must do your best to cherish this opportunity.” He had engaged in Dharma affairs by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s side for a long time, and had often followed the guru overseas to various countries. Everyone knew, too, how many contributions Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had made to the Order and His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang without a single complaint. While on the Buddhist path, not everyone was able to encounter such a meritorious vajra guru. As Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s disciples, they should protect their guru. He appealed to everyone to put forth a strong, collaborative effort to ensure that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s auspicious teachings would be passed on forever to benefit even more sentient beings. In addition, everyone should follow Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche very closely and promote his teachings under the guru’s guidance so that even more sentient beings could be saved. Finally, the disciple again thanked Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and expressed a gratitude that would transcend multiple lifetimes, for without the guru, this life would have been wasted.

The fifth disciple expressed her gratitude to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for having given her this opportunity to share with everyone how the guru had saved her and her husband. In the past she had been unable to walk due to spine and hip problems, but His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings and protection had allowed her to walk again. The debt of gratitude she owed the guru was deeper than that she owed her own parents. His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s fatherly care had given her a new lease on life.

While working at the Jewelry Store she had made frequent mistakes, both major and minor. She had neither reflected upon her wrongdoings nor amended her ways, so had continued to mess up again and again. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was very compassionate, and had always taught her with great patience. One time, His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had instructed her not to tell anyone the key combo for the lock to the Jewelry Store’s door. She had however told her husband (who was also a disciple and worked by the guru’s side). She had not taken Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s words to heart; she had thought, It’s not a big deal; why is Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche being so strict with me? In her mind she was still on her husband’s side. By not being loyal to her boss and not taking responsibility for her company’s wellbeing, she had unconsciously broken the precepts. At the time, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had reprimanded her, and that had been the only thing that could stop her from committing more evil acts. Not able to bear the fact of his wife being scolded, her husband had become angry and disrespectful toward the guru. As a result, he had forsaken the guru.

A few days later, Dharma Brother Lai had told her, “Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has felt sad for days over the fact of your husband’s leaving.” This was difficult for her to bear, and she felt unworthy of the guru. With repentance, she had made an offering of her most precious object—her house—to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. However, His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who is no different from the Buddha, would not accept it. This was because the guru had seen with his Buddha eyes the karmic retribution that she and her husband would have; her husband would die young, and she would become a widow. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had called her to his office and said to her, “If one day your husband decides he doesn’t want you anymore, come back and look me up. I will take care of you. And never mention any of the Buddhist Center’s affairs to your husband.” She had consented. At the time she had wondered if her husband had been having an affair, but actually he had not been.

Twelve years later, her husband had fallen ill. Only then had she suddenly realized that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had merely said her attitude had been wrong, and had not accepted the offering of her house. Unable to bear the suffering of any sentient beings, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had waited more than ten years—until her husband had become sick—before telling her why he had not accepted her house back then. After listening to the guru, she had felt both grateful and ashamed. She repented, and wondered why she was so disobedient. His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche used every method he could think of to earnestly and repeatedly teach the disciples in the hope that they would diligently practice Buddhism until they became liberated from life and death. While atop the Dharma throne, His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had once said that it is rare that a meritorious guru is born, and it is difficult indeed to have an opportunity to encounter and prostrate to one. Meeting a guru face-to-face will give you more merits than you would get from seeing a hundred yidams; if you do not possess good fortune, then you will not meet a guru. Whenever we encounter a meritorious guru, we should act according to the guru’s teachings with an attitude of respect, and we must not go against the guru’s wishes even if our lives are at stake.

While propagating the Dharma, His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche absolutely will not give you preferential treatment if you are rich, nor will the guru refuse to help you if you are poor. The guru helps everyone equally. On the contrary, people with a lot of money are so used to people flattering them that they tend to grow arrogant and self-important; as such, it is not easy for them to come and learn Buddhism. Buddhist practitioners must be humble and make offerings to their guru with an attitude of respect. If you are in the wrong mindset, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche will even refuse your offerings. The guru once said that Buddhism cannot be measured with money, nor can it be bought or sold. The disciple would do her best to cherish this opportunity of having encountered such a meritorious guru. She would toss aside her selfish thoughts and diligently practice Buddhism in the guru’s footsteps, comply with all of the guru’s teachings, and act as a disciple of the Buddha should. She again expressed her gratitude and prayed that His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would stay healthy, keep turning the Dharma wheel, and maintain an eternal presence in the world so that Buddhism could flourish and liberate all sentient beings.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche ascended the Dharma throne to preside over the general puja and to bestow precious Dharma teachings upon the attendees.

“Today we will continue chanting the Great Six-Syllable Mantra. This is the tenth week. You all know Buddhism is divided into Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana schools. How does one accumulate the resources for practicing Mahayana Buddhism? One does so by practicing the Six Paramitas. In the sutras there is mention of the ‘Ten Thousand Acts of the Six Paramitas.’ Here, the number ‘ten thousand’ refers to performing them on a constant basis. Many people think the Six Paramitas are limited to being used in our daily life; actually, this is not the case. Rather, only if our every act, thought, and word—twenty-four hours a day—is contained within the Six Paramitas, can we then rapidly accumulate the resources of good fortune and wisdom. Thus, while practicing the Dharma if we believe we are cultivating along the Bodhisattva’s Path, then the Six Paramitas are tools with which we can accumulate resources.

“Many people believe the Six Paramitas (giving, precept observance, forbearance, diligence, meditation, and wisdom) should be practiced as six separate Dharma methods, but this notion is not quite accurate. The ‘Six Paramitas’ is just a convenient way of referring to them. They are actually six parts of an integral whole, one which can also be considered to have six facets. To put it more simply, if you do not give alms, then there is no way you can keep the precepts. Giving alms refers to the renunciation of all things; without renunciation, then you will still hold on to your attachment to yourself. People with attachments can never keep the precepts in a purified way. Giving alms can be categorized into three forms: The giving of wealth, of Dharma, and of fearlessness. The giving of wealth is relatively easy to accomplish, and in Tantric terms is divided into external wealth, internal wealth, and secret wealth. However, this is not something you can learn about, nor do I need to tell it to you. You all think the giving of Dharma means saying something about Buddhism to others or teaching them to recite the sutras and perform penitential rites, but any words spoken by the Buddha must not be taken at face value. In Buddhist terms, the giving of Dharma includes all methods that can benefit sentient beings and help them to become liberated from life and death.

“If you bring someone with you to practice Buddhism, recite the sutras, and take refuge, then all you are doing is helping him or her to form a connection; these are nothing more than assisting conditions. If you think assisting conditions are what comprise the giving of Dharma, then you are wrong. People who have not engaged in the giving of wealth naturally cannot give Dharma. This is because you think you are practicing for your own good; if you do not get any good out of it, you will think the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and your guru are not efficacious. However, the Buddha taught that we do not practice for ourselves. Many people think their individual selves are their own. Although our genes are different, our bodies are all made of the same elements. As the Buddha said, we were originally all the same; only through the effect of karma did we become subject to different karmic retributions. If you cannot bear to give away your worldly wealth, then you will naturally not be able to give the Dharma to others.

“Many people think the ‘giving of fearlessness’ means saying things that will keep people from feeling afraid. In the Ratnakuta Sutra it is written that wherever They go, Bodhisattvas on the Bodhi Path have neither dread nor fear. What does this mean? Because the Bodhisattvas have already looked beyond, realized, and become at ease with life and death, there is nothing for Them to fear no matter where They tread. Furthermore, Bodhisattvas attach the utmost importance to giving, so they would never worry over who might harm Them. You can only give fearlessness if you can liberate sentient beings from reincarnation; if you cannot help sentient beings escape life and death, then you should just bow your heads and start by giving of your wealth. The giving of wealth does not necessarily mean giving money; it is divided into external, internal, and secret wealth. As long as you have made contributions of any kind, you can say that you have given wealth.

“If you do not begin to give alms, then you will definitely not be able to keep the precepts. Many people think keeping the precepts simply involves refraining from committing any more evil acts. For most believers, such words are correct. For any practitioner cultivating the Bodhi Path, however, they are not, because one does not keep the precepts for one’s own benefit or in the hope that one’s life will take a turn for the better; nor does one do so for the good fortune that keeping the precepts can bring and which can improve one’s practice. The concept behind cultivation is the same as that of giving alms. If your purpose is to keep from harming sentient beings, then if you do not have the precepts to use as tools, then you are bound to make mistakes. For this reason, the precepts exist—from the most basic Five Precepts to those of the Shami, Bhikkhu, and Bhikkhuni, and on as far as the Bodhisattva precepts, Bodhicitta precepts, and so on.

“Strictly speaking, keeping the precepts means listening to, and acting in accordance with, the Dharmas taught by your guru. Unless you have already attained enlightenment, you must not alter them in any way. By ‘alter’ I do not mean making changes; rather, adjustments can be made along with each person’s cultivation experience. But you must not try to alter the Dharma or found your own Buddhist schools, orders, or sects. Thus, keeping the precepts—especially the Bodhicitta precepts—is definitely not for one’s own benefit; it is for the benefit of sentient beings. Therefore, people who cannot give alms are naturally not able to keep the precepts. Because they have attachments, they are bound to break the precepts, and many problems will surface in their Buddhist practice.

“The third one is forbearance. Many people conceptualize this as a sort of patience that keeps them from getting angry after being cursed by someone or losing their temper when someone hits them. The forbearance referred to in Buddhism is not patience, nor is it acceptance. Rather, if you are practicing Buddhism, then will you continue to have any hateful or harmful thoughts toward sentient beings? If so, then you definitely are not cultivating the Dharma method of forbearance. Not actually harming sentient beings is a bit easier, but it is very difficult in the face of fame and gain. The Buddha did not only mean we should tolerate adversity; rather, we should endure favorable circumstances, too. Whenever life gets too easy, you should remind yourself that your karmic retribution will soon be upon you. When life is going well for someone, then that person will become lax. For example, if you think you have found a good man to marry, and everything has been going smoothly for you and your family recently, then your obvious capacity to chant a mantra 108 times might suddenly get cut in half because you think you have already mastered it and are remarkable and do not need to be diligent anymore.

“Thus, if you have no forbearance, then you will definitely not be able to be diligent in your practice. Diligence does not have to do with how many hours you put in; it comes from being very keen and precise. If you recite the sutras in a chaotic frame of mind, then you are not being diligent; ‘diligence’ involves learning to do things accurately. Only then can you make progress. Making progress does not mean seeing yourself as having changed or that you have attained the First Bodhisattva Ground or the Second Bodhisattva Ground or become an arhat with supernatural powers; rather, it means your mind is constantly progressing along the path to Buddhahood. Only if your mind can change will you have the opportunity to become a Buddha. Even if you are profoundly skilled at meditation to the point of having supernatural powers, it still does not mean you will attain Buddhahood. Diligence does not simply mean working hard or spending a lot of time and energy to learn a particular Dharma method. It means to act in accordance with all the essence of the Dharma spoken by the Buddha.

“Though the sutras contain a vast amount of information, everything the Buddha said was very concise. The Buddha used very few adjectives, and just spoke of each state one by one. Thus, people who cannot achieve diligence are also not very good at meditation, because they have not changed their minds. If your mind has not changed, then no matter how long you sit down there with your legs crossed and your eyes shut, you still will not be meditating. It is necessary to meditate for long periods of time? If you have entered Emptiness, then time does not exist. If you think you can only meditate well if you spend a long time doing it, then you are mistaken. Why must we learn to meditate in this lifetime? It is so that we are prepared for the moment of our death. There is a very short amount of time between our final breath and when we are reborn in the Virtuous Realms and Amitabha’s Pure Land; it happens so quickly that it can be decided in the blink of an eye. Why should you practice meditation? You should do it because once you are used to focusing your mind on a particular object such as a Buddhist statue, a mantra, the Buddha’s name, or the guru, you will have this image in mind in the instant you stop breathing, and your thoughts will not wander astray.

“If you do not meditate, then naturally you cannot unlock wisdom. The Six Paramitas should not be practiced separately; they should be applied together as an integrated whole. You might think you are not meditating today, but while we are chanting the mantra if you chant it for the benefit of sentient beings, you will be engaging in the giving of Dharma. If you follow the guru’s instructions and your mind does not wander, you will be keeping the precepts. While chanting the mantra, if you are not worried about how much time it is taking, how physically uncomfortable you might be, whether your family members are outside waiting to eat dinner with you, and so on, then you are cultivating forbearance. If you focus your mind, rid it of distractions, and fill it with virtuous thoughts, then you are being diligent. If you can concentrate on chanting the mantra, you will have entered a meditative state. After you have chanted and accumulated enough mantras you will naturally unlock your wisdom. You might stop doing things you used to think were okay, and you might look at things which you used to think were wrong from a new perspective. You might end up making adjustments to your life views. You will see your past attachments to right and wrong, happiness and suffering, and so on from a newly attained Buddhist concept and point of view.

“If you continue to act this shamelessly despite having practiced for more than ten years, then in simple terms it means you have not used the Six Paramitas and are still victim to selfish and self-centered notions. If you think you think you are cultivated and that you only need to chant a bit more to be able to enjoy better and better health, understand the Dharma, attain enlightenment, and liberate sentient beings, then you are not using the Six Paramitas. If the Buddha believed that by practicing such things one could liberate sentient beings, then the Buddha would have added a ‘Seventh Paramita,’ but He did not. The first three Paramitas can help you to cultivate good fortune, and the other three can help you to unlock your wisdom. If you have good fortune but lack wisdom, then you will never attain enlightenment; if you have wisdom but lack good fortune, then you will never become a Bodhisattva or attain Buddhahood. Thus, the Six Paramitas can help practitioners of Mahayana Buddhism to rapidly accumulate resources, but this is not something that can be accomplished in just a day or two, or even a decade or two. It takes an entire lifetime. You cannot go to the Pure Land without resources; don’t think you can necessarily go just because you have recited the sutras, because you need resources to get there.

“Good fortune, wisdom, and resources comprise only one of the conditions necessary for being reborn in the Pure Land. You might ask why some elderly women who have not done very many virtuous acts in this lifetime are still able to go. It is because of the Six Paramitas. They might not know what the Six Paramitas are, but many of them chant for other people instead of for themselves. In the Mahayana sutras there are constant reminders that everyone should practice the Six Paramitas. Thus, if you have a selfish thought, such as thinking that if you do a good job chanting today you might recover from your illness a little bit, then you are not cultivating today. Likewise, as soon as you start to think, After I finish chanting I’ll have fewer cancer cells, then you are not practicing, either. The same holds true if you wish, After I finish chanting and go home, my spouse will stop scolding me. What are we cultivating here? We are cultivating a little bit of good fortune of the Human and Heavenly Realms for our future lives. There is no telling what lifetime we will be able to use it in; it could be in the distant future, many lifetimes from now. If you do not listen to the Dharma taught by the guru and the Buddha, you will be ignorant. Once there is the cause of ignorance, there will be the effect of ignorance. This could land you in the Animal Realm as a ‘dog-daughter’ or a ‘dog-son.’

“Careful! You absolutely must never again have any of those selfish and bizarre thoughts I mentioned just now; it is enough just to believe in the blessings of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. If the Buddha thought it was okay to have such thoughts, He would not have taught us to practice the Ten Thousand Acts of the Six Paramitas. Take a moment to analyze your cultivation of the Ten Thousand Acts of the Six Paramitas: Have you done it for your own benefit? Even if you have unlocked your wisdom, the purpose of this is not for you to live in comfort. Many people run up to me and implore me to help them unlock their wisdom. When I ask them why they want that, they say it is so that they get better at dealing with interpersonal relationships. I tell them that unlocking their wisdom has nothing to do with this sort of thing; if they want to have better people skills, they can get them from going to school a bit longer because they will learn how to act as a person. The wisdom spoken of by the Buddha teaches us how to benefit sentient beings and keep them from falling back into the depths of reincarnation; included in this is a great deal of insight and realization.

“Thus, my purpose in leading you all in this chanting of the Great Six-Syllable mantra today is to help you accumulate some resources, because many of you are younger than I. I might depart this Earth sooner than you; once I’m gone, there will be no one to help you accumulate resources. Don’t think performing a penitential rite is enough to accumulate resources; all that can do is allow you the opportunity to listen to the auspicious Dharma. This is just an assisting condition. If you do not practice according to the Dharma, then you will just create a heap of assisting conditions and will not have accumulated any resources necessary for becoming liberated from life and death. Thus, this week I will say once more that I hope you all understand very clearly that if any of you believers are here seeking protection and blessings, then my advice to you is to stop coming. There are many places out there that need believers. Go ahead; the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will not punish you. Every place that propagates Buddhism has a different objective, and the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center’s objective comes from the fact that I have obtained benefits from what I have learned and cultivated, so why not share this so that other sentient beings can benefit, too? For this reason I am very strict when it comes to adhering to the methods spoken by the Buddha. If I were to teach you to violate what the Buddha said or what was written in the Ratnakuta Sutra, then I would not be qualified to sit on this Dharma throne.

“On the contrary, listening to the Dharma does not mean listening to the words that are spoken; rather, it means figuring out whether everything you have heard in the past can help you in the great matter of life and death. Can any of what you have practiced in the past help you prepare for the time of your passing? If not, then you should throw it all away and begin anew. Don’t think that learning a ton of Buddhist terms will help you to become liberated from life and death. Many so-called grand Dharma masters suffer a lot before they pass away because they learned too much, thereby producing hindrances of knowledge. Knowledge is a hindrance. How can you know about the state of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas if you yourself have never been to the Pure Land? How can you think you can learn about that in this lifetime? You will only obtain a tiny smattering of such knowledge if you attain the fruition of a Bodhisattva in this lifetime. This is why the Buddha said that the Buddha’s state is unfathomable; it is because it is outside the realm of human experience. The Buddha could speak to you about it tens of thousands of times over hundreds of millions of years, and you still would not understand. How can I even attempt to understand it? Only by practicing step by step in accordance with the Buddha’s teachings and abandoning everything that I think I know.

“What do we know how to do besides eating, sleeping, and arguing? You don’t really understand anything. As I have often said, are you able to convince your hungry belly that it isn’t hungry? There is an ordained disciple in the Drikung Kagyu Order who cultivated to the point of not needing to eat; meditation is all nourishment his body requires. In Tibet, it is of course useful to learn to meditate. In such an environment as Taiwan, however, cultivating to such a level is not very possible due to the poisonous air and food. These factors make it very difficult. Even in Tibet these days pollution has begun to appear. Furthermore, only a very small handful of people are able to attain this sort of state.

“Every practitioner has his or her own past causes and conditions and methods of benefiting sentient beings. That today you have had the causal condition to come to the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center means you have an affinity with it, so you must stop using your own methods to practice. I would not presume to criticize or say whether those methods are correct or not, but at the very least they have continued to fill your mind with doubt. Why are you unable to accomplish the things spoken by the Buddha? It is because you do not have a guru to teach you; you have just locked yourself indoors and chanted every day, wondering why Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara and Amitabha Buddha still have not appeared to you in your dreams even after you have chanted so many mantras. You must not think the words of the sutras are very simple, and that you only need to chant them a day or a week for Amitabha Buddha to appear before you. Certain conditions must be met for this to happen. If you have not met them, then even if you chant every day, you still will not be able to see Amitabha.

Led by His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, each of the 1,300 disciples chanted the Great Six-Syllable Mantra ten thousand times. The guru also led all of the attendees in a performance of the Dharma Protector Achi prayer and dedication. The puja then came to a perfect completion.

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Updated on February 24, 2015