His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings – February 8, 2016

On this day, the first day of the Lunar New Year, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche presided over a morning consecration ceremony for a statue of the White Tara as well as the Black Water Jambhala Puja. Later, in the afternoon, the guru performed the Thirty-five Buddhas Repentance Ritual and presided over the Elephant Jambhala Puja.

At 9:30 in the morning, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche ascended the Dharma throne and graced all of the attendees with precious Dharma teachings.

“This morning I would like to begin with a consecration ceremony for this statue of the White Tara. Last year (2015) my mother fell ill, and my original purpose in acquiring this White Tara statue was to accumulate good fortune for her. She later passed away, so I would like to take some time during today’s New Year’s Day Puja to consecrate this statue. According to Tibetan Buddhist custom, before any new statue or Buddhist center can be used, a consecration ritual must be performed. The statues you have seen in Buddhist centers represent the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. However, until they have been consecrated, such statues are merely objects. They might have the appearance of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, but the statues are not yet imbued with the true meaning of the Dharma. In other words, they have different magnetic fields. How then, in your words, can the Buddha’s magnetic field be attached to those statues? Therefore, the statue must be prepared, which usually involves filling it with a lot of different kinds of herbals and sutra texts. The statue is then consecrated by a meritorious practitioner who performs the Dharma based on his or her pure nature, and then implores the yidam to descend and imbue the statue with the same pure Dharma nature as the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. The statue then becomes a representation of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in a Buddhist center. There is a saying: ‘If the mind is pure, then the Buddha statue will naturally be pure as well.’ These words are correct, but are only relevant if the practitioner has attained fruition as a Bodhisattva of the Third Ground or higher. Even though a statue might appear to be a representation of a Buddha or Bodhisattva on the outside, until it has gone through the consecration process it is just an object; it cannot be used in a Buddhist center to receive prostrations made by believers, and ghosts will not be afraid of it. At times, ghosts might even be attached to it. I once saw a person who claimed to be a Tantric practitioner holding a set of prayer beads that contained a ghost hiding inside them. I have also seen thangkas that contained ghosts. Do you really think there can’t be ghosts in monasteries or temples? Ghosts can dwell in those places, too. If a temple has a lot of ghosts in it, it has to do with the residing abbot or abbess, whether there are pure practitioners living in the temple, and whether the precepts have been kept. A Buddha statue that has not yet been consecrated cannot be verified as pure. I have seen Buddha statues with bad things attached to them. This might have happened because their sculptors did not have pure intentions while crafting these statues, or perhaps some problems occurred while they were being transported. A lot of complex factors are involved.

“The White Tara is an emanation of one of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara’s tears. After witnessing the suffering of sentient beings in reincarnation, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara shed two teardrops; one of them became the Green Tara, and the other became the White Tara.”

As Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche prepared to perform the Dharma, Disciple Fang, who had been put in charge of facilitating the Dharma proceedings to do with the mandala, neglected to make ready the White Tara Dharma text. Presently he searched for the Dharma text several times, but still could not find it until the guru instructed him where to look. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche scolded, “This disciple was informed about today’s consecration of the White Tara statue, yet he did not even prepare the Dharma text! This disciple has never changed. If you were to ask him about it, I’m sure he would reply defensively, ‘In the past the guru has never before needed the yidam’s Dharma text to perform the Dharma of the White Tara.’ Even if he has never had to prepare this Dharma text in the past, that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t now; can’t he just ask? This disciple is self-righteous. He did not need to prepare it in the past, but knowing in advance that this Dharma would be performed today, what harm would it have done him to get the text ready beforehand?” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche sighed. “I could scold this disciple from this New Year’s Day to next New Year’s Eve, and he still wouldn’t change.”

Next, the consecration ritual was performed.

Upon the perfect completion of the consecration ritual, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “The Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center is an exceptionally pure place of worship. I have never accepted a single cent from it; I, too, have my own mandala, so I have no personal need for a Buddhist center. This Buddhist Center belongs to everyone. Its ability to continue operating and cover all the expenses involved relies heavily on everyone’s collective support, yet there are those of you who forget to donate to it! The Buddhist Center’s income and expenditures are completely transparent and open to the public; every month its accounting details are posted on the back bulletin board for you all to see. How many of you, though, have actually gone to have a look? Whether the Buddhist Center has sufficient funds or not is everybody’s business, yet none of you cares. You think you’ve done your duty as long as you’ve paid your monthly donations, and that whether the Buddhist Center is able to pay its costs or not is none of your business. You only worry about whether or not you can make your mortgage payments. Fewer than twenty of you have actually gone back there to look at the bulletin board; the rest of you are all indifferent. You think that you’ve already given your monthly donations, so if the Buddhist Center is low on funds the board of directors will inform everyone. All disciples participating in the pujas should give monthly donations to the Buddhist Center based on the costs incurred by its users. Every time you set foot in this place, you are spending its money; a single use of the toilet adds to water and electricity costs. These are all basic expenditures.

“I once said that exploiting a temple’s property will cause you to go to hell after you die. Exploiting does not just refer to stealing from a Buddhist center; the instances just mentioned count, too. Right now there are still some people who were given the punishment of not being allowed to make offerings and donations in support of the Buddhist Center, and even ten years later they still have not approached me to implore for permission to resume their donations. How much do these people owe everybody? People like that can be counted as exploiters. Supporting the Buddhist Center is something that all disciples should do. Do you really need to bother the members of the board? You have the gall to make these members to stand up front and speak to you. Don’t say that you don’t have any money with which to support the Buddhist Center, because if you are truly broke, you can have a word with your group leaders; they will report your circumstances to me, and I will assist you, depending on your situation. You can just give NT$10 if you want; don’t tell me that you do not even have ten bucks. You actually have the nerve to trouble the members of the board; you even want your group leaders to make phone calls to remind you. Who among you has ever been telephoned by a group leader to ask whether or not you’ve made your monthly donation to the Buddhist Center? Raise your hand if you have.” A few disciples raised their hands. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “The Jambhala Dharma that I will be performing in a little while will have nothing to do with these people.

“Next, I would like to perform the Black Water Jambhala for you. This Jambhala is not practiced in Exoteric Buddhism; it is an earth terma Tantra that was passed down orally by Padmasambhava, who implored the yidam to transmit this Dharma to him in person. There is no mention of this in the sutras. Performing the Black Water Jambhala will help you recover the wealth that originally belonged to you, so that you can use it as resources for practicing Buddhism. Your lack of strong enough intention to give alms and make offerings in your past lives has led to financial instability in this one. In this lifetime, your wealth will be cut, lost, and reduced as a result of the evil acts you have committed in the past, or your failure to keep the precepts since you took refuge. Pay attention: The wealth returned to you is wealth that you originally lost; you will not get any additional wealth, unless you get to the point like me where you are always benefiting sentient beings, in which case you can accumulate more wealth than you ever had before. However, this wealth that is replenished for you is to be used to practice Buddhism, not to live in comfort or enjoy yourselves. All of our fortune and everything we are given in this lifetime comes from the offerings we made and the alms we gave in our past lives. The reason I am performing the Black Water Jambhala for you today is not so that you can strike it rich; rather, the evil acts you have committed in the past have hindered your accumulation of wealth, so by removing that blockage, you will be able to recover the wealth that should be yours in this lifetime.

“The Black Water Jambhala is a Dharma protector in Tantrism. A Jambhala is a type of Dharma protector. Tantric protectors are separated into Black, White, Red, Yellow, and Green Jambhalas, but these are different from what some people out there call the ‘Five Chinese Deities of Wealth’ or the ‘Five Wealth-Transporting Ghosts.’ The Black Water Jambhala’s Dharma is not easy to perform, because its yidam is the Immovable Buddha. It is written in the Dharma text that to perform the Dharma of the Black Water Jambhala, one must first become attuned to this yidam. In the Ratnakuta Sutra there is a section in which it is written what a practitioner must do in order to become attuned to the Immovable Buddha. Very clear instructions are written in the sutra. Based on my experience in cultivation, I know what to do at a glance. In other words, only practitioners who have mastered the Yogatantra or the Anuttarayogatantra can become attuned to the Immovable Buddha yidam. The Dharma of the Black Water Jambhala is not performed in very many Buddhist centers at all, precisely because of this requirement for the practitioner to become attuned to the Immovable Buddha—which is also called Vajra-Buddha. The Black Water Jambhala is also one of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara’s Dharma protectors, so the practitioner must also have mastered the Dharma method of Avalokiteshvara and be attuned to its yidam. Only then will the Black Water Jambhala appear. If a practitioner who does not possess the compassion of Emptiness performs this Dharma, the Black Water Jambhala will just poke his head in for a moment and then leave again. Even such a brief appearance would be useful, however; it can cause you never to go without a job or food to eat. If you are not walking the Bodhisattva Path, however, then the Black Water Jambhala will have nothing to do with you.

“The Black Water Jambhala is a sentient being and a Bodhisattva who attained the Eighth Ground. Bodhisattvas that have not yet attained Buddhahood are still sentient beings that are still plagued by fundamental darkness, so you must first be attuned with the Immovable Buddha and supplicate for Him to subdue the Black Water Jambhala so that the latter will give rise to a vast compassion of Emptiness. Otherwise, the Black Water Jambhala will not pay any attention to you. Of the four types of Dharmas that include Subduing, Placating, Increasing, and Vanquishing, the Dharma of the Black Water Jambhala counts as a Dharma of Increasing. In the Dharma text there is a line that reads, ‘We pray that the Jambhala, in his great compassion, will manifest to relieve us of our poverty.’ This is a supplication to the Black Water Jambhala to transform the compassion of Emptiness into billions of emanations that will help sentient beings who are suffering in poverty. You might not be able to do as I do, which is to make offerings with the compassion of Emptiness, but at least you should continue practicing.

“Some people denounce Tantrism for its practice of the Jambhala Dharmas, saying that they are just ways of seeking wealth. In actual fact, this concept is not exactly correct. People in this world cannot do without money; you need to eat, have a place to live, take the bus when you go out, and so on. All of these activities consume your wealth, and you even need good fortune in order to take refuge and receive the precepts. Any wealth you enjoy in this lifetime is the result of the little bit of good fortune you have accumulated throughout your past lives while giving alms and making offerings. In the sutras it is written that there are four sorts of circumstance in which people die. One is dying an untimely death while in possession of both wealth and longevity; you are all aware of this sort of occurrence. For example, during the eight seconds that this recent earthquake shook Tainan, a great many people perished. Another circumstance is having wealth but having no longevity, which is the situation my mother was in; her lifespan ran out, so she passed away. In the end, however, my mother still had a lot of people attending her and enjoyed a high level of material comfort. During her funeral, everything went very smoothly. Thus, she fell into that category. While she was alive, she did not know that she should give to charity and making offerings, but whenever someone would do any services for her, she would always give a generous tip. Another sort of circumstance is having longevity but no wealth—the kind in which people starve to death because they are too stingy to make offerings. Then there is the circumstance of having neither longevity nor wealth. There is no need to talk about this one, as it obviously results from using up all of one’s good fortune.

“Practicing Buddhism in retreat also requires wealth. While in retreat, you need people to provide you with resources; this is a type of wealth, too. The Venerable Milarepa’s retreat was very hard, because he had killed many people and was poor all his life. As a result, while in retreat he had nothing to eat, and had to forage for seeds from a certain type of plant, which caused his entire body to turn green. The Venerable Milarepa had a very difficult, poverty-stricken life. Before his guru the Venerable Marpa was about to transmit the Dharma to him, Milarepa wanted to make an offering to Marpa; however, he owned no precious objects with which to make an offering. At the time, the Venerable Marpa’s wife had a very small piece of red coral which she gave to Milarepa to serve as his offering to his guru. However, he ended up being scolded quite severely by Marpa, because the coral was not something that belonged to Milarepa himself. The sutras teach us that we must use our own possessions to make offerings; we cannot make offerings with anything we have borrowed, coaxed, or swindled from anyone. In addition, it is forbidden to terrify or threaten anyone into giving offerings. This is why I recently refused an offering that a disciple tried to make that was made up of funds borrowed from his mortgage loan. The value of an offering has nothing to do with the amount of money included; what is important is one’s attitude while making it. For this reason I have refused to accept offerings of NT$20 million and more.

“You’ve seen some people who have passed away, too. Each person dies under different circumstances. Some, who have not even taken refuge, give rise to a thought—a belief in the guru—in their final moments of life. Because of this, they develop respect, and this is an offering. As a result they naturally obtain good fortune, so are able to pass away without any suffering. Some disciples, on the other hand, have a very hard time when they die. You’ve seen all of these examples, yet you still do not believe! Some people have a lot of people attend their funerals. This, too, is a result of their good fortune; it is not because they were more popular or that they were relatively important. It all has to do with their good fortune.

“Making offerings can build up your good fortune, but you have to do it without wanting anything in return. It is not a matter of giving only on the condition that you will get something in exchange, the way some people, for example, will make an offering to their guru and then expect the guru to be obliged to transmit the Dharma to them, cure their illnesses, or cause them to find employment. Making offerings in this manner is nothing more than doing business or trading favors; these are not sincere offerings. Many people are like this; they all say they will make offerings once they’ve earned enough money, but how would the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas helping you make money be any good? If they really were to help you earn money, would you give a set percentage of your income to Them each month? Surely not, right? If you do not make offerings with a genuine intention, then you will not even be given any opportunities to do so. I once helped a believer who’d contracted a rare disease. I told him to go to the hospital and help people who could not afford to get proper treatment there. After waiting for two months, he still did not have the opportunity to donate his money. This was another example of not having good fortune. Why did this happen? It was because he did not sincerely wish to help people; thus, he was not even given any chances to do so.

“Some people make the excuse that they have to spend money on family financial plans, but who doesn’t? Some say they have to pay their mortgages and school fees for their children. As it happens, I have encountered this sort of situation, too. I once took the money I had originally set aside to pay my rent and instead used it in support of the Buddhist center at the time. I then explained the situation to my landlord. Another example was that I did not have enough money to pay my son’s school fees, but I still figured out a way to buy flowers to make an offering to the Buddha. I am not the same as you.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche joked, “Anyway, I knew that my son did not do well in school, so delaying payment of his school fees was not that big a deal. I was once unemployed for seven or eight months. I implored the Green Tara to help me find work, and promised to make an offering of my entire first month’s paycheck. Thus, I kept my promise! Had it been you in my shoes, would you have dared do that? You would have cried like babies if you couldn’t pay your mortgages for a couple of months, and then when you finally got paid, you would have quickly used the money to pay the mortgage and your children’s school fees. How would you have been willing to donate your entire first month’s paycheck? You are all afraid of making an offering and then not having enough money to pay your mortgages or your kids’ education expenses. I believe in cause and effect, though; I believe the words of Avalokiteshvara: That any person who practices with sincerity will never lack food to eat, a place to live, and clothes to wear.

“Take that doctor-disciple I mentioned before, who made offerings with one twentieth of his income. This amounted to NT$10,000 per month, but he was only doing it because he would have felt embarrassed not to. Please, do not make offerings or give to charity using your leftover money. That disciple thought it necessary to save up his money. There is no mention in the sutras that we may not save our money; in fact, the Buddha has already made arrangements for us and taught that we should save one fifth of our income, make an offering of another fifth, and leave one fifth to use for ourselves. We are not taught to spend all our money. I save money, too, but for what purpose? I do it so that I can help other sentient beings in the future.

“I made an US$800,000 offering in support of His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s Sravasti Project. This is an amount that I remember; in addition, I have made many other offerings, but in amounts that I have long since forgotten. Why am I able to do this but you are not? It is because for me, money comes and goes. You, on the other hand, think you are remarkable for having saved up a large sum of money, but doing so does not a rich person make. Why is Taiwan’s economy experiencing a recession? It is because consumers are not spending their money. I have read that in 2015, Taiwan’s gross national savings amount rose, which means that everyone had money but was not spending it; instead, everyone was keeping it in the bank. People just end up doing more harm than good to themselves that way. Due to my past work experience, I have a bit of financial common sense; I know that currency can lose its value, which results in people having less money over time. In 2015, the New Taiwan dollar lost 6% of its value. If that doctor-disciple had saved up a million NT dollars, this would mean he lost NT$60,000. Just think how great it would have been had he used that sixty thousand to give alms and make offerings!

“The point I am trying to make to you right now has nothing to do with money issues; I am talking about your mindset. Did you see how much money I donated to the relief fund for victims of the recent earthquake? It was NT$3.5 million. Only half a million of that came from the Buddhist Center, because I know you would be reluctant to donate more. If you divide NT$500,000 by fifteen hundred people, it works out to just over three hundred bucks per person. Why should we make such a collective offering? We did it because our organization is getting bigger and bigger; as other people are watching us, good deeds still have to be done in secular contexts.

“Many people say it is possible to save money when it comes to what they eat. More than ten years ago that was easier, because everything was made using genuine, natural ingredients. Now, however, this is not as possible; due to inflation, cheaper artificial ingredients are on the rise as well. You cannot find servers in restaurants these days willing to work minimum wage anymore. Businesspeople need to make money, too. If you can make money, then can’t other people make money as well? Let me use my company as an example. The daily lunchboxes I provide for my employees used to cost NT$100 each but now it increases to NT$110. None of you present has ever eaten such a deluxe lunch anywhere else, right? Moreover, I do not subtract the cost of this lunchbox from my employees’ wages, nor did I artificially inflate their salaries in order to make up for its cost to the company. The money is an added incentive, completely separate from what they earn. It should stand to reason that there is no need to give everyone such an expensive lunch, because the restaurant is certainly able to make lunchboxes that are only worth NT$70; however, for such a small amount of money, there is no telling what sort of ingredients would have to be used. No matter what, the restaurant still has to make money. Even if you don’t take profits into consideration, it still has to cover the cost of utilities and rent. With regard to rent, I have lost track; does anyone know how many years I’ve helped this disciple pay rent—the one who provides the lunchboxes?” A disciple answered, “Four years.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “If you calculate in a monthly rent of more than NT$30,000 for the restaurant, the cost of each lunchbox is not limited to just NT$110. Therefore, I actually pay a lot more than NT$110 per person, per day,. Why do I provide my employees with quality food? It is because when they eat it, it is good for their health—and this in turn makes them more efficient at work. Thus, it benefits the company as a whole. Most people out there, however, would be too stingy to follow my example. How many company owners are willing to spend so much money on their employees’ wellbeing like this?

“I have been traveling all over the world, and have discovered that Taiwan is known for being a ‘food paradise.’ It would therefore be reasonable to assume that there would be Michelin-starred restaurants here. So why don’t we have a single one yet? It is because such a business would fail. Taiwanese consumers might complain that eating in a Michelin-starred restaurant would cost too much. When it comes to eating out, most people here look for bargains; they want all-you-can-eat specials that will allow them to gorge until they puke. I have a disciple who spends only NT$100 on the ten-herb medicinal soup. She begrudges buying it at a good vegetarian restaurant, and is too lazy to take a bus over to the Chinese Medicine Clinic to purchase quality Chinese herbs, because she thinks Chinese herbs are too expensive. Do you think NT$100 is enough to buy quality traditional Chinese ingredients? Not on your life.” A disciple in attendance, who was a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine, confirmed that the herbal ingredients necessary to make ten-herb medicinal soup could not possibly be bought for a mere NT$100. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “It takes ten different herbs to make. If each ingredient only cost NT$10, do you think those would be quality ingredients? For a hundred bucks, a profit still has to be taken into consideration, so after making NT$50 and then subtracting the cost of utilities and rent, only NT$50 is left. What sort of herbs can be bought after shaving the price down bit by bit like that? Rather than spending money on unwholesome herbs, if that disciple were to take that NT$100 and donate it in support of the Buddhist Center, wouldn’t the Buddhist Center then be NT$100 better off than it was?”

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began to perform the Black Water Jambhala and Mandala Offering Ritual, during which the ordained disciples offered mandalas on behalf of sentient beings.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “There is a line in the sutra that says that a person who performs the Black Water Jambhala can enjoy success in all endeavors, thanks to the help of Dharma protectors. This also why His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang said that all my wishes could be fulfilled; there was a reason behind this remark. Many elders of the Order have said the same thing: That I can realize anything that comes to mind. Of course, this only refers to deeds that benefit sentient beings and accomplish Dharma activities.”

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began to perform the Dharma, and instructed that while he was chanting the mantra, everyone could pray to the Black Water Jambhala for blessings or chant the Great Six-Syllable Mantra.

After performing the Dharma, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “This performance of the Black Water Jambhala Dharma was relatively rushed, because it must be performed in the morning and finished before noon. There are no such rules when performing the other Jambhala Dharmas. Earlier, when Disciple Fang was in the parking lot, a few other disciples just happened to be walking over as well. I instructed one of them to carry some bags into the Buddhist Center, and this Disciple Fang started getting up to his old tricks again. He likes to order people to do things for him. Originally he was supposed to go to my private room, but after entering the Buddhist Center he ordered another disciple to go in his stead. He had thought that I would not allow him to enter; thus, clinging to his own eyes, he had begun to try to guess what I would do. I saw right through this disciple and his wife early on. They are not genuinely here to practice Buddhism. This couple once tried to make an offering to me of a house, but I wouldn’t dare to accept it. In today’s prices, that house from ten years ago was now worth more than NT$10 million. Their only purpose in taking refuge was to seek blessings and protection so that their family could be safe and sound and enjoy a good life; this is not a genuine desire to learn Buddhism. Furthermore, last time when I asked Disciple Fang how the torma matter was going, he answered that the Khenpo had had a look and that there was no problem. Does this disciple not know that even Khenpos need to clear it with me first before it can go ahead? All this talking, backwards and forwards, yet he still refuses to change. This evil habit of his, of loving to argue, has become so deeply ingrained that he cannot change.

“That male disciple who won the special prize told the company staff members that he’d had a reason for saying that he would treat everyone to a meal out. After hearing this, everyone felt even more afraid, because most of the company’s employees are young females. He told everyone, “I have a reason for treating you all to a meal today.” He said it so ambiguously. This disciple, surnamed Xu, is male, and has a wife; with such a fierce appearance, constantly walking around carrying a bag, what was everybody supposed to think? I therefore forbade everyone from allowing him to buy them dinner. He has taken refuge for so many years, so why did he still get sick? It was because he had no good fortune. This disciple was very petty-minded; he felt he could not use the NT$200,000 in prize money I had given him, and was also reluctant to use his own money to treat everyone to a meal. He and his wife love to haggle, one as much as the other; they both are willing to accept anything except for being put at a disadvantage. Their entire family is the same.

“You should not assume that having taken refuge in Buddhism will prevent you from falling into the Hungry Ghost Realm. The karmic retribution for being miserly and greedy is to become a hungry ghost in the next life. You won’t even be able to drink water, and you will only be able to eat the phlegm others spit up. Because you have heard the Dharma, and thereby obtained some good fortune, you will be allowed to eat feces. You have also heard of people in ancient times claiming that a lot of ghosts are in latrines. This is true. Some people think having a lot of money will turn them into big shots, and that having been served causes them to be very arrogant. Such folks bully the people who serve them or make a huge ruckus over a trifling amount of money.

“Some of the people who work in my corporation love to show off in front of me; they want me to see how smart and special they are. This, too, is a form of arrogance. Every last one of you is desperately arrogant. If I were to give you all the work there is to do, you would be exhausted! Whenever someone shows off, he or she also points the finger at others for not being capable or for doing a bad job, and wants the company to fire those people.

“Another disciple, who works in my jewelry company, actually allowed a customer to put an item on hold for two whole years, after just paying a small deposit on it. As you all know, jewelry increases in worth over time; the value of diamonds alone appreciates by a fixed 10% each year, not to mention how much the price of emerald goes up. This customer is a disciple, too, and her actions were really quite outrageous. If another jewelry outlet would let a customer pay a small deposit for an item and pick it up in two years’ time, I would certainly do the same. However, that is not the point. This customer, though, is greedy. She is taking advantage of the store’s proprietor. She saw that the store was decorated very nicely, so thought its proprietor must be rich; she then put down a small deposit to reserve the emerald, and said that she would buy it a couple of years later when she could afford it. She has absolutely no sense of charity, or intention to make offerings. The disciple who was working at the jewelry store decided all on her own, without first obtaining permission from her boss, to allow this customer to put down a deposit like that. She thought that it was enough to secure a sale. Most employers, upon hearing of this, would have concluded that some sort of special relationship existed between the customer and that employee. The other two employees at the store actually agreed to go along with it. This was an evil act of collective karma. Had they given any thought at all to the fact that the jewelry store would not be able to sell that emerald to anyone else over the next two years? After all, if it could be sold sooner, then wouldn’t the company be able to use the resulting revenue to do even more? This employee always just does the bare minimum, without any finesse. She arrogantly and selfishly has never put herself in her boss’s shoes. Nevertheless, a company has rules for employees to abide by, and the boss bears all the risk. Would it be alright if her employer waited for two years before paying her the salary to which she is entitled? If she can’t accept this, then why is she willing to let a customer wait for two years before paying for an item?

“I did not get angry due to being taken advantage of by them; rather, it was because taking advantage of their boss is not something that they should ever do. We should feel grateful toward our employers. In the sutras it is written that even taking advantage of ordinary people is enough to send one to hell, so how much worse is mistreating a Rinpoche? Those of you working for other companies behave this way, too; you do not abide by the rules, and act without asking first. You are the same as Disciple Fang; you act according to your own ideas. If you do not understand something, or are not completely sure, you can always ask! If you disrespect your company, you will not respect your guru. All along, I was completely unaware of this matter; I always had a great deal of trust in this employee. I would not have believed that they would mistreat me like that. However, the incident was bound to blow up, and I was bound to find out about it. Last year (2015), when the disciples working in my jewelry company made some mistakes, I punished myself by temporarily suspending business there for a month—yet to this day, they still haven’t changed. Why did another disciple who used to work in the jewelry store quit? It was because she had been acting like the store was her own home, and doing whatever she wanted. For this reason, she got scolded a lot; she became frightened, and no longer wanted to work there. Why do some people get scolded all the time, while others don’t? If you do a good job and abide by the company’s regulations, then why would you get reprimanded?

“Whenever this Disciple Fang doesn’t talk back, his mouth begins to itch. He’s already made a habit of it, and this habit of his will cause him a great deal of suffering by the time he is on his deathbed. Why did His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang say that I achieved my attainment naturally? I follow the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang’s instructions to the letter. Even when I haven’t done a certain thing, as long as His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang says I have, I do not argue. You should not snigger at those two people because they seem to have gotten scolded; actually, each of you here is the same: You are all too smart for your own good, just like that story about Yang Xiu in the age of the Three Kingdoms, when he split the flaky pastry and gave each person a single bite of it. While working at your company, when you come across something you do not understand, you should ask about it. I had already passed on specific instructions to that Disciple Fang that if he was unsure of anything, he should ask; in the end, however, he still neglected to, and just went ahead and did it his own way. Right now some monasteries are in need of my help, but I still ask His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang for advice first. Sometimes, if I feel that a project is not sufficiently complete, I will ask His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang for input. Even when I am just planning to do something, I will report my ideas to His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang before acting on them, out of respect.

“If you do not respect the Three Jewels, then even if your guru, the Buddhas, and the Bodhisattvas appear before you when you are on your deathbed, you will not be aware of them. All of you present are still living a good life. Your guru, the Buddhas, and the Bodhisattvas have allowed you to live in peace and stability, so why do you not make a firm resolution to amend your behavior? His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang said that I am constantly cultivating, every day. What about you? You should not assume that you will not fall into hell just because you have taken refuge! What does the expression, “the Dharma wheel turns constantly,” mean? It means that all Buddhist practitioners can keep the Dharma wheel turning as long as they act and practice in accordance with what the Buddha said. You are the ones who need to turn it, though; not the Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas! Your guru can only teach you how to cultivate; he cannot do it for you. You must do the work yourself. Given that you are living in relative comfort right now, you should use this opportunity to practice diligently. Let others see the Dharma embodied in you; it is you yourself who must cause the Dharma wheel to turn constantly. If none of you is willing to truly implement Buddhism in your daily life, then it means that this world no longer needs the Dharma; as such, the Dharma wheel will stop turning. Take Afghanistan, for example: It used to be an important location for the spread of Buddhism, but because sentient beings there do not want the Dharma anymore, even the giant Buddha statue was blown up there.

“As a guru, I help you with so many things, teach you so many Dharma methods, and perform so many Dharmas for you, all to enable you to form more virtuous affinities. However, you must act accordingly on a daily basis, and constantly amend your way of thinking; only then will you be able to allow your good roots to grow deeper. Otherwise, your virtuous seeds will be scattered by the wind. You are all allowing your evil thoughts to take root; they are becoming very deeply and firmly ingrained. Even now, I still examine my mind and reflect upon myself every single day.

“Despite the fact that today is New Year’s Day, I will still scold people, so don’t think that rushing over here to participate in this New Year’s puja will bring you any sort of benefits. We do not observe taboos here at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, so you’ll get scolded just the same. You also should not assume that I am angry at you; I would never be hateful or get mad. If I did, then I would suffer the same fate as what happens to people who engage in harsh speech, as is written in the sutras: To fall into hell. Whom, however, have I ever not benefited with my admonishments? Even if I scold you, I still mean well.

“Seeing the news about the earthquake that rocked Tainan doesn’t seem to have affected you, or perhaps you feel that you are fine because you have received my blessings. For people walking the Bodhisattva Path, however, witnessing such a calamity is enormously distressing—and not just because of all the human casualties involved, but because they lament that there are still so many sentient beings that lack causes, conditions, or good fortune to obtain help from the Dharma and are unaware that they should learn Buddhism. From this incident it can be seen that what is written in the sutras is indeed true: That business people who skimp on materials and do a sloppy job will indeed go to hell when they die. It would stand to reason that with so many people practicing Buddhism in Taiwan, and the existence of so many Buddhist temples, such an enormous disaster should not have occurred here. So why did it? It happened because people are certainly not cultivating along the right path. I am not asking that you all run down to Tainan to lend a hand when something like this happens, but whenever you can help out your neighbors, this is a sort of almsgiving, too.

“Do not assume that just because you are living a comfortable life right now, it means you have good fortune. On the contrary, living in comfort is actually to your detriment, because it means you are using up your good fortune and must continue to accumulate more of it. People who constantly make offerings and give alms are relatively healthy. Why do I say there are many poor people in this Buddhist Center? I don’t mean they don’t have money; rather, they do, but are reluctant to part with it by giving to charity and making offerings, and are therefore spiritually poor. Real poverty has nothing to do with worldly riches; it means not having any Dharma wealth. If you have Dharma wealth in your heart, then you will be naturally capable of generosity and of making offerings. Making offerings and almsgiving are not a matter of your guru wanting your money; they comprise a type of Dharma method that requires practice so that you know how to do it. I am performing today’s Dharma to help you learn how to let go and be generous.

“Some people think their daily chanting of mantras, grand prostrations, and mandala-offering practice mean that they are engaged in Buddhist cultivation, but these are just a few assisting conditions that do not comprise true cultivation. After I transmitted the Four Uncommon Preliminary Practices to my disciples, some of you thought that once you had learned how to make grand prostrations, chant the Hundred-Syllable Mantra, and offer the mandala, I would then transmit the Guru Yoga to you. I have still not done so, however, because I am still observing you. Who says I absolutely must transmit that Dharma to you? So, why won’t I? It is because you have not yet set foot upon the Bodhisattva Path. That disciple working in the jewelry store had not cultivated the Bodhisattva Path, either; nor had the one who wanted to wait two years before paying for the emerald. The same is true of that Disciple Huang! If I were to transmit the Guru Yoga to you, and you learned Tantra, then afterward if you failed to practice diligently, you would be very liable to break the Samaya Commandments—and if you do that, you will be unable to be liberated from reincarnation for many lifetimes to come. My refusal to transmit this Dharma to you is for your own good. If you break the Five Precepts, you can start over with other Dharma methods, but if you violate the Samaya Commandments, only one Dharma method can help you; the others cannot. For others, not being liberated from reincarnation is not a big deal. For Buddhist practitioners, however, this is a very serious matter. Therefore, my unwillingness to transmit the Guru Yoga to you is for your own benefit; I worry that you would accidentally break the Samaya Commandments. Thus, you should not assume that your guru will transmit further Dharmas to you once you have completed the mandala-offering practice.

“I have recently discovered that I’ve done something of great merit; namely, by allowing Disciple Fang to work for me, I have done his former employer an enormous favor. Over the previous decade or two, he really had no idea how to work, so I truly admire the forbearance shown by his former boss. Why am I so strict with you? If I went easy on you, it would do you no good; you are headed for the Three Evil Realms, or will go to hell quite soon, so I cannot help but scold you. Thus, being strict with you is for your own good, too. Despite all this scolding, I still perform the Dharma for you in the hope that you will have an opportunity to accumulate resources for practicing Buddhism. You can only cultivate if you possess good fortune, and you need money even if you are practicing in retreat. Every year I perform the Jambhala Dharma for you, but not so that you can strike it rich and enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. Your quality of life will improve, of course, as will your health, but mainly you will obtain resources for your cultivation. For example, while you conduct retreats, you will have people to help you.

“The reason I asked you, last Saturday, to go home and reflect upon your behavior is that I wanted you to see the root of your problems and discover any issues that might be plaguing you internally; my intention was not for you to look at those problems themselves. Whenever I point out a mistake you have made, you always just stop doing whatever it was you were doing—however, not knowing the reason behind it, you will make the same mistake again while doing something else. I might have fifteen hundred disciples, but you should not assume that my old age prevents me from seeing your faults. As long as your behavior still falls within reasonable bounds, I will not take action. However, if one day Dharma Protector Achi tells me, ‘You need to pay close attention to this person,’ then I will certainly begin to take matters into my own hands.

“You often make mistakes, and some of you intentionally mess up just to get my attention. When I find out that this is happening, I have to use my mind and energy to correct your wrongdoings, which is a waste of my time and strength. When I asked you to examine yourselves to find the root of your mistakes, I did not mean that you should figure out where you messed up externally and then stop doing those things or anything like them; rather, I mean that you should reflect on the true source of your mistakes—the greed, hatred, ignorance, arrogance, and doubt that lies behind what you have done. You should spend some time in introspection every day, but not a single person here does that! If, after reflecting upon your actions, you cannot figure out where you have gone wrong, then you are in error! If you think you haven’t done anything wrong, then for that very reason, you certainly have! Believing yourself to be absolutely correct all the time is a form of arrogance. In a little while, during the midday recess, you should reflect upon just how many wrongdoings you have actually committed.

“The years keep going by very quickly, one after another. It is up to you to put your guru’s teachings into practice. When you go home, you should take some time to reflect deeply upon the problems you have in your Buddhist cultivation. As long as we are in this Buddhist Center, we should remain polite toward our neighbors, as they tolerate so many of us coming and going constantly. We should put ourselves in their shoes, and give back to this building. Do not think highly of yourselves just because you are Buddhist practitioners, or assume that everyone has to accommodate you. Buddhist practitioners are the ones who should accommodate others; the longer you have cultivated, the humbler you should be. This afternoon’s puja will commence at 2:30.”

Upon the perfect completion of the puja, the disciples thanked His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in unison for performing the Dharma and bestowing teachings. Rising to their feet, they paid reverent homage as His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche descended the Dharma throne.

At 2:30 in the afternoon, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche again ascended the Dharma throne, first to instruct the disciples and believers in attendance to observe the Thirty-five Buddhas Repentance Ritual, and then to perform the Elephant Jambhala Dharma. Before the repentance ritual, however, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche compassionately bestowed precious teachings upon the attendees.

“I have already forgotten the exact origins of the Thirty-Five Buddhas Repentance Ritual. However, I myself paid for this thangka of the Thirty-Five Buddhas; like the White Tara statue, I did not procure it using a single cent of the Buddhist Center’s funds. Many of you have never heard of the Thirty-Five Buddhas Repentance Ritual and the Thirty-Five Buddhas. The former differs in content from the Precious Penitential Rites of Emperor Wu of Liang, the Great Compassion Repentance, and the Penitential Rites of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha; nor is it the same as the worship of the Thousand Buddhas. Its content is based on that of the Ratnakuta Sutra, and is a repentance that was transmitted personally by Shakyamuni Buddha. Because the vows made by the Thirty-Five Buddhas were quite major, they can help practitioners who are walking the Bodhisattva Path and cultivating Vajrayana Buddhism. While celebrating the New Year, a lot of Buddhist temples might spend five days conducting the Thousand Buddhas Repentance Ritual or the Precious Penitential Rites of Emperor Wu of Liang. By no means am I saying that the Precious Penitential Rites of Emperor Wu of Liang are not good; they were written and compiled by Master Bao Zhi, and based upon the Thousand Buddhas Repentance Ritual. He added some more repentance verses. On the other hand, the Thirty-Five Buddhas Repentance Ritual that we perform today is an expedient Dharma method introduced by Shakyamuni Buddha. Many of the Dharma methods that were transmitted by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas were not originally written down; however, in order to help sentient beings, they had to be transcribed into Dharma texts. Very few Buddhist temples actually observe the Thirty-Five Buddhas Repentance Ritual; everyone prefers conduct the Thousand Buddhas Repentance Ritual, because they think that they will benefit more by making prostrations to a large number of Buddhas.

“The Ratnakuta Sutra is specifically targeted at those who have made a firm resolve to walk the Bodhisattva Path, and is a standard for them to live up to. The reason for observing the Thirty-Five Buddhas Repentance today is to repent for not having listened to any of your guru’s teachings. Why, after practicing Buddhism for so many years, are you still not clear on what you are learning? Why are you still clueless when it comes to the Dharma? Why, in your cultivation, have you not progressed? It is because all of the good and evil karma you have created throughout your past lives have hindered you. It is also because you are arrogant and have a big ego; this gets in the way of being able to see your pure nature. As such, you cannot cultivate indiscriminative compassion, and while that is still true, you will not be able to attain enlightenment. Hence, observing the Thirty-Five Buddhas Repentance Ritual is to subdue the hindrances to your cultivation of the Bodhisattva Path. I said ‘subdue,’ not ‘eliminate;’ the elimination of your hindrances depends on your own practice.

“I already warned that disciple Fang during this morning’s puja, but just now he’s gotten into trouble yet again. Supporting one’s guru by the arm as the guru ascends the Dharma throne is obviously a good thing to do. I don’t know what he was thinking, but that disciple Fang suddenly squeezed into the other side of a narrow space behind the Dharma throne and nearly caused me to bump into it. I noticed his unusual movement, so I paused for a moment. Later I discovered that this disciple, thinking only of the fact that he was not as strong in his left arm, had changed over to the other side so that he could support me with his right arm. However, he had not given any thought at all to the needs of his guru! This space is small enough already, yet he suddenly squeezed in like that; since when is he skinnier than I am? I’m not left-handed, either, so by supporting me with his right hand, he forced his guru to lean on him with his left arm, which is why I nearly fell down. This would have meant he had harmed his guru. That disciple is obviously very selfish. Only thinking of himself like that, he has no respect for others. He really has made no progress whatsoever, and does not even know what the purpose of practicing Buddhism is. With such severe karma, he should seriously repent!

“A little while ago I caught this disciple doing something else wrong, too. After we entered the elevator from the basement, and as we were about to come upstairs, I asked him if he had closed the glass door to the Buddha’s shrine this morning after I had finished performing the Black Water Jambhala Dharma. He immediately answered, ‘Yes.’ I went on to ask him, ‘Did you see the door was closed with your own eyes, or are you guessing that it was closed?’ Only then did he admit that he had merely guessed that the door had been closed. He has behaved the same way for the past decade or two: Bullying people below his position on the one hand, while racking his brain for ways to pull the wool over his superiors’ eyes. By now I have truly come to believe that I have really have made a charity case out of this disciple by letting him serve me, because with his selfish attitude and insistence of doing things his own way, I am the only one who can teach him. I discovered what the problem with him and his wife was when, over a decade ago, they tried to make an offering to me of their house in Neihu. At the time all I could do was smile at them and tell them that their children were still young, so they needed their house for themselves. Actually, I saw right through them early on, because neither one of them sincerely wanted to practice Buddhism. They merely hoped that I would protect and bless their family; they wanted to take advantage of me so that they could live a good life. You should not think of this disciple as a bad person; he can serve as an example for you all to learn from. So actually, he is like a mirror for you all to look in and be reminded that while cultivating, you must not be self-righteous or try to do things your own way. I must owe him from a past lifetime, which is why I allow him to come here and do a few things for me. However, every time he opens his mouth, it is to argue. It has already become his habit to do so. He can also be considered to have good fortune to be serving me, because as soon as he makes a mistake, I catch him in the act immediately. As a guru who is not afraid of death, I am picking out his problems one by one. Reflecting upon your behavior means digging out the ugliest aspects of yourselves.

“Don’t think of yourselves as good people. We all started out in this life as bad apples; if we weren’t all weighed down by very severe karma, then we would not have been reborn into this world. Nor would we have come here to this Buddhist Center to practice Buddhism. Thus, do not think that your taking refuge has transformed you into a good person. If you had no faults, you would not be human. During his recent visit to the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang said that to this day I have constantly cultivated on a daily basis, which means that I have continuously made efforts to amend my ways and engage in self-reflection. The most important part of cultivation is making changes to our internal selves. If you have the exterior of a monastic and appear to be practicing the Dharma, yet internally you have not changed at all, then you cannot be considered a real Buddhist practitioner. If you are a lay practitioner, and have matters that keep you busy all day long, if you can still keep practicing every day and continuously amend yourself, then you are a true Buddhist practitioner.

“In the Ratnakuta Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha reminds us repeatedly that no matter what level of attainment we have reached, we must not succumb to arrogance. When cultivating the Six Paramitas, you will notice that the final line of each one includes an exhortation to refrain from being arrogant. If you have cultivated a bit of forbearance, you must not grow arrogant; if you feel that you have made some progress, you must not grow arrogant; if you have done a good job of keeping the precepts, you must not grow arrogant; if you think you’ve achieved a little bit in meditation, you still must refrain from arrogance. As soon as you start to be arrogant, you will stop respecting others. As such, you will naturally not possess indiscriminative compassion. Without that, you will be unable to master any of the Dharmas you are taught. Self-righteousness is arrogance, as is insisting on doing things your own way; thinking that you cannot change the habits you have formed over the course of many lifetimes is a form of arrogance, too. Likewise, if you believe yourself to be bullied by others, then you are arrogant. In this Age of Degenerate Dharma, it is no longer enough to simply rely on one’s aspiration to become liberated from life and death. You are unwilling to practice diligently and work hard to amend your ways; you are not generous when it comes to almsgiving. For this reason, repentance is even more vital—and it is the only Dharma method left for you!

“In His compassion, and knowing that sentient beings had heavy karma in this Age of Degenerate Dharma and were therefore unable to attain enlightenment through meditation alone, Shakyamuni Buddha transmitted this Dharma method—the Thirty-Five Buddhas Repentance Ritual—in order to help practitioners cultivating the Bodhisattva Path. You are living in the Age of Degenerate Dharma, and no other Dharma methods can help you; your only choice is to walk the Bodhisattva Path with the help of your guru’s teachings. The Thirty-Five Buddhas Repentance Ritual’s text contains the names of a lot of Buddhas that you have never heard before. These Buddhas attained Buddhahood after practicing the Bodhisattva Path for many lifetimes, which is why this text is of great help to anyone cultivating the Bodhisattva Path.

“The first line of the Dharma text is, ‘May all sentient beings always be in the refuge of a guru.’ This expresses the hope that all sentient beings will always be able to take refuge in a guru and learn the Right Dharma. After the recent earthquake that struck Tainan, besides constantly contemplating impermanence and feeling compassion and sorrow for the victims, we have also had to ask ourselves why Buddhism has not had a chance to benefit all those disaster victims. Of all those people who were crushed under piles of rubble, had none of them practiced Buddhism or made prostrations to Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara? The answer is that some of them undoubtedly had. Why, then, was their faith unable to have any actual effect? It is because they were not firm enough in their resolution to practice Buddhism. They had not truly made prostrations with pure intentions; they had only sought protection and blessings, and had not really amended their ways. They had not acted according to the Buddha’s teachings, and their attitudes while making prostrations to the Buddha had been incorrect, for they’d only made them in an effort to satisfy their own desires. In the Universal Gate Chapter of the Lotus Sutra it is written that a genuine practitioner will obtain whatever he or she hopes for; whenever such a person asks for help, his or her wishes will be granted. However, this does not refer to the satisfaction of one’s personal desires. The presupposition is that you have fulfilled the practices set forth in the Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas—have you? This text includes the revelations bestowed upon the Buddha’s disciples by Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. Therefore, the foundation of one’s Buddhist practice is to frequently engage in self-reflection to make sure one’s actions of body, speech, and mind all fall within the scope of behavior set forth by the Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas. Only if they do can one consider oneself a disciple of the Buddha; if they do not, then one is just a believer. Most believers seek to satisfy their desires. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will help sentient beings, but They cannot change latter’s karma. They can only help sentient beings in possession of the right causal conditions to temporarily suspend any interference from their karma so that they can practice Buddhism diligently. The Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center is a Buddhist center of the Drikung Kagyu Order, so here we must work hard to propagate Lord Jigten Sumgön’s precious teachings. You claim to be disciples cultivating the Vehicle of Bodhisattvas and Vajrayana Buddhism, but even though you still aren’t on the verge of achieving such attainment, your guru will take all opportunities available to help you accumulate good fortune, wisdom, and resources. The point of today’s observance of the Thirty-Five Buddhas Repentance Ritual is exactly that: To help you obtain some resources for practicing Buddhism.”

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche compassionately instructed the attendees that during the Thirty-Five Buddhas Repentance Ritual, they should repent as fervently as they could and ask themselves why they had not yet listened to the lessons of the Bodhisattva Path. The guru then led the ordained disciples in a recitation of the thirty-five Buddhas’ names. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said that all attendees should kneel down and make a prostration for each Buddha’s name soon as they heard it. The guru compassionately told the people in the back, where it was more crowded, that if they could not make a full prostration, they could simply bow with sincere reverence. Afterward, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said that the attendees should voice out loud all of the transgressions they had committed in the past year, and repent for them in front of their guru. Under the all-embracing power and compassion of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, everyone felt a deep sense of shame and contrition. Repenting deeply, they were all choked up with emotion. Finally, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed everyone to make three prostrations: One, to repent before the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for their transgressions of body, speech, and mind; two, to repent before the lineage gurus and their current guru; and three, to repent before all sentient beings. After these repentances were finished, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche proclaimed that the Thirty-Five Buddhas Repentance Ritual had come to a perfect completion.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “Next, I will perform the Elephant Jambhala Dharma of White Mahākāla. White represents the ’Subduing’ category of the four Dharma methods of Subduing, Placating, Increasing, and Vanquishing. The Elephant Jambhala Dharma’s text was transmitted to me in person by the Drikung Kagyu Order’s oldest Rinpoche—Yunga Rinpoche—whose guru was the Order’s last terma master. Therefore, this Dharma text is classified as an earth terma. Many people criticize Tibetan Buddhism for worshipping Hindu gods, but that is actually not the case. The Elephant Jambhala is one of White Mahākāla’s retinue and protectors. Mahākāla is a Buddhist Dharma protector who protects Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.

“In a past lifetime, the Elephant Jambhala was an extremely wealthy and generous prince. He loved to be generous, and would give money without question to anyone who asked for it. Some people took his money and did bad things with it; some used it to make weapons, and some used it to swindle people. The prince’s excessive generosity, therefore, ended up helping others to commit evil. In the sutras it is written that people who do not understand that they should do good deeds wisely, who please everyone no matter what, and who abuse compassion will go to hell, too. After witnessing his behavior, Mahākāla was displeased, so he killed this prince and cut his head off. Because the prince still had good fortune, Mahākāla gave him the head of an elephant and allowed him to serve as part of Mahākāla’s retinue. The elephant head represented the fact that the prince still possessed quite a lot of good fortune and power. This means that if you are disciples of the Buddha, the Elephant Jambhala will still grant you a few wishes, even if they are about worldly matters. Thus, doing good deeds requires wisdom, too. The Black Water Jambhala and the Elephant Jambhala are different. The former manifests with a wrathful appearance, and is relatively strict; he can help you block those hindrances that obstruct you from obtaining the wealth that is originally your due, or any ghosts that try to suck away your money. By comparison, the Elephant Jambhala Dharma is easier to cultivate. I shouldn’t say easier, but you can implore the Elephant Jambhala for a bit of worldly wealth—but not wealth gained through illegal means.

“When performing the Elephant Jambhala Dharma the rule is to make offerings with black agilawood incense. Sandalwood incense won’t do; the incense must be made of agilawood, because the Elephant Jambhala only likes this scent.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked a disciple who sells incense, “What is the market price of agilawood incense?” The disciple answered, “NT$3 million per catty, with incense of the best quality going for upwards of NT$10 million per catty. The incense we are using today cost a bit more than NT$2.5 million per catty” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then said, “The Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center is very fortunate. It is I who possess good fortune, not you; there is no need to nod your heads.”

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began to perform the Elephant Jambhala Dharma, and compassionately allowed the attendees to implore the Elephant Jambhala for whatever they wanted. The only exception was wishing for all their stock investments to make money. After the ritual was complete, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “Today we’ve burned two hundred thousand New Taiwan dollars’ worth of black agilawood incense in the Elephant Jambhala’s honor.”

Just then, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked whether a certain disciple from Mainland China had come to participate in the day’s puja. The other disciples answered that he had not. The guru said, “I had instructed him to catch a plane immediately after the New Year’s Gala special was over, but instead, for the sake of his future prospects, he went all over the place to take photos with people, say ‘hi’ to folks, and chat awhile, only later to exclaim, ‘I have to hurry to catch a plane!’ As it turned out, he missed his flight. This is another example of disputing with one’s guru, which he promised not to do when he took refuge. As a result, he will not receive his guru’s blessings. You should not think that disputing with your guru only includes arguing or talking back to me; not listening, or twisting my words with your own ideas count as disputing with me, too, just like this disciple from Mainland China did. He thought I was worried he would be tired, and wanted him to leave a bit early; when actually, I had known all along that he would miss his flight, so I gave him a bit of a prompt to see if he would take the opportunity to do the right thing. This disciple had the intention to come here, but because he did not listen, his intention did him no good. As a result, the pujas being performed today will have nothing to do with him.

“I only perform the Jambhala Dharma once a year; even as a business owner, I have never performed it for my company, nor have I ever placed any Buddhist statues related to the Jambhala in my companies or shops. Why do I perform the Jambhala Dharma? I do it as a way of giving back to you for all of the offerings you have made and alms you have given over the past year. I also do it for your benefit in that it can help you to accumulate resources so that you will not have any hindrances to your Buddhist practice. Why do I only perform it once a year? As the saying goes, ‘Much wealth weakens the body.” This means that if you do not have sufficient good fortune, and are suddenly are given a large amount of wealth, your body will not be able to take it. I know that I am definitely attuned to the Jambhala I am performing, but does that mean I can perform it for you frequently without regard to the consequences? I may not, lest I cause your bodies to weaken from the wealth produced. I want you to practice, but you don’t do it; I teach you to make offerings, but you don’t do that either. Nevertheless, as your guru, I will still perform the Jambhala Dharma for you.

I have instructed the Glorious Jewel Group employees who have also taken refuge to recite the the Prayer to the Eight Noble Auspicious Ones every morning. They thought it was because I wanted them to accumulate good fortune, and that this would be good for the company. In fact, I told them to recite that prayer because they are often berated for doing the wrong thing, and I don’t want them to have to get scolded anymore. Reciting the Prayer to the Eight Noble Auspicious Ones daily can reduce the number of mistakes they make, and prevent me from having to give them so much reprimands. And indeed, ever since they have been reciting it, I haven’t had to scold them as much.

“While chatting over lunch a little while ago, I did some calculating, and figured out that I have turned down at least NT$500 million in offerings over the past few years. Why did I refuse to accept all those people’s offerings—even including one of more than NT$20 million? It is because they had impure intentions; their offerings came with strings attached. A real offering means the person making it seeks nothing in return. You all heard His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang mention that I have given assistance to a lot of temples and monasteries. Why am I able to continuously give alms and make offerings? It is because I do so without asking for anything in return. Don’t be like the Huangs, who invested all they have in their daughter by saving their pennies so that she could go to university and get a PhD. In the Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas it is written that ‘the mind of attachment to loved ones wavers like water,’ which means that loved ones come and go like the tide, moving back and forth, never stopping. The message here is not that we should stop caring about our family members; rather, as long as we do our best to fulfill our responsibilities, it is enough to save up a share of money—and not necessary to save up double that amount. Meaning, all you need is enough money to use in case of emergency. The Buddha is not unreasonable; He knows very well that as soon as you have some money, you will want to put it away. Some people say we should have ‘crisis awareness,’ but do Buddhist practitioners need this? All phenomena are manifestations of cause and effect, and we should not allow ourselves to become so attached.

“There is a certain Buddhist story, of which I’ve spoken before. One time, a king made an offering to Shakyamuni Buddha by hosting a puja. When the puja was over, a disciple asked Shakyamuni Buddha, ‘Who acquired the most merits from today’s puja?’ Shakyamuni Buddha pointed to a very poor elderly woman standing way in the farthest corner of the venue and said, ‘She has the most merits.’ The disciple asked, ‘How can it be proved that she obtained the most merits?’ Shakyamuni Buddha replied, ‘The lamp she lit did not burn out. She rejoices in the welfare and merits of others, was full of gratitude and praise for the king who hosted this puja and allowed so many sentient beings to participate, thus benefiting them all, and she felt sincere respect and reverence for the king. Because of this, the merits resulting from her offering were the greatest.’”

Next, the monastics made a perfect mandala offering to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche on behalf of sentient beings.

After performing the Dharma to perfect completion, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led the attendees in the Dharma Protector Achi prayer and dedication.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “2016 is the Year of the Golden Monkey. It will be a year of unrest, with just as many good occurrences as bad. If you keep putting off practicing Buddhism, you are liable to be pulled into the evil collective karma of the world, because you do not know how much collective karma you’ve already taken part in throughout your past lives. People will suffer from more liver and lung problems than usual this year, so you should be extra careful. To protect your liver, do your best not to stay up late. Lung problems are caused by air pollution, which will lead to a further spread of diseases affecting the lungs and respiratory system. If you are planning on making any investments this year, whether this involves speculation or investment, you should be cautious. If you can remain static this year, then you should see a good turnaround in two or three years.

“If other countries act poorly, you should not join in with other people in voicing criticism, especially of the radical sort. You are not wise enough to understand how our neighboring countries’ situations are changing. Do not assume that we will benefit if this country goes to war with that country; actually, all nations are self-serving, so do not criticize. I am not asking you to be extremely passive to the point that you don’t even watch or listen to the news, either. We all hope that the people of this land will be free to live in peace and prosperity, but if we are the only country that remains peaceful, while other nations are getting swept into the chaos of war, then we will be adversely affected, too. Whenever you dislike a local political leader, you are quick to choose another to take his or her place; after that, if you are disappointed with the new one, you vote in yet another. Then you complain that the new leader is doing a bad job, too. If you had that job, you’d botch things up just as much. This cycle continues because people all vote with their desires in mind. This society is full of people seeking revenge and retaliation. In yesterday’s news there was a report about a household in which the younger brother was unhappy, so he set fire to the house and burned five people to death—all because of a few words spoken in anger. We must work hard to reduce our vengefulness. If we can create a harmonious society, live in peace, and be fortunate enough to listen and learn the Right Dharma, then we should count our blessings.

“Do not take everything for granted. If I were to stop protecting you, roughly half of you present would starve. Think about it: What good deeds have you done in the past? Why do you deserve to have food to eat? What gives you the right to climb upwards? I’m not counting those of you who get ahead by nefarious means, of course; is it okay to overthrow all your competitors and stomp on their corpses? Many of you here still cling to this way of thinking; whenever you see people with a couple more customers than you have, you want to squash them. If someone gives you a look, you assume that person looks down on you; if anyone says anything to you, you take it as criticism and as an attack. When others perform well, you think, they’re trying to replace me, aren’t they? People who have such thoughts are full of attachments. Their only fear is that they will get hurt; they worry only about losing out or suffering losses. You should not practice Buddhism using your feelings and consciousness. In other places you will only be told things you want to hear, such as, ‘You look like Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.’ Here, however, if I see you committing wrongdoings that would lead you step by step toward hell, I will certainly do everything I can to stop you.

“If we are working at a company, then as long as it isn’t breaking the law, we should abide by that company’s rules. A company’s employees do not have to face very much risk; as long as the company is in no danger of going bankrupt, then they can keep picking up their monthly paychecks. A boss, on the other hand, has to take on all the company’s risk. This disciple who works in the Group’s jewelry store has always been extremely arrogant. She thinks the world of herself, and looks down on others; this is why she keeps making mistake after mistake. She and disciple Fang are the same in that both are doing harm to their guru, albeit in different ways. You all think that you only need to listen to me when I am speaking the Dharma from the Dharma throne; as soon as I descend, you think it is okay to stop listening. From my point of view, I see no difference between being on the Dharma throne and being off of it; you are the ones who differentiate. My purpose in everything I do is to benefit sentient beings.

“The years keep going by one by one, and already another has passed. I won’t see many more. How much longer can I live? I don’t know. I am already advanced in years, and have grown repetitive, reminding you of the same things over and over. A few days ago someone asked what he should be chanting on New Year’s Eve. I replied, ‘What would you chant?’ Ordinarily, you do not practice or do what you are supposed to do; your problems have not changed—so any further chanting is useless! If you still haven’t resolved your old problems, you can do a million grand prostrations and they still will do you no good!

“I did not fret over the traffic accident I was in the year before last (2014), because I knew that this was karmic retribution for how I had acted in my past lives. This is what it means to practice forbearance. In the sutras we are told we absolutely must cultivate forbearance. Forbearance does not mean not retaliating when you are beaten or not talking back when you are scolded, nor does it mean the same thing as patience or acceptance. Rather, it means knowing that everything that happens to you is a manifestation of your own causes, effects, and karmic retribution. If you use patience to get through life, this is even worse, because you will always be preparing and waiting for a chance to get your revenge and hit back at your aggressors. Whatever happens to you today is certainly the result of something you did in the past; it is definitely your own affair. When something bad happens, if you have a profound belief in cause and effect, you will understand that you have to go through this karmic retribution, but that once it is over, you and your karmic creditor will be even. If you do not accept it, and try to fight back, then you will have to undergo twice or even thrice the karmic retribution that was otherwise your due. Why should practitioners of the Bodhisattva Path cultivate forbearance? There was once a master practitioner who would visit brothels to liberate people there. Despite the criticism and vituperation people hurled at him for doing so, his purpose was to liberate those prostitutes inside, because they were all suffering a great deal. Thus, you should not criticize or guess at the motives behind a practitioner’s behavior. By this I am of course referring to practitioners who are already on the Bodhisattva Path. Because they see the world from the perspective of causality, their actions might not always be accepted by the customs and morals of their time. There are many such examples throughout history.

“You are all constantly lax. You are afraid that if you practice Buddhism, you will be told a bunch of rules to follow. Actually, there are already many things we are not allowed to do; if you don’t believe me, try taking off all your clothes, going downstairs, and running around outside on the street. You’ll have plenty of freedom then, right? Is that okay to do? How come you don’t go and do it? In this society there will always be many things that you are not allowed to do. Don’t assume you have a lot of freedom right now, because you actually have never been free. At all times, you are being controlled by cause, effect, and karma; you cannot be free of these, unless you go to Amitabha Buddha’s Pure Land. Only then can you experience true freedom. Think about it: What do you do on a daily basis that you absolutely cannot live without doing? The suffering you feel comes from your afflictions, which in turn arise from your greed, hatred, ignorance, arrogance, and doubt. Only through cultivation can you find a way to become liberated and obtain eternal freedom and bliss, but this requires making a firm resolution to actually practice. A guru who acts in accordance with the Dharma will certainly teach his or her disciples how to give and take. No one is completely ignorant these days; science and technology have advanced, and everyone can get online and look up plenty of information. However, everyone is clueless when it comes to the most important question—the issue of life and death. No matter how much you know, that knowledge comes from what you have studied or heard in other places; you have not truly realized or experienced any of it in person. In Buddhism, it is said that all sentient beings are equal; as such, everyone has the advantage of being able to attain realization, personally. Everything your guru teaches comes from his own experiences. This means that while practicing, you must cultivate and experience for yourselves; no one can experience exactly the same things as you. It’s like the saying, ‘Only by taking a sip yourself can you know how cold or warm the water really is.’ The only way to know is to drink it yourself. Likewise, only an experienced guru can know, by looking at you, whether or not you have actually achieved something.

“As I have told you before, you should not try to guess what state I am in, because only His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang can know this. If you want to know, then you are His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. Master Gampopa once said that only our guru, the Buddhas, and the Bodhisattvas could help us. His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang affirms that I have acted in accordance with the teachings of His Holiness, the Buddhas, and the Bodhisattvas, and that I truthfully pass these teachings on to my disciples. As long as you act according to the methods taught to you by your guru, the Buddhas, and the Bodhisattvas, then one day—perhaps not in this lifetime, but one day—you will be able to experience a certain kind of happiness. Even the word ‘bliss’ is insufficient to describe it, but it will be a sort of feeling of Dharma joy. Once you have cultivated to a certain state, you will suddenly and involuntarily laugh out loud. This sort of laugh does not represent happiness or gaining something; it means you have let go of everything, like a heavy load has been dropped from your shoulders. You will then be able to experience some afflictions without suppressing them or running away from them; rather, you will genuinely be able to release yourself from them, completely severing all bonds. When you gain this realization, you alone will know it; only you will feel this sort of Dharma joy. In the Heart Sutra there is mention of Bodhisattva Guan Zi Zai; ‘Zi Zai’ means at ease in both life and death. It is said in Zen Buddhism that nothing is written. Does this really mean that nothing of Zen Buddhism has ever been written down? Some has; otherwise we would not have the Diamond Sutra. That saying means, rather, that that state of enlightenment cannot be understood through the written words; it cannot be represented by writing, because pen and ink cannot possibly describe it. All worldly happiness is short-lived. People might compliment you for being pretty, but even if you are the prettiest person in the world, will you not grow old? Take my mother, for example; would you say she was pretty when she was young?” One after another, the attendees all agreed that she had been. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued: “My mother loved being pretty, but before she passed away, she even lost the will to wash her hair. She liked little children very much; whenever she saw one, she would smile kindly. This is a sort of generosity, too. You, on the other hand, feel that everyone you look at is an eyesore. My mother was chaste; if she had not been, she couldn’t have possessed good fortune and merits. Men have male virtues they must live up to, and women have female virtues they must live up to. These are not the same; equality between men and women is impossible. We should not copy everything the West has to offer. You must make a first resolution to practice. If you were a bit more capable, you could perhaps help others even more. If you want true freedom, then become liberated from life and death, leave reincarnation, and go to the Pure Land; over there you can find eternal bliss. But first you must become resolved to do it. I have already tasted the flavor of being filled with Dharma joy; why are you still reluctant to follow the path?

“His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang said I am very committed to Buddhism, and as I have frequently mentioned to you, the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang might smile and laugh a lot, but upholds the Dharma with the utmost seriousness. This means he and I would never compromise when it comes to anything related to Buddhism; we would not flatter sentient beings for the sake of fame or profit. I know so many famous figures, including entrepreneurs, politicians, tycoons, media personalities, and entertainers; they often get together with me. However, if they want to come to the Buddhist Center and listen to the Dharma, they must respect this Buddhist Center’s rules; only then will they be allowed here. For example, one disciple’s husband is a politician, and I have even allowed him to join in on my company’s year-end dinner party. He had asked to participate in the pujas, so I granted his request this once. However, he does not eat vegetarian, so he was not allowed to come to today’s puja. Don’t think that you can come just because you want to. There are a lot of other people who would like to participate but who are not allowed to enter. Since you want to come to participate in the pujas and take refuge as my disciples, you of course must abide by the rules taught by the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and myself. If I were not so strict, I could easily have thirty thousand disciples, let alone three thousand.

“You’ve heard me sing before. Do I have a good voice?” A disciple who used to be a famous singer answered, “Extremely good.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “I don’t propagate the Dharma for fame or profit, but with a voice like mine, I could probably make it as a singer. If I were after fame and glory, or trying to gain more followers so that I could get more offerings, then as is written in the sutras, I would be flattering believers while harboring ulterior motives. However, I absolutely refuse to distort the Dharma like that!” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche berated the ordained disciples: “How many mistakes have you made in the past while trying to obtain offerings from believers? You must repent!” The guru continued: “The only reason this Buddhist Center is kept so pure is because its presiding guru adheres strictly to the Right Dharma. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will come to protect and support any Buddhist centers that operate in accordance with the Dharma.

“Slandering the Buddha does not just mean cursing the Buddha; it also includes behaving in such a way that causes others to feel that you are not acting like a disciple of the Buddha. His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang says that my aspiration to establish a Buddhist center that will accommodate three thousand people is something that can be realized, but unlike you, the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang always delivers what he promises. This also means that a lot of you might be asked to leave; however, I do not have asymmetrical eyes.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked a disciple who was an ophthalmologist, “Are my eyes asymmetrical?” The ophthalmologist-disciple answered, “No, Rinpoche, you do not.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “If I were to establish a 3000-person Buddhist center today, would you be able to set good examples for the newcomers?

“His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang was happy when he visited the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center and attended the Glorious Jewel Group’s year-end banquet. This was because he had a disciple who was cultivating every day, and had naturally achieved attainment without ever straying from the Dharma. Moreover, this Buddhist Center is a pure place in which the Right Dharma is propagated. Why was the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang happy when visiting the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center and listening to you recite the Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas? It was because this Buddhist Center, at the very least, uses the Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas, the foundation of Buddhism, as a standard for practicing. It means there is still hope for you. Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara compassionately transmitted the Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas. However, if any of you treat it simply as a book to memorize by rote, then you might as well stop learning Buddhism. You should see the Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas as a shield that can never leave your side and use it daily as a tool for self-reflection. If you fail to act in accordance with even one of its verses, then on that day you are not a disciple of the Buddha; on that very day you must repent—and not come asking to repent before me at a future date. If you fail to repent that same day, you will make the same mistake again the following day. Today I want you to go home and use the Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas to examine yourselves very closely. This does not mean reflecting upon the events of today; since you have all been here in attendance at the Buddhist Center, you have not had a chance to commit any wrongdoings. Rather, I want you to think long and hard about your actions over the past year. Today’s consecration of the statue of the White Tara and the Dharmas I have performed for you, have all been extremely auspicious.

As the puja drew to a perfect completion, all of the attendees thanked His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche in unison for his auspicious Dharma performance and teachings and wished the guru a Happy New Year. Rising to their feet, they paid reverent homage as His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche descended the Dharma throne. They were grateful to the guru for having taken time at the beginning of the new year to tirelessly perform auspicious Tantra all day, from morning until evening, as well as consecrating the statue of the White Tara, performing the Black Water Jambhala and Elephant Jambhala Dharmas, leading the attendees in an observance of the Thirty-Five Buddhas Repentance Ritual, and bestowing precious Dharma teachings. The disciples and others present were determined to scrupulously follow the guru’s teachings, constantly keep the guru in mind as a treasure worn on their heads, strive to walk the Bodhisattva Path in accordance with the Dharma, and diligently cultivate the Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas. They prayed that the guru would have good health and keep turning the Dharma wheel so that his Buddhist activities would be spread far and wide to benefit all sentient beings!

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Updated on August 3, 2016