His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings – July 17, 2016

Always mindful of the well-being of sentient beings, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has vowed compassionately to help them to become liberated from the suffering sea of reincarnation. In his compassion, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche presided over the Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness of the Drikung Kagyu Order of Tibetan Buddhism, for the twelfth time, at Taipei World Trade Center Nangang Exhibition Hall on July 17th, 2016 to benefit all sentient beings. There were more than 23,000 people attended, including the fourfold assembly from both Exoteric and Esoteric Buddhism. The puja came to a perfect completion under the blessings and protection of Lord Jigten Sumgön, the lineage gurus, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang, and Dharma Protector Achi. Its merits filled countless sentient beings and all of the attendees with Dharma joy.

The Great Amitabha Dharma for Transferring Consciousness is an auspicious earth terma Tantra of the Drikung Kagyu Order. His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang personally transmitted, one-on-one, the Four Inner-Tantra Empowerments to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, so this Dharma is extremely rare and precious. Before being able to cultivate Vajrayana Tantra, a practitioner must first lay a foundation by practicing Exoteric Buddhism for at least ten years. A further prerequisite is having mastered the Four Uncommon Preliminary Practices; only then may a practitioner receive the Amitabha Empowerment. Afterwards, he or she must go into retreat under the guidance of the guru, chant the Amitabha Heart Mantra at least one million times, and cultivate until becoming attuned with the yidam. Upon the perfect completion of such a retreat, a practitioner then may strive to master the Phowa, by which the consciousness of the deceased is liberated and transferred to the Pure Land. With such accomplishments, a practitioner is then allowed to cultivate and perform the Great Amitabha Dharma for Transferring Consciousness. The presiding practitioner must also have mastered the Simplicity Yoga, as well as having attained the fruition of a Rinpoche. He or she must possess the compassion of Emptiness, and have no desire for fame or profit. Rather, the practitioner’s aspiration should be to benefit all sentient beings by helping them to attain happiness and liberating them from suffering. Only in this way can the practitioner help them. Before performing the Dharma, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche must make many offerings and complete a lot of preparations; this involves going into retreat for several days. With his incomparably immense compassion and infinite merits, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche helps the sentient beings all of the attendees wish to have liberated by saving them from falling into the Evil Realms and allowing them to be reborn in the Virtuous Realms or even in the Amitabha’s Pure Land.

As in previous years, no media advertisements or public announcements were published for this Grand Puja. There were still more than 23,000 people attended, including Khenpo Namdol of the Drikung Kagyu Order of Tibetan Buddhism, Khenpo Jampa Konpo from southern India, lamas from other Orders, and ordained practitioners of Exoteric Buddhism. Also participating together at this auspicious Grand Puja were disciples and believers from Mainland China (Beijing, Wenzhou, Shanghai, Shenyang, Harbin) Hong Kong, Macao, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, India, the U.S., Canada, Germany, Britain, France, Spain, Netherlands, Australia and Taiwan. The fourfold assembly from both Exoteric and Esoteric Buddhism attended this auspicious puja.

As in previous years, no fees were collected for entry to this year’s puja, the transferring of consciousness, lamp-lighting, or mandala offerings. The five mandala offering representatives and two thousand representatives who lit lamps in offering to the Buddha were all chosen from believers who had drawn lots from the ballot box as they entered the venue. Furthermore, in order to maintain the purity of the puja, no charity sales or other commercial activities were permitted on the premises. Under His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s supervision and guidance, all of the expenses necessary for holding the puja were supported jointly by members of the Republic of China Glorious Jewel Buddhist Cultural Exchange Association, and no donations were accepted from any external fundraisers.

Before the puja began, the venue broadcast a film documenting the history of the Drikung Kagyu Order, and introducing the two throne holders of the Order, the thirty-sixth throne holder, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang and the thirty-seventh throne holder, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. More than 830 years ago, Lord Jigten Sumgön, whose Dharma title was “Glorious Jewel”, started the Drikung Kagyu Order. His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang bestowed this Dharma name upon the Buddhist Center established by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche and authorized him to promote the Drikung Kagyu Lineage. Furthermore, the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang personally composed a Long Life Prayer for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Next was a brief introduction of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. In 1995, during a formal visit in Tibet, Most Venerable Tenzin Nyima Rinpoche took Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche as his disciple. In 1997, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang held a grand enthronement ceremony for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche at Bodhi Monastery in India, and officially authenticated him as a guru of the Drikung Kagyu Order qualified to transmit the Dharma. In 2005, Garchen Rinpoche bestowed upon Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche the Empowerment of the Eight Major Herukas. In 2006, the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang also bestowed upon Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche Master Gampopa’s Dharma hat, and instructed to inlay the Dharma hat with gold-cast Drikung symbols of a treasure vase and auspicious clouds.

Another short film was presented which documented Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s 2007 trip to Nepal during which His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang led him in a three-month retreat on the snowy Mount Lapchi, as well as the auspicious details of the three-day Fire-Offering in which the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang led Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche upon the perfect completion of the retreat. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche constantly exhibited his complete reverence towards his guru. Up to now (year of 2016) Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has completed twelve separate retreats.

The film also showed that since 2005 Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has presided over the Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness in Taiwan every year. Over these twelve years a total of near 170,000 people have participated, spreading the Drikung Kagyu Lineage to Kyoto and the northeastern region of Japan. Furthermore, in 2015, Richen Dorjee Rinpoche visited the Drikung Thil Monastery in Tibet and performed the Dharma in the Main Hall; many unfathomable, auspicious signs appeared. In 2016, Richen Dorjee Rinpoche was invited to propagate the Dharma in Bhutan where a great deal of auspicious signs manifested during the time when pujas were performed.

In addition, a video was broadcast of the 2013 trip to India during which Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led the disciples to participate in the Long Life Mandala Offering Puja held for His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. It also documented the precious treasure Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had spent eight years preparing—a Shakyamuni Buddha bowl fashioned from thirty-five kilograms of lapis lazuli and filled with gold, pearls and red coral—as well as how Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had reverently made an offering of it to the Three-Grace Root Guru His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang.

It was also shown in the video that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s cultivation was authenticated and blessed by many Mahasiddhas of the Order. Drubwang Rinpoche publicly praised Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche as a high lama and would bless him for a while every time he met Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

On a video recording, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang said, “Yen Sifu (Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche) has been a disciple of mine since I first visited Taiwan, and is now the best of my disciples out there. In addition, his Buddhist Center is the most successful one in the Order, as you have all seen. Many things that our other Rinpoches in the Drikung Kagyu Order have not been able to accomplish, he (Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche) has been able to do, and has even done a better job than they. Everyone can testify to this. He (Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche) has always had an extremely earnest attitude and treated me with the utmost sincerity. Throughout Drikung Kagyu, wherever there are difficulties, he (Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche) has always been willing to lend a hand. I am very grateful for this, and would like to take this opportunity to give thanks. I believe Yen Rinpoche’s (Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche) Dharma activities can benefit a great number of sentient beings. I feel that we will always be together and benefit countless sentient beings on this great Buddhist path.”

On the video recording, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang praised Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for having spared no effort in giving support to his guru and the Order, including having restored the gilded roof of Drikung Thil Monastery. He also praised Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s achievements and the many other contributions he had made to the Order, and said that a very close guru-disciple relationship existed between himself and Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, who had served as a major benefactor for both His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang and His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang.

Furthermore, the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang stated, “ For more than 30 years, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has worked very hard to help many needy regions of Tibet. I am extremely grateful for his efforts! He cultivates very diligently every day, thereby achieving his fruition naturally. Now, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche cannot accommodate all of his followers, so needs a venue that can hold three thousand people. Such a project would have my blessings.”

The video clearly depicted the lineage relationship between the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and his mandala root disciple Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, as well as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s fruition and wholehearted support of the Order. His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang joyfully gave his assurance to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s aspiration to construct a Buddhist temple that will be able to hold more than three thousand people. This shows that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has never slowed in his journey to propagate the Dharma, and will spread his activities far and wide, benefiting even more sentient beings.

At 8:30 in the morning, led and escorted by prayer flags, incense burners, musical instruments, eight offering girls, and a jeweled parasol, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche slowly rode on an electric car along the flower-strewn white carpet of Eight Auspicious Symbols into the premises. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s solemn Dharma appearance was extraordinarily dignified, and was preceded by continuous music which had great breadth and depth and was inspiring to everyone who heard it. In quiet reverence and with palms clasped together, every single one of the attendees stood to welcome His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. After stepping up to the mandala, the guru prostrated himself respectfully before the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and presented a khata to the wish-granting jeweled Dharma throne of His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang, lit lamps as an offering to the Buddha, and finally ascended the Dharma throne.

First, ordained practitioners led the attendees in recitations of the Prayer to the Eight Noble Auspicious Ones and the Refuge Aspiration Prayer.

Halfway through the monastics’ prayer recitation, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche scolded the believers in the venue. “When the monastics are leading you all in a recitation of the Refuge Aspiration Prayer, you should all clasp your palms together and recite along with them. Don’t sit down there chatting or snoozing. The only thing you can do while participating in today’s puja is to recite along. This aspiration to take refuge is a very important motive for participating in the puja. You may not understand what I am reciting during the rest of the puja’s proceedings, but you should not assume that anything the monastics recite without me does not have anything to do with you. Reciting along is the only thing you can do. If you want to chat amongst yourselves, then go to the coffee shop. In a moment, anyone I see who does not have his or her palms clasped will be asked to leave. You have no idea how great the merits are that are produced by clasping your palms. I will tell you about this sometime, when the opportunity presents itself.”

Next was the Ritual of Mandala Offering. Khenpo Namdol led the ordained practitioners and five mandala-offering representatives, chosen from believers who had drawn lots from the ballot box as they entered the venue, in an offering of the mandalas to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, as well as imploring the Dharma.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche personally led everyone in a chanting of the Praise to Amitabha. The guru’s Dharma voice and strong words of praise filled the void, causing all the attendees to feel joy, respect, and generosity. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s boundless compassion and all-embracing power caused them to burst into tears, and an incomparable admiration welled up within their hearts that was hard to describe with words.

A believer, who had not clasped his palms once since the start of the puja, was reprimanded on the spot by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. “You need to clasp your palms and recite along. If you do not clasp your palms, you’ll constantly scratch here and there, so you need to clasp them as well as you can. Don’t be so lazy while participating in the puja.”

After His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performed the Ritual for a while, he resumed the precious Dharma teachings.

“Today I will be presiding over the Great Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness. Amitabha Buddha is a yidam introduced to us by Shakyamuni Buddha. The Amitabha Dharma method is mentioned by Shakyamuni Buddha in the Amitabha Sutra, the Infinite Life Sutra, and the Amitayurdhyana Sutra, and there are two lines in the first of those that are of great importance to any practitioner wishing to learn how to be reborn in the Pure Land. ‘One must not be lacking in good roots, good fortune, merits, causes, and conditions.’ Good roots are planted by all our good deeds, and will bloom and bear fruit in the future. Thus, while participating in today’s puja, if your every thought and movement is respectful, then those good roots will begin to sprout and grow. You should not think that participating in a puja is the same as attending another event; if you want to attend the latter, then you might as well go and listen to a singer. There you can even sing along and not be scolded.

“The foremost prerequisite for participating in a puja is to respect the Three Jewels. Only through respect can you accumulate good fortune, and only with good fortune will you be able to practice the Dharma and transform your karma. This is why Shakyamuni Buddha placed such special emphasis on not being lacking in good roots, good fortune, merits, causes, and conditions in the Amitabha Sutra; these are absolutely necessary for going to the Pure Land and for cultivating any other Dharma method. Further on, there is mention that good men and women must vow to be reborn in the Pure Land, and “good” means to adhere to the Ten Meritorious Acts. Thus, if you still eat meat, then you are not keeping the Ten Meritorious Acts, because the first of those is to refrain from killing. According to what is written in the sutras, anyone who still eats meat cannot possibly be reborn in the Pure Land.

“However, why do I continue to hold these Great Amitabha Pujas for Transferring Consciousness? It is because you still eat meat, as did your ancestors before you. According to the Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows, during one of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s lifetimes, her mother loved to eat meat and turtle eggs. When she died, she went to the Hell Realm. Don’t assume that Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s mother’s story has nothing to do with you; everything written in the sutras has a bearing on sentient beings.

“The Amitabha Sutra is part of Exoteric Buddhism. Exoteric means ‘clear,’ and includes revelations of how to amend one’s behavior by practicing in accordance with them. However, if you want to help sentient beings to be reborn in the Pure Land, then first you yourself must be certain of your own ability to do so. If you cannot, yet you say you can help other sentient beings get there, then you are not so correct. Without a foundation of Exoteric Buddhism, you cannot learn Tantra, which includes methods of attaining Buddhahood or becoming a Bodhisattva. Tantra is a way of benefiting sentient beings. The Dharma text we’re using today was not passed down by Shakyamuni Buddha; it is the Dharma of the yidam Amitabha transmitted personally by Amitabha Buddha to Padmasambhava. It contains the word ‘liberation,’ whose Chinese transliteration is made up of two characters, each of which has a different meaning. The first one, chao, means to use the power of compassion of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to help sentient beings transcend beyond the suffering sea of reincarnation. The second character, du, means to help sentient beings to be liberated—to cross over to the other side, to the Pure Land. Actually, you can be liberated while still alive, too; this involves eliminating your evil karma. In fact, people who are still alive need to be liberated, too, because if you create the cause for participating in a puja for transferring consciousness while you are still alive, then you will possess the effect of becoming liberated when you die. Therefore, in coming here today to participate in this puja, you are planting a good causal condition. Whether or not you can listen and continue practicing is up to you.

“Liberation for the deceased cannot be achieved just by reciting the sutras alone. First of all, one must be attuned to the yidam’s great aspiration to benefit sentient beings; secondly, there must be sentient beings in need of liberation, and their family members must implore the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and guru to help liberate them. Most importantly, the guru must possess merits and compassion; only then can he truly liberate sentient beings. We have harmed many sentient beings throughout our past lives as well as this one, and all of the accidents, calamities, and wars that befall us in this world result from the acts of killing we have committed. The resentment sentient beings have toward us runs very, very deep, but through pujas for transferring consciousness we can reduce it while lessening or even removing completely the hindrances to our Buddhist practice. Liberating your karmic creditors from past lives does not mean life will immediately get better for you. It causes them to stop hindering your cultivation; such hindrances will constantly appear for you if you do not practice or listen.

“Shakyamuni Buddha made an analogy: A room piled high with seafood stinks and is unsanitary; even if you remove the seafood, the room will still smell fishy, and will have to be continuously cleaned for a time. In other words, even after you have gotten rid of your karmic hindrances, you still must continue to purify yourself and practice Buddhism. This does not mean that having participated in today’s puja will turn you into a revitalized superhero who can succeed in every endeavor or get whatever you want; if it were that simple, then I myself wouldn’t need to constantly practice the Dharma.

“One important reason for participating in a puja is to assist your ancestors in escaping the Three Evil Realms, and to help all sentient beings leave the suffering sea of reincarnation. If you have come to today’s puja with this intention in mind, then the good fortune you can accumulate will be boundless. The word ‘grand’ in ‘Grand Puja,’ apart from its reference to the large number of attendees, means, most importantly, that the presiding guru possesses great bodhicitta, which means he helps sentient beings without seeking fame or profit in return. Unlike what you might think, in the Chinese word for puja, fahui, the character fa does not refer to which Dharmas will be performed. Instead, it means the expedient methods spoken by the Buddha to help sentient beings escape the suffering sea of reincarnation. The second character, hui, refers to a gathering of the fourfold assembly—ordained men and women, as well as men and women of the laity. They all assemble here with the common goal of helping sentient beings be free form suffering and obtain happiness. You are all included among sentient beings, and by the Buddha’s definition, as long as you have not yet become liberated from life and death or are still trapped in the suffering sea of reincarnation, you are still counted as ordinary people. Even if you recite the sutras, make prostrations to the Buddha, and are ordained, you still are in the realm of ordinary people as long as you have no control over life and death. If you participate in today’s puja with an attitude of respect, repentance, and compassion, then you will definitely obtain good fortune and merits. As for when you will be able to use these depends on your future practice.

“I will be performing the Dharma very quickly today, so as you sit down there, you must not doze off. If you see someone napping next to you, push him or her awake; dozing off during a puja is absolutely disrespectful. If you are focused, then there is no way you will fall asleep. If I were to tell you that if you participate in this puja without falling asleep I will give you NT$5 million, then you definitely wouldn’t doze off. The karmic retribution for napping during a puja is to spend the next lifetime as a pet. Attending a puja brings you good fortune, but falling asleep during its proceedings indicates ignorance; hence, you will become someone’s pet—a dog-son or cat-daughter for someone to hold. Secondly, you must not converse. You normally chat a lot, so these two or so hours of not chatting won’t hurt you. Thirdly, you must not regard me as a curiosity. If you are curious, then become my disciples; that will satisfy some of your curiosity.

“My fruition level has been authenticated by His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang; the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have confirmed my cultivation. Why did I stop holding the Grand Pujas for two years? It was because I help and liberate sentient beings according to their causal conditions. I stopped holding the pujas and neither publicized nor advertised for a couple of years to see whether or not sentient beings would have this causal condition, and to see if my own practice provided good fortune and merits enough to embrace sentient beings wishing to participate in this puja. As it turns out, a great many people have been drawn here, and you all have brought a heap of things to give me. Therefore, I really do have heavy karma. I hope you all will have sympathy for me, as I am approaching my seventies. Not very many people my age can preside over such enormous pujas. However, I observe the Samaya Commandments, promising the yidam, my guru, and believers to benefit sentient beings. Thus, I will keep doing so right up to my last breath. For this reason, I would never compromise with you. Compromise leads to letting you do as you please. Buddhism only mentions the expedient means so as to provide you with some help in accordance with your wishes and thoughts; however, it is certainly not said in any Dharma that you can do whatever you want. If you don’t wish to come here anymore after this, it’s okay, but as long as you are here participating in today’s puja, you must be respectful of the Dharma, the yidam, and the guru. This will have an inevitable effect on your fortune in the future. As for whether or not you believe after today, however, is your own business.

“If you feel sleepy, you can look at the Buddha statues, the mandala, or me; that might stop you from falling asleep. If you cannot concentrate, then you may let your eyes hang half open; however, you must not shut them completely. Do your best to forget outside things for two or three hours; don’t worry about whether your husband has eaten, about whether your wife is at home waiting for you, or about your business. Your absence will not cause the world to turn upside down or end; everything will remain as it is. Most importantly, these two hours or so spent here today can change your future. If your hands get sore from clasping your palms together for a while, you may give them a rest; I’m not that strict.

“His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang personally bestowed upon me the empowerment and oral transmission of this Dharma being performed today. It is an earth terma, which means it is not a Dharma contained in the sutras; rather, it was transmitted and passed down from the yidam Himself to help sentient beings. Before being able to perform this Dharma, a practitioner must have a foundation of ten years of Exoteric Buddhist practice, and the parts that are Tantra require going into retreats on a regular basis and a mastery of the Phowa; only then can one perform it. Otherwise, sentient beings will not be able to give rise to joy. A practitioner who performs the Dharma for transferring consciousness yet is unable to benefit sentient beings will meet with many dire consequences. I have held nine Grand Pujas in the past, and the fact that even now I still have the strength to scold people in a loud voice means those previous pujas were of benefit to sentient beings.”

After performing the Ritual for a while, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued the precious Dharma teachings.

“The first part is about taking refuge, the second about engendering an aspiration—the preliminary practice of making preparations that must be done first. The mindset you are in while participating in a puja is very important. This is why the monastics recited the Refuge Prayer a little while ago, which you were to recite along with; this was preparatory work for your participation in this puja.”

Next, the guru continued the Ritual and resumed his teachings.

“Just now we conducted the Ritual of Exorcism so that any ghostly beings passing by that might wish to hinder today’s Grand Puja will leave this mandala. Next, we will perform the Offering Ritual.”

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued to perform the Dharma, and implored the yidam Amitabha to approach the mandala. “You should visualize me as being no different from the yidam Amitabha, and this puja venue as the Buddha’s palace.”

After conducting the ritual for a while, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “Next we will perform the Eight Offerings to give praise and offerings to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Offerings are very important; without them, you cannot accumulate the good fortune that allows you to learn and practice Buddhism.

“The Dharma text contains the following line: ‘We constantly salute and praise You,’ meaning we will forever give frequent and respectful praise to the yidam Amitabha Buddha. You absolutely must not say Amitabha is ineffective, because that is slanderous to the Buddha. Before you have attained Buddhahood and gone to the Pure Land, you should show your respect for Amitabha Buddha on a frequent basis; this means cultivating good fortune, and giving praise means cultivating merits. Only people who succeed in this can be aspired and reborn in the Pure Land.”

Next, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche performed the Offering Ritual and led all in chanting the Amitabha Heart Mantra for a long time.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued: “While the lead monastic is leading you in mantra chanting, each of you should chant it three hundred times; I will chant it one thousand times. Originally I was going to lead you all in chanting it one thousand times together, but just now I saw a few people go to the toilet. They were all young people and small children; none of them was elderly. Those of you sitting up front may not have gone because you didn’t want to be rude, but none of the elders has moved. What does that show? One of the reasons these kids and young people keep having to run to the toilet so often is that they eat meat, and another is that they eat frozen snacks. Nowadays parents spoil their children; as soon as summer arrives, they give their children ice cream to eat, because they are happy as long as their kids are quiet. These young people have small bladders as if they were elderly.

“More than twenty thousand people have come to participate in today’s puja. If each of you were to recite the prayer a thousand times, merits would be produced more than twenty thousand times in total. However, you are too physically weak and not used to chanting mantras. Ordinarily, when you aren’t chanting, you don’t run to the toilet, but today you had to go as soon as we started. People have five types of qi. When you are unhealthy, you do not have enough qi; chanting mantras uses one of those types of qi, leaving you without enough of the rest. Originally I was going to lead you in performing the Offering Ritual, but I did it myself; it got done very quickly.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche scolded those who had gone to the toilet for walking too slowly. “You should walk faster; taking your time like that is disrespectful. Do your kids constantly take bathroom breaks while participating sporting events, too? Stop feeding them meat. Don’t worry about nutrition; plenty of children at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center were born to mothers who ate vegetarian while pregnant, and they are much healthier than those kids who were raised on meat. If you drink cow’s milk, you will look like a cow; if you drink goat’s milk, you will look like a goat. You’ll only look like a person if you drink human milk. Remember, you are what you eat.”

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche then conducted the Ritual of Offering, and said that it included the Eight Offerings. “These next are all offerings. A respectful attitude represents an offering. Only by making offerings can we accumulate good fortune, which is what you need to listen to and practice the Dharma; only through such cultivation can we transform the good and evil karma we have accumulated throughout our past lives.

“To satisfy your curiosity, I will teach you about a section of the text. ‘The blessings of our great compassionate Dharma lord’ refers to Amitabha Buddha, and our offering of a jeweled parasol to the yidam and the guru. The reason we make offerings is that we want to liberate sentient beings that possess causal conditions. All offerings are for them. Causal conditions are not obtained simply from having recited the sutras or attended penitential rites; causal conditions, by definition, come from whether or not you have listened to the Dharma taught by the Buddha and practiced accordingly. You will only obtain causal conditions if you have. The Buddha also said that without causal conditions, even if you were to meet the Buddha face to face, you would not be able to form an affinity with Him. I had better tell a few stories to keep you all from falling asleep.

“‘Praise be unto the Trinity of the Western Paradise.’ Herein contains a line that means we sincerely pray to the yidam and chant His name, so that He will lead us to be reborn in the Western Pure Land of Utmost Bliss; for this reason, we sing praise. If someone hears the yidam’s name, he or she will be spared from suffering an untimely death from such things as accidents, car crashes, being murdered, being bitten to death by insects, a poisonous snake, or a beast, or dying from medical malpractice. Untimely death involves dying when you weren’t originally supposed to die. You can only be saved once; after that, you are on your own. Pulled from the danger of an untimely death is so that you can later have a chance to practice Buddhism until you can be liberated from life and death. Just now I led you in chanting the Amitabha Heart Mantra because after having voiced those syllables with your mouth, heard them with your ears, and listened to them with your mind, you will remember them; then, when you are in crisis, you will be able to chant Amitabha’s name and be saved. There is a condition, however: You must not eat meat. Remember: Do not eat meat; if you do, then this will not work. The sutras teach us to be compassionate and refrain from killing. Meat-eaters have definitely engaged in killing. Who will the Buddha save first? You or the sentient beings you have killed? Of course He will save the latter first, because their suffering is greater than yours.”

Next, Rinchen Dorjee initiated an empowerment for himself and bestowed one upon Khenpo Namdol, and continued teachings.

“Why is empowerment necessary? It is because in his modesty, the presiding guru worries his own cultivation might be insufficient; as such, he initiates the empowerment for himself in the hope that he can become as pure in body, speech, and mind as Amitabha Buddha, and to obtain His merits and pure compassion with which to help sentient beings. Only after completing retreats and achieving the fruition of a Rinpoche can a practitioner conduct empowerments for himself and his disciples; otherwise, he will encounter mishaps.”

After that, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said that now the attendees could have ten minutes break to go to the restroom.

Next, the eight offering girls sang, and then the Tea-Offering and Rice-Offering were conducted. After that came the Tsok, during which each attendee was given a share of offering items blessed by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The guru compassionately said that after receiving the offering items, the attendees were allowed to eat some of them. In this way, everyone was granted the rare, auspicious, and virtuous causal condition of being able to eat during the puja with the yidam and the guru.

Then, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche started performing the Ritual of Transferring Consciousness.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed the attendees to sit up straight, and that those who got up to leave should return to their seats as quickly as possible. “If you do not return to your seats, I will not perform the Dharma of transferring consciousness. Those of you who go to the toilet should hurry and run back to your seats; if you cannot find them, just sit down wherever you can find a spot. Some of you are taking your time, but your ancestors are in a bigger hurry to be liberated than you are to urinate.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche berated many believers for walking too slowly in the venue, and said, “I have heavy karma, which is why I was born in this Age of Degenerate Dharma. If my karma weren’t so heavy, I would have been born in the age of Shakyamuni Buddha, who once said that in this evil time of the Five Turbidities, He was speaking this Dharma that was difficult to believe. ‘Difficult to believe’ here does not mean it literally that it is hard to believe; rather, it means sentient beings have a difficult time believing that this Dharma taught by the Buddha is so auspicious that it can liberate them.”

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued performing the Ritual of Transferring Consciousness, and compassionately allowed the attendees to speak aloud several times the names of those deceased they wished to have liberated. The guru also reminded everyone to speak up. While Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche was instructing the attendees to speak the names of the deceased, many were still busy returning to their seats. The guru said, “Don’t grumble that I am not compassionate; I’ll let you say their names twice more so as to give those who aren’t back yet an opportunity to participate; so hurry back to your seats.”

While performing the Dharma, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche compassionately revealed a mighty, wrathful appearance to the DVD containing names of the deceased in order to help all those suffering sentient beings, and then continued to bestow teachings.

“The purpose of the Dharma performed just now was to purify the DVD, and lure forth the consciousness of those sentient beings, as well as purify their evil karma and exorcise demons from them. The deceased committed various evil acts while still living, such as eating meat and many other bad deeds, and these are causing them hindrances in death. Therefore, first the food was given to these ghosts and demons to make them feel satisfied enough to leave. If they wouldn’t leave, and still wanted to hinder the puja, the presiding guru would smash their heads to pieces with his vajra.

“During the ritual, we use a few things as symbols. Black sesame seeds represent the evil karma of the deceased; water and fire cleanse this away. Sand represents subtle karma that can be purified and eliminated just as sunshine disperses fog.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed the attendees to stand. “If you can, you should do your best to stand, except for those who aren’t able to. We make prostrations and take refuge before the mandala for the deceased.” Upon rising to their feet, all of the attendees bowed three times before the mandala on behalf of the deceased. After an ordained disciple made three prostrations to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas on behalf of the deceased, the guru continued performing the ritual.

Meanwhile, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led the attendees in reciting a section of a prayer:
In the intermediate state between death and reincarnation,                        with fear and at the door to hell;
                   Tortured by affliction and suffering;
                   Wandering and lingering with sorrow and loneliness;
                   They pray to be liberated by the power of compassion.’

The guru’s earnest Dharma voice echoed with incomparable compassion and mercy, and all of the attendees were moved to tears as they wholeheartedly entreated His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to help the deceased who were suffering in reincarnation. While performing the ritual, the guru’s Dharma voice thundered through the venue, embracing and blessing countless sentient beings and resounding endlessly throughout the void. As the Dharma performance continued, the entire mandala emitted a golden radiance, indicating that all of the attendees had obtained blessings from the guru, the Buddhas, and the Bodhisattvas. The force of Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s vast, boundless compassion woke all sentient beings in reincarnation, and as he compassionately and auspiciously bestowed blessings and performed the Dharma, praying most ardently for all sentient beings, the attendees gained a profound sense of the guru’s infinite benevolence and aspiration to propagate the Dharma and benefit sentient beings. An incomparable respect and desire to repent welled up in their hearts, and they shed tears of gratitude.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche indicated that the Dedication Ritual would now begin. Upon its perfect completion, the guru said that he would next descend the Dharma throne and make rounds throughout the venue to sprinkle nectar water to purify all of the attendees. The Master of Ceremonies then asked the attendees to stand, but Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said that they were alright to remain seated and that standing up was not necessary. The guru modestly said, “I’m not that important. I’ll now start making my rounds through the venue. When blessed nectar water is mixed with water from the treasured Dharma vase, it looks like plain water, but it is actually nectar water. The ‘treasured Dharma vase’ refers to a bottle containing the presiding guru’s merits mixed with his Dharma activities; sprinkling water from such a vessel can purify you from all sorts of evil karmic hindrances such as eating meat, not believing in the Buddha or causality, and so on. This will allow you, in the future, to carry good fortune into your Buddhist practice. Whether or not you want to practice and eat vegetarian after being purified is up to you. This is exactly how strict it is. When in school, you know you are afraid of your teachers’ reprimands; while practicing Buddhism, nonetheless, you want a lot of freedom. However, the freedom gained from practicing Buddhism liberates you from your karma.”

Despite having sat cross-legged atop the Dharma throne while conducting visualizations, chanting mantras, and performing the Dharma for nearly four hours, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche descended the Dharma throne and was still able to walk briskly down from the mandala. After boarding the electric car, and preceded by the eight offering girls, the guru went around the venue, all the while chanting mantras and continuously sprinkling nectar water from the soaked Kusha-grass, thus purifying and blessing the more than twenty-three thousand puja attendees. Calmed by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s all-embracing power, the attendees peacefully and respectfully waited in their seats. The guru completely ignored the discomfort from his S-type scoliosis and the pain in his right shoulder, which had no synovial sac anymore. The puja venue was 23,100 meters square, or three and a half times the size of a soccer field. Moreover, as Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche sprinkled purification blessings upon the attendees, the Kusha-grass weighed heavier and heavier on his right arm due to the nectar water in which it had been soaked. Full of compassion for sentient beings, the guru continued holding it for twenty whole minutes, ignoring the extreme pain and pressure on his right shoulder, doing everything in his power to sprinkle nectar water upon the attendees whose palms were clasped in reverence so that they could be purified in body, speech, and mind. During this process, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continuously chanted mantras to bestow blessings upon the attendees. They constantly applauded and shouted at the top of their lungs, “Thank you, Rinpoche!” All were grateful for Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s selfless efforts.

After sprinkling nectar water upon the attendees for a full twenty minutes, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, completely drenched, ascended the mandala once more and compassionately resumed bestowing precious Dharma teachings.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche started by thanking everyone for participating in the puja. “It is only due to your participation that vast numbers of sentient beings can benefit. Never forget today’s puja, because for you this might be a once-in-a-lifetime event. To hold such a large-scale puja is not at all easy; it requires the coordination of a great deal of human and financial resources, as well as the assistance of governmental agencies. There is also a group of people who put forth enormous efforts without asking for anything in return. I thank our Masters of Ceremonies, Mr. Xu Nailin and Ms. Wang Yonghe, for all their hard work. A little while ago, while I was sprinkling nectar water, they asked you all to express your gratitude to me over and over. Actually, there is no need to thank me; rather, it is I who should thank you, because this puja could not have taken place without your participation.”

After saying this, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had to stop for a moment due to being choked up with tears. The guru then added, “If you really wish to show your gratitude, then you should thank the Buddhas, the Bodhisattvas, the Drikung Kagyu Lineage Gurus, and His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang.” Finally, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bowed humbly before the assembly. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche often shows through actions, words, and thoughts that he is a master practitioner who selflessly benefits others. The guru’s humility moved the attendees deeply. Then, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche resumed his teachings.

“If you really want to thank me for my modest efforts, then stop eating meat—remember these four words: Do not eat meat. I was born in Hong Kong, and before practicing Buddhism, I used to absolutely love eating seafood. None of you can eat seafood the way I could back then. I began practicing Buddhism when I was thirty-six, and a little more than a decade later, when I was in my fifties, I got skin cancer. I did not implore the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to save me; I simply applied myself diligently to my practice. I did not even see any doctors, and now my cancer is completely cured. The Dharma is applicable to any sentient being; if you cannot implement it, that has nothing to do with how high or low your root capacity is. Root capacity involves being able to listen or not. If you do not listen, then not even Shakyamuni Buddha can save you.

“By showing up today you have all given of both your time and money. You’ve had to pay for public transport; this, too, counts as a great act of almsgiving. I hope that this puja will be helpful for Taiwan. If you all cherish this land of ours, you should start eating vegetarian.”

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked one of the Masters of Ceremonies, Xu Nailin, “Are you going to eat vegetarian?” Xu Nailin bowed, and a roar of applause resounded from the attendees. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said humorously, “Your bowing down indicates that you are nodding your head in agreement. More than twenty thousand people have just clapped to encourage you to eat vegetarian, so you have more than twenty thousand witnesses.”

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “No one loves seafood more than I used to. After you begin practicing Buddhism, and learn about cause and effect, you will know that eating the flesh of sentient beings brings grave karma for you and your family members. The first Buddhist precept is to refrain from killing, which means you must eat vegetarian. The followers of other religions are all very obedient, but you Buddhists are not. This is the reason the Buddha said that in this evil time of the Five Turbidities it is difficult to get people to believe in the Dharma. The Buddha would not harm us. Participating in this puja is an extremely auspicious and rare opportunity, and in your future you are sure to see boundless good fortune. Thank you all for participating.” His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche bowed deeply before the attendees. In body, speech, and mind, the guru is constantly manifesting the self-effacing attitude of a master practitioner who selflessly benefits others without asking anything in return. His enormous efforts and complete gratitude moved the attendees to tears one after another.

Upon the perfect completion of the puja, the venue’s more than twenty three thousand attendees stood to pay reverent homage to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. While boarding the electric car to leave, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche held the vajra in hand, or placed his palms together, and gazed around with a compassionate look in his eyes, never forsaking any sentient beings, all the while chanting mantras and bestowing blessings upon the attendees. The attendees expressed their gratitude to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche by thanking the guru many times in unison; they were grateful for the guru’s auspicious performance of the Dharma, precious teachings and blessing. After His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche left the venue, the attendees, full of Dharma joy, went in front of mandala to reverently make prostrations, grateful for the help and liberation given by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

The puja came to a perfect completion at 12:40 in the afternoon. In Tibet, it usually takes one entire day to complete the Great Dharma of Amitabha for Transferring Consciousness. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche finishes performing this Great Dharma with his incredible power of meditation in just a little more than three hours. Furthermore, with the vast merits he himself has accumulated, the guru liberated all the sentient beings that came forth, and for this every single attendee was full of praise and gratitude. As a result of His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s all-embracing power, the entire Grand Puja progressed in an orderly fashion and very smoothly without the slightest hint of chaos or clamor. All of the attendees had a profound sense of the solemnness and auspiciousness of this Grand Puja. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche acted in complete accordance with the Dharma, seeking neither fame nor profit. Under the blessings and protection of His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, the Buddhas, and the Bodhisattvas, and drawing on his own great attainments in Tantric practice, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche selflessly propagated the Dharma to liberate sentient beings, benefiting countless sentient beings in the void.

At 3:20 in the afternoon, despite having laboriously performed the Dharma the entire morning, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche returned to the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center and ascended the Dharma throne, where he led the disciples in the prayer of the Dharma Protector Achi and a recitation of the Long Life Prayer for His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang and His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche thanked the Lineage Gurus and Dharma protectors for allowing the puja to go so smoothly, and then personally led the attendees in a recitation of the Aspiration Prayer for Rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land.

After the perfect completion of the puja, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche donated all monetary offerings from all the attendees, totaling NT$7 million, to Social and Family Affairs Administration, Ministry of Health and Welfare as funds for charity and social welfare, vastly forming virtuous affinity on behalf of all the attendees. The process was witnessed and audited by officials of the Social and Family Affairs Administration, attorneys and representatives of the bank.

Over the years, donations from the Grand Pujas and other donations made by His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to assist accident and disaster victims from gas and dust explosions and powerful earthquakes occurred in recent years at Taiwan’s cities of Kaohsiung, New Taipei City, and Tainan, have totaled NT$72 million. The Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Health and Welfare sends a special letter of appreciation to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche every year. Since 2005 His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has presided over the Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness every year. Over these twelve years, a total of near 170,000 people have participated, making the Drikung Kagyu Order very widely known among the people of Taiwan. Not only has this helped to propagate the Drikung Kagyu Lineage, but it has also endowed it with the causal condition to flourish throughout eternity. This truly is a grand, auspicious event for the Drikung Kagyu Order, which is causing Buddhism to be spread all around the world and benefiting countless sentient beings.

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Updated on September 16, 2016