His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings – October 12, 2016 (The Grand Consecration Ceremony of Kaohsiung Branch)

His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche lighting lamps as an offering to the Buddha.

In order to spread the Buddha’s teachings and the pure Dharma lineage of the Drikung Kagyu Order, H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche founded the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center’s Taichung and Hsinchu branches in 2015, on April 20th and May 19th respectively, with the blessings and protection of his Three-Grace Root Guru His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, the Lineage Gurus, the Buddhas, and the Bodhisattvas. In addition, H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche established the Kaohsiung branch on October 12th, 2016, so that even more sentient beings could come in contact with the Dharma and pay homage to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. This causal condition for cultivation will benefit countless sentient beings.

On October 12th, 2016, H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche conducted a grand consecration ceremony at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center’s Kaohsiung branch. A total of sixty-six people participated in this auspicious puja, including two distinguished guests, ten ordained disciples, fifty-two lay disciples, and two believers.

At 1:10 in the afternoon, after lighting lamps as an offering to the Buddha, H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche ascended the Dharma throne and began by explaining the significance of consecration:

“Today I will perform the Ritual of Consecration. This word has a different definition from what is popularly referred to as ‘consecrating’ a deity’s statue to imbue it with power. In Buddhism, consecration means to unlock the light of wisdom. A Buddha statue is just a tool; however, the consecration ritual imbues it with the power to bless worshipers. The ceremony involves eliminating any opportunities for demons to inhabit the statues. Demons include ghostly beings, internal demons, and so on. By way of the ritual, the statues become attuned to the light from the wisdom of the Buddhas and the yidam, which then blesses the Buddha statues in this mandala so that the statues will be one with the yidam. Without a guru’s consecration and blessings, the Buddha statues are nothing more than decorative objects.”

The monastics part the yellow veil covering the Buddha statues.

The monastics respectfully present a khata to the Buddha statues.

“In Exoteric Buddhism, consecration is not performed for Buddha statues, but in Tibetan Buddhism a statue must be both prepared and consecrated due to two important concepts: A Buddha statue should be no different from the yidam, and, therefore, must be imbued with the yidam’s essence. Preparation involves placing sutra texts, grains, and even precious treasures inside the statue. This is also significant in that because it contains sutras and so on, it is therefore more difficult for external demons to enter the statue. Many people think that if a statue looks like a Buddha, then it is a Buddha, but that is not the case. Only via blessings and consecration can the statue be combined with the light of the yidam’s wisdom, and only then will it be of use in cultivation; otherwise, it is merely a decorative item. The Buddha statues in every Tibetan Buddhist center or monastery have all undergone rituals of preparation and consecration. In this Age of Degenerate Dharma, sentient beings practice and worship the Buddha out of desires. These desires would attract beings such as ghosts and demons to the Buddhist Center. We do not wish for this place to have any problems in the future, so the Buddha statues and the Buddhist Center must be consecrated and exorcised of demons; only afterward can we eliminate or reduce the hindrances.”

H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche uses a five-color flag to consecrate the Buddha statues.

H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche conducts the Rice-Scattering Ritual.

Next, H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche began to perform the ritual. After a while, he descended the Dharma throne and used a five-color flag to consecrate each Buddha statue. The sacred brass-colored effigies immediately began to glow with soft, auspicious halos of solemn, dazzling golden light. The Buddhist Center suddenly became exceptionally bright, and it was absolutely remarkable. All of the attendees, upon witnessing the auspicious blessings of the Dharma, were filled with heartfelt praise and admiration.

While H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche conducted the Rice-Scattering Ritual, the grains of rice scattered through the air glittered with dazzling, multicolored Buddha-light as they turned into a rainbow-like nectar rain, blessing countless sentient beings in the void. Before slowly falling to the ground, the grains of rice stopped in mid-air—an auspicious sign indicating that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas had accepted their praise and offerings, and that the presiding guru possessed boundless achievements from cultivation.

H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche stepped back up to the Dharma throne and continued to perform the Dharma, bestowing blessings with extremely compassionate eyes to liberate and benefit countless sentient beings in the void. Next, the guru instructed an ordained disciple to lead the attendees in reciting the Sutra of Recollection of the Three Jewels, as well as the Auspicious Dharmadhatu Prayer. Finally, H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led everyone in a performance of the Simplified Ritual of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. After chanting the Great Six-Syllable Mantra for a long time, the guru bestowed precious Dharma teachings upon the attendees.

“I have just led you all in a chanting of the Great Six-Syllable Mantra. Many people, including some monastics, make the same mistake while chanting mantras. Each syllable must be enunciated clearly.

“As I have demonstrated, when chanting mantras some people slur the syllables together, some end each mantra on a rising tone or add an extra syllable, and others chant in an unclear fashion. This leads to indistinct syllables, especially when they are chanting quickly. Whenever I demonstrate how to chant the Great Six-Syllable Mantra, I am able to enunciate each syllable very clearly for everyone to hear, whether I am chanting quickly or slowly.

“Why am I able to do this, while you cannot? It is because you are lazy. You think that you can chant a bit faster by slurring it, but doing that produces an extra sound, and is therefore an incorrect way of chanting. I am not saying that chanting the Great Six-Syllable Mantra will only be effective if you pronounce each sound perfectly, but you at least must enunciate each mantra very clearly. Moreover, why do we use prayer beads? They help us to keep each mantra we are chanting separate and as clear as the sound of a bead dropping. Don’t chant sloppily, like wading through mud and water. Chanting quickly does not require holding out the final tone or slurring one mantra into the next.”

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked the ordained disciples to demonstrate how to chant Amitabha’s name. After they did so, the guru said, “Now your chanting is up to standard.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche demonstrated the unclear fashion in which the ordained disciples had been chanting Amitabha’s name.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “You have all made this mistake before. Why can’t you slur? It is because as soon as you do, your mind starts to wander. Only when you enunciate each mantra clearly will you be able to focus; only then will your chanting be effective. If you slur them, you might feel you are saving your breath and time. However, it is especially true of the Great Six-Syllable Mantra, any mantra is chanted one mantra at a time; otherwise the Buddha would not have instructed us to chant with prayer beads in hand. When chanting, every mantra must be distinct, as if separated by a comma; you must not slur. Doing so will result in a lot of repercussions, such as not being able to be reborn in the Pure Land. However, if you focus on chanting each mantra distinctly, then Amitabha will appear. We are not singing songs, so there is no need to chant with varying tones. Given our scattered state of mind, all these different tones make us think we are chanting. Chanting quickly does not necessarily mean our pronunciation will not be accurate, nor does slurring syllables together enable us to chant faster. Actually, mantras should be chanted within a single breath; once that breath is finished, you should draw in another before you continue chanting the next mantra. If you make a habit of slurring, then you will develop problems with your body’s chi-channels. Every mantra is beneficial for your chi-channels, and there is a reason for each syllable. This has to do with Tantra, so I will not go into it right now. Chanting quickly does not involve rolling from one syllable to the next; each one should be enunciated with clarity. You have heard me chant quickly, but you’ll notice that I pronounce each syllable clearly. Even though I pause only very briefly after the final sound of each mantra, you can still hear it.” All of the attendees nodded in agreement.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued: “A lot of people believe that they can chant mantras successfully all by themselves, but there are many aspects of chanting that require attention. When chanting mantras, you should use prayer beads; it is not okay to simply follow your guru’s lead without even keeping track of how many times you have chanted. It is actually not a matter of chanting more or less; rather, due to the fact that our thoughts can get quite scattered, we must use prayer beads to help us focus. Just now, none of you used prayer beads. You assumed that because your guru was chanting, you could just chant along and everything would be fine. You have no idea how many times you chanted, nor why you should have used prayer beads. There is a definite reason for using them; if there weren’t, the Buddha would not have told us to. There are also special instructions from the Buddha, written extensively in the sutras, about what materials to make prayer beads out of, and which ones endow the most powerful blessings. The ordained disciples are lazy, too; none of them used prayer beads while I was chanting, so they lacked a sense of participation. With a few exceptions, you did not even bother bringing your prayer beads; and as for those who brought them, why didn’t you get them out? It’s too late to get them out now. You are lazy as well. You can’t obtain blessings and protection just by carrying your prayer beads with you all the time, nor do they signify that you are disciples of the Buddha; they are only useful when chanting mantras. As you’ve noticed, I don’t normally carry mine with me, but I always use them when chanting mantras. When blessing someone, prayer beads are not necessary, although some types of retreats cannot be conducted without them.

“Prayer beads have great significance and serve a very important function; in addition, they contain a lot of blessings. Simply attending the pujas and chanting along is not useful for you. That is, when the guru leads you in chanting, if you are not actually participating, then this will do nothing more than help you accumulate a tiny bit of good fortune of the Human and Heaven Realms for use in your future lifetimes. Every mantra we chant has the power to subdue our internal greed, hatred, ignorance, arrogance, and doubt, but it only works if you do it correctly. You should not roll the syllables together or be flippant about it. If you get tired, you may take a break, but while chanting you have to concentrate. Concentration does not mean chanting in a loud voice or pretending you are working really hard at it; if you work too hard, you might develop heart problems. Why do we have to chant out loud? It is because humans are used to hearing sounds, and sentient beings in this world of ours have the sharpest of ear roots.

“Concentration involves focusing your body, speech, and mind on these sounds. If your thoughts and the sound of your voice are chaotic, then your mind will be, too. If you are in the habit of extending the final syllable of each mantra and slurring it into the next one when chanting, then you will drag out everything you do in life. Why does a certain ordained disciple of mine drag out his grand prostrations? It is because this is his habit, as can be heard in how he chants mantras. Chanting quickly does not give you license to do it sloppily; you still need to enunciate each syllable distinctly. You must be very envious of how I can chant both quickly and clearly; it allows me to save time. As a matter of fact, I did not achieve fruition by muddling; I got here through cultivation.”

H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led the attendees in the Dharma Protector Achi Prayer, during which the guru instructed a monastic and a disciple in charge of Dharma affairs to purify every area of the venue with incense.

Upon the perfect completion of the Ritual of Consecration, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche again bestowed precious teachings upon the attendees.

“Branches of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center have been established in Taipei, Hsinchu, Taichung, Douliu, and now Kaohsiung. This will give disciples living from Jiayi southward a place in which to conduct their prayers, so if your homes are not conducive to practice, you are welcome to come here. Believers are welcome, too, but only if they eat vegetarian. Though they are not subject to the same requirements as disciples, who would lose the privilege to attend the morning and evening prayer sessions if they had registered but were absent, believers still may not set foot in this Buddhist Center unless they eat vegetarian, and this includes children. In the future, monastics coming to the Kaohsiung Buddhist Center should definitely ask whether the believers attending here are vegetarians; if they are not, then the monastics must not allow them to enter. This is especially true of a certain disciple—if your children aren’t vegetarian, then don’t even think about smuggling them into the Buddhist Center.”

H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche showed concern for the Kaohsiung Buddhist Center’s affairs by asking what the room behind the mandala was being used for, and Disciple Chen answered, “It is a storage room for Dharma events.” The guru asked, “If the monastics’ rooms don’t have air conditioning, how will they sleep?” Disciple Chen reported, “Their rooms are air conditioned.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked, “How will they be able to sleep with the air conditioning unit behind their rooms being so loud?” Disciple Chen said, “Normally, that large air conditioner won’t need to be on, because each of the monastics’ rooms has its own separate air conditioning unit.” The guru further inquired, “What if the need arises to turn that large AC unit on? How will the monastics get their rest, with such a racket in the background? You have only thought this halfway through.”

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “You knew perfectly well that I would be arriving at the High Speed Rail Station at 12:05, and would be at the Kaohsiung Buddhist Center by 12:35 at the earliest, so why did you tell everyone to come here so early? This general director is a jerk! Doesn’t she know that after getting to the Buddhist Center and having lunch, I need to rest awhile? Telling everyone to get here so early and sit there waiting made me have to rush through my meal. What’s worse, because the food was prepared too early, I had to eat cold soup, rice, and vegetables. Also, no one bothered to provide a toothpick. You gave no consideration to the fact that your guru is seventy years old! Is it fine for me to eat cold dishes? Luckily I’m still fairly healthy; otherwise you’d have done me harm. Each of you is guilty of only doing things superficially. I am not scolding you because my lunch was cold; it’s because you are not conscientious. Would you feed your parents cold food? You think I am as invincible as King Kong, with a stomach of iron. Every one of you is quick to admit fault, but you only do things out of fear of being reprimanded.”

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche scolded another disciple: “While I was performing the Dharma Protector Achi Ritual, a female disciple was already standing in the back with tea and refreshments, waiting for me to finish so I could have something to drink and eat. She stood like that for twenty minutes. Who told her to hold those refreshments?” Disciple Zhang said that he had instructed her to do that. The guru admonished, “Why do you treat people like they aren’t human? This is nothing short of power tripping. What gives you the authority to give out orders? All disciples are equal. Furthermore, Disciple Zhang knew full well that I was still leading the attendees in the Dharma Protector prayer and dedication, so by preparing the refreshments so early he was thinking that his job was done and that he wouldn’t get scolded. You all do things so thoughtlessly. Preparing tea and refreshments twenty minutes early caused them to go cold. Yet you don’t even realize what you did wrong! I don’t know how you have been able to exist in society this long. Your boss would have fired you.” After saying this, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed Disciple Zhang to hold the refreshments for thirty minutes so that he could experience what he’d put the other disciple through.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked, “What time did you get here?” The attendees answered, “Eleven o’clock.” The guru asked, “Who said you should get here at eleven?” Disciple Chen reported that she was the one who had said it. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche admonished, “Today is not Sunday. By telling everyone to get here at eleven, you gave no consideration to other people’s situations. Those who didn’t know what was going on would have assumed that the instructions came from me; in this way, you have done harm to your guru. Not one of you disciples handles matters in a normal way.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked about the money for the lunchboxes. Disciple Chen reported that everyone had paid for them individually. The guru instructed, “Disciple Chen will reimburse you all for today’s lunchboxes. Don’t feel shy about asking her for your money back; anyone who doesn’t accept the money will get fined a hundred times the amount. If Disciple Chen doesn’t have enough money, I’ll lend it to her, interest free.”

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued scolding: “While I was performing the Dharma, a disciple in charge of tasks related to the mandala, for his own convenience, placed some hindrance-eliminating grass incense behind him so that he could reach it more easily.” The guru asked this disciple, “Do you know what that is?” The disciple reported that it was hindrance-eliminating grass incense. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche immediately berated, “So you know what it is, yet instead of placing it on the mandala, you put it behind your butt. From now on, you will no longer be in charge of mandala-related tasks.”

H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche journeyed all the way to Kaohsiung to establish and consecrate the Kaohsiung Branch of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center for believers and disciples in southern Taiwan. While there, the guru inspected and blessed each room and every corner of the branch, caring greatly for its affairs. He gave parent-like exhortations to the disciples about areas in need of attention, and taught them how to implement the Dharma in their daily lives.

Upon the perfect and auspicious completion of the grand consecration ceremony for the Kaohsiung Branch of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center, all the attendees expressed their gratitude, joy, and admiration. This foretold that in the future, under the protection of H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s great compassion and aspiration, the Dharma would flourish and the Drikung Kagyu’s teachings would be vastly developed and promoted in the area, allowing countless sentient beings to obtain the benefits and blessings of Buddhism.

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Updated on December 11, 2016