His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings – September 23, 2018

On September 23rd, 2018, on the eve of the Mid-Autumn Festival, the abbot guru of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center—His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche—presided over the fourteenth auspicious Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness at the Nangang Exhibition Hall in Taipei. There were 20,750 people in attendance, praying together that all sentient beings would be able to leave suffering behind and obtain happiness. The solemnity and grandness of the scene were deeply moving. Under the blessings and protection of the Buddhas, the Bodhisattvas, Lord Jigten Sumgon, the Lineage Gurus, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang, and Dharma Protector Achi, the puja came to a pure and perfect completion.

The fourfold assembly from both Exoteric and Esoteric Buddhism attended this puja, and in addition to Taiwanese disciples and believers, participants also included 161 monastics in total: a Rinpoche from Bhutan, 9 khenpos, 2 lamas, 21 bhikkhus, and 128 bhikkhunis. Other attendees had arrived from 21 different countries around the world, including America, Canada, Argentina, Germany, France, Switzerland, Spain, Norway, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, India, and Bhutan.

Starting in 2005, H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has presided over the Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness of the Drikung Kagyu Order of Tibetan Buddhism for fourteen years in a row. This puja, a Drikung Kagyu earth terma Tantra, is extremely pure and auspicious. With a foundation of more than ten years of Exoteric practice and under the guidance of his Three-Grace Root Guru, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, the puja’s presiding guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche has mastered many Dharmas—from the Four Uncommon Preliminary Practices to the empowerments of many yidams—and has also successfully completed numerous retreats and achieved realization in the Simplicity Yoga of Mahamudra. His great, awe-inspiring power and compassion give him the ability to liberate the deceased and benefit the living at this grand puja for transferring consciousness. In preparation, Rinpoche conducted a special retreat for many days, a very arduous task indeed.

Compassionate as always, H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, like in previous Grand Pujas, has donated all offerings made by the puja’s attendees to charity, this year in the amount of NT$6,120,000. Witnessed by attorneys and representatives of the Social and Family Affairs Administration, Ministry of Health and Welfare and the bank, 50% of funds raised were deposited into special account #302 for public welfare, and the other 50% were donated to the Buddhism Foundation of His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang to help the attendees to form virtuous affinities. These donations over the years have totaled NT$84,220,000.

Before the puja began, the master of ceremonies introduced H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, pointing out that the elderly practitioner had been promoting Buddhism and liberating sentient beings in Taiwan for more than twenty years, and that this marked the fourteenth annual Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness. “Most uniquely, these pujas are not advertised in the media or anywhere else; they rely solely on word of mouth. Today we have over twenty-thousand participants. Actually, the only reason we have all been able to gather here is due to Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s great compassion that embraces all sentient beings with causal conditions.

“Over the years, the Great Pujas for Transferring Consciousness have been completely free of charge. All expenses are supported jointly by the disciples of the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center; no external donations or fundraising efforts are accepted. Moreover, this year, Rinpoche himself will cover any extra expenses. Due to its indiscriminate and egalitarian approach, special honors will not be given to major donors, and the five representatives to offer the mandala and the two thousand to light lamps for the Buddha will all be chosen by ballot from believers as they enter the venue. In addition, to maintain the puja’s purity, no commercial activity will be allowed on the premises.

“To allow more sentient beings to be helped by the Dharma, and so that Rinpoche’s teachings would remain in this world indefinitely, His Holiness specially instructed Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to build his own temple in Taiwan. To this end, in early 2016, Rinpoche began to actively seek a suitable site, vowing to construct a Tibetan Buddhist temple big enough to hold at least three thousand people. At the same time, so that even more people could sew the seeds of accumulating good fortune, that same year he began to allow people with the proper causal conditions to aspire to give support to this great undertaking, thereby helping them to reduce the amount of hindrances they would encounter in their future practice of Buddhism.”
The master of ceremonies also gave everyone a progress report on the new temple. “The temple is located in Zaoqiao township, Miaoli County, on 13,000 ping of land, which is the equivalent of more than four hectares. 1.9 of them are devoted to the temple grounds, on which there is a main hall, dormitories for the monastics, a retreat center, an administration building, and so on. In 2017, an application for an environmental impact assessment was submitted. After four special committee review meetings and an environmental assessment conference, the application was finally approved in August of this year (2018) by the Miaoli County government. This truly was encouraging news! Moreover, the timber used to sculpt the temple’s statues of the Four Heavenly Kings was transported from the Port of Taichung up to Daxi on September 10th. That very afternoon it was cut to size, far ahead of schedule, and everything went quite smoothly.”

At 9:00 in the morning, led by a precession of prayer flags, incense, musical instruments, eight offering girls, and a jeweled parasol, H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche rode in on an electric car, over the white carpet of Eight Auspicious Symbols strewn with rose petals, and slowly entered the venue. All the attendees stood in sincere reverence with palms clasped. After the guru stepped up to the mandala, he prostrated before the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, presented a khata to the wish-granting jeweled throne of His Holinesses the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang and the Drikung Kyabgon Chungtsang, lit lamps as offerings to the Buddha, and then ascended the Dharma throne.

First, the monastics led the attendees in recitations of the Prayer to the Eight Noble Auspicious Ones, the Refuge Prayer, and the Four Immeasurables.

In the beginning, many people did not recite along, so H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said,

“Many believers present did not recite along. Why should these preliminary practices be recited? We must always have a motivation for participating in a puja. Why are you here? Your reason should not be to seek protection and blessings. So, when the monastics lead you in a recitation, you should recite along with them without fear; there is no need to feel shy or embarrassed. Do not think it is enough just to recite in silence; your minds are very chaotic, so you would fail completely. You do not possess my level of cultivation, so you need to recite out loud. Those of you who cannot recite in Chinese may recite the English or Japanese translations visible on those big screens.

“Taking refuge is something that all Buddhist practitioners must do. Therefore, in taking part in today’s puja, whether or not you continue practicing and take refuge in the future, you must at least have the intention to take refuge. Your aspiration is your motive: What exactly are your reasons for coming here to participate in this puja? Thus, the intention to take refuge is very important, as are the Four Immeasurables, which teach us how to cultivate kindness, compassion, joy, and giving. The Four Immeasurables are Dharma methods for us to practice; if you can do what is contained in these four lines, then you will attain the fruition of Bodhisattvas. Even if you are not yet able to put them into practice, you should at least recite along.

“In a moment, the monastics will lead you in a recitation of the Seven Branch Offerings Prayer. We recite this so that today’s puja participants can accumulate good fortune, and it includes prayers of repentance, aspiration, and so on. It would be best if you could all clasp your palms together and recite along while reading the words on the screens. From the second you entered the venue, every action and every word is directly related to you; do not think it is enough for us to do everything while you simply observe. Now, let us begin reciting together.”

Next, the Mandala Offering was performed. Khenpo Namdol led the monastics and the five believers chosen by ballot to make offerings and implore the Dharma from the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche on behalf of sentient beings.

H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led the attendees in singing the Praises to Amitabha with a solemn Dharma voice that resonated throughout the void. Afterward, he chanted the sacred name of Amitabha, and everyone chanted along with the guru for quite some time.

Then, Rinpoche bestowed teachings:

“Buddhism can be divided into two major parts: Exoteric and Esoteric. Exoteric means ‘clear’, and comprises the sutras, vinayas, and sastras spoken by the Buddha, all of which are recorded in the Buddhist Canon. Exoteric teachings are the foundation of all Buddhism, and include all of the theory behind the practices spoken by the Buddha. Tantra, or Esoteric Buddhism, focuses on implementation; our self-cultivation involves practicing Exoteric teachings, but after reaching a certain level, in order to benefit sentient beings one must learn Tantra. Nevertheless, many people argue about whether Shakyamuni Buddha actually expounded Tantra. We are not here to discuss such deep cultivational questions today, but in my own experience as a practitioner, none of the states described in the Exoteric sutras can be completely attained within the short few decades of a single lifetime without learning Tantra. Only after I took refuge in His Holiness and began learning Tantra did I understand how important all the Exoteric teachings are as a foundation; without them, one cannot learn Tantra. It is not that one becomes more powerful after learning Tantra; one simply has to work harder, and it is more exhausting, because practicing it involves benefiting all sentient beings.

“Can we find instances in the sutras of Shakyamuni Buddha’s having transmitted Tantra? There is a very important line in Tantra: ‘The Dharma cannot be transmitted to six ears.’ This means that when a guru transmits Tantra to his disciples, it is usually done one-on-one rather than in public. One year, when I was in His Holiness’s retreat hut receiving transmission of Tantra, his mother unwittingly entered right in the middle of it. His Holiness abruptly stopped transmitting and just looked at his mother. Understanding, she immediately left. Therefore, even though she was His Holiness’s own mother, not possessing the causal condition to learn Tantra meant she was forbidden to even hear it.

“So the sutras contain any hints or clues indicating that Shakyamuni Buddha transmitted Tantra? Actually, many of them do. One story you are all relatively familiar with is how He personally transmitted the Sixteen Visualizations of the Pure Land to His aunt because she had implored to be reborn there. This title is still around, but how are those visualizations done? To be sure, a great many people do not know. The first of the Sixteen involves visualizing the sun, and the second involves visualizing the moon. How does one visualize the sun? Even staring at the morning sun for three minutes will cause blindness. These Sixteen Visualizations are Tantra. The Dharmas I will be performing today contain the Sixteen Visualizations of the Pure Land, beginning with sun and moon visualizations and going right through to visualizing the Pure Land.

“Tantra is not a bunch of secrets, nor does it include anything that cannot be divulged. To give a simple analogy, from a first grader’s point of view, the contents of a university professor’s lectures might seem incomprehensible—like a bunch of secrets—and the first grader might doubt their validity. Tantra operates along the same principle; if you have not attained the proper level, your guru will not transmit it to you, but not because there is anything secret about it. This has caused many people to develop misconceptions with regard to Tantra. I won’t delve further into such big topics today; I mention this mainly to tell you that today I will be benefiting vast numbers of sentient beings with Tantra.

“Why do we hold pujas for transferring consciousness? Does Amitabha specifically help the deceased rather than the living? No; in fact, it is written very clearly in the Amitabha Sutra that in this evil time of the Five Turbidities, the Buddha has spoken Dharmas that are difficult to believe. Amitabha’s Pure Land is special in that the light from his great aspiration can shine upon all the Dharma Realms in the Ten Directions; his light can shine without hindrance upon even the most obscure corner of the universe. You are sure to argue that you’ve never seen it before! Can you see ultraviolet or infrared light with the naked eye? Then why do you think you can see the Buddha’s light? This light embodies the power of the Buddha’s compassion and blessings, which can benefit any sentient being that hopes to escape reincarnation’s sea of suffering. Such supplication does not mean imploring to strike it rich, maintain good health, or have an observant spouse or children. Those have nothing to do with the Buddha.

“After we begin to cultivate Amitabha’s Dharma method, we can repay in this lifetime much of the karmic debt we owe for our past evil actions and, while we are still alive, we can slowly turn from evil to good. Some people feel that after all that chanting, nothing has changed, but that is because they still hope to gain something from it; they have not made a firm resolution to be reborn in the Pure Land. Therefore, in addition to helping the deceased, the most important reason to perform this Dharma of transferring consciousness is to help the living. I have held this grand puja so that you can plant the seeds of good fortune and affinity, and form a very profound connection with Amitabha. As for which lifetime your cultivation will take you to the Pure Land, there is no telling, because that depends on your resolve.

“In past years, many people, after participating in the grand puja, have gone right back to eating meat. If you do this, then your attendance here is useless. The reason is that if you do not practice good—which means observing the precept against killing—then no amount of chanting Amitabha’s name will be of any use to you. This Dharma I am performing today was personally transmitted by Amitabha to Padmasambhava, so it is also called an earth terma. It cannot be taught via a simple oral transmission; to learn it, one must undergo a great many processes. I remember when His Holiness transmitted this Dharma text to me seventeen years ago, he only transmitted it to me orally once; after that, I had to cultivate it.

“Thus, as I start to perform the Dharma, I hope you all can give rise to respect for the Three Jewels. Respect is an offering; making offerings allows you to accumulate good fortune, which can be used to help any deceased you wish to help and to eliminate any hindrances to your future Buddhist practice. Many people say they are too busy and have no time to practice. I am a lay practitioner, and am even busier than you, but I still have time to cultivate and benefit sentient beings. Therefore, it all depends on your resolve. While I am performing the Dharma, I hope you all will rein your thoughts in a little bit. Tomorrow is the Mid-Autumn Festival, so I’ll do my best to do this quickly so that you can get home a bit sooner. If you want me to finish in a timely manner, then you should stop your constant coming and going. Your unrest is causing unrest among the other sentient beings present, which you cannot see. Actually, they have already been waiting for quite a long time, so I’ll begin now.”

After performing the ritual for a while, H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said,

“I just recited a prayer to take refuge in the yidam Amitabha; the next is about what sort of aspiration we should initiate. Our aspiration should be to liberate all sentient beings from Uninterrupted suffering, reincarnation, and the Three Evil Realms. Both I, the practitioner, and you, the puja participants, should give rise to this aspiration (your vow) and bodhicitta (I will do this part).”

After continuing to perform the Dharma for a while, Rinpoche said, “This part of the ritual requires the presiding guru to visualize this location as being exactly the same as Amitabha’s palace. I then must visualize myself as being no different from the yidam; after that, I will make an offering. Thus, this venue is now Amitabha’s palace, so you all need to stop running around.

“Next is the offering, and we praise all of Amitabha’s merits.”

During the puja, many believers got up to go to the restroom. In most societies, when attending a concert, anyone who gets up and leaves the auditorium is not allowed back in, out of respect for the performers and the audience. Taking pity on sentient beings, Rinpoche has never stopped any attendees from going to the bathroom, but while a ritual is being performed, out of respect for the Three Jewels, anyone who leaves is asked to wait outside until it is finished and the next section begins. Staff should provide such believers with chairs to sit in while they wait, so that they do not have to stand.

Rinpoche resumed the ritual, and then bestowed teachings:

“The part I performed just now was a visualization in which I implored Amitabha to grace this mandala with his wisdom. I also visualized this venue as being the same as Amitabha’s palace in the Pure Land. Next I will continue making offerings.

“I have just performed the Eight Offerings. In Tantra, every time one performs the Dharma, one must make eight sorts of offerings. It would take a long time to explain them, but I will give a brief description of one of them: Making an offering of music to the Buddha. It contains four lines: We use the purest, most joyful music of mind. ‘Music of mind’ does not refer to worldly music. The reason so many people are unable to sing the Buddha’s songs is that they do not sing with purity, utmost respect, and a joyful mindset. ‘Throughout the mountains to Tathagatas and their retinues’—all offerings go to all the Buddhas and their retinues. ‘With eternal reverence, I make these offerings.’ This means doing it constantly. Don’t think it is enough to make one or two offerings; you must make them continuously, and always with profound respect. Respect does not mean hoping you’ll get something in return right away. ‘May they grant me the Buddha’s auspicious fruition.’ Making offerings can help us to accumulate good fortune, with the ultimate goal of one day being able to attain Buddhahood.

“Just now were the Five Wonderful Offerings. To give a brief explanation of these, they involve offering nectar and all food items, including every flavor—sour, sweet, bitter, astringent, and so on. The point of these offerings is that such food is transformed into Vajravarahi, who is a very important Vajrayana yidam; transferring consciousness is not possible unless the practitioner has cultivated this yidam. ‘An offering to the tongue of the mandala’s yidam.’ This sort of offering is made to the yidam’s tongue—Amitabha’s tongue. Each kind of offering has its own mantra and blessings, so, making offerings is not simply a matter of washing some food items and placing them on a table; those are merely material offerings. Matter can be seen with the human eye, so materials are used as offerings and, by way of prayers and mantras, are transformed into things that can benefit the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and sentient beings. Next is to offer the Seven-Mirrored Treasure.

“The Seven-Mirrored Treasure enables the practitioner to receive assistance in the future. For example, we make offerings of a sapphire’s light, because like the sun’s light, it surpasses all other light, so making offerings of it helps us to fulfill our aspirations. These are not mundane wishes; they include all aspirations to practice and benefit sentient beings. With auspicious merits, these offerings of jewelry fill the void. Next are the offerings of the Seven-Mirrored Treasure and the Eight Auspicious Symbols.

“I will give a brief explanation of one of the offerings to do with the Eight Auspicious Symbols. We offer a jeweled parasol adorned with all manner of treasures and decorations. Because it is an offering, it can liberate all sentient beings with the proper causal conditions. All offerings have to do with helping sentient beings in their Buddhist practice. Next is the Eight Devas Offering Ritual; one of these devas can sing so beautifully that her voice moves people and fills the infinite void as an offering to the Buddhas and their retinues.

“If you are in the habit of chanting Amitabha’s name and eating vegetarian, and you believe in cause and effect, then even if you do not vow to be reborn in the Pure Land, as long as you hear Amitabha’s name, you will not die from an accident. All accidental deaths are a form of untimely death, or death that should not happen. There are not actually any accidents in the world, because all so-called accidents are but manifestations of one’s karmic retribution for one’s past acts. This is why the Buddha always urges us to hurry up and practice, because you never know when something might happen to you. Chanting Amitabha’s name often can increase and enrich our longevity. This means you will naturally live longer without even needing to ask, because your longevity would not normally give you enough time to chant the Buddha’s name until you can be reborn in the Pure Land. The point of increasing your longevity is not so that you can see your children get married and give you grandkids or see them give you great-grandkids. Chanting Amitabha’s name can also increase your good fortune and wisdom. I’m using these lines to hook your attention somewhat.”

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed the believers returning from the toilet to hurry up and take their seats, and then said in a concerned voice, “You all need to take better care of your health, because you are not in good shape.”

The guru then said, “This next part involves me performing an empowerment for myself, and then for Khenpo Namdol.

“The part I performed just now involved me, the practitioner, granting myself one of Amitabha’s empowerments. This is because the presiding guru still possesses the body of an ordinary person, so if he wants to help countless sentient beings, he must have exactly the same Dharma body and wisdom body as the Buddha. Therefore, after being empowered by the yidam, the guru is able to benefit sentient beings just the same as the yidam Amitabha can. In order to grant myself an empowerment, I must first have received it from my guru. Only after undergoing a process of cultivation can I then grant it to others. Bestowing an empowerment upon others means granting them my own merits and good fortune. For anyone who has not yet attained the fruition of a Bodhisattva, granting too many empowerments can be bad for the health. Next is the singing of the Song of the Dakinis, which is an ode to the merits of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.”

The Eight Offering Girls then sang, and then the Tsok, Tea Offering, and Rice Offering Rituals were performed. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “These offering items allow us the good fortune to dine together with the yidam Amitabha, all the Great Bodhisattvas of the Western Pure Land of Utmost Bliss, and our gurus. In Buddhism, this can only be done if one possesses good fortune. After you’ve received your offering items, you are welcome to eat some of them, but don’t eat them all up; in a moment you will be required to give a bit back as offerings to those sentient beings unable to participate in the puja.”

As the offering items were handed out, every person present received a share that had been blessed by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. In his compassion, he had granted all of them this rare and auspicious opportunity to dine with the yidam and guru during the puja.

Several times, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche reminded believers going to the bathroom to return to their seats as soon as possible so that their ancestors would not have to wait.

The guru said, “Just now your ancestors’ memorial tablets were placed in front of me; the names all of those you want liberated have already been included on a CD. The first action is to purify them so that they can have enough good fortune to be liberated.”

Afterward, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche drew from his immense compassion to perform the Ritual of Transferring Consciousness. Several times he allowed the attendees to speak the names of the deceased they wished to have liberated. The guru said, “The ritual I just performed first involved giving the torma food to the deceased, and then lighting lamps to burn away all hindrances to their passing away. While alive, they had some hindrances, and their evil karma can still obstruct them after they die; now we are eliminating these evil karmic hindrances while at the same time satisfying the ghosts and demons. Only after that can the deceased’s consciousness be transferred. A moment ago, we used black sesame seeds to represent the deceased’s evil karma; by chanting mantras, we allow it to be burned away by the flames of wisdom and cleansed with pure water. Now you know transferring one’s consciousness is not a simple matter of reciting the sutras; a great deal must be learned. This part of the ritual involves using sand to represent all the deceased’s hindrances, which are purified just as the morning sun burns away fog.”

While performing the Dharma, H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche compassionately emanated a wrathful visage toward the CD containing the names of the deceased to be liberated, helping all suffering sentient beings to have their hindrances eliminated. The guru instructed the attendees to stand and make prostrations before the mandala on behalf of the deceased, to take refuge, and to pray for deliverance. Next, one ordained disciple made three grand prostrations before the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for the deceased, after which Rinpoche continued performing the Ritual of Transferring Consciousness.

The guru expounded the Dharma text:

“‘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.’

These four lines represent the deceased’s supplications to Amitabha. The ‘intermediate state’ refers to after a person has died but before he or she has been reincarnated in any realm, including the Three Evil Realms. Even going there one must first pass through the intermediate state. Falling into this state is more terrifying than words can describe. All the various mundane fears are basically produced as a result of not having one’s desires fulfilled. The deceased’s terror of being in the intermediate state is such that no one can help them, regardless of how much power, wealth, or family they had while still alive. Once they leave this world, they feel fear in the intermediate state, because they do not know what will happen.

“‘Tortured by affliction and suffering’—while in the intermediate state, they are accosted by all manner of afflictions, including being extra sensitive to everything that happens around them. For example, in the Hungry Ghost Realm, sentient beings don’t dare to come out before noon, because the sunlight makes them feel very uncomfortable. They are tortured because they are unable to resolve their afflictions and suffering, so they are in a very desolate and lonely state. ‘Wandering and lingering with sorrow and loneliness’—even making daily prostrations to your ancestors won’t do you any good, because you are unable to help them. Also, after they become ghosts, they cannot directly communicate to their family members how much they are suffering. So, they wander back and forth. They might return home, and seeing their descendants enjoying life while they themselves are suffering, they grow resentful. Once they get angry, their family members stop getting along and get into arguments, and things stop going their way; their children go off the rails, people get sick, and so on. You might wonder, Would my ancestors really harm their descendants? This does not count as harming. As all parents know, when children misbehave, they get scolded and spanked; the way a ghost spanks you is by making you feel miserable. Why does Buddhism place so much importance upon liberation? It is because just about one hundred percent of your ancestors have not been liberated. Don’t assume that having recited the sutras and chanted Amitabha’s name is enough to have the deceased liberated; a great many rituals must be performed.

“These four lines are not only used for the sake of the deceased; those of you who are living think you are living the good life and that a lot of your own affairs are very important, but then you realize the truth after you die. When I am gone, you will have a hard time finding someone like me who puts his all into helping you and doesn’t even want any money in return. Therefore, while I am not yet old, and while I am still alive, I’ll just keep on helping you!

“During this part of the ritual I just performed, the practitioner visualizes the bodies of all the deceased as being Vajrasattva’s body. My attendants will kneel down with oil lamps on your behalf; the lamps represent the Buddha’s light, guiding the deceased toward the Pure Land and the Three Virtuous Realms.”

As he sang, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Dharma voice resonated with incomparable kindness and compassion. Moved to tears, the attendees all earnestly implored the guru to help their deceased loved ones to escape reincarnation’s sea of suffering. As Rinpoche liberated sentient beings, his solemn Dharma voice shook the entire venue, embracing and delivering them all. As this was happening, the attendees felt a profound sense of the guru’s boundless benevolence and capacity to propagate the Dharma to benefit sentient beings. Filled with shame and reverence, they shed tears of gratitude.

After the puja had come to a perfect completion, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche said, “Next, I will descend the Dharma throne to purify you all with nectar water. This water contains six different medicinal herbs; all are recorded in the sutras as being beneficial. It also contains saffron and nectar pills. The nectar pills come from Drikung Thil Monastery, where an annual Great Six-Syllable Mantra Puja is held that lasts forty-five days in a row. All the lamas chant in shifts for twenty-four hours straight. It is written in the Dharma text that by way of sprinkling purification blessings, the guru’s visualizations and mantras can enable sentient beings to be certain of rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land at some point in the future. This does not mean in the next lifetime, but at least this causal connection has been formed, which means all of you present have formed a good affinity that will allow you to go to Amitabha’s Pure Land.”

By that point, Rinpoche had been performing rituals from atop the Dharma throne for nearly four hours. Despite having sat cross-legged for so long, as soon as he descended from the throne, he flew around the mandala as agile as ever. After climbing aboard the electric car, and preceded by the Eight Offering Girls, the guru circled the entire venue, continuously chanting mantras and using kusha grass soaked in nectar water to sprinkle blessings upon all the attendees. Though they remained patiently in their seats out of respect, every one of them gazed at the guru in eager anticipation. Without exception, everyone clasped their palms together while waiting for Rinpoche to sprinkle them with nectar and blessings.

The puja venue was approximately 23,000 square meters in size, or the size of about three and a half soccer fields. While sprinkling purification blessings, Rinpoche had to continuously wave the kusha grass in his right hand for twenty-two minutes, and it was quite heavy after having soaked up so much nectar water. In fact, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had to do all of this while putting up with the pain of S-type scoliosis and loss of cartilage in his right shoulder. In order to sprinkle everyone in the venue, Rinpoche’s thin figure had to wave the heavy kusha grass more than four hundred times, about once every three seconds; it was quite arduous for him. In the process, he never stopped chanting mantras and blessing the attendees. Many people broke into tears upon seeing Rinpoche’s selfless efforts.

Afterward, the guru was soaked from head to toe, yet he still stepped up to the mandala and sprinkled purification blessings upon all the monastics sitting there. He then bestowed more precious Dharma teachings upon everyone in attendance.

“You can all go home now and celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. Please do not barbecue any meat, or take part in any such barbecues. Here’s a true story: The smell of grilled meat can harm mountain deities, Dakinis, and dragons. If you grill meat, anyone involved will share in the consequences, even if you yourself don’t eat any. I have a disciple who, prior to taking refuge, got an incurable illness as a result of barbecuing meat (for the full story, see Traces of Liberating Beings #020). Since you have participated in this rare puja today, you should restrain yourselves, and don’t be afraid of your family members arguing with you about it. Grilled meat is bad for your health to begin with, and eating a lot of it leads to cancer.

“You want to live to be seventy-one like I am, able to sit for hours without going to the toilet and even run around sprinkling purification blessings upon you all. This is possible because none other than the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas protect me. Why is that? It is because I devote myself to sentient beings. Therefore, you should all think carefully about this. Life passes in the blink of an eye; we struggle for a few short decades, and then in the end, we have nothing—all our fame and fortune vanish into thin air. You might ask, ‘Okay, so why does Rinpoche do business?’ I don’t have a choice; from an early age, I had to get used to relying on myself. It is also because I won’t accept offerings from so many believers, so I have to raise money myself. In the Ratnakuta Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha said very clearly that lay Bodhisattvas can have wealth. The Buddha said this, not me. All my Buddhist activities are conducted in accordance with His words.

“I hope today’s puja has been a big help to you all, and that you have been able to form a deep affinity with Amitabha so that one day you might go to his Pure Land and see me there. I won’t come back, so you shouldn’t wait here for me. If you want to wait for me, go to Amitabha’s Pure Land and wait. Thank you, everyone!”

After his teachings were concluded, Rinpoche stepped down off the mandala. Everyone in the entire venue stood in reverence. With palms clasped, Rinpoche greeted everyone, continuously chanting mantras and silently blessing all of the attendees with his compassionate gaze. Afterward, his electric car slowly drove out of the venue, leaving everyone filled with joy. The puja had been a perfect and absolute success.

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Updated on October 28, 2018