His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings – November 17, 2019

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche ascended the Dharma throne and led those in attendance in Avalokiteshvara ritual, and he continued to expound on ‘Scroll 82, “Elder Ugra Assembly” (Chapter 19)’ of the Ratnakuta Sutra.

“Today, I want to talk a bit more about last week’s teaching: ‘Dwelling in Ah-Lan-R, and becoming attuned with the Dharma.’”

“It isn’t easy to find a tranquil environment to practice in anymore in the Age of Dharma Decline. And even if you can find such a place, unless you are in a cave in the mountains, there will still be sounds from birds and insects chirping, or the wind blowing over the treetops. And even in a mountain cave, when your mind enters tranquility, you will start to hear sounds created by particles in the air, and atoms rubbing together. In reality, the most important part of so-called tranquility is being able to train your mind.”

“‘Becoming attuned with the Dharma’ isn’t about how much you recite, worship the Buddha , or meditate, or how many sutras you read. Rather, it means practicing all of the Buddha’s teachings — no more, and no less. Do nothing other than what your guru teaches you. It also means that you mustn’t practice anything not taught by your guru. Only this kind of person can become attuned with the Dharma. But if you do things your own way before your guru has taught you, you will not be able to become attuned with the Dharma.”

“Attunement means: act exactly in accordance with the cultivation methods the Buddha taught, and one day, just as the sutras state, you will achieve fruition, and gradually become attuned. Of course, this doesn’t happen in a matter of a couple of days. Some disciples see their Rinpoche do certain things, and then want to hurry up and learn how to do the same. But this is wrong, as you are acting without instruction, and, thus, you won’t be attuned with the Dharma. And so, some ask: ‘Why won’t you teach us? In other Buddhist centers, they teach all kinds of dharmas.’”

“According to the sutras: ‘If a practitioner is of the wrong mind or wrong root capacity, they should not be taught, or have the Dharma passed on to them.’ And so, some may ask: ‘Doesn’t this mean there will always be fewer and fewer believers?’ But listen closely: there is a difference between believers and disciples. For instance, those who are currently donating to the temple are believers. For them, this is creating causal connections in their current lifetimes to help them to decide to practice the Dharma in future lifetimes. But disciples are different. If they make even a little mistake, their guru can refuse to teach them. You were told this before when you took refuge. If you don’t listen to your guru, you will not be attuned to the Dharma, and I have the absolute right not to pass the Dharma on to you.”

“Don’t think that just because you’ve taken refuge for three years, you can learn the Four Uncommon Preliminary Practices. Why is it I don’t transmit the Guru Yoga to you? I already told you last week, so I won’t repeat myself here. You are all used to living your lives your own way. But try thinking about before, when you were in school. If you didn’t do as your teacher said, would you be able to pass your exams? So then, why do you want to practice Buddhism your own way? There are no child prodigies in Buddhism. You have to do things a certain way, and practice in sequence. Even His Holiness must work hard in his practices in this lifetime. He started his practice when he was only five years old. Many people think they are practicing Buddhism when they aren’t. It is like what I said before, about how a disciple thought she could do the vajra chant just by not moving her lips. If this were the case, she might as well study ventriloquism!”

At this time, Rinpoche called on an ordained disciple, and asked: “Have I taught you the vajra chant? If not moving your lips is considered a vajra chant, then I should just get a magician here to teach you ventriloquism! You don’t respect the Dharma, thinking you can do this on your own!”

Rinpoche then called on another ordained disciple, and asked: “This isn’t a test. I am just discussing with you. You’ve been ordained for decades. Can you recite the Great Six-Syllable Mantra just as I was reciting just now?” The disciple reported back: “No; I wouldn’t be able to focus my mind.”

Rinpoche revealed: “If you try to study the Dharma without heeding the methods taught by your guru and practicing in sequence, and you want to skip ahead, you will fail. Few in history have been able to skip ahead. ‘If in the first, second, third, and fourth thought,’ the Amitabha Sutra states; this is the vajra chant. Try having a single thought containing only the words ‘Na-Mo-A-Mi-Ta-Bha.’ This doesn’t mean reciting these six words with your mouth, but rather in one single thought. But you can’t do this, because, just as that ordained disciple said, your mind will be unable to focus. Why? Because we have too much karmic qi in our bodies. Both our good karma and bad karma contain qi, and this causes our consciousnesses to stir. Thus, it is impossible to achieve a consistently focused mind. So then, how do you train yourself so as to have thoughts containing only the words ‘Na-Mo-A-Mi-Ta-Bha’ from the first thought to the second, and then to the third? You will do this by training with the vajra chant. And to learn the vajra chant, you must first learn Tantra.”

“There are four groups of Tantric practices, and those who are already in their 50s, 60s, and 70s are not qualified to learn them. So then, what can one do? Esoteric Buddhism tells us: ‘You must believe in your guru.’ This is because he has already achieved fruition. And so, if you rely on your guru, when you pass on, he will be able to help you. It’s like that disciple who just shared her experience with us earlier. Why is it her grandmother has never met me, and yet I was able to perform the Phowa for her? Although her family is very wealthy, and I have helped them out a lot, they’ve never donated a house to me, and even if they did, I wouldn’t accept it. This is because I am cultivated, and thus I am not a human. And so, you must not view me in the same light as an ordinary person. I merely retain human appearance for you. But if you view your guru through your own ways of thinking, you will certainly have hard times ahead of you.”

“Recently, I saw a disciple who left our Buddhist Center several years ago. He took refuge while in university, and I taught him the Four Uncommon Preliminary Practices for many years. But when I checked on his progress in 2014, I discovered he hadn’t completed his 110,000 full prostrations. And so, I took away his Dharma vest and Dharma books, and banned him from being a disciple. Then, he showed up a few days ago. His mother inexplicably fainted, and was sent to the hospital. From 2014 to 2019, nearly 5 years went by without him appearing here once. But then, as soon as something went wrong, he remembered there is a Rinpoche out there who doesn’t charge money. After all, performing a Dharma ritual for a single person, at many places, they won’t give you the time of day for less than 300,000 – 500,000 NTD. The ordained here can tell you all about this.”

“When he came to request audience with me that day, I said: ‘Before, you were always listening to gossip about me, and listening to others’ criticisms of me. You even took their words to heart, and thought you didn’t need to practice anymore. But now that you’ve got a problem, you are asking me for help; those naysayers are all gone now, aren’t they?’ He said this was true, but I helped him anyway, and told him to do full prostrations for his mother. On the surface, he was doing prostrations; but in reality, that was me giving blessings. After he finished his prostrations, his mother somehow regained consciousness, and none of the doctors could figure out why his mother had fainted or regained consciousness. Yesterday, he came back with an offering, but I wouldn’t take it, as he isn’t my disciple. And so, if you go on criticizing me for running a business, it will be of no benefit to you. Why did I help him? Because he shows filial piety to his mother. But logically, there is no bond between us, since he came back after having criticized me.”

“There was another disciple who left and came to me for help after his younger brother, who was involved in violent debt collecting, had a stroke, and became bedridden. I told him to do full prostrations on two Saturdays, and afterwards, his brother felt much better. But when he asked the permission to attend pujas, I refused. I said: ‘Not unless your younger brother personally tells you he was wrong.’ In the end, his brother didn’t show up that Saturday. He wouldn’t admit he was wrong. And so, I told him I couldn’t help. They keep insulting the Dharma, thinking that they can have it whenever they ask for it. Why is it his younger brother had a stroke and became bedridden? Because he was always beating up others, and hurting them. This disciple also got money from his younger brother, and that’s why he left the Buddhist Center out of nowhere after taking refuge. This is ‘being not attuned with the Dharma.’ Many people think that they are practitioners just because they do recitations and prostrations.”

Sutra: “Becoming attuned with the Dharma. No thoughts of disagreement for anything.”

“This phrase is useful both for the laity and the ordained. You mustn’t argue, much less explain or make yourself clear for fear of being wronged. The Six Paramitas includes cultivation of forbearance. How can you practice the Bodhisattva Path when you aren’t even cultivated in the Six Paramitas? Shakyamuni Buddha tells us that we can’t even have thoughts of such things. And yet, here you two ordained disciples are wanting to explain yourselves! Who is going to win this argument?”

“Although you currently live in my housing in the city, the rooms are quiet as soon as you enter. It isn’t noisy there. This housing is filled with ordained disciples, and so, how is this any different from a place of Ah-Lan-R? I give you a place to live so that you can practice properly, and yet you fight about this and that, and then repent afterwards. This is why you are regressing. Some of you don’t like that your housemates recite mantras differently from you, and so you don’t want to live there. Besides, I haven’t even taught you the proper way to chant, and yet you insist on your own ways. Thus, you are not attuned with the Dharma.”

Sutra: “No harmonization, no tranquility. No resolution, no attunement. All dwelling in-between.”

“You don’t implement the Dharma to harmonize your minds, and bring them to tranquility, rather only reciting sutras and mantras, and praying to the Buddhas, thinking this means you are becoming cultivated. But as soon as you step away from these things, your minds revert. You jump at the sound of a couple of reprimands. You make a huge deal at any mention of money. Just yesterday, I forbid a disciple who has taken refuge for many years from making offerings, because he kept complaining he had no money. Well, if you don’t have any money, there is no need for you to give offerings. I’ll say it again: you aren’t making any offerings! Don’t think you are so high and mighty.”

“This is Shakyamuni Buddha’s admonishment. If you don’t utilize the Dharma to harmonize your minds and attain tranquility, you lack resolution and attunement with the Dharma. This means that you don’t have a resolute mind in practicing the Dharma, and thus, naturally are not attuned with the Dharma. You occupy your minds with this and that, and so, no matter how many prostrations you make, or what you hear or say, you are un-attuned to the Dharma. I’ll put it in terms you can understand: ‘All of the blessings the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and your guru have given you disappear.’ This is because you do things your own ways, and with your own ideas. If you practice the Dharma without a resolute mind, as soon as something happens, you will put yourself before the Buddhas, and become un-attuned to the Dharma. This isn’t me admonishing you — it comes from the sutras.”

“A lot of places don’t teach the Ratnakuta Sutra, because it is all admonishments, and when you teach it, followers and disciples are prone to running off. Throughout this year that I’ve been revealing the Ratnakuta Sutra, I’ve had nothing pleasant to say to you. I haven’t said you will go to Amitabha’s land through your practices, but rather keep telling you that if you don’t heed the teachings of the Buddha, you never will. I’ve been very clear about this, and yet you keep acting blindly and ridiculously, and holding on to your own ideals. Go ahead and summon Shakyamuni Buddha if you have what it takes. But he will not pay you any mind. Why would he? You aren’t even qualified to be the Buddha’s disciple.”

“Don’t think that just because you have worshiped the Buddha, you have an affinity with him. This is why the sutras admonish these ordained. What are you female ordained disciples practicing? Every week, I transmit the Dharma to you, and yet you don’t understand. You are un-attuned.”

Sutra: “Like elk, and macaque. Like bird, lion, tiger, and wolf.”

“Elks run to and fro; Macaques jump here and there; and birds are always whizzing about in the air. Lions are ferocious, getting into shouting matches, scolding, and cursing. You are in the Animal Realm, and you don’t even know it, thinking you are ordained? Shakyamuni Buddha admonishes you, and you have thoughts of disagreement; this is not harmonization, and it is not tranquility. It is the Animal Realm. When you’re not an elk, you’re a macaque; and when you’re not a macaque, you’re a bird, a lion, a tiger, or a wolf! Why is it I have told you not to use the Dharma to admonish others? What right do you have to criticize others with the Dharma? You haven’t even lived up to the Dharma yourselves, and yet you want to criticize, and teach others a lesson? The more the Ratnakuta Sutra goes on, the more brilliant it gets. And the more I admonish you, the happier I am, because it proves I am not the one scolding you, but rather it is the Buddha.”

Sutra: “Thief chandala. One not of sramana merit.”

“You are like thieves. Why is it Shakyamuni Buddha is scolding you, calling you thieves? Because, as mentioned before, you are mendicants. And when you don’t live up to sramana merit, you are stealing and conning that which you gain. And so, you are called thieves. It is not me who is saying this; it is the Ratnakuta Sutra. This is true too of you lay disciples. And so, if you want to practice the Dharma, you must be careful. If you aren’t attuned with the Dharma, and you don’t harmonize your minds and bring yourselves to tranquility, you won’t have sramana merit.”

Sutra: “I must fulfill sramana duty with Ah-Lan-R.”

“Thus, we must equip ourselves to practice with tranquility, and fulfill the duties of the ordained. This means you should have the duty to benefit all sentient beings, as you are mendicants. Thus, as mendicants, what right do you have to benefit yourselves and not others? Trying to cultivate yourselves all day long, and reciting the Vajra chant? Wanting to take on disciples of your own?”

Sutra: “Bound intention, and no chaos.”

“Why is it your mind falls into chaos? You must bind your thoughts to fulfilling sramana duty and benefit for there not to be chaos. As soon as you start thinking of attaining fruition, wanting to take on disciples, and liberating sentient beings, your mind becomes chaotic. Throughout all of his reprimanding, the Buddha hasn’t once asked that you liberate sentient beings. You lack even the merit sof the ordained; how could you possibly liberate sentient beings? You must have merits first in order to save others. Why do your minds fall into chaos? Your previous masters didn’t teach you the Ratnakuta Sutra before. It is clear that you must harmonize your minds, and bring them to tranquility, and your thoughts must be bound for there not to be chaos. In simple terms, don’t set your sights too high. It’s like I always tell you: don’t think yourself so smart. If you try to practice Buddhism with conceit, you will fail! All of your accomplishments in this world, whether you are a professor or a doctor, are because of the karmic fortune of your past lives. They have nothing to do with your practices.”

“To become cultivated, you must heed all the Buddha says without coming up with your own assertions. For the ordained disciples who want a Dharma method, here it is. Why hasn’t anyone told you this before? Because you’ve been always told there is karmic fortune to be an ordained. But where does karmic fortune come from? Does it just appear because you are ordained? But the Buddha keeps reprimanding you: if you don’t do what is asked of you, you are no different from a deer, monkey, bird, or lion. You have to do what is asked of you to be considered ordained. Why do you become discouraged in your practice? Because you want to achieve attainment all by yourself. And that is the beginning of conceit.”

“I have never said I have achieved realization. I only look to see if I have done what the Buddha expounds in the sutras, and whether or not I am attuned with what His Holiness teaches. Being attuned with His Holiness just means I listen. Likewise, the reason you lack attunement is simple — you don’t listen. You have your own opinions, and do things your own ways, thinking: ‘I don’t understand what you’re saying on that Dharma throne!’ Why don’t you understand? Because you are listening with desire. And so, of course you wouldn’t understand.”

Sutra: “Attain Dharani. Cultivate great mercy and compassion. Be at ease with the five Divine Knowledges. Fulfill the Six Paramitas.”

“‘Attain Dharani’ doesn’t mean obtaining mantras. All Dharani and mantras are the compassion, Dharma activities, and aspiration of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Thus, when we are reciting all Dharani, we are blessed, and our pure nature is uncovered like that of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. When pure nature is revealed, we have truly attained Dharani. But if it isn’t, we merely gain the mantras of a witch. I often say that if you recite mantras and try to transfer merits to your husbands to make them listen, or your children to make them do better in school, you are really cursing them; this isn’t Dharani. Perhaps your child originally had the karmic fortune not to do well in his studies, but rather to live a healthy life. And so, you have taken that karmic fortune and transformed it so that he does well in school, but then he won’t live as long.”

“A lot of people do this. They think that if they recite the Great Compassion Mantra and transfer merits to someone for a specific reason, they are telling Avalokiteshvara to do exactly as they ask, as they are reciting his mantra. But the mantras of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas don’t exist to help us fulfill our desires. Still, some say that if we recite them enough, things will turn out for the best naturally. And of course, they will, as your mind will become pure, making it so that you aren’t disturbed or vexed, stop doing bad things, and gradually pay off your past debts. Don’t think that reciting the Great Compassion Mantra 49 times and drinking great compassion water will cause you better health. If your health gets better, it is for you to practice the Dharma; it’s not to help you save money for a house, and so on. The sutras say no such things.”

“Why one attains Dharani? To cultivate great mercy and compassion. Dharani isn’t for the purpose of attaining divine knowledge, nor does it make you to become cultivated faster. All Dharani contains the compassion of all of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas within it. Only when you recite your mantras with purity of mind can you attain great compassion. Once you attain great compassion and are at ease with the five Divine Knowledges, your divine knowledge will be unlocked without asking for it. Why is it I know things about sentient beings? Because this is how I practice.”

“There are specific Dharma methods to cultivate divine knowledge in Tantric Buddhism. But should we go out of our way to practice them? Really, there is no need; we need only attain Dharani and cultivate great compassion, and be at ease with the five Divine Knowledges. But why isn’t it the six Divine Knowledges? Because you haven’t achieved Buddhahood yet. Only a Buddha has the sixth, or a Mahasattva’s Dharmakaya. Otherwise, even if one attains the fruition of a Bodhisattva, before reaching the 10th Ground, they stay at five Knowledges. But this is already a great feat in itself. Of course, one won’t attain all five Divine Knowledges right away. There are many kinds of divine Knowledges in Tantric Buddhism. For instance, Lord Jigten Sumgon could fly, and thus had divine relocation (holy power). There are records of all of these things.”

“If you don’t heed the words of the Buddha, and your mind falls into chaos, you won’t be able to attain Dharani. And without Dharani, you cannot cultivate great mercy and compassion, or achieve the five Divine Knowledges. But why do we need the five Divine Knowledges? It is not because it will make people believe you, and bring you more disciples, or let you see your future. This is all wrong. The five Divine Knowledges serve to benefit sentient beings. For instance, we have divine recollection, which allows us to know the causes sentient beings have made in the past, so we can help them with the right method.

“It is like when people come to me and ask what they can do for their mothers. This makes me very happy, and I tell them to make prostrations before the Buddha for her. For example, last week, a disciple from China brought a girl to see me. Her mother had terminal stage cancer. After I blessed her mother, she asked what she could do for her mother. I was delighted, and told her to do 2000 prostrations before the Buddha every day. She said ‘okay,’ and I told her to first do 200 right there and then. After 200, her legs were shaking. But the next day, her mother passed on peacefully. And so, when I tell you to make prostrations before the Buddha, there is the possibility of either recovery or death for your loved one. You must understand this. But in the meantime, you will end up saving a lot of money on medical expenses.”

It’s like the disciple from 2014 I talked about whose Dharma books I took away. When he came yesterday, he was still reluctant to make offerings, so I was unwilling to take his offering. Usually, a room in intensive care plus a care worker for a full month costs a lot of money. And even with health insurance, there are a lot of hidden fees. I knew he was reluctant to make an offering, and so I didn’t take anything, lest I owe him, or stir aversion in him. But he would be willing to spend that money on medical bills, just the same as all of you. You all are willing to pay for medical expenses, but reluctant to make offerings.”

“But I’m not here to talk about money. I just want to emphasize this one point: use the Dharma to adjust your mind, and bring yourself to tranquility, binding all thoughts to all the Dharma you hear. You should subdue your mind in this way, without holding to your own ways of thinking. You must be able to subdue your mind and be without chaos in order to attain the true goal of Dharani: great mercy and compassion. Only in this way can you cultivate compassion and be at ease with the divine Knowledges. What does it mean to be at ease? Being comfortable with life and death. Those who have attained the five Divine Knowledges are comfortable with their own lives and deaths. This doesn’t mean they die comfortably, but rather that they don’t fear death. They die if they will; or come back; or don’t come back. This is what I currently practice.”

“I have attained a bit of divine knowledge, and I am at ease with life and death. It is like when I was in seclusion in 2007, and my breathing and heartbeat stopped. I didn’t panic or become fearful or frantic, or resist. I merely felt at ease. This is unlike some of you, who feel there is still one last thing you must tell your husband, that you must let him know he can remarry. This isn’t being at ease. So then, how do you put yourself at ease? With divine knowledge. But what do you do if you don’t have divine knowledge? You must have a guru with divine knowledge who can know the thoughts of the deceased at their time of passing. It is like what my disciple just said earlier. I told them what was happening when they were performing assisted recitation. Without divine knowledge, I would have no way of knowing this. I was over 4000 miles and a several-hour flight apart. But with divine knowledge, I can know in an instant.”

“So then, how does one help the deceased without divine knowledge? Helping the deceased isn’t about showing off my abilities, but rather solving their problems. And we must also help those who think they are doing good not to commit bad deeds. The ordained disciples should understand this. Why is it you haven’t become cultivated? Because no one has told you.” Rinpoche instructed the ordained disciples to share their opinions, and one responded: “Rinpoche is correct. Our minds must observe good and eliminate evil, moving from meditative state to emptiness, so that we may liberate vast numbers of sentient beings like Rinpoche.”

“Shakyamuni Buddha has already taught us the order of practice. But we of course need our guru’s supervision and help throughout this process. We cannot do it alone. Take, for example, the two ordained disciples who I scolded. They thought themselves cultivated, but were reprimanded all the same. Had they not have been, they would have gone on arguing, and that is a complete violation of what the Ratnakuta Sutra teaches. They would have been unattuned with the Dharma.”

“The so-called ‘fulfillment’ of the Six Paramitas doesn’t mean to complete the practice, but rather to perfect them. Life is a practice of the Paramitas.” Then, Rinpoche instructed an ordained disciple to recite the Six Paramitas, and she responded: “Charity, precept observance, forbearance, diligence, meditation, and wisdom.”

“As for so-called perfection of the Six Paramitas, whether ordained or a layman, before you have become liberated, you must use the Six Paramitas as the standard for how you think and conduct yourself in life.”

“Yesterday, a disciple’s entire family was forbidden from making offerings. I had already transmitted the Dharma to him all the way up to Mandala Offerings, but I took away his Dharma books all the same, because he was reluctant to give charity, always saying he had no money. And now today, we see this reprimanded in the sutras. Thus, there is always a basis for my scolding. It has nothing to do with whether or not I like you, or whether or not you have wronged me. It all comes from the sutras. Otherwise, I wouldn’t dare to do or say these things. I merely did them before I got to this part of the sutra. But now that I have, you can see that all of the disciples I have punished fit within this scope. They haven’t perfected the Six Paramitas.”

“What does ‘not fulfilling the Six Paramitas’ mean? It means that you think that you are practicing the Six Paramitas, but whenever something happens in your life, or you are going to lose out on something, you suddenly forget who your guru even is, and you put yourself first before your practice. Though this is a Buddhist center for laity, it is special: we have ordained disciples, both male and female. We do what the sutras state to be a perfect Buddhist center. But if the laity don’t practice the Six Paramitas, including forbearance, then nothing can be done.”

“Why is it the Ratnakuta Sutra is always teaching us about money and family? Because this is also part of the Six Paramitas. A disciple was scolded by me yesterday. He works as one of my employees, and makes no less money than most other people, and yet he is always making mistakes and talking nonsense. I’ve told you before that you must live up to your incomes. The non-disciples at my company tremble with the fear at the thought of not living up to their salaries, and yet, here my so-called disciples are talking nonsense and taking advantage of me while the employees I’ve brought in from outside are loyal. They don’t dare make such mistakes, because they don’t want to lose out on the salary I give them. But you so-called disciples who have taken refuge under me are fearless, thinking you can just repent if you do something wrong and I will keep you around. Even you disciples who have worked for me in the past are like this.”

“But I don’t hold grudges against these wicked disciples, as it is my bad karma that has brought them to me. Why is it disciples come to work at my place of business? Because they like it there, as I am so compassionate. I teach them when they make mistakes, and they get to come to pujas every Sunday. So, now you understand.”

Sutra: “Waste no mind of wisdom.”

“This phrase is difficult to explain. Waste no mind of wisdom means that when every thought you have is for your own good and benefit, that isn’t wisdom, but rather mundane mind of reincarnation. But when every thought you have is for the purpose of benefiting sentient beings and making offerings to the Three Jewels, you waste no mind of wisdom. Unlocking wisdom doesn’t mean that you can make more money, have better relationships, or that people will argue with you less, or your husband and mother-in-law will like you more. It has nothing to do with such mundane matters. Besides, as a person, why would you fight with others all day long?”

“What is wisdom ? It is emptiness. But using emptiness to explain wisdom isn’t enough, and so the Buddha spoke of prajna. Prajna includes both emptiness and wisdom. Here, it is specifically stated that we should waste no mind of wisdom, meaning that all we learn and do must be initiated from mind of wisdom. In other words, this means a mind to benefit sentient beings without self-interest, and disregarding our own feelings. Not wasting means that if we have the opportunity to do something with wisdom, we should do so immediately, and never miss the opportunity, as all merits are initiated from wisdom. If we act from human desire, we get only karmic reward — not merits.”

“The Buddha is specific about this. Of all that you have practiced before, this is what is most important — not wasting any mind of wisdom. This means that the Dharma your guru teaches, says, and reveals unlocks your wisdom, and if you won’t accept this or listen to that, or think that you don’t need to help your guru in his endeavors, you lose this wisdom. And without mind of wisdom, you naturally make mistakes. What mistakes? This doesn’t mean breaking the law or killing someone, but rather doing things that will cause you to reincarnate.”

Sutra: “Practice expediency.”

“This doesn’t mean easiness or carelessness; rather, it is practicing with wisdom of mind in order to obtain expediency. What is expediency? We practice for a variety of reasons and causal conditions, and yet do not stray from the core principles of the Dharma. Take, for example, this group of ordained disciples. Before the temple is completed, they have to live in the housing I provide. This is an expedient method, but not an absolute one. This so-called expediency is because, at the moment, I haven’t solved their problem fundamentally, and so I use expediency. This means first helping them out based on their karma and causal conditions.”

“When I help sentient beings by performing Phowa to take them to the land of Amitabha, this is also an expediency, because if they go there, they will practice, and without practicing one cannot become a Buddha. But sending them there doesn’t instantly make them into Buddhas. When I send them, they are born into lotus flowers. The flowers blossom in the daytime, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas come and teach the Dharma, and then at night, the lotus flowers close again. But they must practice. Phowa is just an expedient method, giving them the opportunity to practice the Dharma and attain Buddhahood. It is not to give them comfortable lives.”

“If you go to the land of Amitabha and don’t practice, the sutras state that there will be chirping from birds and sounds from the trees that wake you. And if, in life, you liked gold and silver jewels, you will see the ground paved with gold, and trees adorned with jewels. This is also an expedient method, allowing you to get used to how you lived in your last life. Otherwise, if you suddenly found yourself in a beautiful palace, you would be frightened beyond belief. According to the Amitabha Sutra, the palace of the Amitabha Buddha is beyond the imagining of humans. It is even more beautiful than the palaces of the heavens. This is because it is the aggregation of the Amitabha Buddha’s karmic fortune. It is not what the Buddha wants; it simply naturally formed.”

“‘Practice expediency’ doesn’t mean doing things the ways you want, but rather refers to various Dharma methods that facilitate your practice in accordance with your current life circumstances. For instance, you can’t just run off to live in a cave, so I teach you to recite mantras. If someone here were to tell you to get divorced, there would be a lawsuit calling us a cult, and so I tell you not to get divorced. The Ratnakuta Sutra says to think of your spouse as a prison guard. This is an expedient method. But you can’t be so foolish that you say your partner is a guard and you a prisoner. The sutras teach expedient methods, but these are not fundamental solutions. Still, without expedient methods, you would not be able to attain Buddhahood.”

“You cannot achieve the absolute in a single step, as karma is bound to you. The ordained have the karma of the ordained, and the laity the karma of the laity. It clings to all of us, whilst we use all kinds of expedient methods to gradually unbind ourselves. The untying of these bindings means that when your vexations lessen and finally cease, your pure nature naturally reveal itself. you need not pursue it, or enlightenment. As long as you shed your bindings, it will eventually reveal itself. Do not re-tie your bindings. If you are already married, do not resent your partner. If you’d known from the beginning, how wonderful would it have been if you’d just created a prince charming on a computer?”

“Using expedient means doesn’t mean that when you practice Buddhism, you abandon your family, children, work, and careers, and do nothing but practice. We cannot possibly abandon all of our environments and ways of life. But we can utilize them in our practices; this is what expedient methods are.”

Sutra: “Utilize the giving of the Dharma often to embrace and enlighten sentient beings.”

“Dharma-giving isn’t teaching people to recite ‘Amitabha Buddha,’ or to read the sutras. It is like how when people come to me with suffering and difficulties. I always help them find some solutions, and all giving is included under this umbrella (giving of wealth, fearlessness, and the Dharma). Of course, giving of the Dharma is the best. Take, for example, the mother who brought her daughter to see me yesterday. She wanted to attend the puja, and when I asked her why, she said she wanted to change her life. So, I said: ‘Okay!’ Then, she said she had come before over a decade ago, and I knew she had come with a problem, so I asked her what was going on.”

“She said her daughter wouldn’t listen to her. Actually, her daughter was quite well-behaved, but she was just getting into wearing makeup. I asked her daughter what grade she was in, and she said her second year in high school. I said: ‘Your mother says you’re getting into wearing a lot of makeup.’ She said: ‘No, it is just my lipstick is kind of red. I don’t wear eyeliner or fake eyelashes.’ So then, what does one do about such a mother? All I can do is try to mediate. This is embracing by giving Dharma. After we were finished, I said she didn’t need to come to the puja, and they laughed and left in good spirits. This goes to show the Dharma, or the puja, wasn’t required to embrace them.”

“And so, don’t think that if you just tell someone to read the sutras, they will listen. But if you fix the problem they are having in that moment, they will think that the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and gurus compassionate, and this is also a kind of embracing. And at this thought, they will be given a chance in a future life. But if you insist they attend a puja, they won’t get their solution. And what could be expected of that woman when she couldn’t even stop clinging to the problem of her daughter’s makeup? Were it an open-minded father like me, there would be no problem. She was wearing lipstick without even putting on fake eyelashes. Her mother just didn’t like it because it was too red. But that’s what’s in fashion!”

“Being a guru isn’t just a one-trick act, always telling people to read the sutras. Some people really can’t bring themselves to read the sutras. Nor is it about telling people to come to pujas — some people really don’t need to attend. But if you employ different methods, and you really solve their problems, someday when they are able to think clearly, they will come back, and it won’t be for their desires.”

“‘Utilize the giving of the Dharma often to embrace and enlighten sentient beings.’ This is what I do. Embracing doesn’t mean to instruct others to take refuge immediately. Rather, it is taking people in to the great sea of merit of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. And someday, when their wisdom is unlocked, and they want to practice, I will have already helped them plant the seeds to do so. A lot of people say they help others plant righteous seeds, instructing them to read the sutras and so on. But if those people don’t read the sutras, this instruction actually harms them. In simple terms, going back to what I was saying, without the five Divine Knowledges, you ordained disciples should not be learning to liberate sentient beings, because you don’t know what they need.”

“That woman yesterday was so reverent, kneeling before me, and crying and wailing, begging to attend the puja. And if it were you, you would have said: ‘Great! There’s one tomorrow; you should come! Recite the Great Six-Syllable Mantra more and your daughter will listen.’ And if I didn’t have divine knowledge, I would say the same. But by solving this problem in a different way, she will praise the Three Jewels, and gain karmic fortune. And with that karmic fortune, there will come a day that she practices the Dharma. Not with me — perhaps she will practice with someone else. But at least I will have opened that door for her. I have brought her in. And how could I do this without divine knowledge?”

“A few weeks ago, there was also a tall guy that had repeatedly been asking to take refuge under me. But I didn’t agree, and instead asked an ordained disciple to have a talk with him. This helped me avoid a lot of problems. If I had rejected him myself, he would say I wasn’t compassionate. But as this ordained disciple had a grim appearance, the tall guy may not dare to say this outright. This is also a type of embracing. At the very least, he now knows that he was wrong, and in the future he won’t think: ‘If I want to learn the Dharma, you should teach me. If you reject me, you are not compassionate’ This is slandering the Buddha, as one really shouldn’t be taught when he or she doesn’t have the right root capacity.”

“Everything the Buddha says is based on what has been said already. Earlier, I made it clear that when your mind falls into chaos, you cannot attain Dharani; without Dharani, you cannot cultivate great mercy and compassion; without great mercy and compassion, you cannot unlock the five Divine Knowledges; without Divine Knowledges, you of course cannot fulfill the Six Paramitas; and when you cannot fulfill the Six Paramitas, you waste mind of wisdom. So don’t think you are becoming cultivated; you are not. Based on the Ratnakuta Sutra, what is it you are cultivating? You are cultivating the Human and Heavenly karmic fortune, and you will come back as a human in the next life. This is why the Buddha is constantly reprimanding you.”

“Enlightenment of sentient beings means teaching them based on their local customs and conditions. For instance, smoke offerings are popular in Tibet right now, but there are no smoke offerings in the sutras. Still, when Padmasambhava entered Tibet to liberate the sentient beings there, he preserved smoke offerings, merely changing the prayers and the recipients of the offering, using the Dharma for the offering. Smoke offerings originally come from the practices of the native Tibetan religion of Bön, and Padmasambhava could have reasonably forbid this. But he didn’t. He preserved it while changing the content of the prayer.”

“The way to teach and enlighten sentient beings isn’t set in stone. For instance, when Buddhism was spread to China, it was different from India, because the way people think in China is different. And there are differences in Tibet as well. These so-called differences are expedient methods rather than differences in the actual Dharma. Here, the sutra speaks of teaching and enlightening sentient beings. This means using the Dharma as a foundation to guide them, and breaking down their discrimination of good and evil using methods they understand. There is no distinction between the self and others for sentient beings.”

Sutra: “Not forsaking embracing. Practice the Six Contemplations.”

“Everything a guru does is to bring sentient beings into the embrace of the Dharma. It is like the sea of the merits of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas mentioned earlier. And what are the Six Contemplations?” An ordained disciple responded: “Contemplation of the Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha, and charity, precepts, and the heavens.” Rinpoche revealed: “Last is the heavens. The sutras start out saying we must not be born into the Realms of Humans or Heavens, as this means we will continue to reincarnate. However, many sentient beings of the Heaven Realm uphold the Dharma, and help humans to have the causes and conditions to learn the Dharma.”

“Those who practice Exoteric Buddhism all know of the Bodhisattva Skanda. Bodhisattva Skanda is a celestial ruler — a king of heaven. But nevertheless, he vows to uphold the Dharma. So-called contemplation for the heavens is because without the heavens protecting Earth, we humans would perish. Practicing contemplation doesn’t mean reciting his Dharma title all day long, but rather being grateful to the Buddhas, the Dharma, the Sangha, the heavens, and so on. So never say that the heavens are unjust, or that they have wronged you, or are cruel, as this is cursing the heavens, and it is a lack of belief in cause and effect. It means you don’t believe in karma, and are pushing responsibility onto the heavens. In the Avatamsaka Sutra, there is a specific section about this that you should all remember. Shakyamuni Buddha revealed: ‘The heavens will teach those who scheme a lesson.’ Scheming means they have all kinds of plots in their minds, thinking of what benefits them, what is in their interests and not caring about others at all. The heavens will teach those people a lesson.”

“This is only mentioned in the Avatamsaka Sutra. Thus, those who like to scheme for their own benefit will get what’s coming to them in death regardless of how well things go for them in life. You’ve all heard of cases in Taiwan of corpses being left for over a decade.”

“Although the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Dharma Protectors won’t punish you, the heavens will teach you a lesson. The Avatamsaka Sutra is specific about this. Shakyamuni Buddha is clear that if you do something wrong, the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, gurus, and Dharma Protectors will not punish you (except for worldly Dharma protectors). But you will be taught a lesson by the heavens. This is because the heavens deities uphold the Dharma, and will not allow you humans to destroy it.”

“How do the heavens teach you a lesson? Sometimes simply by making you go bankrupt, or throwing some difficulties your way. Or in severe cases, by making you die prematurely. Why is it people die out of nowhere every day? It is all related to this. I remember this section from the Avatamsaka Sutra very well. So, don’t be scheming all day long, racking your brains to see what will benefit you, taking everything except for what you see as detrimental. You are all accustomed to doing this. Those who never want to lose out on anything always end up scheming, doing things that harm others, and in the end themselves. Think back: how many times have you done things like this? Think hard, and don’t repeat your mistakes. If you have to lose out on things once in awhile, just let them go. Treat it as paying back debts. If your family members are unfair to you, let them be unfair to you!”

“When we are willing to harmonize our minds in accordance with all that the sutras teach, and bring our minds to tranquility, how can their be suffering and mental illness? Why do people suffer from mental illness? Because they don’t get what they want. They want everything, and they think constantly about that which they can’t have. The Buddha was clear that all illness starts from the mind. When you have no sickness in your mind, even if you experience health problems, you will be able to go on living. But when you have sickness in your mind, even if you recite mantras, worship the Buddha, and read the sutras every day, it will be of no use. This section is very important for everyone.”

Sutra: “Diligently practice and listen.”

“Practice the Six Contemplations yourself, and diligently forge progress in your practice. ‘Listen’ means hearing the Dharma. A lot of people think it won’t matter if they miss a puja one Sunday. They think: ‘Can’t I just look at the website?’ But with the website, you can’t see my expressions, and don’t get the same sense of what I’m saying. There is a difference between reading text and attending in person. And if you don’t come, saying you’re too busy, you are not diligently practicing and listening.”

Sutra: “All thoughts bound to practice of and focus on right attunement.”

“All thoughts on practicing what? All focus on behaving in right appearance, and doing all that one should. What is right appearance? This doesn’t mean that if you practice, you will immediately become of Bodhisattva or Buddha appearance, but rather that you will be of right, attuned behavior. It is like what I said before. This is where our thoughts should be, even if we must deal with work and family matters in our daily lives. That is your karma, not your practice. We must bind our thoughts to that above which the Buddha has taught, adjusting our minds so that they do not fall into chaos, and attaining Dharani and great compassion. Right attunement for all practices — what is right? What we are practicing isn’t for the sake of a few short decades of comfortable lives, good health, and good fortune, or so that we can die with dignity. Rather, it is for the chance to escape the cycle of reincarnation in this lifetime. This is true attunement. It is not attunement for self-enlightenment, or so that I can see the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara right now, and so on. That is all wrong.”

“The right and wrong that the Buddha spoke of isn’t good and bad. Don’t think that ‘right’ means someone is good, and ‘wrong’ means someone is bad. Many ‘wrong’ masters have had great karmic fortune. Rather, the right and wrong the Buddha spoke of means: continuing along the cycle of reincarnation is wrong, and being able to stop the cycle of reincarnation is right. This is what the Buddha teaches. The Buddha expects us to do this — not to get rich. If you cultivate enough karmic fortune in your practice, you can be rich in your next life. This is how it should be, as with this fame and fortune, you must benefit even more sentient beings. Although the Buddha says: ‘the laity can accumulate wealth, whereas the ordained cannot,’ you must understand how to give in charity and offerings as you do. After all, you can’t take it with you when you die.”

Sutra: “Not attaining fruition and wisdom.”

“I often say: ‘Don’t cling to hope for what fruition, karmic effects, and wisdom you may attain.’ This sutra passage is an admonishment: karmic effects aren’t something to be sought. You reap what you sow. It happens naturally, and you don’t need to seek it. The same goes for enlightenment. You don’t become enlightened just because you have cultivated a certain Dharma method. This is a natural process. It happens naturally when you are attuned to the Dharma. Just as His Holiness said, I have become cultivated naturally; it doesn’t happen with a sudden ‘bang!’ This means that when I practice with pureness of suchness and mind, I naturally achieve fruition. I need not seek this out, or hold it in my mind. Neither did I ask His Holiness: ‘What Dharma can you impart on me to let me attain Buddhahood and enlightenment sooner?’ It is like how the Venerable Milarepa knew he had planted the seeds of the bad karma of murder, and so he only asked the Venerable Marpa: ‘Please teach me the way of Buddhahood.’ He didn’t say: ‘Make it so I can achieve Buddhahood in this lifetime.’ And so, how can you ordained disciples demand that you must become enlightened in this lifetime? You argue all day in your minds, fighting about this and that, and saying such and such. This goes against everything that is being said here.”

“‘Not attaining fruition and wisdom’ doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t attain fruition or unlock wisdom. Rather, it is just telling you not to focus your thoughts on this matter. The ordained are always doing this, and they think: ‘I want to attain fruition and wisdom.’ And the laity follow in suit. What is attunement? Being able to do a few surface-level things that the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and guru do is to become attuned. I previously mentioned that a great practitioner once said: ‘See if you are more compassionate, and have made fewer mistakes this year compared to last.’ This is attunement. Wanting to change everything for the better all at once will not help you to become attuned.”

“This section makes it clear. This is how a Buddhist’s attitude and process must be in his practice; there is no other way. The Buddha was clear that one must follow the prescribed order in every step. Everyday, you’re wanting to ‘achieve realization faster,’ and ‘become cultivated instantly.’What for? To liberate sentient beings? But how are you supposed to liberate them without divine knowledges and compassion? People say: ‘I want to guide and benefit sentient beings.’ But how could this be possible when you haven’t yet cultivated yourself following the methods prescribed by the Buddha? It isn’t possible. It is nonsense, and it is wrong view.”

“‘Not attaining fruition and wisdom’ doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reach attainment, but rather that you shouldn’t seek it, or focus your thoughts on it. It happens naturally. From the time I started practicing Buddhism, I never thought I would become a Rinpoche. This is not attaining — or no thought of it. Why not think about it? Because I understand cause and effect. One merely has to conduct himself. I didn’t know if someday I would have it or not. Because only the Buddha has the divine knowledge to know this — to know your good and bad karma across lifetimes, and thus understand your root capacity. I have had the opportunity to meet His Holiness and become his disciple in this lifetime because of my root capacity from past lives. I didn’t need to ask for this. You may implore to take refuge under me, but I may not agree, because you don’t have the right root capacity.”

“What’s the point in taking on so many disciples? As I’ve said before, no other gurus are as foolish as me as to forbid people from giving offerings. After all, I could always punish you in other ways. Even if you search all over Taiwan, you will never hear of anyone else refusing offerings. No one is so foolish. But I have a vendetta against money. Don’t complain again that I have a business. I am a layman; I’m allowed to run a business. I use the money I earn to do all kinds of things you don’t know about. I do good without the desire to let others know of it. If I loved money, I wouldn’t forbid offerings. Who is that stupid? Right now, how many among you have been forbidden from making offerings?” A disciple reported: ‘113.’”

“I’ve said it before: with offerings of about 5000 NTD per month per person, this makes at least 600,000 NTD. Or maybe even 1 million NTD, give or take. See how foolish I am? Of those sitting, other than a small minority, no one has made offerings in this amount. But I’m not here to talk about money, but rather to tell you that I am constantly putting on a performance for you. I have a vendetta against money, and yet you are always playing games with me. A few years ago, someone tried to give me a house as an offering, I didn’t accept it. I don’t remember how many houses I’ve refused. But if I accepted them all, I would be worth billions by now.”

“When you go to Miaoli on Saturdays to check out the construction of the temple base, the money for the tour bus comes from me. Some may think: ‘Why not give this money directly to the temple?’ Because one must use all kinds of different methods to embrace the minds of sentient beings. I sacrifice myself so that they can see how wonderful it is to make offerings for the temple, and thus not be regretful. Some people make offerings as a social obligation, but if I let them see this, and not regret their donations, they will feel praise, and gain karmic fortune. And if I can spend just a little money every week — less than 100,000 NTD — to make everyone feel delight and reverence for the Three Jewels, then why shouldn’t I? This is just another expedient method.”

“So don’t talk to me about money. I spend at least 30,000 – 40,000NTD per week — 120,000NTD per month. And for what? After all, donations haven’t increased. They are about the same as always.” (The disciple in charge of this confirmed: ‘They are about the same.’) Why haven’t they increased? Because there are lots of opportunities to donate to temples in Taiwan. Everyone is used to this. And so, by suddenly doing things differently, and making them notice, I am giving them the chance to continue supporting the temple. I see the forest — not the trees. So why do you split hairs, arguing with me every day?”

“I’ll get a ledger to show you how I spend money, and how you save money. With one slip up on my part, there would be over a million NTD that wouldn’t be coming in each month. Have you made a million NTD worth of offerings? No. So don’t argue with me. Make offerings when you get the chance, and do charity whenever you can. Don’t keep saying you have no money. If you say you don’t have money, that means really you don’t have any. If before I hadn’t been so poor I couldn’t afford to eat, then I wouldn’t have the right to criticize you. But I really was, and my children can testify to this, as can some of the older disciples who have taken refuge in the early days. My money didn’t come from out of nowhere, and I didn’t get it through con-artistry, or by relying on your offerings. When I become cultivated, my karmic fortune accumulates and these things naturally just come together. Here I am acting as a role model for you, and yet you are afraid you will become destitute. What does this mean? That you are not practicing the Dharma! You are always worrying about this and that. And this is why the Buddha has been admonishing you up to this point.”

Sutra: “Uphold the True Dharma. Believe in karmic retribution.”

“What does it mean to uphold theTrue Dharma? It means that whether ordained or a layman, nothing we do can stray from the Buddha’s teachings. We must not have our own ideas, or treat the Dharma like regular deity worship, thinking: ‘If I worship you, you have to give me what I want.’ Or, ‘ I work for your company because I want to feel good. So, you have to listen to me when I ask for things.’ This isn’t practicing the True Dharma. What is the True Dharma? The True Dharma teaches us how to become liberated from the cycle of reincarnation — how to not reincarnate.”

“What does it mean to uphold? As someone who has taken refuge and is of ordained appearance, can you practice without upholding the True Dharma, and whilst going around spouting off nonsense ? This is an admonishment from the Buddha. If no one upholds the True Dharma, there will be no more Dharma. Why is it so many great Rinpoches from the Drikung Kagyu Order say that Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche transmits the ancient Tibetan teachings? What are the ancient Tibetan teachings about? They are about upholding the True Dharma.The Ratnakuta Sutra says that we must not flatter believers for the sake of personal fame or fortune. What does flattering mean? Giving you what you want so that I can have fame and fortune for myself. Do you see me here with fame and fortune? I’m not famous, nor am I trying to fill my pockets. Every time I save someone, I save you at least 1 – 2 million NTD. Take, for example, this one disciple. His wife had heart problems, and I helped her get better. But then, he started to argue with me, saying he was poor. If he doesn’t have money, then he doesn’t need to give offerings. Keep the money.”

“Yesterday, a disciple came to ask if he could be allowed to give offerings again. He said he hadn’t given offerings in eight years. I told him that was great, and that he must be rich now, and need not come to implore. I admire his perseverance, not making offerings for eight years and living so comfortably. Since he hadn’t been giving offerings, I knew he must have a problem to come to me about this. So what happens when you don’t uphold the True Dharma? You listen to others’ nonsense, just like that disciple whose mother fainted. He listened to others while neglecting to listen to the Dharma and forge progress, and thus wasted several years.”

“‘Uphold the True Dharma. Believe in karmic retribution’ means that you must definitely believe that everything that happens to you is your own karma and retribution, and has nothing to do with your guru. Don’t think that your guru is punishing you for getting on his bad side. It is simply the karma you had to begin with coming back to you. The Ratnakuta Sutra is clear that all master practitioners and Bodhisattvas can block your karmic hindrance so that you can circumvent it for your practice — but they cannot eliminate it. The sutras don’t say they can help you eliminate your karma or retribution. The sutras speak only of blocking it, and letting you circumvent it. But when you circumvent it, of course this also means it can reappear. Under what circumstances does it reappear? If you are disrespectful toward or skeptical of your guru, the blocking of your karma wears off instantly. This is because you don’t believe in your guru, and so the blessings disappear, bringing back your original karma. Thus, the karma you were supposed to be met with will all appear. But this karma belongs to you. It isn’t something someone has imposed on you all of the sudden. You don’t descend to hell because you disrespect the Three Jewels. It has nothing to do with the Three Jewels! It is the karma that you had to begin with. But when you are reverent to the Three Jewels, their compassionate and embracing power help you to block this karma so that you have the time and opportunity to practice the Dharma.”

“It is like how I had the karma to die in 2007, but as I was reverent to the Three Jewels and sentient beings, this karma was blocked to allow me to continue living up to the present. But what right do you have to ask that the Three Jewels help you block your karma? You may say you show reverence to the Three Jewels, but you don’t even respect your guru, so how can that be true? Who has taught you the Dharma? Me! Has Shakyamuni Buddha come forth to teach you? Or Dharma Protector Achi? Do you respect all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas when you aren’t even reverent toward your own guru? You show them reverence because they do not speak, while not showing reverence to the one who actually speaks to you. This is absurd logic! The way you think is truly unfathomable. And so, the Buddha keeps reprimanding you, and will continue doing so.”

Sutra: “This is called the right view.”

“Even if you do believe in your karma, and the karma of sentient beings, and retribution for both yourself and other sentient beings, you must uphold the True Dharma. Only this can be called right view — correct understanding. So-called correct understanding doesn’t mean using Buddhist terminology to explain things, or memorizing a few Buddhist terms. For instance, I forgot the term for the “Six Contemplations’ just now, as I am not ordained. The ordained must remember, but as a layman, I forgot. But I know its use, as my right view allows me to understand its importance. So-called right view is upholding the True Dharma, and having deep-seated faith in karma and retribution. This is right understanding and right view. It is not being amazing at explaining the sutras, or being able to remember all of the terms. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have right view. Perhaps you just understand the terms, but not the true meaning behind them.”

“In simple terms: one doesn’t have the qualifications to reveal the Ratnakuta Sutra without personal experience practicing. One needs this kind of experience to understand — this is how I have become cultivated. You must hear all that the Buddha and your guru have said, and harmonize your mind so that it is not in chaos in order to attain the merits of mantras and cultivate great mercy and compassion. This is why I am able to speak of these thing so fluently. But had I not gone through these phases, I wouldn’t be able to explain these things, and I would just use jargon to explain other jargon, using more terms as I go until I’m speaking completely in jargon. This is academic accomplishment, but not cultivation. The Dharma isn’t like ordinary worldly subjects of study, in which we use one term to verify another. What’s most important in Buddhism is whether or not one’s practice strays from the Dharma.”

“Upholding the True Dharma and believing in karmic retribution is the only way to right view. You must understand this, otherwise you may be practicing incorrectly without even knowing it, all the while thinking you are upholding the Dharma when you are not. Upholding the True Dharma is as written above. One’s thoughts must be bound to the methods the Buddha spoke of, and nothing else. Everything you do is of the mundane, and must not be confused with the supramundane. We approach our mundane affairs with the concepts of the supramundane. If we didn’t approach the ways of the mundane with supramundane thinking, we would constantly make mistakes. Why? Because of self-centered thinking.”

“Take, for example, the disciples at my business I just admonished for carelessness. Why do they act carelessly? They think, ‘Rinpoche is compassionate, so he will forgive me.’ They don’t know that when they make a mistake, I have to get a bunch of employees together to clean up the mess, wasting time and money for the business. From the perspective of cause and effect, this means that disciple owes everyone who helps clean up his mess. So then, will he have to repay this debt in the next life? Absolutely. How? By becoming an animal, because he owes a debt to others. Everyone gets their own paycheck and follows the company’s rules. So if he’s not going to follow the rules, he’s risking making a critical mistake that could cause the company to shut down, and put a bunch of people out of jobs.”

“This is why I keep urging the laity who work and get paid: so long as your boss upholds the law and doesn’t violate the principles of cause and effect, you must follow his rules. If something comes up, you can ask questions. But don’t come up with your own ideas and then ask later. It is like what the sutras say: don’t do things your own way. Don’t practice following your own ideas. You must hear and do all that the Buddha says. You must not practice using your own methods. Your only chance is to follow these methods step by step. In the Pure Land Sect, one cultivates the Three Blessings. All of this is within this scope, and all is the Dharma spoken by Shakyamuni Buddha.”

H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led the disciples in the Dharma Protector Achi ritual and dedication. Upon the perfect completion of the puja, the attendees thanked the guru for his compassionate performance of the Dharma and the bestowal of auspicious teachings, benefiting countless sentient beings. All rising, they paid reverent homage as H.E. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche descended the Dharma throne.

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Updated on January 13, 2020