His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings – June 7, 2020

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

Sutra: “Not dwelling in the realm of the mind, it is seen as illusory.”

“Unless you’re attained in Mahamudra Simplicity Yoga, you won’t understand the true meaning of this phrase. Taken at its literal value, it cannot be understood through the concept of Exoteric Buddhism. The sutras talk about the mind and consciousness, right? So why are they now telling us: ‘Not dwelling in the realm of the mind, it is seen as illusory?’ Because: ‘All dharma arising. Not arising nor extinguishing. The arising of dharma is the mind’s moving. If the mind doesn’t move, no phenomena occur.’ This comes from the Avatamsaka Sutra, and I wrote this down after experiencing it for myself. When the mind doesn’t move, no phenomena arise.”

“It’s like when the Sixth Patriarch Huineng went to Guangzhou to attend a Dharma teaching, and he heard two ordained practitioners debating over how the wind blows a banner. One said: ‘The wind blows and the banner moves.’ The other said: ‘No; the banner follows the wind.’ And the Sixth Patriarch Huineng said: ‘No; it is your minds that move.’ If your mind didn’t move, it would be as though nothing else did. This is difficult to understand, and it can’t be explained through words. And so, in the Vajrayana, we have Kriya, Charya, Yoga, and Anuttarayoga Tantra. For instance, the end of the Simplified Avalokiteshvara Ritual mentions visualization of emptiness. And it is this method that trains us in ‘not dwelling in the realm of the mind’ so that ‘it is seen as illusory.’ Why do we do this? Because if we can’t experience this, and do not avoid ‘dwelling in the realm of the mind’ and ‘see it as illusory,’ then we cannot attain emptiness, and are thus unable to benefit the vast sentient beings.”

“Take, for example, Disciple Chu, who recently passed away. While he was in the hospital, I performed the Dharma at home. And were I not attained in emptiness, how would I have been able to put a hole in his crown chakra from so far away? I even knew what stage of the Phowa I was performing from my home, when his hair fell. This is attainment of emptiness. It’s like what I said before: ‘Boundaries like the Dharma Realm.’ This is something none of you are able to understand. These ‘boundaries’ are drawn by the mind, and if our minds didn’t have boundaries, they would be as limitless as the void.”

“We all know that science has proven the universe is expanding and boundless. We set boundaries as effects of the mind, believing whatever lies within them is ours, and the rest is not. And this is why countries war with one another, and steal from one another. A practitioner must have ‘boundaries like the Dharma Realm’ in order to avoid ‘dwelling in the realm of the mind,’ so that ‘it is seen as illusory,’ and so that one can liberate sentient beings. Take me performing the Phowa for Disciple Chu for example. If I had been dwelling in the mindset of performing the Phowa for him instead of entering into emptiness, I wouldn’t have been able to understand the moving of his mind. Whenever an illusion (phenomenon) appears, it is impermanent, and constantly changing. And so, if those trying to liberate others dwell in the realm of the mind, clinging and grasping, they won’t be able to understand the minds of others. The minds of sentient beings are dream-like, constantly changing, like a dream in sleep. You dream about all sorts of things, and when you wake up, they’re all gone. Where do our dreams come from? They don’t necessarily depend on what we do in the day. Rather, as we have lived so many past lives, there are all sorts of records stored in our consciousnesses, and they are released when we go to sleep. In addition, even more is added from what we learn, see, and hear in our current lifetimes.”

“Dream-like and illusory — actually, the mundane world is the same. It’s like what Disciple Chu said about that which he had obtained through deceit disappearing. Is this not a dream-like illusion? When we focus single-mindedly on getting something done, our subjectivity grows, and we become incapable of seeing certain problems. And this causes a lot of researchers in science to chase dead ends. So, is it good to have single-minded focus? Well, yes; it is on some levels, as you are trying earnestly to get something done. But on another level, it gives you too much subjectivity. In your terms, you might say that too much subjectivity makes it so that you aren’t objective enough. But there is no subjectivity and objectivity in Buddhist cultivation. Rather, here we use karma, cause and effect, and emptiness to help sentient beings.”
“Only practitioners who know this — ‘not dwelling in the realm of the mind, it is seen as illusory’ — can help to liberate others. Don’t think that reciting 10,000 mantras everyday and dedicating them to your ancestors or other beings is enough to liberate them. Is this a correct kind of view? Yes. But are you capable of ‘not dwelling in the realm of the mind’ so that ‘it is seen as illusory?’ When the consciousness stops at the mind, the mind moves, and you lose the state of meditation. And without sufficient meditation, the mind is impure, and your recitations have no effect. Why is it that when I do recitations with 108 beads for every loop, it takes me no more than four breaths to complete it? How many breaths does it take you?” (One ordained disciple answered: “16.”) “Or even more! Why does it take her 16 breaths? Because her mind is moving, thinking about how earnestly she is reciting rather than considering sentient beings. Secondly, unless she has practiced Tantra, her breath isn’t entering your central channel. And so, her breath will be shorter; without long breaths, she will get stuck in her breathing. It’s a contradiction. We can’t live without breathing, but as soon as the breath moves, so do our thoughts and minds. You may try holding your breath, and notice that no thoughts seem to appear. But as soon as you start breathing again, another string of thoughts will come.”

“We don’t recite mantras for the reasons you think: for our health, for certain people, or so that this or that can happen. Rather, we do this to train ourselves in ‘not dwelling in the realm of the mind’ so that ‘it is seen as illusory.’ But if your mind is a mess, then you will have to take 16 breaths just like her — at least 4 times as many as me. She is 57, and I am 73; she’s 16 years younger than me. According to Tantra, after the age of 60, our inhales become shorter and our exhales become longer. You can try to notice this. Older people breathe differently in their sleep compared to younger people. Younger people have long inhales and short exhales. And from the medical perspective, this is because their lung capacities allow them to take in a lot of oxygen, and absorb more once it enters the body. Thus, less air is exhaled. But it is the opposite for the elderly. And once you find your breathing getting shorter and shorter, that means you’re almost there.”

“Tantra is about training our bodies, consciousnesses, and minds so that they don’t interfere with one another. You are constantly messing yourselves up in your practices with thoughts about this and that. Why is it I don’t just transmit whatever Dharma people want to learn here at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center? And why is it you are constantly being admonished? Because I know you are incapable of meditation, and so I have to scold you, and let you know how difficult the Dharma is to attain. Why is it that ordained disciple still talks back after having taken refuge for so long? Because she thinks she is right. But she’s wrong. She has to uphold her precepts everywhere, whether here or outside. A Buddhist center without precepts would be chaos. And yet, she is leading the rebellion, and talking back. A lot of people think it is fine to talk back to their guru. However, I told you when you took refuge: this is arguing, and it cancels out your blessings.”

“How did Disciple Chu end up like this? He, too, made his offerings! Consider the disciples who spoke before the puja, and called him reverent and observant. But still, there was conflict in Disciple Chu’s heart. And this kind of conflict undoes your blessings. It was said that to truly practice the Dharma, one must have a side of foolishness. So you have to be a bit foolish. Those who are too smart don’t get the Dharma. Why? Because they’re always jumping around. If your mind is unfixed, and always jumping around, you will never be able to clearly identify the source of your problems.”

“‘Not dwelling in the realm of the mind, it is seen as illusory.’ Real practitioners understand that everything within the mind is impermanent, and this is not pure true nature. It is merely accumulated desires generating certain ways of thinking. And we believe in these thoughts, and think: ‘But I’m right. What’s wrong with doing things for myself?’ Why is it researchers are stumped about the human brain? What is the problem? Is it because they don’t understand the origin of people’s motives? After all, this doesn’t come from the brain cells. I’ve said this before. If our original motives and drives came from our brain cells, then why is it that after we die, a removed brain cannot continue to function on its own? If it were our brain cells, then they should be able to continue to be able to function after we take them out, and think, and give orders. So why is it they don’t? Because the brain cells aren’t the main character of the show; rather, that role belongs to the consciousness, and the mind. Nothing happens unless the mind moves. And so long as the mind moves, so-called dharma (phenomena) is produced. This is even true for practicing Buddhism.”

“‘Not dwelling in the realm of the mind, it is seen as illusory.’ Only those who have practiced Tantra and understand the Dharma method of observing emptiness at the end our Dharma texts can experience this. A lot of people refute Tantra, saying Shakyamuni Buddha never spoke of this. The beginning of the Ratnakuta Sutra teaches us that to practice on the Bodhisattva Path, one must learn the five Divine Knowledges, and this may seem to be a contradiction of some of the other sutras. Shakyamuni Buddha even said: ‘Divine Knowledge isn’t representative of practice or attainment in Buddhism. We must not cling to Divine Knowledge, or believe in it superstitiously.’ And yet, here you are being told to learn and practice the five Divine Knowledges, and this tells us the Dharma method of the Bodhisattva Path is different. Shakyamuni Buddha tells us not to believe in Divine Knowledge superstitiously because he fears that Buddhist believers will be deceived. But this passage from the Ratnakuta Sutra is telling us what to do to practice the Bodhisattva Path. And so, unless you plan on practicing the Bodhisattva Path, you won’t be able to understand the meaning behind this sutra.”

“Likewise, repentance doesn’t get the job done, either. Repentance simply gives you another chance to learn. But don’t think that just because you have repented that means I will teach you the Four Uncommon Preliminary Practices. You didn’t commit to practicing the Bodhisattva Path from the start, and even now as you practice under me, you’re still not preparing yourselves. It’s like when Disciple Zheng said: ‘I’m not ready yet, so I dare not try to learn this.’ This is laziness. I was never ready. So why is it I was able to learn these things? Because I was foolish. And why is it you cannot? Because you are smart. Disciple Zheng is smart, and upon hearing this, one might also think him humble. He thinks he shouldn’t try to learn these things for lack of ability. But does the Buddha specify who can practice the Bodhisattva Path? No. The Dharma is different from the ways of worldly conditions. We don’t need to get a degree or a PhD, and even the illiterate can become cultivated on this path. The Venerable Milarepa was illiterate. So then, how is it he became so accomplished? From listening! But Disciple Zheng doesn’t listen, and so he is timid, thinking: ‘Rinpoche is getting stricter and stricter. I should just give up on practicing this now, or else he will only get more strict.’ Of course I must be strict. This comes from the teachings of the Ratnakuta Sutra. No one is making you come here.”

“I’ve said before that if you aren’t prepared to practice the Bodhisattva Path, you should just be a regular believer. But you don’t even live up to this. Disciple Chu broke all kinds of precepts. The only one he didn’t break was the precept of making offerings. And yet, when he passed, I had to sort out a whole load of problems for him. Was he smart? Yes. And was he foolish? Yes. In what way? In that he thought he was smart. But what caused this? Dwelling in the realm of the mind, and believing his own thoughts. He thought highly of himself, thinking all he needed to do was work hard.”

“People hold a lot of different attitudes about practicing Buddhism in this Buddhist Center. Disciple Zheng is a classic example of one: fear. The Ratnakuta Sutra states that to learn and practice the Bodhisattva Path and achieve bodhisattvahood, one must be fearless. Being fearless doesn’t mean you are a daredevil, but rather that, for the sake of sentient beings, you practice the Dharma with an unshakable mind, endlessly and fearlessly moving forward in the face of all trials and tribulations. However, you don’t do this. In addition, ‘Not dwelling in the realm of the mind, it is seen as illusory’ — for those of you who have been transmitted the Simplified Avalokiteshvara Ritual, as you gradually practice, there will come a day when you get to this part about visualizing emptiness and be able to experience what Shakyamuni Buddha was teaching.”

Sutra: “Visualizing all dharma is the Dharma Realm.”

“This is another way of explaining that: ‘Not dwelling in the realm of the mind, it is seen as illusory.’ We don’t visualize with the eyes, but with the mind, visualizing both within and without. All dharma doesn’t refer to the Dharma teachings, but rather means that all phenomena, including everything felt, known, and sensed by the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and consciousness, is equivalent to the Dharma Realm. The ‘Dharma Realm’ isn’t the boundaries of the Dharma, as many people think it to be. The Buddha referred to the universe as the void, and the Dharma Realm. And the ten Directions of the Dharma Realm are all of the ten directions of the void, including what we call the Dharma Realm. The Dharma Realm is defined as emptiness, and no change occurs in the void. If you could go out into space, what you would see is dark black and blue appearances. If there were no stars in the depths of space, you wouldn’t even know where you were, because this is all that you would see. Why is it dark blue is the color of so many of the yidams? Because it represents space, and emptiness, as well as stillness. Space never moves, while causes and conditions produce all appearances, which can disappear at any time as well. No matter how many millions or billions of years a planet may exist, sooner or later, it will disappear. But this disappearance doesn’t mean that space has changed, or lost anything. And space doesn’t gain anything from the appearance of new planets either.”

“‘Observing all dharma is the Dharma Realm,’ means that all occurrences for you are like the void. It starts out empty, with no contents; and then, because of some occurrence, a planet is born, and it moves, just like how vexations arise in us. What causes these vexations? Our likes and dislikes, and strong tendencies toward grasping, as we fear suffering, and there is nothing we are willing to bear. But what you don’t understand is that no matter how much pain and discomfort you feel, that is all in the body, and it doesn’t harm the pure true self. What causes your bodies discomfort? Past karma. What karma? For example, it could be something you ate in the past. The sutras state that gluttony sends one down the path of hell. Why? Because it uses up our karmic fortune. And when we don’t treasure our bodies and utilize them to practice the Dharma, we are killing ourselves, and fall to hell. Trying to lose weight is the same, as you are harming your body. Of course, if you are overweight, you should lose weight. But your weight should be reasonable.”

Sutra: “Non-action and non-dwelling. And non-origination, not from within or without.”

“These passages all go together. You think other things are moving, but really, it’s just that your mind is moving. I often use this analogy: When you are sitting in a moving car, everything you see outside appears to be moving, but really it’s just the car that’s in motion. Are you moving inside the car? No. So why is it you feel like everything around the car is moving? Because your mind is moving, and so you think whatever you are seeing is moving. But if your mind didn’t move, nothing you saw would appear to move.”

“It’s like how the pace of movement within each of the Six Realms depends on the movements of our own minds. For example, in the Realms of the Heavens, movements appear slow to the human eye, as these beings’ minds move and react more slowly. This doesn’t refer to the reactions of their nerves, but rather their movements. And so, in some of the Heaven Realms, a day can be equivalent to 100 – 1000 years on earth due to how slow things move. That is, they are slow relative to us. But it doesn’t seem slow to them. And, likewise, we’re used to our minds constantly moving, and so perceive it as slow, but it’s really not. In the cosmos and space, there is no concept of time without watches or clocks; and with the exception of one’s sense of one’s own biological clock, looking outward, nothing moves.”

“What does this mean? That all change is neither moving nor still. All are effects of the mind. The Avatamsaka Sutra states: ‘The mind is like an artist.’ (A painting instructor). Thus, there are all sorts of appearances our minds can depict. For example, I often use the analogy of the different interiors of different homes. So then, why do these differences exist? Because of the movements of our minds. When our retreat huts are finished, all of their layouts and furniture will be the same. But after some time, differences will appear, and this is certain. Pillows will be placed differently, and so on, and no two huts will be exactly alike. This is because all minds move differently. Even if I have it set up so that things are placed in a certain way, they will be moved, because we have to be in motion; we are used to it.”

“What’s the biggest contradiction we face later in our practices? Being used to the movements of our minds. And how do we train our minds not to move? This is a deep question. Don’t think that it is enough just to do recitations and prayers. Unless you are attained in Samadhi and dwell in it, you will recite with a moving mind, and thus only gain some karmic fortune of the Human and Heaven Realms, but no merit. Why did Bodhidharma say Emperor Wu of Liang had no merit? Because he was upholding his vow not to speak without sense. Asked this by the emperor, most would reply: ‘Yes, you have merit!’ And many did. But he clearly didn’t have merit, so why say that he does? After Bodhidharma said this, he did nine years of wall-facing meditation. Had he patronized him, Emperor Wu would have been thrilled, rewarded him, and given him imperial rank. But Bodhidharma couldn’t break his vows and tell a lie. And so, he said he had no merit. Why? Because Emperor Wu believed in his action and abiding; he believed he had accomplished much, and dwelled in a great sea of merit. But what is true merit? Being without self.”

“It’s like how I was selfless when performing rituals for Disciple Chu, and so I was able to get a hold on him. I didn’t go to him in person, so how is it I was able to capture his consciousness? How can someone so mischievous be expected to listen? In fact, he was not listening to me until after his death — this is truly something. Likewise, none of you realize how amazing your guru and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas really are. In your eyes, I’m just a mortal like you; and in your minds, I have to eat and sleep just like you, too. But can you do what I do? If not, then you have no right to criticize me, so please keep your mouths shut, and stop speaking nonsense — not for my sake, but so that you don’t create bad karma for yourselves. This has nothing to do with me.”

“I’ve said before, and so did Lord Jigten Sumgon, that all gurus can help put an end to your ailments. But you must be diligent. What is diligence? Listening and practicing; making changes. Disciple Chu worked hard every day, trying to make more money. But, in all honesty, not everyone is supposed to live. And you aren’t given more life so that you can make more money, but so that you can practice. And if you aren’t willing to practice, your karma will come back for you. A lot of people say Disciple Chu’s passing was sudden, but it really wasn’t. He used to smoke and drink all day long. So why wouldn’t he get cancer? It’s just that he took refuge early on, and so my compassion suppressed his disease. Furthermore, as he was willing to assist me with certain errands, his karma was suppressed as well. But then, he didn’t listen, and he had wicked thoughts. When you have wicked thoughts about your guru, your blessings disappear. It’s not that I didn’t bless him; I would never deny anyone blessings, and I dedicate merit for you all every day. So why is it this doesn’t take effect for everyone? Because it all comes down to your own minds; it has nothing to do with me.”

“You have to understand, no one is making you practice Buddhism. And if you expect your guru and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to fulfill your desires, there’s no way that will happen. Why? Because if Buddhism was about fulfilling our desires, then I would just have His Holiness and the yidam fulfill mine. And then, when would it be your turn? Who has done more, you or me? And who has given more in offerings? You haven’t done more than me, so why would all of your desires now be fulfilled? This cannot happen. And, this being the case, you might as well practice the Dharma earnestly. Don’t try pulling tricks or being smart. Be foolish. It is fine to be a bit foolish in front of your guru, and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. But you can’t do this out in society, as you fear getting taken advantage of. And so, out there, you have to show off your intelligence and competence. However, you don’t need this for your practice of the Dharma.”

“‘And non-origination, not from within or without.’ This is difficult to explain. We speak of ‘dependent origins,’ but this says ‘non-origination.’ So how do we explain this? You must understand that although we on the Bodhisattva Path create all kinds of causes and conditions for sentient beings, we don’t make them arise. We don’t say: ‘Come over, here’s the good thing for you.’ And we don’t say that you will fall to hell if you don’t listen. This arising of causes and conditions doesn’t occur without your resolution. It’s like I always say: ‘It’s all up to you.’ Unless you are resolute, all of the opportunities your guru and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas may create for you will disperse and disappear. That is to say, those of us on the Bodhisattva Path don’t think: ‘I’ve created so many virtuous causes and conditions for you, and I’m going to be mad if you don’t take them.’ No. ‘But you say you don’t get angry. So then, why do you punish us?’ I don’t punish you. Why would I teach you if you didn’t want to learn? It’s just like Disciple Zheng saying he’s afraid he won’t be able to keep up, and sounding so humble and polite.”

“Here, ‘non-origination’ doesn’t mean there is no dependent origination. ‘Non-action and non-dwelling.’ We who practice on the Bodhisattva Path don’t think of our actions as helping other beings. It’s just that when the conditions are there, our minds move, and we give help. But without these conditions, we don’t move, and we don’t go around saying we’re going to help others, or purposefully go searching for these conditions. This is because we know that so long as we have sufficient karmic fortune, we will naturally encounter beings to liberate. But otherwise, no matter how much we want to help — and even if we try to by force — we won’t get to them. And even going to Tibet to see a great Rinpoche will be useless, because you won’t be able to attain it anyway.”

“‘And non-origination, not from within or without.’ ‘Not dwelling in the realm of the mind, it is seen as illusory.’ All are the ways of causes and conditions, arising and dissipating. The same goes for the relationship between guru and disciple. For example, out of your aspiration and pledge, you supplicate to the yidam for blessings after every empowerment so that you may serve your guru happily across future lifetimes. Why is this phrase included? To prevent you from wavering. Your guru doesn’t care if anyone serves him. But if you choose to do so, he will be strict, because if you serve him incorrectly, this will create bad karma for you.”

“It’s difficult to make you understand the meaning of these passages. But I can tell you they are talking about emptiness. ‘Not from within or without.’ When we practice Buddhism, we don’t get a sense of our progress from outward appearances. For example, hearing someone say: ‘You are so dignified,’ and then thinking you have really changed. Or thinking you’ve changed because your temper hasn’t shown itself lately. As for ‘within,’ we also don’t think things like: ‘I feel good today, like an electric current is running through me.’ This is also wrong. All bodily sensations are false appearances, and impermanent. Don’t think that the feelings in your body signify progress in your practice. Take me performing the Phowa for believers and disciples for example. If I was feeling the existence of my body, I wouldn’t be able to perform the Phowa. And if I was feeling Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara both inside and outside of me, this also would prevent me from performing it. This is all done in emptiness. The only time I can fully understand the minds of others is when in emptiness. When you kneel before me and start gabbing away, I know what’s genuine and what isn’t. It only comes down to whether or not my mind moves. If my mind doesn’t move, I pay no mind to what you say. But as soon as my mind moves, I know exactly what’s going on.”

“It’s like how when an ordained disciple speaks, I immediately know whether or not she has faith in me. How? Well, if she talks back to me, that means she thinks she’s right and I’m wrong; that I don’t understand the precepts; that I have made a mistake; and that she is a practitioner and I am not. I am not a shallow container. So why do I go through all of this trouble with her? I could just agree. ‘Yeah, you’re great, you’re so earnest.’ But I, like Bodhidharma, don’t speak senselessly. Am I supposed to let her off without reprimand when she breaks a precept? And you do this too. So, should I let you off when you’re clearly breaking your precepts? If I did, then I would be in the wrong, and be breaking my own precepts. And so, I have to call you out. A lot of people are afraid to practice Buddhism here because I am so strict. But why is this? Because I don’t want you to keep reincarnating, and so I have to be strict. I have to teach you based on the teachings of the sutras.”

Sutra: “Thusly, they abide in equal Samadhi.”

“If you realize the previous realms, your true Samadhi will dwell in your body, speech and mind equally. Dwell in where? Dwell in the pure Dharma nature, rather than contrived consciousness and thought. Shakyamuni Buddha was clear. You think you’re so great. But can you do these things? ‘Not dwelling in the realm of the mind, it is seen as illusory. Observing all dharma is the Dharma Realm. Non-action and non-dwelling. And non-origination, not from within or without.’ You must realize and implement each of these, and then your great Samadhi of body, speech and mind can abide equally in your pure original nature. This is very difficult. And so, now you know Buddhism is no joke. It’s not just recitations. How many lifetimes of work does it take just to do what these passages ask?”

“What gives me the right to sit on this Dharma throne? It’s not my oration abilities, but rather because I do what these passages say, and have never stopped. And so, I have attained the Samadhi of body, speech, and mind. Someone who is always flip-flopping, doesn’t keep his word, and changes his mind as soon as he says something cannot do this practice. Some people admit they change, but say they aren’t hurting anyone; this is the same. It’s like I taught my children: ‘Do what you promise and don’t promise what you can’t do.’ You need to make this a habit. If you are constantly flip-flopping in daily life, your thoughts will do the same, and then how can you cultivate and realize emptiness? Those who have too many attachments cannot do this either.”

“Everything Shakyamuni Buddha says in the Ratnakuta Sutra is Madhyamaka. I’ve asked His Holiness before if I need to study the Madhyamaka Sastra, but he said: ‘There’s no need; cultivation in Mahamudra is enough.’ And now I know this to be true. But without having studied the Madhyamaka Sastra or Mahamudra, or having realized emptiness, I wouldn’t be able to teach these passages. I wouldn’t understand what they’re talking about, saying not to move or abide. Buddhism clearly teaches dependent origination and emptiness, and yet now this is saying ‘non-origination.’ There is nothing wrong here. All of the realms the Buddha spoke of are the realms of Bodhisattvas — the realms you need to cultivate on the Bodhisattva Path. ‘Doing’ doesn’t refer to your actions, but to your mind realizing this realm. And only then can you abide in equal Samadhi. Otherwise, it is false. That is to say, it is just a bit of tranquility, and peace of mind. But you haven’t attained Samadhi, and so the Dharma you practice merely grants you human and heaven karmic fortune. Don’t think things like: ‘I recite well, and so Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara has helped my daughter-in-law get pregnant.”

“Why don’t I let you talk back? Because when you do this, that means you think I’m wrong. And that also means the Dharma I teach is wrong. If that’s the case, how could you get a drop of merit from it? The more I teach the Ratnakuta Sutra, the more you will realize how much wrong you have done. The Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows states: ‘All movements of mind is sin and karma.’ This means that the thoughts that arise in us have nothing to do with the words of the Buddha. And the movements of our minds have nothing to do with the compassion the Buddha spoke of, either. And so, this disciple talks back because she lacks compassion. She shouldn’t think she has cultivated compassion. She’s been ordained for years, and when the situation arises, she shows her true colors. She is ordained; she is better than you, and has fewer afflictions to deal with, and yet she still breaks her precepts. So what of all of you! You think reciting every day means you’ve upheld your precepts?”

“Of course, you’ll say: ‘Practicing Buddhism is such hard work.’ But why don’t I think this as your guru? And yet, you think it is so hard and stressful? The reason for this is simple: you don’t want to change, and you just want to practice the Dharma your own way, with your own thoughts. But what does what you think have to do with the Buddha? The Buddha gives you a way to do something, and yet you disobey, and want to do things your own way. And you call this taking refuge? Is this practicing the Dharma? No; it is not listening.”

Sutra: “Thus, Elder. This is how an ordained Bodhisattva is able to visualize the gathering of pure Samadhi.”

“An ordained practitioner on the Bodhisattva Path must be able to understand and experience all of these realms in order to visualize pure Samadhi, gather power of Samadhi, and unlock wisdom. What does ‘gather’ mean? Don’t think that being in meditation for an hour without any thoughts is gathering Samadhi. The meditation of a mortal cannot put one in a complete Samadhi state like that of a Dharmakaya Bodhisattva, or in complete stillness like that of a great arhat. It’s like the Venerable Mahakasyapa waiting in Samadhi for Maitreya on Jakang Mountain. This is the realm of Samadhi. Is this realm one can attain right away? No. He cultivated himself to arhathood at least seven times, reincarnating seven times before he was able to follow Shakyamuni Buddha. So, by gathering power of Samadhi over lifetimes, the day will come when one’s Samadhi power becomes extraordinary.”

“The Dharma isn’t about instantly turning oneself into someone else. These accomplishments are accumulated over time; instant change isn’t possible. Here, it is made clear that you must attain the realms mentioned above before you will have what it takes to enter pure Samadhi. Pure Samadhi isn’t for the purpose of some kind of fruition; it is natural Samadhi. And when all of your thoughts cease and your mind is still, you will naturally enter Samadhi and dwell in your pure original nature. But this isn’t artificial or intentional. Only this can be called pure Samadhi, and thus can be gathered.”

Sutra: “And, Elder. An ordained Bodhisattva hears the Dharma and gather pure wisdom.”

“All that I just spoke of unlocks our pure wisdom. Simply put, we are already equipped with the conditions for this; it’s just that across lifetimes, our pure wisdom is covered up. But with the Buddha’s teachings and diligent practice, we can gradually gather pure wisdom, and this is called ‘acquired wisdom.’”

“Only once you’ve gathered acquired wisdom can you develop your original, pure primordial wisdom. And so, please don’t say: ‘Rinpoche, bless me, and unlock my wisdom.’ The Buddha said wisdom must be gathered; how could blessings unlock it in an instant? You carry so much wicked karma; it would be impossible! A lot of people come to ask me to unlock their wisdom, and I ask them what for? ‘So that I can get along with my coworkers better.’ When I hear this, my head gets flushed. Do you need wisdom for this? Just study hard and cultivate integrity! And so, a lot of people are confused about what wisdom is.”

Sutra: “After hearing the Dharma, one should practice insight.”

“After hearing the Dharma, you must calm yourselves and practice insight. What is insight? Clearly observing the thoughts in your minds, and seeing if they align with the Dharma the Buddha and your guru teach. If not, then you are not practicing. ‘Hear, think, and practice’ means that after we hear the Dharma, we must think about whether or not our actions, speech, and thoughts contradict it. If so, we must change. And if not, we have to continue diligently practicing on without fear. Do not be timid like Disciple Zheng. When you do this, you are not diligent. And without diligence, how can you live up to the Six Paramitas? And what path are you cultivating then? The Mortal Path? The aspiration of your guru is always to stop sentient beings from reincarnating. And if you aren’t willing to follow in my steps in your practice, how can you hold onto your blessings?”

“My logic here is clear. Don’t think: ‘I don’t want to practice the Dharma because I can’t keep up with and live up to Rinpoche.’ Of course you can’t live up to what I’ve done. But you still have to do these things, and accept. You have to follow me, rather than explaining things away to me like you’re humble and noble. This is deceitful, and thus already a breaking of your precepts. Clearly you don’t want to learn, so don’t. I don’t care if you leave, and I won’t punish you. You don’t hear the Dharma. And you are not thinking about it after you hear it, and pondering your faults. You just think: ‘Rinpoche yelled at me! But why? I’m right!’ When you say you are right, you are wrong!”

“It’s easy even for ordained disciples to go against their precepts, much less you lay disciples. Why is it I’m always telling you to resolve, and be resolute in your faith? Although Disciple Chu lived his life in a stupor speaking nonsense, he always had faith that I could liberate him, and this never changed. But you even waver in your faith. According to the law of cause and effect, if a person spits up blood when they die, that means they will fall to the Three Evil Realms. So why didn’t I let this happen to Disciple Chu? Because: ‘Faith is the mother of merit.’ He had absolute faith in his guru, and so this merit took effect. Had he died in the middle of the night, he would have had to wait for me to wake up, and suffered for several more hours. But he died in the morning and came to me immediately, and so of course I started performing the Dharma for him right away! All of this is up to you. I help you all without discrimination; everything comes down to your karma and fortune. And of course, you are denied as soon as you turn your back.”

“It is made clear here. ‘After hearing the Dharma, one should practice insight.’ You must visualize. Visualizing doesn’t mean using thought. See things clearly, and don’t look for excuses. You always do this when you do something wrong. ‘I’m right, and he’s wrong.’ But if you’re right and he’s wrong, then you’re wrong too. Why? Because you have too much of an ego. Whether you practice Buddhism or not, if you hope to stand out in this complex society of ours, there are a lot of things you won’t be able to see clearly unless you are a more objective person. Only then can you reduce your chances of doing wrong. However, you don’t just use the Dharma to learn a few trivial things. In reality, it helps you enormously in your lives.”

Sutra: “What is gathering pure wisdom? A Bodhisattva should practice thusly.”

“You must practice the Dharma as just described by the Buddha — not relying on your own research, experience, feelings, and ways of thinking. If you don’t act in accordance with the Dharma and the methods the Buddha taught, and instead do things your own way, then you absolutely will be wrong. This female ordained disciple has taken refuge under me, and I am too strict with her. But I view things not from this perspective, but from the perspective of her precepts. You wouldn’t do this if you upheld your precepts, so why has this happened? When you don’t respect your guru, the Three Jewels, and your precepts, you naturally go against them. But she hasn’t broken her precepts. There is a difference between breaking precepts and going against them. ‘Going against’ your precepts just means you’ve done something that your precepts don’t allow; but that isn’t breaking your precepts.’

Sutra: “Distinguishing wisdom of causal conditions.”

“This is an interesting passage. The Bodhisattva Path clearly tells us not to discriminate; so why does it talk about distinguishing wisdom? Because those who practice the Bodhisattva Path have to understand the ways of causal conditions, clearly differentiating where they come from and where they lead. And only with this distinguishing wisdom can one understand in what measure to use wisdom, and also when not to use it, and do nothing.”

“Even if I know someone lacks resolve, I don’t say anything, but rather simply first help them with their arrangements. Distinguishing wisdom doesn’t mean I use wisdom to distinguish between whom I should liberate or help first. It means I distinguish causal conditions in order to decide what methods to utilize, and what one is able to best accept. And so, it is important that I am able to distinguish causal conditions. For example, at first Disciple Chu was reluctant to face death, as he worried for his daughter. But I told him I would look after her so that he could pass without going on suffering. As a result, he didn’t suffer at all. Before his death, he felt some discomfort, but nothing like tossing and turning in bed in pain. That second disciple spoke about her second oldest brother. What is there to cry about? Her family has no faith in me, treating me like an idol to pray to. Both of these disciples had cancer, and Disciple Chu’s was even worse than her brother’s. He originally should have started getting sick much sooner — around the year before last.”

“This distinguishing wisdom doesn’t mean your guru or the Bodhisattvas discriminating between you. It means we give you different levels of aid and guidance based on your causal conditions. A lot of people ask me to teach the Phowa, but I refuse, as you aren’t at that level yet. How could I teach you? I distinguish your causal conditions and determine how to help you with wisdom based on causes and what arises. And if I insist on teaching you certain dharma or helping you before you are ready, it will be of no use, and you will slander the Buddha. You’ll think: ‘Why can’t I succeed in this? Maybe Rinpoche is being selfish, and hasn’t taught me everything.’ Distinguishing wisdom doesn’t mean discriminating between sentient beings, but rather distinguishing causal conditions and using wisdom to help them.”

Sutra: “Discourse wisdom.”

“‘Discourse wisdom’ doesn’t mean debating the Dharma, but rather refers to when we speak the Dharma. Here, discourse doesn’t refer to out-debating others, but rather thoroughly explaining the true meaning behind the Dharma the Buddha spoke.”
Sutra: “Swift wisdom.”

“When asked a question, you must respond right away, otherwise you will be stumped. For example, yesterday someone came and told me his daughter suffered from depression, and I asked him: ‘When your daughter sees a doctor, does she have to go in person?’ And he said yes. So, I asked him: ‘But she doesn’t have to come when seeking out the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas?’ This is swift wisdom. I met him with swift wisdom, and broke through his lack of reverence for the Three Jewels. A lot of people think just coming here is enough. ‘Rinpoche will help me with his Divine Knowledge.’ But this is a lack of reverence — thinking that I will do whatever they ask. But if I did what he asked, such as reciting certain mantras, and it didn’t have the effect he wanted, he’d say: ‘I wouldn’t have wasted the trip if I’d known this from the start.’ If I didn’t have this swift wisdom, I would have been stumped by him. Another time, there was a child who didn’t want to study, and faked mental illness. When he came to me, I roared at him like a lion, making his eyes open wide. I said: ‘Go on pretending!’ At that moment, he really was faking it, and then went back to normal. This too is swift wisdom.”

“Another time, a woman came in with her family, crying like she meant it, saying her husband was having an affair and so on. In the mean time, her family was even helping her along. But I just looked at her and said: ‘You have a boyfriend.’ But she denied it, so I said again: ‘You have a boyfriend.’ She denied it again. Then I said it a third time: ‘You have a boyfriend.’ Finally, she admitted it. Without this kind of swift wisdom, had I just showed her sympathy and tried to help her, what would have happened? Where does this come from? This is distinguishing wisdom, discourse wisdom, and swift wisdom based on the ways of causal conditions. So — ordained disciples — don’t think you can liberate others and speak the Dharma just because you studied at a Buddhist university. Unless you’ve reached this level, you can’t do it.”

“Sentient beings come with 84,000 afflictions of all different kinds. Do you think it’s so easy to solve all of their problems? These ordained disciples are around me every Saturday, and they know I have different methods for helping different people. Some I scold; some I reassure; and some I try to drive them away— all different kinds. And without this wisdom, I would really be stumped. People come in saying they can sense ghosts when they clearly aren’t possessed. But if they really were in such a condition, would they be able to enter this Buddhist Center?”

Sutra: “Wisdom of understanding sentient beings.”

“This doesn’t refer to the wisdom sentient beings have, but rather the wisdom to understand them. How can you help the beings of the Six Realms unless you possess the wisdom needed to understand them? I get so many visitors, and they all have different requests and ways of thinking about things. For instance, a family came in yesterday with all kinds of demands, and were it somebody else, he or she might have thought: ‘Someone in the family has cancer, I should just give that person my blessings.’ But I refused, and instead scolded them. Some people want to fuss with me, but I don’t have time for such things, and so I have them talk to my disciples instead. And this too is swift wisdom. One of my ordained disciples can go on and on, and they usually don’t come back afterwards.”

Sutra: “Wisdom of embracing non-believers.”

“This refers to people who start out believing non-Buddhist Paths, not practicing the Dharma. And this wisdom is used to embrace such people. And so, the people I admonish always return, while those I don’t admonish do not return. This is because my admonishments are directed at their problems. And combined, this wisdom of understanding sentient beings, discourse wisdom, and swift wisdom brings them in.
Sutra: “Elder, thus is how an ordained Bodhisattva can visualize the gathering of pure wisdom. And, Elder, an ordained Bodhisattva should practice thusly.”

“A Bodhisattva must meet these conditions before one can visualize and gather pure wisdom. You can’t liberate others unless you have learned these things. Liberating sentient beings isn’t about just sticking to a book of sutras, telling people who get sick to recite from the Sutra of the Medicine Buddha, and those with special conditions to recite from the Sutra of Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows. This is mindlessness and nonsense. The sutra is clear that you must do all of these things if you are to accumulate pure wisdom, and to practice the Bodhisattva Path with these methods.”

Sutra: “Those called individuals of wisdom will be unbound.”

“Those who truly have wisdom won’t be bound and restrained by worldly matters. Since I first started promoting the Dharma, to this day I refuse to take offerings from non-disciples. I don’t want to become famous, and this remains true to this day. The wisdom I develop is for the benefit of others, not for my own reputation or interests. This means I’m not bound. Thus, my emptiness wisdom is constantly building. In fact, this is why I am able to liberate others in masses, rather than just a few. How does one attain the ability to liberate others? By fulfilling the conditions the Buddha spoke of. Ask yourself if you’ve done these things. And if not, listen, and be more humble.”

Sutra: “Being without a body, hold on to nothing.”

“This doesn’t refer to the corporeal body disappearing. So long as we live on this earth, this body exists. So why is it the Buddha is always telling us there is no body? Because the body is produced by karma, and impermanent change. And so, we need not cling to this body — for instance, thinking you should remain young because of your recitations; that you shouldn’t get sick because of the many mantras you recite; or that you should be becoming more attuned. These are all aspects of attachment to the body.”

“Simply put, practitioners of the Bodhisattva Path realize that changes in the body are caused by arising and dissipating causal conditions, accumulated karmic fortune and wisdom. These changes aren’t necessarily good or bad. It’s all just karma. It is better for your health if you don’t get upset about these things. Why do people have health problems? Because of a load of vexations. When these vexations arise, illness swiftly follows. Disciple Chu spent his days worrying about all of the conning he did, deceiving people until he could deceive them no longer. So, his cancer increased rapidly all at once. Most doctors said the same thing: Positive moods reduce the spread of cancer, while negative moods exacerbate it.”

At this time, medical professional Disciple Xie reported: “This is true. There are interactions between many of our moods, the endocrine system, and other structures in the body. This is why psychiatry exists in medicine — because of the affects our bodies and moods have on one another. And of course cancer fits into this category. It is often the case that when a cancer patient is in a bad mood or something happens to them, their condition will rapidly decline.”

Rinpoche continued: “When I got skin cancer, I went on with my life with equanimous mind, and my cancer ceased getting worse. Some people are terrified just to receive the news of their cancer, and are frightened to death before the cancer even kills them. So, where does this come from? Faith in karma and causality. It’s not about acceptance or living with these things — don’t go around repeating these empty phrases. This is your karma, and you cannot get rid of it no matter how hard you try.”

“The Buddha said it again and again, as have I: no one can change your karma. We can only give you blessings, and give you opportunities to accumulate karmic fortune and continue practicing the Dharma. But you have to put what I teach into action if you want to change your karma. Otherwise, if you don’t listen and act, how can anything change? As a matter of fact, the Buddha cannot go against cause and effect, and I cannot either. So then, you must wonder, why did I perform the Phowa for Disciple Chu? Because he did a lot for the new temple, and this was his karmic reward.”

“Why do the Dharma texts tell you to serve your guru? This is why. Otherwise, if you say you’re too busy and have other things to do, I can’t be sure of what will happen to you later. And then, when you need me most, I may not be around. But it is up to you if you believe or not.”

Sutra: “No movement or abiding. No appearance or form.”

“The minds of those who practice the Bodhisattva Path neither move nor abide. They only move at the requests of others. But without their requests, we cannot help these beings even if we want to. Not abiding means our minds do not dwell within any realm. Shakyamuni Buddha once said we must let go of meditation, as when the mind abides in meditation, we cannot benefit others. For instance, in the case of the Phowa, if I relied on appearance and form, I wouldn’t be able to help others and put holes in their crown chakras from so far away. Of course, this is the power of compassion. But what’s most important is that we become cultivated to this level. At this level, we understand that all appearances come through visualization, and then disappear. After that we don’t go on investigating them.”

“Another way of explaining ‘no appearance or form’ is: all appearances and forms we see come from thought. For example, there is a foreign region where men like bigger women — at least over 200 pounds. This is the appearance they like. In Taiwan, people are always trying to lose weight, but there they try to gain weight. In 18th century Europe, there was a famous debutante who all the men wanted to pursue. But I’ve seen her picture, and she isn’t the type people would like today at all, as she was full-figured and had a beard. But that’s what men liked back then, clinging to this appearance and form.”

“From this, we can deduce that preferences for appearances come from the mind, as do aversions. I often say that those on the Bodhisattva Path do not discriminate between good and bad, or the wealthy and poor. So long as a sentient being has a need that doesn’t betray cause and effect, they will help anyone. And this is where this comes from. If I cared about appearance and helped someone more because he was wealthy, that would be wrong. Furthermore, if I cared about form and gave someone more help because he looked like a Buddhist practitioner, that would be wrong, too. After all, someone can be a Buddhist practitioner without looking like one.”

“For example, Mahakala’s appearance looked terrifying. However, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara pacified Mahakala with his favored female appearance so that Avalokiteshvara could liberate him. And now Mahakala is the primary Dharma protector of the Four Schools of Tibetan Buddhism — called Daheitian in Chinese. Had Avalokiteshvara clung to appearance, form, and body, how would she have been able to transform herself? As she understands the minds of sentient beings, she was able to do this, and knew what he wanted.”

“In Buddhism, it is said: ‘hook them with desire.’ This doesn’t mean fulfilling your desires, but rather giving you something in the moment. It’s like giving you a sugar cube. When you eat it, there’s a sweet taste in your mouth. But then comes the stick. I don’t keep fulfilling your desires. If I did, that would be wrong.”

Sutra: “No arising or action. Like the void.”

“You think of all phenomena as arising and moving, but this isn’t actually the case. It is like the void of space. Space never moves or changes. And when a star appears or disappears, that is just because of causes and conditions. The same goes for when people get sick. Simply put, while walking on the Bodhisattva Path, if you have a complex mind, filled with vexations and egotistical thoughts, it will be difficult for you to practice. You will always think about yourself, and so it will be difficult for you to go on practicing, because you won’t be willing to give up things you think are important to you. And if you think something conflicts with your interests in some way, you’ll give up on the Dharma and your pledges.”

Sutra: “Elder, visualizing thusly to be called a Bodhisattva abiding in ordainment.”

“You must observe all of your behavior and action, speech, and thought in accordance with all of the above teachings in order to be called a Bodhisattva abiding in ordainment. That is to say: being of ordained appearance doesn’t make you an ordained practitioner or an ordained Bodhisattva. Practitioners of lay appearance can also be called ordained Bodhisattvas in Madhyamaka, so long as they stay within the realm of mind that the Buddha taught. And this means that if you don’t do these things, even if you are of ordained appearance, you aren’t an ordained Bodhisattva. But if you do, even if you are of lay appearance, you can be an ordained Bodhisattva. Thus, none of the ordained disciples present are ordained Bodhisattvas, but rather ordained mortals, as you have not yet realized Madhyamaka, Mahamudra, or emptiness.”

“However, it doesn’t matter if you are just a mortal. As long as you listen and act accordingly, the day will come that you can do these things. The Buddha never spoke of success in a single bound. He spoke of gradual accumulation through constant effort. Here it is made clear that you need not be ordained or be a layman to practice the Bodhisattva Path, so long as you can live up to and realize this realm of mind. Simple, right? It is simpler than becoming an arhat. But this simplicity is at the same time the most difficult, as it conflicts with the world we are familiar with.”

“We’re used to possession — not letting go and not giving up that which we think we know, possess, and understand. But so long as you keep holding on these things, you will never realize emptiness. Where does emptiness come from? I can’t just bless you with emptiness. Just as the first step of the Bodhisattva Path is accumulating reserves of karmic fortune, to start on the Path of Preparation (the Four Common and Four Uncommon Preliminary Practices), you must have sufficient reserves of fortune and merit. Then, you must become cultivated on this Path of Preparation before you can perceive emptiness. And only after realizing emptiness can you practice the Path of Buddhahood.”

“Currently, you are still at the stage of building up your reserves. A lot of people come to me to implore the Four Uncommon Preliminary Practices, but I don’t impart these lightly. This isn’t me be stingy with what I’ve learned, but rather because the Bodhisattva Path is clear that you must cultivate reserves of fortune and wisdom before you can practice the Path of Preparation. Moreover, the Four Uncommon Preliminary Practices are clear that if you are to become cultivated in accordance with the Dharma, auspicious signs must appear. Thus, you must have sufficient fortune and wisdom, and you must listen to my recordings of the Four Common Preliminary Practices.”

“A lot of people have forgotten that I’ve already expounded on the Four Common Preliminary Practices, and yet they want the Four Uncommon Preliminary Practices right away, thinking they’re special and understand the former. Yesterday, some disciples implored the transmission of the Four Uncommon Preliminary Practices from me, and I told them they would have to listen to recordings of all of my Four Common Preliminary Practices teachings within a month. These teachings went on for nine months, about two hours per week, for a total of 56 hours. So, this is possible. There are 24 hours in a day, and 720 in a month. You should have plenty of time. So, if you can’t accomplish this, don’t bother learning.”

“Why do I want them to listen to the Four Common Preliminary Practices teachings? Because they are the foundation of Exoteric Buddhism, and what makes you think you can learn the Four Uncommon Preliminary Practices without this foundation? Or Tantra? I’m not at all careless. I know how I learned these things, and so I know what you need to do to learn them right, too. In fact, it takes more than just completing prostrations, recitations, and offerings of the Four Uncommon Preliminary Practices.”

“Why did that ordained disciple talk back? Because she looks down upon the Four Uncommon Preliminary Practices, thinking them just repentance practices. Repentance in the Four Uncommon Preliminary Practices isn’t for you to become better off, but rather so that you can repent for not having yet attained the Bodhisattva Path and helping sentient beings! You think you change for the better just from doing 100,000 prostrations, and that you’re cultivated now? You should be ashamed that you’ve been around for so long without helping sentient beings, and this is what the Four Common Preliminary Practices tell us! How can you practice the Bodhisattva Path without reserves of karmic fortune? You think you have fortune just because you’ve given a few offerings?”

Rinpoche continued: “If you want to practice the Bodhisattva Path, you can’t be concerned with whether or not you will become attained in this lifetime. But you must value what Shakyamuni Buddha taught, remember his teachings, and start acting accordingly. Don’t think you can’t do this. Otherwise, you will be right, because it is up to you if you can do it or not. All of the Buddhas had to first cultivate bodhisattvahood, and no one gets to skip ahead. All practice ground by ground as Bodhisattvas. In the Ratnakuta Sutra, the Buddha clearly outlines the mindset and conditions required to practice the Bodhisattva Path. Could you do this if the Buddha hadn’t taught us? The Buddha was clear that you must practice thusly to be an ordained Bodhisattva. Otherwise, you won’t be a Bodhisattva even if you put a hundred burn marks on your arms.”

“How do we practice ‘thusly?’ By listening, and following the teachings procedurally, step by step, working away ceaselessly bit by bit. Only then can you become a realized ordained Bodhisattva, change your karma, escape the cycle of life and death, and thus help others to do the same. But if you don’t follow the Bodhisattva Path, and just pray for blessings and so on, the most the Dharma can do for you is fulfill a few trivial desires. But it won’t be able to change your karma in this lifetime. Why? Because you don’t listen and put these teachings into action. And unless you do these things, at most you will just accumulate human and heaven karmic fortune, which can only be used in the next life. So listen closely; these are the words of the Buddha.”

“I’m nearly finished with this chapter, and I’ll be finishing over the next couple of weeks. These passages are important, and all who practice the Bodhisattva Path must keep the methods taught by the Buddha firmly in mind, and must not slack off. Otherwise, although I won’t make you leave, I may not transmit any further Dharma to you. But you will still be able to attend pujas. Still, if you don’t follow the Bodhisattva Path in this lifetime, you cannot change your karma. Only practice the Bodhisattva Path can transform your karma and allow you to accumulate boundless merit.”

“So, whether you are of lay or ordained appearance in this lifetime, practice, act, listen, and think in accordance with Shakyamuni Buddha’s teachings in the Ratnakuta Sutra. In this way, there will certainly come the day that you can cultivate to be a Bodhisattva. I can’t guarantee you can do this in this lifetime, but at the very least you can be a standby Bodhisattva, and you will have a chance of getting to the Land of Amitabha, where you can truly practice the Bodhisattva Path.”

“However, don’t think you can go to the Land of Amitabha just because you are reverent and devout in this life. It’s like the two disciples from earlier. I performed the Phowa for one, and not for the other. The difference wasn’t in how much they gave in offerings, but rather who had reverence for their guru and who just used me for blessings. I am very clear about it. You create all of your karmic retribution and reward for yourselves; I do not create it for you. I can’t change your karmic retribution. But I can help you lighten it. This is absolutely possible.”

“The Dharma is something we have to put in lifetimes of effort to practice, rather than just trying to get by however we can. And we don’t hear and use the Dharma to attain good moods, or achieve certain goals, either. It is a rare thing in our society today to be able to hear the true teaching of the Ratnakuta Sutra, and few are willing to expound it. This isn’t because it is difficult or toilsome, but rather because they fear losing their followers. And if I strictly implement the sutra, you would all run off. And so, instead I use expedient methods.”

“If you aren’t willing to practice the Bodhisattva Path, then you can come here as a quasi-disciple. And, of course, if you are willing to do practice Bodhisattva Path, you are a disciple, and the word ‘quasi’ disappears. And then, so long as you remain by my side, I will work to liberate you, lifetime after lifetime. But if you are just a quasi-disciple, without that special relationship, we will say goodbye after this life ends, and you won’t be able to find me again, as I will be in the void. So think long and hard. Don’t treat the Dharma like a game, thinking it is just entertainment, or that you have to understand it completely before putting it into practice.”

“When I first started out as a believer, I didn’t understand either, and I didn’t try to look for answers. I just listened and acted accordingly. Everything else is just matters you do for your own sake and imagine up. The Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center is a pure Buddhist center. It was difficult to establish, and is difficult to maintain. Why? This is a complicated issue, including considerations about whether the guru wants to continue with his methods, and whether or not his disciples comply. And so, even if I have the will to keep going, if my disciples do not, I can’t go on. This is a two-way street.”

“It’s one thing for me to be strict, but so long as you lack resolve, my strictness will be of no use. Still, it is clear to me that I need this method to help you transform your karma and karmic retribution in this lifetime; there is no other way. Don’t think you are so diligent just for doing recitations every day. Without the right mindset, reciting does you no good. You have to recite in accordance with the teachings of the Buddha for these changes to gradually take effect, and transform your karma for your practice so that you stop doing wrong. And so, you first need a clear understanding; do no more wrong with the Dharma, and listen at the very least. Only when you listen will you stop doing wrong and start making progress, rather than just imploring me all day long.”
“Of course, I allow your imploring. But don’t make mistakes and then think if worst comes to worst you can just repent. Sure, I will accept your repentance, but the problem remains with you. Why is it you keep making mistakes in your practice? This shouldn’t happen. But you just treat the Dharma as a way to kill time, only listening when you feel like it. So listen closely. This isn’t me admonishing you, but the words of the sutras. And I tell you everything the sutras teach. It is the Buddha who teaches me how to act, and so I am teaching you the same.”

“If you can’t do these things, that’s fine. But you must not change your mind, or turn back. You have to work hard, and not make excuses like Disciple Zheng. Do not be timid. If you say you can’t do something, then you can’t, and that is because you are lazy. Why should you find this so difficult and toilsome when even I don’t? Because you are always murmuring, thinking doing these things brings you no benefit, and that things are fine now the way they are, so why change? And, what benefit do these things bring you?”

“I started practicing Buddhism when I was 36, and at the time, I couldn’t imagine what my future would be like. Really; I am telling you the truth. I’ve told you all multiple times before that I never thought I would become a Rinpoche one day, or that I would liberate so many sentient beings. How could I have known this when I first started out? I didn’t have Divine Knowledge to tell me my future. And I was just like you, saying: ‘What am I practicing for? I can’t tell! At least please liberate me!’”

“If you act in alignment with the Dharma, you will see. Don’t try to get your own brand. There are a lot of non-Buddhist paths out there that attach themselves to the Buddha, and you must turn away from them. True Dharma means that every word comes from the sutras. If something someone says doesn’t come from the sutras, you should think carefully about whether or not you should accept it. The sutras talk about these non-Buddhist paths in that they also speak the Dharma on the surface, but can’t liberate sentient beings from the cycle of life and death. On the other hand, if you act in alignment with the methods taught by Shakyamuni Buddha, first changing how you think, and working tirelessly, you will certainly be free from reincarnation.”

Next, His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led the attendees in the Dharma Protector Achi ritual and dedication prayer.

Finally, Rinpoche announced: “June 25 is the memorial day of Lord Jigten Sumgon, and on June 14, we will invite His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang over to preside over the Commemoration Puja.”

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Updated on August 25, 2020