His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings – October 25, 2020

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche presided over the auspicious Chod Puja, and bestowed precious Dharma teachings at the Taipei Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center.

Rinpoche ascended the Dharma throne and began chanting the Great Six-Syllable Mantra immediately. He then started to perform the Dharma and instructed all attendees to speak out the names of the people they wish to help and the names of the deceased.

When Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche recited the Great Six-Syllable Mantra for a very long time, the sounds of his compassion dharma voice lasted ceaselessly like tides of the ocean, and fully occupy in all Ten Directions of the Dharma Realms, and liberate all sentient beings from sufferings through his great compassionate heart. Deep and profound sounds from reciting mantras echoed in the Buddhist center and within emptiness, shaking the hearts of the attendees. All of whom felt Rinpoche’s earnest and great compassionate heart to liberate sentient beings from the suffering sea of reincarnation; tears streamed down many faces.

Upon perfect completion of the puja, Rinpoche bestowed teaching:

Today is the Chod puja, the specialty of this dharma is that it is entirely of the Bodhisattva Path method of cultivation. What is the Bodhisattva Path? It is to only think of sentient beings and never of oneself; to give everything to sentient beings and want nothing of oneself. Contrarily, you all want everything for yourselves and never give to other sentient beings, you even treat your guru in this same manner. So, none of you are cultivating the Bodhisattva Path. Do not think you can attain anything on your own.

Similarly, a disciple of mine came to see me yesterday to tell me she has become sick and how she has been my disciple for over a decade and yet she has not cultivated at all. Obviously she hasn’t cultivated at all. Because for over these ten years, her mindset in learning Buddhism was merely to protect herself from being harmed. People with such an attitude will certainly not be able to learn nor cultivate the Bodhisattva path. She participated in every puja, went vegetarian as well, and she made offerings too. However, she made offerings to the guru as if she was purchasing a ticket for attending a concert. The offering she made were even less than the price of a concert ticket. Although she was not an incredibly wealthy person, she had money. Money mattered a lot to her family. Many of you are like this; everything is fine as long as you’re dining well. It is impossible for people with this mindset to cultivate or learn the Bodhisattva Path.

Do not think that by participating in the puja every week, things would work out for you; recitation of mantras is just a form of supportive causality. That disciple of mine used her good fortune in the aspect of wealth, so in the aspect of health, good fortune is lacking. You all want everything. What Dharmas have you practiced to enable perfect completion in all aspects? What have you done? Only Buddha’s eye can see what we have done in each of our incarnations. Even the Arhats could only know the past and future five hundred life times of a person, so neither you nor I know about these past lifetimes.

In the beginning of the Chod Dharma text there is mention of offerings to all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and Yidam Machik Labdron. You would fear if you heard this prayer, and would even say not to learn Buddhism. I will read you a passage from the dharma text “to offer one’s own body, wealth, good fortune, and virtuous roots boundlessly like clouds to all Buddha and Bodhisattvas, Yidam Machik Labdron, and the guru passing the Dharma. The body includes the external and internal. All the external offerings represent the practitioner’s body. And the internal offerings do not represent the organs but Tantra that includes chachra and bindu (the essence of your life), which are all offered to this Dharma and the guru who passes the Dharma. Wealth means monetary wealth, fortune represents your good fortune, the virtuous root is your root capacity to cultivate and act virtuously, all of the above must be made as offerings. Only when the practitioner makes such selfless offerings without asking for anything in return, can he become attuned with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, which would enable sentient beings to accept consciousness transference.

For a practitioner who practices Chod over a long period, even if one‘s health was bad to begin with, if one continues to practice one‘s health will improve. You might wonder, doesn’t one give everything in this dharma? If the old doesn’t go, the new doesn’t come. You continue to hold onto the old, and by not letting it go, you’re unable to learn anything in Buddhism. Even the thought of learning Buddhism for one’s own sake has nothing to do with the Bodhisattva Path. A consciousness transference puja is not what you imagine — to transfer consciousness by simply reciting the mantras. If I do not have this energy I would already be dead by having monthly consciousness transference pujas. It would be impossible for me to live until now. You would be frightened if you read through this dharma text, and even think that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are unreasonable. Must one even offer one’s own body? What does one eat? When I used to practice Chod everyday, I read the dharma text accordingly, but I still had food to eat, and my body did not disappear. This tells us that everything in the universe is constantly changing, nothing is eternal.

Why do I do this? To break the attachment to self (ego). Why can I break it? Because I can even relinquish my own body. It’s not that you should give up on yourself and refuse to see a doctor when you are sick. Buddha has never prevented or opposed us from seeing a doctor. Some people often say “the body is not important, all four elements are void, it is alright for the body to fall apart.” But without this body we are unable to practice. In the Outer Tantras of the scriptures, Shakyamuni Buddha cures the sick, and Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva gives medicine to believers and disciples, which means that we still need to see the doctor. When my temple is built, if I ever get wind of my monastic disciples refusing to go to the doctor when they get sick, they will definitely be expelled. Do not have the misconception that Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas are all-powerful, Buddha never said that he was all powerful — that is the notion of non-Buddhist beliefs. If you are unhealthy how can you learn Buddhism? Having bad health is the result of one’s own karma, you must be responsible by bearing and accepting such circumstances. Although seeing a doctor may not cure the disease, because you have learned Buddhism, at least the doctor won’t give you the wrong medicine.

In practicing the chod puja, we make many types of offerings and generosities because we must first accumulate our own good fortune, and only through selfless boundless offerings that ask for nothing in return, then we possess the ability to benefit all sentient beings. It is not that we are thereby able to enjoy ourselves or have any progress in our own cultivation. Do not think that through mere recitation of the dharma text can one cultivate. If I do not possess this energy, I cannot attain anything. When one gives one’s own body to the sentient beings, it is to let them eat one’s own flesh, bone and blood, thereby eliminating their hearts of evil. If the practitioner does not possess the Bodhicitta, and cannot act upon the Bodhicitta, and is unwilling to make generosity and offerings, one cannot practice this Dharma successfully. Only by eliminating the evil heart, can the virtuous heart rise, which enables sentient beings to be attuned with Bodhisattva Avalokiteshsava’s heart of compassion, and thereby have one’s consciousness transferred. Although I finish reciting the texts very quickly, it is definitely because I have cultivated this for many years and many lifetimes. Since you are unable to do so, be an abiding disciple or believer, and don’t play tricks with me.

A passage in the dharma texts says that I must transform myself into another Yidam and call upon many sentient beings to receive the generosity and offerings. In this state I make offerings to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and give generosity to the sentient beings. It is written in the dharma texts: You will not die a premature death if you have absolute faith in Guru, the Dharma and attend the Chod Puja for a long time, this excludes the son of the disciple who spoke before the puja. Her son’s death has nothing to do with me. Since the center was founded in 1997, no child has died prematurely in this center. All those demons and hosts of illness named in this dharma text will be called upon to partake in eating the Guru’s blood, flesh and bone. Some of you may say that Rinpoche looks fine. As average human beings you cannot see them with your naked eye, but all the sentient beings who came have witnessed my offerings! Did they eat any of it? Of course! How else would they be so obedient? The moment I blow on the Dharma instrument fashioned from a human bone, many sentient beings come. They have to first eat to obtain the good fortune for me to transfer their consciousness. If the dharma practitioners do not have good fortune and merits themselves, transferring consciousness would be impossible.

If you call upon sentient beings and cannot feed them anything, they will stay around and not go. Neither will sentient beings leave willingly if you cannot satisfy their cravings. That is why there are more ghosts in temples than anywhere else; since you have called upon these beings to give them something, but are unable to transfer their consciousnesses, they will stay around the temple. That is why something happens if the temple doesn’t make any form of offerings through the dharma over a period of time; unfed and unhappy, these ghosts you left behind make trouble after they fail to get anything to eat from you.

Turning evil karma into virtuous karma does not take place in a month, two months, or a year or two, but as long as you work on it, it will definitely happen one day. In this past decade, nothing severe has happened to the Glorious Jewels Buddhist Center, nor have there been any severe quarrels between disciples. Whenever anything happens, the guru bears the whole load, and he never vents it on you. In the following passage, I ask the ghostly and godly beings to come here immediately, gather in my place, so that I can give to him.

There is another passage here that says if somebody calls upon demons to harm you, you still gather them here. Likewise, demons are the very cause when some people get inexplicable diseases. If one participates in the Chod puja for a long period of time, one’s health will gradually improve. In some cases demons are not called upon by others, but are summoned by oneself. Let us not talk about our past lives; we cannot see into our past lives. But think about how many lives you’ve killed in this life and how much meat have you eaten in this life. These actions will all summon demons. If you practice being virtuous all your life, demons who have resentment towards you from a past life will not hurt you. But, if you make mistakes and refuse to listen to the Guru in this life, these demons will come to you. Why do we make offerings to these karmic creditors ? In the hope that their evil heart could be extinguished, so as to possess the virtuous heart. One does not eliminate or destroy these demons. Many people have the misconception that Tantric Dharma kills ghosts and banishes them. We do have such a method, but I do not use it. Even if I do use such Dharma, I will not kill these beings, but transfer their consciousness. Unless it is the case stated in the Sutras, if I give you benefits but you still don’t listen, your head will break into 7 pieces. Such Dharmas do exist.

For the people who come to implore me for consciousness transference, I always have one basic requirement — you must go vegetarian in this life. Because if you are not my disciple, I will definitely not accept your offerings (Rinpoche particularly instructed disciples that believers do not have to make offerings). I come back again in this life to pay off all my debt. Since you are not qualified to make offerings to me, nor will you make offerings to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in the future. But in order to help the deceased in your family obtain good fortune to receive consciousness transference from the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and to receive Guru’s help, you must do something. Refraining from killing and being vegetarian are not just for one’s own appetite or health. Being vegetarian is the act of not harming any sentient beings; it is to quit killing and cultivate compassion. It is stated in the sutra that: eating the flesh of the sentient beings will cause the seed of compassion to be severed.

The Sutras of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows stated that if you can refrain from killing and eating the flesh of the sentient beings, accidents will decrease; and as good fortune gradually accumulates, the chance that the deceased can have their consciousness transferred is almost one hundred percent. It is also stated in The Sutras of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows that when a person is about to die or has just breathed his last breath, you have to say to him by his ear, that his most precious treasure or wealth will be made as offerings and given as an act of generosity. Why must we do so? This is to help the deceased break the heart of attachments, accumulate good fortune, and harvest fields of good fortune, so as to obtain qualifications to receive the help from the Buddha, Bodhisattvas and the Guru, so as to transfer his or her consciousness. These are words stated in the Sutras, not words of my own. If you don’t follow Buddha’s method to learn the Bodhisattva Path, and instead create your own method, it would be wrong.

Another believer came yesterday to ask me to transfer her father’s consciousness. So I told him to do 300 grand prostrations in front of the mandala. Why? Because his father has no causal conditions with me, and, therefore, no causal conditions with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. One who practices the Bodhisattvas Path will use all means possible to help the sentient beings to accumulate good fortune and causal conditions. Buddha helps the one with the causal conditions. Without causal conditions, one’s consciousness could not be transferred. Therefore, I asked the believer to first represent his late father to do grand prostrations so that the deceased could have the causal conditions to accumulate good fortune, in order for me to have the chance to transfer the deceased’s consciousness today. Our Buddhist Center does not use yellow paper for people to write the name of the deceased for consciousness transference, however, if you could listen when I scold you, you will gain good fortune. If you are willing to listen when I ask you to go vegetarian, the deceased will gain good fortune.

Why don’t people from outside talk like this, but I can ? Because I ask for nothing in return, so naturally I would speak this way. Fortunately I am a lay practitioner and won’t be led away by you. I can offer all the related expenses of the Grand Puja without charging a penny. I sponsored and presided over the puja. When you do things wrong, I will definitely tell you. Therefore, I will most certainly not compromise with you. If I see you have the possibility to reincarnate, I will definitely tell you. I do not need you to like me. If you like me, it would be tiring to me. I would rather be disliked by you but I will still tell you (when you do things wrong). Because at least you will alert yourselves.

To follow the causal conditions of sentient beings does not mean to follow their desires, it is to help sentient beings in accordance with their causal conditions. If it is the evil causal conditions, then help him to reduce it, and give him virtuous ones. Follow his causal conditions but not to grant him whatever he wants. Apparently you know he has greedy thoughts, and yet you still help him with it. This does harm to him and you also. One who cultivates the Bodhisattvas Path has to remember this sentence: “To follow the causal conditions of sentient beings”. This does not mean to go along with him and follow his karma and cause from his past lives. Instead we must follow this condition to help him prevent the arising of greed, hatred and ignorance. One with heavy greed, teach him to give. One with heavy hatred, teach him to be compassionate. One with disbelief in causality, expound what is stated in The Sutras of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows about the severity of causality. What is gentle speech? I am now speaking Buddha Dharma, and this is “gentle speech”, not cursing. You think that comforting words praising your filial piety or how you’ve started to look like a Bodhisattva, or how your Physiognomy has improved is so called gentle speech? That is flattering. Gentle speech is not to speak softly, but rather it means to speak to benefit the other, not to yourselves.

Just like this year’s Great Indiscriminate Amitabha Puja for Transferring Consciousness, twenty two thousand people attended and handed in a list for transferring consciousness which contained more than two hundred thousand names. And I did not collect a fee for this. If I had asked you to pay, you would definitely do so because it would be perfectly justifiable. But I can not do this. Who would hold such a grand puja and not collect money and, go as far as to sponsor the puja. Not only was the puja free, but even the offerings from the believers were all donated. Moreover, I was grateful to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, guru, and to the sentient being who’d let me transfer their consciousness. If I really did collect a fee I would have the funds for building the temple, but I cannot do such things.

Today, we are close to the end of October. For another two months, this year would be in the past. Everyone still has many misunderstandings towards Buddha Dharma. Because His Holiness passed down Buddha Dharma to me, I was able to change my life. It would have been impossible to change my life on my own. Do virtuous deeds whenever you get the chance, and continue to accumulate virtues. I ask you to go vegetarian for the benefit of the deceased. You would ask : since the consciousness of the deceased has already been transferred, why is there still need to go vegetarian? Because when you continue to go vegetarian, you continue to practice the virtue of refraining from killing, which helps the deceased accumulate good fortune. No matter which virtuous realm he is in, he will become better and better, and so will you because he is protecting you from there.

Therefore, do not throw two coins to do poe divination in front of the memorial tablet of a deceased family member anymore. The ancestor’s consciousness has already been transferred. How could they return and give you Shengjiǎo (positive response) ? The Amitabha Sutra states that the Amitabha’s pure land is hundreds of thousand billion of purelands away from the earth. How is it possible for them to come back? Do you want him not to go to the pure land ? The Sutras stated the time differences between the realms of Sensuous Desire, Form and Formlessness and the earth. Even if he went to the lowest level of heavenly realism, the realm of Sensuous Desire, it would be 500 years later when he comes back. You would already be dead. Then why is there still Shengjiǎo (positive response)? Who is giving you? It is the wandering ghosts that pass by and decide to prank you. Do not disbelieve in this. You would say that we worship a Bodhisattva’s statue in our house. But this does not mean that the ghosts can not come in. Because you are not practicing Bodhisattvas Path but a ghostly path in which you implore for things everyday.

The naughty ghost nearby you will give a Shèngjiǎo (positive response) when they see you being sincere. When they see you talking nonsense, they give you Xiàojiǎo (negative response). They are laughing at you. Some people even do poe divination (to toss two pieces of wood or coins for a sign) in front of the coffin on the day of the funeral to ask the deceased questions. These are all folk beliefs. The deceased who is lying inside the coffin is already in an anxious mood, thinking of why you still have not sought out anyone to help him through Buddha Dharma. And instead you keep using poe divination to ask various questions. People nowadays mix Buddha Dharma with folk beliefs. If poe divination is part of Buddha Dharma, then in the beginning, sutras would state: Buddha Sakyamuni said that in the future people will carve wood into two round pieces and throw them.

Not mentioning the poe divination, Buddha even mentioned the matter of the sarira thousands of years ago. Buddha said that in the era of degenerate Dharma, someone will reap profit off of his sarira; he even described the entire setting. The sutra mentions someone covering the floor with their long hair while holding banners. And that was exactly what happened over ten years ago. The sarira of the Buddha’s finger was sent to Taiwan, and at that time a disciple asked me whether I wanted to participate. I said that there was no need to go, but there were people still feeling unconvinced. And it happened that I turned to the exact passage of the sarira in the Ratnakuta Sutra. Sakyamuni Buddha even mentioned “my sarira is supposed to be used to form causal conditions with sentient beings. However, in the future generation someone will use the sarira to make profits. In comparison to worshiping the Sarira, the merits are much greater to listen to a meritorious practitioner to expound one stanza of the sutras or chant one sentence of mantra.”(Rinpoche asked the monastic disciples if they have read this passage in the sutras. The monastic disciples said no. Rinpoche said that there is a passage in the Ratnakuta Sutra, and instructed them to look it up).

Although this part is stated in the sutra, why do other people miss it? Because of worldly fame and wealth, dharma practitioners do not have the time to expound the true Buddhist sutra to you. I do not need fame or wealth; I am grateful towards His Holiness, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and sentient beings. That is why I will continue to devote my life to help you until the day I die.

I can say that the Glorious Jewel Buddhist center is the only center, there is nowhere else, in Taiwan that holds a Chod Puja for over 1000 attendees. Other gurus don’t do things this way not because they are incapable but rather that they understand their capacity. Since 1997, I have held the Chod Puja this way to transfer consciousness of sentient beings, and since things have been alright for over the past two decades, it means that I have already received and followed the Dharma, and that I have been honest to the sentient beings. After attending the puja today, do not say that you don’t feel anything after you go home. The feeling of nothing is feeling something. My lay father practiced Taoism so I know very clearly the difference between Buddhism and Taoism. Buddhism will not let you see the result in one day. Taoism has its gods, celestial beings, and they want to show you how capable they are so that you will believe, worship and follow them. Therefore, you can see the difference immediately. It is just like the doctor gives you extremely strong medication, the next day you will feel much better but the day after next, you die. Buddha does not need you to know how amazing he is. Neither does he require you to praise or worship him. Buddha will only help you through your causes, teach you how to repay your debts fully from all your past lives.

Buddha teaches us to believe in cause and condition, and karma. What we have is a chronic disease. With so much evil karma we have accumulated from tens and hundreds of generations, Buddha and Bodhisattvas helps us to slowly pay off little by. There will be nothing left to repay before knowing it. Buddhism is based on cause and effect to cure. If you still hope to see whatever you want by imploring Buddha Dharma, the Diamond Sutra says that everything is illusory. Before attaining emptiness, everything you see is created by your own consciousness and thereby unreal. Zen Buddhism says: If the Buddha Comes, Smash Him; If A Demon Comes, Beat Him Away.

Do not wish to see the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in person. The look of Buddha is so dignified and his light so bright, if we see it from our worldly people’s status, we will be scared to death. Just like what I said last week: If you ask a beggar to enter the presidential palace, he would say that he dares not. The Ratnakuta Sutra states that you can see the differences between them when a beggar stands with a rich man. You still can tell the differences when a rich man stands with a government official. When a senior official stands with the emperor, you can still tell at a glance which is the government official and which is the emperor.

Nowadays, in order to please believers, many monastics say that you’ve started to look like Avalokiteshvara more and more. Which part of Avalokiteshvara do you look alike? His hair? You are not even qualified to have your hair compared with his. Saying that you look dignified, how and in what ways? The so-called dignified quality is the natural manifestation of merits and good fortune resulting from practicing Buddhism, it arises naturally and needs no imploration. Do not be afraid of offending believers and disciples. Following the teachings from the sutra is considered as gentle speech. Don’t think that when other people say that you look kinder and gentler means that you are cultivating. This is flattery. Others say that practicing Buddhism enables them to become gentler. For what reason do you want to be gentle? To help you get married now? Some people think your temper has become better. Perhaps it is because you are often scolded by me. When other people scold you, you think you’re used to being scolded by me anyway. Having another person scolding you makes no difference. The purpose of practicing Buddhism is not to earn a small compliment.

Don’t come to learn Buddhism if you are a person without patience and seeking to succeed within one day. Only someone with patience can learn Buddhism. How to cultivate patience? This has to do with one’s virtue and composure. If all you think is about yourself, then you will have vexations, and be impatient. The more you think of others, the more you cultivate your virtue and composure. Do not think that Rinpoche is simply someone who acts urgently. Rinpoche is a very patient person. Otherwise how can I conduct a retreat for three months during which I was prohibited from meeting people, talking on the phone, and could only eat plain-water-cooked noodles. Such white noodles with such pure water. Rinpoche made a joke that because of eating the white noodles for such a long period, even at the high mountain of 4,500 meters above sea level with such strong UV rays, while Rincpoche did get some sunburn, his complexion returned to its white state very quickly.

Have you seen clearly inside of your heart, the reason why you’ve come to practice Buddhism? The most important thing in practicing Buddhism is to cultivate and practice Buddhism on the Bodhisattva Path. Though you can not achieve this now, at least clearly understand what the Bodhisattva Path is. You can never achieve attainment by practicing on your own. To want to be free from reincarnation by practicing Buddhism is good. However, this is a concept. Do not cling to the thought that you must escape from the cycle of life and death in this life. Perhaps you still need to reincarnate for two or three times resulting from your karm. If you have the attachment that when the Dharma Protector Achi comes but you won’t follow the protector, insist to have Buddha Amitabha come. At that time Buddha Amitabha will think that you are not qualified to go to the pure land, you will fall to the Three Evil Realms. If you have no attachment but follow the Dharma protector Achi, have Bodhisattva to take you in for a while, then you return to pay off your debt. We are unable to return by way of our aspiration, but rather our karma.

This year, I am 73 years old. In ancient times, I would have taken a retreat and seen no one already at this age. However, I cannot do so because I have His Holiness above me to pay respect to, and good-for-nothing diciples like you to look after. In the future I may not even take on anyone who pleads to take refuge under me because I want neither virtuous nor evil karma. The reason for rejecting believers’ offerings is because I don’t want to owe them any debt. They are not qualified to make offerings to me if they do not learn Buddhism, neither do I qualify to accept their offerings. Therefore, keeping the distances is good both for the believers, and for myself.

My life is quite simple, unlike some people out there may say: Master, today we will have a meal treated by the major benefactor, tomorrow will be the secondary benefactor. if not doing so, they will be unhappy. Rinpoche asked the monastic disciples if this has happened or not? The answer is yes. I do not engage socially so my life is very simple. I live my life like this everyday unless His Holiness summons me. My life is even more simple than the ordained people. Therefore, the reason why I open restaurants is not what you think for doing business. I always eat at my restaurants. Other people would say Rinpoche please also come eat at my place, if I go eat at other places. I am very much afraid of trouble.

Today I practiced this Chod Puja to continue this virtuous causal condition for all of you. Continuing does not mean you must continue to practice Buddhism here but to cherish the virtuous connection, starting with your heart to continue this good cause and condition. The Amitabha Sutra teaches us to be mindful of the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. The most perfect virtue is that of Buddha, the most perfect method is the Dharma, and the most perfect person is the guru who teaches us the Dharma. Although you, as lay practitioners, can not continuously be mindful of the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, still you must do as much as possible. Slowly train yourselves. Not that you must think of your guru all the time, or desire to see him. When your thoughts are all but the merits of the guru, there will be no evil in your thoughts. Attuning your mind toward righteousness, more and more virtuous roots will be accumulated in your mind continuum. The power of the good is large enough to stop the bad karma of past lives. Reciting sutra, mantra and prostrating toward the Buddha are not considered Buddhism cultivation but your supportive causality. To be mindful of the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha is the root to practice Buddhism.

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

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Updated on November 10, 2020