His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings – January 24, 2021

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche conducted a Refuge Ceremony at the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center in Taipei. Rinpoche said this to the new disciples:

You should make offerings on time.
Rinpoche then led all attendees in a recitation of the Mani Dedication Prayer of Great Joy on Rapid Enlightenment. He then did the following teachings.

“Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara is a very important yidam and is a representative of compassion. To learn Buddhism, one must cultivate compassion. If one does not learn it and has not attained the compassion of Emptiness, no matter how much one has learned about Buddhism, all that learning is still false. I have taught you about compassion before, and now I will briefly talk about it again. (In Chinese, “compassion” consists of two words, pronounced as “ci” and bei”.) The first word, “ci”, means to exchange the best things you have for the bad things other people possess. The second word, “bei” is liberating suffering sentient beings to opposite shore. Thus, doing good deeds, being a volunteer, teaching people to say the Buddha’s name, reciting sutras or chanting mantras are not acts of compassion. Nor is smiling at people or talking to them with nice words. Having compassion can only be achieved through cultivation, starting from practicing the Five Precepts and the Ten Meritorious Acts. Only when this foundation is set will you be able to gradually understand what Buddhas’ and Bodhisattvas’ compassion is.

Today, I will perform the Dharma from two Dharma texts. The first one is the Simplified Version of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara Ritual, which actually already includes the Kriyayoga in Tantra. Tantra is divided into four groups: Kriyayoga, Charyayoga, Yogatantra, and Anuttarayogatantra. Basically, the Anuttarayogatantra is not to be transmitted. The Kriyayoga is for practitioners to learn all about Buddhist activities that had been done by the yidam, and the Charyayoga is for them to have exactly the same thoughts and behavior as those of yidam. This first Dharma text is the Simplified Version of the Kriyayoga, and it contains the Dharma method’s generation and completion stages. Without taking refuge or receiving its empowerment, you cannot master it even if you are given the Dharma text to practice.

The second Dharma text, the Mani Dedication Prayer of Great Joy on Rapid Enlightenment was compassionately transmitted and passed down by Lord Jigten Sumgon. From this, it is unquestionable that learning Buddhism requires dedication practice, but dedications made are not for your family members or your bosses. To cultivate the Bodhisattva Path, you need to give out things continuously and not to do practices for yourselves. Don’t think that by making dedications to your guru, he would scold you a bit less; on the contrary, you might be reprimanded more often.

We must dedicate what we practice every day. Shakyamuni Buddha mentioned in the Ratnakuta Sutra that, when we practice any virtuous Dharma method (it is a virtuous one as long as it can benefit sentient beings), so long as we make the dedication to the Western World of Utmost Bliss, we will surely be reborn in the Land of Amitabha. It’s not that you have to say Amitabha’s name twenty four hours a day in order to be in that Land. It is stated in the Ratnakuta Sutra that Bodhisattvas give rise to ten aspirations and one of them is to dedicate all merits of good deeds to the Western World of Utmost Bliss. No matter what Dharma method you practice, as long as you do such dedication continuously and are aspired to be reborn in that World, you will certainly be led to Amitabha’s Pure Land when you pass away.

Simply put, every day when you light a lamp as an offering to the Buddha, burn incense, chant mantras, etc, you need to dedicate all these acts to others. Don’t leave any of the dedications to yourselves or your family members. It is very clear for you all to see just now that, in the Dharma text, there is no single word written for yourselves until at the end regarding dedication; all other sections of the text contain nothing for you.

This Dharma text is rarely found out there, and uniquely, it belongs to the Drikung Kagyu lineage. Its contents are for all sentient beings in the reincarnation’s sea of suffering, all over the Ten Directions of the Dharma Realm, praying for Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara’s help to lead them to the Western World of Utmost Bliss. This Dharma text is therefore beneficial to you before you learn Tantra and Exoteric Buddhism. It is to train you to have it in your heart that every thought of yours is for sentient beings. Today, I didn’t teach you about the visualization on this prayer, only its recitation, but I myself had been visualizing during the whole recitation process. If your guru has not taught you how to visualize your own visualization will all be wrong.

The first paragraph of this Dharma text says that Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara is the emanation of the Buddhas of the Three Times. The second paragraph is about making offerings to Shakyamuni Buddha and all the gurus of Drikung Kagyu lineage, praying that the essence of the Great Six-Syllable Mantra be arisen in our heart. No matter how accurate your recitation sound is, if you recite this prayer without the compassion of Emptiness or without the heart of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, but with that of humans and with the mindset of researchers of Buddhism, the essence of the Great Six-Syllable Mantra will not arise. The heart of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas is only to help sentient beings, and is with nothing else. If you have a thought as to whether you can recite a certain verse accurately or not, that essence we mentioned earlier will not arise. As we are ordinary persons, when we recite prayers or chant mantras, merits and blessings will not come upon us on their own. The Buddha’s name can also be said by a tape recorder. Now, you are a little better than a tape recorder because you are made of flesh, not of machine. Thus, you can choose the time to start or stop your reciting or chanting. Without Buddhas’ and Bodhisattvas’ blessings, the essence of mantras will not arise, but you still have to chant them. It is still better than your cursing people all day long – mantras are virtuous.

We have implored gurus, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for their blessings so that the essence of the mantra can be arisen. Although we hear sounds but they are lights of six colors and are seen by sentient beings to be liberated in the Six Realms. We are unable to transform the sounds into lights so we can only rely on Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to do it. The guru has perfectly completed his retreats; the essence of the mantra is thus arisen. The key point from the first to the third paragraph is that we should not be arrogant, and not to consider that we recite the mantra to help sentient beings. If by reciting, you think that you are helping them and you will get merits, this would have been mentioned in the Dharma text, but the text did not say so. You would then be scolded when you read it because you think you are doing the recitation – you are not.

Taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha means to do what the Buddha and the guru teach. Do not have your own methods; otherwise, it will be Conditioned Dharma, which would lead to deficiencies and then in turn, to karma. The first few paragraphs have made it very clear that there is the need of receiving blessings from the guru, Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas, and then the recitation of this mantra can be attuned to the yidam, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. The energy of this mantra from the yidam would therefore come forth to help those sentient beings you have implored for assistance. The contents of the Dharma text do not talk about yourselves but rather, about the sentient beings who either have or don’t have connections with you.

For those sentient beings to whom you have owed things, or vice versa, for lifetimes after lifetimes, if they don’t leave the reincarnation of the Six Realms, you definitely will not go to the Pure Land. Don’t think that since you have made dedications to your karmic creditors you will be alright, but if they have not left the cycle of reincarnation their karma would still lead you around in your life. Apparently, you can walk a hundred steps without their karma around, but now you can walk only fifty steps and then you start losing strength because of such karma leading you on. This Dharma text appears to be for the sake of sentient beings, but in fact it is also for you. As long as there is one sentient being related to you, no matter from which lifetime or whether the relationship being close or light, and so long as he is still in reincarnation, you will have the opportunity to reincarnate too. Will he certainly leave the reincarnation if you recite the Dharma text? Not necessarily. That would depend on his causes and conditions. At least your aspiration is not for yourself; then this is the mind of a Bodhisattva. If the aspiration is to attain realization or gain fruition for oneself, this would not be for a Bodhisattva but for an arhat. Why did I reprimand these three female ordained disciples? It is because they were practicing arhats’ methods. You monastics all practice for yourselves as arhats. About few hundred years ago, it was said then that there would be no arhats in the future. Hence, you are unable to practice as arhats and you are not practicing the Bodhisattva Path either. Where will you go then?

The key point of this Dharma text is to train us to cultivate the mind for practicing the Bodhisattva Path; we are to be trained not to be greedy, only to give, and not to get rebates or allowances for ourselves. If there are great empowerments you have received then you can get rebates or allowances because you already have good fortune. You are now ordinary people, and the Dharma text doesn’t say that you can take things back. At the end of the text, there is this dedication: ‘With the merits I gained from this practice, I pray that I would rapidly attain the state of Avalokiteshvara.’ It means ‘With the merits that I have gained from what I cultivated, I pray that I could become the emanation of Avalokiteshvara.’ This is not for living a good life; rather, it is, on behalf of Avalokiteshvara, that we are to help all sentient beings to be reborn in the Buddha’s Land. This needs great care and hard work; it is totally unlike the comfortable life you live now.

Those in attendance who already took refuge are bestowed with this Dharma text except for those whose Dharma texts have just been taken back. For some disciples, who are not allowed to take any Dharma texts, they need to come to me and implore for this one. Once you have it, you decide whether you want to recite it every day or not and how you want to recite it. The key point is that it is to train us to ‘give, give, give, give, give’, not ‘take, take, take, take, take’. If you refuse to ‘give’ you have nothing to do with the Bodhisattva Path; it is the same that if you want to ‘take’ you have nothing to do with the Bodhisattva Path, either. My blessings to you are to make your health better so as to chant more mantras. The blessings are not for you to live longer, fulfill your wishes, or have a smooth surgical operation. Nor are they to let you know how remarkable I am; rather, it is my hope that you will have the opportunity to be reborn in Amitabha’s Pure Land. For elderly disciples, how do you recite this prayer if you have dementia? Even when your eyes cannot see clearly now, as long as the ears can hear sounds and the mouth can still read out, you should recite more often. In the Age of Dharma Decline, you can recite even when watching TV. I have been training myself and now I can recite anything in my heart regardless of what I see.

This Dharma text’s subjects include all sentient beings, praying that Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara shows them the way and leads them to the Western Pure Land of Utmost Bliss. You would think like this: ‘Since Avalokiteshvara is so extraordinary, everything would be fine once He appears, so why do we need to implore for His help?’ Without causal conditions, it is not possible to liberate sentient beings. Today, we are a medium between them and Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, and we should make a vow which is not what we can fulfill; it is a vow whether or not it can help sentient beings. Because of the vow we make, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara’s compassion of Emptiness arises, blessing us to help these sentient beings. If no one implores for help on their behalf, nothing would happen because Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are motionless.

You implore help for sentient beings, and since everyone in your family is a sentient being, do you still need to say the person’s name particularly? In every family, is there anyone who does not owe many things, or is without karmic creditors? If those karmic creditors have not been liberated then wishing, all day long, that your family members are well, is nonsense. Only those who have karmic effects, like kindness or resentments, with you over lifetimes will be in your home as part of the family; it is either you owe them or they owe you. Your children born in your home merely form an affinity with you. If they don’t listen, they can leave on their own; don’t ask them to leave though. You cannot do what I did in a similar situation.

This Dharma text teaches us to learn what a Bodhisattva is – ‘give’. Don’t think about what you can get or what you will become. Don’t be afraid to ‘give’; you can only get things after you ‘give’. ‘Giving up’ is ‘to get’ and ‘not giving up’ is ‘not to get’. All concepts in Buddhism are not asking you to sacrifice yourself or to forsake everything you currently have. Instead, your mindset and thoughts differ from other people. ‘Giving things out’ does not mean that you give all your money away and have nothing to live on; rather, you give away things resulted from your cultivation. Such giving-out will not hurt your current life, and will be expanded unlimitedly, which is unstoppable. His Holiness once mentioned that everything I do in Buddhism would go smoothly. Why? It is because I have enough good fortune, and I always give things out. It’s not that we don’t act upon things, but do not greedily cling to little things in your daily life and choose not to practice.”

Upon the perfect completion of the puja, Rinpoche led the attendees in the Dharma Protector Achi ritual and dedication prayer.

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Updated on May 11, 2021