Saturday, September 22, 2018

Lotus Sutra: Bodhisattva King of Medicine (3)

Tonight, we celebrated the birthday of Sakyamuni Buddha who was born into this world more than 2,500 years ago. We did a Sakyamuni Buddha Practice under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche. After which, he wished us happiness and perseverance in our spiritual practice. He mentioned that the Mahayana Buddhism in China tends to celebrate the birthday of Sakyamuni Buddha on the 8th day of the 4th Lunar Month by conducting a “bath the buddha” ceremony. On the other hand, the rest of the schools of Buddhism tend to celebrate the birthday, enlightenment day and nirvana day (passing away) of Sakyamuni Buddha on the 15th day of the 4th Lunar Month by conducting the same ceremony.
Next, Acho Rinpoche continued to expound the Lotus Sutra and repeated the story of Bodhisattva King of Medicine who offered his bodies repeatedly to the Buddha by burning it with his enigmatic inner heat in his past lives. There were many monks in China in the last century who lost their hands and fingers as they emulated the great practice of the King of Medicine. Acho Rinpoche mentioned one of his late teachers, Venerable Da Xiong, who also often offered the various parts of his body to the Buddha through burning, thus leaving many scars all over his body.  
Acho Rinpoche said that a person who reads any verse or sentence within the Lotus Sutra will accumulate inconceivable amount of merits greater than the size of  Mt. Sumeru or a big ocean. Although our scientists deny the existence of Mt. Sumeru and even H.H Dalai Lama doubted its existence, Acho Rinpoche opined that when the scientists are unable to detect the existence of Mt. Sumeru using the current technologies, it does not necessarily mean that Mt. Sumeru does not exist. He thought that the scientists of quantum physics may be able to prove its existence in future.
Acho Rinpoche said that our recitation of the Lotus Sutra could help eradicate our anxieties and fulfil our wishes. Although Sakyamuni Buddha told his students that “you are a Buddha,” and that he prophesized their future attainment of Buddhahood, he was just planting the seed of faith in his students on their pursuit of Buddhahood. All his students must continue to work hard on their spiritual practice for a long period of time before they could attain the final state of enlightenment and become a true Buddha. We could tell from the Buddha titles prophesized by Skayamuni Buddha that none of them appeared in the list of one thousand Buddhas who had or have yet to appear in our current Auspicious Aeon.  So, the students will only attain their Buddhahood after the appearance of the one thousand Buddhas in the current Auspicious Aeon. If the students failed in their practice, they will certainly fall into the Three Lower Realms too.
Lastly, Acho Rinpoche reminded us to study and practise “The 37 Stanzas on a Buddhist Conduct” with vigor. He mentioned Bodhisattva Belittling No One who regarded everyone as a Buddha, who truly respected everyone without pretension. Therefore, he advised us that in so far as we have chosen the right path of practice, we will certainly become a Buddha one day. Such is the quintessential teaching of the Lotus Sutra.
Finally, we ended our prayer by reciting the names of the Buddhas under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche and dedicated the merits to all sentient beings - may all sentient beings be happy, free of sufferings and attain enlightenment swiftly. 

Reported by Sun Moon KFS on 22-May-2018 @Singapore 

Friday, August 17, 2018

Lotus Sutra: Bodhisattva King of Medicine (2)

          Tonight, we did a Guru Rinpoche Practice under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche. After which, Acho Rinpoche informed us that Wula Lama from Nepal (he is the abbot of a monastery which linked to Tsoknyi Rinpoche and Mingyur Rinpoche) who invited him to visit the hometown of Wula Lama in Nepal. This place is quite inaccessible as it is deep in a mountainous area, reachable by helicopter or it will take 6 to 7 days on foot. 

          Acho Rinpoche mentioned that Dipankara Buddha has two different titles in Chinese translation which actually refer to the same Buddha. More than 91 eons ago, when Sakyamuni Buddha was still a practitioner on the path to enlightenment who was known as Good Wisdom, he met Dipankara Buddha and laid his hair on the ground, in order to keep the feet of the Buddha clean from the muddy road. Dipankara Buddha prophesized that Good Wisdom would become a Buddha one day and he would be known as “Sakyamuni Buddha”.

          Acho Rinpoche also mentioned that any men or women on earth who saw the opposite sex in the heavenly realm will succumb to his/her sexual desire aroused by the beauty of the heavenly beings and died from being burnt by strong sense of sexual desire. Ananda had a wife before becoming a monk. His wife was very afraid that Ananda would leave her and follow Sakyamuni Buddha one day, so she tried all means to keep her husband with her. Therefore, Sakyamuni Buddha brought Ananda to the heaven, showing him his future abode where he saw an empty throne awaiting his arrival in his next life. Next, Sakyamuni Buddha brought Ananda to the hell realm, showing him his future abode after the latter exhausted all his merits through heavenly enjoyments. Finally, Ananda decided to follow the Buddha and became a monk who attained the state of Arahat after a period of practice. 

          Acho Rinpoche then continued to expound the Lotus Sutra, relating the chapter on the King of Medicine. After Bodhisattva Dearest to All Sentient Beings burnt his body as a form of offering to the Buddha, the former passed away but returned to the same Buddha in his next life. He continued to study under the guidance of the same Buddha teacher. At this stage, he attained the ability to speak all languages used by the sentient beings. The Buddha waited for his return and then passed into Nirvana, after passing the lineage of transmission to his student. So, Bodhisattva Dearest to All Sentient Beings built 48,000 stupas to enshrine the sacred relics of the Buddha. After that, he burnt his arm for 72,000 years which illuminated the entire universe very brightly. He had indeed attained a state where he could freely manifest in any form and he had accomplished the greatest aspiration of bodhicitta. Bodhisattva Dearest to All Sentient Beings was none other than the present King of Medicine. Acho Rinpoche said, for those of us who could not let go of anything will stand no chance of attaining the state of enlightenment!

Finally, we ended our prayer by reciting the names of the Buddhas under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche and dedicated the merits to all sentient beings - may all sentient beings be happy, free of sufferings and attain enlightenment swiftly. 

Reported by Sun Moon KFS on 19-5-2018 @Singapore

Lotus Sutra: Bodhisattva King of Medicine (1)

(Supreme Medicine and King of Medicine)

Today we celebrated the birthday of Bodhisattva Majushri by doing a group prayer on Manjushri Practice. After which, Acho Rinpoche cautioned us not to simply practise any of the teachings found on the Internet as they lack the lineage empowerment from a qualified guru. He shared with us a story which he read long ago, from a book entitled “Guru Lama”. In the book, the teacher of Guru Lama once told a student of his that to avoid being attacked by the bees, he could just tell the bees, “Don’t harm me!” Lo and behold - it worked! However, when the student passed this teaching to another student, it did not work due to the lack of lineage empowerment. So, when an enlightened master says something, it becomes a decree that will be fully obeyed and executed by the numerous Dharmapalas protecting the teachings. An ordinary practitioner who has not attained the state of enlightenment will lack the power to command and mobilize the Dharmapalas. Therefore, his speeches are powerless. So, the practice of Vajrayana cannot be simply copied from the Internet. This applies to all schools of Vajrayana Buddhism which appeared to be largely similar in form but in more than 99% of the time, one will not succeed in any Vajrayana practice without receiving it directly from a qualified guru. 

Next, Acho Rinpoche continued his exposition of the Lotus Sutra. Sakyamuni Buddha did say in the past that an Icchantika (one who completely lacks the merit for the attainment of enlightenment) would not be able to attain the state of enlightenment. However, at the later part of his life, he changed it and said that even an Icchantika could attain enlightenment eventually. He explained that his teachings at the earlier part of his life were just expedient methods suitable for his students who were not ready for the ultimate teachings, and his final teachings compiled in the sutras such as the Mahaparinirvana Sutra and the Lotus Sutra were ultimate teachings which could truly help the practitioners attain the final state of enlightenment.

Acho Rinpoche also highlighted that there were several chapters in the Lotus Sutra that focused solely on the introduction of a few Mahabodhisattvas such as the King of Medicine, Avalokitesvara, Samanthabadra and Wonderful Voice, which clearly showed their importance. In the Lotus Sutra, Sakyamuni Buddha prophesized that his students would attain the state of Buddhahood in future, but it does not mean that they would become a Buddha immediately as the path to enlightenment is a very long and winding road full of challenges. In the Lotus Sutra, it was mentioned that there was an ancient Buddha by the title of Sun Moon Pure Luminosity and Meritorious Buddha (日月净明德佛) who was surrounded by 8 billions of Mahabodhisattvas and numerous holy beings equivalent to the amount of sands found in 72 Ganges Rivers. This Buddha lived for 48,000 eons and his students enjoyed the same longevity too. The Six Realms did not exist in his pureland which is completely flat and filled with precious jewels; our world is uneven due to the lack of equanimity in the minds of the sentient beings living in this world. The main disciple of this Buddha was known as Bodhisattva Dearest To All Sentient Beings (一切众生喜见菩萨). This Buddha was expounding the Lotus Sutra in his pureland too. Bodhisattva Dearest To All Sentient Beings practised walking meditation and recitation of the name of Buddha incessantly for 12,000 years, in addition to hearing the teachings on the Lotus Sutra that had helped him amassed an inconceivable amount of merits. Finally, he accomplished the state of attainment where he could manifest in any forms at will (现一切色身三昧). He ignited the inner heat in his body and set his body on fire, which illuminated the entire universe brightly, as a form of offering to the Buddha. This was a true practice of offering, the first practice of the Six Perfections (offering, discipline, tolerance, diligence, meditation, wisdow). Acho Rinpoche hailed such practice as a true form of diligence. He lamented that the people of our age are stingy in making offering – how could a person of such mindset attain Buddhahood? He also mentioned that in the early 20th century, there were many Buddhist practitioners in China who burnt their fingers as offering to the Buddha; such behavior was clearly influenced by this chapter in the Lotus Sutra.

Later, Dharma Brother Lim shared with us a dream that he had in the past, in which Acho Rinpoche told him of his origin – he was one of the attendants of Acala. In view of such causation, Acho Rinpoche conferred an Acala Empowerment to us tonight, helping us to establish a spiritual connection with Acala.

Finally, we ended our prayer by reciting the names of the Buddhas under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche and dedicated the merits to all sentient beings - may all sentient beings be happy, free of sufferings and attain enlightenment swiftly. 

Reported by Sun Moon KFS on 18-5-2018 @Singapore   

Sunday, June 24, 2018

X-Tour: In Search of the Birthplace of Holy Mother Mazu


This tour came about because of two individuals – our 17 year-old Dharma Brother Jun Xing and 69 year-old Mdm Lin.   It has a wonderful significance beyond words.
Actually, I met Holy Mother Mazu in my dreams very often since I started my spiritual practice more than 30 years ago. I knew that while I am a practitioner of Vajrayan Buddhism, I have a great spiritual affinity with Mazu of Taosim too. 
I asked Jun Xing when he would be free to join us for a tour this year, over a Chinese Lunar New Year dinner one day. He told me that he could only make it on 11 Jun 2018, during his school holiday. Although Dharma Sister Kan suggested Mtn Wutai as one of the possible places of visit, I told her to contact Mdm Lin of Golden Travel to plan a tour in search of the birthplace of Mazu instead. I kind of remember that Xiamen of Fujian Province was a second home to Mdm Lin, and our trip to Meizhou Island would have some special connection with her too.  Mdm Lin greeted Mazu as her “Great Grand Aunt” when we visited the main seat of Mazu in Meizhou Island, as they were both the descendants of the same Lim Family Tree.
Thus, 40 Dzogchen practitioners rode on an iron bird (airplane) and headed for Xiamen on 11 Jun 2018, touring Xiamen, Quanzhou, Meizhou Island, Wuyi Mountain, Yongding and Anxi of China, creating yet another new chapter of X-Tour.
2 days prior to our trip, US President Donald Trump and the Supreme Leader of North Korea Kim Jong-un came to Singapore, ready to meet each other over a US and North Korea Summit attracting a world-wide attention. When the meeting was being held in the Sentosa Island of Singapore, our group was offering incense at the Mazu Temple in Meizhou Island of Fujian Province in China; there was a very inconceivable relation between the two concurrent events. Secret. Secret. Secret. 
Mr Ke Zheng Hua, the Director General of International Exchange Center of China from Beijing and Mr Meng Jian Huang, a professor from Putian University who specialized in the study of Mazuism, accompanied us on our visits to the main seat of Mazu in Meizhou Island and Xianliang Harbor. We had an enigmatic experience at the Mazu Temple in Xianliang Harbor.
We took a high-speed train from Quanzhou to Wuyi Mountain which took only about 3 hours. China’s high-speed train has indeed become a technology icon admired by the world over. We saw a few ancient tea trees dating back more than 600 years ago which are famous for its scarcity and exorbitant price – Da Hong Pao (Big Red Gown). In 2005, tea leaves harvested from these few ancient tea trees were sold at RMB 5 million per catty. It was indeed astonishing! Wuyi Mountain was famous for its bamboo rafting along its scenic Jiu Qu River. However, a few members of our group were complaining about feeling drowsy or headache during the river cruise, when the sky was fully covered by clouds and there was a cooling breeze. Why so? Actually, there was an ancient cemetery above the river, with coffins hanging high on the cliffs that are clearly visible to us while cruising along the river. This ancient cemetery dated back to 3,850 years ago. Spiritual beings were emerging from the river, as they came forward to seek blessing for soul deliverance!  
On the 5th day, we returned to Xiamen and visited the Chen Jia Geng Museum and his former residential house. We applauded his generosity in helping to develop the educational systems in both Xiamen and Singapore in the past (he was a Chinese citizen who made his fortune in Singapore). When we visited Gulang Island, it reminded us of our own Sentosa Island in Singapore. More than 20 years ago, a friend of mine who was a teacher cum grassroot leader told me that he was considering migrating to Gulang Island after his retirement. He told me that almost every household in Gulang Island owned a piano. That story somehow became ingrained in my mind ever since and I felt a little fondness towards this island with no obvious reason. However, such retirement plan can no longer be materialized today because this island has been transformed into a tourist spot with private cars disallowed on the island. All visitors could only walk on their feet on the island when visiting the Shu Zhuang Garden and Piano Museum. Ha ha!
In the afternoon, we had a vegetarian lunch at the South Putuo Temple. It was famous for its vegetarian cuisine which was touted as “the best in the world”. The dishes were indeed very refined and inviting that we could hardly stop eating. Later, we circumambulated two stupas in the temple commemorating two former abbots. There were many pictures taken during this time showing beautiful auras. When we returned to the Puzhao Building where we had our lunch, we just stood outside the building and chatted.  At this juncture, I could feel the presence of Buddha Lights showering the whole area. So, I told our members to quickly snap pictures of the surrounding, in order to capture the special auras. Indeed, the special auras were captured on both pictures and videos by a few members. The auras appeared in many shapes and forms, including a very clear shape of Buddha Eye. It was just mesmerizing! It was indeed the magical play of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
On the 7th day, we visited the Mud House of Yong Ding. The design of these mud houses had incorporated the elements of the Eight Trigrams which were based on the ancient wisdoms of our ancestors. It was indeed an eye-opening experience.
On the 8th day, we visited the Supreme Master Qingshui Temple in Anxi. When our coach was gradually entering the hilly roads, we noticed that that entire area was engulfed by a thick fog. We travelled amidst the fog for about one hour before finally reaching the temple site. Even the temple was engulfed by a thick fog. Mdm Lin came to this place many times in the past but she said it was the first time that she saw a thick fog engulfing the entire place. Actually, we had entered another space parallel with the physical world, while paying our respect to the Supreme Master Qingshui. When we passed by a sacred spring, I blessed the spring water. Rain started falling at this very moment too, likened to the showering of celestial flowers. Today was the 5th day of the 5th Lunar Month, any rainfall on this particular day is naturally charged by the great cosmic energy and carries great blessing power. Our group and all other people who were present at the time were greatly blessed by the rainfall. At this moment, the main temple right opposite the sacred spring quietly re-appeared from the thick fog, revealing half of its face…
Yet, there was an even greater surprise that happened at this juncture when I was using the sacred spring water to bless our group and when the rain was falling from the sky, that Jun Xing came near me and told me that he wished to take refuge in me. I asked him, “Have you not already taken refuge in me?” He said: “Not yet.” He said he heard someone telling him that if he wants to “return home” (to the Buddha’s Pureland), he must take refuge in me. He said: “Today will be our last day in Xiamen, so I wish to take refuge in you.” Coincidentally, Mdm Lin was standing just beside me and she heard the conversation between me and Jun Xing. She had been thinking very hard about whether she should take refuge in me for quite a while. When she heard the words of Jun Xing, she immediately told me that she also wished to take refuge in me tonight. Finally, Jun Xing, Mdm Lin, Yang Qian (sister of Yang Meng), Hui Yan took refuge in me tonight. Including the mother of Song Tao who took refuge in me the night before, there were 5 new students entering the practice of Dzogchen (The Great Perfection) during this trip. Sadhu! Sadhu!
On the 9th day, we wrapped up this X-Tour and rode on an iron bird, returning from Xiamen to Singapore. Another pleasant surprise awaited us during this flight, with the Dharma Protectors displaying yet another extremely fascinating magical play! There was a rainbow arch appearing on the left side of our plane, our airplane appeared to be encircled by a rainbow light as reflected on the clouds, and a huge sun halo appeared on the right side of the airplane, with numerous luminous dots appearing around the sun that looked like meteorite showers.
Thus, this X-Tour wrapped up timely amidst the colorful display of rainbow lights. My homage to the Sun Moon Light Buddha.

Acho Rinpoche
Mud House of Yongding
High Speed Train
Mazu Temple at Xianliang Harbour
Mazu Temple at Xianliang Harbour
an Impromptu Mazuism Conference held at Xianliang Harbour
Cruising Jiuqu River on a Bamboo Raft
South Putuo Temple

Buddha Lights captured on video at South Putuo Temple

Rainbow Lights captured on video on our flight returning from Xiamen to Singapore
Sun Halo appeared in the sky during our flight returning from Xiamen to Singapore

Saturday, May 19, 2018

One Hundred Deity Soul Deliverance and Naga Vase Puja in Penang, Malaysia

On 4 May 2018, a group of thirty plus of us followed Acho Rinpoche on a tour to Penang of Malaysia, as he was to co-host a public prayer with H.E Konde Rinpoche on a Hundred Deity Soul Deliverance and Naga Vase Puja which was to be held at the State Chinese (Penang Association) at 13 Jalan Perak 10150 Pulau Pinang. It was coincidental that the 14th General Election of Malaysia was underway during this period that we witnessed the many posters and flags decorating almost every corner of the streets in Penang. 
On 5 May 2018, the prayer started at 10am with One Hundred Deity Soul Deliverance Prayer, followed by the ceremony of bathing a statue of Dragon King with milk mixed with medical herbs. After lunch, we left the prayer venue and headed for the beach. We would offer all the naga vases filled with precious medical herbs by dumping them into the sea, as the blessing power of the Buddha and the herbs within the vases could help eradicate the negative karma and sickness of the sea beings. During the process of bathing the statue of Dragon King, Dharma Sister Bing suddenly did three long prostrations before Acho Rinpoche; she explained to the rest that she had a vision of Acho Rinpoche transforming into the Dragon King Buddha at that juncture and the rest of the dragon family also came forward and prostrated to him. So, she felt that she was actually representing the dragon family in doing the prostrations, as a gesture of appreciation to Acho Rinpoche for his compassion and blessing. After that, Acho Rinpoche blessed all the registration forms submitted by the participants before burning. Dharma Brother Shao contributed a “dragon boat” this time, as he got a hint from a Dragon King while in Singapore, suggesting that he should make a “dragon boat” from joss papers (origami) and offered it to the dragon family. The “dragon boat”, after being blessed by Acho Rinpoche, could help deliver the numerous dragons to a higher realm of existence, either being reborn into a Buddha Land or as human practitioners, or even attain the state of Buddhahood! However, we witnessed that the “dragon boat” took a long time to burn. Acho Rinpoche later explained the reason why it took so long for it to be totally burnt as it signifies the heavy negative karma associated with these dragon beings, that it would take lots of blessing power to help them eradicate their negative karma and leave the realm of dragon, for a higher rebirth.
When we left the State Chinese premises after the completion of the One Hundred Deity Soul Deliverance Prayer, we saw a sun halo appearing in the sky, which signified the perfect closure of the prayer which was hailed by the numerous holy beings in the spiritual realm. We took a bus to the beach which had all its windows shut and no air-conditioning – we felt suffocated and sick during the bus journey. Later, Acho Rinpoche explained that it signified the hardship endured by the numerous sentient beings stranded in their current state of suffering; they would not be able to break free of their current state of suffering due to their negative karma, unless they are blessed by the Buddha. When we reached the beach, we saw some clouds in the sky appearing in the form of “dragon boat”, dragon king, dragon pearl etc. It was indeed truly amazing and unbelievable!  Acho Rinpoche was drenched twice by sea waves splashing into the boat while sailing – he knew that they signified both the welcoming gesture and appreciation expressed by the Dragon King; he felt extremely energized after being drenched by the sea water!
The whole event came to a perfect closure by late noon.

Afternote: Malaysia had a change of government on the 9th of May 2018, after the 14th General Election, with Pakatan Harapan replacing the Barison National after the latter ruled Malaysia for a long 61 years. The Malaysian citizens had their wish fulfilled – a new Malaysia was born and her people could bid farewell to the former corrupted government. We prayed to the Sun Moon Light Buddha for the prosperity of Malaysia and the happiness of her people; may the Buddha’s teachings spread far and wide and may kindness blossoms in the hearts of her people.  

Reported by Sun Moon KFS on 5-May-2018 in Penang, Malaysia.