Sunday, August 13, 2017

What is the practice of a Buddhist?


          Tonight, we did a Guru Rinpoche prayer. After which, Acho Rinpoche mentioned that Dharma Brother Zhong just asked him many questions related to the practice. The last question raised by Zhong was indeed a very good one: how should one practise the teachings after becoming a BuddhistAcho Rinpoche advised that a Buddhist should practise the Three Teachings viz. precepts, meditation and wisdom. Minimally, a Buddhist must abide strictly by the Five Precepts and do good. The Five Precepts include no stealing, no sexual misconduct, no excessive drinking of alcohol (drunk), no lying and no killing; a Buddhist must not transgress any of the said precepts. It is indeed difficult for anyone to eradicate his negative propensities formed after the numerous lifetimes. However, a Buddhist must henceforth resolve to gradually eradicate his negative propensities no matter how long it would take. For a person who has not attained the state of full enlightenment, he will continue to face the issues of his negative propensities; even a renowned teacher is not spared of this dilemma. Grand Master advised his students not to pick on his shortcomings but should learn his positive values instead. In addition to the need to abide by the precepts, a Buddhist should also do all actions that will bring benefit to others.   

          A Buddhist should also practise the Six Perfections (offering, discipline, tolerance, diligence, meditation and wisdom). Offering includes the offering of teachings, offering of wealth and offering of fearlessness. When one comes across a good teaching such as the Lotus Sutra, he should share the teachings with others; this is considered an offering of the teachings. Building temples, printing the teachings and helping the poor are considered the offering of wealth. When one helps to dispel the sense of fear in others and even sacrifices himself to protect others, is considered making offering of fearlessness. A person who is rich in this life must have offered his wealth to help others in his past life; such action of kindness would have helped him earn the good merits for this life. A person who is poor in this life had obviously not offered his wealth to help others in his past life; such action lacking in kindness would not have helped him earn any merit for this life. Therefore, a poor person should try his best to offer his wealth to help others in this life, so that he will earn his merits and become a rich person in his next life. A Buddha is also known as “The Holy One Who Has Perfected The Two Full Accomplishments”, which refers to his full accomplishment of merits and wisdom. Tolerance is another crucial practice of the Six Perfections. Anyone living in this world must tolerate all the adversities in life including the nagging of his wife and criticism of others etc.  When one learns to tolerate an adversity in life, he is likely to feel being treated unfairly while trying very hard not be carried away by his negative emotions; not losing one’s head is a commendable achievement. However, the ultimate teaching of tolerance actually requires a person to not feel emotional at all in the face of adversity. Diligence means doing one’s spiritual practice with vigor. Meditation is just part of the spiritual practice. Finally, our innate wisdom will naturally unfold through the practice of meditation.

          Acho Rinpoche also mentioned two cases of dispute which occurred in the Buddhist circle recently. The first case is related to a Tibetan Buddhist teacher who lives in the west, who is being accused by his westerner students for his misconducts. The second case is related to a successor of a Buddhist sect in Taiwan. The Tibetan Buddhist teacher being mentioned in the first case has been teaching in the west for about 30 years by now, who has established more than 100 seats worldwide and who has tens of thousands of westerner students. However, he was being accused by his closed disciples for his misconducts such as beating up his students and sexually assaulting his female students. His students consulted H.H Dalai Lama on how should this problem be handled. H.H Dalai Lama told the students that although this teacher is a good friend of his but the latter has indeed misbehaved. Initially, this teacher offered to enter a retreat and stopped his teachings. However, he was finally forced to fully relinquish his role as the spiritual director of all the seats worldwide. The second case is related to a Taiwanese Buddhist sect which is quite huge in size. Many of its ordained and layman students attended the teachings of H.H Dalai Lama in the past on the Lamrim (“Stages of the Path” by Master Tsongkapa). However, before the late abbot of this Taiwanese Buddhist sect passed away, he appointed a Chinese female layman Buddhist to be his successor as he believed that she is the reincarnation of Master Tsongkapa. This lady has been leading the ordained community of the sect since then, which is a clear violation of a rule set by Sakyamuni Buddha in the past. She is also being accused of having wrongful affair with a novice monk in her sect. Some of the students of this sect consulted H.H Dalai Lama on whether it is wrong for a lady to lead an ordained community, and they also complained about her other wrongful actions. Similarly, H.H Dalai Lama advised the students to publicly expose the wrongful acts of a Buddhist teacher, in order to protect the true teachings of the Buddha. Acho Rinpoche supports the rule set by Sakyamuni Buddha that a layman Buddhist must not lead an ordained community. However, Acho Rinpoche disagrees with the view that a female cannot be a spiritual leader (this is a common view held by most of the traditional Buddhist sects that belittle the spiritual capacity and attainment of a female practitioner) because historically, there are indeed great adepts among the female practitioners.    

          Acho Rinpoche said that there are all sorts of news being circulated on the Internet, with true facts and fake news mixed together, causing a lot of confusions to the readers. A practitioner will need to differentiate between the truth and fake news using his wisdom, to avoid being misled into the wrong paths; this is indeed a sad situation of the current age of degeneration. In short, the most crucial point is just that a practitioner must abide by the precepts strictly and do his daily spiritual practice with vigor.

Reported by Sun-moon KFS on 12-8-2017 @Singapore

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

9 Negative Habits to Be Abandoned by Advanced Practitioners

           Tonight, we did a Guru Rinpoche Prayer under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche. After which, he shared with us the following story about a student who consulted Venerable Hui Lu of Taiwan on his spiritual practice. The student is a practitioner who abides strictly by the precepts; however, he just cannot tolerate his fellow practitioners who fail to do so. He criticized others for failing to abide by the precepts and felt troubled by this matter. Venerable Hui Lu asked him if Sakyamuni Buddha would feel troubled in the same way that he did. The student said that he did not think so. Venerable Hui Lu told his student that Sakyamuni Buddha would certainly accommodate the shortcomings of others and would not criticize them. He told his students that the latter only scored 50 marks out of 100 for abiding by the precepts, and the remaining 50 marks will need to be earned based on his tolerance of the shortcomings of others. Sakyamuni Buddha was a very disciplined person but he accepted the fact that others were not. When a person thinks that he has done better than others in terms of upholding the precepts, he will inevitably start scrutinizing the shortcomings of others and criticize them, thus committing negative karma through his speech. In that sense, he will not score 100 marks in his practice of upholding the precepts. The student returned to his own Buddhist center and continued to do his practice by focusing on his own conduct and not paying attention to the shortcomings of others. People of his center noticed the change in him and later learnt the teachings given by Venerable Hui Lu too. Acho Rinpoche advised that a practitioner should not criticize the shortcomings of others but, on the contrary, wish for their gradual improvements instead. Not only that, a practitioner should learn to rejoice in the good deeds of others. Generally, a person will feel jealous about others doing better than himself out of ego, and fail to rejoice in the success of others; such mindset will only impede his progress on the path to enlightenment.

          Next, Acho Rinpoche shared an article he read on the Internet which talked about 9 negative habits in spiritual practice which should be abandoned. Initially, a practitioner will be told to abandon his attachment to his family, his wealth, his career, his relationships etc., which are considered the more obvious attachments in our worldly pursuits. However, to an advanced practitioner, there are more subtle attachments in the spiritual practice that should also be abandoned.
1st, abandon the “duration of practice” one has gone through. An advanced practitioner tends to feel proud about his long duration of practice and thinks that he is more advanced in his spiritual practice than others. However, spiritual accomplishment is not measured by the duration of practice because there are those who had attained enlightenment immediately when being initiated into the practice.
2nd, abandon the “number of sutras” one has read. An advanced practitioner tends to feel proud about the large number of sutras he has read. However, the amount of reading does not translate into a true spiritual accomplishment of a practitioner. The Sixth Patriarch of Zen Buddhism, Master Hui Neng, understood the teaching of Diamond Sutra when he first heard it. There are many who have read the numerous sutras and yet do not understand the teachings expounded.
3rd, abandon the “spiritual experience” one has attained. There are numerous methods expounded by the Buddha, tailored for the different needs of the individuals. Every method is designed to lead a practitioner to the state of enlightenment one day. So, an advanced practitioner should not assume that his own experience is the only authoritative method.
4th, abandon “arguments”. An advanced practitioner tends to assume that his views about the Buddhist teachings is the most accurate and ultimate one, and like to debate with others to prove his points. So, he should abandon the differences in opinion and not debate with others.
5th, abandon the “tendency of wanting to teach others”. An advanced practitioner tends to assume that he knows a lot more than others and like to teach others, and claim credit when others seem to be making improvements. However, a person will naturally attain spiritual realization when the time is ripe, not because of the teaching given by someone. There is no need for one to claim credit over the progress of others as that will only create a sense of arrogance in the “teacher”.  
6th, abandon the “merits of offering”. A practitioner should understand the profound meaning of “Formless Offering” and “mental activities free of attachment”, and does not feel attached to the merits of offering.
7th, abandon the pride of making “connections with the great masters”. All the great maters are great because of their high spiritual attainment, which has nothing to do with us. One should not brag about his connections with the many great masters and take their glamor as his own.  
8th, abandon the “wish for recognition”. When one yearns for the recognition and praises of others, he is desiring a worldly achievement which will impede his spiritual progress and binds him to the state of suffering.
9th, abandon the “practice”. When a practitioner has reached the final stage of spiritual cultivation, he must abandon even the conceptual thinking of “practice”. When one attains the state free of ego, what is the basis for a conceptual thinking of “I” who does the “practice”? When one still has the concept of “I” who does the  “practice”, he is still bound to the state of worldly achievement.
Acho Rinpoche said, “practice” is only an expedient method. In the past, those who were busy cooking in the kitchens and cleaning in the toilets were the ones who finally attained enlightenment, simply because they were selflessly working for others.  These 9 negative habits to be abandoned are targeted at the advanced practitioners because they are the ones who will face the dilemma of “self-attachment” and “teaching-attachment”.  As long as one has not truly abandoned such habits, he will never attain the state of enlightenment.

Reported by Sun-moon KFS on 6-8-2017
@Singapore

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Vajrayana Practice Can Eradicate Misconceptions and Mental Fabrications


          Tonight, we did a Guru Rinpoche Prayer with Acho Rinpoche. After which, Acho Rinpoche gave the two crucial teachings as follows.  

          First, in this digital age where social media on the Internet is very effective in information dissemination, we might accidentally help in disseminating the wrong information and commit a negative karma when we share information without scrutinizing its accuracy. Today, there are many Buddhist teachers criticizing the Vajrayana Buddhism as they fail to understand the more profound teachings unique to this school of Buddhism. Although they do understand the more basic teachings of Buddhism and gave the correct discourses on such subjects to their audiences, when we posted such discourses in the social media, the social media engine will automatically present other discourses given by the same Buddhist teachers including their misleading interpretations and criticism of the higher Vajrayana teachings. So, Acho Rinpoche cautioned us to be careful about sharing Buddhist discourses in the social media.

He mentioned Venerable Hui Lu in Taiwan who, although criticized some of the Vajrayana practitioners for their misconducts, recognized Vajrayana Buddhism as one of the legitimate schools of Buddhism. Venerable Jin Kong recognized Vajrayana Buddhism as one of the legitimate schools of Buddhism too, as he studied under Master Zhangjia of Vajrayana Buddhism in the past and learnt about the profound teachings of Vajrayana Buddhism. However, he confessed that he is not the right material for Vajrayana Buddhism and chose Pureland Buddhism for his practice instead. Venerable Hai Tao was ordained as a Mahayana monk initially but took refuge in the 17th Karmapa Urgyen Trinley of Karma Kagyud, and he actively promotes the Vajrayana teachings henceforth. He is being labelled as a “betrayer of the Mahayana Buddhism” by many Mahayana teachers. There is a Mind-only Mahayana School in Taiwan which openly criticizes Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism and even displayed huge banners outside its building slamming Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism as cult. Its members even distribute pamphlets at Mass Rapid Transit stations, outlining the misdeeds of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism.

Second, when a student consulted Venerable Hui Lu about which sutras to choose for recitation, he advised them that any sutras can do. However, he said that the recitation of sutras is just an expedient method. There are only two truly effective methods which can help a practitioner attain Buddhahood swiftly: a firm belief in the universal law of karma (cause-and-effect) and the practice of letting-go. When we firmly believe in the law of karma, we will be extremely careful about our actions including our inner thoughts. Letting-go is best explained by the saying “When our crazy mind stops, our innate state of enlightenment unfolds.” Venerable Hui Lu said that the Three Tipitakas and Twelve Canons are just too voluminous to be completely studied by anyone; however, a practitioner could just master the two methods mentioned and attain enlightenment swiftly. Acho Rinpoche agreed with his view too but opined that letting-go is easier said than done. Let-go means letting go of our attachments. Our attachments are the natural outcomes of our misconceptions and mental fabrications. Mental fabrications are none other than one’s desire, hatred and ignorance. One desires a pleasant experience and praises of others but hates an experience which turns out to be against his wish and the criticism of others. Misconceptions include one’s perceiving his physical body as real and feeling of distress when his body falls ill, and his perception of this world being real. Sakyamuni Buddha told us that this life of ours is not real including this world but ordinary people just cannot comprehend the profundity of his teachings. A practitioner must transcend the bewildered state of misconception and mental fabrication, in order to attain the enlightened state of an Arahat, which is also known as the first level of Bodhisattvahood and sainthood. However, it is very difficult for one to eradicate his state of ignorance and attain the ultimate state of letting-go. How could one let go of his attachments? How could one eradicate his desire, hatred, ignorance, arrogance and suspicion? How could one maintain a clear and calm mind amidst the interactions between his six sensual organs (eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind) and the external environmental conditions, while remaining fully aware of their illusive nature?     

Acho Rinpoche said that our sadhana (daily spiritual practice) book has all the antidotes built-in for treating the problem caused by misconceptions and mental fabrications. Every section of the practice consists of visualization (the most crucial antidote), mantra and mudra, all of which were designed to purify our body, speech and mind, in order to bring us to an ultimate state free of mental fabrications one day. Ordinary people are plagued by incessant thoughts (monkey mind). Incessant thoughts are created by one’s body, speech and mind. So, when we do our daily spiritual practice according to the Vajrayana teachings, we visualize ourselves transforming into Guru Rinpoche (purification of mind), chant the heart mantra of Guru Rinpoche (purification of speech) and form the mudra of Guru Rinpoche (purification of body), thus cutting the incessant mental fabrications and accomplishing a purified state of body, speech and mind. Also, when we do the practice, we must visualize the presence of our foes and friends, our family and relatives, our fathers and mothers from our past lives, and all sentient beings in the Six Realms (god, demi-god, human, animal, hell, hungry ghost), with them surrounding us and doing the practice together. When we prostrate to the holy beings, we will visualize the numerous sentient beings prostrating to the holy beings at the same time. When we visualize the holy beings blessing us with lights on our foreheads, throats and chests, we will visualize the rest of the sentient beings being blessed by the holy beings likewise. When we invoke the holy beings to descend to our altars during the practice, we will visualize the appearance of every single one, one after another. Our visualization must be done slowly and clearly, for a practice session to be considered as “perfect”. Last but not least, one must not practise for his own sake but for the sake of all sentient beings; this is a very important mindset for the attainment of Buddhahood.



Reported by Sun-moon KFS on 5-8-2017  

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Special Guests from Bhutan

Ugyen Yangdon and Tshwang Zangmo from Bhutan, with Acho Rinpoche
The guests and Singapore students.
Acho Rinpoche was giving the precious Guru Rinpoche Sacred Pills to the students.
The precious Guru Rinpoche Sacred Pills blessed by H.H Namkai Nyingpo Rinpoche in his recent 3-year retreat.
Tonight, we have two special guests from Bhutan joining us for our Guru Rinpoche Practice – Ugyen Yangdon and Tshwang Zangmo (who are sisters). After the prayer, Acho Rinpoche told us about the strong karmic bond between him and Ugyen. In 2012, we visited Bhutan. Ugyen joined us for a dinner as she was an acquaintance of Konde Rinpoche. At the first meeting, Ugyen felt a sense of familiarity with Acho Rinpoche without knowing why. In 2016, we visited Sikkhim, to pay homage to H.H Dodrupchen. Ugyen entered Sikkim from Bhutan and joined us in the meeting with H.H Dodrupchen. After that, she continued to keep in touch with Acho Rinpoche closely through WeChat.
Acho Rinpoche recalled that when we were visiting Tiger Nest in Bhutan, Dharma Sister Ping told him that she dreamt of a past abbot of the Tiger Nest abdicating his throne to Acho Rinpoche. Acho Rinpoche told us that he had indeed reincarnated in Bhutan many times. So, his karmic bond with Bhutan is very strong and Ugyen was actually one of this students cum attendant in one of his past lives in Bhutan. He told us that he went back to Bhutan many times in his dream, blessing the sentient beings there. He also commended Ugyen for being a diligent practitioner. Ugyen took refuge in a few great Buddhist masters including H.H Chatral Rinpoche of Nepal, H.H Dodrupchen of Sikkhim and H.H Namkai Nyingpo of Bhutan. It was Ugyen who first introduced H.H Dodrupchen to Acho Rinpoche in the past. Buddhists in Singapore and Malaysia were more familiar with H.H Dudjum Rinpoche and H.H Dilgo Kyentse Rinpoche in the past because their books were circulated in this region; Dudjum Rinpoche even had a seat in Singapore. The names of Chatral Rinpoche and Dodrupchen were unheard of then. In 2007, we visited Nepal. There was a Nawang Rinpoche joining us for the tour and he tried to introduce Acho Rinpoche to Chatral Rinpoche during the trip in vain because Chatral Rinpoche was already very advanced in age and not feeling well then. Later, Princess Roshana Lama from Nepal also mentioned Dodrupchen Rinpoche and Chatral Rinpoche to Acho Rinpoche, and provided greater details about the two great masters.
Next, Acho Rinpoche shared with us an article in the 209th book written by Grand Master. Grand Master mentioned that he is a “teacher of Rinpoches” because a few of his students have been recognized as the reincarnated masters of Tibetan Buddhism and were given the title of “Rinpoche”. He also mentioned that H.H Penor Rinpoche ever said that “Taiwan is the terminator of Rinpoches.” Reason being that the many Rinpoches living in India and Tibet are usually contended with the poor living conditions in these countries as they enjoyed the spiritual practice very much. However, they could quite easily lose their way in Taiwan, succumbing to the worldly temptations such as monetary wealth and sex. They are likened to a bird flying into a net and a fish hooked by a bait. There was an occasion when Grand Master toured the realm of hell and saw the Yama King busy working on the expansion of hell. The Yama King told him that recently there was a big group of Rinpoches falling into hell and he needed to expand the hell in order to accommodate them! Acho Rinpoche mentioned two great adepts in India including H.H Dodrupchen Rinpoche and the late H.H Chatral Rinpoche, with the latter banning his students from going to the countries in the east, especially Taiwan, for the propagation of the Buddhahdarma because he knew that they would fail the tests in those places. Acho Rinpoche also mentioned the third teacher of Ugyen, H.H Namkai Nyingpo Rinpoche, whom he got to know through Facebook because Ugyen often posted his news in this social media. Namkai Rinpoche is a very diligient practitioner who spent most of his time in retreat. This time, Ugyen brought some precious Guru Rinpoche Sacred Pills blessed by Namkai Rinpoche during his recent 3-year retreat. Such pills are very precious because they could cleanse the negative karma in the person who ate them.
Ugyen told us that she dreamed of Acho Rinpoche many times. Every time when she saw the image of Guru Rinpoche or recited the heart mantra of Guru Rinpoche, the face of Acho Rinpoche will somehow appear in her mind instead. She viewed Acho Rinpoche as Guru Rinpoche. She prayed for the longevity of Acho Rinpoche and his incessant enlightened activities to help the sentient beings. She was envious of the Singaporean students because we are so near Acho Rinpoche. However, Acho Rinpoche told us that, “Physical distance is actually immaterial. You only need to hold me in your heart. On the contrary, you could be just standing next to me and yet treat me like a shit, then I’m just a shit to you. When you view me as Guru Rinpoche, I am just Guru Rinpoche!” Acho Rinpoche told us about his meeting with Penlop Rinpoche from Bhutan who sought medical treatment in Singapore recently, whereby there was a hidden meaning in this meeting between the two of them. Ugyen has been sharing with her friends in Bhutan about Acho Rinpoche and his many inconceivable experiences. So, there is already a group of Bhutanese who know Acho Rinpoche. She also thanked Konde Rinpoche for introducing her to Acho Rinpoche. Lastly, Acho Rinpoche advised us that we should have learnt by now the true teaching of the Buddha, through the personal experience of Ugyen. However, we must apply the teaching in our daily lives, in order to attain enlightenment.
Acho Rinpoche also shared another article in the 259th book written by Grand Master, entitled “A Great Spiritual Master in Modern Times”.  There was a woman who was possessed by an animal spirit and an aborted baby spirit, who came to seek help from Grand Master. When Grand Master tried to bless her, she reacted violently against him. Finally, the enlightened beings advised Grand Master to just leave her alone and let her calm down on her own. This woman had lost her sleep for more than one and a half year by now, and she needed to rest fully in order to recover from her mental illness. What Grand Master was trying to tell the readers is that “One’s mind must be calm and composed at all times, in order to avoid being possessed by the spirits.” So, sufficient sleep and a calm mind are key to resolving such problem. Acho Rinpoche stressed that there are things that cannot be resolved even by a Buddha, as the effect of karma cannot be simply negated by supernatural power. One must eradicate his own negative karma through his personal practice, which is the ultimate solution to resolving the problem caused by his negative karma.  
Finally, Acho Rinpoche concluded the session by saying, “Ugyen has great faith in me, and I have great confidence in her too. I wish that she will continue to practise with vigor and help others in Bhutan when she is ready. I also hope that our X-Tour books on Sikkhim Tour and Bhutan Tour will be translated into English soon, to benefit the English readers in Bhutan and Sikkim. Recently, there was a Tibetan lama who posted in the Facebook saying that he liked one of our English books entitled 'Dancing in the Sky'. It is clear that our books can indeed help those who truly wish to practise the Buddhadharma. I hope that more of our books, especially the important ones, will be translated into English soon, to benefit the westerners who are keen to practise the Buddhadharma too. "

Reported by Sun-Moon KFS on 15-Jul-2017

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Practice of Great Perfection (Dzogchen)

 Konde Rinpoche gave his teachings to the group.
 Madam Lin with Konde Rinpoche and Acho Rinpoche.
 Ugyen and Tshwang from Bhutan
Our guests and Singapore students.
          Tonight, we did a Green Tara Prayer. H.E Konde Rinpoche of Nyingma Dzogchen lineage, Urgyen Yangdon and Tshwang Zangmo from Bhutan, and Madam Lin of Golden Travel Services joined us for our group prayer too. After the prayer, Konde Rinpoche gave us a discourse on the teachings. He told us that it takes a great deal of merits for one to be able to earn an opportunity to practise with Acho Rinpoche, so he hoped that we would cherish the presence of a precious master in Acho Rinpoche. He also told us that a human body is precious as it provides the key condition for one to practise the Buddhadharma. Compare with other schools of Buddhism, it takes a greater merit for one to earn an opportunity to practise the Vajrayana Buddhism as it provides the opportunity for a practitioner to attain Buddhahood in a single lifetime, including the attainment of a rainbow body.
          Konde Rinpoche shared with us that there was a Bigar Rinpoche from his village, a layman buddhist who did not seem to do much of his practice but spent most of his time on playing and riding his horse; he had many wives and kids too. In Mar 2017, he told his villagers that he would be passing away in three days. On the following day, he did a Guru Rinpoche Puja and transmitted the key teachings on securing a rebirth in Guru Rinpoche’s Pureland; there were about thirty thousand participants attending his teaching within a short notice. On the second day, he returned to the monastery in his hometown and did some prayers. On the third day, he gave instructions on what should be done after his passing. After that, he put on a monk robe, entered the state of samadhi and passed away. He told others not to touch his body in the next one week after he died. His body shrunk to a very small size and his skin turned fairer within a week after his passing (this is a sign of spiritual attainment of Dzogchen practice). Konde Rinpoche said that there were many accomplished Dzogchen masters who appeared to be very ordinary in their outer appearance, who practised differently from others. For instance, Master Tilopa, a patriarch of the Kagyud lineage, was a fisherman who appeared to be doing his fishing activities daily. However, students who had the greatest faith in him would just follow his advice without the slightest doubt and attained enlightenment. Konde Rinpoche said, there is Buddha Nature within all sentient beings, so everyone can become a Buddha through practising the Buddha’s teachings. Sentient beings are just perplexed by their mental afflictions which hinder us from realizing our full potential as a Buddha. Nevertheless, the wisdom of a Buddha is the same as that of the sentient beings. We can eradicate our negative karma through practising the Vajrasattva Practice and reciting the Hundred-syllable Mantra, which is a very powerful practice for eradicating negative karma. When our negative karma is purified, our pristine wisdom will be naturally revealed.  
          Konde Rinpoche mentioned about his root guru, Lama Ajun Toden Lodoe Gyatso, who also foretold his own passing one week in advance. He instructed others not to touch his body after his passing and must await the arrival of Padma Gelsang Rinpoche to open the door of his room. However, only three days after his passing, his body shrank very quickly to a very small size. The lamas were very worried that his body might completely disappear and decided to cremate his remains immediately. After the cremation, they found many multi-colored sacred relics in his remains. Konde Rinpoche said that Bigar Rinpoche also left behind a small number of multi-colored sacred relics after his cremation. Acho Rinpoche opined that one’s spiritual attainment has nothing to do with whether one is married or single because a single may not attain enlightenment either. In fact, enlightenment is only possible when one transcends an ordinary mindset. If one has a wife but transcends an ordinary mindset and behavior, he could attain the state of enlightenment too. Anyway, there is indeed a difference in terms of the level of spiritual attainment achieved by the different individuals. Lama Ajun Toden had obviously attained a higher level of spiritual attainment than Bigar Rinpoche who was a layman practitioner, as the former left behind much more sacred relics than the latter. An enlightened master might behave in a way not understood by the ordinary people. However, there are also practitioners who are not truly enlightened masters who claimed themselves to be one. How could one differentiate between a truly enlightened master and an impersonator? One will need to choose with his wisdom then.
          Acho Rinpoche shared with us a recent news circulated in the Internet - a renowned Tibetan Buddhist Master who has tens of thousands of followers, who has been teaching in the west for many years, is being accused by his closed westerner students for wrong doings. The students accused him for misconducts, being an alcoholic, living a luxurious lifestyle, hurting his students physically and emotionally, sexually assaulting his female students etc. Those accusing him said that he is obviously easily agitated and would simply hurl any objects within reach at his students and hurting them physically, with some of them being sent to hospitals for treatment. This Tibetan master claimed that he was using skillful means to help his students eradicate their sense of ego. In fact, way back in 1993, some of his westerner students had already informed H.H Dalai Lama about the strange behavior of this Tibetan master, and Dalai Lama advised them to publicly expose the insensible behaviors of their master. Acho Rinpoche opined that since none of the students who were hurt by this master seemed to have attained enlightenment, and the students are indeed hurt physically and emotionally, one would rather assume that this master has indeed gone astray and the students should not blindly assume that this is a “crazy adept”. True enlightenment is not like that! Some of his closed students also observed that he often gives public teachings but he hardly did his sadhanas (prayer). Acho Rinpoche opined that a practitioner must do his daily sadhanas or he will not be able to attain enlightenment. In the past, Guru Rinpoche had warned his students that “One’s view must be high, but his observation of precepts must be as fine as flour.” Hence, if a practitioner holds a high view but does not truly practise the teachings and observe the precepts, he will fall very swiftly and bring others along the downfall.
          Next, Dharma Sister Ugyen bade farewell to all as she would be ending her trip to Singapore by tomorrow and return to Bhutan. She was very grateful to Acho Rinpoche and other fellow students who showed her great hospitality during her trip here. Actually, she had never thought that she would one day set her foot in this wonderful land. She prayed to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for the longevity of Acho Rinpoche and blessing for the rest of the fellow students, and she resolved to continue her practice with vigor.
Finally, Acho Rinpoche hoped to see that Madam Lin would let go of her busy schedules and start her spiritual practice soon. He commented that Madam Lin has accomplished all the goals in life in terms of material success. However, the worldly merits will not be able to bring her back to her real home (the pure land of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara); only the merits accumulated from a spiritual practice can do so. There is no need for a practitioner to finish studying the Three Tipitakas and Twelve Canons, or the Five Major Commentaries in this life. There are many people who became very arrogant after acquiring too much knowledge from the Buddhist texts and wasted their time debating with others about their views of the teachings, and neglected their daily practice. So, we should keep our life and practice simple. We will certainly receive the blessing of the Buddhas through our daily practice of the sadhana, and such blessing power will naturally eradicate the adversities in our life. When we have finally accomplished our spiritual practice, we will be ready to help others. Acho Rinpoche advised Madam Lin that she only needed to take the first step, and the rest will be taken care by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

Reported by Sun-Moon KFS on 22-7-2017