Saturday, March 11, 2017

Compassionate Method vs Expedient Method

We just came back from Taiwan yesterday, after taking part in the Maha Dharmapala Empowerment Ceremony presided over by the Grand Master.   
After our group prayer tonight, Acho Rinpoche advised us that a practitioner should become softer at heart over time. A compassionate approach which promotes mutual respect and loving kindness is the ultimate method in guiding the sentient beings. This is a more superior method than a wrathful method which works on subduing stubborn sentient beings by force, for they will remain unremorseful at heart. The ultimate method of salvation is one that will soften the hearts of the sentient beings, making them aware and realize their own mistakes and repent sincerely.  
A compassionate method is just the spirit of bodhicitta. So, subduing the stubborn and evil sentient beings by force is not the true solution but a mere expedient method. When a practitioner has fully accomplished his spiritual practice, he will naturally act in a perfect way. Last but not least, a practitioner should not be rank conscious and should not be steadfast about worldly concerns.    
  
5-1-2017 Sun Moon KFS Reported on 5-1-2017 (The Enlightenment Day of Sakyamuni Buddha)  

Friday, March 10, 2017

Acala

Tonight after our group prayer, Acho Rinpoche invited Dharma Brother Guang to share his experience with the rest. Guang said he had never expected himself to be hit by a fatal illness so suddenly. Fortunately, his doctor finally confirmed that his illness was not a fatal one. So, he felt relieved now as his problem was being diagnosed as a heart inflammation instead. Acho Rinpoche felt sorry for Guang who obviously had not learnt his lesson as a practitioner, for the period of suffering was simply too short for him to develop a strong sense of renunciation.   
Acho Rinpoche shared with us that he fell very ill for a long period f 3 years in the past when he nearly wanted to gave up his life. He lost more than 20kg and his face turned dark; his mother cried upon seeing his terrible state of health. There was a voice speaking into his ear one day, telling him to jump down from higher floor to end his life and suffering. Luckily, Grand Master saved him from that ordeal. Henceforth, he developed a very strong sense of renunciation and knew it very well that when a man draws his last breath, all things in life will become totally irrelevant to him. He lost his interest of all worldly concerns and broke free of all worldly attachments. He advised us to turn all adversities in life into opportunities for our spiritual advancement, by not being defeated easily by our illness but insist on doing our last prayer till our very last day in life. A practitioner should die without regret; the rest of the things in life are just not important.  
Next, Dharma Brother Yi shared with us a recent dream of his. In his dream, Acho Rinpoche was presiding over a prayer. Yi saw an Acala image carved on a huge piece of rock. Suddenly, this Acala image began to move and walked out of the rock while producing a very loud and deafening sound. This Acala suddenly transformed into a young woman who walked towards Acho Rinpoche and started a private conversation about helping the sentient beings with the Buddhadharm; the two seemed to be very intimate friends. Later, Acho Rinpoche requested Acala to confer his blessing to all present. Acala took a vase from a group of vases but noticed some dirt within the vase, and therefore handed it to Yi for cleaning. Acala explained that it is pointless to pour nectar into a dirty vase, for the nectar will be polluted and became poisonous instead. It is the same for the practitioners who should cleanse our inner defilements such as lust, hatred, ignorance, pride and suspicion that bind us to the cyclic existence. Hence, we need to purify our mind of such mental defilements in order to truly benefit from the precious teachings of the Buddha.  
Acho Rinpoche recalled his trip to Japan more than 30 years ago which was related to Acala. In the 80's, he went to Japan and met an abbot of a huge monastery of Japanese Vajrayana lineage. At the monastery, Acala appeared and conferred blessing to the Japanese abbot through Acho Rinpoche. So, the abbot felt very grateful to Acho Rinpoche and presented a full set of robes, hat, rosary and an Acala image made of stone to the latter, as a token of appreciation and a recognition of the spiritual accomplishment of Acho Rinpoche. 
Acho Rinpoche told us that Acala was actually the first deity with whom he attained a spiritual response; that goes to show a very profound spiritual connection between the two. That is also the reason why Acala is one of the deities which appeared in the thankha (picture) depicting the spiritual lineage of Acho Rinpoche. The prayer ended with an Acala Empowerment being given by Acho Rinpoche, ending it with a perfect closure tonight.  
  
Reported by Sun Moon KFS on 26-Feb-2017 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Power of Spiritual Practice Can Change The World

Tonight, we did a Guru Rinpoche prayer. After which, Acho Rinpoche thanked fellow members whom visited Mayumla's mother at the hospital despite their busy schedules. He reminded us that showing concern to patients by being there personally is an act of a Bodhisattva. We might feel uncomfortable walking into a hospital environment of a different energy field because of the numerous spiritual beings there. It is nevertheless a duty of a practitioner to be there to help them.  
Acho Rinpoche subsequently shared a teaching given by Venerable Jing Kong. Li Bing Nan, a Taiwanese layman Buddhist teacher, was one of the teachers of Venerable Jing Kong. Before Li passed away, he advised his students, "This world is in a terrible chaos now. Even the enlightened beings will not be able to save it." Mankind could only pray to the Buddhas for a rebirth in the Buddha's pure land when they passed away from this world. Mankind must dedicate their positive merits accumulated from their spiritual practice to change the course of this world which is heading for destruction. When the negative power accumulated from the harmful actions committed by mankind far exceed the positive power accumulated from their good deeds, this world will plunge into a chaotic state of never ending natural calamities and man-made disasters.  
Take a look at the tensions between the North and South Koreas, between China and US today, wars can break out any moment between these countries. When this world faces its greatest destruction, no living beings could survive. By then, sentient beings who committed kind actions would die and be reborn in the heavenly realm; those who pray to the Buddhas would be reborn in the pure lands; those who committed harmful actions would fall into the three lower realms of animal, hell being and hungry ghost.    
Venerable Jing Kong always reminded us that no one truly dies because one will simply continue to live in another form of existence elsewhere. It is inevitable that everyone will depart from this world one day. So, it is very important for us to practise well during this lifetime in order to gain a better state of existence, and finally return to the pure lands of the Buddha. One should not commit negative actions which will definitely lead to a miserable state of existence, being born into the three lower realms of animal, hell being and hungry ghost.  
 
Reported by Sun Moon KFS on 3/3/2017 

Friday, March 3, 2017

How to Face the Departure of Our Loved Ones and Our Own

Tonight, we did a Guru Rinpoche prayer. After the prayer, Acho Rinpoche invited the son of Dharma Brother Guang to give an update to the group on his father’s condition. Guang was diagnosed with a heart inflammation problem instead of a fatal sickness initially suspected by the doctor; he was given some medications and told to go for the next round of diagnosis three months later.  
Acho Rinpoche reminded us about the impermanence of life once again, and stressed the importance of being prepared fully for our final moments in life. No one can escape the fate of death; we just need to prepare ourselves for it. He also mentioned about visiting Mayumla’s cousin who has gone into a state of coma after going through a seemingly harmless surgery; his brain was obviously damaged due to a heart failure that lasted for around 20 minutes. The doctor put him on a temporary life support system for the family to bid him farewell in the next two days.  
Acho Rinpoche visited him at the hospital and gave him blessing. When his children witnessed some signs of improvement of their father after receiving the blessing, they regained hope that maybe he could get well again. They pleaded to Acho Rinpoche to save their father. Acho Rinpoche was disheartened by the ignorance of most people in this world who know nothing about the Buddha’s teachings, who simply live blindly through an endless cycle of of birth, aging, sickness and death; eating, drinking and discharging…When the time is up, they will just plunge into another round of cyclic existence of birth and death. Worst still, most people will fall into the three lower realms of animal, hell being and hungry ghost of greater sufferings, which is harder to break free of.
So, the family members were just requesting for their father to continue living in such a miserable state. Had they understood the Buddha’s teachings, they would know that the best outcome is to advise their father to let go of all his clinging and attachment to this world instead, and let Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara take him away to the Western Blissful Pure Land, thus breaking free of the cyclic existence forever. People who possess the greatest wealth in this world but who know not about the precious teachings of the Buddha are, in fact, the most pathetic ones.   
Acho Rinpoche reminded us again to practise with vigor and strive to break free of this illusory world created by our own karma, and attain the true state of liberation.  
 
Reported by Sun Moon KFS on 26-2-2017

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Mindfulness

Today is the 15th day of the 1st lunar month of 2017, which is also known as “A Joyful Day of the Buddhas”. Dundo Rinpoche and Renqin Lama from Taiwan joined us for our group prayer tonight. After the prayer, Acho Rinpoche introduced Dondo Rinpoche to the group as the author of a book entitled “The Golden Garuda”, who is also known as a reincarnated Bodhisattva of the 10th Level. The first Dondo Rinpoche was the teacher of the 5th Dalai Lama in the past.
Dondo Rinpoche shared with us on the history of Tibetan Buddhism which is a very complete set of teachings passed down from Sakyamni Buddha without a break in the lineage transmission over more than a thousand years. He also explained the “secrecy” of the Vajrayana which originated from an era in India when the Vajrayana practice was very much confined within the royal circle by royal decree; it was not allowed to be practised by the commoners. At the time, only Sutrayana teachings were allowed to be transmitted in the public and were being taught free at the Nalanda University.
Acho Rinpoche reminded us that the internalization of the teachings is more important than mere teachings in a theoretical form. A practitioner should truly attain the state of emptiness before he could actually embark on a true path of practice which leads to the ultimate state of enlightenment. The teachings in a theoretical form could only provide us with a sense of direction and an idea of the ultimate objective to guide us in our practice. A practitioner must internalize the teachings through practice in order to accomplish the ultimate state of enlightenment.
Acho Rinpoche also shared with us a story about Nagajurna. Nagajurna said, “When I finally realized my innate pristine awareness, the rest of the things in life became meaningless.” Since his enlightenment, he walked around naked for alms. One day, a queen offered to swop his ordinary bowl with one studded with expensive jewels. Nagajurna simply accepted the queen’s offer without discrimination and brought the food back to his place. A thief noticed the jewel studded bowl and planned to steal it from Nagajurna. So, he followed the latter home and waited for his chance. When Nagajurna finished his meal, he just threw the bowl out of the window. The thief immediately took it away but turned back to Nagajurna after a while, in order to find out the reason why the latter behaved so strangely.  Nagajurna told him, “When I finally realized my innate pristine awareness, the rest of the things in life became meaningless. You may continue to do what you want but remember to remain in a state of mindfulness at all times.
The thief left Nagajurna but returned to him again later. The thief told Nagajurna that he could no longer steal under a state of mindfulness. However, he noticed a sense of joy and contentment in him that he had never experienced in the past until now, while dwelling in a state of mindfulness. So, he decided to take Nagajurna as his teacher.
Acho Rinpoche advised us that we should strive to keep our state of mindfulness at all times, during our daily activities. Such practice could help us break free of the state of sufferings eventually and attain the ultimate state of liberation.                
 
Reported by Sun Moon KFS on 26 Feb 2017.