Wednesday, December 29, 2010

X-Tour: Hainan Island '2010

In Jun 2007, we set off for The Horizon of the World (Hainan Island). We hardly travelled to the same place within a short span of just 3 years, based on our past practice. However, Nan Hai Guanyin (Avalokitesvara of the Southern Sea) showed His power again. On 12 Dec 2010, 14 of us set off for yet another X-Tour, to The Horizon of the World. Why 14? It could well be a wonderful arrangement planned by the spiritual world in silence…

My company happened to organize a 4-day work related retreat in early Dec in Haiko, China. So, the rest (13 members) planned to join me on the 4th day, the last day of my retreat. We arranged to meet in Haiko and set off for the southern part of Hainan Island for the tour.

Ho, our tour guide in 2007 during our last visit to Hainan Island, came to my hotel, Hong Yun Hotel, to bring me over to Haiko Hotel, to meet the rest. They had touched down at the Mei Lan Airport and had checked into Haiko Hotel. Ho told me that he had some interesting experience lately with some of the Singaporean tourists who came to Hainan Island. Some of them kept staring at him at the airport when they met him, puzzling him. Later, they showed him our X-Tour book entitled “The Horizon of the World (Hainan Island)”, with his photo featured in the same book. So, he has become famous among Singaporean tourists now!

This was our repeat visit to Hainan Island. Ho planned a somewhat different itinerary for us this time, giving us some new experiences. We travelled by the Hainan Island Centre Route, visiting the Betel Nut Valley (Li-Miao Cultural Village), An Ding Bird Park, Southern Bay Monkey Island, Ya Long Bay Tropical Rainforest, all of which were eye-opening experiences…

When we arrived at the Confucius Temple in Wen Chang, the temperature dropped from 28ºC to 8ºC, making all of us shivering in cold - we had to do an impromptu shopping at a local shop for additional winter gears. When we arrived at Haiko Volcano Park, we saw the local guide shivering in cold too. However, when we reached the top of the hill where I offered incense and performed a ceremonial dance as offering to the Volcano God, the freezing chill suddenly disappeared into thin air! The temperature instantly rose and the weather suddenly became warmer, and we had to start stripping the additional layers of winter gear one by one…

Well, we could not possibly forget about mentioning the Nan Hai Guanyin alright. We put up at the Nan Shan (Southern Mountain) Hotel for one night and we paid respects to the Nan Hai Guanyin. When we arrived at Nan Shan, a Sanskrit syllable “A” appeared in the sky, formed by clouds. When we visited the 33 Guan Yin Temple and during our practice of Guan Yin Prayer, all of us wept before the 33 statues of the manifestations of Guan Yin; it was as if a child had finally returned to the warm embrace of a mother long separated. At the same temple, we made offering of wine to the Fifth Senior (God of Fortune). We suddenly noticed that there were 14 pieces of mattress being laid on the floor before the Fifth Senior. All 14 of us, the Vajrayanists, had one mattress each! We knelt on the mattresses and offered Er Guo Tou (wine) to the Fifth Senior, praying for his blessing for all sentient beings residing in Hainan Island.

Amitabha Buddha!

Acho (Lotus Robe)
25 Dec 2010 on Christmas Day

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Inauguration of a New Nyingma Dzogchen Centre in Kuala Kangsar, Malaysia

First, I would like to express my appreciation to those who joined the mind-training tour to Ipoh (13-14 Nov 2010). Without you, I think the exceptional phenomenon (a special rainbow appeared above the clouds, unlike the usual rainbows seen after rain) would not have occurred. Next, I would like to thank Dharma Sister YM for helping to arrange the two-day trip, making it possible for everyone to participate in the event.

As a matter of fact, every mind-training tour was truly beyond my control. I have repeated this many times that regardless of the length of each trip or its location, it was arranged by the holy beings in advance where they would decide on the details; I am merely a seed on the chessboard being moved around.

The merits accumulated from every mind-training tour are simply inconceivable! I could only say this: in the Diamond Sutra, it is said that “When you were given all the jewels in the world and you offered them all to the Buddha, you would accumulate immeasurable merits.” However, the merits accumulated from a mind-training tour will far exceed the merits you gained from offering all your jewels to the Buddha. It is simply inconceivable! To me, it cannot be measured in monetary terms, and it far exceeds the value of time, possessions etc in this world. You will know it one day, even if you disagree now, that the merits generated from participating in a mind-training tour cannot be measured against your money, time or even your life! It is said in some of the sutras that when you just lift your head up to take a glance at an image of Avalokitesvara, you will have already planted a seed of immeasurable merits in you.

The Indian friends who came forward to receive my blessing during the inauguration ceremony including the rest had their problems. Guru Rinpoche gave everyone blessing and removed their problems, including alleviating their illnesses. That was the power of Guru Rinpoche! I was just an instrument through which He gave the blessing. Everyone who received the blessing had a seed of enlightenment planted in him, and had his karmic obscuration eradicated to some extent. I tried my best to help them eradicate their karmic obscuration, and grant them fortune, and hopefully they will understand the true meaning of practice in future.

I overheard Droma telling Alice over the phone that there were about 200 participants on the day. News travelled fast in the neighbourhood on free vegetarian meals being offered. In the end, lots of people came. Initially, I expected only a few coming forward to seek blessing but the queue gradually grew longer and longer. Konde Rinpoche said to me, “It must be tough for you.” Actually, it was Guru Rinpoche who gave the blessing, not me. It was simply inconceivable!

Even our visit to the Guan Di Temple was arranged beyond my control. Before the trip, one of my colleagues sent me an email informing me about a famous and historical Guan Di Temple in Ipoh. When the old temple was demolished, the statue of Guan Gong was lost until a medium came forward to convey the message that Guan Gong wanted to make a comeback. Finally, they found the statue in one of the committee members’ house. They converted a private house into a new temple and brought back all the statues of Guan Gong, including the historical one that is blackened by smoke over the years. Because it has been very responsive to those coming forward to seek help, it has attracted lots of believers coming forward to seek help, including the locals and foreigners from Singapore, after the temple opened for barely half a year. Its interesting story was also reported in the local newspapers. When I read the news in Singapore, I knew that I must come to the temple and give it blessing, in order to help Guan Gong help more people.

When we arrived at the Guan Di Temple, Guan Gong appeared before me to seek blessing. The abbot of the temple chatted with us for quite awhile, telling us many stories related to the temple. Initially, he thought we were just an ordinary group of devotees no different from the rest who came to just pay respect and seek help. A special rainbow appeared in the sky after the blessing was given to the temple. The rainbow kept changing in shapes and colours, and finally appeared like a Buddha Eye. The abbot was clearly moved by the unusual phenomenon.

There was a terrifying thunder storm at night, with continuous lightning strikes that were very deafening which lasted quite awhile. Actually, that was the manifestation of the Dharma protectors. It was just inconceivable! They welcomed our arrival and thanked us for helping the sentient beings there.

The new Nyingma Dzogchen centre is located quite far from Ipoh. The committee members told me that they could not imagine the speed at which the centre was built. Someone donated a piece of land at first, but the rest of the funds were still inadequate; they were short of everything. Later, Dharma Sister YM suggested to KH to invite me to grace the inauguration ceremony, and I casually accepted the suggestion. When they heard that I would be visiting the centre upon its completion, they worked fast and furious, and strangely, funds started flowing in including the helpers.

Due to my heavy work commitment in Oct – Nov, I could not squeeze out my time to go visit the centre. So, I told them that I could not fulfil my promise. When they heard that I could not make the trip, they felt despaired. Suddenly, the funds stopped flowing in too. They thought maybe the time was not ripe yet for the centre to be built. Later, I told them that I could now make the trip, they immediately felt the resumption of the power of blessing. They felt confident when they saw the image of Guru Rinpoche enshrined in the temple which seemed to be smiling all the time. I told them that the power of blessing from Guru Rinpoche was hardly found in most places, but the presence of Guru Rinpoche at their centre was clearly felt. They said they knew it and they had taken pictures of mythical orbs surrounding the whole centre, which were similar to those orbs pictures we took in India. How inconceivable! These orbs were actually the manifestation of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas who came forward to protect them, for the people here cherish this centre. All the deity statues in the centre looked joyful - they are happy!

When the committee members heard that I would be coming to the centre, they felt encouraged and the funds automatically continued to flow in once again. Everything was completed within a very tight schedule. They said that they just could not imagine it - it must be the help from the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas or it could not possibly have happened that way. They were full of joy! I told them, “You should practise well, for this is an exceptional centre planned by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Make good use of it for your practice.”

Conflicts and confrontations among members of a centre are inevitable because of the negative propensities in everyone. As long as everyone starts practicing mind-training, all problems can be resolved over time. Do not succumb to these conflicts and confrontations. Practice well and you will be able to succeed in your cultivation. I commended their great efforts and I felt touched by their faith in the practice. I hope to see everyone practice mind-training. No one could succeed in cultivation immediately. So, do it gradually, and one day you will succeed in the training. When that happens, you will change your current perceptions and develop a positive mind set that will make you a joyful person. Finally, you will feel joyful regadless of whether tehre is rainbow in the sky or not, whether there is an inauguration ceremony or not - it does not matter! You will feel joyful everyday, you will love to practice, and no matter what happens, it just does not matter!

Konde Rinpoche said that he could give dharma discourses in Tibetan but not Chinese. He said that I had given many teachings including the Seven Verses of Mind Training, Preliminary Teachings of Dzogchen, and many other sutras. He would like to see me teach at the Kuala Kangsar centre, teaching the students about mind-training. I do wish that when the time is right, after my retirement, I could spend more time there. I don’t wish to build temples because I feel that a true temple is in my heart. I think, one day, when I wish to build a temple, I am confident that money and land will not be an issue. Actually, someone offered a piece of land to Konde Rinpoche in India for temple building; I don’t think there will be any issue.

Danzen Daji Rinpoche told me, “You should go full time into the propagation of the Dharma. As long as you are willing to do so, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will render their support.” To me, temple building is a non-issue. There will be people willing to donate money and land for temple building – no problem. The only concern is "What is the correct way of practice?" "How can one succeed in his cultivation, eradicating his negative propensities, lust, hatred and ignorance?" With or without a temple is immaterial. One could succeed in his cultivation with or without a temple. How you train and eradicate your negative propensities and purify your mind, speech and action, eradicate your lust, hatred and ignorance are far more important. I am not particularly interested in temple building. When the time is right, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will certainly help and the Dharma protectors will help to push things forward; it could happen very quickly - no problem! Om Mani Padme Hom.

By Acho Rinpoche on 20 Nov 2010


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Address of Centre: Lot.1669, Plot N, Kawasan Perusahaan, Jalan Perak Textile, 33000 Kuala Kangsar, Perak. Darul Ridzuan, Malaysia.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Reflection (向内看,改变自己)

This book entitled “Meeting A Himalayan Master” is related to a very famous book published years ago entitled “A Master in the Himalayan Mountain”. Master Veda is just the student of the author of the latter book, Master Rama. ““A Master in the Himalayan Mountain” gave an account on the learning journey of Master Rama who learnt from many masters who stayed in the Himalayan Mountain; all his masters were adepts in spiritual practice.

There were many practitioners who read “A Master in the Himalayan Mountain” in their early stage of cultivation. They were deeply influenced by the teachings that brought great joy to its readers.

The author of “Meeting A Himalayan Master”, Chen Ting Yu, first met Venerable Ananda, a Theravada monk, in New Delhi, India. This monk was the only person who was experienced in the exploration of the origin of Ganges River, and a great guide to help find the various Himalayan practitioners. The author felt very uncomfortable with Venerable Ananda initially due to his unconventional style, for the latter seemed overly passionate and talkative, who laughed aloud and walked briskly; so unlike the strict behavior of monks in general. The author was also curious about the reason why Venerable Ananda was so passionate about his search for the Himalayan masters. The author revered Venerable Ananda.

She asked him, “Venerable Ananda, why do you laugh so much and look so happy all the time?” Venerable Ananda told the author that he used to be an angry monk in the past, despite his efforts in recitations and prostrations daily, in search of happiness. Finally, he realized that the true source of happiness is within him, not without. He had been blaming others for their faults and, therefore, failed in his practice.

Where is the true source of happiness? Actually, the secret of happiness does not lie in requesting others to change but rather, requesting ourselves to change instead. The key point lies in “reflection”. It is that easy. You can do it.
The greatest gain of the author from her India trip was to have learnt about “reflection”. “Reflect inward, and understand oneself. Do not attempt to understand others but ourselves,” she said. You do not need to care too much about others but just try to understand yourself better. She said that the greatest yogi was born in India – Sakyamuni Buddha, who reflected inward and succeeded in attaining a full enlightenment.

The famous spiritual leader in India at present was Master Veda, who inherited the Himalayan Yoga School from his teacher, Master Rama, and became the caretaker of the yoga centres founded by his teacher. He said, “I am 75 years old but my forehead is wrinkle-free because I know the secret of the Himalayan facial cream!” The secret is – the mind of Master Veda is wrinkle-free. The practice of yoga is the reason for a wrinkle-free mind, for yoga beautifies the mind and frees it of wrinkles.

Most people tend to think that the bending of one’s body is the practice of yoga, and yoga only means physical exercises. But Master Veda said, “I really don’t know how to put my leg above my head! The true yoga is mind training.” We talked about mind training all the time, and that is the true yoga practice. Yoga practice does not mean putting your leg above your head, or attempting some difficult physical postures. Yoga means mind training.

Master Veda said if we want to practice truly, we must “achieve an inner success, in order to achieve an outer success.” Without the inner success, the outer success will never happen. This was a line often repeated by Master Veda that really touched her heart. The author had become a frequent grumbler due to work pressure all these years, not knowing what she truly wanted and not cherishing too many things in her life. However, Master Veda never asked her about her problems in her work, but only told her gently that the actual problem came from within her, not without. But she failed to see the point until she suffered too much in her work that she finally realized - the external world was a mere reflection of her own inner mind.

This is what I often said too. When you see the ugliness in your outer world, do not blame others but yourself. The external ugliness is a mere reflection of your inner mind. It is just like the experience of Venerable Ananda who used to be an unhappy man in the past, who found the rest offensive and himself constantly going against all odds. He felt great pain in life until he realized that the source of pain actually came from within him.

Actually, the secret lies in “changing oneself but not others.” So, when Venerable Ananda finally decided to face his own problem, he felt relieved and learnt to live at present; that is similar to one’s attaining a “sudden enlightenment”. He became a happy man ever since.

I have finished reading the whole book which talks about “mind training”. So, when you feel unhappy, do not blame others but to reflect inward and change yourself. When you have succeeded in changing your inner self, you will succeed in your undertakings in the outer world. However, at that point, you will realize that actually, the outer world has not changed – you are still you, I am still me, he is still him and your work is still your work… The same issues will continue to exist but you will find them somehow changed; you will now feel happy, joyful and peaceful. Everything you see seems beautiful. Everyone you meet seems to be a Buddha or a Bodhisattva. You will no longer blame others and accuse others of their faults. Your inner mind has changed, and the rest is just the reflection of your inner mind.
There is nothing new mentioned in this book. It is only about “reflecting inward, not outward”. That is what we have been talking about all the time. There is no other teaching. The Himalayan master only spoke about this teaching. If only you could master this teaching, you too can become another Himalayan master one day. What Master Veda wanted to share in this book is, in fact, very simple. But you are only lacking in one thing – “I can’t do it!” Your mind is still running wild, flip flopping, and you simply point your finger at others and put the blame on others when you are unhappy, forgetting to reflect inward. When you reach the end of your present life, you will feel regretful of your wrong behavior. By then, who can help you? I don’t know of anyone who can help you by then. So, before your present life comes to an end, please start reflecting inward and change yourself.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The X-Tour: South Vietnam ‘2010

This time, the X-Tour came as a complete surprise to us! We just came back from our Taiwan tour in Jun 2010, and the next X-Tour should only happen in Dec based on our past practice. However, we were expecting some changes in Dec this time which might change our routine plan to travel out of Singapore during this period. So, we had decided to skip the next X-Tour in Dec this year.

Dharma Sister Mei just came back from her company trip to Pangkor Island in Malaysia in Aug. She kept telling me how serene the place was and it would be very suitable for us to take a good rest there for a few days. So, I told her to plan for a short trip in Sep during the school holiday. When her plan was out, there were few who enrolled for the trip. So, she suggested that it be cancelled. At that juncture, a vision of Ho Chih Min suddenly appeared in my mind. So, I made a very casual remark, “Why not we go to South Vietnam instead?” 2 years ago, we went to North and Central Vietnam, after which we published a book entitled “The X-Tour: Vietnam”. We did not cover South Vietnam in our last trip. So, if we could now publish another book on South Vietnam, it would be just perfect!

Within a very short period of 2 weeks of preparations, 8 of us made our way to Ho Chih Min City (HCM City), in a hurry.

When our plane reached the sky above HCM City, it was 2 Sep 2010. At that juncture, Dharma Brother Shao ‘saw’ Uncle Ho appearing in space to welcome our arrival.
When we stepped out of the airport, a young tour guide, Chu Chu, came to receive us. Outside the airport, the streets were fully decorated with banners bearing the picture of Ho Chih Min and the date “2 Sep”. Suddenly, we realized that it could well be a very important day in Vietnam. Our tour guide told us that it was a public holiday in Vietnam, one that celebrates the birthday of Ho Chih Min. We just smiled to one another, with a silent exchange of acknowledgements - “How on earth could it be so coincidental!” At a later stage, the tour guide told us that 2 Sep is also The 1st Independence Day of Vietnam. Now, that was a little confusing to us. Regardless, 2 Sep must be a very important day to both Vietnam and Ho Chih Min for sure. It was very coincidental that we arrived in HCM City on 2 Sep. The area outside our hotel, Rex Hotel, was fully decorated for celebration, with fireworks being displayed at night. We understood that this was yet another silent arrangement made by the spiritual world.

On the first and second day, we visited HCM City and Mekong Delta. It was a very relaxing trip visiting the 3 islets in Mekong Delta, including a horse cart ride.
On the third day, we travelled to the famous Cu Chi Tunnel. It was simply awesome! The fighting spirit of the Vietnamese Communist soldiers was just amazing, no wonder they won the war finally. Later, we proceeded to Vung Tau, a famous beach resort situated 125KM away from HCM City. I got an SMS at night during our prayer, informing me about a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hitting Christchurch in New Zealand on the same day. We dedicated the merits of our prayer to this shocking disaster.

On the fourth day, we walked up a hill in a cooling breeze. A gigantic Jesus Monument stood right on top of the hill, overlooking the sea below. It was believed to be the biggest outdoor Jesus Monument in the world. And there were tens of thousands of dragonflies flying all over the hill, with the largest congregation seen right in front of the Jesus Monument. In my vision, they were no ordinary dragonflies but tens of thousands of angels who came forward to welcome the arrival of a group of Vajrayana practitioners! After paying our respects to the Jesus Monument, we slowly walked down the hill. Suddenly, I felt the presence of both Mother Mary and Jesus. Both of them expressed their gratitude to me for visiting and blessing Christchurch 2 years ago. The Prime Minister of New Zealand commented that it was truly a miracle that Christchurch survived a 7.2 magnitude earthquake without any loss of human life! But to me, it was just the great blessing of The White Parasol!

We visited a Whale Temple, but Chu Chu said it was an “Elephant Fish” Temple. Actually, “elephant fish” is synonymous to “whale”. This temple was likened to Ma Zu Temple to the Chinese people. The local fishermen would pray at this temple before leaving for sea every morning. They prayed for the protection of the “whale” for a safe return.

During this trip, I realized the stark difference between Hanoi and HCM City. The former was old and backward, whereas the latter was modern and bold. HCM City was full of modern buildings, with very few traditional long and narrow buildings left.
Our young tour guide, Chu Chu, was only 25 years old. When he knew that I was the author of the book entitled “X-Tour: Vietnam”, he started calling me “dad”. And I called him “Chu Chu, my son.” He is “Prince Chu Chu”, and I am “Acho Rinpoche”. There must be a very special connection between the two of us in the past, ha ha! Prince Chu Chu was no ordinary tour guide. He was the body builder champion of Vietnam in 2010. He showed us his championship photo on his hand phone and an article featuring him in a local women’s magazine as the body builder champion of the 75kg category.

We visited a few art galleries and noted some scenic paintings showing a place full of wild flowers which was surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Initially, I thought that the artists must have visited either Switzerland or New Zealand in winters. There was a time when our car was making a turn at a street and again, I saw posters showing the same place surrounded by snow-capped mountains and wild flowers. When I asked Chu Chu where the place was, he told me that it was his hometown - Dalat! It was near to another famous beach resort, Nha Trang. So, we planned our next trip to Vietnam with Prince Chu Chu, to visit Dalat and Nah Trang. That should wrap up the final chapter of our Vietnam Tour. Well, will this plan be realized? We will just leave it to the Dharma Protectors and the inconceivable spiritual affinity to decide on the next trip. We will just continue to walk our journey step by step…

Lotus Robe (Acho Rinpoche)
7 Sep 2010

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Monday, July 19, 2010

The X-Tour: Taiwan ‘2010

This Taiwan trip came all too suddenly. In late 2009, we made a trip to Sabah, Malaysia. While we had yet to recover fully from the shocking experience of some British soldiers who died in the World War II coming forward to seek help for soul deliverance, we were wondering what would be the next exciting extraordinary tour planned by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

Initially we planned to go to Seattle in the US, to visit one of my root gurus, H.H Living Buddha Lian Sheng (Grand Master). But suddenly, I had an urge to go to Shandong in China instead, to see the peony blossoms in April, and the cherry blossoms too. Dancing with the cherry blossoms is a dream in my life that has yet to be realized.

Early April 2010, I had a dream. In my dream, Grand Master told me not to come to Seattle, for he would be leaving Seattle to return to the place where he planned to finally pass away. So, we dropped our plan to visit the US. At the time, Dharma Sister Zhou suddenly said she wished to visit Taiwan. I agreed, partly because the last time I visited Taiwan was about 18 years ago, that I was curious to find out how Taiwan had changed after all these years, and I recalled the special Ginger Duck (a local delicacy) which was popular in the winter seasons.

When Dharma Sister Chan informed the rest via sms about our plan to visit Taiwan, Dharma Brother Shao thought it sounded very much like a very ordinary and casual tour. At that juncture, he suddenly ‘saw’ the Four Heavenly Kings descending from space, indicating their readiness to support the Taiwan trip. He least expected this to be yet another X-tour!

Few days later, Dharma Sister Chan informed me of the breaking news on the True Buddha School Net, reporting Grand Master’s sudden decision to return to Taiwan for good. My dream had been proven right again. We could now celebrate the birthday of Grand Master, with Grand Master, his family and thousands of True Buddha practitioners in Taiwan. It would indeed be an extraordinary experience!

So, 36 of us set off for Taiwan (in 2 batches) on 20 Jun 2010, with the tour ending on 28 Jun 2010. We would be creating a new chapter of X-Tour, this time, in Taiwan. One week before the tour, after a group practice, I told the rest that this time we would be making contacts with friends from the Tibetan Buddhism and Taoism in Taiwan. Later, I received 2 phone calls, one after another. The first one was made by Dondo Rinpoche (the author of “Wingless Garuda”) from Nyingma Kathok in Taiwan. He told me about his plan to visit Hong Kong in May, to attend a Buddhist ceremony presided over by H.H Mocha Rinpoche. He asked me if I planned to visit Taiwan in the near future. He invited me to attend a ceremony that he would be conducting in Taiwan. But I told him that I would not be able to make it due to my heavy work schedule. I told him of our Taiwan tour in Jun. 2 hours after he called, Dharma Brother Lian Kui called from Taiwan, asking me if I was going to Taiwan, as H.E Danzhen Longduo Nima Rinpoche from Nyingma Dzogchen in China was visiting Taiwan, presiding over a Buddhist ceremony. I told him of my plan to visit Taiwan in Jun.
During this mind-training tour, we visited Taipei, Yeliu, Jiufen, Wulai, Gaoxiong and Taizhong. Everywhere we went, rainbows awaited our arrival in the sky. No matter rain or shine, rainbows awaited our arrival, welcoming us. On our way back to Singapore, there were even 2 rainbows vertically descending from the sky below the clouds, clearly visible from our plane soon after it took off from Taiwan airport. It symbolized the perfect arrangement meticulously planned by the Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas, and the Dharma Protectors, for this exciting mind-training tour. When we were setting off the sky-lanterns in Shifen, mother nature seemed to work with us in perfect harmony. There was a heavy downpour in Shifen when we arrived, which stopped immediately before we set off the sky-lanterns; and then the heavy downpour resumed immediately after the sky-lanterns were set off completely……

When we arrived at Qijing, our tour guide was introducing the place to us while we stood next to a Ma Zu Temple. At the time, a slight drizzle started. Surprisingly, the rain only fell on one side of the road, leaving the other side completely dry! How strange! After which, I went into the temple to pay my respects to Ma Zu (a taoist deity). This was my first encounter with Ma Zu in Taiwan.

Our schedule was fully packed. We planned our dinner every night at several famous night markets including Shiling Night Market, Danshui Old Street, Ximending, Jiufen, Shenkeng Old Street and Wulai Old Street in Taipei; Liuhe Night Market in Gaoxiong; and Fengjia Night Market in Taizhong. We hunted for the famous local delicacies such as the stinky beancurd that we had been longing for, oyster “me sua” or oyster omelette.

I originally thought that we could at most just make a phone call to greet Dondo Rinpoche during our trip in Taiwan. Out of my expectation, he actually invited us to his centre in Gaoxiong – Khatok Rainbow Dharma Centre in Gaoxiong. Due to some slight miscommunication, when we reached his centre around 5pm, he had already gone somewhere else trying to receive us. When I walked up the stairs and met the person-in-charge of the centre, she told me that Dondo Rinpoche had already gone out to receive a Rinpoche from Singapore. I was in casual attire at the time, so I simply smiled and told her that we could wait for Dondo Rinpoche to return. 15 minutes later, Dondo Rinpoche rushed back to the centre. He immediately offered me a khatak when we met. The person-in-charge of the centre looked slightly embarrassed, for how could she tell that this ordinary looking man was actually a reincarnation of a Tibetan Rinpoche?

Later, Dondo Rinpoche invited me to sit on a high throne, joining the rest in a Vajra Kilaya Prayer. I did not expect Dondo Rinpoche to appear again in Taizhong, where he treated us to a delicious dinner of Italian pasta. After which, we visited his centre in Taizhong – Tibetan Buddhism Dondo Dharma Centre in Taizhong.
When we finally returned to Taipei, he was there too, inviting us on our last day to visit his centre in Taipei – Wish Fulfilling Temple. We did a few rounds of smoke-offering prayer, including a Green Tara prayer.

As I sat on the high throne, wearing the dharma crown and dressing in a lama robe, the rest of the practitioners came forward to prostrate before me and presented their offerings to me. Suddenly, I had a feeling of déjà vu that I seemed to be still sitting on the floor in the Lei Zang Temple during the prayer on that day, with my mind fully immersed in bliss…. For there is no difference between sitting on a high throne and sitting on a floor, doing prayers. Spiritual connections that pervade the universe are far more important.

There was yet another inconceivable spiritual connection awaiting us. I expected Dharma Brother Lian Kui to introduce some Taoist friends to me this time. But he did not make that arrangement. There was a silent arrangement being made by someone else though, in the spiritual world.

After the completion of the Maha White Lotus Bodhisattva Prayer in Lei Zang Temple, we left the temple by walking down the road leading to the foot of the hill. Our coach could not come up to the temple as the road was narrow and the crowd was huge. On our way down, Lian Kui suddenly pointed to someone sitting behind a car parked by the roadside. He asked me if I could remember her. Of course I could! She was the daughter of the former abbot of the Wanshou Temple at Tuchen (Taoism). Her name was ‘Xiao Cui’. Old memories resurfaced in my mind. I remembered more than 20 years ago, late Master Lian Xuan made an acquaintance with the lady abbot of Wan Shou Temple, Lin Jin Ying. Her daughter, Xiao Cui, even came to Singapore to pay a visit to the late Master Lian Xuan. I remembered her very well, albeit she knew nothing about me.

I even knew about her family’s migration to the US. Lian Kui introduced my Rinpoche title in Nyingma Dzogchen of Tibetan Buddhism to Xiao Cui. She then extended her invitation to us to visit her mother at the Ma Zu Temple in New Peitou, to renew our connection. I agreed to her suggestion without thinking too much about it. But our schedule was too full when we had yet to squeeze out some time to visit the centre of Dondo Rinpoche. The rest must have thought that I was not too serious about the promise, and that the visit to her temple would just be impossible!

On our way returning from Taizhong to Taipei, our tour guide told us that the weather in Taiwan was becoming sunnier. It had been raining cats and dogs almost everyday since our 1st day of arrival till the 8th day. According to our itineraries, after visiting the Daxi Floral Farm, we should be visiting Qingsui Master Temple, Sanxia Old Street and Yingge Ceramics Street. However, heavy downpour started during our lunch at the Daxi Floral Farm. We had to cancel the rest of the itineraries for the day and go straight to the Fishermen’s Pier.

We arrived at the Fishermen’s Pier at around 5pm. When I reached the Fishermen’s Pier, immediately I ‘saw’ a dragon king appearing before me, asking me to help the sea beings killed and stranded in the spiritual world. So, I performed a soul deliverance prayer to help the sea beings. Later, we proceeded to the Danshui Old Street for dinner. At that juncture, I made an impromptu decision to go for the meeting with Xiao Cui. 7 of us went for the meeting by taking a sub-way train. At the time, it was still drizzling, and, again, a rainbow quietly appeared in the sky…….

The rest must have assumed that I could not make it for this meeting, but deep in my heart I knew that this was yet another very unusual connection; the arrangement would have already been made by the spiritual world……

In fact, Xiao Cui was a reincarnation of Ma Zu (妈祖). What then was the connection between Acho and Ma Zu in their past life? Xiao Cui could forget about Acho, but Acho had never forgotten about this past connection that had gone beyond time and space……. Acho visited the Ma Zu Temple in New Peitou at night and offered the blessing, for there was a secret hidden in the heavenly realm that could never be spoken…….

7 Jul 2010  

More Pictures:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

One Hundred Deities of Bardo (中阴文武百尊)

I wish to talk about the teaching of The Hundred Peaceful & Wrathful Deities of Bardo (an intermediate state of being between death and the next birth). We did the empowerment ceremony for the practice at Alice’s home recently. According to Tibetan Buddhism, if one practices The Hundred Peaceful & Wrathful Deities of Bardo diligently, not only will he cleanse his Five Sins of No Respite, he will also not fall into the Vajra Hell but will instead gain a swift rebirth in the Buddha Pure Land.

Any sentient being who has heard once the Mandala of The Hundred Peaceful & Wrathful Deities of Bardo, or the name of any of the deities, will not fall into the Three Lower Realms.

The god, demi-god and the human realms belong to the Three Upper Realms, whereas the hell, hungry ghost and the animal realms belong to the Three Lower Realms. We should strive for a rebirth in the Three Upper Realms and avoid the Three Lower Realms for the latter is full of sufferings. You would suffer tremendously if you fall into the hell or become an animal. If you were born as an animal, you would become very ignorant and would be slaughtered easily by others. If you were born as a hungry ghost, you would perpetually live in starvation, forever deprived of food; any food that you could find would become inedible. So, we need to, at least, be born into the Three Upper Realms.

After hearing the teaching of The Hundred Peaceful & Wrathful Deities of Bardo, even one who has transgressed the Five Sins of No Respite will not fall into the Three Lower Realms, for it is “Liberation Upon Hearing” that will lead one to the attainment of Buddhahood. This is the most supreme teaching, as recorded in the Buddhist doctrines. Samantabhadra Buddha said, “Male or female yogis who pay homage to the hundred peaceful & wrathful deities will purify all their mistakes, including the broken samaya bond and bad karma, and they will be able to attain the common and uncommon accomplishments swiftly in their present lifetime.”

The Hundred Peaceful & Wrathful Deities of Bardo is the most supreme treasure that can benefit all sentient beings widely, through which one could attain Buddhahood without doing the practice. Guru Padmasambhava said, “This is a very special and supreme teaching, as one can attain liberation by simply hearing it – attaining enlightenment without practice, and attaining Buddhahood in a split second. It is the most profound method of attaining the perfect enlightenment, and also a method for freeing one of all negative karma created through wrongful actions. One who hears this teaching will not fall into the dark realms. It is a teaching only revealed to sentient beings who have accumulated great merits through their past practice. Upon hearing the teaching, one will receive great blessings and instantaneously attained Buddhahood.”

It is a hidden teaching (terma) transmitted by Guru Padmasambhava, not revealed to those without merits. It is generally unheard of by most people. But once you hear it, you will have the seed of Buddhahood planted within your being. You ought to know that Guru Padmasambha is someone who spoke of the true speech – the vajra speech.

I obtained this linage of empowerment from three great masters through H.E Konde Riponche (H.E Konde Rinponche received the empowerments of this teaching from H.E Padma Gelsang, H.H Penor Rinpoche and H.H Kyabje Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche). I, in turn, conferred the empowerment to the rest of the participants. Such empowerment has great power of blessing, which is evident in the pictures taken during the empowerment ceremony – the amazing round lights appearing in space during the ceremony testified the great power of blessing.

The genesis of The Hundred Peaceful & Wrathful Deities of Bardo began in this samsaric world dating back eons ago. There was a Brahmin who possessed supernatural power but he was harmed by his student. The student was a prince who had also developed the Five Supernatural Powers. Out of jealousy, the student harmed his teacher and therefore fell into the Three Lower Realms and suffered great pains. Out of great compassion, Samantabhadra Buddha taught him the teaching of The Hundred Peaceful & Wrathful Deities of Bardo in order to end his sufferings. Upon hearing the names and heart mantras of The Hundred Peaceful & Wrathful Deities of Bardo, the student immediately received the magnificent power of blessing from Vajrasattva and Vajrapani, and he was liberated from the great sufferings and regained a human birth once more.

When you are free, you may visit our BuddhaEye website ( and take a look at the pictures of the hundred peaceful & wrathful deities. When you enter the bardo state after death, they will appear before you, one at a time. If you have not learnt this teaching and did not receive the empowerment, you will be frightened by their appearances, especially the wrathful ones, and run away from them instead. You might even blackout and become unconscious out of great fear. However, if you have received the empowerment and blessing, and you have seen their pictures in the past, you will recognize them and attain instantaneous liberation in the bardo state. When you recognize them and follow them, you are, in fact, following Samantabhadra Buddha - you will attain Buddhahood. So, it is possible for one to attain Buddhahood in the bardo state.

The Hundred Peaceful & Wrathful Deities of Bardo is a teaching that only requires “recognition”, without practice. Go visit the BuddhaEye website. Take a look at their pictures and store them well in your Alaya Consciousness. One day, when you die, you will see them in your bardo state. “Yes! I received the empowerment for this teaching in the past.” Follow the hundred peaceful & wrathful deities, and you will end up being born into the Pure Land of Samantabhadra Buddha. This is a very supreme teaching.