Monday, April 11, 2011

The Illusory Cyclic Existence (六道轮回的虚幻)

Dharma Brother Yi:

Acho Rinpoche gave a very wonderful teaching the other day. I felt that it was indeed a very rare teaching that I have ever come across in this lifetime. I have always found the core teaching of Buddhism somewhat elusive. However, on that very night Acho Rinpoche pointed out the core teaching in a very direct and reassuring way, giving me a very clear sense of direction that prevents me from digressing. My heart was indeed filled with the Joy of Dharma!

On the following day, I had a dream in early dawn. In the dream, we were practicing in a group. Acho Rinpoche taught us the recitation of the name of a highly realized Thai Buddhist Master who had a very stron spiritual connection with the former. Acho Rinpoche was holding a book in his hand. The book consists of two sections, with the first half section written in Thai and the second half in Chinese, translated by Acho Rinpoche.

After the group practice, Acho Rinpoche told us that he invented a special fertilizer lately. This fertilizer would enhance the booming of flowers for any plant. He gave the fertilizer to all of us. I was the first in the queue, and I took one big bag of it. The fertilizer appeared to be translucent and was milky white in color. I held the bag in my hand and thought to myself, “I don’t have any plants, what should I do with this fertilizer?” I knew not what to do with it. Then I noticed that the fertilizer given to others looked different from mine – they looked like the “black pills” instead. Acho Rinpoche instructed them to swallow the black pills and they did so accordingly. I thought, “Why is it that I can’t eat mine?” I felt very grateful in my mind, and I woke up from my dream at that point, still feeling very joyful at heart.

I had yet another dream this morning but I forgot it completely after waking up. Suddenly I recalled this dream during our practice and it became vivid again. In my dream, I was standing beside a lake, staring at the water in the lake. The water was murky. There were numerous illusory sentient beings in the lake which looked extremely sad and troubled. They were swimming all over in a very chaotic manner. I felt clearly that they were illusionary, not real – why would they suffer from so much mental afflictions? “An illusory existence should rightly be free of mental afflictions,” I thought. “I must tell them!” So, I jumped into the lake, trying to reach them. However, the moment I entered the lake, I felt tremendous pressure and my mind became very confused! I could not see my own body, instead I felt like one of them – an illusion too! However, my mind was telling me that I was not an illusion but real! I struggled in great discomfort. Again, I thought, “How can I pull them out of this place? How should I tell them that they are just illusory?” At that point, I no longer felt that it was just an illusion - my mind became clouded and confused. Suddenly, I saw Dharma Brother Shao leading a group of people moving towards a certain direction, looking for his master. He told the rest that his master would be able to free them from the cyclic existence and their mental afflictions!

I looked at the direction to which he was pointing and saw two vertical rays of light. When Dharma Brother Shao mentioned his “master”, a message flashed through my mind immediately – “Acho Rinpoche is there!” So, I helped to lead the rest moving towards the light in that direction too. The lake water was murky and we lost our sense of direction completely. When we came close to the two rays of light, we began to develop a clearer sense of direction – and we could feel that this was a lake. We moved towards the two rays of light which appeared to be two vertical pillars of light leading upward from the lake. I started feeling very uncomfortable and I said “I go up first!” I charged upward and half way through, I sensed that I would be seeing Acho Rinpoche. And I knew that the two pillars were, in fact, his legs! I felt that he was seated, with his two legs resting in the lake.

When I reached the surface of the water, I returned to the initial state where I could see the lake, the water, the mountain, birds and trees. I felt very comfortable in the nature. At that point, I knew that the lake was illusionary. I had awaken in the dream but had yet to wake up from my dream. I could not quite remember the dream after waking up until I did my practice, where I quietly analysed my dream once more. I thought this was a special dream that must have its significance. When I re-emerged from the bottom of the lake, I expected to see the face of Aho Rinpoche but I saw an empty space instead. I did not see the face of Acho Rinpoche appearing before my eyes but his two legs of light. Which one was his true identity? While I was searching for the answer, the vision of the entire lake appeared in my mind. Actually, the upper half of Acho Rinpoche’s body was formless! It was just nature – trees, flowers, grass etc; the manifestations of emptiness!

Both legs of Acho Rinpoche that appeared as light symbolised “luminosity”. The water in the lake symbolised “sentient beings in the six realms of cyclic existence”. It simply means – luminosity actually exists within the sentient beings of the six realms of cyclic existence”. When I saw the light from the bottom of the lake, I thought it was Acho Rinpoche and I saw his face appearing. Actually, the face of Acho Rinopche is just an illusion. His face appeared from luminosity in order to give us a sense of direction, guiding us upwards the pillars of light. What is above the lake is the true existence – it is not impermanence but "emptiness and awareness". It was a very clear sense of awareness! That was the whole picture! I was very touched when I understood the meaning of this dream!

Acho Rinpoche:

Dharma Brother Yi had a very meaningful dream. It is likened to a small opening, through which he saw a small facet of my attainment. Actually, the upper half is a luminous state of emptiness. You will finally reach a luminous state of emptiness. The whole universe and nature are just your manifestations. In order to help the sentient beings, you place both your legs in the Six Realms of Existence. The manifestation of rainbows, rains… are meant to bring them back to their place of origin. The Seal of Great Perfection can deliver the sentient beings to the Pure Land of the Buddhas. This is simply an inconceivable method – the Great Perfection!

As what Dharma Brother Yi said, the lake represents the Six Realms of Existence. When sentient beings entered the Six Realms of Existence, they lost their ways. The lake is simply too vast, and everyone is lost in his dream, lost in his delusions, stranded in the process of birth, aging, sickness and death, and trapped by his career, family, children, spouse etc. Although Yi wanted to help others, he too was lost when he entered the lake. He was trapped too and became helpless himself. This is to tell you that it is just not easy to break free of the Six Realms of Existence. If the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and the enlightened masters do not re-enter this realm of existence to help the sentient beings by teaching, blessing and helping them, it will be impossible for anyone to break free of the Six Realms of Existence at all!

Sakyamuni Buddha said there is no one who can break free of the Six Realms of Existence, regardless of your status as a king, a president, a billionaire, a professor etc. You simply cannot break free of the Six Realms of Existence but repeatedly born and die within. Only with the blessing of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, one can break free of the cyclic existence. The wisdom of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas is simply inconceivable - it is simply beyond the comprehension of ordinary beings. If you want to break free of the Six Realms of Existence, you must practice with vigour. When you break free, you will realize that the whole world, the universe are just parts of your body. Rainbows will appear wherever you are because they are part of your existence. Wind, rain, streams… are all parts of your existence - they are just your manifestations. You did not create them intentionally - they just appear very naturally. This is the state of being when you reached the ultimate state of enlightenment. So, the dream was very meaningful - it leaked slightly my state of attainment. I am pleasantly surprised that Yi had such a dream.

A discourse given by Acho Rinpoche on 31 Jul 2010 in Singapore.