Sunday, May 24, 2015

Spectacular Spiritual Responses of Vajrayana Practice

Last night, two of our fellow practitioners shared their spectacular spiritual responses.

1)      Dharma Sister Bing’s Sharing
I had a dream last night. In my dream, I was with Dharma Brother Kheng at his home, doing our prayers together.  Suddenly, I saw a ball of golden light descending from space. I realized that it was the light of Heruka, when it got very close to me. The golden ball of light entered my body through my crown, and we merged as one. I could feel the many heads and eyes on my body but I could do very little to control my body after its transformation. I could only move my hand and I stretched it out to nudge Kheng. He ended his meditation and helped me stabilise my body. At this juncture, Acho Rinpoche appeared right before me and he touched my forehead with his thumb. I could feel my forehead opening up, with a sizzling sound similar to a paper wall being pierced through by a burning stick of incense.  I could feel a very strong current being transmitted from Acho Rinpoche through his thumb into my head (the current consisted of numerous scriptures and teachings), through that opening on my forehead. I felt as if my head was so full that it was about to explode. However, Acho Rinpoche just continued to transmit the current into me and he looked obviously joyful. Finally, I woke up from my dream and my head felt heavy. I felt extremely energetic and could not return to my sleep immediately. I thanked Acho Rinpoche and Heruka for their great blessing. Homage to Sun Moon Lamp Buddha!
2) Dharma Sister Cherry’s Sharing
Yen, a good friend of mine, joined us for prayer for the first time. After which, she told me that she felt very good and her mind was very calmed and composed. When she reached home, she suddenly realised that her legs did not hurt anymore, after feeling painful for the whole day. She was very excited by her unusual experience and asked me through Wechat whether that was due to the blessing of Acho Rinpoche. Interestingly, immediately after posing her question, she felt excruciating pain in her legs again. I told her immediately that it was absolutely true that it was due to the blessing of Acho Rinpoche that her legs did not hurt any more. However, she must have a very firm faith in Acho Rinpoche in order to receive the greatest blessing. If she is doubtful about it, she will end up otherwise. Once again, she regained her faith in Acho Rinpoche and her legs miraculously did not hurt anymore.    
Tonight, Yen joined us for the prayer for the second time. Her tears were rolling down her face throughout the whole prayer session, out of her control. Her body used to be weak and she felt uncomfortable before the prayer. However, when the prayer came to an end, her discomfort just disappeared. So, she kept murmuring: “This is just unbelievable!”  
Last nigt, my mother fell asleep while still forming the mudra of Acho Rinpoche. She had a vision of Acho Rinpoche appearing in space, giving her blessing. She saw a continuous flow of Buddha light in the form of a big circle showering her body. Next, she saw a Dharmapala appearing before her, radiating strong golden light. She woke up finding herself still forming the mudra of Acho Rinpoche. She could still feel the great energy even after awakening from her sleep. Her crown and temples felt tight.
On the very night after taking refuge in Acho Rinpoche, my father could not sleep. He kept reciting the name of Sun Moon Lamp Buddha and chanting the heart mantra of Acho Rinpoche, and he felt so energetic that he did not feel like sleeping at all. When he shut his eyes, he suddenly saw numerous pillars of light rising from the ground and reaching all the way into space – they were emitting lights towards all directions. Next, all the pillar of lights converged and focused on him! As it was simply too bright for him to stare them in the eyes, he continued to shut his eyes while enjoying the showering of light quietly. He felt exhilarated beyond words.
I would like to express my gratitude towards Acho Rinpoche. Homage to Sun Moon Lamp Buddha, for the greatest blessing! Homage to Sun Moon Lamp Buddha, for the greatest loving kindness and compassion, blessing every sentient beings who are suffering in the ocean of samsara. Thank you, my Buddha Master. I prostrate to you, my Buddha Master.
After their sharing, Acho Rinpoche commended on the spectacular spiritual response experienced by Bing. He explained that Bing has a very deep spiritual connection with Heruka, so she could choose Heruka as her main deity of protection. However, she should not regard such experience as a true state of enlightenment because she still has to face the numerous tests ahead as part of the practice.
Cherry had worked in Singapore for a short period of time. During which, she met Acho Rinpoche, took refuge in him and learnt from him. After that, she returned to Shanghai, China but she continues her practice diligently. Nowadays, she takes part in the group prayers conducted in Singapore through the Internet webcast. Her family and friends joined her too. She realized that the blessing power of Acho Rinpoche is omnipresent. They could feel the power of blessing engulfing them every time they joined the group prayer conducted by Acho Rinpoche. Not only that, she and some of her family members have experienced spectacular spiritual responses during this period too. They have since developed a firm faith in Acho Rinpoche. “Faith is the mother of enlightenment and merits” – we have understood this golden maxim better through their experience now.  
Acho Rinpoche said, physical distance is irrelevant to a true practitioner.  This is true because we have witnessed more than once how Acho Rinpoche conferred his blessing to Cherry’s group remotely, with them making their request through the Internet webcast and him giving his blessing transcending the physical constraint of time and space, with positive results reported by Cherry without fail.
Homage to my Buddha Master!
Homage to Sun Moon Lamp Buddha!
Reported by Sun Moon KFS on 23-5-2015

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Challenges of Spiritual Cultivation

Dharma Sister Yue and her family hardly missed any group prayer held in Singapore which was webcast over the Internet so far. Her family took refuge in Acho Rinpoche recently, with several members of the family experiencing good spiritual responses. The night before taking refuge in Acho Rinpoche, her mother had a vision of Acho Rinpoche and saw many seed syllables appearing all over the robe worn by him. In one of the prayer sessions, her mother had a very special experience where she felt her body rising upward into space and finally immersed in an ocean of light!  
Acho Rinpoche shared a dream that he had recently where he found himself among a group of young graduates in a class room. He felt as young as the group in his dream but was requested by the lecturer to leave the class as he was considered slightly older than the rest of the students. When he stepped out of the class, he suddenly realised that he had already retired and was already 62 year-old! He realized that the notion of “time” is no longer relevant to a retiree as he lives a very basic life style repeating the same sequence daily: eating, practising, doing walking meditation and sleeping. A person leading such a life style will feel a sense of timelessness. The notion of “time” is also not relevant to a young child who has not started going to school. It is only relevant to students and working adults who need to constantly remind themselves the time schedules for the various activities to be carried out.
Acho Rinpoche mentioned about a hot news circulating in the Internet lately about a female Taiwanese artiste who married a renowned Tibetan Rinpoche. This Rinpoche has lived in Seattle for many years, who became a monk since young, studying under H.H 16th Karmapa. However, he renounced his monkhood and married many years ago and divorced his wife recently in order to re-marry this female Taiwanese artiste. Now, they have a young daughter. The practice of Vajrayana is both powerful and full of challenges, and the Rinpoches are not exempted from the many tests. This Rinpoche had published a book titled “Wild Awakening” and his teachings of the Buddha Dharma is clearly competent. However, he obviously failed to apply the teachings in his life when faced with the challenges.  
There was another Hong Kong actress who broke her silence over a long-kept secret of the father of her teenage son born out of wedlock. The media speculated wrongly about the true father of her son as another Hong Kong actor who is her good friend. The Hong Kong actor just kept silent about the truth by not making any clarifications throughout the years, in order to protect her as a friend. Finally, she broke her silence and openly declared that the true father of her son was a Bhutanese Rinpoche and she expressed her disappointment over his oblivion of both the mother and son throughout the years.
Some experts within the Tibetan Buddhism circle expressed their views over such incidents and made the following conclusions. First, a reincarnated Rinpoche who renounced his monkhood for a marriage will certainly head for a downfall. Second, a reincarnated Rinpoche who became a monk since young and persisted in his monastic life while continuing his teachings is well respected by the community. Third, a re-incarnated Rinpoche who persists to live a spiritual life in the forest, who chooses not to accept the offerings by secular people, is most respected by the community.
The path to enlightenment is full of challenges as the sweet success will only happen after a practitioner is toughened by the numerous tests that helped to purify his negative propensities. There are many success stories demonstrated by the many practitioners who rose above the numerous challenges. Similarly, there are also many failures demonstrated by the many practitioners who succumbed to the challenges. A practitioner should take this to heart and be mindful about the need to stay vigilant about the numerous tests lining the path to enlightenment.
Extracted from a discourse given by Acho Rinpoche on 16-5-2015

Sunday, May 10, 2015

How Real is a Shrine?

Grand Master advised his students that a Vajrayana Student must develop full faith in his Root Guru or he will never be able to attain a full enlightenment. It is important that a student does not find fault in his own teacher but to appreciate the positive values of the latter. Grand Master did recognize the fact that all four of his Root Gurus had some form of short comings individually but he chose to view them as their “magical plays” (skillful means for teaching their own students). For instance, the 16th H.H Karmapa was stern in his teaching too and some of his students could not take it and left him. There used to be a big bird cage above his Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim – the birds kept within were his students who fell into the Animal Realm because of their wrong conduct in the past life. H.H Karmapa found these birds and brought them back, placed them in the cage and chanted his heart mantra for them regularly. There was also a goat which followed H.H Karmapa closely during his time, which was actually the reincarnation of one of his personal attendants.  
Grand Master repeatedly stressed the three crucial practices in Vajrayana: Dharmapala (the very basis for spiritual activities), Personal Deity (the very basis for spiritual attainment) and Root Guru (the very basis for empowerment). Every evening, Grand Master would bid farewell to the main deities enshrined in the temple before heading home. And he would also greet the main deities in his personal shrine at home when he reached home. He treated them as real beings but not lifeless objects, and he received real power of blessing from them in return. If a student views the deities enshrined as lifeless objects made of wood or metal, what kind of blessing will he get from them?  
Acho Rinpoche also pointed out a quintessential teaching in Vajrayana: a student should practise Guru Yoga vigorously while his Root Guru is still alive, as it is a lot easier for him to attain a spiritual connection with his teacher while the latter is still around personally. Once a student has accomplished his Guru Yoga, the rest will be easy – the accomplishment of Dharmapala Practice and Personal Deity Practice.
A discourse given by Acho Rinpoche on 9/5/2015, extracted and compiled by Sun Moon KFS

Friday, May 8, 2015

X-Tour: Tibet Tour

Over the years, it seemed as if fate has eluded us as we could never make our way into the sacred lands of Tibet due to the dreadfully difficult process of obtaining tourist visas for visitors. Despite having made several pilgrimage trips around the Sichuan – Tibetan region in 2005, 2009 and 2011 respectively, visiting Tibet remained a dream. Finally in 2014, with Buddha’s immense blessings, organising a trip to Tibet finally took some form of shape, despite encountering numerous challenges as we were planning a trip for a total of 53 participants of 6 different nationalities. On the 1st of August, we departed for Tibet via Chengdu, all ready for yet another extra-ordinary spiritual journey.
On that fateful day of departure, a beautiful rainbow-coloured halo was spotted around the sun as we made our way to Changi Airport. It was as though all the holy beings were present to accompany and watch over us on this spiritual trip, creating an immeasurable energy within and around us. Much to everyone’s surprise, this mystical rainbow-coloured halo accompanied us every single day throughout our 12-day journey without fail! It would only appear as we arrived on a holy ground - Tripong Monastery, Jokhang Temple, Tsurphu Monastery, Samye Monastery, Tashilhunpo Monastery, The Potala Palace. At Tripong Monastery, this rainbow halo followed us for a total of 3 hours right until we left. At Samye Monastery, many Dharma brothers and sister took pictures of me with the halo in the background, resulting in enigmatic effects where one of the photos showing my face completely immersed in a bright disc of light, leaving only my hands and shoulders visible; while in a few other photos you can see rainbow light reflecting off my face. How miraculous!
As we arrived into Nyingchi, Tibet, Zhen Sister had a soul attachment experience and this earthbound spirit had been awaiting my presence for a long time, requesting my help. On the next day, while on location at Guru Rinpoche’s Meditation Cave by the Basongcuo River, Hua Sister also experienced soul attachment, many spirits that were once dharma practitioners pleaded for help. As Guru Rinpoche once meditated here, this humble little mountain cave has since then been blessed with boundless sacred energy, what an amazing experience!
Stepping into the city of Lhasa, we all encountered unexpected mixed feelings. We were greeted by a modern concrete city, not unlike many big, developed urban capitals in China. Chinese-owned tourist shops crowded along the famous Barkhor Street, situated next to the Jokhang Temple, and popular Chinese music could be heard as we turned at every street corner, as opposed to sights of devoted prostrating pilgrims or local Tibetans chanting prayers along with their prayer wheels. If The Dalai Lama were to return to the city of Lhasa today, He would be bound speechless by the sight in front of him because Lhasa has unfortunately been transformed into a completely unrecognizable, modern city. This illustrates how fleeting and transient life is!           
At Tripong Monastery, as I was blessing our Dharma brothers and sisters with Maitreya Bhuddha’s holy rope, attracted a huge line of devotees encompassing Chinese from Mainland China, Taiwanese and many local Tibetans, all waiting to be blessed by me. A Dharma sister was experiencing splitting headache and another Dharma brother had pains and could not lift his left arm, however, all discomforts were alleviated after they were blessed. Another occasion at Tsurphu Monastery, while I was blessing our Dharma brothers and sisters with a Karmapa’s holy shoe, also attracted a massive queue of people, all requesting to be blessed. It was a moving sight, many Dharma brothers and sisters wept uncontrollably with great feeling of nostalgia, as if they have returned to a place they once called home and some even kissed the floorboards or embraced the walls of the monastery. Lastly, amidst the throngs and throngs of crowd of inland tourists and visitors from around the world at the Jokhang Temple, we were enveloped and it was impossible to move around the temple grounds, especially near the enshrined statue of a 12 year-old Shakyamuni Bhuddha image, said to have been brought into Tibet by Princess Wencheng. However, by a stroke of miracle, a Lama in charge actually allowed all 53 of us into the shrine to pay our respects and furthermore, allowed us to practice our prayers at the main hall of the temple, an area that is closed off to the public. As we were leaving the temple, Bing sister all of a sudden bowed down and prostrated to me three times while weeping uncontrollably. She said many spirits present in the temple all cried out in unison, “You have finally returned!” and proceeded to prostrate to me…
We also visited three of Tibet’s holiest lakes: Pagsum Lake, Namtso Lake and Yamdrok Lake; scaled to the top of Mount Mila at 5,013m above sea level. The first leg of this trip started in Chengdu, China, thereafter we flew to Nyingchi of Tibet where we stayed for 2 days to become accustomed to the altitude of 3,000m above sea level, before continuing to Lhasa, at 3,650m above sea level. After 3 nights in Lhasa, we traveled further north to a dizzying height of 4,200m at Damxung County. This itinerary was specially planned so that we were able to acclimatize gradually and with the use of medication, most of us only experienced slight symptoms of altitude sickness. As such, we were all excited to plan and conquer greater heights for our next trip to the Ngari Prefecture of Tibet!
At our visit to the Karola Glacier, we were awestruck by the force of the Mountain God, as a small avalanche unfolded right before our eyes. This is also the very location where the film "Red River Valley” was filmed, recounting the tragic story of the British’s second invasion of Tibet from 1888 to 1904. During prayer practice that night at our hotel, many spirits of fallen soldiers during the battle arrived to request for soul liberation…
            As we journeyed into The Roof of The World, we regarded the Potala Palace built on the Tibetan plateau, worshipped the golden shrines and tombs of The Dalai Lama from all 8 reincarnations, venerated the holy shrines and altars of The Panchen Lama from different rebirths at The Tashilhunpo Monastery. And we also witnessed the seemingly lifeless Chinese Yuan Renminbi piled sky-high in front of every great Buddha statue, in the denomination of 10 cents; Lamas collecting and counting monies collected from the “Photography Fees”; inland Chinese tourists helping themselves to change large bills to smaller denominations in donation boxes – self-collecting 90 cents RMB change for every 1 RMB they donated… what a bizarre sight! I cannot resist but kept thinking of a famous saying by a Taiwanese guru from the past – “One should not worry about having no temple but he should worry about having no spiritual attainment.”  
Homage to Sun-Moon-Lamp Buddha
Acho Rinpoche
18 August 2014
(Translated by Tryena Zhang)

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Nepal 7.8 Earthquake (2015)

On 25 Apr 2015, around 12 noon, a major earth quake measuring 7.8 Richter Scale hit Nepal, destroying thousands of life and buildings, affecting nearby countries like Tibet in China and north India.

Acho Rinpoche said, “The disaster faced by Nepal is faced by the whole of mankind, no one is spared. This is the collective karma of earth people.” He advised his students to aspire to help the victims, for “helping others is just helping oneself”. He advised all to chant the heart mantra of Guru Padmasambhava and dedicate the merits to Nepal, praying for the swift rebirth of the deceased in the pure land of the Buddha, praying for the speedy rescue of those still trapped beneath the rubble, praying for the quick rebuilding of Nepal from debris, and praying for the subsequent earth quakes to disappear quietly. His students are mainly layman Buddhists who live a very busy life making a living. Despite the challenging situation, many aspired to chant the heart mantra of Guru Rinpoche for 100,000 times, 300,000 times, 500,000 times and even up to 1 million times. Acho Rinpoche hopes to see the total recitations finally reach 10 million times. He also told them that all the subsequent group prayers shall have their merits dedicated to Nepal because the power of group prayers is tremendous, and the power of Guru Padmasambhava’s heart mantra is just inconceivable, which can swiftly and effectively help the victims of this disaster.
On 3rd May 2015, Lama Xile from the Karma Kagyu from Taiwan joined us for our group prayer. After the group prayer, while Acho Rinpoche and Lama Xile were on their way to the lower floor, they suddenly heard a loud bang on the upper floor. Acho Rinpoche turned and asked what happened? He was told that someone had a fall and the person seemed to have hit her head against the floor. Acho Rinpoche turned back and saw Dharma Sister Bi lying on the floor, with her face turned pale and eyes turned white. She appeared to be in great pain. Acho Rinpoche blessed her immediately and Bi was heard crying, “I entered Nepal during my chanting! I could not breathe! It was very painful!” After a while, she regained her normal self. 
Dharma Brother Shao also shared his experience with the rest. He told us that he had a vision of a valley during his meditation, where he saw a white conch shell in the air. He took the conch shell and blew it three times. He found the vision incomprehensible and consulted Acho Rinpoche on its meaning. He was told that he should “preach” in the next three group prayers. So, he did. He told us that he “saw” the devastation in Nepal after the major earth quake during his meditation. He "saw" many victims died in the disaster, including lots of animals which also died in the disaster. However, he also "saw" many “raksasa” (ghosts that feed on the flesh and blood of human) roaming around in Nepal, preying on the victims. Under such circumstances, only the heart mantra of Guru Padmasambhava would be an effective antidote.
When Shao did his prayer at home, he chanted the heart mantra of Guru Padmasambhava and dedicated the merits to Nepal. Then, he noticed that some form of light, weak in luminosity, was emitted from his heart chakra. He visualised the light in his heart chakra and tried to increase its brightness and coverage in vain. At that juncture, an inspiration entered his mind telling him that he should visualise the appearance of the numerous Buddhas in space, intense in luminosity. They entered the body of Guru Padmasambha and merged as one, intense in luminosity. Next, Guru Padmasambhava entered the body of his Root Guru, Acho Rinpoche, intense in luminosity. Next, Acho Rinpoche entered the body of Shao. Instantaneously, Shao found himself became very intense in luminosity, with light emitted from his body reaching far and wide, into Nepal. Such is the quintessential teaching of the Vajrayana – the lineage empowerment enters one’s Root Guru, and his Root Guru enters the disciple; this is indeed a very unique teaching and method that could bring about very swift spiritual attainment beyond comprehension! 
On the same night, 6 Chinese students who participated in the group prayer through the Internet from Shanghai, China took refuge in Acho Rinpoche.
What a wonderful night!
Reported by Buddha Eye Studio

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Opening of a new Dzogchen Centre in Rawang, Malaysia

On 5 Apr 2015 Acho Rinpoche was invited to inaugurate the opening of a new Dzogchen Centre – “Sangchen Woesel Dzogpachenpo Centre” in Rawang, Malaysia. He also co-presided over the Hundred Deities Puja cum Soul Deliverance Prayer and Naga Vase Puja with H.E Konde Rinpoche, the abbot of the centre.
During his speech, Konde Rinpoche thanked Dharma Brother Wong for offering his 3-storey shop house for setting up the new Dzogchen Centre cum hostel for the resident monks, which was a great meritorious act. Konde Rinpoche also offered an Amitayu Prayer for Acho Rinpoche, praying for his longevity and good health for the benefits of the sentient beings.
Acho Rinpoche later shared with the audience that a cultivator should aspire to attain true enlightenment in order to be able to help the sentient beings. It is not important whether a cultivator sits on the stage or below. He particularly applauded the conduct of Patrul Rinpoche who was a very low profile but a truly accomplished practitioner. During his time, there was an occasion when Patrul Rinpoche was invited to preside over a dharma assembly, but he ended up working quietly in the kitchen, without telling anyone who he was. Finally, when he was invited by the organizer to go on stage, his co-workers in the kitchen realized who he really was. Acho Rinpoche admired the conduct of Patrul Rinpoche very much and regarded him as a role model. There was an occasion when Acho Rinpoche was invited to a Vajrayana centre in Taiwan by the resident abbot. On the very day, Acho Rinpoche arrived early at the centre when the resident abbot was out. The helper at the centre did not know who he was and advised him to just wait for the arrival of the abbot. Acho Rinopche did not reveal his identity as a Buddhist master to the helper and simply waited for the arrival of the abbot while seated on the floor. When the abbot returned to the centre, he immediately invited Acho Rinpoche to sit on the throne instead, much to the surprise of the helper.   
Acho Rinpoche also applauded the spiritual attainment of Konde Rinpoche, telling the audience that the latter is another humble but accomplished cultivator too. Acho Rinpoche advised those who have a spiritual connection with Konde Rinpoche to cherish the latter and follow his teachings, for they will attain good spiritual accomplishment too. Acho Rincpohe stressed that a big Dharma assembly does not necessarily guarantee a powerful blessing, as it all depends on the spiritual attainment of the one presiding over the practice. A small Dharma assembly will receive great power of blessing if the one presiding over the practice is an accomplished cultivator. A Dharma assembly with tens of thousands of participants does not necessarily reflect the level of spiritual attainment of the one presiding over the practice. Similarly, a famous Buddhist master who has millions of followers also does not mean that he is an accomplished practitioner.
The whole event ended nicely with a trip out to the sea, for the dragon vases to be offered to the sea. We prayed for the safety and prosperity of the country and conducive weather conditions. We also urged the Naga Kings to attain Buddhahood soon as part of the prayer, while seeking their blessing of wealth to support the cultivators financially. When we arrived at the pier, the sky was sunny and yet we heard a sudden loud thunder piercing through the sky. When we were out in the sea, we threw all dragon vases containing medicinal herbs and holy objects that could help heal the sea beings of their sickness and cleanse their karma into the sea. Soon after, the sky turned dark followed by a heavy downpour. It was so cooling and breezy! We thanked the Naga Kings for coming forward to support this event and their blessings, which brought the Naga Vase Prayer to a perfect closure.