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