Wednesday, December 23, 2015

X-Tour: Hangzhou & Putuoshan in China

 (West Lake)
 (Lingyin Temple)
(Xixi Wetland)
We just returned from Shangrila in August recently, with our next trip being planned sometime next year, in 2016. However, when I read about the up-coming Buddhist ceremony which would be held on 13 December 2015 in Hong Kong, presided over by Grand Master, I decided to make another trip soon to Hangzhou and Putuoshan, as part of our trip to HK, in view of a very special spiritual connection between us and the teaching that would be transmitted in this ceremony.

There were quite a few students who took refuge in me through our Internet webcast; it is time for us to meet one another now. So, once again, we boarded an “iron bird” on 6 December 2016, and headed towards Hangzhou, transiting via Hong Kong. 

As per every X-Tour, rainbows of circular shape and vertical shape appeared around our flights throughout the whole period of both flights, escorting us from Singapore to Hong Kong, and then from Hong Kong to Hangzhou. The dharma protectors always keep us company. I felt so touched! The day before our arrival in Hangzhou, it snowed heavily – a rare occurrence indeed and an obvious  sign of auspiciousness.

We only stayed in Hangzhou for one night. On the following morning, we departed for the Pure Land of Avalokitesvara in this secular world – Putuoshan. My last visit to Putushan was some twenty years ago. This time, we planned to visit the Purple Bamboo Groove, Refuse-to-leave Avalokitesvara Temple, Sound of Wave Cave, Huiji Temple, Avalokitesvara of the Southern Sea, Dharma Rain Temple and Sanskrit Voice Cave.

There were five halls in the Dharma Rain Temple. After visiting the first three, we went straight to the fifth one. After finishing our prayer at the fifth hall, I finally noticed that the fourth hall was just beside the fifth one. It enshrined a statue of the Thousand Armed Avalokitesvara. We could not enter this hall because the door was locked. We just remained outside the hall while reciting the Great Compassion Mantra and paying our homage to the Thousand Armed Avalokitesvara. When we were about to leave, someone suddenly yelled: “A monk is inviting us to go inside the hall to do our prayer!” At this stage, the door to this hall was already opened. So, we went in to do our prayer. On our way out of the temple, our local tour guide, Lee, told me that the monk who was in-charged of this hall saw me and told her that he recognized me. He told her that I am a Buddhist master and I visited this temple in the past. I was utterly surprised by his remarks! Because I dressed like a layman on that day and I had never been to this temple in the past. “This monk is indeed very unusual,“ I was thinking to myself. Lee said, “One’s appearance is a reflection of one’s inner state of being. Although you dressed like a layman, any wise man can tell who you really are based on your unusual demeanor…….”

There was another special experience at the Sanskrit Voice Cave where we recited the heart mantra of Avalokitesvara. Suddenly, one of the members passed me a white khatta as offering to Avalokitesvara. After I threw it out into the space before us, a sudden gust of wind appeared and blew the khatta back towards me. I tried throwing it out again, and this time another gust of wind appeared and blew the khatta upward gracefully, and finally hanged it on the rock about 10 meters in height. What an amazing phenomenon! Later, Dharma Brother Shao told me that he had a vision of Avalokitesvara accepting my offering of khatta and returning it to me. He also had a vision of many resident practitioners who came forward to pay their respect……

When we returned to Hangzhou from Putuoshan, we visited Lingyin Temple (made famous by the Crazy Monk – Jigong). We paid our homage at all the main halls. Dharma Sister Ju told me that there should be one more Medicine Buddha Hall, according to the pamphlet she picked up at the temple. However, I had a feeling that there should be one more Jigong Hall somewhere. When we made a right turn, we saw a Medicine Buddha Hall indeed. However, a small Jigong Hall was just standing beside it! We entered the Jigong Hall to pay our respect to Jigong. The moment I stepped into this hall, Jigong immediately descended and gave his blessing to our group. Dharma Brother Hong suddenly sprang into action, forming the mudra of Jigong and knelt down before Acho…… Subsequently, Jigong followed us throughout the rest of our trip. What an inconceivable spiritual connection between us and Jigong! 

We toured the scenic Xixi Wetland. According to legend, Song Emperor, Song Gao Zong, saw this place and was very impressed by its beautiful landscape. As he could not take it away, he said, “Xixi may stay.” This was the place where a Chinese movie “If You Are The One” was made, starring Geyou and Shuqi. They said the exact line in the movie.  Xixi was indeed a place that makes one longing to stay…..

Our group prayers on the last two nights in Hangzhou were even more unbelievable! Dharma Sister Li, after taking refuge in me in Hangzhou, had a vision of Avalokitesvara and Acho Rinpoche descending during the group prayer and conferring blessing in the form of light to her brother who had fallen sick but was somewhere else. When she was going through the refuge rite, she knelt before me and stared into my eyes – she saw bright golden light emitted from my eyes; she was so touched that she cried three times later and hugged me tightly. Dharma Sister Yue’s father had some leg injury and so he had to sit on a chair during the group prayer. When he entered the state of Samadhi, he suddenly felt that he had ascended to the sky above, and he could even see a snow capped mountain beneath him. After the group prayer, he realised that he could now sit on the floor despite the earlier leg injury. Dharma Sister Yue’s mother had even more fascinating stories to share…… Earlier on, Dharma Sister Yue’s mother had to visit her father (grand father of Yue) regularly at a hospital while he was being hospitalised. She recited the heart mantra of Acho Rinpoche while visiting the hospital each time, blessing the many sentient beings and patients there. After which, her left middle finger became swollen badly and she asked me for blessing. On the following day, she found her finger back to normal again!

Our final stop was Hong Kong. We attended a Shambala Empowerment Ceremony with about thirty thousand attendees. It was presided over by our Grand Master. During his sharing, Grand Master said that the Japanese and Koreans are all descendants of the Chinese – we are a family! Why are we still fighting over the ownership of Senkaku Island (Diayu Dao) then? Grand Master also revealed the exact location of Shambala – it is somewhere around the ancient country of Xi Xia, beneath a mountain called Dang Xiang. However, this ancient country that existed more than eight hundred years ago had a very large territorial boundary – with Yellow River on its east, Jade Gate on its west, Xiao Gate on its south, a huge dessert on its north, and a total land area of more than ten thousands “li” (old unit of measurement for distance), with Mt. He Lan within its region. Where on earth is this Mt. Dang Xiang then? In our new book titled “In search of the Real Shangrila”, we mentioned the mysterious Shambala. Now, Grand Master said that the real Shambala exists underneath Mt. Dang Xiang. Where is Mt. Dang Xiang? So what if we know the exact location of Shamala? It is actually inaccessible to an ordinary person because it is a world made of rainbow light! So, it will be more important for us to practise the Vajrayana sadhana with vigor. I firmly believe that when we have truly accomplished our practice, Shambala Pure Land will naturally appear before us……

  When I just stepped out of the event hall where the ceremony was held, two Dharma Sisters asked me, consecutively, unplanned, “How come Grand Master and you said the same things? 'We are a family, the whereabout of Shangrila, Vajrayogini, Avalokitesvara, and Shuqi…..'”

Acho Rinpoche