At around 9am today, the world was experiencing a rare astrological phenomenon of a full sun eclipse. In the past, the ancient people used to regard a sun eclipse as an inauspicious affair, thinking that the sun was eaten by a celestial dog; the people would beat the drums hard and make lots of noise in an attempt to scare the celestial dog away, protecting the sun. However, from the view point of Tibetan Buddhism, a sun eclipse is a very auspicious affair. Reason being, the pure wisdom energy within our body will automatically enter our central channel during this period, helping a practitioner attain a swift advancement in his spiritual practice. So, there is a great emphasis for a practitioner to practise with vigour on such occasions, for the merits accumulated from a positive act will increase by a billion folds. Likewise, a bad deed would also increase in its negativity by a billion folds. Acho Rinpoche saw a huge sun halo appearing after finishing his morning prayer, and he shared that it was indeed a very auspicious sign.
Tonight, Jigme Khenpo from the Sakya Buddhist College and Serap Lama from the Nyingma in India joined us for our group prayer. Acho Rinpoche invited Jigme Khenpo to give his teachings after the prayer. Jigme Khenpo explained that there were many schools of Buddhism, liken to a pharmacy filled with a great variety of medicines for treating the different ailments. All sentient beings are different by nature, due to their past karma, in terms of their mental state of being and physical appearances etc. The Six Realms of Existence is just a manifestation of the different karmas of the sentient beings. Hence, the different teachings are necessary and are equally important, as they are part of the condition for attaining Buddhahood. A practitioner should reflect inward daily, watching our inner state of mind and be aware of our lust, hatred, ignorance, arrogance and suspicion arising and fading away in our mind. We should change our negative mental and physical behaviours, and learn the practice of compassion and emptiness instead. Actually, both the cyclic existence and nirvana are but our mental fabrications. We should learn to dissect the notion of “I” (or “me”) for we will eventually realize that we are unable to really find the true existence of the notion of “I”. By then, we will be able to break free of the hallucination of “ego”, and reach the sate of enlightenment free of the sufferings of cyclic existence. We should learn to reduce our strong attachment to our world concerns, as attachment is the cause of suffering. Whether our life is smooth or otherwise, we should always remember the Three Jewels and pray to them for their blessing. When we face the adversity in life, we should understand that it is just the fruit of our past negative actions and accept it with a peaceful mind; we think and act positively, and pray to the Three Jewels for their blessing. We should aspire to help all sentient beings progress on the path to enlightenment by dedicating the merits of all our daily actions to such good course, and repeat such aspiration daily.
Acho Rinpoche shared a teaching from Dzongsar Rinpoche. Dzongsar Rinpoche is of the view that it is indeed very difficult for a Buddhist to do his spiritual practice as a lay person. Even Sakyamuni Buddha had to renounce his ordinary life as a prince and worked hard on the attainment of Buddhahood. He only returned to his family after becoming a Buddha in order to help the rest walk the same path to enlightenment. A lay Buddhist has to devote his life between spiritual practice and other daily activities on making a living and having to manage all kinds of relationship with the people in his life. How could he focus well on his spiritual practice then? Dzongsar Rinpoche advised that we should not take our usual perceptions of life too seriously as they may not be truly what we think they are. Sometimes, it would be good to blur the lines. He said, when a practitioner has understood that there is no difference between a piece of gold and a piece of stone, and that the space within his palm and that of the universe is the same, then he has attained the state of enlightenment; because Sakyamuni Buddha said so in the past.
There was a group of Chinese students joining us for the group prayer through Internet webcast. Two of them did the following sharing.
Dharma Sister Yue: “Tonight, all eight of us sat together in a circle, unlike in the past. We placed the photo of Buddha Master (Acho Rinpoche) on the table in the centre. When I entered the state of Samadhi, I had a vision that every one of us in the group emitted white light into space. As we sat in a circle, our light collectively formed a pillar of light; Buddha Master appeared within the pillar of light. I could clearly see a circle of purple light appearing on the crown worn by Buddha Master. This circle changed from the shape of a sun into a moon crescent and vice versa, repeatedly. Strong light was emitted from this circle of purple light during its changing of shapes, blessing all of us. I could feel the presence of the spiritual beings around us increased in number very quickly, and they were circling us too. The strong light emitted by Buddha Master increased in its intensity and the pillar of light continued to enlarge in size to infinity. All eight of us could feel the powerful energy of blessing that seems to be locked within our circle. The power of blessing was so great that I began to feel a slight headache and my mom had a similar sensation too. I am very thankful to Buddha Master for his blessing. My homage to Sun-Moon-Lamp Buddha. ”
Dharma Sister Min: “Buddha Master, Mayumla, Dharma Brothers and Sisters, good evening. When I entered the state of Samadhi, it was like watching a movie that I saw many majestic looking Buddhist buildings, some were westernised and some were oriental in design. I was inside a building made of yellow clay. There were many Buddha images made of yellow clay too within the building. We were all there inside the building, doing prayer. After our prayer, we saw a reflection of light on the floor in the shape of a sword. We were full of joy! I am thankful to Buddha Master. My homage to Sun-Moon-Lamp Buddha.”
Lastly, Acho Ripoche told the group that the power of blessing generated from the group prayer tonight was exceptionally huge, as it was augmented by the effect of the sun eclipse. Actually, not only the group in Hangzhou generated the great power of blessing, our group in Singapore did that too. When we visualised our foes, parents of past and present lives, our relatives and all sentient beings of the Six Realms encircling us, practising together with us and receiving the blessing from all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, it can generate the greatest power of blessing benefiting all. When we practise our sadhana with the aspiration, compassion and bodhicitta to help all sentient beings, it can create the largest power of blessing, benefitting the numerous mother sentient beings.
Om Mani Padme Hom.
9-3-2016 Reported by Sun-Moon KFS