Monday, October 23, 2017

Blind Faith

          Tonight, we did a Guru Rinpoche Prayer under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche. After which, he mentioned a recent teaching given by Asong Rinpoche of Yaqing Monastery who said, “Even if all the people in the world dislike you or feel unhappy about you, let them be, no matter. However, when your guru is feeling unpleased, dislikes and unhappy about you, you will only fall into a Vajra Hell. This is true. A Guru is really someone whom you should be taking seriously. Similarly, even when all the people in the world love you and are fond of you, no matter, let them be. However, when your Guru is fond of you, you will earn the most precious and unique spiritual attainment including the fruit of Buddhahood in your present and future lives through his grace.” Acho Rinpoche opined that such teachings are the highest guiding principle for our spiritual practice according to the traditional Tibetan Buddhism. It worked in ancient Tibetan society which produced many great adepts. However, in the current degeneration age, we have seen many spiritual teachers falling in their practice and therefore, a Buddhist student should not blindly accept such guiding principle for his spiritual practice.

          Acho Rinpoche opined that there must be a pre-condition for this guiding principle to be followed by a student in the current era, that the teacher must be a truly enlightened master! Otherwise, it will be a very dangerous advice given to a student. Those spiritual teachers who are not acting in accordance to the teachings of the Buddha are not truly enlightened masters, and they cannot expect blind faith from their students. Mingyur  Rincpohe reminded us that if a spiritual teacher acted violently against his students, that teacher must be in the wrong! Spiritual masters who are great adepts hardly use violent methods to teach their students. Besides, such methods are not suitable for the current society that we are in. So, Acho Rinpoche reminded us that if a spiritual teacher continues to transmit such teaching of blind faith, we ought to be cautious.

Finally, we ended our prayer by reciting the names of the Buddhas under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche, and dedicated the merits to all sentient beings - may all sentient beings be happy, free of sufferings and attain enlightenment one day. 

Reported by Sun Moon KFS on 20-10-2017 @Singapore

Only a True Practitioner will Attain Enlightenment, Regardless of Ordained or Layman.

          Tonight, we did a Guru Rinpoche Prayer under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche. After which, he told us about an ordained Tibetan Khenpo, who was quite actively teaching in Taiwan and Australia in the past, has disrobed and renounced his monkhood. This Khenpo admitted in public that he has failed to abide by the precept of an ordained monk, as he has succumbed to the temptation of desires. An ordained monk who chose to disrobe means that he has not accomplished his spiritual practice, which is certainly not a glamorous thing.

          This Khenpo was praised by H.H Dalai Lama in the past, and the latter requested him to teach in Taiwan. He has many students in Taiwan, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia. He has also published some books on Buddhism and appeared quite frequently on TV and radio, doing the teaching. Acho Rinpoche met him once when he came to Singapore in the past.

          This Khenpo became a monk since young. He was trained in Tibetan Buddhism for about thirty years by now and is very familiar with the method of Tibetan Buddhist Debate too. He also expressed his disagreement with the views of a Taiwanese layman Buddhist teacher who opposed to the practice of Smoke Puja. This Khenpo said that there were many patriarchs including the 5th Dalai Lama who commended the merits and advocated the practice of Smoke Puja in the past. Therefore, he disagrees with that layman Buddhist teacher who opposed to the practice of Smoke Puja. He also explained the method of Tibetan Buddhist Debate, in which the two parties involved will simply oppose and argue against the views of each other, in order to win the debate. Therefore, the party which wins the debate may not necessarily mean that his argument represents the “truth”, for there is no right or wrong between two debaters. So, he is worried that the Taiwanese students of the layman Buddhist teacher might be misled by their teacher, for they do not understand the rule of Tibetan Buddhist Debate.    

          Acho Rinpoche opined that our spiritual practice ought to be guided by the ethics and social values of the current society; one should not follow the literatures blindly. Besides, a person who can convey the teachings very well in writing or in speech does not necessarily mean that he has truly attained the state of realization. One who has disrobed clearly shows that he has failed to uphold the precepts of an ordained monk. However, Acho Rinpoche commended his honesty of admitting his own faults in public, for failing to uphold his precept as an ordained monk. One should renounce his ordination when he transgresses the precepts of ordination, instead of hiding his faults from the public. When an ordained person transgresses the precepts of ordination and refuses to renounce his ordination, this act of ignorance will bring an end to the true teachings of the Buddha. Acho Rinpoche also opined that the merits and pace of practice of an ordained practitioner is certainly far more superior than that of a layman practitioner. However, the real issue does not lie in the question of ordination nor its renunciation. What truly matters is whether a practitioner has attained a true state of realization. Actually, an ordained practitioner can attain a true state of realization, so can a layman practitioner. So, learning too much of the teachings does not help much because the teachings are, essentially, just theories. Actually, the most important point lies in the “practice”, which is the only way to attain the true state of realization.  

Finally, we ended our prayer by reciting the names of the Buddhas under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche, and dedicated the merits to all sentient beings - may all sentient beings be happy, free of sufferings and attain enlightenment one day. 

Reported by Sun Moon KFS on 21-10-2017 @Singapore

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Danger of Over Emphasis on Scholarly Study

Tonight, we did a Guru Rinpoche Practice under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche. After which, he reiterated the two methods of Buddhist practice: practice and study. To layman Buddhists like us, we can’t afford to go into a long-term retreat for intensive training but we can do our daily practice as a householder. He also mentioned a young layman Buddhist in Taiwan who became an ordained monk since young, who later left for India to study under the guidance of the 17th Karmapa for 6 years. He did very well in his debates in Tibetan Buddhism and was well regarded by H.H Karmapa as one of the best. Later, he went to Japan and learnt the Japanese Vajrayana Buddhism in Koyasan, and earned himself the qualification of an Achraya. So, he has gone through an illustrious training on Buddhism ranging from Theravada, Mahayana, Tibetan Buddhism to Japanese Vajrayana Buddhism. He is well learnt and endowed with great memory. H.H Karmapa approves his qualification as a Buddhist teacher who can start teaching others. He has also read a lot of Buddhist doctrines translated from Pali to Chinese, some of which have yet to be translated into Tibetan language. When he took part in the debates with other Tibetan lamas, he would often make them dumbfounded when he drew his citations from these doctrines which did not exist in Tibetan Buddhism. He is now planning to translate these doctrines into Tibetan language for the benefit of the Tibetan Buddhists, as he is fluent in Tibetan.

Acho Rinpoche has watched a few video clips that he posted on the Internet. From these clips, it was quite clear that those who emphasize too much on doing scholarly study on Buddhism face the dilemma of being misguided by the superficial meaning of words. For instance, someone asked him about his view on homosexuality. He did not think that homosexuality was a transgression of precept. For he opined that when Sakyamuni Buddha was about passing into Nirvana, he told Ananda that in future, all Buddhists should regard the precept as their teacher; however, some of the precepts could be forgone. At that juncture, Ananda did not seek clarification from the Buddha on which precepts could be forgone and what would the bottomline be. Later, Mahakasyapa facilitated a conference involving may fellow students to study this issue and finally decided that none of the precepts told by Sakyamuni Buddha in the past could be eliminated; however, any precept not being mentioned by the Buddha in the past must not be included either. Acho Rinpoche cited an example of the misuse of marijuana which did not exist during the time of Sakyamuni Buddha. Does it mean that the misuse of marijuana and drugs should not be included as part of the precept now? Although Nagarjuna also advocated a few other precepts which were not being mentioned by Sakyamuni Buddha during his time, they were simply ignored by this Taiwanese Buddhist because he said that only the words of the Buddha count. Someone else asked him about a sutra related to the vows of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva and he did not seem to think that this sutra was a teaching given by Sakyamuni Buddha personally, and regarded it as one of those controversial issues. His way of explanations on the various Buddhist doctrines was indeed not quite right and worrying.

Acho Rinpoche explained that there are indeed arguments between the Theravada Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhism, for the former does not recognize the authenticity of the Mahayana Sutras as being taught personally by Sakyamuni Buddha. This is indeed a problem when one emphasizes too much on his scholarly study on Buddhism and fails to attain the true state of realization through practice, which goes beyond the superficial meaning of words. So what if a person is the best debater? When he is facing his final moment in life, all these literatures that he has read in the past will only drag him back into the Six Realms of Cyclic Existence if he is just an average practitioner. When a person is unable to fully comprehend the various teachings and fails to understand the true meaning expounded by Sakyamuni Buddha beyond words, he will end up sharing his weird ideas with others which are not the true teachings of the Buddha. Therefore, Acho Rinpoche advised us that it is suffice for a practitioner to learn the primary teachings and guiding principles initially, such as the core teachings expounded in the Heart Sutra and the Diamond Sutra, but the next important step is for us to do the practice. Practice is the only way to help us attain realization in our daily life.  

Finally, we ended our prayer by reciting the names of the Buddhas under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche, and dedicated the merits to all sentient beings - may all sentient beings be happy, free of sufferings and attain enlightenment one day. 

Reported by Sun Moon KFS on 7-10-2017 @Singapore 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Do Not Anyhow Criticize Others

          Tonight, we did a Guru Rinpoche Practice under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche. After which, he shared with us an article on the Internet which mentioned about the serious mistake of blaspheming a Bodhisattva, as such conduct is equivalent to committing a negative karma of killing all the people in this world. In fact, this is a common mistake made by us when we simply criticize others of their shortcomings; we have indeed committed a negative karma by doing so simply because we can’t tell who are the Bodhisattvas among us! Even a prostitute, a practitioner who has seemingly transgressed the precept etc., might just be a manifestation of a Bodhisattva who are trying to help the sentient beings by some skillful means! So, we should not criticize others. Even H.H Dalai Lama, H.H Jigme Puntshok, Khenpo Sodargye, Venerable Jingkong, Venerable Haitao etc., have been criticized by others too. So, who is right and who is wrong?
There are simply too many accusations on the Internet. Just ignore them. As long as a person teaches sensibly and in accordance with the Buddha’s teachings – it can be considered a right teaching. At times, a teacher may stress the importance of a particular aspect of the teaching and end up with a slightly different way of interpretation. We just need to choose a teaching that is suitable to us and apply it in practice. There is really no need for anyone to criticize others. The Mahayana Buddhism, especially that which is transmitted in China today, tends to criticize the Tibetan Buddhism wrongly due to the lack of understanding of the skillful means employed by the latter; the former has committed a very serious negative karma indeed. Therefore, Acho Rinpoche advised us that we ought to be very careful in our conduct by voiding such mistake.
Finally, we ended our prayer by reciting the names of the Buddhas under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche, and dedicated the merits to all sentient beings - may all sentient beings be happy, free of sufferings and attain enlightenment one day. 

Reported by Sun Moon KFS on 2-9-2017 @Singapore   

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Connection Between Mid-Autumn Festival and Buddhism

          Today is the Mid-Autumn Festival. We did a Guru Rinpoche Practice under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche. After which, Acho Rinpoche shared with us a story told by Venerable Haitao with regards to the Mid-Autumn Festival. Venerable Haitao said that the folk tale about a rabbit residing in the moon was somehow related to Buddhism too. In one of the numerous past lives of Sakyamuni Buddha, he was born as the king of rabbit once. It became the spiritual leader to the animals in the forest and advocated the practice of offering on every 15th day of the month. One day, this king of rabbit made a vow that it wished to offer its body for the benefits of other sentient beings. It was a very powerful vow that shook the entire universe. Even the Jade Emperor in the heaven felt the tremors while sitting in his throne. A sentient being can be born as a Jade Emperor endowed with the greatest wealth and longevity in the heavenly realm if he abides by the Five Precepts (no killing, no stealing, no sexual misconduct, no lying and no overdose of alcohol) and observes the Seven Good Conducts (filial piety, reverence to the elders and teachers, gentleness in speech and conduct, no criticism of others, no lying, no scolding and no anger). So, the Jade Emperor decided to test the determination of the king of rabbit and transformed himself into a poor old man begging for food. The rabbits offered him vegetables for meal but he rejected them and demanded for meat instead. The king of rabbit did not hesitate at all and just leaped into a fire, planning to offer its body as meal to the old man. The Jade Emperor was very touched by the conduct of the king of rabbit and transformed the fire into lotus through his magical power, thus saving the king of rabbit from sacrificing itself. Ever since, come the 15th day of every month on a full moon day, we are reminded of this touching story about the king of rabbit and the importance of offering. 
Besides, the Tibetans also celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival in a different way. Their version of the story was related to the Karmapa. In 1339, on the 14th day of the eighth lunar month, the 3rd Karmapa gave his teachings to his audience upon the request of the Mongolian emperor, Yuan Shun. After giving his teaching, the 3rd Karmapa passed away on the 14th of the eighth lunar month. However, on the following day, many people saw the appearance of the 3rd Karmapa in the moon above the sky! Ever since, the Karma Kagyud school of Tibetan Buddhism regarded the 15th day of the eighth lunar month a very sacred day.

Finally, we ended our prayer by reciting the names of the Buddhas under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche, and dedicated the merits to all sentient beings - may all sentient beings be happy, free of sufferings and attain enlightenment one day. 

Reported by Sun Moon KFS on 4-10-2017 @Singapore

Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Right Mindset of a Practitioner

          Today is the 10th day of Tibetan Calendar, which is slated for Guru Rinpoche Puja Day. We did a Guru Rinpoche Prayer under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche. After the prayer, Acho Rinpoche continued to explain the difference between practice and study. He cited the 17th Karmapa Urgyen Trinley, who also stressed on the importance of a balancing act between the practice and study, for Sakyamuni Buddha taught the same. Karmapa said that a Buddhis Academy is a place of learning, whereas a retreat center is a place of practice; a student must learn, contemplate and practise the teachings by according equal weight to all three aspects of training. A student must not just ignore any of the three aspects of training or he is blaspheming the Buddha’s teaching and therefore committing the Five Great Sins. A person who studies in a Buddhist Academy must not just learn and contemplate the teachings without practising them, or he is just pretending to be a Buddhist. “Turning one’s mind towards the teachings and turning the teachings towards the path of enlightenment” means entering the path of practice without being distracted by the worldly pleasures.

          Acho Rinpoche also shared with us about a teaching given by Asong Rinpoche of Yaqing Monastery in the Sichuan Province of China that clearly showed how serious they are in doing the practice. Asong Rinpoche led a big group of his ordained students in doing a one month retreat in a mountain, doing solely the unique preliminary practice of the Great Perfection and Superior Wisdom Practice (大圆胜慧正行之不共前行修法). However, there are two very strict admission criteria to be complied fully by a participant, to be qualified for the practice. First, he must have already completed his Five Foundations Practice. Second, he must be an ordained person. So, a layman Buddhist is not qualified to join the retreat. However, there is another retreat being planned in the pipeline by Asong Rinpoche on the practice of “Guidance for Dharmata Bardo”  (法性中阴引) which is opened to the layman Buddhists too, which is a one-month retreat of intensive training.

He instructed his students to update him on their spiritual progress but told them that he will not be pleased even if a student had a vision of one hundred deities, for he will be more pleased by an old man who came to seek his teachings. This old man was hit by a road accident earlier and came to seek help from the monastery. When he was introduced to the precious teachings at the monastery, he felt so grateful to the accident which brought him to the monastery and helped him find the most precious purpose in life. Later, when he returned to his hometown to visit to his family and relatives, he felt like a stranger in this once familiar surroundings. At that juncture, he realized that his real home was actually - Yaqing Monastery! Asong Rinpoche was very pleased with the mindset change of this old man because this is the sign of a practitioner who has made a true spiritual progress. A practitioner who has severed his attachment to the secular relationship with his family has truly entered the door of the Buddhadharma; the one who has yet to do so continues to wander outside the door. Acho Rinpoche felt the same too that when a practitioner has finally eradicated his five poisons of lust, hatred, ignorance, arrogance and suspicion, including severing his attachment to the secular relationship with his family and relatives, only then will he be able to attain the state of enlightenment. He commended highly of the serious attitude of the Yaqing practitioners in their spiritual pursuits, under the guidance of Asong Rinpoche.

          Next, Acho Rinpoche shared with us a dream that he had last night. It was indeed a very special and auspicious dream that made us feel extremely joyful after hearing it. Finally, we ended our prayer by reciting the names of the Buddhas under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche, and dedicated the merits to all sentient beings - may all sentient beings be happy, free of sufferings and attain enlightenment one day. 

Reported by Sun Moon KFS on 30-9-2017 @Singapore

Practice vs Study

Tonight, we did a Guru Rinpoche Prayer under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche. After which, he shared an article posted by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche (Dzongsar Rinpoche) on the Internet. Dzongsar Rinpoche has set up many Buddhist Academies in India, Bhutan and Tibet which have produced more than one thousand ordained Buddhists today. However, he is now wondering if these students are Budddhist practitioners or mere scholars? Besides, did they learn the true Buddhadharma? Most of these students could recite the various sutras without referring to the books, and there are about one hundred Khenpos among them (Buddhist scholars) who are qualified abbot candidates for the various monasteries and qualified teachers for the various Buddhist sects. He could not help but asked himself, “How many of these Khenpos have actually attained the state of realization?” According to his observations, many of these students have become very egoistic! In fact, many of the ordained ones, scholars and Khenpos have developed a big ego as they pride themselves as scholars who are knowledgeable of  the teachings. They have lost their most genuine and original faith in the teachings. They even belittle the various spiritual practices including the chanting of mantra, meditation, circumambulation of stupas, construction of stupas etc., by saying “Well, all such things are just emptiness, we don’t need to do those.”  They are very fond of making such remarks. Next, Dzongsar Rinpoche used an analogy to explain what he meant by a scholarly study. He said, a person who has never visited the Bodhigaya in India (where Sakyamuni Buddha attained his enlightenment) will study the map first but he may not be keen to go there personally. On the contrary, there are others who thought that they had no time to study the map and simply decided to just buy an air ticket and head straight to Bodhigaya! The Khenpos have learnt about the teaching on emptiness but they may not be keen to visit Bodhigaya personally, whereas others simply embark on the journey that might be full of challenges but will certainly reach the destination eventually.
          Acho Rinpoche said that there are only two possible ways of learning the Buddhadharma: learning through practice and learning through study. Learning through practice includes going into a retreat for an intensive training or practising in our daily lives. One who merely studies the teachings in a Buddhist Academy is just learning through study. A person who does not learn the basic teachings might go astray because the spiritual path is indeed full of challenges. However, a person who learns too much of the teachings but does not apply them in his practice will never be able to break free of the Six Realms of Cyclic Existence. He came across Khenpos who appeared panic when faced with challenges, due to the lack of real practice. There are also people who had visions of the spiritual deities and auras during their practice but could not understand the reason of such experience and might go astray too. Recently, he saw a video footage on the Internet of a Taiwanese nun appearing on TV, criticizing other spiritual communities of their behaviors. She sounded hostile, arrogant and impatient. This is a sign of one knowing too much of the teachings in theory but fails to tame his own monkey mind. Acho Rincpohe said, if he must choose between practice and study, he would rather choose the former – practice! In the past, the Nyingma and Kagyud sects placed greater emphasis on the need for practice than study. However, recently there seems to be a change in their emphasis that they began to place a greater emphasis on the study of the teachings like the Gelug, stressing on the need to study the five main doctrines too. He opined that when a person over emphasizes on the study of the theoretical aspect of the Buddhadharma, he will perpetually be stranded in the realm of conceptual thinking and will never be able to attain the state of enlightenment.
          Finally, we ended our prayer by reciting the names of the Buddhas under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche, and dedicated the merits to all sentient beings - may all sentient beings be happy, free of sufferings and attain enlightenment one day.  

Reported by Sun Moon KFS on 28-9-2017 @Singapore

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Amitabha Buddha Soul Deliverance Prayer Held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 26th August 2017

On 26th August 2017, a group of thirty plus of us flew from Singapore to the capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, to attend an Amitabha Buddha Soul Deliverance Prayer jointly presided over by Konde Rinpoche, Acho Rinpoche and Khenpo Shedrup (the current abbot of Dzongchen Monastery in India). The prayer started around 10am, with Konde Rinpoche presenting sacred objects (mandala, stupa and sutra) to Acho Rinpoche, praying for the good health and longevity of the latter for the benefit of sentient beings. The prayer proper commenced after that.  

          After the prayer, Konde Rinpoche gave a teaching to the participants which could be summarized in three key points. First, it takes a great deal of merits for us to be able to practise together with a precious teacher, Acho Rinpoche. He advised us to take this opportunity very seriously and learn well under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche. Second, all the Buddhas relied on their teachers to show them the way to the ultimate state of enlightenment. So, we must have 100% faith in our root teacher - cherish his presence and follow his teachings, in order to succeed in our spiritual practice. Third, we must work hard on our spiritual practice in this very lifetime by chanting the Hundred Syllable Mantra of Vajrasattva to eradicate our negative karma and reciting the name of Amitabha Buddha, aspiring for a rebirth in the pureland of Amitabha Budhda when our life in this world comes to an end. Only when we strive hard during our present lifetime on earth that, when we are finally reborn in the pureland of Amitabha Buddha, we will be able to meet him in person instantaneously when we appear from a fully blossomed lotus. A deceased who aspired to be reborn in the pureland of Amitabha Buddha will not be able to meet Amitabha Buddha in person instantaneously as he will be born into a closed lotus bud in the pureland due to his negative karma. It will take a very long time for his lotus bud to blossom fully, after his negative karma has been purified;  only then he would be able to meet Amitabha Buddha in person.

          Konde Rinpoche invited Acho Rinpoche to give his teaching to the audience too. Acho Rinpoche’s teachings could be summarized in four key points. First, we are spending too much time on our mobile phones today. We should make use of our mobiles phones to search for useful information but not waste too much of our time and energy reading all contents without selection; no one can finish reading all the contents available on the Internet in this lifetime. We should also verify the authenticity and accuracy of the information presented to us through our mobile phones, for there is too much fake news on the Internet. Second, he advised that a practitioner should keep a low profile and avoid the lime lights, or his false sense of ego will continue to grow bigger and eventually lead himself and others to a downfall instead. Third, he explained that the Vajrayana practice can help a practitioner attain a higher state of realization more swiftly in this lifetime, thus securing a higher state of attainment when he is reborn in the pureland of Amitabha Buddha. This will allow him to meet Amitabha Buddha instantaneously when he appeared from a fully blossomed lotus in the pureland when he reaches the pureland. Third, the pace of practice in this world is faster than that in the pureland of Amitabha Buddha. Reason being, this world has a mix of good and evil which can help train and purify our minds more effectively. Pureland is a world of kindness – safe but without challenges to help completely uproot the lust, hatred and ignorance in us. Therefore, a practitioner will need to spend a much longer time in the pureland to purify his mind but finally he still must come back to this world to help all sentient beings in order to attain the ultimate state of enlightenment. Fourth, he commended Konde Rinpoche for his spiritual accomplishment while remaining still very much a humble person. He told the audience that the Malaysians are indeed blessed to have Konde Rinpoche guiding them in their practice.

After lunch, we did a smoke puja. This is one of the methods of making offering to the deities and sentient beings by burning the items of offering in fire. It was then followed by another teaching given by Konde Rinpoche on the visualization method used in the Amitabha Buddha Practice. Acho Rinpoche also gave some key teachings on the Vajrayana practice. Finally, the two precious masters performed the soul deliverance prayer for all the deceased and conferred blessing to all participants in this prayer.

Reported by Sun-moon KFS in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 26 Aug 2017.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Meeting KYCO in Malaysia

On 26th August 2017, we visited KYCO (Kuan Yin Contemplative Order) at Petaling Jaya in Malaysia with Konde Rinpoche and Acho Rinpoche. Master Tony Wong is the founder of KYCO and he is the teacher of Sister Sherwin. She arranged this wonderful meeting among the three Buddhist masters. On our arrival, Konde Rinpoche and Acho Rinpoche presented the sacred objects to Master Tony, who is 78 year-old, praying for his longevity and health for the benefit of the sentient beings. Later, Master Tony told us about his spiritual journey on how he was converted from Christianity in his early days to a Buddhist teacher today.

In the 70s’ Master Tony prayed to Kuan Yin (Avalokiesvara) to save his brother who was struck by cancer. One day, Master Tony was possessed by a high spirit who claimed himself to be “Lord of the North”, who came to help him based on the request of the “Lord of the East”. As a Christian, Master Tony was completely clueless of what happened. He could not control his actions although his mind remained calm and composed. The high spirit blessed his sick brother through him. His family members brought in two Taoist practitioners in an attempt to help him in vain. Instead, the high spirit ordered the two Taoist practitioners to just sit down on the floor while watching “him” blessing the sick man. Actually, Master Tony’s prayer to Kuan Yin was heard and the Lord of the North was therefore dispatched to help him (he found out later that the Lord of the North was actually Celestial Emperor Xuan Tian). Since then, Master Tony came under the tutelage of the immortals - Xuan Tian and Ji Gong (crazy monk). Gradually, he learnt the teachings of the Buddha. However, one day, they told him that he actually belonged to Kuan Yin and they would hand him over to Kuan Yin for his personal tutelage next.

Master Tony was an English educated Chinese who knew nothing about the faith of Kuan Yin at that point in time. However, Kuan Yin advised him not to read any books in the market as none of the books could accurately describe who Kuan Yin truly is. In fact, Master Tony made a promise to Kuan Yin when he prayed for his cancer-stricken brother that he would serve Kuan Yin if Kuan Yin could save his brother. So, Kuan Yin gave Master Tony personal teachings and the latter recorded all the teachings received over the years in writing. Kuan Yin advised Master Tony to practise on his own first for a period of time before teaching others. Kuan Yin also selected his students by allowing only the qualified ones to come under his guidance. Kuan Yin also prophesized that there would be many practitioners, Buddhists and practitioners of other faiths including the Tibetan Buddhism practitioners, coming to meet Master Tony in future, who will assure him of his path of practice being the right one. 

In the 80s’ H.E Tai Situpa of the Karma Kagyud of Tibetan Buddhism visited Malaysia for the first time. On his first meeting with Master Tony, the former requested to meet the latter for dinner. This was how the closely-knitted relationship started between the two. Ever since, many more Tibetan Buddhist masters and monks came visiting Master Tony. His students are mainly English educated Chinese like him who could hardly read Chinese. It was indeed amazing that the teachings of Kuan Yin could be so well transmitted to the English educated, thanks to Master Tony who took on the responsibility to do so. The teachings of Kuan Yin recorded by Master Tony are indeed infused with the wonderful flavor of the Buddhadharma.

Sister Sherwin became acquainted with Konde Rinpoche when she sought his help to deliver the soul of her late mother. When Master Tony met Konde Rinpoche, the former felt a sense of familiarity with the latter. Master Tony felt that he must be a student to Konde Rinpoche in his past life. He knelt before Konde Rinpoche and requested the latter to perform a “powa” practice for him in future, when he passes away. It was indeed a very touching moment. However, Konde Rinpoche told the audience that he would not want to perform “powa” for Master Tony but instead, pray for his longevity and hope that he would live till 108 year-old.

Master Tony told the audience that he read Acho Rinpoche’s book entitled “Dancing in the Sky” several years back. He felt rejoiced when reading the book and wished to meet the author one day. He felt very happy meeting Acho Rinpoche today and felt a similar sense of familiarity with the latter; he believed that the three of them must be spiritual brothers in their past lives. Acho Rinpoche told the audience that he found similarities in the spiritual journeys between Master Tony and his. Acho Rinpoche was also a Christian from young but he became a Buddhist later and had numerous inconceivable experiences throughout the years too.  

When Acho Rinpoche was still a child, there were Taoist master, Christian pastor and Buddhist monk who came to his house, asking his mother to let them take him a way – to be their successors in their faiths. When he was studying in the university, he started searching for answers to the many problems in life and went through many schools of philosophy and religion, searching for the right path. Finally, he settled down in Buddhism. Ever since, he has been a serious Buddhist practitioner. In the early years, someone brought him to a place with many believers. When the abbot was giving him blessing, he felt scared and started chanting the Great Compassion Mantra silently in his heart. However, the spiritual guide (spirit) left the abbot forever since that moment. Later, someone else brought him to another place and the abbot spent at least two hours trying to find out his true identity in vain, through his spiritual guide (spirit). The spiritual guide was unable to tell the true identity of Acho Rinpoche as the latter was clearly much higher in his spiritual attainment; the spiritual guide told the abbot that he could only see a ball of light!

In the 80s’ Acho Rinpoche visited Japan under an ASEAN-Japan Exchange Programme, and he was being arranged to stay in the house of a doctor, Akiyoshi,  in Saga Prefecture. However, Acho Rinpoche spent most of his time reading, doing his prayer and meditating instead of touring around the place. Doctor Akiyoshi found it strange and recommended him to meet a good friend of his, who was a senior abbot of a temple in the area. However, this abbot was very famous and had many appointments made in advance. They were told that it would take two months for their appointment to be made. So, they decided to just give it a miss and would visit the temple on their own. When they arrived at the car park of that temple, to their pleasant surprise, the abbot was standing near the car park – awaiting their arrival. The abbot told Akiyoshi that last night he was instructed by Kuan Yin to cancel all his appointments tomorrow and wait for the arrival of a very important person. He said that Acho Rinpoche was just the person because he “saw” Kuan Yin appearing above his head. The abbot invited them to enter his shrine and then started chanting some mantras and blessing Acho Rinpoche. Suddenly, Acho Rinpoche started chanting a mantra and blessing the abbot instead. The abbot was very surprised and he invited Acho Rinpoche to enter his personal shrine this time. There was a very huge statue of Acala being enshrined in this shrine, about two-storey tall. The abbot requested Acho Rinpoche to bless the Acala statue. Later, the abbot told Akiyoshi that Acho Rinpoche was actually chanting a very ancient version of Acala mantra, which would only be transmitted to the senior abbots in the Japanese Vajrayana Buddhism. The abbot also wrote a line on the paper which read “green dragon has manifested”. Acala Practice is the highest practice in Japanese Vajrayana Buddhism. “Green dragon” is the emblem of Acala. The abbot said that when Acho Rinpoche was blessing him, he saw the former transforming into Acala! The abbot was obviously shaken by the unexpected experience and he felt very touched. On this very first meeting between the two, the abbot presented a full set of sacred objects representing the lineage transmission to Acho Rinpoche which included a robe, rosary, crown etc., signifying that Acho Rinpoche has obtained the lineage of Japanese Vajrayana Buddhism.

Acho Rinpoche also told the audience about his connection with Konde Rinpoche. Konde Rinpoche is the abbot of the Horthang Monastery in Qing Hai Province of China. He met Acho Rinpoche in Singapore. One day, Konde Rinpoche dreamt of his root guru, Lama Ajun Toden Lodoe Gyatso, instructing him to offer a Guru Rinpoche’s crown to an important person. So, he prayed to Ejakati (One Knot), the most important Dharmapala (protector) of Ningma, for a clearer instruction on who this important person would be. Then, Konde Rinpoche had a vision of Acho Rinpoche in his meditation. He sought further advice from a few more seniors including Kade Rinpoche of Horthang Monastery, all of whom confirmed that Acho Rinpoche was indeed the reincarnation of the former abbot of Horthang Monastery. Acho Rinpoche told us that actually, before he was being recognized by Konde Rinpoche as a reincarnated Buddhist master, he already knew his true identity. He had frequently seen himself in a lama’s attire in either his dreams or meditation. He often found himself flying in space during his sleep, and saw the numerous sentient beings seeking his blessing below. He returned to the Western Blissful Pureland of Amitabha Buddha in his dream once and saw the numerous high beings seated on their lotus thrones.

Lastly, KYCO presented a birthday cake to Acho Rinpoche, celebrating his birthday which happened to fall on the same day. Finally, Master Tony showed us around his center (which was designed by Kuan Yin), bringing this auspicious meeting to a perfect closure.

Reported by Sun-moon KFS in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 26-8-2017

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Will the breakage of a lineage lead one to a downfall?

Tonight, we did a Guru Rinpoche Prayer with Acho Rinpoche. After which, he shared with us a post he read in the WeChat, which was a teaching given by Khenpo Sodargye. In this post, Khenpo Sodargye mentioned a teaching given by his late teacher, H.H Jigme Punchok Rinpoche, on the consequence of a student breaking his lineage. He said, when a Vajrayanist of Tibetan Buddhism deliberately breaks his lineage, the consequence of such breakage is as serious as one’s destroying one hundred stupas, and the person will certainly fall into the Three Lower Realms (animal, hell and hungry ghost). Khenpo Sodargye advised that a practitioner must be confident in his spiritual practice and make up his mind before taking any action: if he is not ready for something, it is best that he does not even start doing it at all; if he decides to do something, he must then resolve to completing it but not give up halfway. Why so? Fickle-mindedness is a flaw which cannot be taken lightly in the Law of Karma (cause-and-effect). When one is fickle-minded in his spiritual practice, he is culminating a negative propensity in his mind-stream, for such negative propensities will continue to grow stronger, thus increasing his level of sufferings in future. What he harvests from his current action will generate only meagre merits and he is unlikely to succeed in his future undertakings due to his lack of perseverance.

When a practitioner cannot persevere in his spiritual practice, he will do the same on his worldly undertakings too and will not succeed in his worldly achievement either. He cited an example of a student who went for a teaching on “Bodhisattvacaryāvatāra” but quit halfway because he changed his mind and wanted to receive the empowerment of another teaching. Although there is merit in learning the other teaching which will bear its good fruit in future, he has created a negative karma by quitting the teaching on “Bodhisattvacaryāvatāra” halfway, which will also bear its bad fruit in future. It all depends on which karma will ripen first. Generally, there is hardly anyone who could persevere in his practice right till the end but the consequence of discontinuity is indeed scary.

Acho Rinpoche expressed his personal views on this post too. He said that although what Khenpo Sodargye said was valid to some extent, it should not be generalized but assessed base on individual cases. The key consideration lies in the reason why a student chose to leave his teacher. For instance, the Tibetan Buddhist teacher who was involved in a scandal recently, impersonated as an accomplished master initially but was accused by his westerner students of wrong doings (physically and sexually assaulting his students) lately. A student who abandons such teacher is not wrong. On the contrary, if he continues with such teacher-student relationship, he will fall into the Three Lower Realms. The other Taiwanese Buddhist teacher who followed H.H Dalai Lama in his teachings was doing fine initially. However, he picked a female layman Buddhist to lead his ordained community before he passed away. The female successor was scandalous, and some of the former abbots of this community left the group, accusing her of her wrong doings. This lady even threatened those who betrayed her that they would fall into hell; she also coerced some of the novice monks into committing serious misconducts with her. These are two examples of wrong teachers who ought to be abandoned by their students. In short, we should use our wisdom to analyze the cause-and-effect of every situation and make the right choice.

Acho Rinpoche said, although the Vajrayana School has a special teaching on advising a student to view his teacher as a Buddha, H.H Dalai Lama explained that the premise of such teaching is based on a “qualified teacher”; the wrongful acts of a “wrong teacher” should be exposed publicly. Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche also said that when a student views his teacher as a Buddha, the teacher should also view his student as a Buddha. A teacher who physically assaulted his students obviously does not view his students as Buddhas. Acho Rinpoche clarified that there were indeed “crazy monks” in the past who were actually enlightened masters; however, they were very rare indeed. So, a student should observe the behavior of his teacher to determine if he conducts himself according to the teachings of the Buddha. A student may choose to leave a teacher who misconducts himself and needs not worry about falling into the lower realms because of the breakage of lineage.

Later, Dharma Sister Yue shared with us her recent experience related to the practice, through the Internet. She said, “I had a few dreams related to the practice lately. In the first dream, we went to an island with Buddha Master (Acho Rinpoche). It was surrounded by a vast ocean. We were doing a prayer with Buddha Master on the island. Suddenly, a huge black dragon appeared from the sea and it looked very angry and wanted to eat us. Buddha Master stood up calmly, chanted some mantras and blessed the dragon. Eventually, the dragon withdrew back into the sea and just swam around calmly. Later, we saw many houses inside the sea, with many residents within. It looked just like our human world, with the beings living their daily lives like we do. Next, I noticed that the sea level began to rise, submerging lots of houses. Interestingly, our island continued to float above the water and so, we were safe.  At this juncture, I heard someone screaming for help somewhere on the island. Buddha Master followed the voice and brought us along, to save the ones needing help. I could not see anyone at all but Buddha Master seemed to know where they were. He stretched out his hand and reached out to three little beings buried underneath a rock. They were of the size of Buddha Master’s finger. He blessed them and brought them back to life, revitalized and became active again. We felt very happy and laughed aloud. This dream came to a perfect closure.

One the following night, I had my second dream. In this dream, we went to a mysterious place marked by 26 English alphabets. This was a very secluded place. It was a huge green forest, with every tribal village marked by the alphabets. When we reached an E tribal village, the sentient beings there had wings and they were flying about in the air. Buddha Master continued to give us teaching while walking around the villages. Suddenly, I saw many colorful birds appearing in the sky, dancing so beautifully in the sky. We felt very happy watching the show. Suddenly, the birds flew towards us and then I realized that it was because the sentient beings there were flying among them, welcoming the arrival of Buddha Master.

In my third dream, I saw that we were all dragons. My best friend and I could transform into human form at will, appearing as dragon and human interchangeably. The sense of transformation was very vivid and I thought I could not be dreaming. In that dream, I was telling myself that ‘No wonder Buddha Master told us that we were from the dragon family. It is actually true.’ We could fly and swim in the sea at will, and freely.”

In my fourth dream, I saw a purple Buddha Eye, the one that I usually saw during my prayers. In the center of the Buddha Eye was a Sakyamuni Buddha sitting in a meditative posture. I could sometimes see some alphabets, such as YC, and rainbow lights in numerous shapes and sizes.

I am grateful for the blessing of Buddha Master. My homage to the Sun Moon Lamp Buddha.”

Lastly, Acho Rinpoche led us in the recitation of the various titles of the Buddhas and dedicated the merit to this world which is facing a very difficult time. May all sentient beings be happy and their sufferings eradicated. And may all sentient beings attain enlightenment swiftly.

Reported by Sun-Moon KFS on 19-8-2017 in Singapore.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

What is the practice of a Buddhist?

          Tonight, we did a Guru Rinpoche prayer. After which, Acho Rinpoche mentioned that Dharma Brother Zhong just asked him many questions related to the practice. The last question raised by Zhong was indeed a very good one: how should one practise the teachings after becoming a BuddhistAcho Rinpoche advised that a Buddhist should practise the Three Teachings viz. precepts, meditation and wisdom. Minimally, a Buddhist must abide strictly by the Five Precepts and do good. The Five Precepts include no stealing, no sexual misconduct, no excessive drinking of alcohol (drunk), no lying and no killing; a Buddhist must not transgress any of the said precepts. It is indeed difficult for anyone to eradicate his negative propensities formed after the numerous lifetimes. However, a Buddhist must henceforth resolve to gradually eradicate his negative propensities no matter how long it would take. For a person who has not attained the state of full enlightenment, he will continue to face the issues of his negative propensities; even a renowned teacher is not spared of this dilemma. Grand Master advised his students not to pick on his shortcomings but should learn his positive values instead. In addition to the need to abide by the precepts, a Buddhist should also do all actions that will bring benefit to others.   

          A Buddhist should also practise the Six Perfections (offering, discipline, tolerance, diligence, meditation and wisdom). Offering includes the offering of teachings, offering of wealth and offering of fearlessness. When one comes across a good teaching such as the Lotus Sutra, he should share the teachings with others; this is considered an offering of the teachings. Building temples, printing the teachings and helping the poor are considered the offering of wealth. When one helps to dispel the sense of fear in others and even sacrifices himself to protect others, is considered making offering of fearlessness. A person who is rich in this life must have offered his wealth to help others in his past life; such action of kindness would have helped him earn the good merits for this life. A person who is poor in this life had obviously not offered his wealth to help others in his past life; such action lacking in kindness would not have helped him earn any merit for this life. Therefore, a poor person should try his best to offer his wealth to help others in this life, so that he will earn his merits and become a rich person in his next life. A Buddha is also known as “The Holy One Who Has Perfected The Two Full Accomplishments”, which refers to his full accomplishment of merits and wisdom. Tolerance is another crucial practice of the Six Perfections. Anyone living in this world must tolerate all the adversities in life including the nagging of his wife and criticism of others etc.  When one learns to tolerate an adversity in life, he is likely to feel being treated unfairly while trying very hard not be carried away by his negative emotions; not losing one’s head is a commendable achievement. However, the ultimate teaching of tolerance actually requires a person to not feel emotional at all in the face of adversity. Diligence means doing one’s spiritual practice with vigor. Meditation is just part of the spiritual practice. Finally, our innate wisdom will naturally unfold through the practice of meditation.

          Acho Rinpoche also mentioned two cases of dispute which occurred in the Buddhist circle recently. The first case is related to a Tibetan Buddhist teacher who lives in the west, who is being accused by his westerner students for his misconducts. The second case is related to a successor of a Buddhist sect in Taiwan. The Tibetan Buddhist teacher being mentioned in the first case has been teaching in the west for about 30 years by now, who has established more than 100 seats worldwide and who has tens of thousands of westerner students. However, he was being accused by his closed disciples for his misconducts such as beating up his students and sexually assaulting his female students. His students consulted H.H Dalai Lama on how should this problem be handled. H.H Dalai Lama told the students that although this teacher is a good friend of his but the latter has indeed misbehaved. Initially, this teacher offered to enter a retreat and stopped his teachings. However, he was finally forced to fully relinquish his role as the spiritual director of all the seats worldwide. The second case is related to a Taiwanese Buddhist sect which is quite huge in size. Many of its ordained and layman students attended the teachings of H.H Dalai Lama in the past on the Lamrim (“Stages of the Path” by Master Tsongkapa). However, before the late abbot of this Taiwanese Buddhist sect passed away, he appointed a Chinese female layman Buddhist to be his successor as he believed that she is the reincarnation of Master Khedrup Gelek Pelzang.  This lady has been leading the ordained community of the sect since then, which is a clear violation of a rule set by Sakyamuni Buddha in the past. She is also being accused of having wrongful affair with a novice monk in her sect. Some of the students of this sect consulted H.H Dalai Lama on whether it is wrong for a lady to lead an ordained community, and they also complained about her other wrongful actions. Similarly, H.H Dalai Lama advised the students to publicly expose the wrongful acts of a Buddhist teacher, in order to protect the true teachings of the Buddha. Acho Rinpoche supports the rule set by Sakyamuni Buddha that a layman Buddhist must not lead an ordained community. However, Acho Rinpoche disagrees with the view that a female cannot be a spiritual leader (this is a common view held by most of the traditional Buddhist sects that belittle the spiritual capacity and attainment of a female practitioner) because historically, there are indeed great adepts among the female practitioners.    

          Acho Rinpoche said that there are all sorts of news being circulated on the Internet, with true facts and fake news mixed together, causing a lot of confusions to the readers. A practitioner will need to differentiate between the truth and fake news using his wisdom, to avoid being misled into the wrong paths; this is indeed a sad situation of the current age of degeneration. In short, the most crucial point is just that a practitioner must abide by the precepts strictly and do his daily spiritual practice with vigor.

Reported by Sun-moon KFS on 12-8-2017 @Singapore

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

9 Negative Habits to Be Abandoned by Advanced Practitioners

           Tonight, we did a Guru Rinpoche Prayer under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche. After which, he shared with us the following story about a student who consulted Venerable Hui Lu of Taiwan on his spiritual practice. The student is a practitioner who abides strictly by the precepts; however, he just cannot tolerate his fellow practitioners who fail to do so. He criticized others for failing to abide by the precepts and felt troubled by this matter. Venerable Hui Lu asked him if Sakyamuni Buddha would feel troubled in the same way that he did. The student said that he did not think so. Venerable Hui Lu told his student that Sakyamuni Buddha would certainly accommodate the shortcomings of others and would not criticize them. He told his students that the latter only scored 50 marks out of 100 for abiding by the precepts, and the remaining 50 marks will need to be earned based on his tolerance of the shortcomings of others. Sakyamuni Buddha was a very disciplined person but he accepted the fact that others were not. When a person thinks that he has done better than others in terms of upholding the precepts, he will inevitably start scrutinizing the shortcomings of others and criticize them, thus committing negative karma through his speech. In that sense, he will not score 100 marks in his practice of upholding the precepts. The student returned to his own Buddhist center and continued to do his practice by focusing on his own conduct and not paying attention to the shortcomings of others. People of his center noticed the change in him and later learnt the teachings given by Venerable Hui Lu too. Acho Rinpoche advised that a practitioner should not criticize the shortcomings of others but, on the contrary, wish for their gradual improvements instead. Not only that, a practitioner should learn to rejoice in the good deeds of others. Generally, a person will feel jealous about others doing better than himself out of ego, and fail to rejoice in the success of others; such mindset will only impede his progress on the path to enlightenment.

          Next, Acho Rinpoche shared an article he read on the Internet which talked about 9 negative habits in spiritual practice which should be abandoned. Initially, a practitioner will be told to abandon his attachment to his family, his wealth, his career, his relationships etc., which are considered the more obvious attachments in our worldly pursuits. However, to an advanced practitioner, there are more subtle attachments in the spiritual practice that should also be abandoned.
1st, abandon the “duration of practice” one has gone through. An advanced practitioner tends to feel proud about his long duration of practice and thinks that he is more advanced in his spiritual practice than others. However, spiritual accomplishment is not measured by the duration of practice because there are those who had attained enlightenment immediately when being initiated into the practice.
2nd, abandon the “number of sutras” one has read. An advanced practitioner tends to feel proud about the large number of sutras he has read. However, the amount of reading does not translate into a true spiritual accomplishment of a practitioner. The Sixth Patriarch of Zen Buddhism, Master Hui Neng, understood the teaching of Diamond Sutra when he first heard it. There are many who have read the numerous sutras and yet do not understand the teachings expounded.
3rd, abandon the “spiritual experience” one has attained. There are numerous methods expounded by the Buddha, tailored for the different needs of the individuals. Every method is designed to lead a practitioner to the state of enlightenment one day. So, an advanced practitioner should not assume that his own experience is the only authoritative method.
4th, abandon “arguments”. An advanced practitioner tends to assume that his views about the Buddhist teachings is the most accurate and ultimate one, and like to debate with others to prove his points. So, he should abandon the differences in opinion and not debate with others.
5th, abandon the “tendency of wanting to teach others”. An advanced practitioner tends to assume that he knows a lot more than others and like to teach others, and claim credit when others seem to be making improvements. However, a person will naturally attain spiritual realization when the time is ripe, not because of the teaching given by someone. There is no need for one to claim credit over the progress of others as that will only create a sense of arrogance in the “teacher”.  
6th, abandon the “merits of offering”. A practitioner should understand the profound meaning of “Formless Offering” and “mental activities free of attachment”, and does not feel attached to the merits of offering.
7th, abandon the pride of making “connections with the great masters”. All the great maters are great because of their high spiritual attainment, which has nothing to do with us. One should not brag about his connections with the many great masters and take their glamor as his own.  
8th, abandon the “wish for recognition”. When one yearns for the recognition and praises of others, he is desiring a worldly achievement which will impede his spiritual progress and binds him to the state of suffering.
9th, abandon the “practice”. When a practitioner has reached the final stage of spiritual cultivation, he must abandon even the conceptual thinking of “practice”. When one attains the state free of ego, what is the basis for a conceptual thinking of “I” who does the “practice”? When one still has the concept of “I” who does the  “practice”, he is still bound to the state of worldly achievement.
Acho Rinpoche said, “practice” is only an expedient method. In the past, those who were busy cooking in the kitchens and cleaning in the toilets were the ones who finally attained enlightenment, simply because they were selflessly working for others.  These 9 negative habits to be abandoned are targeted at the advanced practitioners because they are the ones who will face the dilemma of “self-attachment” and “teaching-attachment”.  As long as one has not truly abandoned such habits, he will never attain the state of enlightenment.

Reported by Sun-moon KFS on 6-8-2017

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Vajrayana Practice Can Eradicate Misconceptions and Mental Fabrications

          Tonight, we did a Guru Rinpoche Prayer with Acho Rinpoche. After which, Acho Rinpoche gave the two crucial teachings as follows.  

          First, in this digital age where social media on the Internet is very effective in information dissemination, we might accidentally help in disseminating the wrong information and commit a negative karma when we share information without scrutinizing its accuracy. Today, there are many Buddhist teachers criticizing the Vajrayana Buddhism as they fail to understand the more profound teachings unique to this school of Buddhism. Although they do understand the more basic teachings of Buddhism and gave the correct discourses on such subjects to their audiences, when we posted such discourses in the social media, the social media engine will automatically present other discourses given by the same Buddhist teachers including their misleading interpretations and criticism of the higher Vajrayana teachings. So, Acho Rinpoche cautioned us to be careful about sharing Buddhist discourses in the social media.

He mentioned Venerable Hui Lu in Taiwan who, although criticized some of the Vajrayana practitioners for their misconducts, recognized Vajrayana Buddhism as one of the legitimate schools of Buddhism. Venerable Jin Kong recognized Vajrayana Buddhism as one of the legitimate schools of Buddhism too, as he studied under Master Zhangjia of Vajrayana Buddhism in the past and learnt about the profound teachings of Vajrayana Buddhism. However, he confessed that he is not the right material for Vajrayana Buddhism and chose Pureland Buddhism for his practice instead. Venerable Hai Tao was ordained as a Mahayana monk initially but took refuge in the 17th Karmapa Urgyen Trinley of Karma Kagyud, and he actively promotes the Vajrayana teachings henceforth. He is being labelled as a “betrayer of the Mahayana Buddhism” by many Mahayana teachers. There is a Mind-only Mahayana School in Taiwan which openly criticizes Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism and even displayed huge banners outside its building slamming Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism as cult. Its members even distribute pamphlets at Mass Rapid Transit stations, outlining the misdeeds of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism.

Second, when a student consulted Venerable Hui Lu about which sutras to choose for recitation, he advised them that any sutras can do. However, he said that the recitation of sutras is just an expedient method. There are only two truly effective methods which can help a practitioner attain Buddhahood swiftly: a firm belief in the universal law of karma (cause-and-effect) and the practice of letting-go. When we firmly believe in the law of karma, we will be extremely careful about our actions including our inner thoughts. Letting-go is best explained by the saying “When our crazy mind stops, our innate state of enlightenment unfolds.” Venerable Hui Lu said that the Three Tipitakas and Twelve Canons are just too voluminous to be completely studied by anyone; however, a practitioner could just master the two methods mentioned and attain enlightenment swiftly. Acho Rinpoche agreed with his view too but opined that letting-go is easier said than done. Let-go means letting go of our attachments. Our attachments are the natural outcomes of our misconceptions and mental fabrications. Mental fabrications are none other than one’s desire, hatred and ignorance. One desires a pleasant experience and praises of others but hates an experience which turns out to be against his wish and the criticism of others. Misconceptions include one’s perceiving his physical body as real and feeling of distress when his body falls ill, and his perception of this world being real. Sakyamuni Buddha told us that this life of ours is not real including this world but ordinary people just cannot comprehend the profundity of his teachings. A practitioner must transcend the bewildered state of misconception and mental fabrication, in order to attain the enlightened state of an Arahat, which is also known as the first level of Bodhisattvahood and sainthood. However, it is very difficult for one to eradicate his state of ignorance and attain the ultimate state of letting-go. How could one let go of his attachments? How could one eradicate his desire, hatred, ignorance, arrogance and suspicion? How could one maintain a clear and calm mind amidst the interactions between his six sensual organs (eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind) and the external environmental conditions, while remaining fully aware of their illusive nature?     

Acho Rinpoche said that our sadhana (daily spiritual practice) book has all the antidotes built-in for treating the problem caused by misconceptions and mental fabrications. Every section of the practice consists of visualization (the most crucial antidote), mantra and mudra, all of which were designed to purify our body, speech and mind, in order to bring us to an ultimate state free of mental fabrications one day. Ordinary people are plagued by incessant thoughts (monkey mind). Incessant thoughts are created by one’s body, speech and mind. So, when we do our daily spiritual practice according to the Vajrayana teachings, we visualize ourselves transforming into Guru Rinpoche (purification of mind), chant the heart mantra of Guru Rinpoche (purification of speech) and form the mudra of Guru Rinpoche (purification of body), thus cutting the incessant mental fabrications and accomplishing a purified state of body, speech and mind. Also, when we do the practice, we must visualize the presence of our foes and friends, our family and relatives, our fathers and mothers from our past lives, and all sentient beings in the Six Realms (god, demi-god, human, animal, hell, hungry ghost), with them surrounding us and doing the practice together. When we prostrate to the holy beings, we will visualize the numerous sentient beings prostrating to the holy beings at the same time. When we visualize the holy beings blessing us with lights on our foreheads, throats and chests, we will visualize the rest of the sentient beings being blessed by the holy beings likewise. When we invoke the holy beings to descend to our altars during the practice, we will visualize the appearance of every single one, one after another. Our visualization must be done slowly and clearly, for a practice session to be considered as “perfect”. Last but not least, one must not practise for his own sake but for the sake of all sentient beings; this is a very important mindset for the attainment of Buddhahood.

Reported by Sun-moon KFS on 5-8-2017