On 24th March 2017, Acho Rinpoche presided over a One Hundred Deities Puja and Naga Vase Offering Prayer jointly with H.E Konde Rinpoche, Gunga Tashi Khenpo and Jigme Khenpo in Penang, Malaysia, with Venerable Dhammadina assisting in the oral translation.
It was indeed an exceptional prayer because the One Hundred Deities is a special teaching that can help one who hears it, sees it or practises it attain the state of Buddhahood effortlessly. According to Konde Rinpoche, the heart mantra of the One Hundred Deities is the collective heart mantras of one hundred Buddhas, and the power of blessing from one hundred Buddhas is so powerful that it can help cleanse the negative karma of the recipient and help him attain the state of emptiness and Buddhahood during his bardo state (the period between one's death and his next rebirth). This method is different from the recitation of the name of Amitabha Buddha for the purpose of gaining a rebirth in the Western Blissful Pure Land, where he will need to continue doing his practice there until attaining the ultimate state of Buddhahood in the far future.
The blessing of the One Hundred Deities can help a deceased recognize his innate Buddha Nature during his bardo state and attain Buddhahood effortlessly. The empowerment of One Hundred Deities can therefore shut the doors of the Six Realms of Cyclic Existence and leave only one way out for the deceased – the path to Buddhahood. Furthermore, if the deceased missed the golden opportunity to recognize his innate Buddha Nature during his bardo, he still stands a final chance of gaining a rebirth in the Western Blissful Pure Land by simply thinking of Amitabha Buddha! The deceased in a bardo state no longer has a physical body that constraints his movements, as he exists only in a state of mental existence. So, when he thinks of Amitabha Buddha, he can reach the Western Blissful Pure Land instantaneously!
As we also offered butter lamps during the prayer, Konde Rinpoche shared the purpose of light offering. He advised the participants that we can offer lights for any occasion, for instance one can offer lights to pray for the success of his business, offer lights at a funeral wake or offer lights for a prayer. A deceased will plunge into a dangerous bardo state when he will see both a strong light of the Buddha appearing before him which he will tend to avoid, and a dimmer light of the Six Realms of Cyclic Existence. If he chooses the dim light which he feels more comfortable with, he will plunge into the Six Realms of Cyclic Existence once again. So, when we offer lights for a deceased, the radiance of lights and the radiance of the Buddha will merge as one and hide the dimmer light of the Six Realms of Cyclic Existence from the deceased, thus helping him to avoid being reborn into the Six Realms of Cyclic Existence.
When a practitioner offer lights during his prayer, he can visualize the light transforms into rainbow light, and his own body transforms into a rainbow body. In the past, the great masters of Tibet would offer lights during their prayers and visualize the deities entering their bodies which gradually transform into rainbow light (over time, our mental strengths augmented by the blessing of the Buddha can actually help us transform our physical body into a rainbow body).
Next, Konde Rinpoche explained the significance of Naga Vase Offering. There are Buddhist scriptures, holy objects and medicinal substances being placed within the vases which can help connect the sea beings with the Buddhadharma and cure them of their sickness. Of course, as we offer the Naga Vases to help the sea beings, we will gain good merits too. This is indeed a very meaningful act of kindness that can benefit the one making the offering and the sea beings. This is, in fact, a very precious teaching transmitted by Guru Rinpoche in the form of terma (hidden treasure).
Konde Rinpoche greeted Acho Rinpoche as "The Great Master Acho Rinpoche" and invited him respectfully to give his teaching to the participants. Acho Rinpoche reminded the participants to be mindful about the impermanence of life, cherish our human existence and put it to good use by doing spiritual cultivation timely. He also told the participants that this prayer is indeed very precious for the merits generated will protect the practitioners eternally throughout his present and future existence. He stressed that a human life is only meaningful when it is being used for cultivating the Buddhadharma too; otherwise a person is simply wasting the resources on earth. Acho Rinpoche told the participants that Konde Rinpoche is an accomplished master whom might look too ordinary but should be taken seriously.
Around mid-noon, a beautiful sun halo appeared in the sky of Penang, celebrating the wonderful prayer taking place. In the late afternoon, we chartered five boats to go out to the sea to make offering of the Naga Vases by throwing them into the sea. At this juncture, beautiful clouds appeared in the sky, celebrating the wonderful occasion. Sadhu! Sadhu!
Sun-Moon KFS reporting from Penang, Malaysia on 24-3-2017.