Sunday, April 30, 2017

Exposition of Lotus Sutra by Acho Rinpoche - 1

Tonight, we did a Boddhisattva Majushri Prayer on the day of his birthday. After which, Acho Rinpoche shared with us a few key practices which could help us attain spiritual realization in this world.
In Mahayana Buddhism, there is a practice on the recitation of the name of Amitabha Buddha which could help the practitioner gain a rebirth in the Western Blissful Pure Land of Amitabha Buddha in his next life, despite the fact that his negative karma has yet to be fully eradicated by then. There are nine levels of such birth in the pure land, depending on the level of spiritual accomplishment of a practitioner during his life on earth; the higher his spiritual attainment in this life, the higher the form of existence he would attain in his next life in the pure land. However, the pace of one’s spiritual advancement in a pure land will be a lot slower than that on earth because of the perfect living condition in a pure land that poses no temptations to a practitioner that would test him further on his weaknesses. Those who gained a lower level of births in the pure land would not be able to meet Amitabha Buddha personally immediately either, as it would take a long time for the lotus bud within which he resides to blossom. That explains why there are various realms within the Western Blissful Pure Land including a Common Land shared between the enlightened ones and the non-enlightened ones, an expedient Land of Non-ultimate Enlightenment, a Land of Enjoyment Body and a Land of Ultimate Enlightenment and Luminosity.
In Vajrayana Buddhism, although there is a very superior practice of “Instantaneous Enlightenment in a Single Lifetime”, it is not easy to accomplish such practice because there are four stages of empowerment that must be accomplished by a practitioner stage by stage. When a practitioner embarks on the second stage of empowerment, he must renounce his layman lifestyle and enter a strict retreat in order to accomplish the inner heat yoga with full concentration. There is another Vajrayana practice which is even more superior – Dzogchen (The Great Perfection), which includes the One Hundred Deities Yoga that could help one leap from the first stage of empowerment straight into the final stage of Dzogchen. Acho Rinpoche is a master from this very superior Nyingma Dzogchen lineage, who transmitted a special Guru Yoga Practice with the Sun-Moon-Lamp Buddha being regarded as the Root Guru; the immense blessing power of this practice can help expedite the accomplishment of a practitioner.  
Next, Acho Rinpoche stressed the important of the Lotus Sutra again. This sutra has a special connection with the Sun-Moon-Lamp Buddha. In numerous aeons ago, there were a total of 20,000 Buddhas appearing in this world who had the same Buddha title as “Sun-Moon-Lamp Buddha”. The last Sun-Moon-Lamp Buddha who appeared in this world was a king with eight sons. His eight sons followed him on the spiritual path. He taught for a long time, for a long period that lasted about 60 small aeons. Finally, he handed over this spiritual lineage to Bodhisattva Wonderful Light (who became Bodhisattva Manjushri in future). Wonderful Light continued to teach the eight princes, and the youngest prince became Dipankara Buddha in future. Dipankara Buddha transmitted his teachings to Sakyamuni Buddha in future. Such was the superior spiritual lineage transmission among the Enlightened Ones. Therefore, Acho Rinpoche advised us to read the Lotus Sutra diligently, apply the teachings in our daily activities, and aspire to propagate the teachings of Lotus Sutra in future. Lotus Sutra pointed out the Buddha Nature within all sentient beings, saying that all sentient beings could become Buddhas one day. The actual practice of the Six Paramitas (Six Perfections) will help us attain the state of Buddhahood one day. Besides, there is another sutra of equal importance (大通方广忏悔灭罪庄严成佛经), which Acho Rinpoche advised us to do the same. When one attains a spiritual union with Sun-Moon-Lamp Buddha, he will be able to attain the state of Buddhahood in this very lifetime or minimally, he would be able to attain the state of Buddhahood during his bardo (a period between death and the next rebirth).  
Lastly, Acho Rinpoche advised us to recite the heart mantras of Guru Rinpoche and Green Tara incessantly for at least one billion times, to form the basis of our spiritual cultivation. He reckoned that it is not easy for us to complete the practice of the Four Foundations (Ngöndro) for 100,000 rounds each during this lifetime, so he suggested an alternative solution instead which is more achievable by the layman practitioners in this era.  
Thus have I heard, the most supreme teaching which is hard to come by in the longest times beyond imagination. I shall, therefore, aspire to practise with vigor, in order to realise the true teachings of the Buddha.

Reported by Sun-Moon KFS on 29-4-2017 in Singapore