Friday, July 28, 2017

The Practice of Great Perfection (Dzogchen)

 Konde Rinpoche gave his teachings to the group.
 Madam Lin with Konde Rinpoche and Acho Rinpoche.
 Ugyen and Tshwang from Bhutan
Our guests and Singapore students.
          Tonight, we did a Green Tara Prayer. H.E Konde Rinpoche of Nyingma Dzogchen lineage, Urgyen Yangdon and Tshwang Zangmo from Bhutan, and Madam Lin of Golden Travel Services joined us for our group prayer too. After the prayer, Konde Rinpoche gave us a discourse on the teachings. He told us that it takes a great deal of merits for one to be able to earn an opportunity to practise with Acho Rinpoche, so he hoped that we would cherish the presence of a precious master in Acho Rinpoche. He also told us that a human body is precious as it provides the key condition for one to practise the Buddhadharma. Compare with other schools of Buddhism, it takes a greater merit for one to earn an opportunity to practise the Vajrayana Buddhism as it provides the opportunity for a practitioner to attain Buddhahood in a single lifetime, including the attainment of a rainbow body.
          Konde Rinpoche shared with us that there was a Bigar Rinpoche from his village, a layman buddhist who did not seem to do much of his practice but spent most of his time on playing and riding his horse; he had many wives and kids too. In Mar 2017, he told his villagers that he would be passing away in three days. On the following day, he did a Guru Rinpoche Puja and transmitted the key teachings on securing a rebirth in Guru Rinpoche’s Pureland; there were about thirty thousand participants attending his teaching within a short notice. On the second day, he returned to the monastery in his hometown and did some prayers. On the third day, he gave instructions on what should be done after his passing. After that, he put on a monk robe, entered the state of samadhi and passed away. He told others not to touch his body in the next one week after he died. His body shrunk to a very small size and his skin turned fairer within a week after his passing (this is a sign of spiritual attainment of Dzogchen practice). Konde Rinpoche said that there were many accomplished Dzogchen masters who appeared to be very ordinary in their outer appearance, who practised differently from others. For instance, Master Tilopa, a patriarch of the Kagyud lineage, was a fisherman who appeared to be doing his fishing activities daily. However, students who had the greatest faith in him would just follow his advice without the slightest doubt and attained enlightenment. Konde Rinpoche said, there is Buddha Nature within all sentient beings, so everyone can become a Buddha through practising the Buddha’s teachings. Sentient beings are just perplexed by their mental afflictions which hinder us from realizing our full potential as a Buddha. Nevertheless, the wisdom of a Buddha is the same as that of the sentient beings. We can eradicate our negative karma through practising the Vajrasattva Practice and reciting the Hundred-syllable Mantra, which is a very powerful practice for eradicating negative karma. When our negative karma is purified, our pristine wisdom will be naturally revealed.  
          Konde Rinpoche mentioned about his root guru, Lama Ajun Toden Lodoe Gyatso, who also foretold his own passing one week in advance. He instructed others not to touch his body after his passing and must await the arrival of Padma Gelsang Rinpoche to open the door of his room. However, only three days after his passing, his body shrank very quickly to a very small size. The lamas were very worried that his body might completely disappear and decided to cremate his remains immediately. After the cremation, they found many multi-colored sacred relics in his remains. Konde Rinpoche said that Bigar Rinpoche also left behind a small number of multi-colored sacred relics after his cremation. Acho Rinpoche opined that one’s spiritual attainment has nothing to do with whether one is married or single because a single may not attain enlightenment either. In fact, enlightenment is only possible when one transcends an ordinary mindset. If one has a wife but transcends an ordinary mindset and behavior, he could attain the state of enlightenment too. Anyway, there is indeed a difference in terms of the level of spiritual attainment achieved by the different individuals. Lama Ajun Toden had obviously attained a higher level of spiritual attainment than Bigar Rinpoche who was a layman practitioner, as the former left behind much more sacred relics than the latter. An enlightened master might behave in a way not understood by the ordinary people. However, there are also practitioners who are not truly enlightened masters who claimed themselves to be one. How could one differentiate between a truly enlightened master and an impersonator? One will need to choose with his wisdom then.
          Acho Rinpoche shared with us a recent news circulated in the Internet - a renowned Tibetan Buddhist Master who has tens of thousands of followers, who has been teaching in the west for many years, is being accused by his closed westerner students for wrong doings. The students accused him for misconducts, being an alcoholic, living a luxurious lifestyle, hurting his students physically and emotionally, sexually assaulting his female students etc. Those accusing him said that he is obviously easily agitated and would simply hurl any objects within reach at his students and hurting them physically, with some of them being sent to hospitals for treatment. This Tibetan master claimed that he was using skillful means to help his students eradicate their sense of ego. In fact, way back in 1993, some of his westerner students had already informed H.H Dalai Lama about the strange behavior of this Tibetan master, and Dalai Lama advised them to publicly expose the insensible behaviors of their master. Acho Rinpoche opined that since none of the students who were hurt by this master seemed to have attained enlightenment, and the students are indeed hurt physically and emotionally, one would rather assume that this master has indeed gone astray and the students should not blindly assume that this is a “crazy adept”. True enlightenment is not like that! Some of his closed students also observed that he often gives public teachings but he hardly did his sadhanas (prayer). Acho Rinpoche opined that a practitioner must do his daily sadhanas or he will not be able to attain enlightenment. In the past, Guru Rinpoche had warned his students that “One’s view must be high, but his observation of precepts must be as fine as flour.” Hence, if a practitioner holds a high view but does not truly practise the teachings and observe the precepts, he will fall very swiftly and bring others along the downfall.
          Next, Dharma Sister Ugyen bade farewell to all as she would be ending her trip to Singapore by tomorrow and return to Bhutan. She was very grateful to Acho Rinpoche and other fellow students who showed her great hospitality during her trip here. Actually, she had never thought that she would one day set her foot in this wonderful land. She prayed to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for the longevity of Acho Rinpoche and blessing for the rest of the fellow students, and she resolved to continue her practice with vigor.
Finally, Acho Rinpoche hoped to see that Madam Lin would let go of her busy schedules and start her spiritual practice soon. He commented that Madam Lin has accomplished all the goals in life in terms of material success. However, the worldly merits will not be able to bring her back to her real home (the pure land of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara); only the merits accumulated from a spiritual practice can do so. There is no need for a practitioner to finish studying the Three Tipitakas and Twelve Canons, or the Five Major Commentaries in this life. There are many people who became very arrogant after acquiring too much knowledge from the Buddhist texts and wasted their time debating with others about their views of the teachings, and neglected their daily practice. So, we should keep our life and practice simple. We will certainly receive the blessing of the Buddhas through our daily practice of the sadhana, and such blessing power will naturally eradicate the adversities in our life. When we have finally accomplished our spiritual practice, we will be ready to help others. Acho Rinpoche advised Madam Lin that she only needed to take the first step, and the rest will be taken care by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

Reported by Sun-Moon KFS on 22-7-2017