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