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.