Tonight, we did a prayer on “Seven Northern Constellations Longevity Sutra”. This is an annual prayer done around every Chinese New Year. Dharma Sister Bai from Hangzhou of China joined us in this prayer, as she was visiting Singapore during this period too, paying homage to Acho Rinpoche.
Acho Rinpoche told us that spiritual practice is the only way to help us break free of the cyclic existence and the numerous sufferings associated with it. When a person has attained a true state of liberation, he could accomplish a task by simply putting a thought to it. So, we must follow the teachings of Acho Rinpoche fully by applying them in our daily lives - dedicate our free time to doing spiritual practice or sadhana, and nothing else. When we have accomplished our spiritual practice, we should then aspire to help all sentient beings. We must let go of all our worldly desires, for even a single desire can become an obstacle in our path to liberation.
Next, Acho Rinpoche continued to expound the Lotus Sutra. He said that there is no man who could truly comprehend the truth and hidden meaning expounded by Sakyamuni Buddha in the Lotus Sutra. However, we should just persevere in our recitation of this sutra and one day, we will attain the true state of being expounded by the Buddha too. He also mentioned the Five Practices of a Student accomplished and transmitted by Master Zhi Zhe of Tian Tai Sect (天台宗智者大师538-597).
1st Practice: Rejoice at the good deed of others. We should rejoice at the good deed of others, regardless of whether they are done by a person you like or dislike.
2nd Practice: Recitation of Lotus Sutra. Do not worry that we are unable to comprehend the meaning of the sutra at this stage. We should just read it daily and persevere in doing so; time will tell.
3rd Practice: Sharing of Lotus Sutra and its conceivable merits with others.
4th Practice: Simultaneous practice of the Six Perfections. While we continue to watch our minds (mental activities) for a greater self-awareness, we should also practise the Six Perfections (offering, tolerance, discipline, diligence, meditation, wisdom). Among the six perfections, one must first practise “offering”, as it can help eradicate the stinginess and the sense of ego (self-attachment) in us.
5th Practice: Applying the Six Perfections in our conduct. When we have accomplished mind-watching and the Six Perfections in both teaching and practice, we should help all sentient beings in the universe, thus truly applying the Six Perfections in our daily conduct.
When one has accomplished the Five Practices of a Student, he is considered a true Buddhist; otherwise, he has merely established a good karmic connection with the Buddha. Acho Rinpoche encouraged us to apply the teachings he shared with us tonight with full faith, as it will guarantee a success in our spiritual practice. He also mentioned that Dharma Sister Mei recently found a copy of Lotus Sutra in English translation at her home, after having it for so many years without realizing it. Some of us have also kept a copy of the Sang Gyay Say Chig Gyu (契吉大圆满子续) for ten years at our homes without realizing it. So, when the time is ripe, a hint will come from the holy beings, reminding us of the treasure in our silent possession. Lastly, Acho Rinpoche advised us to copy and read the Lotus Sutra diligently because this sutra is a compilation of the inconceivable true state of being attained by Sakyamuni Buddha.
Finally, we ended our prayer by reciting the names of the Buddhas under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche and dedicated all merits to Hualian of Taiwan which was hit by a major earth quake – may the damage be reduced to minimal and may all sentient beings be happy, free of sufferings.
Reported by Sun Moon KFS on 14-2-2018 @Singapore