Friday, August 17, 2018

Lotus Sutra: Bodhisattva King of Medicine (2)

          Tonight, we did a Guru Rinpoche Practice under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche. After which, Acho Rinpoche informed us that Wula Lama from Nepal (he is the abbot of a monastery which linked to Tsoknyi Rinpoche and Mingyur Rinpoche) who invited him to visit the hometown of Wula Lama in Nepal. This place is quite inaccessible as it is deep in a mountainous area, reachable by helicopter or it will take 6 to 7 days on foot. 

          Acho Rinpoche mentioned that Dipankara Buddha has two different titles in Chinese translation which actually refer to the same Buddha. More than 91 eons ago, when Sakyamuni Buddha was still a practitioner on the path to enlightenment who was known as Good Wisdom, he met Dipankara Buddha and laid his hair on the ground, in order to keep the feet of the Buddha clean from the muddy road. Dipankara Buddha prophesized that Good Wisdom would become a Buddha one day and he would be known as “Sakyamuni Buddha”.

          Acho Rinpoche also mentioned that any men or women on earth who saw the opposite sex in the heavenly realm will succumb to his/her sexual desire aroused by the beauty of the heavenly beings and died from being burnt by strong sense of sexual desire. Ananda had a wife before becoming a monk. His wife was very afraid that Ananda would leave her and follow Sakyamuni Buddha one day, so she tried all means to keep her husband with her. Therefore, Sakyamuni Buddha brought Ananda to the heaven, showing him his future abode where he saw an empty throne awaiting his arrival in his next life. Next, Sakyamuni Buddha brought Ananda to the hell realm, showing him his future abode after the latter exhausted all his merits through heavenly enjoyments. Finally, Ananda decided to follow the Buddha and became a monk who attained the state of Arahat after a period of practice. 

          Acho Rinpoche then continued to expound the Lotus Sutra, relating the chapter on the King of Medicine. After Bodhisattva Dearest to All Sentient Beings burnt his body as a form of offering to the Buddha, the former passed away but returned to the same Buddha in his next life. He continued to study under the guidance of the same Buddha teacher. At this stage, he attained the ability to speak all languages used by the sentient beings. The Buddha waited for his return and then passed into Nirvana, after passing the lineage of transmission to his student. So, Bodhisattva Dearest to All Sentient Beings built 48,000 stupas to enshrine the sacred relics of the Buddha. After that, he burnt his arm for 72,000 years which illuminated the entire universe very brightly. He had indeed attained a state where he could freely manifest in any form and he had accomplished the greatest aspiration of bodhicitta. Bodhisattva Dearest to All Sentient Beings was none other than the present King of Medicine. Acho Rinpoche said, for those of us who could not let go of anything will stand no chance of attaining the state of enlightenment!

Finally, we ended our prayer by reciting the names of the Buddhas under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche and dedicated the merits to all sentient beings - may all sentient beings be happy, free of sufferings and attain enlightenment swiftly. 

Reported by Sun Moon KFS on 19-5-2018 @Singapore

Lotus Sutra: Bodhisattva King of Medicine (1)

(Supreme Medicine and King of Medicine)

Today we celebrated the birthday of Bodhisattva Majushri by doing a group prayer on Manjushri Practice. After which, Acho Rinpoche cautioned us not to simply practise any of the teachings found on the Internet as they lack the lineage empowerment from a qualified guru. He shared with us a story which he read long ago, from a book entitled “Guru Lama”. In the book, the teacher of Guru Lama once told a student of his that to avoid being attacked by the bees, he could just tell the bees, “Don’t harm me!” Lo and behold - it worked! However, when the student passed this teaching to another student, it did not work due to the lack of lineage empowerment. So, when an enlightened master says something, it becomes a decree that will be fully obeyed and executed by the numerous Dharmapalas protecting the teachings. An ordinary practitioner who has not attained the state of enlightenment will lack the power to command and mobilize the Dharmapalas. Therefore, his speeches are powerless. So, the practice of Vajrayana cannot be simply copied from the Internet. This applies to all schools of Vajrayana Buddhism which appeared to be largely similar in form but in more than 99% of the time, one will not succeed in any Vajrayana practice without receiving it directly from a qualified guru. 

Next, Acho Rinpoche continued his exposition of the Lotus Sutra. Sakyamuni Buddha did say in the past that an Icchantika (one who completely lacks the merit for the attainment of enlightenment) would not be able to attain the state of enlightenment. However, at the later part of his life, he changed it and said that even an Icchantika could attain enlightenment eventually. He explained that his teachings at the earlier part of his life were just expedient methods suitable for his students who were not ready for the ultimate teachings, and his final teachings compiled in the sutras such as the Mahaparinirvana Sutra and the Lotus Sutra were ultimate teachings which could truly help the practitioners attain the final state of enlightenment.

Acho Rinpoche also highlighted that there were several chapters in the Lotus Sutra that focused solely on the introduction of a few Mahabodhisattvas such as the King of Medicine, Avalokitesvara, Samanthabadra and Wonderful Voice, which clearly showed their importance. In the Lotus Sutra, Sakyamuni Buddha prophesized that his students would attain the state of Buddhahood in future, but it does not mean that they would become a Buddha immediately as the path to enlightenment is a very long and winding road full of challenges. In the Lotus Sutra, it was mentioned that there was an ancient Buddha by the title of Sun Moon Pure Luminosity and Meritorious Buddha (日月净明德佛) who was surrounded by 8 billions of Mahabodhisattvas and numerous holy beings equivalent to the amount of sands found in 72 Ganges Rivers. This Buddha lived for 48,000 eons and his students enjoyed the same longevity too. The Six Realms did not exist in his pureland which is completely flat and filled with precious jewels; our world is uneven due to the lack of equanimity in the minds of the sentient beings living in this world. The main disciple of this Buddha was known as Bodhisattva Dearest To All Sentient Beings (一切众生喜见菩萨). This Buddha was expounding the Lotus Sutra in his pureland too. Bodhisattva Dearest To All Sentient Beings practised walking meditation and recitation of the name of Buddha incessantly for 12,000 years, in addition to hearing the teachings on the Lotus Sutra that had helped him amassed an inconceivable amount of merits. Finally, he accomplished the state of attainment where he could manifest in any forms at will (现一切色身三昧). He ignited the inner heat in his body and set his body on fire, which illuminated the entire universe brightly, as a form of offering to the Buddha. This was a true practice of offering, the first practice of the Six Perfections (offering, discipline, tolerance, diligence, meditation, wisdow). Acho Rinpoche hailed such practice as a true form of diligence. He lamented that the people of our age are stingy in making offering – how could a person of such mindset attain Buddhahood? He also mentioned that in the early 20th century, there were many Buddhist practitioners in China who burnt their fingers as offering to the Buddha; such behavior was clearly influenced by this chapter in the Lotus Sutra.

Later, Dharma Brother Lim shared with us a dream that he had in the past, in which Acho Rinpoche told him of his origin – he was one of the attendants of Acala. In view of such causation, Acho Rinpoche conferred an Acala Empowerment to us tonight, helping us to establish a spiritual connection with Acala.

Finally, we ended our prayer by reciting the names of the Buddhas under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche and dedicated the merits to all sentient beings - may all sentient beings be happy, free of sufferings and attain enlightenment swiftly. 

Reported by Sun Moon KFS on 18-5-2018 @Singapore