Friday, November 23, 2018

Sri Lanka Tour: Last Night of Sharing by Acho Rinpoche

Tonight, I will give a summary on our Sri Lanka tour. We first planned to visit Sri Lanka some twenty years ago but it was delayed till five years ago (when it was initiated by Dharma Sister Mei as a family tour) and again did not materialize because her daughter did not want to join the tour. Finally, we have made it this time.

We visited Adam’s Peak, Buddha Tooth Temple and the various places enshrining the sacred relics of Sakyamuni Buddha. We had also witnessed the many appearances of rainbow, sun halo, colorful clouds etc. On our way to Adam’s Peak, unusual clouds appeared in the sky above Adam’s Peak. It actually requires one to have accumulated tremendous amount of merits and spiritual practice through eons of time in order to be able to join this tour.

Adam’s Peak is a sacred place. Only eleven members were selected to ascend the hill. Not everyone could ascend the hill such as Dharma Sister Bi – had she come ask me if she could go up the hill, I would have advised her not to do so. There must be some members who stay behind or you will be making a long bee line going up the hill but stretching very far away from the peak; it would have been made worse off by members who are physically unfit to trek. Also, if all of us made it to the peak, not everyone could squeeze into the tiny room enshrining the Buddha’s sacred foot print. As we are all different in terms of our physics, we must choose only a few would could do it, which was pre-destined. It does not matter if one could ascend to the peak or not. For instance, Dharma Sister Kan is unable to join us personally this time due to her eye problem (she had to stay behind in Singapore). However, her mind is with us throughout this tour and she has received tremendous power of blessing like the rest who joined the tour. Your mind matters. Whether you are following your guru closely with your mind and abiding in your guru wholeheartedly matters most. If you merely follow me physically but not abiding in me as your guru wholeheartedly and failed to observe your precepts, your outer actions of following me and ascending the Adam’s Peak are meaningless. It is utmost important that you observe the precepts closely, practise with vigor and internalize your Guru Devotion, which will gain you inconceivable amount of blessing. In fact, my foot print is no different from the foot print on the peak.

Just now when we entered a shopping center, I saw an image of Sakyamuni Buddha and some flowers placed before the image. I folded my palms to pay my respect to the Buddha. Immediately, I saw Sakyamuni Buddha appearing before me. So, I stopped by a shop and bought a cup of coffee and some biscuits as offering to the Buddha. I prayed to the Buddha that he would bless every shopper who came to this place, as long as he took a glance of the Buddha image, folded his palms to pay respect to the Buddha image or praised the quality of the Buddha – as long as he showed some form of faith in the Buddha, he will certainly receive the blessing from the Buddha.

When we entered the Kentucky Fried Chicken shop, I could feel the presence of the numerous souls of the chicken slaughtered and my whole body felt very itchy. So, I delivered their souls by doing a soul deliverance practice there and then. You see, as long as you have accomplished your practice, you will have the ability to do soul deliverance for the deceased. If you are a renown spiritual teacher sitting in a high throne surrounded by a large audience of tens of thousand of people, yet you lack the spiritual power to help the invisible sentient beings, they will simply ignore you; there will not be any rainbow appearing above your head either.  There was once that I participated in a Dharma assembly presided over by a renowned spiritual teacher, and a rainbow appeared in the sky during that period. Someone said that the rainbow appeared because of that teacher. However, a Bodhisattva in the spiritual realm told me that “Not so! The rainbow appeared because of you but not that teacher!” So, you should not assume that a Dharma teacher who is very good in teaching the Buddhadharma must be an enlightened person. It is utmost important for a practitioner to actualize the practice and abide in his guru. Dharma Brother Xin has done very well this time in terms of serving his guru – he followed me closely in serving me and yet constantly kept a comfortable distance to make me feel at ease too. He watched me very closely from a comfortable disctance in order to be able to respond to my needs immediately, without distraction. Some people are easily distracted by their surroundings and their minds will drift away; they will not be able to serve the guru well in that case and therefore, receive weaker blessing. Dharma Brother Xin has cultivated well – his mind is pure and he serves me with great devotion.  So, he has received the greatest power of blessing which increases his vigor in practice. When you are not devoted to your guru, you will feel tired of doing your practice. The power of blessing from your guru will increase your fondness in practice and you will naturally practise with vigor. Guru Devotion is very important to a practitioner. The spiritual accomplishment of a practitioner is achieved through his devotion to his guru.

Konde Rinpoche shared with us that Shri Singha served his guru for 25 years without doing any spiritual practice. Finally, his guru transmitted the Dzogchen lineage to him entirely and he became enlightened. Guru Devotion is a key practice in Guru Yoga. Guru Yoga is just Dzogchen. When you accomplished your Guru Yoga (Guru Devotion), your spiritual attainment will be no different from that of your guru. The recitation of the verse of supplication and the chanting of heart mantra of your guru are very important; you will be no different from your guru when you accomplished these practices. This hand mudra signifies Dzogchen, with the fourth and small fingers representing Adam’s Peak where Dzogchen lineage was first transmitted to our world; the thumbs and index fingers representing the vajra that signifies Vajrayana Buddhism; the middle fingers crossing each other representing the pervasiveness of Dzogchen being transmitted in the ten directions. When we join and turn our palms in a circular motion while singing the verse of supplication, it means praying for the pervasive transmission of Dzogchen in the entire universe, through which you will also receive the blessing of Dzogchen. This is an inconceivable method of practice which can bring about a very swift accomplishment, whereas other methods of practice will take a much longer time to accomplish. 

Om Mani Padme Hum.

Recorded by Lian Shao on 12-11-18

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Sri Lanka Tour: Last Night of Sharing by H.E Konde Rinpoche

We visited several sacred places in Sri Lanka this time and there were rainbows everywhere we went. This is indeed a very inconceivable experience. I had followed many renowned Buddhist Masters in the past like Dzogchen Rinpoche, Kade Rinpoche, Padma Gesang Rinpoche etc., to many places but I had never seen so many rainbows appearing in this manner. This is just exceptional and very auspicious indeed.

11 of us ascended Adam’s Peak this time on the 11th day of November (11). We even had a chance to see the Sakyamuni Buddha’s foot print on the peak. I went with other lamas to Adam’s Peak in the past but some of us did not get a chance to see the Buddha’s foot print and some of us could only see it but did not have the chance of touching it. This time, we are so lucky that we could touch the foot print and even do our prayer before it. It was just wonderful!

The process of burying the terma vase went very smoothly too. Although Acho Rinpoche stayed in the hotel and did not join us in ascending Adam’s Peak, he knew what we were doing and did a prayer simultaneously during the burying of the terma vase. When the terma vase was buried, a giant sun halo appeared in the sky – it was truly amazing! I felt very touched by the fact that we could meet such a great master in Acho Rinpoche – you are just very fortunate to be his students.

Last night, I had a dream. In the dream, I learnt that Acho Rinpoche was the one who brought Dzogchen teachings to this world. I was curious why was Acho Rinpoche the one? Then, I saw Ekajati appearing before me and showed me four words, giving me the answer to my question. In future, I will include this dream in my third book which will be written in Tibetan. I will get it translated into English and Chinese and give it to you later.

Do you know why did rainbows appear wherever Acho Rinpoche went? It is because he is protected by Ekajati who perpetually appears above his head. It is just inconceivable that rainbows always appear around Acho Rinpoche. I’m blessed by Acho Rinpoche to be able to join you on this tour too. We truly have a strong karmic connection with one another. Dzogchen lineage was originally transmitted on Adam’s Peak. We took some sacred soils from the peak too. This place is indeed very fascinating and makes me feel very touched.

Someone asked me – what is the meaning of Dzogchen (Great Perfection). “Great” refers to a matter of great significance and “Perfection” means that it has been fully accomplished. It actually means that we have fully accomplished our spiritual practice – Great Perfection. Now we are still stranded in the Six Realms of Cyclic Existence due to our negative karma. We need to cultivate our spiritual practice until we could break free of the cyclic existence one day, reaching the state of perfection. We do not need to go to a certain place to practice Dzogchen because we already have an accomplished Dzogchen master guiding us. The quintessential teaching of Dzogchen is just Guru Devotion. We must follow the instructions of our Guru 100% - this is the very condition of our accomplishment of Dzogchen. It is utmost important for a Dzogchen student to heed the advice of your Guru, revere your Guru, never desert your Guru and always visualize your Guru sitting above your head – your Guru is just Dzogchen!

I personally have had many teachers including H.H Dalai Lama, H.H Karmapa Urgyen Trinley, H.E Dzogchen Rinpoche, H.E Padma Gesang etc., who taught me many tantras. However, the most important teacher of mine is Archun Togden Rinpoche, who is my Root Guru and my Dzogchen teacher. I never forget my Root Guru no matter day or night. I pray to him before sleep and when doing my prayers. One will only succeed in his Dzogchen practice if he reveres his Guru and abide in his Guru; there is no need for him to go somewhere else to do his Dzogchen practice.

Master Tilopa was a fisherman who did fishing daily. He instructed his disciple, Naropa, to join him in his fishing too. He killed and ate many fish. One day, Tilopa asked Naropa, “I kill hundreds of fish daily. Do you still have faith in me?” Naropa answered, “I have been serving you for more than twenty years, why would I not have faith in you? I trust you completely.” Tilopa said, “As long as you trust me, it is done. If you do not, just take a look at this now.” Tilopa ate the fish and threw the fish bones back into the sea. Lo and behold, the fish became alive again! So, as long as you trust your Guru, you will receive the greatest power of blessing from him. If you do not trust your Guru, like Devadatta, the brother of Sakyamuni Buddha who did not have faith in the Buddha, even the Buddha could not save Devadatta when the latter fell into hell. You just need to take a look at all the patriarchs of Vajrayana Buddhism, all of whom perfected their practice through Guru Devotion.

Our Dzogchen Lineage is based on Guru Devotion. Shri Singha served his Root Guru for 25 years without receiving a single line of teaching from the doctrines. Why? That was because he was not ready to receive the teachings yet. His Root Guru only assigned him mundane tasks and finally transmitted Dzogchen teachings to him only after 25 years later. Milarepa also served his Root Guru (Marpa) through building and dismantling many houses, who ended up having his back badly bruised from carrying the rocks on his back repeatedly. Milarepa had never lost his faith in his Root Guru despite the hardships. This goes to show the importance of Guru Devotion. One day, Marpa told Milarepa that he wished to eat a certain food and instructed the latter to steal it (from a banquet). Milarepa could not disobey his teacher’s instruction and did it accordingly. Milarepa ended up being beaten by the people from whom he stole the food but he still tried very hard to protect the food from being damaged. Such is the practice of Dzogchen!

That’s all for my sharing. Om Mani Padme Hum.

Recorded by Lian Shao on 12-11-18

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

X-Tour: Sri Lanka

We first planned to visit Sri Lanka twenty years ago. However, it did not materialize because of the prolonged civil war between the Tamil Tiger and the Sri Lanka Government. Four years ago, we made a second attempt to visit Sri Lanka but ended up going to Japan instead, touring Wakayama and Koyasan due to some reasons. We missed the chance of visiting this Land of Buddhism twice.

This time, prior to our visit to Sri Lanka, there was another political crisis happening within her coalition government. Nevertheless, on 3rd November 2018, 45 Dzogchen practitioners finally boarded an iron bird heading towards Sri Lanka, opening yet another chapter of X-Tour that lasted 11 days.

Our first impression of Sri Lanka was a country full of greenery. Unlike Singapore which is a man-made garden city, Sri Lanka is a natural garden city due to its lack of development – with so many forests and wilderness remain untouched.

In the next ten days, we kept circumambulating many white stupas while reciting the mantras. All the stupas in Sri Lanka appeared similar in design and white in color. The only difference lies in the sacred relics of Sakyamuni Buddha being enshrined in the various stupas, which came from different parts of his body. Every stupa in Sri Lanka is of at least 2,000 year-old and a world heritage site. Shoes are not allowed into the stupa; all visitors must take off their shoes before entering the stupa as a gesture of reverence. The locals even took off their shoes about one to two kilometers away from the stupa, walking barefooted towards the stupa. Unlike India, China or Tibet, Buddhism in Sri Lanka was never destroyed in the past since it was first introduced here more than 2,500 years ago. The positive influence of Buddhism is clearly visible in the Sri Lankan people who are very simple and pious. Many of the locals came forward to seek my blessing and I gladly obliged by touching their heads. The most fascinating moment happened one evening when we finished visiting a stupa, with a few of the local helpers who assisted us during the visit to the stupa requested my blessing and rainbows appeared above their heads after the blessing. It was indeed an inconceivable experience.

We circumambulated the Seruwila Stupa in Trincomalee located in the east of Sri Lanka. The forehead bone of Sakyamuni Buddha is enshrined in this stupa. When we did our circumambulation of this stupa in the rain, Dharma Sister Bing had a vision of lotuses appearing underneath the feet of every one of us. We were literally walking around the stupa with lotuses supporting every step we took.

We visited a British styled village in Nuwara Eliya, known as Little England. It was surrounded by mountain ranges, valleys, waterfalls and tea gardens. There was a white stupa in front of the hotel. A few of our members went circumambulating this stupa and took a few photos showing an image of that stupa in rainbow colors appearing in the sunlight. It was yet another amazing experience.

When we arrived at Kandi located in the central of Sri Lanka, the air was very cooling and refreshing. The sacred Buddha Tooth Temple was just opposite our Queen Hotel. Kandi Lake was just beside the hotel. Queen Hotel is a world heritage site too. Before we came to Sri Lanka, Mr Ke, who is the Director of China  International Relationship Exchange Center, volunteered to help connect Venerable Miao Hai with me in Sri Lanka. He told me that Venerable Miao Hai is a friend of the Spiritual Leader of Sri Lanka and could probably help us with our needs. As I did not wish to deliberately establish such connection, I told Mr Ke that we would not be able to arrange the meeting in view of our busy schedules. Little did I know that Jane, our tour leader from Universal Travel, still had her contact of a local care taker of the Buddha Tooth Temple whom she met eight years ago. She tried to call him and found out that he was still working at the Buddha Tooth Temple. However, he was not working on the day. He rushed back to the temple in an hour and made a VIP arrangement for us to pay respect to the sacred relic – a tooth of Sakyamuni Buddha. I was the first person in the queue and just prostrated to the sacred relic when I stood in front of the stupa enshrining the relic. Other temple helpers seemed to be very surprised by my action and told me that everyone was allowed to only take a look at the stupa and move on because the queue behind is very long! Ha ha!

Huge sun halos and rainbows appeared daily in the sky since the first day of our trip, when we visited the sacred bodhi tree transplanted from India more than 2,000 years ago. The sun halos kept us company when we circumambulated the many stupas. On our way to Adam’s Peak, a giant sun halo appeared in the sky, covering almost the entire sky! When Adam’s Peak was still far away from our coach, Dharma Sister Bing was chanting mantra in the coach with her eyes closed but she had a vision of a circular rainbow light emitted continuously from Adam’s Peak. When our tour guide stopped the coach to let us take photos of Adam’s Peak from afar, rainbow appeared above Adam’s Peak, with beautiful clouds appearing in the sky too.

That night, we stayed in a hotel at the foot of Adam’s Peak and did a group prayer. On the 11th of November 2018, 11 of our members led by H.E Konde Rinpoche ascended Adam’s Peak from 2am. They reached the peak at 6.11am and did a prayer before the sacred foot print of Sakyamuni Buddha. Later, Konde Rinpoche led the group in doing another prayer on Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha Terma Practice at a location where several Dzogchen patriarchs accomplished the attainment of Rainbow Body during their retreat. Konde Rinpoche buried a sacred terma vase containing the Ksitigarbha Sutra, Dzogchen teachings and the name of Acho Rinpoche at that location. He sprinkled the holy water and rice grains blessed by Acho Rinpoche on the terma. Simultaneously, I was doing a prayer too at the hotel at the foot of Adam’s Peak, blessing the terma (hidden treasure) remotely. After our prayer and breakfast, 30 of us at the hotel went to a location where there was a sleeping buddha statue, welcoming the group led by Konde Rinpoche descending from Adam’s Peak. Again, many amazing photos of spiritual aura were taken at this location.  

Konde Rinpoche said that there are two sacred places on earth. One is Bodhigaya where Sakyamuni Buddha attained his enlightenment. Another one is Adam’s Peak. 100 years after Sakyamuni Buddha entered paranirvana, the founder of Dzogchen, Garab Dorje, received his Dzogchen empowerment directly from Vajrasttva on Adam’s Peak. Garab Dorje later passed his Dzogchen lineage to Manjushrimitra. Next, Manjushrimitra passed the Dzogchen linage to Shri Singha. Next, Shri Singha passed the Dzogchen lineage to Guru Padmasambhava. Guru Padmasambhava buried 800 terma teachings at Adam’s Peak which are protected by Ekajati (One Knot). Konde Rinpoche had a dream on the very night when sleeping in the hotel at the foot of Adam’s Peak – he dreamt of Ekajati telling him that “Garab Dorje is just …. and I am the reason of all the sun halos, accompanying the group wherever you go.” Konde Rinpoche will write his 3rd book on Dzogchen Lineage and he will include this dream in the book too. I vaguely remember that in the past, Konde Rinpoche recognized me as the reincarnation of Acho Rinpoche through Ekajati too…

11 days of trip to Sri Lanka had finally came to a perfect closure. When we flew from Sri Lanka back to Singapore, a huge sun halo appeared in the sky again and our airplane was seen surrounded by a circular rainbow throughout the journey. Ekajati is indeed protecting the Dzogchen practitioner.

Written by Acho Rinpoche in Singapore on 19 November 2018

Praying below a 2,300 year-old bodhi tree.
 Praying at Buddha Tooth Temple
 Lion Rock
A Hong from Australia doing vajra martial arts.
The image of stupa appeared in the sunlight above the sun.

 Beautiful clouds and special auras

The Dzogchen Patriarch appeared above Adam's Peak in the form of cloud.
Rainbow appeared in the cloud above Adam's Peak
Konde Rinpoche and Acho Rinpoche at the foot of Adam's Peak
Blessing of terma vase and 11 members who would ascend Adam's Peak on the following day.

The group of 11 who ascended Adam's Peak led by Konde Rinpoche

Konde Rinpoche burying the terma vase on Adam's Peak

Simultaneous prayer at the foot of Adam's Peak by Acho Rinpoche while Konde Rinpoche was burying the terma vase on Adam's Peak.
 A huge sun halo appeared in the sky above Adam's Peak
Sun halo and rainbow appeared during our flight from Sri Lanka to Singapore

Rainbow light appeared above the heads of the locals after blessing.

Blessing the locals at the foot of Adam's Peak.
 Konde Rinpoche blessing the lady boss of a restaurant.
 Blessing the locals at a silk shop.
 Tour guide requesting blessing with reverence.

 Tour guide, Konde Rinpoche, Acho Rinpoche, Jane