Dharma Talk by Living Buddha Lian Sheng on 01/07/96

Today I shall talk about Tantric empowerment - an important ceremony in Tantra teachings. In order to cultivate Tantrayana, there must be a ceremony before we begin. The grand and holy ceremony includes among other things, `taking refuge` and `receive empowerment`. It serves the following purposes:

1. Purification - Once a disciple receives empowerment from a Vajra guru, he will turn over a new leaf, as all his past unwholesome karma are deemed to have been eradicated.

2. Energization - A Vajra guru can use his Dharma power derived from actual cultivation to energize his disciples. In other words, the Dharma stream from the cosmos consciousness and the Dharma power from the Vajra guru can be injected into the disciple𠏋 body.

It`s just like Chinese Gong-fu fighting novel, when one skillful master transfers his power accumulated over his life to his disciple so that he will have the strength equivalent to 500 years of cultivation. The higher the power the guru has, the higher the strength he can transfer.

3. Certification - Normally Sutra cultivation progresses from `cause to fruition`. Tantric cultivation is different; it progresses from `fruition to cause`.

As ordinary people, we cultivate and eventually become saints. This progress is `cause to fruition` - (from means to end). Tantric cultivation of `fruition to cause` does not mean we degrade from saints to ordinary people. It means after empowerment, it is certified that we have received the spiritual fruits. Just like Dipamkara Buddha (the twenty-fourth predecessor of Shakyamuni) who certified and foretold that Shakyamuni would be enlightened in due course and be known as `Shakyamuni Buddha` in the past.

After the certification, although we are known as Buddhas, we must still continue our cultivation so that our spiritual fruits will ripen in future.

4. Authorization - We are given the permission to cultivate the Tantric Dharma after the empowerment.

Without empowerment, it is illicit to cultivate the profound Tantra. Therefore we must take refuge and receive empowerment.

Why must we take refuge? Tantrayana values lineage. Without empowerment, there is no lineage to talk about. Moreover we must always invoke personal deity and root guru to empower us in our Tantric cultivation. If we do not take refuge, how can this be done? By taking refuge in our guru, we can receive oral instructions from our guru, we can invite our personal deity to sit on our crown, and finally we can ask all the past patriarchs to bless us.

The significance in empowerment can be described as `implant the consciousness of Buddha and his seed into the cultivator𠏋 body`. It is a serious matter. It is no just a superficial ritual.

A true Guru who has Dharma power will be able to transplant the seed of personal deity in the cultivator𠏋 body !D!D Alaya Vijnana storehouse to be exact. In future, the seed will spout, strike root, grow to become a real cultivation implement, and eventually blossom into the personal deity.

Empowerment is the union of cosmos consciousness, guru and disciple.

If the empowerment is powerful, an auspicious sign will be shown - unlike those who take refuge in Sutrayana, they will never experience anything. The disciples will feel power and energy flowing into their bodies. And they will feel strong.

Just like the cartoon character Popeye the sailor man. After taking a can of spinach, he becomes very powerful. The auspicious sign of empowerment is like the spinach taken by Popeye.

Tantrayana always mentions about Dharma power. If we are lucky to have received empowerment from a genuine Vajra guru, our strength will increase immediately. The is the main purpose of receiving empowerment.

That is all for today.

Om Mani Padme Hum

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