Dharma Talk by Living Buddha Lian Sheng on 02/07/96

There are four levels of empowerment in True Buddha School, from the most basic to the most advanced.

Like an educational system, we must go through kindergarten, primary school, secondary school, post secondary school, university, master degree, and eventually doctorate degree. True Buddha Tantra clearly defines the sequence of cultivation in four distinctive levels.

Generally speaking, the four levels are outer Tantra empowerment, inner Tantra empowerment, Secret empowerment, and utmost secret empowerment.

Outer Tantra empowerment makes use of the vase as the medium of empowerment. You may have seen a Vajra guru holding a vase and spraying holy water to his disciples. Water is used to signify purification in the first level of empowerment.

After we have mastered all the Dharma in this level, we may progress to the inner Tantra empowerment. The second level of empowerment is for the cultivation of Qi, Mai and Ming Dian. The mediums of empowerment are red and white flowers. Red flower is used to signify the red Bohdi in our body; and the white flower is used to signify the white Bodhi in our body.

Next we may proceed to the secret empowerment, which is also known as unrivalled empowerment or touch empowerment in True Buddha School. The medium of empowerment is a pen, which is used to touch the chakra - this is a very profound empowerment.

And finally we can proceed to utmost secret empowerment (great perfection empowerment) - the greatest and final empowerment that is a proof of Buddhahood.

Let me reiterate the four levels of empowerment in Tantrayana.

They are Outer empowerment, inner empowerment, secret empowerment and utmost secret empowerment.

True Buddha School also follows the same conventions.

We must cultivate and have authentic experiences in the lower level before we can progress to the next level. When we reach the fourth level, there is no formal ceremony for us to follow.

When Shakyamuni Buddha picked up a stalk of flower and smiled, his disciple Kashyapa had fully comprehended what he was driving at. This famous incident was actually a formless empowerment. An accomplished Vajra guru can carry out formless empowerment in many ways. He may raise his eyebrows, utter the sound of `He` or `Ha`, or sip a cup of tea. All these can be done impromptu. Even when he says something that his disciples can understand can be construed as a formless empowerment.

In Zen Buddhism, empowerment can be in the form of scolding and beating. In Tantrayana, a formless empowerment can lead the recipient to realize that his mind has Buddha Nature. Formless empowerment is also called the great perfection empowerment as after receiving this empowerment, the recipient will get rid of all his karmic hindrance and be considered perfect in all aspects.

As Zen Buddhism points directly to human mind, once we are able to rediscover our self-nature, we can be enlightened instantly. Hence its practitioners are encouraged to cultivate on the nature of emptiness. We can say the central theme of Zen teachings is actually equivalent to the great perfection empowerment in Tantric terms. In other words, Tantrayana teachings progress from form (rituals) to formless (Great perfection). On the other hand, Zen teachings will never be revealed to outsiders, as Zen uses a very special teaching method - no words will be used - only those with very high intellectual capacity are qualified to cultivate.

Although Tantrayana is part of Mahayana school of Buddhism, its highest level of spiritual attainment is actually equal to that of Zen Buddhism - beyond the use of words.

Some Zen masters are of the opinion that Shakyamuni picking up a stalk of flower was a redundant act. Why must Kashyapa smile in return? What is actually required: Shakyamuni radiated light from his heart. Followed by Kashyapa radiated light from his heart. Then they beamed lights at each other. Outwardly, nobody should see and be aware of what was going on and this is considered Zen Buddhism.

When Shakyamuni Buddha picked up a stalk of flower, he was showing a telltale sign. When Kashyapa smiled in return, he was also showing a telltale sign. By leaving this trace, the famous incident can only be considered second best in Zen𠏋 traditions.

As great perfection empowerment is the highest level of verification that is carried out between Buddhas, no sign should be used.

Tantric cultivators must learn outer Dharma first, just like those who cultivate Sutrayana, so as to purify their unwholesome body, speech and mind.

When they progress further to the second level of empowerment, they should cultivate Qi (Inner winds) , Mai (invisible central channel) and Ming Dian (drops).

After having psychic response with their personal deities, they can progress to the third level i.e. unrivalled Tantra - i.e. to have a union with the great void (cosmos consciousness). When the period of union is prolonged, it is known as great perfection - attain Buddhahood.

Empowerment is just like a staircase that leads us from the most basic to the most advanced level of spiritual cultivation.

It is very important that those who want to cultivate Tantra should seek refuge and receive empowerment.

These are the purposes of receiving empowerment. As Tantric teachings are hard to come by, we human beings should treasure the Buddhadharma.

That𠏋 all for today.

「一生一咒」800萬遍上師心咒活動,從今年師尊的佛誕日正式啟動,請參加者到TBSN官網以下鏈接登記資料: 每持滿十萬遍上師心咒者,宗委會將把名單呈給師尊加持。每持滿一百萬遍者,將列名護摩法會功德主,資料請師尊主壇護摩法會時下護摩爐。 億萬虎頭金剛心咒,招財鎮煞降伏瘟疫