An Excellent Dharma

Why does one choose the True Buddha School? Why is the True Buddha School so excellent? One must be able to back up one`s selection. All of you here have chosen the True Buddha School, and I commend you for your great wisdom and intelligent choice. But, what makes the True Buddha Dharma so excellent? You have to be able to tell. When one talks about the excellency of a dish, one may claim that it is all in the soup stock! The soup stock has been prepared using only authentic ingredients, without any monosodium glutamate. Food enhanced by MSG really gives me the shivers now. [laughter] The soup stock has been prepared by slowly cooking pork bones and dried seafood delicacies together in a double-boiler for three days and three nights. Sprinkled on top of the soup are some green onion, garlic, and a little bit of red carrot, Tagu Man [in Japanese]. [laughter and audience laughter] It is not just aromatic and flavorful, it is also colorful. What a delicious soup! It stimulates your appetite and you want more of it. The purpose is not to stuff one`s stomach instantly. If you do that, you will not come back anymore. Instead, if you are given half a bowl of this excellent soup which has everything ?color, aroma, and flavor ?then you will want to come back for more.

An Outstanding Root Guru

Topping the list of the excellent qualities of True Buddha School is the Root Guru, isn`t it? [audience applause] I am blowing my own trumpet now! [laughter and audience laughter] Yet this is the truth. You could ask the many masters and esoteric tulkus out there, `Have you been to Sukhavati, Amitabha`s Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss?` Most of them cannot answer `yes.` Very few people can talk about their visits to Sukhavati. Perhaps some exist, but very few. Most of them have not done any actual travelling there, although they can imagine how it would look based on the descriptions in the Amitabha Sutra. There are many Buddhist monks and nuns who have gone to Sukhavati, but they have not made it back to tell us. [audience laughter] When they go there after they have died and passed on from the physical realm, they cannot communicate to us how Sukhavati looks, the names of some of the sites there, or what kinds of transportation exist there. Right? What is the population there? How large is the Pure Land? Only a guru who himself has actually walked on the path and returned can guide others to walk on the same path without getting lost. [audience applause] This is a very simple principle. If you have been to a particular city, you know how to get there and what the city looks like. If you have not actually travelled there, and all you have is just a tourist guidebook, you may still be able to tell others how to get there and what kind of architecture, sculpture, or museums are there, but it would be inferior information than that of someone who has actually been there himself. That is why the Root Guru of the True Buddha School is Ichiban. [audience laughter] Other Dharma masters are also quite good, but they are second-seeded [in Japanese]. [audience laughter]

A Buddhist master who has never travelled to Sukhavati himself can only describe the Pure Land based on the Amitabha Sutra, as spoken by Buddha Shakyamuni. The sutra describes lotus flowers as large as carriage wheels. What kind of carriage wheels are those? At the time of the Buddha, there were no cars or jeeps, just carriages and carts drawn by cattle and horses. So, what is the actual size of these lotus flowers as large as carriage wheels? Only someone who has travelled there and seen them can describe them. How many people can sit inside one lotus? You might feel confident answering `one,` since there is always only one lotus throne to each Buddha or Bodhisattva in the Buddhist paraphernalia that we have seen. But that answer is wrong. The lotus flowers that I have seen in Sukhavati can accommodate from one to more than a dozen of people. Some seat one, and some seat more than ten people. The other Dharma masters will not be able to tell us the seating capacity of each of these lotus flowers, as they have not witnessed them first-hand. The True Buddha School is remarkable because its root guru has been to Sukhavati himself. [audience applause] We engage in actual practice to confirm and validate for ourselves what it is like in Sukhavati. Everything is clear at one glance. This kind of wisdom awareness is not derived from books. Other Dharma masters` knowledge of Sukhavati comes entirely from books, as they have not travelled there for verification. A remarkable root guru is the primary reason why the True Buddha School is so outstanding.

The Outstanding Empowerments

The second remarkable quality of esoteric schools is its rituals of empowerments. [audience applause] Do exoteric or scriptural schools perform empowerments? Well, one Dharma master of an exoteric schools has recently started to give empowerments. He also prepared a vase of `sweet nectar` to sprinkle on his students. Where did the water in his vase come from? From the faucet. When you go home, you also can go and get some water from the faucet and start giving empowerments to your children and grandchildren. Actually, if the sprinkling of water is all there is to giving empowerment, one might as well purchase a water pistol, as it holds more water and is more convenient to use. As each student approached, you could squirt the water pistol at each of them.
The bestowal of empowerments is absolutely not like that. The master has to first visualize the Wisdom Deity residing in the spiritual realm to enter into the water inside the vase. Next the master must visualize another Wisdom Deity appearing above the top of his head, and entering into his heart. Then, in one flash, the master transforms himself into the Wisdom Deity. Only after such a procedure may the water be used for the esoteric ritual of empowerment. [audience applause] Since esoteric empowerments appear, on the surface, to be very simple, this other Dharma master of the scriptural school decided it was much better than the school`s regular ritual of taking refuge, so he borrowed it. Empowerment is not the same as sprinkling water for the purpose of purification. It involves the recitation of mantra, visualization, and the merging and communion with the Wisdom Deity. The integration of all these elements constitutes an esoteric ritual.

Before giving others an empowerment, one must have already received such an empowerment from one`s root guru. This is just common sense. If a master of the True Buddha School wants to give an empowerment to other students, he or she should first come and receive the same empowerment from the root guru. [audience applause]
That Dharma master of the exoteric school does not have any Tantrayana lineage. Although he sometimes chants mantras, he does not have a Tantric guru, and he has not received any empowerment from any Tantric guru. His training and practice have always been exoterically oriented. Therefore, giving others an empowerment is an error on his part. In the esoteric tradition, empowerment is transmitted from one person who has received it previously from his teacher to the next, constituting a lineage. Its source can be traced. One does not suddenly, out of the blue, give others empowerments. It is a mistake to give another an empowerment that one has not previously received from the root guru.

I have explained before that, in Tantrayana, the Initiation Empowerment turns one into a Dharma Prince, a Buddha-in-waiting. Through initiation, the fruition of future Buddhahood is conferred upon one, and one becomes a successor to the Five Buddhas. Esoteric schools are remarkable for this `taking fruition as the path` approach.
In the past, someone asked the Ch`an master Pai-chang, `Who is the Buddha?` Has any of you read about this koan? Pai-chang`s quick reply showed that he had already attained Enlightenment, `Who are you?` You are the Buddha! You yourself are the Buddha. In the past, students have asked me, `Grand Master, are you a Buddha?` I replied, `You are the Buddha!` [audience laughter and applause] Although this is a very simple inquiry, some people are unable to come up with the answer right away. Tantrayana is a direct pathway. When I give you an Initiation Empowerment, you become a Buddha, a Buddha-in-waiting.
I remember when I was applying for college, there was this one fellow student who told me that he was `in between being accepted.` When pressed for a clarification, he told me that he was a candidate on the waiting list. As soon as a vacancy showed up, he could enroll. Similarly, all of you are on the waiting list to become the Buddha. What kind of Buddha are you? You are the Buddha-in-waiting. You immediately become the Buddha-in-waiting after the Initiation Empowerment. Esoteric empowerments are mysteriously profound. You must not slight yourself, you must become the Buddha. [audience applause]

The Remarkable Pure Land - The Realm of Eternal Rest and Light

The Remarkable Pure Land - The Realm of Eternal Rest and Light
An ordinary Dharma master of the Pure Land school will tell you that, through his chanting practice, he is going to Sukhavati when he dies. However, if he has not had any vision or experience of Sukhavati while alive, he cannot know for sure that he will be going there.
In our school, all preparations have been made. Your palaces and rooms have already been created for you; even your attendants are waiting there in the Pure Land for you. [audience applause] The manifestation of the Maha Twin Lotus Ponds Pure Land is already completed, and all its celestial palaces are ready for you to move in. The Maha Twin Lotus Ponds is a Pure Land established by your root guru, and it is located in the Realm of Eternal Peace and Light in Sukhavati. All True Buddha School students can go there in the future. Everything is prepared and ready.

The Pure Land Dharma masters urge you, `Go, go and seek rebirth in the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss.` Who are you going to look up when you get there? [audience laughter] You have to have some kind of plan, isn`t this so? So, you want to find Amitabha. It is true that Amitabha is in Sukhavati, but you should also know someone personally there. Remember that your Pure Land is the Maha Twin Lotus Ponds located in the Realm of Eternal Peace and Light in Sukhavati. [audience applause] If you know where you are going, Amitabha will know that you are a student of the True Buddha School and will immediately assign a residence for you. [audience applause] If you are unable to tell him the Maha Twin Lotus Ponds, he will have to ask you which school you belong to, what kind of practice have you done, and many other questions. If, after half a day of questioning, he is still clueless as to where you want to go, he will say, `Well, I will just have to assign you to the borderland of Sukhavati!` [audience laughter]
Therefore one of the outstanding features of the True Buddha School is its remarkable Pure Land. Its Pure Land has already been established and has manifested.

The Remarkable Tantric Practice

In this world, can one find another Buddhist practice like the True Buddha School practice? You won`t find another one. Someone told me, `Oh, there is a Dharma master who also teaches the same True Buddha Tantric Practice. It is exactly the same as what Grand Master teaches.` Indeed? I was curious and wanted to meet with him. So, we did some investigation and found out that this Dharma master is actually a third generation True Buddha practitioner, kind of a `step-student,` like a grandchild. How is that? Well, one of our students had given this Dharma master a set of True Buddha Tantric Dharma video tapes. After seriously spending some time in his room secretly studying the tapes, he is now openly teaching others our True Buddha Tantric Practice. [laughter and audience applause] Isn`t this Dharma master a step-student True Buddha practitioner then? Holding the Teaching Mudra, he announced, `Oh, I have to hold this mudra, this is just too wonderful.` I looked around and was surprised by the number of these step-students. There are, indeed, many Dharma masters now secretly learning the True Buddha Tantric Dharma. [audience applause]

Most contemporary Buddhist masters teach from books. I don`t mean they use cheat sheets, but their teachings are entirely from the scriptures and scriptural commentaries. What would happen if you took away his notebooks when he was not looking? When he got to the podium and reached into his briefcase for the notebook, he would be completely flustered. [laughter and audience laughter] His face would turn ashen and he wouldn`t be able to teach at all. Although he may have been teaching the same platitude for more than forty years, once that precious notebook is gone, he can`t go on. This is because he has not had any direct or personal experience of the Buddhadharma. His knowledge is entirely from books. So, if you steal the notebook away from him, he has nothing to talk about.

There was a similar incident from my college days. It is embarrassing to bring it up. There was a physics professor in our surveying department who was also a professor at the Feng Chia University. The notebook he lectured from had grease marks all over it and reeked of fried bread dough. [laughter] Perhaps he ate his breakfasts of soy milk, fried bread, and sesame seed cake over it. One time we stole his book, and for a whole week he did not show up for class. That week became a period of self-study or goofing off for us. [laughter] Finally we took pity on him and returned his notebook. At the time, I was the head of the student body in the geology department, so I was completely aware of the whole incident.
Apart from the remarkable guru, empowerments, fruition, and Pure Land, the most remarkable thing about our school is its outstanding True Buddha Tantric Practice. [audience applause] When one decides to immerse oneself in the Buddhadharma practice, it becomes paramount to find the nuances that make the practice so exquisite. It is impossible to learn all knowledge; therefore, one has to concentrate on the subtle key points. One must not spread oneself too thin by covering the breadth of the Buddhadharma, but one must try to penetrate the subtle points deeply. One will succeed in one`s practice when one is able to do this. This also has to do with Effort.

During my marksmanship training in the army, I had to learn how to handle the M1 semi-automatic rifle, submachine gun, carbine, light machine gun, heavy machine gun, and the canon. In fact I was known as a sharpshooter then. [audience applause] In learning anything, if one is careful and meticulous, one will figure out an ingenious way to tackle the problem and make progress. There is an interesting story about a student of archery, back in ancient times. At the beginning, the only thing his master asked him to do was to capture the tiniest spider and hang it down from the top of his window. He was then to focus his gaze on the spider every day for three years. How was this spider-gazing supposed to help one`s marksmanship? This student was, however, very vigorous and disciplined, and he spent the next three years in gazing at the spider. Do you know what happened after three years? The spider became as big as a cart wheel. Earlier I talked about lotuses as big as carriage wheels, now it is spiders as big as cart wheels. When he went back to see his master, his master told him, `You have already learned all there is to archery. The next step is just to aim your arrow at the spider.` He went home and aimed his arrow at the spider which now appeared to him as big as a cart wheel. When the arrow was released, wow, it took flight and hit right on the target. The diameter of an arrow is far bigger than that of a tiny spider, yet, with concentration, the spider can be shot down. When one devotes one`s mind totally to a single task, one will be able to pinpoint its key subtlety.

How did I become a sharpshooter? First, I had to learn how to adjust the front sight of a gun. Due to individual sighting habits and idiosyncrasies, the sight of a gun needs to be adjusted before one uses it. After the sight device has been adjusted, repeated practice will develop an unfailing accuracy. If it is a gun one has not used before, then one might have trouble when first using it. This is the first key point. The second essential factor is, when the trigger is pulled, the gun must remain stationary. However, since the downpull of the trigger generates an upward rebound force, I always aim the sight of my gun right below the target. I raise the barrel of the gun until the sight is aligned with the lowest exposed rim of the bull`s eye, then I pull the trigger. The gun will move upward slightly with the shell hitting right on the target. This is a secret. In addition to holding the gun very firmly, one`s arm has to be fully extended. If one is using the ordinary kind of M1 semi-automatic rifle, which comes with a leather belt, the gun may be stabilized in a triangle by applying a circular grasp on the shoulder belt. There is also a psychological aspect to the art of marksmanship: one doesn`t mentally announce to oneself that one is about to pull the trigger. Being that self-conscious, one`s heart would beat faster, one`s breathing would become tense and, at the critical moment, the gun would jerk upward. Therefore, the trigger has to be pulled in an `unconscious` way. With the mind totally focused on the target and the breathing quiet and smooth, when one pulls the trigger unconsciously, one hits exactly on target. It is a science as well as an art. With all this gun talk, it seems like I have turned into a military trainer and deviated from my talk on the Buddhadharma. [audience laughter] But, this actually has a great deal to do with the Buddhadharma!

Do not think I am teaching you how to kill! No. What I am teaching you is: everything has its subtle secret. When you are able to figure out this secret, then every shot of yours will hit the target, and you will become ever-victorious and attain high achievement. [audience applause] There is the art of balance and the science of rebound. To hit the bull`s eye, you must aim right below it since the gun will jerk up slightly as soon as the trigger is pulled. Keep your breath smooth and steady, and pull the trigger without any deliberation or even subconscious awareness. Then you will hit exactly on target.
The True Buddha Tantric Dharma includes many such subtle keys and authentic treasures. Carefully study the video tapes on A Complete and Detailed Exposition on the True Buddha Tantric Dharma, as it consists entirely of the highest essence produced from a process of arduous and thorough distilling. Ordinary Dharma masters would not be able to offer you such a practice. [audience applause] An Investigation into Dharmas enables one to select the most remarkable practice for oneself.

慶賀真佛宗根本傳承上師八十聖壽 「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。