Vajracchedika Prajnaparamita Sutra
Vajra Sutra (Diamond Sutra)
Detailed Exposition by Living Buddha Lian-Sheng, Grandmaster Sheng-Yen Lu
Translated into English by True Buddha School Vajra Sutra Translation Team
Discourse 33, 14 November 2021 - Chapter Twelve—Revering the Right Teaching
“Furthermore, Subhuti! If any person at any place teaches even only the four-line verse of this sutra, all the worldly, celestial, human, and asura beings should make offerings to the place in the same way as to the buddhas, pagodas, and temples. Especially if the person can completely uphold and recite it.
“Subhuti! Know that this is the first and foremost, unexcelled, and rare dharma to allow one to reach attainment. At the place where the sutra is, there is a buddha, and [also] respectful disciples.”
Let me talk about the Vajra Sutra. This chapter is very easy to expound. Do you know that I respect all the images of the buddhas and bodhisattvas? Whether they are paintings, statues, or any images; whether they are made of wood, clay, ceramics, or metals; I’d join my palms together, pay homage, and greet them.
I have numerous [images of] buddhas and bodhisattvas at home and at the Tantric Quarter. Sometimes I just call upon the main deity at the center because there are too many of them. When I see Guru Rinpoche, Dorje Drollo, I’d say, homage to Dorje Drollo and all the deities [at this altar]! Then homage to High King Avalokitesvara and surrounding deities! Homage to Golden Mother and all deities! Homage to all the lineage gurus! Homage to all the Kumaras! Homage to Amitabha Buddha! I would pay homage whenever I go near them [their altar].
On my headboard, I have the Tiger Head Vajra and Golden Mother. Every morning when I wake up, I would say, “Good morning Golden Mother, good morning Tiger Head Vajra.” Then I’d turn around and see Yeshe Tsogyal, “Good morning!” Then I’d say to Golden Mother of the Jade Pond, “Good morning!” There is Guru Rinpoche at the top and Acala at the bottom, Amitabha on the right, Vajrasattva in the middle, Yamantaka on the left and all the earth gods underneath. I’d greet them all as I walk pass them.
Occasionally, they’d talk to me. At such times, I would stand still and listen attentively to what they have to say. Sometimes, I’d collectively pay homage to the deities by joining my palms together and visualizing my palms multiplying into the thousands. I’ll then pay homage and bow to all of them. In response, they would talk to me and give me spiritual responses. [Grandmaster chuckles] I am so busy!
Let me tell you, Chapter Twelve—Revering the Right Teaching means respect, reverence. See Mahabala? [Grandmaster points to the huge Mahabala statue at the homa hall.] This statue was from Master Changren of the Ten Directional Chapter in Hong Kong (Dzogchen Center). I liked this statue very much and wanted to take it home. Upon hearing that, Master Lianyin immediately moved the statue up here on the altar from the back wall near the bathroom. I told him that if you keep it there, I would take it home—how could you place Mahabala next to the bathroom?! When he heard that I wanted to take it home, he moved it up here. [Grandmaster laughs.] He made me look at Mahabala every day and pay homage. Whenever I get up here [to the altar], I always pay homage to him. Have you ever seen me ascending to the dharma throne without paying homage to him first? Never! I always pay homage to him first. I really like this deity. I like him very much, too much in fact!
I revere the right teaching, as in this chapter’s title. I respect them all, whether the buddhas are [embodied through] a painting, wood carving, metal statue or any other [way]. They [represent] the buddhas! I also respect the dharma instruments and the sutras, not to mention the Vajra Sutra! I respect the Vajra Sutra!
I once used the sutra to save a ghost. The God of Thunder was trying to capture a ghost. Thunder struck continuously around my house, and it was very loud. I wondered, “What is happening?” As I was writing my book, I saw that a ghost was hiding under my desk. I asked her, “What is going on?” [She replied,] “Sorry Grandmaster, please let me hide here for a while.” I said, “No, thunder and lightning are striking around my house. What if it strikes and damages my house?” I know the God of Thunder, and he knows this is the house of Grandmaster Lu, yet he was striking thunder one after another around my house. I took a look at the ghost under my desk. She was such a great beauty, very stunning! She said, “Grandmaster, please save me!” So I took a copy of the Vajra Sutra from the bookshelf behind me and placed it on her head. The lighting and thunder went on around my house another thirty to forty times. They took down a tree at my property, so they could report back [to their commander that they had completed their task]. I saved this ghost because she was just too gorgeous. I had never seen such a beautiful ghost before.
Generally, there are three kinds of beauties on earth: the pretty, the dazzling, and the bewitching. This ghost was the bewitching type, much like a [Chinese] fox spirit. I saved her and kept her by my side as my attendant. This is a good thing for her, so she could no longer do bad things. She used to do lots of bad things, that’s why the God of Thunder and the Goddess of Lightning were trying to capture her and strike her to death. But I saved her and took her in as my attendant.
Chapter Twelve—Revering the Right Teaching. Today I talked about reverence—I respect all the buddhas, bodhisattvas, gods, and ghosts. So, do I respect ghosts too? Yes, I also respect ghosts as long as they are not evil. Of course, I still respect evil ghosts as well. I don’t kill ghosts; Acala and Mahabala are the ones doing the killing. In fact, I have a lot of respect for ghosts too. When I sleep, there is a net of spiritual light protecting me. One night, the ghosts were outside the net shouting and demanding, “Grandmaster Lu, we are here to take you to San Francisco to see our master!” I said, “Who the heck are you, daring to shout at me like that?!”
Immediately, Acala’s sword multiplied and propelled like electric fans. They spun and beheaded all the thousands of invading ghosts. I did not do it as I was still lying on my bed. Mahabala also darted out from my mouth. That night was real; I clearly heard the shout from outside my protective light net, “Grandmaster Lu, we are here to take you to San Francisco to see our master!” Honestly, I am respectful toward ghosts. I am even more respectful toward the gods. Especially toward all the right teachings!
It’s true! Every time I make friends, I will ask, “Golden Mother of the Primordial Jade Pond, may I befriend this person?” Only when she agrees would I dare to do so. I would always ask first; I am never disrespectful. If I hadn’t asked, it would’ve been a bad affinity. So this is [also] reverence towards the right teaching, which is the title of chapter twelve. We only talked about the title today.
Om mani padme hum.
 Nine Heavens Yingyuan Puhua Tianzun is the formal name for the God of Thunder
Next discourse on the Vajra Sutra: Discourse 34, 20 November 2021 - Chapter Twelve—Revering the Right Teaching
Previous discourse on the Vajra Sutra: Discourse 32, 13 November 2021 - Chapter Eleven—Supreme Merits Without Condition
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Full webcast of 2021.11.14 Yellow Jambhala Homa Ceremony (Rainbow Temple, North Bend, USA) and dharma discourse with English interpretation: https://youtu.be/NhfyiTtRMls