< On Feb. 5, 2017, at Emperor Temple in Taoyuan, Taiwan, Living Buddha Lian-sheng Sheng-yen Lu delivered a discourse at a fire ceremony dedicated to Golden Mother, Earth Mother, and Heavenly Holy Mother>
Today we are making a water offering to Golden Mother, Earth Mother Bodhisattva, Holy Heavenly Mother, and the Fortune Gods in all directions. The purpose of this ceremony is to invoke the blessings of the fortune gods. It's my hope that, at the conclusion of today's ceremony, everyone's good fortune will increase and everybody have provisions sufficient for their needs. I hope the fortune deity will always reside in everyone's house, and that heavenly officials will bestow great prosperity on every person here. There were so many fortune gods and heavenly officials dancing during the ceremony just now that I felt my pockets were overflowing.
Today I am transmitting Dark-faced Golden Mother dharma. To be as concise as possible, I will only discuss two backgrounds of Dark-faced Golden Mother. About 40 years ago, when I was 26, Jiosang (Shigu Lin Chiyuan) told me the only deity she worshipped was Golden Mother. One day, Jiosang was escorted to the celestial realm where she saw not just one but many Jade Pond Golden Mothers. Each Golden Mother had a plate holding what appeared to be medicinal pills. There were Yellow-faced, White-faced, and Dark-faced Golden Mothers, Tiger-headed Vajra Golden Mothers, and many other Golden Mothers as well.
Jiosang was walking on what seemed to be a floor, but it turned out that it wasn't. It wasn't carpeting either, although there was a soft feeling to it. When she glanced down at her feet, it turned out that she was walking on a densely packed field of lotuses. Wherever she set foot, a lotus would magically appear.
After Jiosang paid homage, a Jade Pond Golden Mother in the middle said ''Here we have many medicinal pills- yellow, white, red, and black. Which kind do you want?'' Seeing these medicinal pills in the celestial realm, Jiosang remembered that the medicinal pills she usually took were black. Therefore, she went over to the plate containing black pills and said ''I will have a black pill.'' Upon taking the black pill from the plate and swallowing it, Jiosang looked up and was surprised to see that this Golden Mother's face was black - it was the Dark-faced Golden Mother.
Therefore, the first background of Dark-faced Golden Mother originated from Jiosang. While in the celestial realm, Jiosang saw that the Golden Mother who handed her black pills had a black face.
Dark-faced Golden Mother then said to her, ''Upon returning to the human realm, you will be able to visit and save beings in the netherworld. You can be a medium between the living and the dead, and save all netherworld ghosts and spirits.'' The significance of black medicine pills lies in their connection to the netherworld and the saving of netherworld ghosts and spirits. Therefore, Jiosang devoted most of her life to being a medium for communication between the living and the dead.
The next background of Dark-faced Golden Mother originates from my own personal experience. Actually, I knew nothing about Dark-faced Golden Mother and had never worshipped this deity in my home shrine. Hence, I had no idea how to be a medium between the living and the dead.
Although I had seen Holy Heavenly Mother with a black face, I had never seen Golden Mother with black face. However, a very strange incident occurred at South Mountain Retreat, my home in Seattle. Back in those days, the two things I would always do right after getting up in the morning would be to write and cultivate. Once up, I'd go to my study, get my writing paper in place, pick up a pen, and start to write.
When I write, my mind is calm and concentrated. I write directly from my thoughts without a draft although I might sometimes need to correct wrong characters or add missing characters in parentheses. Typically though, from beginning to end I seldom need to reorganize or reposition paragraphs. When I write, I'm in a state of total concentration.
As I was looking out the window, the sun was shining brightly. It then got dark all of sudden. The only light was from my table lamp. It had become quite dark. I thought, ''Oh? The sun was shining brightly just a moment ago. How did it suddenly get so dark and windy?'' A stiff wind, shooo! was blowing. It had been a bright and sunny day just moments earlier but now dark clouds filled the sky and there was a strong wind with lightning and thunder.
Wow! Thunder crashed and lightning flashed all around. Black clouds filled the sky and my room went completely dark except for my desk lamp. Strange! I had been writing articles and looking out the window at the bright sunshine. Somehow, I don't know when, the sky darkened and a storm began with thunder and lightning. Right at that moment I heard a faint noise from under my desk: ''Grandmaster Lu, please help me… Grandmaster Lu, please help me…'' Eh? Amitofo! Have I encountered a ghost? Why was someone calling for help? I looked under my desk and good heavens! I saw what I fear the most. What is it I fear? Ghosts? I am afraid of nothing, nothing that is except a beautiful woman. As soon as I see a beautiful woman, I am mesmerized by the sight. Oh my god, this woman was gorgeous! As enchantingly beautiful as a celestial goddess! Among the dancers who performed at the ceremony earlier, the one in the middle was a middle-aged angel, the one on the outside was a youthful and energetic angel, and the one appearing later in a skirt was an older angel.
What I was seeing was a young angel, shining brightly down next to my feet. She was dressed about the same as the angels who performed earlier with their shoulders exposed and of course flesh colored, that is, the costumes the dancers were wearing were flesh colored. This angel had long, thin, curving eyebrows and apricot shaped eyes. Her face was the perfect oval of a goose egg, and just utterly, bewitchingly beautiful. Her mouth was rosy pink, like a cherry, and her cascading hair was exquisitely arranged. Although small, she was youthful.
''What is going on?'' I asked. ''Help me, Grandmaster Lu!'' she cried out again. ''How can I help you?'' I asked. ''What happened? Why do I need to save you?'' She told me that the Yingyuan Thunder God of the Ninth Heaven was trying to catch her.
Thunder and lightning! Thunder was crashing and lightning was striking continuously right on my roof. I lost track of how long the crashing and striking lasted. She pleaded for help saying the Yingyuan Thunder God of the Ninth Heaven was trying to catch her. ''How can I save you?'' I asked. ''Very simple,'' she replied. ''Let me into your heart and into your body. Then I can be saved.''
If she wanted to get inside my body so I could save her I would have to open my crown aperture and let her in. ''Who are you really?'' I asked. Actually, I already pretty much knew who she was. From the fact that she could become so small, I could tell she must be a ghost. An extremely enticing and flirtatious female ghost.
I just couldn't see a way out for her. She was a ghost! What should I do? The female ghost told me: ''To help me, plead to the Yingyuan Thunder God of the Ninth Heaven for my salvation.'' To assist her I supplicated the Yingyuan Thunder God of the Ninth Heaven saying ''Yingyuan Thunder God of the Ninth Heaven I know you want to catch this ghost but I am asking you not to catch her and let her go.''
As soon as I made my plea to the Yingyuan Thunder God of the Ninth Heaven the thunder and lightning became louder and stronger. My plea had been in vain. The thunder was so loud and the lightning so powerful that it seemed the roof was about to cave in. I heard the Yingyuan Thunder God of the Ninth Heaven say, ''I have a decree from Dark-face Golden Mother!'' So, the first time I heard of Dark-face Golden Mother was when Yingyuan Thunder God of the Ninth Heaven said: ''I am Yingyuan Thunder God of the Ninth Heaven. I have a decree from Dark-faced Golden Mother. I must kill this ghost by striking her head with five thunders.''
I had no way to save the ghost. I'm the kind of person who wouldn't really mind if she wanted to enter my body, of course. I don't care that much. I had demonstrated something like this at Lei Tsang Temple in Taiwan when I let a ghost enter my body and speak ghost language. But what should I do now? The problem was serious. Should I let her into my body?
There was the decree of Dark-face Golden Mother to consider. I dared not overturn it because I have attained spiritual union with Jade Pond Golden Mother. This is the first time I'd ever heard of a decree from Dark-faced Golden Mother. I told the ghost ''Since I cannot overturn the decree of Jade Pond Golden Mother I have no way to save you.''
I suddenly thought of something. There was a bookshelf behind me. I picked up a sutra from the shelf and it turned out to be the Diamond Sutra. I placed the Diamond Sutra on top of this beautiful girl's head. Wow! The thunder was still crashing. But there was no way to overturn Dark-faced Golden Mother's decree that the ghost must be struck on the head with five thunders and killed.
The Diamond Sutra was discoursed by the Tathagata. The meaning of ''diamond'' is ''indestructible'' so if I placed this sutra on top of someone's head, that person could not be harmed. Finally, the Yingyuan Thunder God of the Ninth Heaven had no choice but to strike a tree in my yard instead of the ghost. With a loud Bang! The lightning struck the tree and it crashed to the ground. The dark clouds gradually drifted away and the thunder stopped.
Because her time was up, the ghost had to be killed. Although the lightning had to strike, the Yingyuan Thunder God of the Ninth Heaven couldn't strike the Diamond Sutra so he struck the tree with lightning instead. I thought the Diamond Sutra would definitely be able to protect her, so to save her life, I placed the sutra on top of her head. When the time came to strike, the Yingyuan Thunder God of the Ninth Heaven struck the tree instead so he could consider his mission to be accomplished regardless of whether he killed the ghost or not. When the ghost's time was up, lightning struck, and the tree splintered and fell. This is all because the Yingyuan Thunder God of the Ninth Heaven couldn't strike the Diamond Sutra with lightning.
However, I don't want you to try this yourself. If one places the Diamond Sutra atop one's head, one's soul cannot exit the body. If one's soul cannot exit the body one will be miserable and may linger for a long, long time. The Diamond Sutra can, however, be placed on top of one's head for the purpose of avoiding a disaster.
This was the second time I heard of Dark-faced Golden Mother. I was talking about how I had heard of Dark-faced Golden Mother on two occasions. I heard about her from Jiosang, and I heard about her again during an incident involving the Yingyuan Thunder God of the Ninth Heaven who had a decree from Dark-faced Golden Mother. What is the role of Dark-faced Golden Mother? She's in charge of all matters in the netherworld big and small. Most importantly, she catches ghosts.
Eh? I saved a ghost! An enchantingly beautiful ghost. But, It turned out that saving her wasn't the right thing to do after all. Why not? Remember! The more beautiful the woman, the more she will lie. Women who are not so beautiful will also lie, but the more beautiful the woman the more she will lie to men. This was said by Zhang Wuji's mother, not me.
It turned out that this female ghost had killed a lot of men to steal their vital energy. This caused the men to get tuberculosis and die. A lot of men died because she stole their vital energy. Once I knew her past, I set a protective boundary to prevent her from getting inside my house. If she wants to get near me she can only get as close as four meters. Otherwise, I too will lose my body. She can't get near me! If she gets close to me, I will lose my vital energy. I set a protective boundary of four meters, so she can only get as close four meters.
There was a third time I heard about Dark-faced Golden Mother. Once, during my childhood, I saw a large group of people doing something on the banks of a river. Curious, I went over to take a look. It turned out they were on the river bank practicing to carry a sedan chair, a divine palanquin. The sedan chair was a smaller type carried by four people, two in front, two in the back. In the middle of the sedan chair was a deity sitting on a small dais. Suddenly, the four sedan carriers went into the river and began rushing back and forth in the current. I was curious and went to have a look. There were four people splashing and thrashing about in the river, suddenly rushing forward then suddenly rushing backwards.
There were some people around the area so I asked ''What are they doing?'' They replied, ''Dark-faced Golden Mother is catching ghosts.'' I asked again, ''What kind of ghosts is she catching?'' They answered, ''Water ghosts.'' Dark-faced Golden Mother was catching water ghosts in the river. The sedan carriers were ducking under water and splashing around. The four carriers were rushing in and out of the river. The holy palanquin was catching ghosts. The deity tied to the sedan chair had a black face. ''What deity is that?'' I asked. ''It's Dark-faced Golden Mother'' they replied. This is how I found out it was Dark-faced Golden Mother catching ghosts.
Are you now familiar with the background of Dark-faced Golden Mother? I heard about her a total of three times. The first time was from Jiosang. The second time was from the incident involving the Yingyuan Thunder God of the Ninth Heaven who had a decree from Dark-faced Golden Mother. The third time was when I saw some people in a river with Dark-faced Golden Mother catching ghosts.
Today we have invoked Dark-faced Golden Mother. We were in Lei Tsang Temple talking about a Golden Mother catching ghosts. This Golden Mother turned out to be Dark-faced Golden Mother.
Jade Pond Golden Mother was the first deity with whom I attained spiritual union. Upon attainment of spiritual union with Jade Pond Golden Mother, it's easy to attain spiritual union with many other deities.
I want to take this opportunity to give some advice to XX. Master Lianzi mentioned that ''Lying is the specialty of XX.'' Master Lianzi mentioned this to me more than once. In Seattle he told me ''XX is an expert liar.'' I naturally asked Jade Pond Golden Mother about XX. Actually, I won't criticize a person if I don't have the approval of Jade Pond Golden Mother. Since Jade Pond Golden Mother approved, I started to write about XX and criticize her. I wouldn't dare to criticize anyone without first receiving Golden Mother's approval.
Jade Pond Golden Mother said that XX's cultivation score is zero, that is, a goose egg. Golden Mother told me that about 99% of what XX says is rubbish. For example, XX made up a story about a past life relationship between Master Lianzi and a parrot.
Dharma Sister Xu Yaqi is here today. XX also told her about a past life relationship between her and a crab. XX claimed that a parrot was the reincarnation of Master Lianzi's Grandmother. In the case of Dharma Sister Xu Yaqi, XX told her that a crab was the reincarnation of her father from a past life. I don't know whether Xu Yaqi knelt down in front of the crab right on the spot and cried ''Abba, Abba…'' On second thought, since Xu Yaqi is not native Taiwanese, she might have called the crab ''Daddy'' while kneeling down.
I know more about incidents involving Dharma Sister Xu Yaqi. She once went to Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco with XX. While she and XX were standing in front of a pile of crabs, Xu Yaqi mentioned to XX that she suddenly had a slight stomach pain. XX told her to ''buy a crab'' so she did. XX then told Xu Yaqi, ''This crab is your father from a previous lifetime.''
There's also a story about Indonesian Master Lianzi, fishing nets, and a fish. In addition, from Dharma Sister Jiaxin of Malaysia we heard a story about a spider. There are stories about a spider, a crab, a parrot, a chameleon, and a fly. There are a great many stories of this kind. I asked Jade Pond Golden Mother, ''Are these stories true?'' Jade Pond Golden Mother said ''Tell XX to stand in front of a tiger and ask the tiger who he is reincarnated from.''
XX, stop your lying, Your stories are totally fabricated! I am advising you here and now, formally advising you, to get away from the ghosts you have cultivated. You better think of a way to get rid of those ghosts and keep them far from you. Far, far away.
This is my first warning to you. Second, I'm advising you to completely give up everything you currently have and find a suitable place to cultivate Guanyin Personal Deity Yoga. Diligently cultivate Guanyin until you attain spiritual union. You will know you have attained spiritual union when Guanyin actually appears in front of you. You must also remember to repent. It's not necessary to repent in front of Grandmaster. You may repent to Vajrasattva for all your lies. Once you have fully and sincerely repented, put all your effort into continuous cultivation of Guanyin Personal Deity Yoga until you attain spiritual union. You will then be liberated. This is all the advice I am giving you.
XX has gotten into the habit of lying to the point where lying is what's normal for her. Now it's very difficult for XX to come back from that. However, if she is able to turn herself around, truly and sincerely repent, give up ghosts, and cultivate Guanyin Personal Deity Yoga until attainment of authentic spiritual union, she can be liberated. For XX, this is the only way out.
XX, I have some sincere advice to you as your Guru. If you refuse to listen, however, there's not much I can do. I'm advising you to abandon ghosts and sincerely repent to Vajrasattva. Then cultivate until you attain spiritual union with Guanyin. This is how to escape from the deep pit you are in.
I would like to supplement today's teaching by mentioning that the seed syllable of Dark-faced Golden Mother is a black ''Hum.'' Her mantra is: ''Om. jin-mu. ha-ha-ha. hum-pei.'' Her mudra is identical to Jade Pond Golden Mother's. It's easy to visualize Dark-faced Golden Mother because her face is completely black. One can visualize her face as similar to Obama. Again, the mantra is ''Om. jin-mu. ha-ha-ha. hum-pei.''
Om Mani Padme Hum!
Translated by True Buddha Translation Team (This translation only includes content pertaining to Dark-faced Golden Mother Practice)
Translator: Liweih Wright
Editors: Greg Wright, Henry Wolf, DJ Chang