True Buddha School Lineage Mahabala Uncommon Practice
Dharma discourse given by His Holiness Living Buddha Lian-sheng Sheng-yen Lu on August 27, 2016, at the Amitabha Buddha Bardo Deliverance and Calamity Eradication Fall Ceremony organized by Seattle Ling Shen Ching Tze Temple.
With reverence we first pay homage to Reverend Liaoming, H.E. Dezhung Rinpoche, H.H. the 16th Karmapa, Vajra Acharya Thubten Dargye, the Three Jewels at the shrine, and the main deity of today's ceremony Amitabha Buddha.
Greetings to Shimu, Thubten Siddhi Rinpoche, Tenzin Gyatso Rinpoche, Masters, Senior Reverends, Reverends, Dharma Instructors, Dharma Assistants, chairpersons of local chapters, fellow school members, disciples watching on the internet, and all our honored guests who came here today to participate in this ceremony. Thank you all for coming.
The dharma practice transmitted today is Mahabala Heruka. There is a matter which is necessary to briefly address. I feel that our ceremonies are always excessively lengthy. Regardless of whether one is sitting on a dharma seat above or one is a disciple sitting below, everyone needs to endure more than two hours before they can listen to Grandmaster's dharma discourse; it is very uncomfortable. I myself find sitting here for more than two hours very uncomfortable. When a ceremony begins at night one must sit until late in the evening and if a ceremony begins in the afternoon it can last until nightfall. It takes up too much time.
In order to speed things up, in future ceremonies all non-essential mantras, speeches, and praise should be eliminated. Avoid making it too long. I feel bad for everyone who has to sit here in a daze. Just shorten the duration of future ceremonies as much as possible by conducting them in concise sequence, so that I won't get nervous about my dharma discourse. If there are only a few minutes remaining, what am I going to talk about?
Today's discourse is about Mahabala. However, there has been a great commotion even prior to this transmission. What has caused such a furor? It has mainly to do with Mahabala's color. There are those who say Mahabala is blue and those who say Mahabala is red. ''Grandmaster Lu wrote in his book that Mahabala is red so why have you all come up with a blue Mahabala?'' Everyone discussed this back and forth and even started to quarrel before I was able to say anything about it.
Mahabala is actually a truly extraordinary vajra dharma protector. How so? In Tibet, in Tibetan Buddhism, there are those who cultivate the practice of Mahabala. Only a few, however, as Mahabala is not a very well-known dharma protector. Even so, Mahabala of TBS is different from the Mahabala of Tibetan Buddhism. The Mahabala of Tibetan Buddhism does not hold a staff but rather a scepter. Lord Yama also carries a scepter, whereas TBS Mahabala holds a staff.
Furthermore, there have never been any images of a buddha holding a celestial whisk. This Mahabala of our school, however, holds a celestial whisk. In Tibetan Buddhism there are few that hold a celestial whisk. But our Mahabala does because he is the combination of three bodies: Amitabha Buddha, Golden Mother of the Jade Pond, and Smiling-face Ghost King ─ Mighty Ghost King. This Mahabala is found only in TBS! Mahabala's celestial whisk is the celestial whisk of Golden Mother and Mahabala himself is a mighty dharma protector. He carries Amitabha upon his crown, signifying his origin.
Amitabha Buddha has a red body and the Mahabala I described in my book is also red. So why are the statues of Mahabala blue? This is because Mahabala has two functions. One is for love and respect. That is the reason for red and there is a red Mahabala here.
There is also a blue Mahabala here. Amitabha is above as a crown ornament. There are two methods of placement. One is on a thangka, with Mahabala below and the highest deity above is his origin Amitabha. This is Mahabala carrying Amitabha above his crown as a crown ornament.
I often carry my four lineage gurus, Reverend Liaoming, H.E. Dezhung Rinpoche, H.H. the 16th Karmapa, and Vajra Acharya Thubten Dargye, above my crown as a crown ornament.
''Crown ornament'' doesn't mean the ornament is embroidered on the Five-buddha Crown but refers to the lineage from empty space above. This is called ''crown ornament.'' There are also ''crown ornaments'' that are embroidered on the Five-buddha Crown to signify that one is a master with Five Buddhas above.
Why do I use blue? The main reason is that Mahabala has the function of subjugation. Let me tell everyone that only TBS has this particular Mahabala. This Mahabala is not found anywhere else. Tibetan Buddhism does not have this Mahabala. Although the name may be the same, this Mahabala of our school is truly extraordinary and represents lineage.
If there are masters propagating the dharma, dharma propagating reverends, dharma instructors or other dharma propagating personnel who did not personally attend this ceremony today, they have already lost half the lineage. They will need to make up for this lost half of the lineage in the future.
For today's empowerment the offering is a voluntary amount; in the future, those masters, senior reverends, reverends, dharma instructors, and so on who want to come and receive the Mahabala empowerment to make up for their absence today must fill a bag of this size with US dollars, US 100 dollar bills, before they come. This is ''using price to control quantity.''
(*Note: In subsequent dharma talks, Grandmaster has explained that he regretted making this statement about ''filling a bag with money for the Mahabala empowerment.'' Grandmaster made this statement because he sensed the disregard for this dharma by disciples. Grandmaster is teaching disciples the necessity of repentance and his devotion to his own guru Reverend Liaoming, by following his instruction to him not to ask others for money and letting all offerings be of free-will amounts.)
Mahabala is a deity of our lineage. By one's absence today one shows disrespect to Mahabala who is the integration of Golden Mother of the Jade Pond, Amitabha Buddha, all Mighty Ghost Kings, and all the vajra dharma protectors.
What I'm saying is that if one was able to come, but failed to come without any justifiable reason, one does not respect this dharma and does not want this lineage. As I have mentioned, if one does not respect this dharma teaching, one will lose half of one's lineage. In the future you can call them half-masters, not true masters, because they did not come. Reverends and dharma instructors are likewise also half-reverends and half-dharma instructors.
If one doesn't have enough money or doesn't have the means to come to the US, this is forgivable. When one has explained one's reason, one can be pardoned. What reason does one have? If it so happened that the day of this dharma ceremony was one's father's birthday, one needed to celebrate one's father's birthday, this can be excused; or one's mother's birthday, this can be excused; one's parents are going through a divorce, this can be excused; one's parents are getting remarried, this can also be excused. These are justifiable reasons. If for instance one needed to sign a contract with others, and it just so happened to be arranged on this day, this can be excused. Many absences can be excused so that it wouldn't be necessary to fill a bag of this size with US 100 dollar bills, to use price to control quantity.
TBS has more and more masters, senior reverends, reverends, dharma instructors, and dharma assistants. As for any dharma teaching personnel who are not here today without a valid reason, off with their heads. Of course this is a figure of speech! By decapitation I just mean removal from one's post.
This dharma protector is of paramount importance. How could one have scant regard for this dharma and this deity! Mahabala is Golden Mother! Dharma spreading personnel who disregard Golden Mother, disregard Amitabha, and disregard Mahabala should all be ''decapitated'' regardless how many! TBS has a huge number of disciples and a considerable number of dharma spreading personnel. There's no need to hesitate to ''decapitate.'' In the future it will just be direct dismissal and discharge from their duties. If they stir up nonsense outside TBS it won't be any of our business.
Why is Mahabala blue? Because Mahabala has the effect of subjugation. Red is for magnetization. Mahabala may be depicted in yellow when the purpose is to enhance blessings or in white when the purpose is purification. Golden Mother of the Jade Pond has two colors: golden yellow and white. Either color is fine. Therefore, blue, red, yellow, and white are all fine and there is no need to argue over this.
Grandmaster is White Padmakumara but do I necessarily have to wear white? Today I am wearing blue! One can change clothes. Couldn't buddhas and bodhisattvas change colors too? Why be inflexible and stubborn?
When I talk about ''crown ornament,'' this does not always mean adornment on the crown, although some crowns are adorned. The crown worn by Guan Yin Bodhisattva for example may or may not have Amitabha embroidered on it, right? Regardless, her origin is still Amitabha! Everyone just think for a bit. Who is Padmasambhava? He is the integration of Shakyamuni Buddha, Amitabha Buddha, and Guan Yin Bodhisattva. Our Mahabala is the integration of Amitabha, Golden Mother of the Jade Pond and Mahabala; these three bodies combined in one. Only TBS has this deity.
Today, one has not only disrespected Mahabala, disrespected this dharma, and failed to attend this ceremony without a valid reason but one is also conducting another ceremony somewhere else at the same time Grandmaster is conducting a dharma ceremony here. As I have previously mentioned, when Grandmaster conducts a ceremony one may conduct one the next day. If however one conducts one's ceremony on the same day as Grandmaster, then ''beheading!'' (referring to dismissal)
Because we have a very large number of disciples, it is time to filter some out. In the past we were too lenient regarding precepts. In the future our attitude towards precepts will become stricter and stricker. If the presiding deity of the ceremony today had been a different deity I would not have said these words and would have just given the empowerment to everyone when the time came; one would still be able to receive the empowerment in other places and it would not matter. However, today's presiding deity is Mahabala, a vajra dharma protector, within whom there is Golden Mother, Amitabha, and Mahabala, the integration of these three. If you disregard this then you are disregarding lineage, and you can get out.
Mahabala's mudra is the Tarjani Mudra, which is namely the Wrathful Mudra signifying intense anger. This is why I am displaying great wrath today. This mudra expresses great wrath.
His seed syllable is also ''hum.'' The seed syllables of almost all the vajra dharma protectors, such as the five great vajra dharma protectors of Tibetan Buddhism, Hevajra, Guhyasamaja, Chakrasaṃvara, Yamantaka, and Mahottara Heruka, are ''hum.'' Mahabala's mantra is also very easy to remember: ''Om, ma-ha-ba-la-ye, so-ha.''
In Seattle there is a neighborhood called Ballard (''ba-la''). I first came to America on June 16th, 1982. The first place I stayed in Seattle when I immigrated to America was Ballard. What does ''ba-la'' mean in Sanskrit? Dharmapala. The word ''ba-la'' means ''dharma protector.''
At that time Master Lianhuo, Master Lianshi, and Master Lianzhu (would the three of you please stand up) also lived in Ballard. I asked Master Lianzhu to help me buy a house. At that time a house cost only $80,000 and that included a sizeable lot.
When we immigrated to America these three masters looked after us. In the beginning they lived right there in Ballard which was quite nice.
Because of ''ba-la'' (Ballard) I remember this mantra very clearly: ''Om, ma-ha-ba-la-ye, so-ha.''
At that time the place we lived was very close to Sakya Monastery. At Green Lake I met and became a disciple of a master, H.E. Dezhung Rinpoche. This meeting was predestined and for this I am very grateful.
Ballard was where I lived when I first came. It was my fate to live at the place of dharma protectors. Mahabala's mantra is: ''Om, ma-ha-ba-la-ye, so-ha.''
Mahabala has four arms. One arm holds a vajra staff, for striking. When it's somewhat longer in length it becomes a ''striking staff.'' One arm holds a celestial whisk. What is the purpose of a celestial whisk? It is for purification. What is the purpose of the staff? It's for knocking people out. One arm holds a vajra lasso. What is the purpose of the lasso? It's for tying things up. It's very simple. One can easily infer the meanings.
Those disciples who have violated precepts, have no remorse, never think to repent, and don't follow the Confucian teaching of ''reflecting upon one's actions three times a day'' should think over and reflect on whether what they have said or done was right or wrong. If one has no remorse and continues to violate precepts without ever thoughtfully reflecting on one's actions, Mahabala will knock one out with his staff, tie one up with his lasso, and haul one down to Avici Hell. As a result, one descends into the Ceaseless Hell. What does ''ceaseless'' mean? It means ceaseless in duration. If in this hell there was even so much as an instant for one to gasp for breath then this hell would not be called ''ceaseless.'' It would be called ''intermittent'' as one would be tormented for a certain time and would recover for a certain time.
''Ceaseless'' also means ceaseless in suffering, ceaseless pain without the slightest respite. Each of us will encounter the agony of illness in our bodies. A toothache for instance, which is not an illness, but when it hurts the pain can be excruciating. After all, however, this pain is intermittent and after a while you will recover. Therefore, ''Ceaseless Hell'' is so-named because it is the hell of continuous, uninterrupted agony, eternal suffering.
There is also ''ceaseless in space.'' What is ceaseless in space? It means as long as hell exists one will always be there. Not only is one there eternally, but also one can only see oneself everywhere and no one else. One is the only one there undergoing torture. This is ''ceaseless in space.''
Moreover, on every bed in the hell (there are even beds to lie on in hell!) it is oneself who is lying on each and every bed. Those lying there are all oneself. This is ''ceaseless in space.''
A hell which is ''ceaseless in duration,'' ''ceaseless in suffering,'' and ''ceaseless in space'' is called ''Ceaseless Hell.''
It is written in the Ksitigarbha Sutra that one day when this particular hell ends one will be transported to another hell. But when that hell is restored, one will return to it. This is known as ''ceaseless in space.''
Hence, one absolutely must not break precepts. One must keep one's body, speech and mind pure, not to mention killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, false speech, and intoxication, none of which are permissible. No drinking of alcohol, no killing, no stealing or robbery, no sexual misconduct, no false speech. One must not lie to others, use coarse language, or utter abusive words. One cannot even consume alcohol and that includes other intoxicants such as drugs.
Buddhist precepts are very strict. The precepts included in the Bodhisattva Precepts are more than two, three hundred in total. It is the same with precepts for monks and nuns. They also have several hundred precepts to abide by. One should review them carefully everyday.
How does one perform Mahabala's dharma for harmonization, love and respect? Is the staff used to knock someone unconscious? After one has mastered this practice, with just a gentle tap at the person whom one is interested in, the person becomes dazed and will fall in love with one. Then, one can use the vajra lasso to bind the object of affection and bring them home to get married. This is a practice for love and respect.
One application is to strike heavily with the staff followed by binding with the lasso and hauling down to hell. Another application is to daze the object of one's affection with a gentle tap causing them to fall in love with one. One then uses the lasso to tie the person up, brings them home, and marrieFor s them. This is the dharma practice for love and respect.
As for the celestial whisk, Golden Mother of the Jade Pond uses it to sweep one clean when one repents. Once purified, one can be reborn in the Buddha Pure Lands.
Lastly is the Tarjani Mudra, namely the Wrathful Mudra.
To summarize, Mahabala has four arms, three of which hold dharma implements and one of which forms the Tarjani Mudra.
In Vajrayana, cultivation typically starts with seven sequential steps, such as the Great Homage, Mandala Offering, Fourfold Refuge, Four Immeasurable Vows, Armour Protection, Repentance and so on. There are seven steps in total which one must perform. After completing these steps one performs visualization. To visualize Mahabala emerging, a lotus transforms from the Sanskrit seed syllable ''bang.'' Within the lotus is a sun disc. Within the sun disc is a red ''hum'' syllable, a blue ''hum'' syllable, or a yellow ''hum'' syllable. The ''hum'' syllable radiates light and Mahabala appears.
As I have mentioned, if one is invoking Mahabala of a certain color, then one visualizes the deity in that color. Mahabala wears a tiger skin skirt and sunlight jewels on his crown. These sunlight jewels are white, extremely white, and there are five of them. At the very top is Amitabha Buddha. In a thangka, if there is embroidery above Mahabala, then it is Amitabha.
This deity is jewel-like, as red as a ruby, as blue as a sapphire, as yellow as a citrine gemstone, or as white as a diamond.
The light of the ''hum'' syllable radiates outward invoking all deities of the universe, then shines directly on the cultivator. ''Om, ah, hum.'' and the cultivator transforms into Mahabala. At this time one must recite the mantra, ''Om, ma-ha-ba-la-ye, so-ha.'' 108 times. One then enters samadhi.
In our dharma practice we first perform visualization, and then recite the mantra. While visualizing we form the mudra with our hands. The mudra represents body purification, visualization represents mind purification, and reciting the mantra represents speech purification. By using these three methods of purification one merges with Mahabala. When one becomes accomplished in this practice one will have within oneself both the power of subjugation and the power of magnetization.
I previously mentioned that Grandmaster will talk about subjugation. If you are a master who is also conducting a ceremony today, then ''decapitation'' (dismissal). ''Decapitation'' is not meant to be so serious. It only means dismissal from one's post. One is no longer a master. Take note of this, one is no longer a vajra master! Therefore from now on, do not wear the robes of a vajra master. Do not wear the Five-buddha Crown anymore. Wear it to show other people but don't wear it in front of TBS disciples. I have said this clearly, do you hear me?
Let me read a joke. In the morning a person goes to a fish market to buy fish and asks, ''Boss, how much are you selling this fish for?'' The boss replies, ''NT450/lb.'' The customer says, ''That's too expensive.'' The boss points to a fish at the side, and says, ''This one only costs NT50/lb.'' The customer asks, ''Is this fish dead?'' The boss says, ''Of course it's dead!'' The customer thinks it's still too expensive and did not make the purchase. The customer then asks the boss, ''How did the fish die?'' ''Because no one bought it, it died of exasperation.''
The fact that Grandmaster is still alive today is not bad. These dharma teaching personnel have almost irritated me to death. If so, it would be worthless.
Our TBS is very strict! TBS will become increasingly strict, increasingly rigorous. As I have said, in the future, if there is any wrongdoing, without any further warning, just remove one's Five-buddha Crown. If one wants to go out and form a gang, do as one wishes; whatever gang one wants to establish is one's own business. TBS will not recognize it. Let me say this. If in the future one continues to engage in trickery and violate precepts, then just go away and do your own thing. There is no need to stay in TBS.
On Sunday, little sister accompanied papa to the zoo to see the lions. When they arrived at the lion enclosure, little sister excitedly asked many questions about this and that. Suddenly she seemed uneasy. Papa asked her what the matter was, and little sister said, ''Papa, I'm a little scared. If the lions escape from their enclosure and eat you up, what bus should I take to go home?'' This is inability to discern between important and trivial matters, not having a sense of priority.
Today's TBS must discern between trivial and important matters. If you have seriously violated a precept then you will be asked to leave immediately. Go ahead, leave, do as you please, TBS will not keep you. Minor offenses can still be forgiven, but grave wrongdoings will require expulsion.
Xiaowang opened a coffin shop. A man went to his shop to look at the merchandise. ''Boss, this coffin costs double the price of that coffin, but on closer look, they don't appear to be that different!'' After hearing this, Xiaowang opened the coffin, and said to the man, ''Please try lying inside. The coffin that costs double the price is much more comfortable!''
What is the meaning of this joke? It's all the same to a dead person, but there is still a distinction between what is trivial and what is important. Buddhism talks about the bardo state, which refers to the soul; will your soul be able to be reborn in the pure lands of the buddhas? That will be much more comfortable. If you arrive in hell you will suffer greatly.
The material surface does not matter. What do you still wish for? In the Heart Sutra Buddha has explained: ''Because of nothing to be gained, one becomes a bodhisattva.'' It is because there is ''nothing to be obtained'' that one is able to become a bodhisattva.
Because of ''nothing obtainable'' a bodhisattva knows that in this world there is nothing to be gained. A bodhisattva is thus able to sacrifice himself for sentient beings. This is the meaning of ''bodhisattva.'' If one does not mean to benefit sentient beings but instead robs them of their money and property… how can one be at peace with oneself if one tricks other people out of their wealth and possessions? In one's heart one must understand how to restrain oneself, how to not endlessly crave.
As long as one's desire is to manage dharma affairs smoothly, to facilitate propagating the dharma, or to establish one's own Lei Tsang Temple, then that is permissible. To seek from sentient beings for the use of sentient beings is fine. But taking from sentient beings to use for oneself is not permissible.
I am stating things simply. This is a principle that everyone can easily comprehend. Presently, is one a dharma teaching personnel who cons sentient beings out of their money? Or is one using the money of sentient beings to save and deliver them? This is a matter which you must think over clearly.
If one is using the money of sentient beings to save and deliver sentient beings, this is alright. If one is deceiving sentient beings out of their money to use for oneself, then this is not permissible. May everyone take note of this point.
Today's discourse is equivalent to a talk about precepts. Let me tell everyone, Mahabala is actually the vajra dharma protector of precepts. If one is a miscreant, after knocking one out Mahabala will use the lasso to tie one up and haul one to Avici Hell! Ceaseless in duration, ceaseless in space, and no possibility of ever getting out. Once in the Ceaseless Hell even rebirth becomes impossible.
Grandmaster has traveled to Avici Hell. I saw several skeletons wearing Five-buddha Crowns sitting there. They were all TBS disciples. A new hell has been set up specially for the dharma propagating personnel of TBS. Several inhabitants of this hell are skeletons wearing Five-buddha Crowns.
Let me tell you, TBS disciples who accompanied me also saw this scene. ''Look, these masters, they are all in hell and wearing Five-buddha Crowns.''
Do not use the Five Buddhas on one's crown as a pretext. The Five Dhyani Buddhas do not sit atop one's head, they must dwell in one's heart. Vairocana Buddha is at one's third-eye chakra, Amitabha Buddha at one's throat chakra, Akshobhya Buddha at one's heart chakra, Ratnasambhava Buddha at one's naval chakra, Amoghasiddhi Buddha at one's sacral chakra. Does one have these five buddhas within oneself always? If not, just wearing the Five-buddha Crown is futile.
There were two women who each praised their own husband. The first said, ''My husband has great ability. When swimming he can dive into the water and not come up until two hours later.'' The second lady said, ''What's so special about that? My husband has even greater ability. He submerged into the ocean last year and has still not come up.''
Let me tell everyone. If one has violated precepts, as long as Mahabala uses his celestial whisk to sweep over one's body, one will become clean again. Because one has reflected upon one's mistakes and repented, then let bygones be bygones. Taiwan had a slogan in the past: ''As for spies that surrender on their own, let the past be forgotten.''
Once the celestial whisk has swept over one, one will become clean again. Let me tell everyone what repentance is. ''Clothes with ten years of grime,'' your clothes have not been washed for ten years. ''Get all cleansed within a day,'' the clothes will become clean. Clothes that are ten years old have collected a lot of dirt but once in the wash they will become clean. No matter how heavy one's crimes are, as long as the celestial whisk is here, with a single sweep one will be restored to cleanliness and will be able to float out of the water.
In the following joke both characters have violated precepts. Both the husband and the wife love to drink. One day the husband tells the wife, ''The two of us go drinking at the bar every night. If this goes on it would not be good, we should save a little for our living.'' ''But how should we save?'' asks the wife. The husband replies, ''Very simple. From today onwards I will go by myself. You do not need to come.''
Drinking alcohol is a violation of precepts. Consuming drugs is a violation of precepts. This is because drugs and alcohol will numb one's senses, cause one to become addicted, and make one unable to restrain one's spending. Hence drugs are a violation of precepts. This includes smoking, which makes one unable to cultivate the inner practices. We can see this by looking into an incense burner. Every day we burn a thin stick of incense. Remove the cover of the incense burner to take a look and you will see that the inside of the cover is completely black and even drips oil. You can see how your entire respiratory tract will become black from smoking and even drip with oil! It will be clogged up soon. Therefore, smoking and drinking are not allowed. I think those who smoke and drink have all left already. No smoking, no drinking, no drugs. These are all bad.
A father asked his son, ''Can you point out which of these two birds is a sparrow and which is a swallow?'' ''I am not able to point it out, but I can say it,'' says the son. The father says, ''Okay, say it!'' The son replies, ''The one next to the sparrow must be a swallow and the one next to the swallow must be a sparrow.''
What is the meaning of this joke? Do not get close to people who are contaminated or else when the time comes, no one will be able to tell whether one is a swallow or a sparrow.
We have a Chinese proverb that goes: ''One who is near vermilion turns red, one who is near ink turns black.'' It is not him coming to pollute you, but you going over to let him pollute you. When you believe your cultivation has reached a certain level, ''My stability is very good,'' then alright! You get close to people who are polluted and eventually, over time, you will also become polluted. Hence Vajrayana also has this precept: ''With regard to those who violate precepts, if one is close to these people, one will also become one who violates precepts.'' Consequently, there is a need for distance and separation, because those who have violated precepts will become contagious and infect other people.
Absolutely do not violate precepts or be in the company of those who violate precepts unless one is Mahabala and has already developed stability and power. ''I am forever pure. I go over to you to save you.'' Otherwise, it is game over because everyone will be dragged into hell if one who has violated precepts subsequently fools other TBS disciples into falling into traps and succeeds in having them follow him.
TBS masters should not excessively crave fame or wealth. It is not permissible to crave wealth nor is it permissible to crave fame. It is even more unacceptable to crave sensual pleasures. Does one have true attainment? If one has genuine awareness, one may. If one has accomplished T鐷al, one can. But if one does not have genuine skill then you will all descend to hell together. This is a matter of precepts.
Western medicine treats ''biao,'' symptoms, while Chinese medicine treats ''ben,'' root causes. When one gets treatment of both Western and Chinese medicine, one turns into a ''biao ben,'' a specimen. It's like a person (pronounced ''ren'' in Chinese) who practices with a sword (pronounced ''jian'' in Chinese) and finally one day succeeds. The ''jian'' and ''ren'' merge and turn into a ''jian ren.'' (the phrase can mean ''swordsman'' or ''despicable person'' in Chinese.) This is contamination. One has become contaminated but still does not realize it?
Let me simply explain something. We do not make a distinction between the following two types of clothing. As Grandmaster has mentioned one may wear a meditation robe. Master Lezhi wears a meditation robe. If one wears a meditation robe there is nothing wrong about it. This is fine. Where is Ah-hai? Master Lianhai, please stand up. Oh, it happens that he is right next to him. He wears a precept robe. Wearing either robe is fine.
As I have said, if one likes to wear meditation robes then one can wear meditation robes. If one likes to wear precept robes then one can wear precept robes. Wearing whichever robe one likes best is fine, right? This is only the surface. One robe represents precepts, each square represents precepts. Those who wear precept robes signify that they abide by the precepts while those who wear meditation robes signify that they meditate. The meditation robes represent that they are now learning meditation, that everyday they enter into samadhi and hence they wear meditation robes. Therefore, either robe is fine. Those who wear precept robes cannot criticize those who wear meditation robes while those who wear meditation robes cannot criticize those who wear precept robes.
Precepts are of utmost importance. As Buddha was about to enter into nirvana he said: ''Rely upon precepts as your teacher.'' What happens in the future when I am not around? Take the precepts as one's teacher and use the precepts as one's guru. It's only by abiding by precepts that one will be able to engender stability and then be able to wear meditation robes. However, this isn't necessarily so because in Tibetan Buddhism they all wear meditation robes. They don't wear precept robes.
In Chinese Buddhism they all wear precept robes not meditation robes. For one to criticize the other would be wrong, just as different vehicles of Vajrayana, Mahayana, and Hinayana shouldn't criticize each other.
Whether one cultivates Pure Land, precepts, Vajrayana, Tantrayana, or Zen it is all buddhadharma and fine. Do not criticize one another. This is a very important point.
A wife controls money very strictly and is the only one who knows the security access code of a safe in the house. One day the husband urgently needed money and asked his wife. She agreed. The husband asked the wife ''What is the security access code?'' The wife replied ''The date we first kissed.'' The husband dared not continue asking and could only look for a friend to borrow money.
What is the significance of this joke? It is for everyone to remember all precepts. The sangha have their precepts and there are also Bodhisattva Precepts for laypersons. When you go back, carefully review your monastic vows. Go back and take a good look at your Bodhisattva Precepts for lay bodhisattvas.
You might think ''I like to receive the Five Precepts, Eight Precepts, Ten Precepts,'' even more precepts, and eventually Bodhisattva Precepts. Bodhisattva Precepts are significant. There are more than two hundred precepts so one should go back and memorize them carefully. Don't claim you didn't know it was a violation of precepts. When you go back memorize the precepts thoroughly, imprint them in your mind. Whatever one does, one must not break the precepts.
This Mahabala of our school is a deity of precepts so I am specially mentioning this today.
Mahabala's hair is swept upwards and is gold in color, bound up majestically by a dragon. His right leg is in a position similar to that of other dharma protectors. The standing posture of the right and left leg are the same as other dharma protectors and he wears a tiger skin skirt.
Yesterday I received a mobile text message from a fraud syndicate wanting me to quickly transfer money to a specific bank account. Being bored I replied with a text message: ''Have already transferred 500,000. Please check.'' Today I received a reply, ''Have gone to the bank three times but have yet to receive your money, you are a liar.''
Let me tell everyone, in this world there are many fraud syndicates. They are now a famous product of Taiwan. Virtually all those arrested in various parts of the world are fraud syndicates from Taiwan.
Our TBS is genuine. I must specially emphasize that it is true, it is True Buddha, because what Grandmaster has seen is genuine. What I have heard is also genuine.
When I first mentioned Padmakumara, nobody believed, absolutely no one believed - what Padmakumara? No one had ever heard of it, had ever heard of this Buddhist epithet, as it is not a bodhisattva! Bodhisattvas are also known as ''youths.'' Now in LA there is an exhibition featuring the Mogao Caves and there are Padmakumaras who form mudras exactly the same as that formed by Grandmaster; one hand forms the Dharma-teaching Mudra while the other hand forms the Lotus-holding Mudra! They are all Padmakumaras. Gansu, Ningxia, as well as Lanzhou University are still doing research on Lotus Youths (Padmakumaras). Cave 314 is named the Cave of Lotus Youths.
Even before these Padmakumaras were discovered I had already been talking about them for 40 years. There is now finally evidence that there are indeed Padmakumaras. What I have been saying is all true!
Let me tell you this. This Mahabala is a vajra dharma protector manifested from the swirling heart of Padmakumara. Mahabala is the integration of Golden Mother, Amitabha Buddha and Mahabala. There is a mark of Mahabala on my hand. Mahabala is on the thumb of my right hand. There is the form of a vajra dharma protector there. It is very distinct.
There are no car wheels in car wheel cake, this I can tolerate; no sun in suncake, this I can also tolerate. There is no wife in wife cake, this I can tolerate; no moon in mooncake, this I can tolerate; no babies in baby oil, this I can tolerate. But if there are no ''xiong,'' breasts, in ''xiong zhao,'' bras, how can this be tolerated?
Let me say this to everyone. If there are no precepts in Buddhism how will you be able to tolerate this? If there were no precepts in Buddhism then Buddhism would be a fraud syndicate. It is precisely because there are precepts in Buddhism that Buddhism is not a fraud syndicate.
Today TBS must promote precepts. Each and every dharma teaching personnel must advocate and encourage abiding by precepts. If there are no precepts, TBS is a fraud syndicate. If disciples do not abide by precepts, TBS is a fraud syndicate. It isn't complicated. How can one tolerate it?
In the end even this old man will lose his temper! Grandmaster is 72 years old so can be considered ''an old man.'' This ''old man'' is about to become enraged! My patience has been tried to the limit.
From now on in TBS all dharma spreading personnel must propagate precepts when they go out to disseminate dharma. Bring out the TBS precepts booklet to read and review it. TBS precepts are outlined in a small book, a little booklet of precepts. When one goes out one must spread precepts. I myself must not only abide by precepts but must also teach my disciples to abide by precepts. This is very important.
Today's Mahabala is actually the vajra dharma protector of precepts. In Mahabala practice, TBS disciples all know that we need to have the mantra ''Om, ma-ha-ba-la-ye, so-ha,'' and his image visualization. If one seeks love and respect, visualize red Mahabala; subjugation, blue; purification, white; and fortune and wealth, yellow. This should be quite easy to understand.
A neighbor's son was originally working at a shop selling cold beverages. He later on went to work as a salesperson at a shop selling pesticides. Unexpectedly, he was laid off the day he started work. The neighbor asked his son, ''What happened?'' His son replied,''After a customer bought a bottle of pesticide, I asked him ''Do you need a straw?'' It had become a habit after working at the cold beverage shop.
I am telling you, violating precepts will become a habit resulting in one violating more and more serious precepts. Everyone knows not to break precepts, not to mention breaking more and more precepts. When people start to talk about your breaking of precepts it will be unbearable to hear. Because Grandmaster has never really intervened and the True Buddha Foundation is also not able to exert control as we have no police, public security, or court to pass judgment, so what happens then? Free evaluation of evidence through inner conviction.
At night, when one is in front of the shrine, one needs to think, ''Have I done what is right?'' Sometimes one needs to reflect. If one has done something wrong then it needs to be corrected.
I am especially talking about precepts today because Mahabala is the deity of precepts. Mahabala is the vajra dharma protector of precepts. In the future when masters go out to disseminate dharma, if needing money to build a temple, they can accept what is given freely from sentient beings and use it for sentient beings. This is permissible. They themselves also need to live! Monks depend on offerings from others, from sentient beings, so they need to give blessings to sentient beings. Because of having received their offerings, monks must not only bless sentient beings but must also explain the sutras and recite Buddhist epithets and mantras for them.
It is only mutual benefit and reciprocity when one passes on one's blessings as well as knowledge of buddhadharma to sentient beings. It's not necessarily asking that one only ''give.'' As former Vice President Wu Den-yih said, ''One must care for buddhas and also for the belly.'' Wu Den-yih spoke essentially about this principle when visiting Lei Tsang Temple. It is not correct for one to neglect everything else and let everything crumble after learning buddhadharma. Otherwise, not only will one not succeed in learning buddhadharma but one will also starve to death.
''Come in to have a meal or else we will both starve to death!'' This is a sign written by a restaurant owner. Come inside to eat. Otherwise not only you will starve, I will too. Remember! There is reciprocity when one receives money from sentient beings and uses it for sentient beings without anything left. This is the proper thing to do.
Cousin was preparing to study abroad. He went to the embassy to arrange for his visa, and the official asked him: ''What year did you graduate?'' Cousin had originally intended to say the year 2000 but instead, the moment he opened his mouth he blurted out, ''2000 years ago.'' Unexpectedly, the embassy official exclaimed and said, ''Ah! Then you are a student of Confucius. ''
Today's discourse was on precepts. From now on bring forth the precepts of monastics and TBS, take them out to read so as to prevent violating them. If one has violated precepts then one must repent. After repentance, with a sweep of the celestial whisk one will be purified. Sometimes during repentance there will be ''precept signs.'' When these ''precept signs'' appear, everything will be auspicious and complete.
Today's discourse will end here.
Om mani padme hum.
Translated by TBTTs
Editors: Henry Wolf, DJ Chang