(Given at Rainbow Temple, North Bend, Washington, USA on July 7, 2013 after the Amitayus Fire Offering. Translated and edited by Janny Chow, Proofread by Christine Chan)
With reverence, we first pay homage to lineage masters Reverend Liaoming, His Eminence Sakya Zhengkong Rinpoche, His Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa, Vajra Acharya Thubten Dargye, the Three Jewels at the shrine, and Amitayus Buddha, the deity of today's homa.
Shimu, masters, dharma instructors, reverends, dharma lecturers, dharma assistants, directors of local chapters, fellow school members, students from across the internet, and our guests of honor today: Mrs. Ambassador Liao dharma sister Judy, True Buddha Foundation's accountant dharma sister Teresa and husband, dharma sister Xue Wang Shumei, wife of Mr. Xue Shenghua, the chairman of the board of Overseas Credit Guarantee Fund of OCAC, dharma sister Xu Yaqi, producer of the Taiwan CTI television program Light the Lamp in Your Heart, Dr. Zhuang Junyao, sleep specialist Dr Zhang Dewei and his mother dharma sister Yuan Chunling, Mr. and Mrs. Lin Hanxuan and their daughter from Singapore, Mr. and Mrs. Qiu Hanchun also from Singapore. Greetings to everyone! Everyone here is an honored guest. In Taiwan, I would greet everyone in Taiwanese. Here, how is everyone (in Cantonese)? There are many Cantonese students here.
Today we conducted a fire offering to Amitayus Tathagata, a manifestation of Amitabha. A special feature of Amitayus Tathagata is the nectar vase in his hand. The nectar inside the vase can be poured and instilled into our bodies. When one's entire body is filled with this nectar, karmic defilements such as illnesses and hardships will be eliminated. Amitayus is red, as Amitabha himself is red. Amitayus is a deity of long life. When you practice the Amitayus Sadhana often, you can attain longevity. You may want both long life and good health but often you cannot have both. Amitayus can give you both long life and good health. When Tibetans give blessings, they always wish the other person good health and longevity as well as auspiciousness and wish fulfillment. Wow! Everything good is included then.
I have looked over the supplication list. If you want long life, staying healthy is important. I hope this Amitayus fire offering will eliminate your karmic defilements and illnesses. Because Amitayus is Amitabha himself, he can also guide spirits to rebirth in Sukhavati. Amitayus eliminates all karmic defilements and enhances good karmic consequences. Most importantly, he enables people in love to develop lasting relationships as a couple. This is also symbolized by the color red which represents harmony and magnetization! If only one person is in love with another but the feeling is not mutual, then his power will not work. You must increase your good affinity with the other person before you are able to become a couple. We hope people of affinity will attain great love. Like the lamps (candles) offered during the homa, may your luminosity expand to infinity; like the honey offered, may all bitterness transform to sweetness and joy. We do not want to become lovesick, as that is very painful. We want lovers to be able to marry one another. This is ideal. This is harmony. Also, we often offer yellow colored fruits and cookies to increase our resources and fortune until there is no wanting. You will be awarded overtime pay, a salary increase, and lottery winnings. To have bread as well as love, auspiciousness as well as wish fulfillment, is the best thing. Each item offered has its significance. The offering of flowers signifies the wish for eternal youth. There were also offerings of lipstick, foundation powder, and rouge during the homa, and their significance is the wish for eternal youth for everyone. In praying for the elimination of karmic defilements, we also wish to remove all physical and mental illnesses. May Amitayus bestow us auspiciousness and wish fulfillment; may our enemies and creditors spontaneously move far away from us; only then will one not suffer. We wish for situations wherein people of good affinity gather together, people of bad affinity disperse, and we have more auspiciousness, happiness, and longer life. May those who registered as primary supplicants as well as those participating in this ceremony today all attain abundance and merits. We have already prepared a text for the Amitayus Sadhana. If you want to practice this sadhana, you may contact the True Buddha Foundation to obtain a copy. This sadhana has its mantra, image for visualization, and mudra. The mudra can be the Meditation Mudra or a mudra holding the longevity vase.
Now we will continue to discuss the Nine Stages of Great Perfection of Tantrayana. I will introduce Jigme Lingpa today. My original intent was to introduce the lineage masters up to Padmasambhava, but since two other masters also had connections, I must mention them too. One is Longchenpa whose work of Longchen Nyingthig, the pith-instructions of Nine Stages of Great Perfection, is still in circulation. The other is Jigme Lingpa who has received great empowerment from Longchenpa, and is an important figure in disseminating Longchen Nyingthig. So I must also tell you about Jigme Lingpa.
Jigme Lingpa was born in 1730, an era relatively close to us. He was very smart at birth. I mentioned yesterday that Grand Master was very dumb at birth. I was born in 1945, which happened to be the time when the American B-25 bombers took action against (the Japanese in) Taiwan. The Shueishang Airport at Chiayi County was a main target, so Chiayi was also bombed. My grandfather Lu Chang was originally very wealthy, and he owned all the houses on one street as well as land at the Dongshih district in Chiayi. In 1945, my family fled Chiayi and settled in Niuchouxi, a rural area where Houhu of Chiayi is today. My grandfather had left us a chicken farm there. I was born inside a chicken coop. Jesus was born in a manger, and Grand Master Lu was born in a coop. We share some similarities. Jesus was born in a manger at Bethlehem when his parents traveled there for a census registration. After Jesus was born, Mary's boyfriend felt very sad. They had not been married, and Mary had given birth to Jesus. What could have happened? His name was Joseph and he was a carpenter. Joseph wanted to leave Mary, but the Holy Spirit told him that the baby was conceived of the Holy Spirit, and that he should not abandon them. So, they remained together. That was why when Jesus returned to his hometown to preach, people pointed to him, ''That is the carpenter's son!'' It is hard to deliver people in your own hometown. Grand Master's lot is not that different from Jesus. He was born in a manger while I was born in a chicken coop.
I have told this story before. I was born early, seven months after I was conceived. At first my father was very happy: ''Wow! I finally have a son.'' When he told a relative this news, the relative said to him, ''You have only been married for seven months, and the baby is here. Whose baby is it after all?'' My father was then very unhappy. My lot is very similar to that of Jesus. I was born premature and did not get adequate nutrition in childhood, thus I am quite short. My short stature has been the bane of my life! I should have prayed to Deva King Vidradhaka (whose name means encouraging growth) of the Four Deva Kings to help me. Actually, many people have seen my spirit body in their dreams. The White Mahapadmakumara Grand Master Lu is as tall as Mount Meru. Amitayus Tathagata, please bless me so that my fortune will grow and my height will grow in my late years. Amituofo! Fortune has to grow! Harmony has to grow! Wisdom has to grow! Body height has to grow too! This then matches the word ''long'' or ''growth'' (in Amitayus, the Long Lifespan or Infinite Life Buddha)!
When I was small, I was malnourished. Babies usually drink either mother's or cow's milk. What did I drink? I drank something called mi-fu in Taiwanese. Mi-fu are the remains of ground rice mixed with water. I was malnourished until middle school. But I loved sports. I exercised with the horizontal bar, parallel bars, and rings. One time after a bath, my father saw me in a pair of shorts and exclaimed, ''How has this kid, with nothing to eat, been able to build such a body!'' I seemed to have been born with a steel frame, and I worked hard to build up muscle. I have kept this up till now.
Jigme Linpa was very smart as a novice monk. His family was not rich, he was sent to the monastery to serve as a novice monk. My family was very poor. Although my grandfather had been rich and owned an entire street, after the American military airplanes bombed Taiwan which was a colony of Japan then, all my grandfather's houses burnt down.
Jigme Lingpa has taken refuge in many teachers. At the age of thirteen, he met his principal teacher Tukchok Dorje. This master treated him very well and taught him the Kagyu Mahamudra practices. However, Jigme Lingpa was not satisfied. He went on to learn from many teachers and gained a great deal of Tantrayana knowledge. He has attained empowerment to practice almost all tutelary deities. At the age of twenty-eight, he entered retreat. At this retreat, as soon as he entered into meditation, his head cracked open. This is usually a very painful process. But, it was a pleasant experience for him. Like the unfurling of a lotus, revealing the sun and moon discs at the middle of this lotus, a noble being appeared. This noble being was King Trisong Detsen, one of the Tsanpos of Tibet. Two to three generations after Trisong Detsen, there were no more Tsanpos.
King Trisong Detsen, sitting on the lotus, spoke to Jigme Lingpa, ''I have the Dzogchen dharma which was transmitted to me by Padmasambhava. You, Jigme Lingpa, are my other emanation.'' Jigme Lingpa was the reincarnation of King Trisong Detsen.
Why do I have to talk about Jigme Lingpa? Because he was the reincarnation of King Trisong Detsen. I myself am also a reincarnation of King Trisong Detsen (audience applause). Just imagine, the head cracking open to transform into a lotus with sun and moon discs inside. King Trisong Detsen appeared inside the sun and moon discs. It was then he revealed that he was a lineage holder of the Nine Stages of Great Perfection. The next moment while sitting in mediation, the lotus closed, and Jigme Lingpa immediately realized he was the successor to the Nine Stages of Great Perfection lineage. This revelation was remarkable and very soon he was able to attain realization in the Dzogchen practice which made him very happy. At that time, another great adept also appeared in a vision to explain the Nine Stages of Great Perfection to him. This adept was Longchenpa, who was even greater. Hence, Jigme Lingpa was a lineage holder of Dzogchen as well as the reincarnation of King Trisong Detsen. Padmasambhava has placed the terma of Dzogchen in the mind-stream of King Trisong Detsen. Since Jigme Lingpa was reincarnated from King Trisong Detsen, he naturally was able to understand the Dzogchen teachings. It is similarly for this reason that Grand Master is able to understand the Dzogchen teachings.
Just like Longchenpa, Jigme Lingpa also wrote many scholarly works. An excellent work is The Treasury of Enlightened Qualities from the Dzogchen teachings stored in his mind. In Grand Master's mind, there is also a treasury of Dzogchen teachings. With the blessings of Longchenpa who had manifested to explain the teachings to him, Jigme Lingpa wrote many works. This lineage holder also disseminated widely the Dzogchen teachings, a very remarkable accomplishment. He divided Dzogchen into two different categories: pith-instructions of the great expanse and pith-instructions of the great profound.
Padmasambhava taught both King Trisong Detsen and Yeshe Tsogyal. Padmasambhava and Yeshe Tsogyal were together, one being a dharma king, while the other was the dharma king's consort. The three of them were holders of the Dzogchen lineage, a very remarkable thing.
Tantrayana has four supreme teachings. In Nyingma, it is Dzogchen. In Kagyu, it is Mahamudra. In Sakya, it is the Great Perfect Wisdom. In Gelug, it is the Yamantaka. Grand Master is a holder of these four lineages (audience applause). So, when you take refuge in Grand Master, you have lineages from the four sects. Grand Master has four root gurus. The first is Reverend Liaoming who has received his Nyingma lineage from Norlha Hutukutu Rinpoche, originally from western Kham. It was in Sichuan where Rev. Liaoming obtained the lineage of Dzogchen from Norlha Rinpoche. My second root guru is Sakya Zhengkong Rinpoche (H.E. Dezhung Rinpoche). He has taught me the Great Perfect Wisdom, so Grand Master also has lineage in Lam Dre [the Path and its Result] and Hevajra. The third root guru is H.H. the Sixteenth Karmapa who has bestowed the Five Buddha Wisdoms Empowerment, the lineage from the Five Dhyani Buddhas, upon me. Kagyu has the Mahamudra practice. Where does the Mahamudra lineage come from? From Precious Intent Bodhisattva. Adi-Buddha has transmitted the Mahamudra practice to Precious Intent Bodhisattva. Who is Precious Intent Bodhisattva? White Mahapadmakumara (audience applause). White Mahapadmakumara then transmitted it to the Five Dhyani Buddhas. Then the Sixteenth Karmapa again bestowed this empowerment upon Grand Master. Mahamudra practices are divided into four phases: one-pointedness, simplicity, one taste, and non-meditation. The fourth root guru is Vajra Acharya Thubten Dargye who has transmitted the Yamantaka practices to me. What are the Yamantaka practices? They are the very complete ''Thirteen-Deity'' practices, including Kalachakra Sadhana and various Buddhist practices. So, Grand Master has collected lineages from all four sects of Nyingma, Gelug, Kagyu, and Sakya (audience applause). After coming here, there is no need to go anywhere else.
A customer complained to the waitress, ''Miss, the food in your restaurant tastes awful.'' The waitress replied, ''Is it really?'' The customer said, ''If you don't believe me, ask your boss to taste it himself.'' The waitress replied, ''I am sorry, our boss has gone to the restaurant next door for dinner.''
Let me tell everyone, this restaurant I have opened has everything to offer. I guarantee that you will be well fed and satisfied. You will be surprised by the variety and cheap prices. We have everything, and there is no need to eat anywhere else.
I wrote early on a book entitled The Great Perfection of Tantrayana, my 56th book. In it is a discussion of the Innermost Essence of Dzogchen, Nyingthig. Why did I write about it at that time? Because I already knew it at that time. When you read that book, you will see that it is about the Innermost Essence of Dzogchen which is very profound. What Grand Master has shared with you is something rare and precious.
A husband said to his wife, ''My dear, guess what I bought for you?'' The wife answered indifferently, ''What?'' The husband points to a white car parked not too far away, ''Do you see that white car?'' The wife became excited, ''I see it. You actually bought me a car?'' The husband then said, ''I bought you a toothbrush of the same color.''
What Grand Master is giving everyone is very precious (audience applause). It is not a daily necessity item rather it is a precious gift that will enable you to attain rebirth to the Buddha Pure Lands, to be liberated from the cycles of transmigrations.
Grand Master is not a lunatic! I am not saying words of madness. Take a look at book 56. It is written there: ''Revelation of the Supreme Nyingma Practices Transmitted by Padmasambhava Himself.'' Did Padmasambhava transmit the Dzogchen practices to Grand Master? The era when he was alive is a long time ago. Although he lived to one thousand years old, I was not born then! So how did I obtain the Dzogchen lineage? There were two empowerments. In the first, he brought me to an ancient tomb site in Nepal to bestow the empowerment. He swallowed me, then ejected me from his secret chakra. Next lights emitted from all his skin pores and these lights entered my body through my skin pores. This is a very great empowerment! Empowerment through the skin pores. After swallowing me through the mouth and ejecting me through the secret chakra, I was reborn as a completely new person! Also, I am a reincarnation of King Trisong Detsen. Hence, the treasure hidden in my mind-stream is ''Revelation of the Supreme Nyingma Practices Transmitted by Padmasambhava Himself.'' Book 56 already contains these words. I am not making these statements because I am drunk.
Here is a joke. A woman was using the restroom when a drunkard came in and heard the sound of urination. He said, ''Don't pour any more. I really cannot drink anymore.'' The woman was so scared that she stopped urinating, but when she could not hold it anymore, she farted. The drunkard then said, ''Wow! Another bottle opened!''
Grand Master is not a drunkard, and I am telling the truth. I am not bluffing. I discussed Dzogchen in book 56 when I was still very young, but I had already obtained the empowerment at the time.
Jigme Lingpa had a recurring dream that his body expanded until he could lie down between two mountains while many people walked over him as a bridge. It is strange! When I was small, I also often had this same dream! It was a strange dream, and I have written about it in my books. In my dream, there were also two huge mountains, and I lay down between the mountains, with my head on one and feet on the other, while many people walked across me. This dream signifies that Jigme Lingpa's mission is to deliver sentient beings.
In Tibet, there are many Jigme Linpa lineages. Longchenpa's Nyingthig teachings are also widespread. Grand Master now is also helping many sentient beings through dharma discourses and writing. We had the same dream! We are indeed helping sentient beings! Unlike fake prophets or mediums who claim they are also delivering sentient beings, we are not the same. What I am writing is the correct dharma. In the future when I talk about the correct dharma, I will introduce the differences among the shravaka yana, prateykabuddha yana, and bodhisattva yana. These are the first three yanas in Nine Stages of Great Perfection, and they were taught by Shakyamuni Buddha. In terms of tantra, how are the action tantra, performance tantra, and yoga tantra differentiated? And how are the last three yanas of mahayoga, anuyoga, and atiyoga differentiated? I will explain this in details so you understand.
Here is a joke. A young woman found herself always surrounded by many young men. One day she became annoyed and complained to Little Ming, ''How disgusting! Why are there always a bunch of flies around me?'' Little Ming replied, ''I don't know! Perhaps it is because you look like a pile of shit?'' That is probably not the case. Beautiful ladies are always sought after by men when they are in junior high, high school, or college. Perhaps that is why beautiful ladies cannot finish PhD degrees. They have so many men pursuing them that they quit school to get married. However, many women also manage to complete their PhDs because they have no suitors and can focus on their studies. My daughter Fo-ching also has a law PhD. She loves to study, and she is quite good looking too. When she was in high school, Andy was already pursuing her. Andy had written the words Fo-ching all over his desk. He was really chasing her! When she attended the University of Santa Clara, they remained in touch. When she attended law school in New York, Andy was still courting her. Indeed! There was nothing to do about it until the lovers finally married. Not every female PhD holder is unattractive. Fo-ching also has a PhD degree. I'd almost forgotten.
Here is a joke about miniskirts! A beautiful lady wearing a short miniskirt went to the laundromat. The owner's eyes widened as he stared at her legs. This beautiful lady was offended and asked the owner rudely, ''What are you staring at?'' The owner replied seriously, ''Lady, you did not wash this skirt of yours in our machine, did you? It has certainly shrunk!'' When the weather is hot, beautiful ladies come to the temples which are dignified and solemn places, and we hope they will avoid wearing miniskirts or clothing exposing their chests or backs, as these have an impact on our monks. Their eyes are not closed and when they see exposed chests, backs, or fair legs, I wonder where their minds have drifted to during the practice. I don't know. Sitting up here on the dharma seat, I keep my eyes closed and dare not look. Grand Master is very pure. But I also realize the weather is hot, and is it not mistreatment to ask women to wear jeans and long blouses? So, in my opinion, the most important thing is to keep in mind that although your eyes may look, the mind has to remain immovable. This is the one aim when practicing the Buddhadharma and a test for all monks and practitioners.
Not only women but handsome men can pose as a test to others as well. We have such a case in our Ling Shen Ching Tze Temple. An older woman came to our temple to take the renunciation vow. On the first day after tonsure, a young, tall man came to look for her at our temple. She was evading him by becoming a nun. That young man was in his thirties, and the nun was over sixty years old. I performed the tonsure rite for her, and her hair was all white. But that thirty something young man came after her and abducted her. Didn't this happen? (Yes!) You see, this young man had an Oedipus complex. He lost his mother at a young age, and he was most interested in women who were like mothers to him. He actually abducted the elderly nun. Men will abduct women and women will abduct men. In England, there was a monk who was very knowledgeable and kind. A beautiful female student loved to hear him talk about the dharma. At first several other people were listening at the same time, but in the end only one person remained. It is alright if only one person remains in the audience, but then this transmission of dharma became intimate. Finally, the monk did not want to be a monk anymore. Now the two have disappeared. At our correspondence center, we also had a young monk from Houston working there. This young monk was tall and very handsome, with very fine facial features. He met an elderly nun here. Now both have returned to laity, and I do not know where they have gone. I cannot call them back. It is a pity and also strange. Why do so many young men have Oedipus complexes? Anyhow, do not abduct our monks. Go and look for young, unmarried men in the laity group. Amituofo! Love stories come in so many forms. I do not know what is happening. Young and tall, handsome men falling in love with older women? These are young men!
Here is a joke. A wife said to her husband angrily, ''Are you going to quit smoking?'' The husband replied, ''Alright! I will under two special circumstances.'' The wife said, ''That is good. Which two?'' The husband said, ''The first will be when it rains, and the second will be when it does not rain.'' Many things are hard to resolve. However, there is one thing we must resolve. Attainment of liberation. Buddhadharma can liberate our lives and enable us to ascend to a better realm. Blessings to everyone. May you study and practice the Buddhadharma well.
Om Mani Padme Hum.
(Given at Rainbow Temple, North Bend, Washington, USA on July 7, 2013 after the Amitayus Fire Offering. Translated and edited by Janny Chow, Proofread by Christine Chan)