February 9, 2020, Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Bodhisattva Homa Ceremony,
Lamdre Exposition by Dharma King Lian-sheng
Summary of Dharma Talk
On February 9, 2020, Dharma King Living Buddha Lian-sheng presided over the homa ceremony of Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Bodhisattva.
Previously, the debut transmission and empowerment of the dharma of Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Bodhisattva took place in Taiwan Lei Tsang Temple on May 14, 2011.
The Vajra name of Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Bodhisattva is “Away-from-Afflictions Vajra”. He is one of the Eight Great Bodhisattvas of Buddhism. Very few people would have heard of the Bodhisattva, and although he is the last to be named in the Eight Great Bodhisattvas, he is really highly effective.
In the past, the Dharma King had discoursed on the illustrious powers of this Bodhisattva. The Bodhisattva can subjugate afflictions, which is unusual, and he can also eradicate karmic hindrances, which is also unusual. Given these two abilities, he is hailed as ''number one'’ [in powers].
Hence, the Bodhisattva's two great vows are: removing sentient beings' karmic hindrances and obstacles, as well as removing all afflictions.
Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Bodhisattva has three different images. The white Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Bodhisattva eradicates all karmic hindrance, and the yellow Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Bodhisattva enhances all wisdom and blessings. There is also a blue Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Bodhisattva for subjugation of black magic or illnesses associated with ghosts.
In the Garbhadhatu Mandala, there is a court specially dedicated to Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin called the Court of Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin. The Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Court is located at the eighth court of the thirteen courts in the Womb Realm mandala. He is the central deity surrounded by eight bodhisattvas.
The Dharma King said, the homa ceremony was very successful. He hoped that after getting the empowerment, everyone would be able to reap benefits from it in one way or another. Black magic or curses would be removed, illnesses would be eradicated, and afflictions and hindrances would be eliminated. Any hindrances created against a person would be removed as well. "With this empowerment, everyone's life will be joyful and smooth-sailing. It is very auspicious indeed,” said the Dharma King.
The Dharma King next expounded on afflictions. "Afflictions usually occur because of ignorance. So what is the greatest ignorance of all? It is when one is attached to the idea that anything that one sees in this physical world exists," he said. Due to this, one is attached to things that exist, and hence any world that one does not see is dismissed as non-existent.
Actually, there are many non-physical worlds that people cannot see. For example, in Buddhist sutras, it was recorded that when Shakyamuni was propagating the dharma, "human-yet-non-humans" came to listen. The Dharma King said, “Who are they? Are they humans? Yes, they are. But they are also non-humans. The eight legions of devas and nagas also came to listen. So, these really exist. Whatever is written in the sutras really exists, and it's not superstition.” The Dharma King emphasized, the greatest superstition ever is when one believes that the samsara world really exists and that whatever one doesn't see is non-existent. "That is the greatest ignorance of all," he said.
Today, practitioners strive to cultivate spiritually to shatter all ignorance. Habits should be changed as well. The Dharma King reminded everyone to break through self-centeredness, "The Buddhist philosophy is very much based on non-self, and that means all sentient beings are equal. As a Bodhisattva, one must do things that benefit sentient beings; the main endeavor must be to benefit the other party, not self. Padmasambhava and Yeshe Tsogyal also do things to benefit sentient beings; the other party is always the most important."
Thus, a Bodhisattva will not harm or kill sentient beings, but will benefit them, sometimes to the extent of sacrificing his or her life. “When you have attachments, or when you have attachment to self, you will naturally have afflictions,” said the Dharma King. “Once you think only for yourself and not for others, you will also naturally have afflictions. If you think for others, then, sacrificing yourself is even possible.”
The Dharma King encouraged everyone to emulate Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Bodhisattva by abandoning afflictions. One must take things in one’s stride -- be natural. The Dharma King said, "When life is good, don't be too ecstatic. When life is not smooth-sailing, don’t take things to heart. Anything goes -- that should be the way to ‘leave’ afflictions. Hence, as cultivators, we must emulate the spirit of the Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Bodhisattva. This is why Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Bodhisattva is so great.”
The Dharma King continued with the discourse of the Lamdre.
According to the Lamdre, "When the Mara arrives, use the four awakenings to protect oneself.” The Dharma King illustrated with an example of Yeshe Togyal’s spiritual cultivation experiences. When she was spiritually cultivating in a grotto, the radiance she emitted was so overpowering that the gods and ghosts nearby were shone by the light. They felt that she was hindering and intruding upon them. They then transformed into demons to attack Yeshe Tsogyal. Yeshe Tsogyal had to use the four awakenings to protect herself.
The Dharma King explained the meaning of the four awakenings. For example, when one suddenly realizes that one is in meditation, all the surroundings and interferences will have no effect on one. “If you are awakened, you won’t be afraid because you know that everything is an illusion; everything belongs to the illusory realm. Whatever you visualize is the generation of inner demons," said the Dharma King.
The Dharma King expounded in detail, "The cultivator must use clear-bright wisdom to shine upon it [the illusion], in order to protect himself or herself. The cultivator must use the most-clear wisdom to make judgement and to protect himself or herself.”
After the discourse, the Dharma King bestowed upon the congregation, the empowerment of the dharma of Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Bodhisattva. All ended well.