May 24, 2020 Jade Pond Golden Mother Ceremony at Rainbow Temple
【#TBS Seattle News】
On the afternoon of May 24, 2020, True Buddha School Seattle Rainbow Temple respectfully invited Root Guru Living Buddha Lian-sheng to preside over a Golden Mother Homa Ceremony. At the age of 26, Grandmaster, led by Shigu Lin Qiandai, was bestowed the divine eye by Jade Pond Golden Mother at Jade Emperor Palace in Taichung. At this time, Grandmaster was informed that it was his mission to liberate sentient beings.
That very evening, Golden Mother took Grandmaster on a spiritual journey through the Ten Dharma Realms. During this journey, it was revealed to Grandmaster that his origin was Padmakumara. Subsequently, Grandmaster practiced Taoism, Sutrayana, and Vajrayana, until reaching fruition of perfection and enlightenment.
Grandmaster answered questions submitted by disciples as follows:
Q: If one has performed more than 1,000 homas, fire offerings, is one still required to perform 100,000 mandala offerings?
A: “Homa is a great offering. In a Vajrayana fire offering practice, many precious ingredients and materials are offered. One Vajrayana homa practice is equivalent to 1,000 Sutrayana offering sessions. A Vajrayana fire offering is therefore truly extraordinary.”
The Great Mandala Offering is a universal offering. As part of Four-preliminaries Practice, one needs to perform 100,000 Great Mandala Offerings. Fire offering is fire offering. One may conduct a homa only after receiving empowerment. The Great Mandala Offering and the homa are two distinctive practices. One may not substitute a fire offering for a Great Mandala Offering or vice versa.
Q: Is it correct that an enlightened disciple confirmed by Grandmaster will be able to benefit the disciple and others by only actualizing the essence of the enlightenment without the need to study the Tripitaka and the Twelve Divisions of Sutras?
A: No, that is not correct! Meditation and wisdom are the wings to attainment. The Tripitaka and the Twelve Divisions of Sutras are wisdom. Through wisdom, one obtains meditation and vice versa. One must have both to understand one’s mind and see one’s Buddha-nature. If one is enlightened in theory, but in reality, cannot remove attachments, afflictions, and negative habitual tendencies, it indicates that one has not reached accomplishment in actual practice, which disqualifies one from being enlightened. Enlightenment in theory but not reality also indicates lack of accomplishment in meditation. Without the power of meditation, one’s bodhicitta may still diminish. One must accomplish meditation for there to be no falling back. Therefore, one must fully carry out the eradication of afflictions, grasping, and all one’s negative habitual tendencies.
Q: How to recognize one who has truly awakened the mind and seen the Buddha-nature?
A: By observing whether the person truly honors the Root Guru. “Can someone disrespecting the Root Guru, who isn’t even qualified to cultivate the Buddhadharma, awaken the mind and see the Buddha-nature? Cultivators should know April showers bring May flowers.”
Furthermore, an enlightened individual is not greedy and doesn’t get into conflicts with others. “An enlightened person has no “self” and therefore, does not act selfishly. An enlightened person generates bodhicitta for the sake of sentient beings.”
Q: Is there any difference between Ushnishavijaya’s mantra and dharani?
A: The merit of a short mantra is equal to the merit of a long mantra. There is no difference between the short mantra, medium mantra, long mantra, heart mantra, and karmic mantra.
Following questions concern the use of a mandala plate to make an infinite number of rice offerings within a timeframe of one hour:
Q: When making a rice offering with a mandala plate, should one perform purification, invocation, and homage prior to the offering?
Q: About the offering procedure, does one place the rice into the plate, form the offering mudra, recite the offering praise and offering mantra, point to the plate with Sword Fingers, and finally perform visualization?
A: Visualization must come first. One then forms the mudra, followed by praise recitation and mantra recitation. Vajrayana sadhanas clearly require visualization prior to mantra recitation. One never recites the mantra prior to visualization.
Q: When visualizing, should one first visualize the mandala plate as the entire universe, then visualize the rice filling the universe and all of space as an offering to the Ten Dharma Realms? Or, can one visualize the rice transforming into various kinds of food, Seven Treasures and the Eight Jewels, and other offerings of one’s favorite things to the Ten Dharma Realms?
A: Yes, one may visualize in this way. One should visualize, form the mudra, then recite the praise and mantra.
Procedure：Visualize the mandala plate as the universe; visualize rice filling all of space as an offering to the Ten Dharma Realms; one may also visualize the rice filling all of space and transforming into various kinds of food, Seven Treasures and Eight Jewels, and practitioner’s favorite things. One then makes an offering to the Ten Dharma Realms. After visualization, one forms the Offering Mudra. One then recites the praise verse and the Offering Mantra.
Q: After completing multiple offering sessions, should one dedicate the merit？
A: Yes. One should dedicate the merit. There is merit in making an offering, and one should dedicate the merit. One may dedicate the merit however one wishes. For example, one may dedicate the merit for rebirth in the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss, success in business, a fulfilling marriage, resolution of a lawsuit, a raise in salary, harmonious relations with everyone, eradication of hindrances, or recovering from an illness.
Grandmaster continued by discoursing the Lamdre. Because the Path of Accumulation is the foundation of spiritual cultivation, one’s cultivation should begin with the Path of Accumulation. If one has not accumulated merit, one will not have sufficient merit to encounter an authentic guru who will teach one Buddhadharma and bestow the four levels of empowerment. “The Path of Accumulation is the foundation of all attainment in cultivation. If one does not practice the Path of Accumulation, one will not have any merit. Without merit, how can one cultivate?”
Grandmaster emphasized that the Path of Accumulation is the essential foundation of all Buddhadharma. We must be virtuous, compassionate, and loving in our hearts. Once one satisfies the Path of Accumulation by practicing love and compassion, one’s guru and other benefactors will appear to teach one Buddhadharma.”
The growth of wisdom is similar to raising a fire, initially small (small warmth). An example is lighting a candle which produces light. This light symbolizes wisdom. The fire or warmth has three levels, small, medium and large. The large warmth is the inner fire. The initial warmth raised during cultivation is the small warmth. The raised homa fire contains heat, offerings, Path of Accumulation, and practice of the Four-preliminaries. When the fire is more intense than a candle flame, it belongs to medium warmth. When the homa fire becomes the internal fire within one's body, one has activated one’s inner fire, and the inner fire then belongs to large fire and large warmth. This symbolizes a gradual increase in wisdom.
The technique of meditation lies in the dual exercise of cessation and visualization. Myriad thoughts transforming into one thought and one thought transforming into no thoughts is cessation. When one is unable to cease thoughts, one then returns to one thought, that is, one visualizes the face of the principal deity. When one forgets the one thought, one reaches no thought. This is the technique of meditation. This technique gives rise to a state of no-thought where inner and outer karmic obstacles are totally eradicated.
“Meditation is a state where one is uninfluenced by thoughts. The technique of entering the samadhi is to increase the duration of no thoughts from short, to medium, to long. This will lead one to attain the forbearance of the non-arising of dharmas.
Translated by TBTTs
Translator: Rev. Lianting
Editors: Henry Wolf and DJ Chang