November 2, 2019, Group Cultivation of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva

November 2, 2019, Group Cultivation of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva
[TBS News]

As Thanksgiving draws near, the presence of Grandmaster during this period is especially meaningful because Grandmaster and Shimu have always been away in Taiwan during this holiday for the past 10 years.

The Principal Deity for this week’s cultivation is Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva. Upon the completion of the group cultivation, Grandmaster shared a piece of good news. For one year, the True Buddha Newspaper, Taiwan Office, has been undertaking the main branch’s bulk of work with much support and love from everyone. Therefore, for this anniversary, the True Buddha Newspaper (TBN) officially launches a website called “Action Web” to thank all readers.

TBN hopes that its effort can meet everyone’s expectations. Capitalizing on the media’s viral functions, the TBN hopes to propagate Grandmaster’s dharma, spirit and vows in a timely and effective manner, to all corners of the world and into everyone’s heart.

According to Grandmaster, the compassionate Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva has billions of manifestations. The Common Chapter mentioned that Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva will manifest in a form that a sentient beings requires help from, so that the Bodhisattva can expound the dharma suitable forthe sentient being. Hence, Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva has a very close affinity with sentient beings. The number of sentient beings whom Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva can succor are among the most. Grandmaster recalled how Shima (Grandmaster’s mother) used to chant the Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva Common Chapter daily when she was alive; the sutra that Grandmaster had first contact with was also High King Avalokitesvara Sutra. To date, Grandmaster still chants the High King Avalokitesvara Sutra.

Grandmaster then expounded on the essence of Lamdre. He explained the meanings of dual execution of existence and emptiness, lucidity of clear light radiance and emptiness, as well as bliss and emptiness.

What is “dual execution of existence and emptiness”? It involves being able to focus on one thing and it appears. For instance, when we focus on Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva appears. The thought on Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva signifies appearance and therefore existence. Then when Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva disappears and there is nothing, emptiness ensues. When one has a thought on Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, there is existence, and when one has no thoughts, there is emptiness. Thus, existence and emptiness work together – when one enters meditation, one experiences the same thing. When one is focused on something, the resulting thought does not move. In fact, does it move? If it moves, then it is a transgression. Hence, if one has Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva as a singular thought, Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva appears (existence); then, when Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva disappears, emptiness follows. If other thoughts appear, a transgression has taken place.

The “dual execution of lucidity of clear light radiance and emptiness” involves the workings of clear light radiance and emptiness. When one focuses on the red dot of a lit joss, the red dot will expand into a red light; then suddenly, the light disappears. When unbridled thoughts enter your mind, one immediately focuses on the red dot again so that the red light appears again. This is called the “dual execution of lucidity of clear light radiance and emptiness.”

The “dual execution of bliss and emptiness” can take place in meditation when one focuses on the qi that creates a sense of bliss in the central channel. The qi, inner fire, and light droplets cause friction in the central channel to give rise to bliss. When one is focused on bliss, the bliss suddenly disappears. Such disappearance denotes emptiness. Then when unbridled thoughts come along, focus again on bliss. This is called the “dual execution of bliss and emptiness.”

In Lamdre, it was mentioned that that the lucidity of clear light radiance is a natural appearance of the mind. Note that the use of “heart” in Lamdre refers to the mental mind and not the physical heart. Going-with-the-flow of things and being at ease (that is, being non-contriving) refers to the dispositional nature of the mind. Emptiness is the self-nature of the mind. Thus there is comprehension of undivided working in “the dual execution of skillful means and wisdom.”

Hence, in the Yab-yam, the male represents skillful means, while the female represents wisdom. In this dual execution of bliss and emptiness, one eradicates eight poisons such as greed, anger, ignorance, pride/arrogance, suspicion, sleepiness (styama), and hyper-restlessness (auddhatya). In samadhi, one uses the various methods in cultivation to enter meditation. Meditation is very important. The non-diverted mind in meditation is unmoved, the thought is unmoved. This is called the non-diverted mind. During total non-diversion, when one is wholeheartedly undistracted, wisdom will arise. Wisdom arises from meditation; meditation arises from wisdom as well. Hence wisdom and meditation work with one another. Meditation is a skillful means. Wisdom is the mind.

During meditation, one does not commit any transgression, for in an unmoved state, there is no "contriving-ness," and so there is no transgression as well. Being non-contriving means one does not use the will and thoughts to move one’s thoughts. For example, one is being contriving if one quickly pretends to meditate upon seeing a person approaching oneself – one is using one’s will or thoughts to act. The Buddha once said, when one has really achieved the fruition from cultivation, one is able to enter meditation on demand. Eventually, meditation becomes a state of being at ease. One simply sits in a relaxed manner in a lotus position, focuses on a single entity and enters a state of meditation. Even then, there is no setup or constraints on one’s thoughts. This is the best outcome. In general, if one focuses on the bliss arising from meditation, one will naturally go with the flow of things. It is important to be natural; just go with the flow.

Grandmaster remarked that a cultivator must be one with ability. Not only has Grandmaster gone through the path of attainment, he has also received a precious terma (hidden treasure) in his brain from Padmasambhava. Hence, Grandmaster is able to know what Virupa (Tibetan: bir wa pa), author of Lamdre, meant the moment Grandmaster sets his eyes on the Lamdre. If there had been no terma, and if Grandmaster did not cultivate at all, then it would have been impossible to expound on the Lamdre at all. It would have been very difficult.

In the exposition, Grandmaster peppered his speech with jokes that contain the essence of Buddhism. He recounted how someone once told him that he could not get along with anyone and therefore he was going to stop his cultivation practice and leave True Buddha School. However, what had this got to do with Grandmaster? Cultivation is a personal undertaking. If one does not want to become a Buddha, or if one does not want to go to a better place or the Western Paradise of Ultimate Bliss, then one is mistreating oneself. This has nothing to do with Grandmaster.

Someone also asked Grandmaster to fetch his/her spirit when he/she dies in the future. Sure, this can be done, but does one have accumulation of merits? Has one accumulated enough supplies [for the body or soul] from cultivation practices? When one has accumulated supplies from cultivation practices, and one has merits, then Grandmaster can naturally fetch one’s spirit. If one has non-accumulation of merits and insufficient supplies from cultivation practices, how can fetching be done? In Vajrayana, there is succorment fromintermediate state [of existence]; so, when the time comes, Grandmaster will come and fetch a person, teach him or her a few mantras, whereupon chanting, he or she can be born into the Buddha Pure Land. Nonetheless, one still needs accumulation of merits, because otherwise, karma will drag one down. One can hardly expect to fly because the karma is too heavy to get pulled up for succorment.

Grandmaster said, in learning Buddhism, one cannot have delusions or mistaken realization. Many people told Grandmaster that they had awakened or gained enlightenment. Yet, they were still obsessed with getting a higher rank. This is called attachment. If one is already awakened, then even if one gains or loses, it is fine by one. This is called awakenment. If one is attached to a position, then one is not awakened. If one has done one’s best, even if one does not gain anything at all and one is entirely fine by the result, then this is awakenment. There is a subtle difference between awakenment and non-awakenment. Do not have mistaken delusion. Awakenment is not mistaken perception.

Someone said he is already awakened but insists on not succoring sentient beings. How can one be so fixated on not saving sentient beings? One must have the Bodhi heart, and whether to save or not to save – just go with the flow of affinity. Going-with-the-flow based on affinity is awakenment.

Similarly in meditation, going-with-the-flow based on affinity should be practiced. When one is insistent on entering meditation, one has attachment. When one learns something according to rules, and one is at ease and relaxed, one does not feel any task onerous or difficult. So even if there are transgressions along the way, one is truly awakened as long as one is in a natural at-ease state, ie., between being uptight and too relaxed, and going with the flow of things. To gain is fine, to not to gain is also fine. There is no gain or loss. An awakened person will save sentient beings as-and-when the occasion calls for succorment. There is no fixation on gain or loss. Insistence is a transgression. Hence, we have got to know that awakenment is not lip service, for action speaks louder than words.

Shariputra once asked Manjusri, what is the state of Nirvana? Manjusri told Shariputra, Nirvana is just a term. When one is in Nirvana, one does not know there is Nirvana. Shariputra was full of wonder at Manjusri when he heard this, because only Manjusri can proclaim that when one enters Nirvana, there is actually no Nirvana. Because there is no Nirvana, there is therefore Nirvana. Hence, we say the Vajracchedika-prajna-paramita Sutra contains the highest wisdom.

After the ceremony, Grandmaster bestowed the refuge-taking initiation on the new disciples. He also blessed the compassionate water and performed the consecration ritual on the Buddha statues and images.

Before leaving the temple, Grandmaster touched the crown of every disciple, to bless them in the fulfilling of their wishes. Everyone is thankful for Grandmaster’s detailed exposition of the essence of the Dharma – the compassion and wisdom are so penetratingly deep. Every disciple can feel the abundance of the dharma stream coursing through them. As comprehension dawned upon everyone, the clouds that used to shroud the mind disappeared.

「一生一咒」800萬遍上師心咒活動,從今年師尊的佛誕日正式啟動,請參加者到TBSN官網以下鏈接登記資料: 每持滿十萬遍上師心咒者,宗委會將把名單呈給師尊加持。每持滿一百萬遍者,將列名護摩法會功德主,資料請師尊主壇護摩法會時下護摩爐。 億萬虎頭金剛心咒,招財鎮煞降伏瘟疫