November 9, 2019, Ksitigarbha Group Cultivation
On Saturday, November 9, 2019, the Ksitigarbha Group Cultivation took place.
The Principal Deity this time was Great Vow Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, who to this day is the ruler of the netherworld. He is known to all as “patient and immovable like the great earth (di in Chinese); his meditation is deep and profound like a secret storehouse (zang in Chinese)." Hence his name is Dizang in Chinese.
His eternal vow is well-known for its magnitude: he will not become a Buddha unless all sentient beings have been succoured and all hell has been emptied.
Presided over by Grandmaster, the group cultivation was completed in auspiciousness.
After the cultivation practice, Grandmaster praised the VIPs who had helped out with dharma propagation. For instance, dharma sister Teresa had been volunteering her time and professional skills on accountancy matters in True Buddha Foundation, Sheng-yen Lu Foundation, and other True Buddha chapters. Her tireless contribution is as resolute as her vow which has the spirit of Ksitigarbha.
Grandmaster was also full of compliments for dharma sister Fan Xiuji from France. She would translate Grandmaster’s books into French and oversee the entire process of publishing from proofreading, cover-designing to printing. She would then distribute the books to libraries and universities and market them. She does everything by herself. She is now even thinking of setting up a True Buddha chapter in France using her own resources. Grandmaster was full of wonder with this great exemplification of the spirit of Ksitigarhbha. He said, “We have modern-day Ksitigarbhas here. Their vow is as great as Ksitigarhbha’s—they vow to propagate True Buddha Dharma out and beyond.”
Next, Grandmaster mentioned dharma brother, Gao Minlu. He praised Minlu for being an outstanding disciple—he is able to see his own light droplets and hold them as well. He is able to cultivate qi, channels and light droplets to achieve great bliss, after which he is able to understand that the original nature of bliss is emptiness. He is a diligent cultivator who has verified and confirmed these [phenomena]. He once saw a giant Illusionary Body of Grandmaster for a time span of 3-5 minutes: Grandmaster was 2-stories tall!
Grandmaster said, Padmasvabha was born after Shakyamuni entered Nirvana. Padmasvabha once said he had verified the Dharma of Rainbow Brilliance of Non-Death (Non-Death Yoga). One might say that Shakyamuni died 2,600 years ago, but the Buddha didn't die or get born. The Buddha can appear anytime in front of a person that prays sincerely. If one has already attained the heavenly eye, one will be able to see Shakyamuni who will teach one how to cultivate the dharma. In the past, when Marpa went to India for the third time to seek his master, Naropa, the latter had already entered Nirvana. However, Naropa was still able to manifest himself before Marpa. As can be seen, cultivators who have reached attainment can manifest themselves anytime to their disciples, not just in dreams. One can actually see them with one’s eyes.
Gao Minlu’s wife, dharma sister Sun, works at Berkeley University as a librarian. She volunteers her time to help Taiwan Lei Tsang Temple set up the library system and she has even donated money. Grandmaster praised her for having the spirit of Ksitigarhbha. Said Grandmaster, “These are the people who can propagate True Buddha Dharma to new heights with their great vows. They do it for sentient beings, not for themselves. They are just like Ksitigarhbha.”
The dharma king then proceeded to expound on the essence of Lamdre.
In Lamdre, dew droplets are mentioned. What are dew droplets? They are things beneficial to the cultivator. They are not the dew droplets that you get from a gourd or holy vase. Dew droplets are not necessarily liquid. Dew droplets can be beneficial to the mind and soul, or to the material body. Dew droplets can be found in the food a cultivator eats, or they can be shown in the dignified manner in which a person carries himself or herself. Similarly, the dignified ways of a monk or nun in daily living or tasks, once manifested, can be considered dew droplets. A kind of dew droplets can be the air we breathe. The dew droplets can also be the light droplets in one’s body due to secretions. The Mudra Mother in Yum-yab also gets dew droplets from the male practitioner, and so does the Mudra Father from the female practitioner. Both nourish each other.
As for dew droplets from food, a cultivator must not consume food that is too spicy or too salty. The latter is not beneficial to the kidneys, for if one’s kidneys were to malfunction, how can one cultivate properly? Garlic is spicy in a way, and so is liquor with a high alcohol content. One should avoid sour wine and decaying foul-smelling meat. Fish that smells, or rotten vegetables, should not be consumed too. We should stop eating food that is too spicy, too salty, or too sweet (it’s bad for the heart and pancreas).
The dew droplets we should take in are: the sprouts of white garlic, anything that is non-spicy, anything green [chlorophyll] and with long leaves and porridge, noodles in soup, or medicinal oil or cream. Today, the last item would be vitamins. We should consume food that does not cause blood vessels to protrude, so that one is at supreme ease and one will have excellent meditative stabilization. The food mentioned in Lamdre belonged to the era of Virupa in ancient India. The Lamdre also describes how to go about consuming “Ao Shui Ru”, a mixture of water and dairy to be taken on an empty stomach. The Lamdre also discusses “protrusion of blood vessels”. This is what we know today as a symptom of phlebitis, where swollen and tender blood vessels are observed.
Next, Lamdre touched on the term “honeyed big fragrance.” The words "Big Fragrance" actually refer to poop. Conversely, "Small Fragrance" refers to urine. Based on Lamdre, while we should abstain from the foods mentioned earlier, we should partake of poop. First, place the poop on a clean stone slab, and use wooden boards to smoothen and flatten the poop. Then oven-dry it; while the oven is doing its work, prepare a concoction of honey, ghee and water to be stirred until the moisture evaporates. Next, from the oven, take out the dried poop which would have become powdery by then.
Mix both the concoction and the dried poop together, and then shape out pieces of the “dough” in the sizes similar to goat-dung's. According to Lamdre, if one consumes these pieces for one year, one can be assured of the reduction of the bulging blood vessels, and not only that, one can achieve powa. This method of dew-droplet consumption can be said to be the most supreme.
Padmasvabha once told Grandmaster, the best kind of dew droplets is the air we breathe. The best food or droplet is the qi one practices. The qi in Seattle is a kind of dew droplets and everyday, as one breathes in the air deeply, one is consuming the dew droplets. Food is therefore the best fresh air which enters the body, and that is the best kind of dew droplets ever. Padmasvabha also told Grandmaster, the best clothes to wear is inner fire. When it snows, one can discard one’s physical clothes and enter meditation on the snow-covered ground. The best clothes is the “birthday suit”, for the inner fire emanates from within the body.
Similarly, Grandmaster’s easy conversational-style exposition was infused with jokes in order to inspire disciples. His jokes are dew droplets because they create laughter. When everyone laughs daily (one should not be poker-faced) and everyone is happy everyday, then everyone is consuming dew droplets.
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, blessing each person to fulfil his or her wishes. As everyone walked out, the Seattle drizzle had already cleansed the night, just as Grandmaster’s speech was full of Dharma dew droplets that cleansed and nourished each of us.