November 16, 2019, Cundi Bodhisattva Group Cultivation Session
In the Cundi Bodhisattva group cultivation this weekend, we were honored with the presence of a VIP from Vietnam, Reverend Fuyu. He is a main committee member of the Vietnam Association of the Sangha, and also an envoy representing the Sri Lankan Government’s Buddhism Commendation Committee. He is the abbot at Phuoc Quang Buddhist Temple, and is the founder of Suoi Nguon Buddhist Orphanage Centre.
Reverend Fuyu visited Seattle Temple especially to attend the group cultivation session. In his speech, he first greeted everyone and expressed his heartfelt gratitude for being able to attend the session. He wished Grandmaster and everyone good health and longevity, after which he chanted the Great Compassion Dharani to wish everyone health, a smooth-sailing life and auspiciousness; his voice resonated with serenity and majesty. Grandmaster told everyone that when Grandmaster and Reverend Fuyu were having lunch on 13 November, the Reverend was awestruck by the brilliance he saw emanating from Grandmaster’s body. Grandmaster said, a cultivator can see another person's light, and he or she can also emanate light as well.
After the cultivation session of Cundi Bodhisattva, Grandmaster clarified last week’s exposition on the “Three Worlds”. There is another interpretation.
The concept of “Three Worlds” can be further refined to encompass “Nine Worlds”. In the Dzogchen (Great Perfection), we call these Nine Yanas or Vehicles (Chinese: Sheng), comprising three Yanas from Mahayana (namely: śrāvakas, pratyekabuddhas, and bodhisattvas) as well as six Yanas from Tantrayana (Kriya Tantra, Charya Tantra, Yoga Tantra, Maha Yoga Tantra, Anuyoga Tantra, and Ati Yoga Tantra).
These “Nine Yanas” represent the Nine Development Stages in Great Perfection.
Grandmaster then talked about the omnipotent Maha Cundi Bodhisattva. Grandmaster’s lineage of the Dharma of Cundi Bodhisattva comes from Acharya Pufang, whose Yidam is Cundi Bodhisattva. At Shezi island in Taiwan, Archarya Pufang had set up the Zong Chi Temple, within which are housed many statues of Cundi Bodhisattva. In the indian Jainism sect and the Japanese Esoteric Buddhism, as well as on Chinese soil, Cundi Bodhisattva is also well-respected. However, in Tantrayana, the practice of Cundi Bodhisattva dharma is not as widespread.
In the Mahāprajnāpāramitā-shāstra (Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom), the following 18 uncommon practices are:
1. Body free of karmic hindrances
2. Speech free of karmic hindrances
3. Mind free of karmic hindrances
4. Lack of evil thoughts
5. Immovable tranquil mind
6. Proper accomplishment of every endeavor
7. Lack of desires
8. Tireless saving of sentient beings
9. Immovable right mind
10. Unchanging perfect wisdom
11. Complete liberation
12. Total realization of every aspect of liberation
13. Wisdom inherent in all conduct
14. Wisdom inherent in all speech
15. Wisdom inherent in mind
16. Unhindered wisdom of past lives
17. Unhindered wisdom of future lives
18. Unhindered wisdom of present life
The 18 arms of Maha Cundi Bodhisattva represent these 18 uncommon dharma practices, each of which has significant meaning. Grandmaster expounded on three of them:
1. “Body free of karmic hindrances”: If one robs, steal or touches [something belonging to someone else] by hand or body, then transgression occurs.
2. “Speech free of karmic hindrances”: if one engages in mindless chatter, improper speech (including lies or half-truths), unwholesome or crude speech, transgression takes place.
3. “Mind free of karmic hindrances” pertains to pure spiritual cultivation in Vajrayana. Hence, Cundi Bodhisattva is also known as the Purifying Vajra. Pure spiritual cultivation is also known as clean cultivation practice where one lives one’s life with complete purity in mind, body and speech. The meaning here is very important.
Next grandmaster expounded on the Lamdre.
Grandmaster said he is happy every day, as he is in a state of continuous bliss. He does not commit any transgression because the bliss originates from the body. Lamdre has mentioned the same thing on the emanation of such bliss: it is not transgressional in nature because it is not the result of one doing something exhilarating, but it is the result of one’s Qi, inner fire, and lightdrops coursing through the channels. The bliss experienced is 24/7. To achieve this stage of bliss can be difficult for people because people generally have troubles, and when they are beset with troubles, they become unhappy. It can be difficult to maintain happiness everyday.
There are five kinds of Qi (Energy):
1. Life Qi —heart chakra—Indestructible Lightdrops
2. Qi of the Lower Body—secret chakra
3. Fire Companion Qi—navel chakra
4. Qi of the Upper Body—throat chakra
5. Peripheral Qi —all over the body
In Lamdre, the Life Qi pertains to inner breathing, that is, breathing in the heart area. When one shakes or rocks the body, one is actually shaking the Peripheral Qi and pushing it up in the process. Then, when one looks upwards with the eyes, one props up the Qi. When a person utilizes Peripheral and Life Qi, and the Qi of the Upper and Lower Body, bliss can spread throughout the body’s channels.
The moment bliss is ignited, certain movements can be done to bring this happiness to the body’s channels, leading to bliss throughout the whole body. The act of looking upwards with the eyes involves the Qi of the Upper Body; the Life Qi is involved when one contracts the Life Qi within. Rocking the body will send the Qi to the whole body’s channels, hence this is known as Peripheral Qi. Lifting the Qi means pulling the Qi of the Lower Body upwards.
All these movements will shake the Qi, and bliss will permeate the entire body’s channels quickly. When bliss is created, and if one is able to retain one’s dew droplets, the whole body will be in bliss. We call this true bliss, which is a kind of dew droplets. If one does not do such inner cultivation practices, one wouldn’t be able to know or describe this bliss. To the male cultivator, the true way of Vajrayana involves the female body which is a kind of dew droplets. For the female cultivator, the male cultivator is a kind of dew droplets too.
Grandmaster explained that when a cultivator embarks on the practice of bliss, the Qi will spread to the whole body, and the inner fire will burn the entire body. The lightdrops [water-like drops from the crown] will melt down and spread out as well. The bliss that results from inner cultivation is so wondrous an experience that one could forsake everything in this material world just to have it. In contrast, massive greed is involved during the short-term bliss in the conjugal act between a man and a woman.
Hence if one’s cultivation is good, one can achieve great bliss; if there is no leakage of lightdrops, the bliss can spread to the entire body. When water descends and fire ascends, the merger of the water and fire brings about the opening of the chakras and the outburst of brilliance. The body will then transform into Rainbow Brilliance -- this is in fact the core teachings of Padmasambhava. Bliss is the first step, and this is followed by the opening of the chakras to emanate brilliance. Such brilliance will melt the body and the mind into nothingness, and a rainbow with its brilliance will manifest. Attainment of Buddhahood will ensue.
When the chakras open, the skin pores enlarge and brilliance emanates. If one’s body’s hormones are enough, and if there is no leakage of the dew droplets, the whole body will be shiny. Today, we term this shine ‘the essence of youth’. If one has the essence of youth, one will not age easily. In Yab-yum, the hormones are exchanged and increased between the two persons. Bliss will cause the chakras to open. Just like in the Yab-yum of Padmasambhava and Yeshe Tsogyal, the two beings have become light and two rainbows. There are rays of brilliant light from the dew droplets and from the opening of the chakras. That is the highest achievement in Tantrayana.
Another point which Grandmaster wished to emphasize was, the importance of the spiritual union of the cultivator and the Yidam. The ascent of the inner fire, the descent of the lightdrops, and the coursing of Qi in the channels are all dependent upon the Yidam. If one has gained spiritual union with the Root Guru, one will be taught by the Root Guru to move the Qi and open the channels and chakras. Sometimes, a cultivator can be taught in person by Grandmaster, and sometimes, a cultivator can be taught via dreams or by way of manifestation of Grandmaster in front of the cultivator.
After the exposition, 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 in turn.
Grandmaster once wrote, “As one lives each day, one should cultivate spiritually and be happy and grateful.” Have faith in this [life mantra], and one’s life will be more meaningful and captivating. Thank you, Grandmaster for touching everyone’s life with precious dharma droplets.