November 23, 2019, Yellow Jambhala Group Cultivation Session

November 23, 2019, Yellow Jambhala Group Cultivation Session
[TBS News]

On Sunday, November 24, Grandmaster would transmit the debut empowerment of the Machig Labdron dharma in the USA. This rare dharma affinity prompted many disciples from all over the country to make their way to Seattle.

The group cultivation on Saturday (November 23) was that of the Yellow Jambhala and the discourse on Lamdre. As many disciples from afar made self-introductions, their excitement and joy were hard to contain. Under the brilliance and the limitless merits of the Buddha, the cultivation ended in auspiciousness.

Yellow Jambhala, also known as Vaiśravaṇa, is one of the Four Heavenly Kings. The other three are Virūḍhaka, Dhṛtarāṣṭra, and Virūpākṣa. The Four Heavenly Kings are ardent supporters of Buddhism who vow to stand by the world; in the Chinese divination almanac, it was recorded that the Four Heavenly Kings are duty-bound to tour the earth and look out for the humans. As the Four Heavenly Kings are nearer to the human realm – they reside at the mid-height of Mount Sumeru – it is easy to gain spiritual response with them.

Grandmaster said, the lower the level of a non-human entity, the easier it is for a human being to gain spiritual response with it. Hence, for example, it is easiest for human beings to get spiritual response with ghosts of the spiritual realm.

Grandmaster emphasized that we must respect all appointed deities in heaven and on earth. They are just like the Four Heavenly Kings who protect and look after the world. They are upright deities as well as wealth deities who can bestow fortune and wealth. If a person gains spiritual response with the Four Heavenly Kings, he or she will have immensely powerful protectors, and as a bonus, wealth as well. Upon receiving wealth, a cultivator must do the right thing by donating to the poor and undertaking philanthropic activities.

While it is not right to be friendly to ghosts, it is fine to do so with upright deities; the latter may not necessarily have attained moksha (liberation from the path of rebirth). We should all strive to achieve liberation and to attain Buddhahood. As we cultivate spiritually, our magnanimity should be greater than before, and our heart [mind] should be as spacious as the Void, and once that is achieved, everything is liberated. Hence, we have the Chinese idiom, “Unmoved by the winds of eight directions.” This is because the mind is like the Void and can accommodate hundreds of streams and rivers; the mind knows no fear or affliction. Hence, Grandmaster once wrote, “Everything happens for the best.”

Grandmaster continued with the discourse on Lamdre.

Dew droplets can mean many things. To the male and female practitioners, they are dew droplets to each other. Everything in the body and all the secretions are dew droplets. Qi, channels, chakras, lightdrops, and inner fire are all dew droplets. Grandmaster said, the Seattle weather would soon reach negative-degree levels in the following week. Once the temperature drops and humidity ensues, there will be snow. When it snows, Grandmaster hopes to see all masters don nothing save for a pair of shorts, and sit in front of the temple on the snow-covered ground in one line as a group. He hopes to see them do inner fire for half an hour in the lotus position. Only then can one verify if one has attained inner fire achievement. If a cultivator is able to raise his or her inner fire with breathing and saliva, the inner fire can maintain one’s own body temperature.

In Tibet, many lamas have attained cultivation achievement. Some are known to even sweat on snow-covered ground. Some have smoke coming out of their heads, and the pants they wear are all dried up by the body heat. The Tibetans learn inner fire on wintry days; they are stripped to the waist and they are required to circum-ambulate around the temple once too. The cultivator will focus on his or her breathing and every breath that is taken will contribute to the formation of a treasure vase. Then the cultivator will ignite the inner fire from the dantien, upon which the whole body will turn warm and he or she will be unafraid of the cold and wintry wind. Grandmaster said that in America, no one has probably undertaken such a feat before. In winter, when one sits bare-chested on the ground to meditate, one depends entirely on one’s breath (in and out) to ignite the fire. That is a kind of meditation. In fact, one must have a deep meditation foundation to be able to sit without movement, to have inner fire spread all over the body, and to have such warmth that it melts the nearby snow.

In Lamdre, as mentioned, as one’s dew droplets increase, the saliva will not be dried up. As one swallows the saliva into the stomach, the latter gets nourishment as well. Saliva is also a kind of lightdrops. The “Tian Ting Water “ (the Taoist version of lightdrops from the crown) is also a kind of lightdrops, and these lightdrops are the best ever. In Lamdre, it is also mentioned that as a cultivator progresses, the dew droplets will be more copious and pure; meditation will stay longer than before. If the body does not have any dew droplets left, one will definitely fall ill. All our body parts, including the skin, have dew droplets.

Lamdre also mentioned the ”ability to open and cover Qi” and that actually refers to the Treasure Vase. There is another term: “Ren Yi”. What is it? It means “going with the flow of things” or “letting things be”. What is meditation? When one is focused on “one”, that is meditation.

If the mind is “going with the flow of things”, we call it “Ren Yi”. This is because after meditation, although the mind has “let it be”, one should maintain this attitude of “letting it be or going with the flow of things”. This is very difficult to explain. Grandmaster illustrated with an example.

When the mind is focused on Cundi Bodhisattva’s third eye, one is so focused on the third eye that one enters meditation. Then one suddenly forgets the third eye; the mind is going with the flow of forgetting. We call this point in time, “Ren Yi”.

However, if unbridled thoughts come in during this time, a cultivator should quickly focus on Cundi Bodhisattva’s third eye again. This interplay of forgetting or stopping (“Ren Yi”) and visualizing (thoughts on Cundi Bodhisattva’s third eye) is what we call the dual execution of stopping and visualization in meditation. The ultimate stage would be the stable state of “Ren Yi”. Lamdre also mentioned, when the body is “Ren Yi”, any sitting position is fine.

As for the mouth in “Ren Yi” -- it means even when the mouth is not talking, the mind in meditation will create the speech. For the sensation of the mind, it would be the inner fire that determines its “Ren Yi” state.

During meditation, if one does not know one is in meditation, then one is already in transcendental meditation. If one is focused on a single point, that is single-minded meditation, but that is not transcendental meditation. It is only when one is in meditation, but does not know one is in meditation, and forgets everything, then that state is transcendental meditation or superseding meditation.

Grandmaster also talked about his unbridled thoughts during meditation in the past. Although there can be emergence of other thoughts, one does not get affected by them. This is described as transcendental and is very important as it pertains to why we take up meditation in the first place.

As the idiom goes, “In meditation, heaven and earth are expansive”: meditation can increase one’s wisdom and one’s lightdrops. As lightdrops descend to fill up the whole body, inner fire ascends, one will see the brilliance that can only be seen during meditation. The opening of the five chakras also depends on meditation. Lao Tze once said, if one can achieve perfection on a single endeavor, then one can achieve ten thousand things. Buddha once mentioned, if one can focus, what can one not accomplish?

After the dharma discourse, 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.

The pith instructions on meditation that Grandmaster shared are not only clear and detailed for disciples to learn by, they are very deep and broad as well. If any of us should attain Buddhahood in the future, all merits belong to Grandmaster. It is with much gratitude that we bow to our Root Guru.

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