Mar. 6, 2021 Group Cultivation of Padmakumara at Seattle Ling Shen Ching Tze Temple
(This translation includes only the content pertaining to Interaction Is Power Q&As)
#TBS Seattle Report
First question from Lianhua Mingchang
Q1: Of all the methods Grandmaster has taught, in terms of attaining Buddhahood, how are these two cultivation paths different, by practicing a dharma, chanting mantras, the merit of generosity, receiving the lineage Dharma flow of the three roots, the merits of meditation, power of a great vow, chanting sutras, conceptual enlightenment, precepts, meditation, and wisdom, vs. by practicing inner dharmas such as qi, channels, light drops and inner fire? Or, is it necessary for us to practice both? For example, we practice wisdom and expedient means in parallel.
A1:This person asked so much. (Grandmaster repeats the question) Of all the methods Grandmaster has taught, in terms of attaining Buddhahood, how are these two cultivation paths different, by practicing a dharma , chanting mantras, the merit of generosity, receiving the lineage Dharma flow of the three roots, the merits of meditation, power of a great vow, chanting sutras, conceptual enlightenment, precepts, meditation, and wisdom, vs. by practicing inner dharmas such as qi, channels, light drops and inner fire? These are not just two items. These are multiple items. Or, is it necessary for us to practice both? For example, we practice wisdom and expedient means in parallel.
(Grandmaster asks the audience in Mandarin and Taiwanese) Do you understand what the question is? I’ve said it before. Just follow the stages of the path as I mentioned before. It was written in the Avatamsaka sutra, following the stages of the path, namely practicing first the path of accumulation, then the path of application, and the path of seeing, meaning you have been enlightened and see the path. After having seen the path, there are the paths of practice and the absolute. These are the five stages according to the Avatamsaka Sutra.
The path of accumulation includes giving and gaining merits. The path of application includes dharma practice, chanting mantra, receiving the lineage dharma flow of the three roots, and reading sutras and the power of a great vow. What about the path of seeing? It’s conceptual enlightenment. The merit of meditation will be the next stage. In terms of abiding by the precepts, it belongs to the path of application. Meditation and wisdom are considered the merits of meditation and belong to the path of practice. Practicing the inner tantra of qi, channel, light drops, and inner fire are the completion stage or the path of practice. So, what is the absolute path? It is attaining Buddhahood.
I can only analyze them this way for you, allocating each one to its path. You need all of them. I have divided them for you. The merit of giving belongs to the path of accumulation. Practicing dharma, chanting mantra, receiving the lineage dharma flow of the three roots, and reading sutras all belong to the path of application. Conceptual enlightenment is seeing the path. Abiding by the precepts is the path of application. Meditation and wisdom both belong to the path of practice, as do the practices of qi, channels, lights drops and inner fire. The attainment of Buddhahood and no more learning are the absolute path. I have divided them for you. You need all of them and you have to practice wisdom and expedient means together. That’s my answer to Lianhua Mingchang.
I have my own stages. My own set of stages are (as follows): First, I practiced renunciation. If you want to do spiritual cultivation, then you need the mind of renunciation. Without it, it would be hard to accomplish. When you are so accustomed to worldly enjoyment, such as eating, drinking, and sleeping; wealth, sex, fame, food, and sleep, you won’t want to leave this world. How nice is this world! Making money is wonderful! Being famous is fulfilling! Right? Covetous thoughts are incessant. Fame, position, beautiful women, wealth, sex, food and sleep are all so great. These five great desires, we love them all. With the greed of wanting them all, you won’t want to leave the world at all. Without the mind of renunciation, how can you cultivate? Therefore, I consider that renunciation is of the most importance.
Second, cultivate bodhicitta. Not only do you want to renounce yourself but you also want to vow to deliver sentient beings. This is the bodhicitta, which is very important. If you just renounce the mundane world, are released from the cycle of reincarnation, or become immortal or buddha without saving any sentient beings, this is without bodhicitta. Therefore, the renunciation is first, the bodhicitta is the second, and the third is the correct view of the Middle Way. You must understand Madhyamika. Madhyamika refers to the dual employment of wisdom and expedient means. Then, you practice the development and completion stages. That’s the method of my practices, in the sequential stages of renunciation, bodhicitta, the middle way, the development stage and the completion stage. These are my stages, the method I use for my stages. This is the answer to Lianhua Mingchang.
Second question from Lianhua Kaien in Canada
Q2: There is a distant relative who is not a Buddhist, a follower of the True Buddha School, nor does he cultivate spiritually. After he died, I was not able to be by his side to chant mantras to deliver him. So, other than taking refuge on his behalf, doing practices, chanting mantras and sutras, dedicating merits to him, registering him as a primary supplicant on his behalf, what else can I do to help him to go to the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss? Which buddha or bodhisattva can I pray to, to compel him to be delivered to the Western Pure Land? Grandmaster? Golden Mother? Amoghapasa?
A2: This is a question from Anjel in Canada. She’s already thought about it a lot. She mentioned what I would suggest. said whatever he wanted to say. We can pray to Grandmaster, the Golden Mother, or Amoghapasa who would just bind him and take him directly to the Western Pure Land.
I have been performing bardo deliverance daily, and this March marks exactly one year (audience applause). I did bardo deliverance for all of those who have died from COVID-19 and also all sentient beings that have affinities with Grandmaster. These are the two groups of beings I have helped: the True Buddha School’s disciples who have affinities with Grandmaster and those who have died from COVID-19.
My bardo deliverance method is very simple. I get on my Dharma throne. I invoke the Golden Mother to bless me and to bless once, two, three, four, and five times. Afterwards, I become my personal deity, which is Amitabha Buddha. I transform into Amitabha Buddha; one hand forms the “okay” mudra (Grandmaster laughs) and the other one forms the wish-granting mudra. From the wish-granting mudra, a dharma ship appears and transforms to ten, one hundred, and one thousand Dharma ships. With her formidable majestic power, the Golden Mother summons all of the spirits who have died from COVID-19 as well as anyone that has an affinity with me, and commands them down to the Dharma ships. Then by her majestic power, the Golden Mother radiates light sweeping over all the Dharma ships which purifies the body and mind of the spirits. Their bardos are all purified. Dharma boats then rise up to the sky. I, as Amitabha Buddha, then teach them to chant the mantra of Amitabha Buddha or his epithet. Spirits on the thousand Dharma ships all chant the buddha’s name or mantra. The ships then begin to sail. After Golden Mother proclaims, “Sail!”, all the Dharma ships sail to the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss. This concludes the deliverance practice.
At the end of the deliverance, I offer my gratitude to the Golden Mother, Amitabha Buddha, Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, and Mahasthamaprapta Bodhisattva, to all of those buddhas and bodhisattvas who delivered them. Afterwards, I entered meditation and went to bed after exiting the meditation. I did this every night for one full year.
So, Anjel, other than registering your distant family member as a primary supplicant for bardo deliverance, you can also invoke him to Grandmaster’s nightly bardo deliverance. I can use this method to guide him to the Western Pure Land.
I have explained my stages very clearly. That’s how I perform the bardo deliverance. I don’t conceal or hide anything. I first beseech my personal deity, the Golden Mother, to shine light upon myself. I then transform into the personal deity and by the power of personal deity combined with the Golden Mother, all of the bardo spirits who died from COVID-19 are delivered to the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss. That’s my answer to the question from Anjel, Lianhua Kaien in Canada.
Third question from Lianhua Yiping in China
Q3: At the annual ceremony, I took the lay bodhisattva vows and since then, I have always reminded myself to be like a bodhisattva without a self, and to have sentient beings in my heart in all of my actions. Although it’s difficult, I have tried my best. I really love to read the Ksitigarbha Sutra. I also would like to save my mother and deliver sentient beings life after life in the netherworld, just like Ksitigarbha did. The bodhisattva path says one’s mind should have only sentient beings without self. The Ksitigarbha Sutra also states that merits should be dedicated to the sentient beings. If one dedicates the merit just to one’s family members and relatives, one can only enjoy bliss for three lifetimes. I feel ashamed, because I can’t do without considering my family. I feel that if I cannot even save my own family, how can I save other sentient beings? I am confused and ashamed. Please shed light on my confusion, Grandmaster.
A3: Actually, this person’s perspective is not wrong. One should start with saving one’s close ones, then saving the sentient beings. Or yourself, practice the visualization of the four immeasurable minds as we normally do during a cultivation session. While the visualization of the four immeasurable minds was mentioned during our dharma practice, the emcee instructed that, on the right, visualize the ancestors and relatives from the father’s side, and on the left, visualize ancestors and relatives from the mother’s side. Visualize your benefactors and teachers behind you. Your enemies and karmic creditors are in front of you, and sentient beings of six realms are around you. All of them are practicing the Buddhadharma together to attain Buddhahood. Visualizing this way is the visualization of bodhisattva, the visualization of the four immeasurable minds.
You, Lianhua Yiping from China, want to model Ksitigarbha’s saving his mother, and he also saved his mother first. Brahmin girl saving her mother, says in the Ksitigarbha Sutra. (Grandmaster reread disciple’s question) The bodhisattva path says one’s mind should have only sentient beings without self. The Ksitigarbha Sutra also states that merits should be dedicated to the sentient beings. If one dedicates the merit just to one’s family members and relatives, one can only enjoy bliss for three lifetimes. I feel ashamed, because I can’t do without considering my family. I feel that if I cannot even save my own family, how can I save other sentient beings?” So, this is what she is asking. Her question is should you save family members first before saving sentient beings.
That’s correct too because Ksitigarbha also saved his mother first before saving other sentient beings. Therefore, you can save your family members first then learn to save sentient beings. However, in your daily cultivation, if you practice the four immeasurable minds visualization by including your fathers relatives and ancestors, your mothers relatives and ancestors, your karmic creditors, your benefactors, your teachers, and sentient beings of the six realms, you are saving all of them already.
In terms of dedicating merit to your own family members or relatives, one being able to enjoy bliss only for three lifetimes… Then, do this way. You wish to enjoy bliss for many lifetimes, you then do your best to save your family members and sentient beings at the same time. By saving them all, it will not be just three lifetimes. Instead, it will be many lifetimes. Just save all of them together.
When I do a bardo deliverance, I deliver all sentient beings, not just sentient beings that have an affinity with Grandmaster, or the True Buddha School’s disciples. When performing bardo deliverance and seeing TBS disciples, I recite the Amitabha Rebirth Mantra, “Na-mo a-mi-doh-poh-ye, doh-ta-ga-doh-ye, doh-deh-ye-ta, a-mi-lee-doh-poh-pee, a-mi-lee-doh seh-den-poh-pee, a-mi-lee-doh pek-ga-lan-deh, a-mi-lee-doh pek-ga-lan-doh, ga-mee-nee, ka-ka-nah, zhi-doh-ka-lee, so-ha”,and the Manjushri Rebirth Mantra, “Om, ah-bei-la-hong, kan-zha-la, so-ha”. When I perform deliverance in the TBF office, I will mark and register them for the deliverance ritual at night, so they can attend the bardo deliverance at my home in the evening. Then, after I delivered TBS disciples, I will also deliver those who were marked and came to my place for deliverance. I deliver all of them.
Those who have an affinity with me, the True Buddha School’s disciples, and those who died from COVID-19 are all being delivered in this way. That’s also a way to deliver them. You can learn from me to save or to deliver your own family members, benefactors, teachers, karmic creditors, and sentient beings of the six realms. As long as you are mindful of the four immeasurable minds, you will receive bliss for many lifetimes, not just three lifetimes.