January 11, 2020, Cundi Buddha-Mother Group Cultivation
The Cundi Buddha-Mother Group Cultivation Practice took place on January 11, 2020. Upon the conclusion of the cultivation session, Grandmaster greeted everyone, including the VIPs.
Grandmaster asked if anyone knew which deity resided on the crown of Cundi Buddha-Mother. Some would say it is Vairocana Buddha and others would say it is either Amitabha Buddha or Shakyamuni Buddha. In fact, there is allusion that the Deity on the crown of Cundi Buddha-Mother represents "intrinsic bhumi" , and it comes from that Deity.
Generally, Cundi Buddha-Mother is well-known in Eastern [Japanese] Vajrayana, Chinese Vajrayana and Taiwanese Vajrayana. In India, Grandmaster once saw a sect reverently brought out an 18-arm Cundi Buddha-Mother statue.
The Cundi Buddha-Mother originates from the supreme dharma palace of Vairocana, and hence, the roots of Cundi Buddha-Mother and Padmakumara are similar.
The respect to which Cundi Buddha-Mother is accorded is indicative of her extraordinary background: she emerged from the Buddha's entering into samadhi transformed supernaturally from the Ocean Infinite as Void. She is also known as the ''Cundi Buddha Mother of Seventy Billion Deities'', “the Divine Hero Guanyin”, and "the Mother of all the deities of the Lotus class”. She is assisted by Dragon Kings Nanda and Upananda.
Therefore, who dwells on Cundi Buddha-Mother's crown? In fact, in all thangkas, Amitabha is depicted on Cundi Buddha-Mother's crown; Amitabha is the main authority figure in the Lotus class [of sutras and doctrines]. Cundi Buddha-Mother has great powers and therefore, she can either be a Yidam or a Vajra Protector.
Next, Grandmaster discoursed on the Lamdre.
In Lamdre, there is mention of the four types of pramanas:
• The “pramana of sutras and doctrines” as expounded by Shakyamuni Buddha;
• The “pramana of the historical records” such as the Buddhist canons or treatise based on the actual spiritual cultivation of practitioners, including testimonies and commentaries from past patriarchs;
• The “pramana of the Guru's pith instructions” comprising the Guru's discourses and explanations of techniques; and lastly,
• The “pramana of personal spiritual experiences of the cultivator”.
For the last pramana, the spiritual experiences of every cultivator are different. Hence, whatever experiences that one encounters are due to affinity. One may feel one’s bodily cells vibrate during spiritual cultivation; one may also experience a dharma stream entering one’s body via the crown, attributional to the descent of Buddhas or Bodhisattvas. During samadhi, one may also experience the heaviness of the head and neck – the weight then spreads to all areas of the upper torso and eventually to the lower torso of the body. The whole body becomes as solid as a rock.
According to Lamdre, “the Maha Bodhi is inherently pure”. The primordial original consciousness is inherently pure. Since there is purity, there is no reincarnation. One just needs to sweep clean the dust of samsara (one is merely a guest in this world), then one would not be reincarnated.
Question: since the original Buddha-nature is not subjected to reincarnation, why is reincarnation possible? The soul is reincarnated -- if it is tainted, reincarnation will take place. The nature of emptiness is Nirvana and Tao (The Way).
The pure Maha Bodhi is Buddha-nature. The intrinsic pure Maha Bodhi is inherent in the body. Thus, if purity is inherent, reincarnation is impossible, and one can attain liberation or moksha even without spiritual cultivation. So, the question is, why would one be reincarnated then? If there is taint, then reincarnation will occur. All sentient beings of the samsara world reincarnate because of taint.
We are here today to cultivate spiritually in order to purify ourselves. We chant to cleanse our speech. We visualize to cleanse our mind. We form mudras to cleanse our body. In Vajrayana, these are methods of purification via the body, speech and mind. Using the sadhanas of Vajrayana, we seek to remove the dust or taint from the body, speech and mind.
As usual, Grandmaster peppered his jokes with snippets of Buddha-dharma. One of the take-aways from the talk by Grandmaster is the importance of adhering to precepts, which Grandmaster upholds steadfastly. One must never ask for money from others. Recently, Grandmaster has cured many kids of hyperactivity and autism – their parents brought them over to Grandmaster to bless. For a while, the consultation room at the True Buddha Tantric Quarter transformed into a kindergarten.
Grandmaster said, all Buddhas come from the Primordial Buddha (Adharma Buddha). Hence on Cundi Buddha-Mother’s crown, the deity can be Vairocana Buddha, Amitabha Buddha, or even Shakyamuni Buddha. They are all connected [in one way or another]. Hence, if one were to pick any of these Buddhas in answer to Grandmaster’s question, one would be correct, because all are Buddhas.
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 help them in the fulfillment of their wishes.
With the auspicious conclusion of the night’s session, everyone left the temple with a great sense of dharma joy.