January 12, 2020, Rainbow Temple, Akasagarbha Bodhisattva Homa Ceremony
Lamdre Exposition by Dharma King Lian-sheng
Summary of Dharma Talk
On January 12, 2020, Dharma King Living Buddha Lian-sheng presided over the homa ceremony of Akasagarbha Bodhisattva.
On this day, a dharma-requesting ceremony was conducted by the temple to formally invite the Dharma King to transmit the dharma of Yeshe Tsogyal on February 1, 2020. Rinpoche Tenzin Gyatso and Vajra Masters presented various offerings to the Dharma King: statues of Padmakumara and Yeshe Tsogyal, hata, red packets of cash, footprint carvings of Yeshe Tsogyal, a treasure crown, a dragon robe, a set of vajra sceptre and bell, an empowerment vase made of silver, a damaru, a string of mala, a conch, a crystal lotus, and symbols of the dharma wheel and the eight auspicious signs. A bouquet of flowers was presented to Shimu. The ceremony was solemn and majestic.
When the ceremony began, hailstones rained down immediately. The sky also presented auspicious signs. All these occurrences symbolized great blessings. Everyone was touched immensely.
The Principal Deity for the homa that day was Akasagarbha Bodhisattva.
Akasagarbha Bodhisattva is well-known as the Treasury Vajra, and he lives in the “Pureland of Fragrant Realm”. The Dharma King once wrote an article, "The Wisdom Seed of Akasagarbha" in his book, "54_Vajrayana Karma Practices", on the meritorious powers of Akasagarbha Bodhisattva. This ''Treasury of All Space Bodhisattva'' (Chinese: Xukong Zang) is so-called because the wisdom of Akasagarbha is, like space, infinitely vast and deep. Akasagarbha's abode is the boundlessness of space. He not only knows every secret meaning but also saves all sentient beings with great compassion.
Akasagarbha Bodhisattva resides in the mandalas of both the Garbhadhatu and Vajradhatu. In the Vajradhatu he is the Vajra Jewel Bodhisattva and is one of the Sixteen Deities of the Auspicious Aeon positioned in the outer court of the southern direction. Within the Garbhadhatu he holds the primary position in the Akasagarbha court.
The personal deity of Master Kukai (Kobo Daishi) was Mahavairocana Buddha. But what Master Kukai actually practiced was the ''Akasagarbha Practice of Enduring Memory of What's Learned.'' While in a cave retreat, Master Kukai practiced this dharma to the point where stars flew into his mouth and from then on, he completely recovered his memory. He could perfectly recollect all the various sutras he had studied, all the mudras, all the mantras, all the visualizations and all the cultivation practices of all the buddhas, bodhisattvas, and deities.
This practice must be performed on the days of the solar and lunar eclipses. The Dharma King said, "This is the most precious time to do the Akasagarbha dharma practice. One prays that the brilliance from Akasagarbha Bodhisattva and the lights from the stars are congregated in the cup of water placed before oneself. Akasagarbha Bodhisattva also emits a trajectory of light from his sword that goes into the water. Drinking this cup of water will improve one’s memory, and one won't forget things easily either."
The treasury of Akasagarbha Bodhisattva contains blessings which the Bodhisattva bestows on sentient beings and which are as limitless as Space. The “Zang” in the name, “Xukong Zang” is the same Chinese character as the “Tsang” in “Lei Tsang Temple”. This Chinese character also symbolizes the treasury contained within the Lamdre. The Dharma King expounded, "The Buddha-nature is inherent in one’s body; it's just that this Buddha-nature is covered with dirt and hence, we are subjected to the cycle of reincarnation. Therefore, ‘Lei Tsang’ denotes the intrinsic nature of the Tathagata hidden within one’s body.”
The Dharma King explained further: When one is done eradicating karmic hindrances, one would no longer request for Buddhas’ and Bodhisattvas’ help anymore, because the Buddha-nature in one's body has already manifested. The Buddha-nature is not subjected to reincarnation, hence it is Bodhi in purity.
The Dharma King continued with the discourse on the Lamdre. In the text, it was mentioned, "all affinity arises on the path of the Great Perfection". The so-called start-of-affinity on the path of Great Perfection is logical and backed by evidence. In fact, the entire Lamdre is backed by evidence. The Dharma King used his own cultivation experience as an example, "Everything starts with affinity. Why does a person eventually believe in the Buddha? That is based on the start of affinity. For example, in the past, Grandmaster was picked by Golden Mother to propagate the dharma."
The Dharma King explained more about the Great Perfection path using the five affinities. They are:
• The outer start-of-affinity: Qi is circulating; in dreams, one can see things. This is the first baby step [in spiritual cultivation];
• The inner start-of-affinity: Qi at the heart is congregated on the channels. One will have sensations or experiences [during spiritual cultivation];
• Secret start-of-affinity: One gives up worldly path in favor of embarking on supraworldly path. Qi is smooth and unblocked in the channels and the five chakras are open. One sees the body altar.
• Suchness start-of-affinity: The start of affinity of Buddhahood takes place; the unravelling of the last three knots occurs. The main thing to note is the manifestation of Lightdrops, Qi and Merit;
• Ultimate start-of-affinity: The opening of the last chakra and the achievement of the 13th 'ground' take place.
After the discourse, the Dharma King bestowed the empowerment of the dharma of Akasagarbha Bodhisattva on everyone. All ended well.