March 1, 2020, Padmakumara Homa Ceremony, Rainbow Temple
Lamdre Exposition by Dharma King Lian-sheng
Summary of Dharma Talk
On March 01, 2020, Dharma King Living Buddha Lian-sheng presided over the homa ceremony of Padmakumara at Rainbow Temple.
During the era of Shakyamuni Buddha’s dharma propagation, many Bodhisattvas, Sages, and spiritual cultivators came to listen to him. In one of his discourses, Shakyamuni Buddha mentioned the existence of Youths -- such as Youth Ri Guang, Youth Yue Guang, Youth Xiang Yan, and Padmakumara (Youth Lotus). Of the 25 Sages, only Youth Yue Guang and Youth Xiang Yan were mentioned in Surangama Sutra. Padmakumara wasn't mentioned in the sutra because Padmakumara was entrusted with the mission of salvation of sentient beings in the future.
When the Dharma King was 26 years old, Golden Mother of the Jade Pond opened his divine eye. On that same night, his spirit traveled out of his body to the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss where he saw the brilliant and splendid White Maha Padmakumara and heard a voice at his ear saying, “You are the return of White Maha Padmakumara.”
Padmakumara is a 13th-stage Buddha. His origin is Mahavairocana Buddha. Since Buddha Locana and Mahavairocana Buddha are together, the eyes of Buddha Locana transformed into Maha Twin Lotus Ponds. The principal deity of the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss is Amitabha Buddha. Padmakumara is the principal deity of Maha Twin Lotus Ponds. Amitabha Buddha transformed into Padmakumara, and Padmakumara emanated Living Buddha Lian-sheng.
Living Buddha Lian-sheng, Sheng-yen Lu later becomes the founder of True Buddha School and the spiritual leader of more than five million disciples worldwide.
Next the Dharma King discoursed on the Lamdre.
According to the Lamdre, the four empowerments involve four mudras. The Dharma King demonstrated how to form these mudras. However, he also told the audience that his teacher imparted a set of mudras which were slightly different from those written in the Lamdre. The mudras taught by his teacher are as follows:
• The mudra for first-level vase empowerment involves placing the right palm above a left clenched fist; the mudra is the same as the Marici Mudra.
• For the second-level empowerment, the mudra is the Lotus Mudra.
• For the third-level empowerment, the mudra is the Vairocana Mudra -- the fingers of the right hand grasp the index finger of the left hand.
• To form the mudra for the fourth-level empowerment, place two palms such that they face each other without touching; then touch the fingertips of one hand with the fingertips of the other hand. The bases of the palms also touch each other. The resulting circular shape represents Great Perfection.
In addition, the Dharma King also taught everyone the Qi-Ke Mudra, the Vajra-Finger Mudra, the Subjugation Mudra and the Three-Point Mudra. “These mudras have powers,” the Dharma King said.
According to the Lamdre, “causation represents the first part of spiritual cultivation; when affinities congregate, a fruit is generated.” The Dharma King explained, whatever causation a person commits, there will be an effect [fruit]. Hence we call this “cause and effect” (karma). But if a person commits a causation, and if there is no affinity, then there will not be any fruit.
Whatever causation committed in previous lives will affect one’s meditation and spiritual experiences. The Dharma King gave an example: if someone meets her husband this life, the latter may very well be the wife’s hindrance from a previous life. Conversely, if someone meets his wife this life, the wife could be the husband’s hindrance from a previous life. "This is affinity affecting one’s spiritual cultivation," said the Dharma King.
According to Lamdre, “there are six factors pertaining to the shadows arising from the congregation of causation and affinities.” The “shadows” simply mean hindrances. The Dharma King explained the six factors in detail:
• Shadow of Samaye – pertains to the breaking of a precept. For instance, if a person breaks a precept in a previous life, he or she will get hindrances this life.
• Shadow of demons and ghosts -- demons and ghosts cause disturbances to the person.
• Shadow of evil friends -- bad friends affect and harm a person.
• Shadow of food and drinks -- different kinds of food, including colored foods, will influence one’s health. For instance, some people are sensitive to loquats, peanuts or milk.
• Shadow of abode -- this is related to geomancy. The abode may clash with Yin or ghosts. A ghost may be living in a person’s abode, or there may be clashes of Qi in the house. All these will affect one’s meditation.
• Shadow of lack-of-life or dullness: The weather, certain dates or festivals can influence a person’s practice.
After the discourse, the Dharma King bestowed the empowerment of the dharma of Padmakumara. All ended well.