[TBS LSCTT News]
During the epidemic crisis, disciples were looking forward to the weekend live cultivation webcast presided over by Grandmaster at 8:00 PM Sat., April 11, 2020.
To demonstrate utmost respect, Master Lianwang, as master of ceremonies, presented a hata to Grandmaster on behalf of Ling Shen Ching Tze Temple. Grandmaster first performed a simplified practice. In the dedication of merit, Grandmaster prayed that Golden Mother, queen of immortals; Amitabha, king of buddhas; Ksitigarbha, king of the earth; and all other buddhas, bodhisattvas, and vajra protectors would save sentient beings in the six realms.
Following the practice, Grandmaster was respectfully invited to give a Dharma discourse. Grandmaster first gave a warm welcome to Shimu, rinpoches, masters, senior reverends, reverends, Dharma Instructors, Dharma Assistants, and disciples watching online. Grandmaster then answered cultivation questions previously submitted by disciples online.
Grandmaster has said “Q&A is interaction and interaction is power.” He compassionately accepted an invitation from True Buddha School Net for a Q&A session with disciples during his Dharma discourse.
Q: Grandmaster discoursed that when cultivating Vajra Chanting and Treasure Vase Breathing, females should hold the breath in the heart chakra. Does one inhale the breath directly to the heart chakra and hold it there? Or does one first inhale the breath to the dantian, then lift it to the heart chakra and hold it there? After menopause, should a female inhale the breath directly into the dantien?
Grandmaster: Whether menstruating or not, a female should always hold the breath at the heart chakra. The heart chakra is the middle dantian, whereas the navel chakra is the lower dantien. The brow chakra is the upper dantian. When practicing Vajra Chanting or Treasure Vase Breathing during menses, metrorrhagia can easily occur. Even one or two years after menopause, a female inhaling the breath to the lower dantian during Vajra Chanting or Treasure Vase Breathing may still cause the menses to return, and metrorrhagia to easily occur. Therefore, females should be especially careful about this. If unusual bleeding occurs, one must immediately cease the cultivating. When one’s body returns to normal, one may resume the practice of inhaling the breath to the middle dantian in Vajra Chanting or Treasure Vase Breathing.
Q: In the article ‘Vajra Chanting’ from your book Pith Teaching to The Path of Liberation, you stated that one visualizes oneself as Vajrasattva with a consort, with three channels and five chakras. Which five chakras are referred to in this article?
Grandmaster: The five chakras are the brow chakra, throat chakra, heart chakra, navel chakra, and sacral chakra. The seven chakras are these five plus the crown chakra and the root chakra.
Q: This question concerns the eight-petaled lotus in the heart chakra. Above the lotus is a red light drop below a white light drop. They are about the size of a pea. There is a small moon disc in the center of the lotus. In the center of the moon disc is a bright blue “hum” syllable. How does one perform this visualization?
Grandmaster: There is a sun disc within the eight-petaled lotus. In the center of the sun disc is a moon disc. Above the moon disc is a white light drop above a red light drop and the light drops are about the size of a pea. Above the red and white light drops, there is a bright blue “hum” syllable. One visualizes the above in three dimensions.
Q: Grandmaster, in your discourse on the Great Perfection, you mentioned that one visualizes the Adibuddha in the void emitting white light which transforms into a white “om” syllable. A white “om” enters, a red “ah” abides, and a blue “hum” exits benefitting sentient beings. In Vajra Chanting, while one’s breath (qi) is abiding, does one visualize the red “ah”” radiating brilliant white light (qi)?
Grandmaster: One may visualize this way.
Q: When performing Nine Cycle Breathing, when the breath (qi) enters the dantian from the channels on the left and right sides, does one hold the qi in the dantian for a period of time, lift it to the crown, then exhale it through the nostrils as it descends to the dantian?
Grandmaster: Holding the qi in the dantian is Treasure Vase Breathing. In Treasure Vase Breathing, the qi is fierce, even dangerous. Nine Cycle Breathing is harmless, but when combined with Treasure Vase Breathing, one’s qi becomes fierce, not normal. Therefore, one must not combine the two practices. This is very important. One must understand this.
Q: When practicing Vajra Chanting, I experience involuntary physical movement while pressing the ascending qi down or lifting the qi up and holding it. Is this involuntary movement actually the movement of qi? When this occurs, should one control and stop the movement? Or, should one allow natural and unhindered movement of qi?
Grandmaster: The movement one experiences is the movement of qi. Whether to control this movement or not is up to the practitioner.
Q: Does reciting sutras or mantras at medium tempo cause leakage of qi? Is it preferable to recite at a faster tempo?
Grandmaster: Not necessarily. One can go slowly. Performing everything solidly is the utmost importance. Wholeheartedly recite a mantra using qi. Reciting a mantra mindlessly is scattered recitation. There is no need to be concerned about the speed of recitation. By reciting too quickly, one’s mind may not follow. Neither is reciting too slowly, like a snail crawling, acceptable. Find a rhythm that is personally comfortable and appropriate, and recite mindfully. When chanting a mantra for subjugation, one should recite quickly, like chopping, and in a fierce tone. Mantras for calamity eradication should be slow whereas mantras for love and respect should be gentle.
Q: Grandmaster mentioned white-flower karma eradication practice during a discourse. If white flowers are not available, is there anything that can be used as a substitute?
Grandmaster: White flowers means white flowers. There is no substitute.
Q: If one does not have a Dharma protector or personal deity, may one bless the materials in the bathing water with the Guru Mantra, Golden Mother Mantra, Marici Mantra, Tara Who Saves from Contagious Diseases Mantra, or the Great Compassion Dharani?
Grandmaster: One may recite any of the mantras mentioned above to bless the white flowers. Every deity has its respective power. The important point is to recite the mantra with sincerity. If one is sincere, the mantra will be effective. If the white flowers are not blessed by the personal deity, the bath is only a bath, and there will be no effect at all. Therefore, one must be truly sincere.
Q: Can one employ Armor Protection on a regular basis to prevent the epidemic?
Grandmaster: Absolutely! Armor Protection is Vajrapani Bodhisattva. One also visualizes Vajrapani appearing to protect one.
Q: This question concerns the Vajrasattva Practice. Prior to entering samadhi, one visualizes the personal deity in the void moving to one’s crown. However, one has previously visualized Grandmaster atop one’s crown. Therefore, should one first visualize Vajrasattva merging with Grandmaster and transforming into Vajrasattva who subsequently abides atop one’s crown? Then, continue the visualization with the deity merging with one and one merging with the deity before entering samadhi?
Grandmaster: Precisely. There is an important point. Every cultivator should know that Grandmaster is one and the same as Vajrasattva, Vajra-heart Bodhisattva, and Vajrapani. In Vajrayana, one may visualize Grandmaster transforming into Vajrasattva, that is, Grandmaster merging with Vajrasattva; Vajra-heart Bodhisattva is one and the same as Grandmaster; Vajrapani is also one and the same as Grandmaster. This is a key cultivation formula, merging as one.
The first level vajra holder is the Adibuddha. The second level vajra holders are the Five Directional Buddhas; the third, Vajrasattva; and the fourth, Grandmaster. They are all one. In other words, Grandmaster is Vajrasattva, Vajra-heart Bodhisattva, and Vajradhara.
Vajrasattva enters one’s body, one enters samadhi, and one transforms into Vajrasattva. One is then the fifth level Vajrasattva. This is visualization of mind essence, one’s original mind. Mind is one’s thoughts, one’s habits. Mind and mind essence are not the same. Mind essence, one’s original Buddha-nature, arises from cultivation.
Q: I admire the True Buddha School. Due to various obstacles, I engaged in the refuge ritual of remote empowerment at home. However, I never mailed a follow-up letter. I’m wondering whether I am considered a True Buddha disciple and if I may begin to practice? If so, should I begin by cultivating Guru Yoga?
Grandmaster: As long as one is sincere, the boundless light of Vajradhara, which shines everywhere without exception, will naturally descend on one. With sincerity, one is namely a True Buddha School disciple. It’s best to begin one’s practice of Vajrayana with the Four Preliminaries which are the Great Homage, Mandala Offering, Fourfold Refuge, and the Four Immeasurable Vows. As discoursed by Tsongkhapa, Vajrayana has three crucial elements: Renunciation, which for the ordained and for lay persons is the determination to escape samsara by taking refuge and practicing Buddhadharma; compassion, which is the determination to alleviate the suffering of all sentient beings; and the correct view of the Middle Way, which means never adopting a wrong path or biased viewpoint. Both renunciation and compassion require the correct view, so having the correct view is very important.
Grandmaster continued with an incisive discourse on the Lamdre regarding practicing homa with black sesame seeds offered to eradicate karmic hindrances; by consuming the seeds, Ucchusma consumes one’s karmic hindrances.
During the homa, one visualizes a black “Hum” or “Gan” syllable entering into the black sesame seeds. One then visualizes oneself transforming into an Ucchusma with eight arms, opening one’s mouth to eat all the sesame seeds and all other offerings in the fire ceremony. One eradicates karmic hindrances in this way. If one is acting on behalf of deceased persons, one burns the list of registered names in the homa furnace.
Visualize a “hum” syllable in the heart of the deceased with the deceased's Five Aggregates, Five Afflictions, or Five Elements. Spread sesame seeds around the memorial tablet, over the deceased person’s clothing, or the deceased person’s remains. Then, burn them away. This purifies the deceased person’s karmic transgressions. Subsequently, visualize that Ucchusma consumes everything in its entirety. The blessing is tremendously powerful.
Grandmaster then told several jokes, and specially mentioned his upcoming book 278 Meeting in Winter, which contains a Vajrayana practice for eradicating epidemics derived from the Lamdre teachings.
According to Grandmaster, the Plague Gods of current pandemic all carry a command flag. Since Golden Mother is the one who is in charge of command flags, the pandemic can be resolved by praying to Golden Mother to recall the command flags. We therefore urge everyone to recite the mantras of Golden Mother, Tiger Head Vajra, Tara Who Saves from Contagious Diseases, and Ucchusma as often as possible.
Finally, we offer our utmost gratitude to Grandmaster for answering disciples’ questions, discoursing the precious Lamdre teachings, and revealing how to eradicate the COVID-19 epidemic!
Translated by the True Buddha Translation Team
Translator: Rev. Lianting
Editors: Henry Wolf and DJ Chang