April 12, 2020, Tara Who Saves from Contagious Diseases Homa Ceremony at Rainbow Temple
On Apr. 12, 2020, HH Root Guru Living Buddha Lian-sheng was respectfully invited to preside over a Tara Who Saves from Contagious Diseases Homa Ceremony at Rainbow Temple in Seattle.
While paying homage to the buddhas at Ling Shen Ching Tze Temple in Seattle on Jan. 23, 2020, Grandmaster received instruction from Green Tara as follows, “Of the 21 Taras, there is one Tara who can save from contagions and pestilence. One can recite her mantra and dedicate the merit to the eradication of epidemic and influenza diseases.” In response to the Tara’s instruction and an appeal by the True Buddha Foundation (TBF), worldwide TBS cultivation venues and disciples began to collectively recite the Mantra of Tara Who Saves from Contagious Diseases. The recitation is not only for self protection. The participants have also been praying with great compassion to the Tara to eradicate all pestilence and the pandemic. As of today, 247 cultivation venues have been participating in this recitation. The total mantra count is 61,921,709.
In addition, the Dharma King informed us that his next book, no. 279, will be Confessions Under the Lonesome Lamp. The Dharma King mentioned that this book will reveal what he wishes to convey from his heart, that is, “to lead every disciple to awakening, and explain why I came to the saha world to liberate sentient beings.”
True Buddha News and Enlightenment Magazine have a new and improved design, and Grandmaster praised the publications on a job well done for raising their standards. In this regard, Grandmaster remarked, “Good job! I hope everyone pays attention to this. I urge everyone to read the True Buddha News, Enlightenment Magazine and Grandmaster’s books as they become available.”
Every Buddhist sutra is about Shakyamuni Buddha’s answers to questions raised by disciples. The Buddha rarely discoursed solely on his own volition. The interaction between Shakyamuni and his disciples was compiled into sutras and tantras.
In keeping with this tradition, Grandmaster responded to the following two questions from disciples:
1. Disciples must perform each of the Four Preliminary Practices 100,000 times. How can one complete the mandala offering 100,000 times? How can we make so many offerings in a short period of time? Does it take years to achieve this many offerings?
2. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues its relentless spread throughout the world, people are in a constant state of anxiety. From the perspective of Buddhadharma, what kind of mindset will help one cope with this anxiety? How does one strengthen hope and positivity during this epidemic? How can we stop more and more people from taking their own lives due to heartbreak and despair?
Following are Grandmaster’s answers:
To perform the Mandala Offering, one must use a mandala plate. Place rice inside the mandala plate and recite the offering praise verse and offering mantra while making the offering. One then points to the plate with the Sword Fingers, visualizes the mandala as the entire universe, and offers the seven treasures and eight auspicious symbols to the universe. This offering visualization concludes the Mandala Offering. One may discard the rice afterwards and begin another Mandala Offering.
Grandmaster’s guru taught Grandmaster that, prior to pointing with Sword Fingers, one turns each respective layer of the mandala plate three times, symbolizing that the offering is made to the great trichiliocosm. However, Grandmaster mentioned that turning the mandala plate three times is not necessary. Just pointing to the plate with the Sword Fingers is sufficient.
Grandmaster emphasized that visualization is of utmost importance in this practice. “One visualizes the mandala offering as an offering to the entire universe in all ten directions. After performing this visualization, one has completed one mandala offering. One discards the rice and replaces it with fresh rice. When one has completed 100,000 mandala offerings, one will be blessed by the buddhas and bodhisattvas and one’s provisions will be abundant."
As to the second question regarding the Buddhist attitude towards the raging COVID-19 epidemic, from the standpoint of a practitioner, Grandmaster considers that the epidemic is “equality”, because it is striking every country. Therefore, since everyone is in the same boat, there is no need to be overly depressed. Actually, one should be happy and thankful for not being infected!
Grandmaster stated that in the event one does contract the disease, one should use the power of Buddhadharma, pray to the buddhas and bodhisattvas for their blessing, and ignite the inner fire to completely burn away the coronavirus.
"In fact, one should seize this opportunity to practice happily.”
If, unfortunately, one must face death, Grandmaster urges one to follow Grandmaster’s teachings that one has been practicing daily. As death approaches and breathing becomes difficult, one should visualize the Root Guru atop one’s crown, or visualize one’s personal deity merging with the Root Guru. If one does not have a personal deity, one visualizes Vajrasattva merging with Grandmaster. Next, one visualizes Vajrasattva’s brilliant light in one’s heart. One’s soul follows Vajrasattva’s light to rebirth in the pure land.
“For a Buddhist, this is a fortunate event and a cause for celebration! As practitioners, we should have a mind of renunciation, and not necessarily be fond of the mandune world. Actually, for the most part, the human realm is nothing but pain and suffering. If one is able to part from suffering and obtain happiness, isn’t one lucky to have ‘won this opportunity’? (meaning one becoming infected)”
Having seen a huge number of people die from coronavirus, Grandmaster revealed that he has been performing bardo deliverance on a daily basis. He said, “I perform bardo deliverance on a large scale every evening.” Grandmaster explained that he invokes the Pure Land Trinity. The lotus Amitabha holds in his hand transforms into an enormous dharma boat. Shimmering gold threads extend from the dharma boat all the way to the saha world. By these threads, the deceased reach the dharma boat and are ferried to the Western Paradise. It doesn’t matter if the deceased are TBS disciples or not. It’s because of affinity with the Dharma that one is able to board the dharma boat.
In Grandmaster’s opinion, there is no need to feel anxious. If one contracts the disease and death is inevitable, one must face death squarely and be delivered to the Buddha Pure Land. If one has not contracted the disease, one can go on saving sentient beings.
Next, Grandmaster discoursed the Lamdre. The six kinds of outflows of light drops are explained as follows:
Leakage as a result of overflow of light drops;
Leakage as a result of nocturnal emission;
Leakage as a result of illness and evil spirits;
Leakage as a result of one’s consort;
Leakage as a result of food and beverage;
Leakage as a result of one’s dishonorable actions.
Grandmaster urged cultivators to guard against leakage of light drops: “Practitioners must guard against leakage of both white light drops and red light drops. With the extinction of outflow, meditation becomes more stable and one attains the Six Yogas of Naropa with ease.”
Grandmaster explained that male practitioners may not experience leakage for a month or two. However, once the light drops are full, leakage is bound to occur. Inner fire would evaporate one’s light drops. Leakage occurs because one’s inner fire has not been ignited. In other words, leakage results from an overflow of light drops.
There are several methods to prevent leakage:
1. Form the Vajra Fist Mudra. Raise the fists and recite “hum, hum, hum.” Visualize light drops rising swiftly upwards. Use “hum” as a control mechanism.
2. Perform the Lion Liberation Mudra. Grandmaster previously demonstrated this mudra at Guashan Lei Tsang Temple in Taiwan.
Upon attaining enlightenment the Buddha exclaimed, “How incredible! In reality, all sentient beings possess the Buddha-nature.” Grandmaster reminded everyone again that, originally, we all came from the pure land. Spiritual cultivation eradicates habitual tendencies and bad thoughts, allowing us to return to our original, primal state.
“When one eradicates habitual tendencies and bad thoughts, one will see the true Buddha-nature.”
The homa ceremony was held in a live webcast form. More than 3,500 people participated online. It was like a fairly large size ceremony.
Translated by the True Buddha Translation Team
Translator: Lynn Ang
Editors: Henry Wolf and DJ Chang