Saturday, May 19, 2018

One Hundred Deity Soul Deliverance and Naga Vase Puja in Penang, Malaysia

On 4 May 2018, a group of thirty plus of us followed Acho Rinpoche on a tour to Penang of Malaysia, as he was to co-host a public prayer with H.E Konde Rinpoche on a Hundred Deity Soul Deliverance and Naga Vase Puja which was to be held at the State Chinese (Penang Association) at 13 Jalan Perak 10150 Pulau Pinang. It was coincidental that the 14th General Election of Malaysia was underway during this period that we witnessed the many posters and flags decorating almost every corner of the streets in Penang. 
On 5 May 2018, the prayer started at 10am with One Hundred Deity Soul Deliverance Prayer, followed by the ceremony of bathing a statue of Dragon King with milk mixed with medical herbs. After lunch, we left the prayer venue and headed for the beach. We would offer all the naga vases filled with precious medical herbs by dumping them into the sea, as the blessing power of the Buddha and the herbs within the vases could help eradicate the negative karma and sickness of the sea beings. During the process of bathing the statue of Dragon King, Dharma Sister Bing suddenly did three long prostrations before Acho Rinpoche; she explained to the rest that she had a vision of Acho Rinpoche transforming into the Dragon King Buddha at that juncture and the rest of the dragon family also came forward and prostrated to him. So, she felt that she was actually representing the dragon family in doing the prostrations, as a gesture of appreciation to Acho Rinpoche for his compassion and blessing. After that, Acho Rinpoche blessed all the registration forms submitted by the participants before burning. Dharma Brother Shao contributed a “dragon boat” this time, as he got a hint from a Dragon King while in Singapore, suggesting that he should make a “dragon boat” from joss papers (origami) and offered it to the dragon family. The “dragon boat”, after being blessed by Acho Rinpoche, could help deliver the numerous dragons to a higher realm of existence, either being reborn into a Buddha Land or as human practitioners, or even attain the state of Buddhahood! However, we witnessed that the “dragon boat” took a long time to burn. Acho Rinpoche later explained the reason why it took so long for it to be totally burnt as it signifies the heavy negative karma associated with these dragon beings, that it would take lots of blessing power to help them eradicate their negative karma and leave the realm of dragon, for a higher rebirth.
When we left the State Chinese premises after the completion of the One Hundred Deity Soul Deliverance Prayer, we saw a sun halo appearing in the sky, which signified the perfect closure of the prayer which was hailed by the numerous holy beings in the spiritual realm. We took a bus to the beach which had all its windows shut and no air-conditioning – we felt suffocated and sick during the bus journey. Later, Acho Rinpoche explained that it signified the hardship endured by the numerous sentient beings stranded in their current state of suffering; they would not be able to break free of their current state of suffering due to their negative karma, unless they are blessed by the Buddha. When we reached the beach, we saw some clouds in the sky appearing in the form of “dragon boat”, dragon king, dragon pearl etc. It was indeed truly amazing and unbelievable!  Acho Rinpoche was drenched twice by sea waves splashing into the boat while sailing – he knew that they signified both the welcoming gesture and appreciation expressed by the Dragon King; he felt extremely energized after being drenched by the sea water!
The whole event came to a perfect closure by late noon.

Afternote: Malaysia had a change of government on the 9th of May 2018, after the 14th General Election, with Pakatan Harapan replacing the Barison National after the latter ruled Malaysia for a long 61 years. The Malaysian citizens had their wish fulfilled – a new Malaysia was born and her people could bid farewell to the former corrupted government. We prayed to the Sun Moon Light Buddha for the prosperity of Malaysia and the happiness of her people; may the Buddha’s teachings spread far and wide and may kindness blossoms in the hearts of her people.  

Reported by Sun Moon KFS on 5-May-2018 in Penang, Malaysia.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Five Practices of a Student

          Tonight, we did a prayer on “Seven Northern Constellations Longevity Sutra”. This is an annual prayer done around every Chinese New Year. Dharma Sister Bai from Hangzhou of China joined us in this prayer, as she was visiting Singapore during this period too, paying homage to Acho Rinpoche.
          Acho Rinpoche told us that spiritual practice is the only way to help us break free of the cyclic existence and the numerous sufferings associated with it. When a person has attained a true state of liberation, he could accomplish a task by simply putting a thought to it. So, we must follow the teachings of Acho Rinpoche fully by applying them in our daily lives -  dedicate our free time to doing spiritual practice or sadhana, and nothing else. When we have accomplished our spiritual practice, we should then aspire to help all sentient beings. We must let go of all our worldly desires, for even a single desire can become an obstacle in our path to liberation.
          Next, Acho Rinpoche continued to expound the Lotus Sutra. He said that there is no man who could truly comprehend the truth and hidden meaning expounded by Sakyamuni Buddha in the Lotus Sutra. However, we should just persevere in our recitation of this sutra and one day, we will attain the true state of being expounded by the Buddha too. He also mentioned the Five Practices of a Student accomplished and transmitted by Master Zhi Zhe of Tian Tai Sect (天台宗智者大师538-597).
1st Practice: Rejoice at the good deed of others. We should rejoice at the good deed of others, regardless of whether they are done by a person you like or dislike.
2nd Practice: Recitation of Lotus Sutra. Do not worry that we are unable to comprehend the meaning of the sutra at this stage. We should just read it daily and persevere in doing so; time will tell.
3rd Practice: Sharing of Lotus Sutra and its conceivable merits with others.
4th Practice: Simultaneous practice of the Six Perfections. While we continue to watch our minds (mental activities) for a greater self-awareness, we should also practise the Six Perfections (offering, tolerance, discipline, diligence, meditation, wisdom). Among the six perfections, one must first practise “offering”, as it can help eradicate the stinginess and the sense of ego (self-attachment) in us.
5th Practice: Applying the Six Perfections in our conduct. When we have accomplished mind-watching and the Six Perfections in both teaching and practice, we should help all sentient beings in the universe, thus truly applying the Six Perfections in our daily conduct.
When one has accomplished the Five Practices of a Student, he is considered a true Buddhist; otherwise, he has merely established a good karmic connection with the Buddha. Acho Rinpoche encouraged us to apply the teachings he shared with us tonight with full faith, as it will guarantee a success in our spiritual practice. He also mentioned that Dharma Sister Mei recently found a copy of Lotus Sutra in English translation at her home, after having it for so many years without realizing it. Some of us have also kept a copy of the Sang Gyay Say Chig Gyu (契吉大圆满子续) for ten years at our homes without realizing it. So, when the time is ripe, a hint will come from the holy beings, reminding us of the treasure in our silent possession. Lastly, Acho Rinpoche advised us to copy and read the Lotus Sutra diligently because this sutra is a compilation of the inconceivable true state of being attained by Sakyamuni Buddha.  
Finally, we ended our prayer by reciting the names of the Buddhas under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche and dedicated all merits to Hualian of Taiwan which was hit by a major earth quake – may the damage be reduced to minimal and may all sentient beings be happy, free of sufferings.

Reported by Sun Moon KFS on 14-2-2018 @Singapore

Lotus Sutra and “We are actually a Buddha”

          Today was the day when Sakyamuni Buddha passed into nirvana. It was also the day when the Most Supreme Elder was born on this earth. We did a Sakyamuni Buddha Practice tonight under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche. He wished us to rejoice in the practice of the Buddhadharma and remain firmed in our spiritual endeavor.
He mentioned Sun Da Rinpoche, who is one of the grand children of the 2nd H.H Dodjum Rinpoche. Sun Da Rinpoche grew up in China and studied under the guidance of his uncle who is also a Buddhist master. H.H Dilgo Kyentse Rinpoche recognized Sun Da Rinpoche as a re-incarnation of an accomplished Dzogchen master. Phuntsok Lama introduced Acho Rinpoche to Sunda Rinpoche earlier and the latter contacted Acho Rinpoche through WeChat recently. Sun Da Rinpoche suggested a meet up with Acho Rinpoche when the former visits Singapore in the near future.
Next, Acho Rinpoche continued to expound the Lotus Sutra. He advised us to frequently recite the title of the Lotus Sutra and a verse praising Avalokitesvara, as expounded in the Lotus Sutra. He did that during his walking meditation too. He further advised us to spend more time and energy on studying the sutras but do less on frivolous chats.
          He cited a parable in the Lotus Sutra entitled “A Hidden Gem”, in which it was said that the five hundred Arahat students being prophesized by Sakyamuni Buddha of their future attainment of Buddhahood finally knelt before the Buddha and repented their complacency of spiritual attainment, as they mistook their achievement as a completion when it was actually only half-done. A parallel was drawn from a parable about a man who became drunk after attending a party at his relative’s house. His relative hid a piece of precious gem in his shirt worrying that he might lose it in a state of drunkenness. It was meant to help him pay for his traveling expenses when making his way home. He was unaware of the hidden gem in his shirt and begged his way home instead. After reaching home and being told by his relative of the hidden gem, then only he realized what he missed. This parable gives a very clear hint on the expedient method employed by Sakyamuni Buddha in teaching his students. He had to help his students attain the state of Arahat first, although it is not a state of ultimate enlightenment, for he was waiting patiently for them to reach a certain level of spiritual maturity before he could tell them the ultimate teaching on the attainment of Buddhahood. As all sentient beings possess the most precious Buddha Nature in us, we have the potential of attaining the ultimate state of Buddhahood.  The Arahat students must be told of the fact that they are essentially a Buddha (for one to recognize his Buddha Nature), so that they would move towards achieving the goal of attaining the ultimate enlightenment of a Buddha. Without letting them know the truth of their Buddha Nature, they will never realize their real potential and they will not become a true Buddha.
Acho Rinpoche repeated another parable about “A Poor Son”. A rich man’s son lost his way home since young and became a beggar for many years. One day, he passed by his father’s home again and was being recognized by his father as his long-lost son. However, the poor son was so used to his life as a beggar that he had already became a man with very low self-esteem, who would not be able to accept the fact that he was, in fact, so rich! So, the father hid the truth from his son for the time being and just hired the latter to be his worker who were assigned very simple chores including cleaning the human waste daily. Meanwhile, the father quietly trained him up on the various skills over time. Finally, when the son was ready, the father revealed the truth and handed over his wealth to his son. You see, it has to be a very lengthy training process, as we are unable to attain the state of Buddhahood even when we are told of our real potential of a Buddha. We must go through a long period of spiritual practice, cleanse our negative propensities including lust, hatred, ignorance, arrogance, suspicion etc., accumulated through our numerous lifetimes. Only when all our negative propensities are completely cleansed and purified, we would attain the state of perfection – Buddahood! 
The Lotus Sutra aims to tell us that we are essentially a Buddha, and if we practise properly we will attain the state of Buddhahood one day. A student who was prophesized by the Buddha of his attainment of Buddhahood in future does not guarantee an instantaneous enlightenment of a Buddha, for the student must continue to work hard on his spiritual practice daily; it is liken to the poor son who must clean up the human waste daily. We have developed numerous negative propensities during our numerous lifetimes out of ignorance. So, we must sincerely repent our mistakes and make amends, eradicate our negative karma (effects of our past actions) and stop creating new ones – this is the only way that we could become a true Buddha. So what if we know that we are essentially a Buddha but continue to make mistakes? We will then just continue to be stranded in the cyclic existence of the Six Realms full of sufferings. Therefore, Acho Rinpoche re-iterated that we must continue to practise the teachings of precepts, meditation and wisdom seriously, and accomplish the training of “Five Practices of a Student” (see sharing on 14-2-2018). Only when we have fully accomplished the said practices, we will become a true Buddha. If we fail to do so, we will simply continue our life as a poor son who will continue begging and to be stranded in the Six Realms of Existence (god, human, demi-god, animal, hell being and hungry ghost).
Finally, we ended our prayer by reciting the names of the Buddhas under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche and dedicated all merits to the sentient beings - may all sentient beings be happy, free of sufferings and attain enlightenment swiftly. 
Reported by Sun Moon KFS on 31-3-2018 @Singapore

Friday, March 30, 2018

The Passing of Jigme Khenpo

Acho Rincpohe (left) and the late Jigme Khenpo (right)

Tonight, we did our annual prayer to the Year God at the beginning of a Chinese New Year under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche. After which, Acho Rinpoche explained that there is no such practice in Buddhism including the Vajrayana; he allowed such practice among us simply because it is part of our Chinese tradition. Next, he mentioned that he just attended the annual Singapore Chingay Parade last night. This was a mega project done by Dharma Brother Nah for many years as part of his job, and his last before his retirement. Dharma Sister Zhen told us that the sky was clear during the presence of Acho Rinpoche at the parade but soon after he left, the rain started to fall.
Acho Rinpoche informed us that Jigme Khenpo of Nyingma Dzogchen has just passed away. Dharma Sister Xiu shared with us a recent dream of hers, in which she saw Acho Rinpoche transmitting a Mahā-pratisāraḥ Practice. She also dreamt of Grand Master appearing at her home, telling her that he was looking for Acho Rinpoche. Acho Rinpoche said, “I have nothing.” He advised that others should not just blame XX for the huge problem created today, as XX is just a collective karma created by the group. It will be more important for one to focus on resolving the problem than being too personal about it. 
Dharma Brother Shao shared with us that when he was dedicating the merit of his practice to the late Jigme Khenpo before the latter passed away, he had a vision of Jigme Khenpo lying in his sick bed. However, the body of Jigme Khenpo appeared in golden color and was seated in a meditation posture, with many emanation bodies of Acho Rinpoche appearing around and protecting him. Shao also told us that he had a vision of Jigme Khenpo and a huge stupa appearing in the spiritual space during our prayer tonight.
Acho Rinpoche told us that Jigme Khenpo had been delivered into a higher realm of existence. The latter has attained a higher level of spiritual accomplishment and aspired to assist Acho Rinpoche and Konde Rinpoche in their spiritual endeavors. Sadhu! Sadhu!
Finally, we ended our prayer by reciting the names of the Buddhas under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche and dedicated all merits to the sentient beings - may all sentient beings be happy, free of sufferings and attain enlightenment swiftly. 

Reported by Sun Moon KFS on 24-2-2018 @Singapore

The Oneness of Sleep and Wake

         Tonight, we did a Green Tara Practice under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche. After which, he told us that the first fifteen days of Chinese New Year is the Month of Spiritual Transformation with great blessing power; he advised us to practise with vigor during this period. He mentioned that a former Taiwanese neighbor of his came by his house during the Chinese New Year for a visit, where she consulted him on spiritual practice too. After that, he continued to do his sadhana. In gist, Acho Rinpoche made use of all his spare times doing his spiritual practice, studying the sutras and doing his walking meditation; he would typically do at least five to seven rounds of spiritual practice daily. He felt that our life is very short, so we should spend most of our spare times doing spiritual practice. In the past, Master Tshongkapa would hold a fifteen-day Grand Tibetan New Year Prayer annually. The Tibetan calendar and Chinese calendar happened to coincide with each other this year, so one would certainly receive a very powerful blessing during this period if he practised with vigor.
          Next, Acho Rinpoche advised us that we should aim to attain a state of spiritual accomplishment where there is no longer a distinction between sleep and wake. If we are too preoccupied by the many mundane activities in life during the day, including the numerous interactions with our friends and relatives etc., it will impact our spiritual practice. So, we should reduce our frivolous conversations on mundane matters but, instead, focus more on our spiritual practice. He also shared with us his recent experience where while he was sleeping, he somehow felt that he was still doing his spiritual practice. This is the state where sleep and wake are merged as one. If a person is distracted by too much mundane activities during the day, he will not be able to enter a true state of spiritual practice, let alone reaching the state where sleep and wake are merged as one when he falls asleep.
          Acho Rinpoche told us that, sometimes, he would do his practice throughout the night, meditating and reciting the sutras; he even found himself expounding the Lotus Sutra in his dream. So, we should practise with vigor during the day, in order to attain the state where sleep and wake are merged as one. We should focus our mind on the Lotus Sutra or reciting the name of Avalokitesvara during the day, in order to be able to attain the state of true emancipation free of cyclic existence. When a person has truly attained the state of enlightenment, he would see a perfect world right at this moment!
          He also told us that in his early stage of practice, there was a period of six months where he completely lost his sense of taste; since then, he has no more desire for good food. Also, his mind became a complete void and that made it very difficult for him to carry on with his job because he had become a person with no opinions, for everything seemed to be perfect to him. At that stage, it was indeed hard for him to continue to live like an ordinary person. He said, under such circumstances, he should have gone into a retreat. Initially, he strived for his own emancipation but now he strived for the emancipation of all sentient beings, for he feels the agony of the sentient beings trapped in the cyclic existence.
Finally, we ended our prayer by reciting the names of the Buddhas under the guidance of Acho Rinpoche and dedicated all merits to the sentient beings - may all sentient beings be happy, free of sufferings and attain enlightenment swiftly. 

Reported by Sun Moon KFS on 17-2-2018 @Singapore