''Must one personally repent in front of one's root guru as part of the Purity Restoration Practice? For most disciples, there is little or even no opportunity to meet with Grand Master Lu. What should one do?''
My response is:
Let me explain by providing you an example:
I have a very devout disciple, who had inadvertently broken some of the Fourteen Vajrayana Root Precepts.
The disciple's conscience was extremely restless. He always wanted to personally repent to Grand Master Lu.
The country he lives in is far away from where Grand Master Lu lives.
It was very difficult for him to ask for a leave of absence with the company he served.
His visa application to visit America had always been rejected.
There were other difficulties.
Later, on a small altar in his own home, he offered all that he could. These offerings included candles, flowers, incense, tea, fruit, and much more.
Then, he performed full prostrations very respectfully.
He recited the Fourfold Refuge Mantra one hundred and eight times.
He put his palms together, kneeling on the ground, and recounted his failures against the Fourteen Vajrayana Root Precepts.
Then, he chanted the repentance verse.
By doing so, his conscience settled down a little bit.
During that night, in his dream, he saw a sixteen-foot body of Grand Master Lu. There were lights on Grand Master Lu's head, brow-point, ears, hands, and feet. There were three lights on his heart chakra. Grand Master Lu used his hands to pat the disciple's head.
The disciple felt a cool flow, pouring down from the top of his head, quickly filling his whole body. His whole body experienced a burst of comfort. At that moment, the disciple felt that his hindrances had totally disappeared and his body also felt lighter.
In the dream, he also saw Grand Master Lu riding a horse, carrying him, and flying into space.
He woke up and deeply understood that Grand Master Lu had learned of his confession and that Grand Master Lu utilized the Sweet Dew Empowerment to purify him.
The disciple also heard Grand Master Lu say:
''Purity restored! Purity restored!''
In Vajrayana Buddhism there is the ''Refuge Tree,'' which one uses for contemplation:
First, the wish-fulfilling jewel-tree is growing in the pond of eight meritorious virtues.
Second, Shakyamuni Buddha is sitting on the front branches surrounded by the one thousand buddhas of the ten directions and the three times of this Bhadrakalpa.
Third, the root guru, Grand Master Lu, is sitting on the middle branches of the wish-fulfilling jewel-tree, and above him are the ancient patriarchs of the past.
Fourth, above the ancient patriarchs, in descending order there are Vairocana Tathagata, Buddha Locana, Amitabha Buddha, and Padmakumara.
Fifth, sitting on the branches on the right-hand side of the root guru, in addition to the eight Great Bodhisattvas, are the Three Principal Bodhisattvas, Manjushri Bodhisattva, Vajrapani Bodhisattva and Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva.
Sixth, sitting on the branches on the left-hand side of the root guru is the group of great arhats led by both Sariputra and Moggallana.
Seventh, sitting above both the left and the right hand sides of the root guru are the Golden Mother of the Jade Pond, Amitabha Buddha, Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, and other deities.
Eighth, standing right below the root guru is the dharma protector Yamantaka.
Ninth, on the left and right sides of Yamantaka, there are the five Herukas and the Eight Great Luminous Kings.
Tenth, in all the gaps between the branches and leaves, there are dakas and dakinis. Dakinis include the guardian goddesses of the four directions, the guardian goddesses of the eight directions, and the guardian goddesses of the twenty devas.
Eleventh, on the back of the root guru, one can visualize the Tripitaka and the Twelve Divisions of Sutras, and all sutras and tantras of Vajrayana Buddhism.
If the disciple visualizes the ''Refuge Tree,'' makes offerings to the ''Refuge Tree,'' prostrates to the ''Refuge Tree,'' takes refuge with the
''Refuge Tree,'' and practices the repentance dharma in front of the ''Refuge Tree'' until a spiritual response manifests, this is called the Purity Restoration Practice.
In Vajrayana Buddhism, visualization, mantra recitation, and entering Samadhi are the main methods of practice.
Visualization is very important.
When one cannot see his root guru in person, the Purity Restoration Practice can be carried out through visualization.