5. Manjushrimitra Entered Nirvana and Was Reborn in a Lotus to Transmit Dzogchen to Padmasambhava
|(Given at Rainbow Temple, North Bend, Washington, USA on June 16, 2013 after the fire offering to Acala Vidyaraja. Translated and edited by Janny Chow, Proofread by Christine Chan)
With reverence, we first pay homage to Reverend Liaoming, His Eminence Sakya Zhengkong Rinpoche, His Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa, Vajra Acharya Thubten Dargye, the Three Jewels at the shrine, and Acala Vidyaraja, the deity of today's fire offering.
Shimu, masters, dharma instructors, reverends, dharma lecturers, dharma assistants, directors of local chapters, fellow school members, and students from across the internet. Our guests of honor today are: Ambassador Daniel Liao and wife dharma sister Judy, Lama Thubten Shiniehese from Nepal, True Buddha Foundation's accountant dharma sister Teresa and husband, dharma sister Xue Wang Shumei, wife of Mr. Xue Shenghua, the chairman of the board of Overseas Credit Guarantee Fund of OCAC, dharma sister Xu Yaqi, producer of the Taiwan CTI television program Light the Lamp in Your Heart, Dr. Zhuang Junyao, Dr. Lin Shuhua, Professor Yeh Shuwen of National Pingtung University of Science and Technology and her son, and the California four big mothers. Good! Everyone is an honored guest. Let us applaud ourselves. Greetings to everyone (Cantonese)! Thank you for coming!
Today's homa was offered to Acala Vidyaraja, a very great vidyaraja who originated from Vairocana the Great Sun Tathagata. Acala is very special because he embodies the wheel of injunction (teaching of the law) of Vairocana the All-Shining Great Sun Tathagata. Vairocana is also chief of the diamond and womb realms (vajradhatu and garbhadhatu). Japanese esoteric Buddhism contains many images of Acala. It is very remarkable that you all are attending this fire offering and receiving empowerment because Acala has vowed, ''Those who see me will generate the Bodhi Mind, those who hear my name will stop committing evil and start performing good deeds, those who listen to my teachings will obtain great wisdom, and those who know my mind will attain Buddhahood in the Present Body.'' Among the appearances of all vidyarajas, Acala's is the most wrathful. Engulfed in the flame of the fire phoenix, he holds a dragon coiled sword in his right hand and a vajra rope in his left. Below the vajra rope are the two seals of vajra realm and womb realm, signifying his wielding of power over the two realms. Despite his wrathful appearance, he has manifested from the compassion of the Great Sun Tathagata.
In Japanese esoteric Buddhism, Acala is the most important vidyaraja. He embodies the wheel of injunction. Hence, he has great dharma power, and his sadhana is considered the highest practice in Japanese esoteric Buddhism. To have the opportunity to practice the sadhana of Acala is quite a remarkable achievement. The flame of Acala transforms into a vajra fire when it is used to burn enemies; when burning oneself, it becomes a cool and calming fire. His entire body is engulfed in flames. His vajra rope binds and immobilizes demons. His vajra sword severs greed, anger, and delusion. His vajra fire consumes all filth including the practitioner's own defilements. He is very mighty. If we practice his sadhana for auspicious intent, chant his mantra: ''Namo, sam-man-duo, mo-tuo-nam, wa-ri-la, lan, han'' (calmly and evenly). If we practice the sadhana to sever all defilements, greed, anger, delusion, and demonic enmity, chant the mantra in a forceful and mighty manner (Grand Master demonstrates). A fierce mantra requires a fierce sound while a warm mantra requires a warm sound. For example, when engaging in an auspicious sadhana, suddenly chanting the mantra in a ferocious manner will cut off all auspiciousness. The goal of practicing a ferocious sadhana is to cut away your own greed, anger, and delusion or to eliminate enmities.
Acala has eight boy servants or attendants. In my residence in Taiwan, as soon as you enter the door, you will see Acala with his two most important attendants. He has altogether eight attendants, and sometimes the eight are represented by the two attendants. Acala is depicted standing or sitting. In Japan, he appears without his consort. His appearance is very terrifying. I have demonstrated the facial expression of Acala with one eye looking askance and the other looking fierce. Both eyes are very mighty looking. His left lower teeth bite down upon the upper lip, with teeth protruding. Hence, when practicing the sadhana, if you enter into yogic union with him in a fierce form, form the Acala Mudra, bite down on the upper lip with your lower teeth, turn one eye askance, while glaring with the other eye.
The Acala Sadhana is used not only to conquer or subjugate enemies. It is used to subjugate your own self. Why subjugate yourself? You can only become a noble sage by conquering yourself. Conquering oneself is of the utmost importance. If you cannot conquer yourself, you will not become pure. Hence, in the thought system of Madhyamaka, one must depart from extreme happiness or sadness. If you are bound by happiness or sadness, you cannot walk the middle path. A practitioner keeps his mind neutral and calm, without excessive joy or worry, remaining in a state of refreshing evenness which is conducive to entering into one-pointedness and samadhi. When you are very happy, your mind is in agitation. When you are very sad, your mind is also agitated. Under such circumstances, your thoughts, emotions, and conducts will become disorderly. Only by keeping your mind calm and even, without either happiness or sadness, will you be in accordance with the demeanor of a spiritual cultivator. When the greatest happiness descends on you, your mind is immovable. When the greatest sadness descends on you, your mind is unperturbed. Only this way will you be able to enter into union with Acala, the Immovable Vidyaraja. You will not be moved by the eight winds (of passion). No difficulty will disturb you; no slander will move you; and no happiness will perturb you. This is the most important decree of Acala. Your mind will remain forever calm and even, unperturbed by the eight winds. Even when practicing the wrathful sadhana to eliminate enmities or your own greed, anger, and delusion, you must remain calm and mindful of your bodhicitta. This is of utmost importance.
Acala has two mudras. One is the Scabbard Mudra, which is used during normal times. The other is the Four Vertical Five Horizontal Mudra accompanied by the Nine Words Mantra of ''Lin Bing Dou Zhe Jie Zhen Lie Zai Qian.'' With ''Lin Bing Dou Zhe,'' you draw the four vertical lines. With ''Jie Zhen Lie Zai Qian,'' you draw the five horizontal lines. These nine words constitute Acala's ''formula of severance (of undesirables).'' For example, if you are suffering from a bad night's sleep and feel tired even after a long sleep, perform the Acala Mudra and chant the ''formula of severance'' to set up a demarcation around your bed. You will set up a vajra net over your bed, preventing all demons and negative spirits and energies from entering. Lying in protection by the Nine Words Mantra, you will have a very good sleep.
If you or someone else is ill, chant this ''mudra with mantra'' five times over the area that is sick. If you have dharma power, the illness will be eliminated. If you do not have dharma power, your actions will be like that of a child drawing lines on paper and will not do a thing. There is a Taoist method whereby one incants: ''With the first line, a river forms. With the second line, another river forms. With the third and fourth lines, a golden well forms. This pen is no ordinary pen but the pen of the scholar from Mount Lu. Pointing at the sky purifies the sky. Pointing at the earth spiritualizes the earth. Pointing at a man prolongs his life. Pointing at a ghost perishes the ghost.'' Then, you place a dot inside the character ''well'' (formed by the four lines). For example, if there is a growth on your left shoulder, put a dot on that spot, and the growth will disappear. This is also a healing method.
Acala's Four Vertical Five Horizontal Mudra in combination with the Nine Words Mantra of ''Lin Bing Dou Zhe Jie Zhen Lie Zai Qian'' can be used to form a demarcation of protection or to eliminate illnesses. It can also be used as a net to trap enmities. The demons and negative energy will be unable to evade the Nine Words Mantra ''formula of severance.'' Since Acala is the wheel of injunction emanated from Vairocana the Great Sun Tathagata, his Nine Words Mantra is very powerful. The appearance of the Four Vertical Five Horizontal Mudra cloud in the sky signifies the teaching of this very useful Nine Words Mantra.
Grand Master is not stingy when imparting teachings. I teach everything I have learned to you. Here is a joke. A son said to his father, ''Dad, our school has formed a music club. I would like to join, but we have to purchase our own instruments.'' The father was very stingy, and he handed a chopstick to his son, ''Why don't you learn to become a conductor!'' Musical instruments nowadays are indeed very expensive.
We will continue to introduce Manjushrimitra, the second human teacher of the Nine Stages of Great Perfection. Manjushrimitra was born into a wealthy Brahmin family in India. There are four castes in India. Brahmins are at the top of the hierarchy, followed by royalties, merchants, and slaves. To this day, there is no intermarriage among the four castes. Brahmins had a lot of respect for spiritual practitioners, unlike in modern times, where people in Taiwan, the People's Republic of China, and the United States look down upon spiritual practitioners. But India has high respect for spiritual practitioners. Manjushrimitra was born into a wealthy family of spiritual practitioners. Having great affinity with Buddhism, he grew up to be its earnest student and travelled everywhere to find and eventually take refuge in five hundred panditas. Garab Dorje had debated with five hundred panditas, and Manjushrimitra also had taken refuge in five hundred panditas. In the Buddhist scriptures, there are many five hundreds - the five hundred merchants crossing the river, the five hundred bhikshus or bhikshunis. It seems everything comes in five hundreds. What is the significance of this number? In India, five hundreds simply means many. It does not mean there were indeed exactly five hundred people, heretics, or panditas. It is simply a figure of speech, signifying that he had taken refuge in many teachers. Devadatta leading five hundred monks to leave Shakyamuni Buddha just implies there were many monks. Here is a joke. Lao Qian said to Lao Li, ''I was so unlucky last night.'' Lao Li asked, ''What happened?'' Lao Qian said, ''I got home early last evening. Normally I give my maid a hug surreptitiously, but I hugged my wife instead.'' Lao Li said, ''That should be fine too!'' Lao Qian said, ''Not when my wife then said, 'Xiao Ma, Lao Qian has come home! You should hurry and leave!''' Do not take literally the number five hundred referred to in Indian or Tibetan teachings or in the Buddhist scriptures. It simply means ''very many.''
After visiting five hundred learned men to study under them, Manjushrimitra had become very knowledgeable about almost all eight levels of the Buddhadharma. He was quite proud and felt that he had learned everything there was to learn in Buddhism. At that time, Manjushri appeared to tell him, ''There is still a higher level of Buddhadharma that you have not learned about. Garab Dorje is teaching the Nine Stages of Great Perfection at a charnel ground. You should take refuge in him.'' Manjushrimitra replied, ''I am someone who truly knows the Buddhadharma. Who is this Garab Dorje? He is unworthy to be my master. I am already a great teacher, I don't need to learn from him.'' Seeing that Manjushrimitra was so proud, Manjushri tried to persuade him, ''What you have learned is not enough, as the atiyoga in the Nine Stages of Great Perfection is more profound. Why don't you just visit him and take a look?'' ''Fine! I will go and have a debate with him.''
When Manjushrimitra first arrived at the charnel ground and saw Garab Dorje, all he did was nod his head slightly. It was a gesture of haughty disdain. We Buddhists should not behave this way. Even among Buddhists, mutual respect can be quite rare, just as men of letters tend to despise one another. There is also jealousy among military leaders. If someone is more advanced than I, then I might despise him. Wealthy men also are despised. That was why Bill Gates had a cake thrown in his face. He wondered why, and it was only because the guy who threw the cake did not like rich people. He was jealous because he himself was not rich.
The more talents you have, the more enemies you gain. If you are mediocre, you have an average number of enemies. If you have no talents, then you will have no enemies. Who would regard an idiot as an enemy? People of great abilities incur great enemies. People of little abilities incur few enemies. People with no ability incur no enemies. This is the way of the world. Manjushrimitra thought that he had learned everything there was to learn about the Buddhadharma and he had no idea why Manjushri would want him to learn from Garab Dorje.
So, the two engaged in debate. Manjushrimitra's knowledge had actually come from the ''sect that speaks of the existence of everything (Sarvastivada)'' while Garab Dorje had learned from the sect asserting that ''all dharmas are empty.'' During the debate, everything spoken by Manjushrimitra was refuted by Garab Dorje. And Manjushrimitra could not comprehend what Garab Dorje had articulated and was unable to respond accordingly. Therefore, Manjushrimitra lost the debate.
In this world, one either wins or loses. A young man who hated spending money visited his date for the first time. He did not want to buy any presents, so he thought of a solution. As soon as he entered her house, he said with a bitter face, ''I had such bad luck today. I bought a new watch for you, but a pickpocket stole it while I was on the bus on the way here.'' The girl was very touched and lamented, ''You have to be more careful next time.'' The young man said, ''Definitely. I hate pickpockets. Next time I visit, I will not bring anything. See what he can steal from me then?'' This man was too cheap and did not succeed in chasing girlfriends. In the past when Shimu and I were dating, I brought present each time I went to her house. There was no such thing as going to a girlfriend's house empty-handed. I always carried something with me. When Shimu's sister saw me, she said, ''In the future, just drop off the presents. No need to come in.'' This indeed happened, didn't it? (Shimu replied with s nod.) When I visited my girlfriend, I always brought presents with me. It was ingenious.
When Manjushrimitra approached Garab Dorje, he was empty-handed. He came not only without presents, but with an attitude of disdain and pride. When he challenged Garab Dorje to a debate and found himself losing, he was very ashamed. ''What was Garab Dorje talking about? I really have no idea.'' Manjushrimitra was originally full of confidence, but when he did not comprehend Garab Dorje's words, his attitude changed. He asked Garab Dorje, ''Do you have a knife?'' Garab Dorje replied, ''Yes! We have a knife for cutting food. What do you want a knife for?'' Manjushrimitra replied, ''I am so ashamed, I am going to cut off my tongue.'' Garab Dorje said to him, ''Do not cut off your tongue. You will damage the magnificent body of a buddha and create bad karma for yourself. Humans are buddhas! Everyone has the Buddha-essence! You must not self-mutilate! Cutting off one's tongue is to injure one's Buddha-essence!''
This is why I have said that Buddhists must not commit suicide as this is tantamount to killing one's Buddha-essence. After listening to Garab Dorje, Manjushrimitra then said, ''I already lost the debate to you. I am quite ashamed. I did not even bring you a present, so what am I going to do?'' Garab Dorje then said to Manjushrimitra, ''You can become my student, and I will teach you everything.'' Manjushrimitra immediately knelt down to pay homage to Garab Dorje as his teacher. He then learned mahayoga, anuyoga, and atiyoga from Garab Dorje. His pride had not served him well, and from then on he became very humble and dedicated himself to following Garab Dorje. Manjushrimitra studied under Garab Dorje for seventy-five years. One year in ancient India is equivalent to a half year now. In any case, just regard it as seventy-five years since that is what was recorded.
One day, Garab Dorje transformed into the rainbow body and soared into the empty space. Manjushrimitra prayed to his teacher, ''Master! Master! You are entering nirvana. Please transmit to me the most important formula!'' Suddenly, three books, and they were the books of formulas, fell from the sky and hit Manjushrimitra on the head. On the spot, Manjushrimitra attained the same enlightenment as Garab Dorje had. Afterwards, Manjushrimitra travelled to another state, Bodhgaya. In west Bodhgaya was a charnel ground, and Manjushrimitra became a teacher of the Nine Stages of Great Perfection to everyone there. He taught for a very long period of time until he entered nirvana. There was also a secret. But let me first tell a joke. A smart little girl only two and a half years old was able to answer many questions asked her. Her mother asked her, ''What are the eyes for?'' She replied, ''To see things.'' Her mother asked again, ''What are the ears for?'' She replied, ''To hear things.'' ''What about the mouth?'' She replied, ''To eat things!'' Her mother then asked, ''The nose?'' She replied, ''To dig boogers out of.''
Grand Master is going to reveal the secret of Manjushrimitra. After enlightenment, Manjushrimitra taught the Buddhadharma at a charnel ground west of Bodhgaya, the same Bodhgaya where Shakyamuni Buddha had meditated under a bodhi tree. He taught and helped sentient beings there until the time came for him to transform into a rainbow body and enter nirvana. However, there were in fact two Manjushrimitras. After nirvana, Manjushrimitra was staying at the Profound Bright Heaven and felt suddenly that his mission was not yet finished. He decided to return to the world to help someone of a different generation. This person was Padmasambhava. When Manjushrimitra ascended into nirvana, Padmasambhava had not yet attained enlightenment. Manjushrimitra knew that Padmasambhava would attain great achievement in the future, so he decided to descend to samsara again. His dharmakaya indeed descended from the Profound Bright Heaven and fell inside a lotus. The lotus petals were originally closed. After his descent, the lotus slowly opened to reveal a baby inside. Once a breeze blew upon him, he grew to maturity. Who was this? It was the second Manjushrimitra. This was not recorded in the scriptures.
Padmasambhava was born in the lake of Dhanakosha, and Manjushrimitra at that time also manifested right next to him as a lotus-born. When the lotus opened, a breeze came, and Manjushrimitra grew up. He taught dharma and the important formulae of the Nine Stages of Great Perfection to the lotus-born baby, Padmasambhava
This was not recorded in books. As Padmasambhava grew, Manjushrimitra taught him secretly the Nine Stages of Great Perfection. We will call this Manjushrimitra the ''latter Manjushrimitra,'' and the first Manjushrimitra the ''former Manjushrimitra.''
Manjushrimitra collected the 6.4 million verses of Dzogchen teachings from Garab Dorje and divided them into three categories. The first is the category of mind, the second is the category of space, and the third is the category of pith instruction.
The category of mind places emphasis on ''resting in the nature of the mind.'' This is very important. After all, where is the mind? You must be able to bring your mind and thoughts into focus. These topics will be addressed in the category of mind. The category of space teaches very important rituals and how to practice them diligently. In the category of pith instruction, the most important keys to actual realization are taught. Manjushrimitra divided the 6.4 million verses of Garab Dorje into the categories of mind, space, and pith instruction.
The latter Manjushrimitra had transformed into a padmakumara (lotus-youth) to teach Padmasambhava, another padmakumara. There were two padmakumaras. Padmasambhava himself was born in a lotus, so he is a padmakumara. The latter Manjushrimitra was born in a lotus, so he is also a padmakumara. There will be many more outstanding padmakumaras born now. The second human teacher of Dzogchen had manifested again as the latter Manjushrimitra to teach another padmakumara, Padmasambhava, who also was born in a lotus. This is very intriguing! Actually, it is not strange, because when one arrives at Sukhavati, everyone there is born in a lotus. In the future, those who deny the existence of padmakumaras will not be allowed to go to Sukhavati, because everyone there is born out of a lotus! If you insist there is no padmakumara, then there is no need to go to Sukhavati!
At noon, Chen Chuanfang told a joke about integrity. A young mother was coaxing her toddler, ''If you don't fall asleep, you will have to sleep with grandpa.'' The toddler said, ''I don't want to sleep with grandpa.'' His mother replied, ''If you don't, then mommy will go and sleep with grandpa.'' Grandpa happened to walk by and heard the conversation. He was unable to sleep the whole night. The next morning, grandpa said to his daughter-in-law, ''You can't do this. Telling something to coax a little kid and lie to an old man at the same time.'' This is a matter of integrity. I have another joke, unlike the one told by Chen Chuanfang. A successful entrepreneur said to his child, ''A successful person must possess two requisites: integrity and wisdom.'' The son asked his father, ''What is integrity?'' The father said, ''Integrity is knowing fully well that you will file bankruptcy tomorrow, but continuing to deliver your merchandise to customers today.'' The son asked, ''Then what is wisdom?'' The father said, ''Knowing not to do such a stupid thing.'' There can be conflict between integrity and wisdom.
A Buddhist should not brag. Speak only of what you know, not of what you do not know. Today, in my mind I indeed know about Manjushrimitra, which is why I can tell you about the first Manjushrimitra and the latter Manjushrimitra. He went through a process to learn the Nine Stages of Great Perfection, and I am able to tell you this because I know about it. Coming up, I will talk about the other lineage gurus. After Manjushrimitra, there was Shri Singha who was followed by Padmasambhava. After introducing these four, I will start on the subject of the Nine Stages of Great Perfection. These four important lineage gurus are: Garab Dorje, the first human teacher; Manjushrimitra, the second human teacher; Shri Singha, the third human teacher; Padmasambhava, the fourth human teacher. Within the Nine Stages of Great Perfection lineage, there have been many teachers and students, but these four stood out as the important gurus who helped the most number of beings. That is why I am talking about them.
A mother said to her son, ''You are six years old now. You are so cute and lively, just like a little tiger.'' The son said, ''Hehehe! I am a little tiger. Then what are you?'' Mother said, ''I am your mom.'' The son said, ''No! Dad says you are Tigress the Shrew.'' We have to greet each other respectfully. Little tiger or tigress are both great. A man says to another man, ''In this life of mine, I will only beg God for one thing. I wonder if God will grant me this wish. I do not want to die.'' It is impossible! It is impossible to live forever. Humans are mortals. At the time of death, everything comes to a stop; and everything including love or hatred, money or no money, power or no power, becomes null. Buddhists must understand this point and not be too attached. To put it in a better way, learn to enjoy this one moment. All that matters is that in the moment you are living well, you are living virtuously, you are truly practicing the Buddhadharma, you are truly doing good deeds, you are truly mindful of the Bodhi Mind, you are truly engaging in a session of sadhana, you are truly chanting a mantra, or you are seriously reading a good book. This is all we can do. All else, treat with a little indifference.
Take Bill Gates for example. He now knows that making money is not everything. He does not want to be the CEO of Microsoft anymore and has let someone else take the reins. He works on his charity foundation and has helped many people. He knows that one day it will also be his turn to have nothing. So, as I have just said, as Buddhists, we should recognize this one moment as the perfect moment. Everything else about you is perfect, kind, calm, and pure. That is sufficient. Other than this moment, there is no need to worry.
Om Mani Padme Hum.
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