6. Shri Singha, the Third Human Teacher of Dzogchen, Was a Tangut from the State of Western Xia
Ling Shen Ching Tze Temple
|(Given at Ling Shen Ching Tze Temple, Redmond, Washington, USA on June 29, 2013 after group practice of Ksitigarbha Sadhana. 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 Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, the deity of today's group practice. Homage to Vajra Acharya Thubten Dargye.
Shimu, masters, dharma instructors, reverends, dharma lecturers, dharma assistants, directors of local chapters, fellow school members, students from across the internet, and the guests of honor today are: Mrs. Ambassador Daniel Liao dharma sister Judy, True Buddha Foundation's accountant dharma sister Teresa, dharma sister Xu Yaqi, producer of the Taiwan CTI television program Light the Lamp in Your Heart, Dr. Zhuang Junyao, sleep specialist Dr. Zhang Dewei and his mother dharma sister Yuan Chunling. Greetings! How is everyone? Temperature is high today.
Today we practiced the Ksitigarbha Yidam Sadhana. Grand Master has great affinity with Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva. When I was on my way down to the human world, Ksitigarbha sent a ghost king to accompany me. This ghost king does not normally appear unless I am in dire situations. He is hidden inside my right thumb, and an image of his face can be seen on the back of my right thumb. He only appears to help me when I encounter great difficulties. Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva takes good care of me, his old friend, and he has sent an emanation to the human world. In our school, we have recently recognized a young Rinpoche, Ksiti Rinpoche. He lives in Taiwan. In the future, he will propagate the True Buddha School Buddhadharma so it will continue to last through many generations. Ksiti Rinpoche is now nine years old, and he is an emanation of Ksitigarbha. This is very rare. Thubten Ksiti has a perfect bodhisattva face, and he has had a deep faith in Buddhism since birth. His mother saw Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva entering her body, and she subsequently became pregnant and gave birth to him. Although a child, he has strong faith in Buddhism. Since a very young age, he has urged his parents to be more diligent in practice. When his parents were too busy, he reminded them that they were not performing the sadhana daily and urged them to do so. He has memorized all the mudras, mantras, and sadhana procedures. In the future, he will have to study the five classes of knowledge (known as Pancavidya in ancient India). He must become a learned man not just in Buddhadharma, but in conventional knowledge too.
What are the five classes of knowledge? They are logic, which is the science of causes and consequences; languages - he must study Chinese, English, and other languages, the more the better; spirituality, which is the Buddhadharma; arts and crafts, including the science of technology; and medicine, knowledge of how to treat and prescribe. Buddhists must study the five classes of knowledge. Ksiti Rinpoche has a very good and perfect face. He was also born with the talent to read past lives. He has been able to do so since only a few years of age. He can look at the masters sitting here and know what they are doing. For example, if a master has been diligent in his cultivation and cleared away much karmic defilement, he can discern this. Alternatively, if a master still has a great deal of defilement, he can tell. This is a special talent. When I showed him a photograph, he was able to speak about the person to me. He will be coming to Seattle to attend the annual autumn ceremony organized by Ling Shen Ching Tze Temple this year, during which time I will transmit the Long-browed Pindola Sadhana (audience applause). He is a miraculous child prodigy, and I have authenticated him to be Ksiti Rinpoche.
I have mentioned Vajra Acharya Thubten Dargye twice earlier because he was present at Ling Shen Ching Tze Temple today (audience applause). Earlier when we were chanting the Fourfold Refuge Mantra ''Namo Guru bei, Namo Buddha ye, Namo Dharma ye, Namo Sangha ye,'' he manifested to me. That was why I mentioned his name twice. The first mentioning of his name was our usual custom, and the second was to show an extra homage (audience applause). My talking about Ksitigarbha and Thubten Ksiti has made Acharya Thubten Dargye very happy. The Thubten lineage finally has a successor. This is the lineage: Kangyur RinpocheThubten NimaThubten DaliThubten DargyeThubten QimoThubten Ksiti. The Thubten branch (of Gelug) now has a successor, and the lineage guru is of course very happy. That is why he has come today, especially because today we practiced the Ksitigarbha Sadhana, and Thubten Ksiti is the incarnation of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva. I am also grateful to Acharya Thubten Dargye for his teaching and the last token he gave me. (Before Acharya Thubten Dargye passed into nirvana, he had asked Master Lianhua Peiwen to pass a golden Kalachakra pendant to Grand Master during his transmission of Kalachakra at the fifth continent.) I will keep this token for the time being, and I will pass this token to Thubten Ksiti in the future when he is ready to propagate the dharma.
I will continue with the Nine Stages of Great Perfection discourse. The third human teacher was Shri Singha. Legend has it that Shri Singha was Chinese. But he also lived in India. Why was he in China and India as well?
According to legend, the third human teacher was Chinese and had a Chinese name Song Huishou. Apart from the name, very little was known about Song Huishou. Actually, he was not Chinese, Grand Master knows. He was from the Tangut ethnic group in the state of Western Xia and he grew up in what is now Gansu Province.
The state of Western Xia was founded by the Tangut people. Song Huishou enjoyed studying Buddhism very much from a young age. He could speak many languages. Apart from the Tangut language, because he was born in Gansu, he also knew some Tibetan and Chinese. As I mentioned earlier about the science of languages, he had studied many languages including Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese, and Tangut. He also studied the other classes of knowledge: spirituality (Buddhism), medicine (healing), karma and logic, and technologies. He was a very good student and very intelligent. He wanted to learn a more profound level of Buddhadharma, so he travelled from Gansu along the silk route to Afghanistan. When he reached Afghanistan, Avalokitesvara suddenly appeared to him. Ancient people in those times could all see bodhisattvas. Garab Dorje saw Vajrapani, and Vajrapani unlocked his brain to let him know that he was originally Semlhag Chen. After unlocking the Nine Stages of Great Perfection in his mind-stream, Garab Dorje then understood Dzogchen. The second human teacher, Manjushrimitra, also could see Manjushri when the bodhisattva manifested to guide him to seek Garab Dorje as a teacher. Shri Singha saw Avalokitesvara in Afghanistan, and the bodhisattva told him, ''You must seek out Manjushrimitra and he will teach you the authentic perfect dharma.'' When Avalokitesvara talked to him the first time, Shri Singha thought to himself, ''There is still a lot to be desired in the Buddhadharma that I know now. Where should I go to find better teachings?'' He wanted to seek out the most inclusive and perfect Buddhist teachings, since he only knew the mainstream variety. He had not even learned the so-called external or internal tantras, not to mention the Nine Stages of Great Perfection. He had not heard of mahayoga, anuyoga, and atiyoga.
So, he wanted to study external and internal tantras first. Where could one learn this level of Buddhadharma? At Wutai Shan (Five-Platform Mountain). Why Wutai Shan? Because that was where Buddhism first took root when it travelled from India to China. Hence, after leaving the state of Western Xia in Gansu, Shri Singha went to Wutai Shan in Shanxi to take refuge in a teacher there. His teacher of esoteric Buddhism was Bellaghadi. It was a very marvelous thing. Afterwards, Avalokitesvara appeared to him a second time and urged him to travel to the charnel ground of Sosaling to the west of Bodhgaya, so he could learn the authentic perfect teachings of the Nine Stages of Great Perfection. This was the second time Avalokitesvara appeared to him. Shri Singha then left Wutai Shan in China and went to the Sosaling charnel ground to the west of Bodhgaya in India. He met Manjushrimitra there and remained with him for twenty-five years. Spiritual cultivation is no simple matter. In another instance, Atisa, another Buddhist master, had travelled from India to Sri Lanka to Jambi in Indonesia to study under Serlingpa for twelve years. I have visited Jambi in Indonesia. I have also visited Bodhgaya. I have lived in Western Xia many lifetimes ago. All these have something to do with me, which is why I knew Shri Singha was a Tangut and not of Chinese Han ethnicity. Only I know and speak of this; no one else has said this.
To continue, in the Nine Stages of Great Perfection, Vajrapani had appeared to teach the first human teacher Garab Dorje, Manjushri had appeared to teach the second human teacher Manjushrimitra. Avalokitesvara had appeared to teach the third human teacher Shri Singha. These three bodhisattvas constitute a trinity in Vajrayana Buddhism. Don't you find it strange that it was not Ksitigarbha, Samantabhadra, and Dripa Namsal who had appeared to provide guidance to the first three human teachers of Dzogchen? This was to emphasize that the teachings belong to Vajrayana. That was why the Vajrayana trinity appeared. Only I know about this. Avalokitesvara represents compassion, Manjushri represents wisdom, and Vajrapani represents dharma power. Vajrasattva is the composite of these three qualities. Actually, this trinity has been manifested from Vajrasattva. Hence, Vajrasattva is the true original patriarch of Vajrayana Buddhism. Only I will say this, others do not know or understand this. Vajrasattva is a very great bodhisattva. He is the dharma prince of the Five Dhyani Buddhas: Vairocana Buddha in the center, Amitabha to the west, Akshobhya to the east, Ratnasambhava to the south, and Amoghasiddhi to the north. These five buddhas belong to the thirteenth level, and Vajrasattva is a transformation from the union of the Five Dhyani Buddhas. Then Vajrasattva further manifested into Avalokitesvara, Manjushri, and Vajrapani. Such emanations can be infinite and very magnificent but still follow a lineage.
A man was beaten up by his wife. The reason for this was that his wife discovered him secretly reading a book entitled ''How to Beat Up Your Wife.'' He had not gotten to the last page which bears a disclaimer: ''Reading this book will result in your wife beating you.'' What I mean by this is that the unions and emanations of buddhas and bodhisattvas can be convoluted, and their interrelationships may elude you. In this last joke, because you have read a book entitled ''How to Beat Up Your Wife,'' you will absolutely end up being beaten by your wife. This is logic and also karma. There is also logic and karma in the emanations of buddhas and bodhisattvas.
After arriving at Sosaling in India, the third human teacher found Manjushrimitra and stayed with him for twenty-five years. At the time of his nirvana, Manjushrimitra transformed into a rainbow and soared into the sky above the cemetery. Shri Singha called out, ''I still have not attained enlightenment! Master, give me the secret key!'' From inside the rainbow, Manjushrimitra reappeared. He wrote the secret key in a little book and placed it on Shri Singha's hand. Shri Singha opened the book and he instantaneously understood and became enlightened. This was how the third human teacher of the Nine Stages of Great Perfection attained enlightenment. He followed his master and studied for twenty-five years.
Some students in our True Buddha School are quite ingenious. When asked how long they have practiced, they replied, ''Three years. But I have not experienced any psychic responses, so I am going to quit.'' Look at Shri Singha, he spent twenty-five years with his master, granted that an Indian year is equivalent to half a year for us. Even twelve and a half years is a very long time and a lot of work.
There is a saying, ''One minute of brilliant performance on stage, ten years of hard work off stage.'' Chinese jugglers are very amazing. They can place a ball on the head, have it fall onto the shoulder, the hand, from one side to the other, then to the back without dropping it. The performance is only ten minutes, but they may have trained for ten years. It is not a simple feat. It is the same for Buddhist practice. Take Grand Master for example, who has been grinding away for over forty years, and finally I am looking presentable. I dare not brag about what I have achieved, since my teacher taught me to remain humble. He often said to me, ''You must be low-keyed. Your fame will turn you into everyone's target.'' Hence, one has to remain modest.
This is true. When fame is too great, it will invite trouble. Like Jesus Christ, when he came out to preach, he demonstrated his ten miracles right away. He walked on water. When Saint Peter saw that, he asked, ''Can I walk on water too?'' Jesus said, ''As long as you have faith, you can walk on water too.'' Saint Peter jumped into the sea, and he could indeed stand on it without sinking. Through his faith in Jesus, he was able to walk on water. However, when Saint Peter saw and felt the large waves, he became fearful and lost his confidence. Xiu! He fell into the sea. This is in the Bible. The miracles performed by Jesus Christ were too great. For example, when a psychotic patient walked by, Jesus commanded the patient to be healed, and he evicted all the ghosts from the patient. All those ghosts left and attached themselves to a group of pigs. The pigs started screaming and turned into crazy pigs before jumping off a cliff. The miracles of Jesus were very shocking. He could revive a dead man. A man had died for several days. He was a student and friend of Jesus. This was a very formidable miracle. That person had already been dead for three to four days and the body was wrapped in cloth. When Jesus arrived, he asked, ''What happened to him?'' They told him, ''He has been dead for three days.'' Jesus said, ''I will wake him up.'' Jesus then commanded him to get up and he indeed got up. This was a very huge miracle. Hence his fame as the messiah spread throughout the area. The Roman Emperor believed that as a messiah, the king of kings, Jesus posed a great threat. The Roman soldiers of course would seize and take him away, because his fame was too great. After only three years of preaching, Jesus was crucified. So, Grand Master has been preaching for over forty years, and I am already very lucky to have been spared crucifixion. Thanks to God, thanks to Allah, that Grand Master has not been crucified. I am really very blessed. Earlier the master of ceremony announced, ''Chant ten thousand times the Guru Heart Mantra and dedicate the merits to Grand Master to be blessed and happy.'' I was very happy when I heard that. Why? I am blessed, to have been able to preach the dharma for over forty years without being crucified. Only getting scolded and criticized is really very lucky for me. Amen! Amituofo! Actually, they are the same. Both Amen and Amituofo start with the sound ''ah.''
I do not worry about my life nor find my life sad. If True Buddha Foundation is worried, that is their business, not mine. I am very happy. What does TBF worry about? That is their business, I do not intervene. Grand Master has already reached the stage of forbearance based on the cognition of the non-arising of all phenomena. The term ''non-arising'' is very important. If you realized ''non-arising,'' you would be happy. If you do not understand ''non-arising,'' you will forever be suffering. If you believe in the existence of phenomena, I guarantee that you will be suffering. Once you are ill or have a tooth ache, you will be in pain. Taking all phenomena to be real will definitely lead to suffering. If you abide in the cognition of ''non-arising,'' you will be able to forbear. Enlightenment is reaching the fruition of forbearance based on the cognition of the non-arising of all phenomena. However, if you still cannot bear or endure the insults heaped on you, then you still have not put what you have realized theoretically into action.
To tell the truth, for True Buddha School to continue in this world, it must wield a certain power. Since True Buddha School's mission is to help sentient beings in the world, it must develop a power to protect itself from those who try to crush other's wisdom life (audience applause). For many new students of True Buddha School, (after reading the lies and slanders circulated on the internet) their faiths are destroyed. This is the severing of someone's wisdom life, and there are of course karmic consequences. All True Buddha School students should band together, strengthen our resolution to attain Buddhahood, and lend support to safeguard the True Buddha Tantric Dharma, so it will continue throughout the ages. This is something we have to do to defend the dharma (audience applause). Of course, we are not becoming militants like the Muslim fundamentalists. We have to defend our sangha community and help prolong the life of the True Buddha School. We need to be united and not create problems within our own group. As True Buddha School is in the human world, and we are doing spiritual practice in the world, the sangha and laymen should unite instead of fragment (audience applause). Regarding those people who are obstructing the spread of Buddhadharma and destroying others' wisdom life, we have to be ironfisted and bring out our power. We can only survive this way, otherwise our school will become fragmented and disintegrate. What we can utilize is of course Buddhadharma and the laws in the human world. This is what we may use. We are upright and honest, and we will use upright and honest methods to solve the problems. Is this right? (audience replies yes) I need to appeal to everyone to agree to this. Donating money or effort is something we should do.
Although I myself have already attained the fruition of forbearance, True Buddha School, being existent in the human world, should employ worldly means to counteract those who want to destroy us.
Personally, my attitude is to let everything be. No matter the number of insults hurled at me, I still feel very blessed and happy. I will not feel otherwise. It does not bother me if greater problems present themselves to me. This is how I feel personally. Also, since I have realized that everything is ''non-arising,'' I have made a vow that I will never sue anyone. But, True Buddha Foundation and all the vajra dharma protectors can do something. The buddhas and bodhisattvas are sitting behind me and looking at us. They will not sue. The seven buddhas above us, every one of them sitting very upright, will not file legal proceedings. But Vajradhara, Skanda and Sangharama, and all the other vajra deities are here to protect the Buddhadharma.
The ''forbearance based on the cognition of the non-arising of all phenomena'' is an eighth level fruition. You will understand what it is if you are enlightened. Some of you have said to me that enlightenment is ''non-arising.'' That is correct! Enlightenment is ''non-arising,'' but what kind of condition is ''non-arising?'' My question to you is this: Why is it ''non-arising?'' If you know the answer, that is enlightenment. You cannot just say, ''I understand. Enlightenment is non-arising.'' You must be able to explain clearly why. In enlightenment, there is neither creation nor extinction. Enlightenment is also the state of ''permanence, bliss, identity, and purity.'' After teaching you the secret key of the final and most profound stage of atiyoga in the Nine Stages of Great Perfection, you will realize the fruition of ''forbearance based on the cognition of the non-arising of all phenomena'' and attain enlightenment immediately.
Shri Singha is a very great lineage master. He was from the state of Western Xia. After learning the Nine Stages of Great Perfection, he then taught it to many people. He conferred the transmission of Dzogchen to Jnanasutra, Vimalamitra, and then to the most important successor, Padmasambhava. After Padmasambhava's arrival in Tibet, Tibet then sent five students to study under Shri Singha, and one of them was Vairotsana who succeeded in attaining realization. Among the many students of Shri Singha, Padmasambhava became the fourth and greatest human teacher of Dzogchen. Why was such a great lineage master - Song Huishou, Shri Singha, - not recorded in the historical records of the Tang Dynasty? Because he was not a citizen of China, he was from the small state of Western Xia (also known as Da Bai Gao- the country of big, white and tall) next to China.
A man said to a woman, ''Stop bothering me.'' The woman replied, ''What right do you have to tell me that?'' The man said, ''I don't like you.'' The woman said, ''Why don't you like me?'' The man said, ''You are not my type.'' The woman asked, ''What is your type?'' The man said, ''You are not a man.'' This is a modern day joke. Same-sex marriage is now legal in California as well as in Washington. This is a modern day joke, and if I had heard it in the past, I would have been baffled. I would not understand why he would say ''you are not a man.'' Why does he not like her? There are many same sex relationships now. Man in love with man. Woman in love with woman. Times have changed. When Jehovah created a man and a woman, Adam and Eve, he did not create a third gender of neither male nor female! But, there are countries in the world now recognizing the third gender. You can choose this third gender when you fill out the immigration document. The sudden emergence of this gender is totally beyond the wildest dreams of God.
Shri Singha was a frequent traveler between Wutai Shan and India. How did he do that? He had formidable transcendental powers. He could pick up a handful of sand, blow air on it, then toss it into the empty space, and his body would enter into the sand and he would then arrive at Wutai Shan or India very quickly. He could travel inside the earth. This kind of magic is called ''escape by earth.'' It existed in China, and westerners have never heard of ''escape by earth.'' Shri Singha could walk underground at a very fast speed. In The Investiture of the Gods, there is a character called Tuxing Xuan who also traveled underground. I have also experienced this in my dreams. When I want to go to a certain place, I close my eyes, transmute my body to emptiness, then penetrate underground. My body spins, and I appear in that place. Where do I want to go? Taiwan. Xiu! I would emerge in my residence in Taiwan. Or the house of a Taiwan student, or any place in the world. But, to tell you, I could only do this in dreams. I often have dreams travelling in the air or underground. Once I have entered underground, the body spins, and when I engender a thought, ''How about Singapore!'' I appear in Singapore. I can see whoever I want to see. But, this is only in dreams. People who drink like to say, ''There is a big world inside a wine flask.'' For me, ''There is a big world inside my dreams.'' Oh! The proper couplet is this, ''There is a big world inside my sleeve, and long days and nights inside the wine flask.'' Grand Master also can perform divination inside his sleeve! I just need to flex my fingers inside my sleeve, without anyone knowing, and get an answer. People who drink may spend their lives in a drunken and dreamy state. Buddhists should not do this. If you skip a day of practice, you are no different from a ghost. We have to practice in a steady and serious manner.
Shri Singha has divided the Nine Stages of Great Perfection into four cycles: outer, inner, secret, and innermost. Shri Singha also taught two Nyingthik (the most important secret key or Heart Essence): Khandro Nyingthik, the method taught by Padmasambhava to Yeshe Tsogyal, and Vima Nyingthik, which was taught by Vimalamitra. So, Shri Singha has transmitted two Nyingthiks. He knew of two secret keys. In the future, I will discuss them.
There are secret keys or character analyses to playing mahjong too. Playing mahjong requires some skill. ''If you are good at mahjong, you are smart. If you are skillful in mahjong, you have a clear mind. If you are careful in mahjong, you understand finances. If you try to cheat in mahjong, you have got nerve. If you remain quiet after winning, you are deep and reserved. If you don't surrender after losing, you have a competitive streak. If you don't shout winning or losing, you are good tempered. If you play your tiles weirdly, you have high quality. If you get into fights when you play, you are still young. If you dare to win by a single tile, you have a back-up. If you keep on playing winning or losing, you are first-rate.'' Grand Master runs winning or losing. If I win, I run. If I lose, I run, so I will not lose much. ''Comrades who love mahjong, there is hope! Cheers!'' What kind of joke is this? Mahjong is also a kind of arts and crafts. You are a master in mahjong if you have good technique and play it well.
A wife asked her husband, ''Why have my hands become very fair after washing?'' The husband said, ''Because your hands have been moisturized by the water.'' The wife asked her husband, ''Why do my feet turn very fair after washing?'' Husband replied, ''Because the water has moisturized your feet.'' Wife asked, ''Every time after shower, why is it that I find myself slimmer?'' Husband replied, ''Because water has gotten into your brain.'' Sometimes, we think we see something based on the angle from which we are looking at it. Two people stand face to face talking. You come from behind and you think the two are kissing. This is a matter of perspective. You are actually mistaken. The two are talking, not kissing. Hence, do not misunderstand. Many of our opinions are based on different perspectives. So, do not be mistaken. If you think by skipping a meal the last several days, your body will be slimmer, water has gotten into your brain! It may be a matter of perspective. A daughter asked her father, ''Daddy! Daddy! What do you think of me?'' She expected her father to say, ''You are my sweet heart!'' Unexpectedly her father turned around and said with resentment, ''You are the punishment for my being impetuous.'' Her father is right also. She was born as a result of his impulsiveness.
As Buddhist practitioners, we have to look at things from all perspectives, and not just from one angle. The perspective of True Buddha Foundation is different from that of Grand Master's. From my perspective, everything is fine, and I will not file lawsuits. But from the perspective of True Buddha Foundation, their job is to protect and support the entire school. Grand Master won't sue anyone, but this does not mean all True Buddha School students won't sue others and only let others sue them. You say you don't sue others, but what if others sue you? When couples divorce, what does one do? Will you say you are a Buddhist and give everything to the other party? Will you do that? He/she may want to take everything from you. So, from this perspective, you must enter into litigation. Isn't it right? From Grand Master's perspective of cognition of the non-arising of all phenomena, I can refrain from filing lawsuits. But from the perspective of the True Buddha Foundation overlooking the entire situation, these people's behaviors are obstructing the wisdom life of sentient beings! How can True Buddha Foundation not do anything? Although Grand Master will not sue, True Buddha Foundation, as a committee of vajra dharma protectors, must stand up! What I am talking about today is a matter of perspective. I look at things from all angles. After attaining enlightenment, I have vowed not to sue or slander others. I have never slandered anyone, and I also do not want to criticize anyone anymore. But, True Buddha Foundation must approach things from a different angle. We will stop here today.
Om Mani Padme Hum.
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