Feb. 24, 2018, Dharma Discourse - Guhyasamaja Practice
Taiwan Lei Tsang Temple
|Feb. 24, 2018, HH Living Buddha Lian-sheng Sheng-yen Lu Debut Transmission of Guhyasamaja Practice
Translated by TBTTs (This translation only includes content pertaining to Guhyasamaja Practice)
Translator: Henry Wolf
Editor: DJ Chang
<Living Buddha Lian-sheng Sheng-yen Lu Discourse on Guhyasamaja at Guhyasamaja Homa Ceremony Held at Taiwan Lei Tsang Temple on Feb. 24, 2018>
In response to a question from a disciple, I wrote about Guhyasamaja Practice. The disciple asked, 'Grandmaster Lu transmitted Hevajra, Yamantaka, and Mahottara, and discoursed Hevajra and Kalachakra in detail. Why have you not yet transmitted Guhyasamaja and Cakrasamvara? Would you please transmit them as well?' I have since transmitted Cakrasamvara. Correct? I transmitted this dharma at Taiwan Lei Tsang Temple. Right! I transmitted it last year.
To be honest, vajra dharma is difficult to cultivate. In the past, when I was in the US, I wrote a letter to one of my gurus saying: ''Master! Please transmit the Five Heruka Practices to me. I want to learn vajra dharma.'' My guru replied: ''Have you completed the preliminary practices?'' What are the preliminary practices? The Great Homage and Mandala Offering, have you performed these? How many times have you performed the Mandala Offering Practice? How many recitations of the Fourfold Refuge Mantra have you completed? How many recitations of the Bodhicitta Mantra have you completed? How many recitations of the Hundred Syllable Mantra have you completed? Have you attained spiritual union with your guru? Have you attained spiritual union with your personal deity? If you have attained spiritual union with your personal deity, you may learn vajra dharma.
Now, our True Buddha School has a galaxy of talented and great disciples who even managed to dig up the Guhyasamaja Practice, the last remaining untransmitted practice of the Five Heruka Practices. Heruka practice is difficult. I had asked for the transmission of this dharma from many gurus, and finally, a guru gave me the practice manual of all Five Herukas. The preliminary sections of the practices are the same. Generally speaking, the steps of the preliminary section are the Fourfold Refuge, Four Immeasurable Vows, Bodhicitta Verse and Mantra, Karma Purification, and Emptiness Visualization. The Great Homage, Mandala Offering, Armor Protection, and Repentance Practice are also part of the preliminary section.
How does one perform the visualization in the main section of the Guhyasamaja Practice? The TV program that was just broadcast showed the Guhyasamaja mandala. All the mountains were volcanoes laid out in a square. Inside the square are vajra walls of a palace built upon a vajra foundation covered by a vajra net. In the center of the palace is a lotus. Within the lotus is the seed syllable ''hum,'' a sun disc and a moon disc. The ''hum'' syllable transforms into Guhyasamaja. The visualization is simple. One first visualizes the Guhyasamaja mandala beginning with visualization of vajra flames surrounded by mountain ranges. Every mandala has nine levels of ''round sky and square earth.'' The meaning of ''round sky'' is that the palace in the center is round in shape. The area outside the palace is square in shape. In the center of the palace is a precious throne. On this precious throne is a lotus. There is a ''hum'' syllable inside the lotus. The ''hum'' transforms into a Guhyasamaja in unification with his consort Sparshavajra, Vajra Sceptre Buddha Mother. What I have written down here is, ''Following visualization of emptiness, a vajra foundation, walls, and a palace surrounded by flaming mountain ranges emerge from a 'hum' syllable. A lotus then emerges from a 'hum' syllable in the center of the palace. Within the lotus is a sun disc and within the sun disc is a crossed vajra sceptre. The crossed vajra sceptre then transforms into a Guhyasamaja.''
How does one visualize Guhyasamaja? Guhyasamaja is blue with three faces and six arms. The faces are black, white, and red respectively. His two front arms embrace his consort Sparshavajra, while the hands hold a vajra bell and a vajra sceptre respectively. His other right hands hold a dharma wheel and a lotus respectively. His remaining left hands hold a precious jewel and a sword respectively. Sitting upon on a lotus dais, he appears simultaneously joyful and wrathful. It's difficult for a facial expression to appear simultaneously joyful and wrathful. I mentioned this before. Who painted the famous picture of the Mona Lisa Smile? Davinci! Mona Lisa is smiling like that because she's by the door waiting for her husband to return home. It's late, and he's not back yet. She's angry yet smiling: ''Welcome home.'' She's about to hit him. It's a difficult expression to convey.
Akshyobha Buddha is the crown ornament of Guhyasamaja, but speaking of Akshyobha Buddha, I will tell you that Borobudur in Yogyakarta, Indonesia is a large shrine. If you have been there, raise your hand. According to archaeoloists, this shrine was initially intended to be a Guhyasamaja mandala. Akshyobha was in the center of the shrine, but somehow Vairocana Buddha ended up being substituted for Akshyobha and is now in the center of the mandala. Therefore, it has become a shrine of the Five Buddhas. It was originally a Guhyasamaja shrine, but transformed into a shrine of the Five Buddhas. Nonetheless, archaeologists still consider it a shrine of Akshyobha. An Indonesian archaeologist informed me of this. He asked me many questions. I answered all of them and he was very satisfied with my answers. The top of the pagoda shrine had fallen off. The archaeologist consulted Grandmaster about what could be done about it. I told him that the top section of a stupa (pagoda) will either have three rings or a sun and moon. The three rings, representing the universe, are composed first of a large ring, then a medium sized ring, and lastly a small ring. In the future, put up three rings to represent the universe. If you want to symbolize the world, use the sun and moon; the sun is above and the moon is below. He was very satisfied by my answer, and said he would take my suggestion to symbolize the world by the sun and the moon and the universe by three rings. Those who have studied Vajrayana shrines will know this.
The Great Exposition of Secret Mantra begins with a discussion of mandalas. One visualizes Guhyasamaja, then there is his mantra. The Guhyasamaja Mantra has two versions: There is ''Om。ah。bei-zha。da-ke。hum。hum。so-ha.'' This version includes an ''ah'' syllable. The other version of the mantra, which is also permissible, is ''Om。bei-zha。da-ke。hum。hum。so-ha.'' Either version of the mantra is acceptable. The mudra also has two versions. One version is with the fingers of both hands interlaced inward while the index fingers are standing up straight and touching each other. The other version is with the fingers of both hands interlaced inward with the index fingers standing up straight and touching each other while the thumbs are also interlaced inward. With mantra, mudra, and visualization, the Guhyasamaja Sadhana is established.
What was the Praise Verse that Shimu just recited?
Blue Wrathful Deity
With Akshobhya Buddha as his crown ornament
Undertaking deliverance of sentient beings
I pay homage to Guhyasamaja
One may use this verse as the supplication prayer for calamity eradication, enrichment, magnetization, or subjugation. Generally speaking, vajra dharma is practiced for eradication of greed. This is extremely important. Guhyasamaja practice includes eradication of anger and ignorance as well. This practice counteracts anger and ignorance. What is the meaning of ''Mi Ji?'' [Guhyasamaja in Chinese] I will make it simple for everyone: ''The collection of secrets of the body, speech, and mind of all Tathagatas.'' Why is it it called Mi [secret] Ji [collection]? It means Guhyasamaja is the collection of all the secrets of the body, speech, and mind of all buddhas of the past, present, and future. The name can also be Ji Mi (collection of secrets.) In other words, the name can be either Mi Ji Vajra or Ji Mi Vajra.
Two individuals were responsible for bringing Guhyasamaja dharma to Tibet from India. The first, Drogmi Lotsawa Shakya Yeshe, went to Vikramshila in India and learned the Akshyobha Buddha Guhyasamaja Practice from the first East Gate scholar. Later, Marpa, of the Kagyu Sect, also went to India and learned Manjusri Guhyasamaja Practice from Naropa. Therefore, Marpa of the Kagyu Sect also learned the vajra practice and brought it back to Tibet.
Guhyasamaja is the vajra protector of Tsongkhapa and also the root of all tantras. Of Tsongkhapa's 12 treatises, five are totally devoted to Guhyasamaja. Therefore, Tsongkhapa, the patriarch of the Gelug Sect, did indeed study Guhyasamaja. Tsongkhapa considered Guhyasamaja to be ''the absolute of the holy teaching, bright and pure as the sun and moon, and the one and only treasure in the three realms.'' Tsongkhapa praised Guhyasamaja in this way.
The Exposition of the Five Stages by Nagarjuna Bodhisattva discusses Guhyasamaja. The Shexing Treatise by Aryadeva also talks about Guhyasamaja. In Tsongkhapa's 12 treatises, the treatise Guhyasamaja Perfection of the Brilliant Illumination of the Lamp of the Five Stages is entirely a discussion of Guhyasamaja. By attaining spiritual union with Guhyasamaja, one will attain, first of all, virtuous willpower. What is virtuous willpower? One will never fall into the three evil realms. One will definitely be reborn in the pure land because one has the three virtues.
The first of the three virtues is the virtue of liberation. If one attains spiritual union with Guhyasamaja through cultivation of Guhyasamaja Practice, one will be liberated. The second virtue is that one attains enlightenment. This is namely the accomplishment of fruition. Therefore, one not only attains the fruition of enlightenment, but also the fruition of liberation. Actually, there are two kinds of liberation; the path of liberation and the path of bodhi. By cultivating Guhyasamaja Practice, one will attain both. Just through Guhyasamaja Practice alone, one is able to obtain the three virtues.
One who cultivates this practice will have no attachments to anything whatsoever. There will be no more worries or concerns. Let me ask everyone. At present you are all involved in a lot of things which affect you, but nonetheless, you are not bothered by them. The fact is, one who cultivates this dharma is not affected by anything whatsoever. One is a person free of concerns. I am telling everyone that, as I often say, I am an unoccupied practitioner.
What does it mean to be an unoccupied practitioner? It means I am not caught up in anything. Although I am beset by many affairs, I am still not occupied by them. It's simple. In this world, which country's president is the most unlucky? That would be the president of Korea because, in each presidential term, there has been suicide, imprisonment, or assassination to deal with. No term of presidency has had a good ending. Count it up for yourselves and see. How many presidents have ended up in prison? How many presidents have been ordered by the courts to pay hundreds of millions in damages? Korean presidents for example, are there any, Shimu? How many altogether? Shimu says that there are seven or eight Korean presidents who have ended up committing suicide, or being assassinated, or being sentenced to prison. What's the point of being president? Wouldn't one be better of as an ordinary citizen? This is human nature!
As far as Grandmaster is concerned, if I happen to be locked up in jail, that is, if I happen to be sentenced to prison, well, would it really matter? It really wouldn't matter. If I'm in prison, I will cultivate and if I'm not in prison, I will also cultivate. I have just one thing to accomplish, that is, cultivation. As far as everything else is concerned, it just doesn't matter. One must be calm and composed in this world, constant and eternal like the sun, the moon, the universe, the earth, the sky, and the universal consciousness. As far as one is concerned, as long as one has merged with the universal consciousness, anything and everything becomes no matter whatsoever. This is what is meant by being an unoccupied practitioner. This is of utmost importance. One can reach this level by practicing Guhyasamaja.
Akshyobha Buddha said: ''Nothing arises.'' This means non-arising. There is no Sheng-yen Lu in this world. There is no Living Buddha Lian-sheng either. I have been enlightened for all this time, so what is Sheng-yen Lu? Is the one sitting here Sheng-yen Lu? Is this Living Buddha Lian-sheng? That's incorrect! I have my baby picture showing my bare bottom! That's also Sheng-yen Lu! That's also Living Buddha Lian-sheng! That person in my middle school picture is also Sheng-yen Lu! It's also Living Buddha Lian-sheng. My college graduation photo where I'm wearing a four-cornered graduation cap, a technical school student, who is also Sheng-yen Lu and Living Buddha Lian-sheng! The person sitting here right now is also Sheng-yen Lu, Living Buddha Lian-sheng. However, in a few years, I may no longer be here.
One must comprehend that the past has already vanished, the present transforms into the past, and the future will also vanish. This is the principle of ''non-arising.'' As stated in the Diamond Sutra: ''The mind of the past cannot be obtained, the mind of the present cannot be obtained, and the mind of the future cannot be obtained.'' So, let me ask you, what mind can you obtain? You can directly reply: there is no mind to obtain! If one can be enlightened in this way, that this is, in fact, the way things are, this is ''non-arising.'' Guhyasamaja can lead you to the state of non-arising, a state which is one and the same as enlightenment!
XX, for example, is in the state of ''existence'' when she says ''I want to build the largest temple'' or ''sell your house and give the proceeds to me.'' When everyone must sell their house and give the proceeds to XX… has anyone ever sold their house and given the proceeds to Grandmaster? Anyone? Have I ever demanded that anyone sell their house for my benefit? Never!
Ok, hand that to me… Are those the ten presidents of Korea? The first to serve as president was Rhee Syngman, exiled and died abroad; the next was Park Chunghee, assassinated; Chun Doohwan, sentenced to death and his property sold to collect a fine of six billion won; Roh Taewoo, imprisoned and made to pay a fine of 7.2 billion won; Kim Youngsam, whose son was involved in graft and tax dodger; Kim Daejung, whose son was corrupt; Roh Moohyun committed suicide by jumping off a cliff; Lee Myung-bak, summoned for an investigation; Park Geunhye, put in jail. How many presidents is this? You can see how terribly it can turn out for those who seek wealth and position. With this kind of ending, one would be better off with nothing matters, non-arising. As Ratnasambhava Buddha stated, ''All dharmas are of no matter whatsoever.'' This also includes Buddhadharma. After one is enlightened by Buddhadharma, one should let go of Buddhadharma. As a matter of fact, one is able to completely let go of Buddhadharma because one has already merged with the supreme. One has reached eternal life, which is infinite. By cultivating Guhyasamaja dharma, one can obtain this achievement.
Amitabha Buddha said ''All dharmas of non-arising have no self-nature and require no cultivation. One who has attained yoga with emptiness will be able to speak myriads of matters.'' As for the yoga with emptiness referred to in the text spoken by Amitabha, one begins with cultivation of the Yoga of One-pointedness. When one enters emptiness while practicing the Yoga of One-pointedness, one's yoga advances to the Yoga of Simplicity. This yoga becomes the Yoga of One-taste when one merges with emptiness. One will eventually reach the Yoga of Non-cultivation because, having reached one taste, what is there to cultivate? One has reached identity with one's supreme personal deity, that is, one also becomes eternal with unlimited power. A true and authentic guru can lead one to unification with the infinitely powerful and supreme personal deity, which is so-called infinite and eternal because of non-arising.
One must see through! See through what? See through that the entire material world is transitory. The existence of the material world is momentary and nothing more than an enormous dream. I'm telling you it is just an enormous dream. China has only 5,000 years of history, but has gone through Tang, Yu, Xia, Shang, Zhou, Qin, Han, the four transient countries in between, Wei, Jin, South-north, Sui, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming, Qing, up to the Republic of China, People's Republic of China, and Taiwan. Looking back at history, was there any dynasty that lasted forever? They were all just a few hundred years in duration. Some dynasties may have been shorter and some may have been longer, such as the Zhou Dynasty which lasted about 800 years! What dynasty are you living in? The Taiwan Dynasty? Or the Dynasty of the Republic of China? How long is your great dream going to last?
You won't live a hundred years, nor does Grandmaster dare to say he will live 100 years! This is namely illusion! Within infinity, there are countless invisible atoms, neutrons, and electrons? which transform into Taiwan Lei Tsang Temple, transform into our True Buddha School with so many disciples, and transform into Grandmaster Lu. Where does it all come from? It all comes from the primordial infinite which transforms into materialized atoms, electrons, and molecules?It is through this kind of aggregation that oneself is formed. It's all a tremendous dream, but one does not need to think one is having this enormous dream. In an instant, one will be delivered to the pure land by Grandmaster, Great! But when Grandmaster's life is over, who will perform deliverance? Grandmaster will deliver himself. I am not going to live long, and I will return to where I originally came from. That power is permanent and unchanging, it's non-arising. After one has returned, one sees one's past and realizes that it was nothing but a dream. As Amitabha Buddha stated ''All dharmas of non-arising have no-self nature and require no cultivation. One who has attained yoga with emptiness will be able to speak myriads of matters.'' As Amoghasiddhi Buddha stated ''The self-nature of dharmas is empty and pure.''
I'm telling you that… today is the Jade Emperor's birthday, the 9th day of the lunar calendar. Jio Sang (Lin Qiandai Shigu) asked, ''Who among you is called Katsu (Japanese, Sheng in Chinese)?'' I replied I was. She said ''Alright, Jade Pond Golden Mother is looking for you, so kneel down.'' As soon as I kneeled, wow! There was a spiritual response! I was able to see light! As soon as I closed my eyes, radiant light appeared and transformed into Amitabha, Jade Pond Golden Mother, and Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva. All of them spoke to me. How was I able to hear them? What was going on? I was indeed able to hear. Ah? How could I also see? I was dumbfounded right on the spot. What did they want from me? Jio Sang explained, ''They want you to spread the dharma and save sentient beings.'' I answered, '' How can I do this? I am a Christian! I have never studied any Buddhist teachings.'' It was truly a great shock. That night, I returned to my room. At the time, I was a Survey Officer of 5802 Survey Company at Nanmen Bridge. As an officer and survey engineer in the company, I had my own residential quarters.
That night, right after I fell asleep, oh my god! I was trembling. An orb of light suddenly appeared. I flew inside the circle of light, and oh my goodness! I was in the realm of buddhas and bodhisattvas. Many buddhas and bodhisattvas said to me '' You came back.'' I didn't recognize any of them, but someone whispered into my ear '' Look. What is that?'' It was white light! A continuously shining, brilliant light. The voice said '' That is you. You are Padmakumara.'' If what I just said is untrue, bragging, deceiving as a big liar, or if I did not visit Maha Twin Lotus Ponds and see that I myself am the brilliantly shining white light Padmakumara, then everyone can write my name backwards Yen-sheng Lu. Everyone can write my name any way they like, from the right or from the left, and everyone is free to insult me to their heart's content. I am speaking the truth. I did actually see my former lifetime. I did actually see the color white, a light shining with extraordinary brilliance.
One cultivates to return to this place. What does anything else matter? Of what importance are houses or cars? Right? Of what importance are diamond watches and rings, or gold and silver jewels? Or even money! What is it all worth? After one has reached Maha Twin Lotus Ponds, I'm telling you! If one wants to eat something, that very dish will appear just by thinking of it. If one wants gold and silver jewels, they will appear when one thinks of them. The same goes for palaces and everything else, including buddha lands. If one wishes to visit a buddha pure land, one can get there instantly just by a thought. Why does one need anyone's else's money? Or house? XX, you really are are a fool. One cultivates to be liberated, reach enlightenment, merge with the supreme, and unify with the personal deity. As one is infinite and has infinite life, one attains infinite, boundless bliss! What are you afraid of? This is the important point. Why would one desire fame? I'm telling you, being the president of South Korea will all end up going down. Out of ten presidents of south Korea, not even one turned out well. Therefore, what's the point of being president? Don't go that direction!
The ''om'' syllable mentioned here is the treasury of wisdom, whereas ''ah'' is the enlightenment of no-self. ''Hum'' is the mandala, the cultivation of one's own palace (indestructible vajra body.) Guhyasamaja is able to purify one's body, speech, and mind and eradicate one's greedy thoughts, one's hateful thoughts, and all of one's ignorance. If one is able to attain the highest wisdom of the tathagata, fame and fortune are superfluous.
「Five-colored treasure，寶堅固，輪金剛，The center of the emptiness is like a mandala. Everything is about cultivation of body, speech and mind. One then achieves the universal wisdom.」 What I am discussing today has within it the most important essence of Guhyasamaja. As I just mentioned, whether one pursues the world or transcendence, Guhyasamaja has both.
Sakyamuni once said ''Buddha comes from the world.'' Because one becomes a tathagata in this world, the Buddha was married, had children, and abandoned worldly life to become a monk. He played through the stages of his life, got married, lived a worldly life, had many concubines, and raised children. Afterwards, he was ordained and stopped being playful. Finally, he attained the tathagata wisdom beneath a bodhi tree, reached enlightenment, and became Sakyamuni Buddha.
People are reluctant to let us withdraw from the world today as Shakyamuni did. There are also many other saints and sages who don't necessarily let people in the world know of their existence. I therefore, like Amitabha, am able to ''speak myriads of matters.'' I am able to talk about a lot of subjects because I have been through a lot of experiences. Grandmaster has had love affairs and was frivolous when young. I already had a girlfriend in kindergarten. Her name was Lin XX. My girlfriend in grade school was Gao XX, they had three sisters, my girlfriend in middle school was Xu XX, and my high school girlfriend was Guo XX. I had another girlfriend in Hualien whose name was Guan XX. Sometimes I had many girlfriends all at the same time. The name of my girlfriend while I was in surveying school was Zhang XX. There was never a time when I didn't have a girlfriend! The girlfriends I have now are three young girls named Yiting, Leiqian, Li Qi. Are they here? There is Leiqian. How about Yiting? Yiting is over there. How about Li Qi? Li Qi stood up by herself. She said that as far as she's concerned, Grandmaster will always be 18 years old. Did you say you want to marry me? Yes! She nodded her head that she wants to marry me. My goodness! How old are you? 12 years old? I have to wait six more years. I am 74 years old now, so in six years I will be 80. 80 it is not bad! This is just lighthearted talk for laughing and joking.
To tell the truth, I have a great force of motivation behind me that pushes me forward. It's the power of love. Is that not true? It's because I love sentient beings! This is the power of love. It's because I love sentient beings that I can be like Amitabha Buddha: ''Capable of speaking myriads of matters.'' Because of this love, I have not separated myself from ordinary, secular life. Although living in the world, I have transcended the mundane. I am open-minded. Because I am not cross-eyed, I can see openly! Existence and non-existence are one and the same. The current ''I'' that is an illusion is unified with the real ''I'' of the future. Therefore, I can stay in the mundane world while transcending the mundane. In the future, one can be the same as Grandmaster, a true guru. When one truly unifies with one's personal deity, one will attain infinite power and is a guru.
Did you know that Guhyasamaja manifested today? He was accompanied by the Five Herukas and even Kalachakra. All the Herukas manifested right before my eyes. I could see them all. I could also hear them discoursing their essential teachings. The essential teachings of the Five Herukas are not all that much different from each other, although there are slight differences in their methods of cultivation. However, the actual cultivation methods of the five Herukas are the same.
I am going to tell you about degeneration, that is, I'm going to tell you about the signs that death is approaching. The signs of approaching death are mentioned in Lamdre. First, one normally is able to meditate and enter the samadhi, but all of a sudden, one is unable to enter the samadhi. This is a sign of approaching death. The breath exhaled from one's mouth was originally fresh and one was in spiritual union with one's personal deity. However, when one exhales bad smelling breath, this is another sign of approaching death. When one's skin is fair but suddenly becomes dark, this is also a sign of impending death. When one was able to focus and perform every task, but all of sudden the brain is completely confused and full of scattered and disorganized thoughts, this is a sign of impending death. When one's body becomes odorous even to oneself, this is a sign of approaching death. This is how Lamdre explains the signs of impending death, and there are many more such signs. A normally gentle person who suddenly becomes irritable about everything is showing signs of approaching death. During the time of approaching death, practitioners must extend their life by practicing ''Prolonging Life by Taking in Emptiness.'' One then practices one's body, speech, and mind back to purity.
The collective secrets of the body, speech, and mind of the buddhas of three times are called ''Ji Mi.'' The reverse of Ji Mi is ''Mi Ji Heruka,'' meaning Guhyasamaja. If one is able to understand Grandmaster's mind, one is in spiritual union with Grandmaster. If one does not understand Grandmaster's mind, one is still in True Buddha School kindergarten. There is an implied meaning in what I am telling you today. Is one truly in spiritual union with one's guru, one's personal deity, and one's dharma protector? Has one attained accomplishment in inner practice? In Highest Yoga Tantra? Becoming a buddha in the present body is the Highest Yoga Tantra. The Five Heruka Practices are also the Highest Yoga Tantra. Is one able to attain Buddhahood? Does one understand the tathagata wisdom? Does one still want to become president? The True Buddha School does not have a president. What is more important? The uplifting of one's soul is more important. It's uplifting one's soul that is most important, and nothing else is of any importance. Om Mani Padme Hum.
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