The following teachings are from the attachment to the True Buddha Repentance Sadhana.
Dharma Teaching on `the Origin of True Buddha Sutra and the Meaning and Significance of Repentance` - based on book #75
In Buddhadharma, repentance is considered to be very important. Specific rituals for performing repentance have been codified as Repentance Rituals or Repentance Sadhana. They include:
- The Emperor of Liang Repentance Ritual: initiated by Emperor Wu of Liang as a compassionate act for the deliverance of the soul of his empress, Chi Shi
- Water Repentance Ritual: initiated by the monk Wu Da, based on the repentance of the holy sangha
- Golden Light Repentance Ritual: created by Master Tian Tai, based on the Golden Light Sutra
- Guan Yin Repentance Ritual: a repentance to eradicate malevolence based on the Guan Yin [Avalokitesvara] Sutra
- Amitabha Repentance Ritual: a repentance of supreme purity related to Amitabha Buddha
- Lotus Repentance Ritual: created by Master Tian Tai, based on the Dharma Flower Sutra [also known as the Lotus Sutra]. It is also referred to as the Repentance of the Six Roots or the Dharma Flower Samaya Repentance
- Bhaisajya [Medicine Buddha] Repentance Ritual: based on the Merit Generating Sutra of Bhaisajya Guru Vaidurya`s Fundamental Vows
- Vaipulya Repentance Ritual: created by Master Tian Tai, based on the Sutra of Infinite Meanings
True Buddha Repentance is a repentance to purify the transgressions of body, speech and mind. It is based on True Buddha Sutra, a spontaneous revelation of Living Buddha Lian Sheng. This sutra was his heart-light emanation and it was conceived through his spontaneous insight and tacit understanding.
True Buddha Sutra exemplifies great wisdom, which is also called prajna. This prajna is as deep as the ocean and as vast as space; it is boundless, for authentic Buddhas and authentic wisdom are indeed immeasurable. True Buddha Sutra exudes fragrance; it is wholesome in itself, utterly virtuous, and praiseworthy, for it exalts the True Buddhas of the Western Paradise. One who delves into this sutra will attain wisdom as expansive as the ocean.
What does `True? mean? It means truthful and authentic. As I have stated before to all my disciples and numerous readers, if you take refuge in True Buddha School, practice True Buddha Tantra, and obtain a spiritual response (fruition) in any one of the practices, but still do not attain Buddhahood, I, Lu Sheng Yen, will take full responsibility. I write and teach Buddhadharma in all sincerity. All of my writings and Dharma teachings are entirely truthful. Everything about Padmakumara and the realm of Maha Twin Lotus Ponds is truthful and accurate. If there is one untrue word, I vow to break into pieces. In fact, in order to liberate living beings, I have vowed to do anything necessary, even at the cost of my life, to the point of breaking into pieces, so that each being can attain the Pure Realm of Padmakumara. What else could this teaching be, other than `true??
Padmakumara liberates all living beings by virtue of his true and authentic vow. The key word here is `true? everything is truthful and not an illusion nor a fabrication. `True?is the decree of True Buddha School, which encompasses the Ultimate Truth.
What is a `Buddha`? A Buddha is one with perfect realization; an enlightened being who is self-enlightened and enlightens others. A Buddha embodies two kinds of wisdom. The first is the wisdom of unsurpassed true understanding, also called Anuratta Samyaksambodhi. The second is the wisdom of all seed wisdoms, also called Bodhisattva Wisdom. By means of true cultivation, one can attain the realm of Buddhahood and arrive at the Buddha Ground [the highest ground in spiritual cultivation].
The term `Buddha`, in its extended sense, includes:
- Buddha Sun: compassionate and all-embracing Buddhadharma is comparable to the sun shining upon the earth. It breaks through the delusion and ignorance of living beings just like the sun breaks through darkness. Without selfhood, it embraces all.
- Buddha Seal: the true expression of Dharma is predetermined and sealed by the Buddhas.
- Buddha Vehicle: the wisdom of the practice vehicle [yana] is the understanding of the inner-mind and the realization of the inner-nature.
- Buddha Nature: the immutable nature of enlightenment, the unborn and unending real body, which is embodied by each living being. This is True Suchness.
What is a `Sutra? [discourse]? `Sutra` is a Sanskrit term. A sutra is referred to as The Truth Spoken By All Buddhas, sealed above as The Wisdom Dharma-Nature Spoken By All Buddhas and below as The Ultimate Truth To Be Realized By All Living Beings. In essence, a sutra, originating from the Tathagata, exemplifies the principles of spiritual cultivation.
What is `True Buddha Sutra? It is a sutra depicting the tacit understanding of the Buddha Wisdom, written by the Holy Red Crown Vajra Master Lu Sheng Yen, who is an enlightened being with inner-mind understanding and inner-nature realization. It is an authentic sutra, since it is spoken by all the Tathagatas.
The mountains, rivers and the great earth, with all the phenomena contained in it, are portrayed in True Buddha Sutra.
This sutra is all-encompassing. It is both theoretical and practical. It is one and it also encompasses many. And it is righteous and trustworthy.
Let it be known! Padmakumara [Lotus Youth] is one of the emanations of the Buddhas. He is a true manifestation to be relied upon. He exhibits unfathomable transformations, nourishing living beings through the great earth. Of these transformations, True Buddha Sutra is the Precious Wish-fulfilling Jewel. It shines upon all living beings. It is truly remarkable. Whoever follows its teaching faithfully will attain immeasurable merit.
As for repentance, it is like washing away one`s transgressions. By performing repentance, one washes, scrubs and cleanses them away completely. In the past, as an analogy for transgressions, I have often spoken of clothes that have not been washed for hundreds of years. They are very dirty, but through repentance, it is as if the clothes are put in water and washed thoroughly. When you take the clothes out of the water, they are as clean as new.
Therefore, performing a repentance ceremony is like going through the process of washing; everything becomes very clean afterwards. No matter what you have done in the past, performing repentance will cleanse your body and soul, as long as you realize the true meaning of repentance.
There are two kinds of karma, black and white. What is black karma? It is negative karma created through the body, speech and mind. And what is white karma? White karma is created when behaviors and thoughts are virtuous.
Here is another analogy. Performing repentance is like entering a dark room and lighting a candle or a lighter. A completely dark room becomes bright, and everything in the room can be seen. The effect of repentance is like that. By bringing in a little light, your darkness is completely gone and your black karma is eradicated. One of the meanings of repentance is to clear away the darkness.
In Tantrayana, when your body radiates a light that does not come from outside, but is emitted from your own inner self, even when there is only one drop of light, that drop can eradicate the negative effects of all transgressions. Today, we are born as human beings. We are enshrouded [in karma], and we do not know that there is light in our bodies. Tantrayana teaches us how to radiate our own light by purifying the transgressions of our body, speech and mind.
First, the body has to be virtuous. What does it mean to be virtuous? In Mahayana, it means that the body cannot create negative karma. For example, we have two hands. There should not be a third hand which does devious things. The karma created through our six senses (six roots) eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind is very powerful. If your six roots are pure, this includes body, speech and mind. Then you will create white karma. Otherwise, you create black karma. As a spiritual cultivator, you should be creating white karma instead of black karma. You need to maintain the precepts [moral ethics] of the body, and keep it virtuous.
Second, your speech also has to be virtuous, which means that you should not lie, be fork-tongued, speak evil words, or engage in idle talk. Idle talk means talking nonsense, saying unnecessary things. If you talk this way too often, then you violate the precept. Being fork-tongued means that you often sow discord, you say one thing to one person and another thing to another person. You gossip too much, spread rumors, and create chaos. Evil words include coarse words. Lying is saying deceitful things. These kinds of speech create black karma.
According to the Buddhist sutras, if you refrain from lying, being fork-tongued, saying evil words or engaging in idle talk, then you will not be violating the speech precept. Then what should you say? You should say virtuous, kind, gentle, caring words, words that encourage others to be virtuous. Those are good words. If you are unable to say good words, then you might as well pretend to be dumb and not say anything at all in order to avoid creating speech karma. Spiritual cultivators do not say meaningless things, instead we say things that are supportive and beneficial. We encourage others to be virtuous and perform good deeds. We also say words that are full of wisdom. Then we will be creating white speech karma.
Then there is also karma created through the mind. Because they are intangible, some people may think mental transgressions are lawful. When you violate the precepts related to the mind, other people can`t tell. However, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas can. Therefore, this violation is considered as a kind of transgression also.
Actually, mind karma is extremely powerful because all karma, including that of body and speech is generated through the mind. Mind karma is considered to be the initiating karma, because action follows intention. According to the sutras, the mind of a human being is like a wild horse: it leaps incessantly. You learn this very well when you start to meditate; as soon as you sit down, wooaah?the thoughts never rest. Mind karma, too, never ceases.
So how do you purify your mental transgressions? Tantrayana teaches that you should let your mind and your heart return to Emptiness by suspending it in [empty] space. It may seem that [empty] space is external to you, but in reality, there is both inner and outer Emptiness. You retrieve the outer Emptiness into your inner self, and merge the two.
According to the Sutra of Universal Accomplishment, you can utilize outer Emptiness to gain inner Emptiness. After you realize outer Emptiness, then you can generate inner Emptiness, and when the two merge, this is called the Emptiness of Dharma-Nature [Fa Xing Kong]. When you have realized the Emptiness of Dharma-Nature, then a circle of light will manifest in your body. This is what you strive for in your cultivation.
A Tantric cultivator sees both external and internal light. You utilize outer light to generate inner light. When you can emit your own inner light (heart-light) through performing repentance, then you have achieved the purpose of the repentance. You will enter into a state of clear radiance. Your inner self, your body and mind will become clear and radiant. Otherwise, you are so enshrouded with layers upon layers [of karma] that you are unable to see any light.
When you can direct your mind to enter into the realm of Emptiness and let your heart-light shine, then you have realized the meaning of performing repentance. You will have a phenomenon where your body will become clear-light and radiant. In Tantrayana, theoretically, this is the method to generate inner light.
Then where is the mind? The mind has entered into Emptiness. When you can stop all thought, enter into Emptiness, and let your inner-light shine, this is called the purity of the mind. When your body has been purified, your speech has been purified, your mind has entered into Emptiness and you have arrived at a thoughtless state, like in the highest state of the Formless Realm, then you have attained the realm of mind purity.
By following Tantrayana cultivation methods, when your body, speech and mind are purified, then your inner light will be generated naturally. To purify your mind, you need to make use of meditation and the practices of vital energy [Chinese: Qi, Sanskrit: prana], channels [Chinese: Mai, Sanskrit: nadi], and lightdrops [Chinese: Ming Dian, Sanskrit: bindu]. When you train our Qi, you harmonize your heart and mind. When your Qi is harmonious, lasting and stable, then your mind is too. On the other hand, when Qi is agitated, so is the mind. So Tantric Energy Yoga trains your mind; when you train your breathing to be soft, calm and long, the mind will gradually enter into a serene state. When you maintain this serenity, the mind will not fly all over, and your thoughts will subside into an unperturbed state.
When your Qi has become robust, unperturbed and pure, your mind will enter into a state of purity. Immense clarity will be experienced. In this thought-free state, inner light will shine. This is mentioned in the Sutra of Universal Accomplishment. It is very important.
What is the purpose of meditation? It is to train us to generate inner light by purifying body, speech and mind, because inner light can only be generated when body, speech and mind are purified. This is a key point! Why are you taught to purify your body, speech and mind? It is to let your inner light shine. Once your inner light shines, then you will have gained enlightenment, and all of your transgressions will have been eradicated.
Complete purification the generation of inner light through the purification of body, speech and mind is the primary significance of all repentance practices.
True Buddha Repentance relies on the Perfect and Sublime Wisdom Power of the Buddhas, transmitted through the lineage empowerment of True Buddha Root Guru. By performing repentance earnestly, we purify all black karma we collected since beginningless time, through the power of the blessings of the Buddhas, so that we can shine a clear and radiant light.
Dharma Teaching given by Grand Master on March 6, 1993, following the Great Compassion Repentance Ceremony
Repentance is very important. Since the heart initiates all transgressions, there is a repentance verse that says, `Transgressions start from the heart, therefore they should be repented from the heart`.
The heart controls all transgressions created by the body, speech and mind. Therefore it is necessary to perform repentance whole-heartedly, which means using all your heart to repent.
Dharma Teaching given by Grand Master on October 29, 1989, following the Water Repentance Ceremony, based on His Holiness` meditation
A repentance liturgy generally includes the following three focal points:
-Repentance through the reading of sutras
-Prostration to all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Deities
-Chanting of the Karma Eradication Mantra of the Seven Buddhas
In chanting sutras, it is essential to produce superb and magnificent sounds with the sixty-four qualities of Brahman sounds, which are listed below:
flowing-water-like, gentle, pleasant, cordial, innocent, graceful, crystal-clear, sweet, glad-to-hear-about, superior, perfect, harmonious, soothing, benevolent, kind, melodious, comforting, enthusiastic, happy, delightful, tranquil, authoritative, clarifying, distinct, endearing, pleasing, awe-inspiring, explanatory, making-sense, beneficial, free-of-mistakes-and-redundancies, lion-like, naga-like, thunder-like, king-of-dragon-like, songs-of-kinara-like, kalavinka-like, Brahma-king-like, jirajiva-bird-like, like-the-wonderful-sound-of-Indra, resonating, not-too-high, not-too-low, can-join-any-sound-naturally, flawless, constructive, undefiled, agreeable-to-the-senses, non-disparaging, constant, stable, can-join-any-gathering, pleased-by-everything, inducing-all-beings-to-be-happy, talking-about-the-mind-and-behavior-of-living-beings, pleasantly-entering-the-hearts-of-living-beings, generating-faith-in-living-beings-who-hear, inducing-equanimity-in-living-beings-who-hear, beyond-imagination-of-living-beings, fulfilled, gratifying, dignified, eminent, and fulfilling-to-all.
We should use the `My-Head-Bows-to-Buddha`s-Feet` prostration to prostrate to the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Deities. The following is a step-by-step description of one prostration:
1.Stand behind a prayer mat with both hands folded together in the prayer position in front of your chest.
2.Bring your right palm down to the middle of the mat. At the same time, kneel on the mat.
3.Put your left palm on the front-left corner of the mat and bring your right palm to the front-right corner.
4.Bow your head to touch the mat between your hands.
5.Turn your hands so that the palms face upward. Visualize your hands touching Buddha`s feet (thus the name of `My-Head-Bows-to-Buddha`s-Feet?.
6.Return your hands to their previous position so that the palms are touching the mat.
7.Raise your head.
8.Move your right palm to the middle of the mat.
9.Bring your left hand to the front of your chest, in a half prayer position.
10.Stand up while using your right hand to push upward. Bring both hands together to the prayer position in front of your chest.
The Karma Eradication Mantra of the Seven Buddhas
The mantra is `Li Po Li Po Di, Qiu He Qiu He Di, Tuo Luo Ni Di, Ni He La Di, Pi Li Ni Di, Mo He Jia Di, Zhen Lin Qian Di Suo Ha.`
The Seven Buddhas are Sapta Buddhas of the Past. In the previous ninety-first kalpa, there was a Buddha called Vipasyin. In the previous thirty-first kalpa, there were Buddhas called Sikhin and Visvabhu. In the present Bhadra kalpa, there have been Buddhas called Krakucchandra, Kanakamuni, Kasyapa and Shakyamuni.
The history of the origin of the Seven Buddhas was taken from the Sutra of Dirgha Agama, the Sutra of the Seven Buddhas, translated by Fa Tian of the Zhao period of Sung dynasty, and the Sutra of the Seven Buddhas Speaking all Mantras.