Friday, June 11, 2010

Chapter 5 - Revoking One's Dharma Power

Once, I had a rather strange dream. I found myself flying through mountains and ridges. While ascending to the highest peak, I saw a Tibetan Rinpoche sitting on a flat platform with two lamas beside him. One of them was hoisting a banner while the other was blowing a trumpet. I simply floated into the space above and soared freely above the Tibetan Rinpoche.
This Rinpoche asked the lamas beside him, "Who is that Chinese man?" One lama replied, "He is Living Buddha Lian-sheng, Sheng-yen Lu." The other lama added, "Sheng-yen Lu is very famous and possesses great Dharma power. He has been to the Drepung Loseling Monastery to give a discourse on the Buddhadharma."
The Tibetan Living Buddha paused for a while and then said, "I want to recall his Dharma power."

After having this dream, I had another dream involving the same Tibetan Rinpoche.
The Rinpoche and I were standing on the bank of a mighty river. Turbulent rolling waters characterized this river to the point where its depth was simply beyond measure. The buoyancy of this river was considerably poor. I saw a leaf fall into the river, and it could not stay afloat. It disappeared into the whirling water in no time. This mighty river is like a 'mythical cosmic sea of low-buoyancy,' such that even a goose feather is unable to remain afloat in it.
The Tibetan Living Buddha said to me, "Sheng-yen Lu, you shall demonstrate your Dharma power and cross this river first. You are not to fly across but actually walk on the water." This was a test of my skill and power. First, I visualized my lineage gurus above my head. Then, I formed the 'Heavenly Water Mudra' with my hands and recited the 'Water Resistance Formula':
This ocean of no mercy
Through millenniums carried no living.
Now I shall walk across.
The massive sea is transformed into a mulberry field.
Execute this order at once. Execute this order at once. Execute this order at once.

I stepped into the water and just as I thought, the water felt like solid ground. Very soon, I reached the other shore of the river with no problem along the way at all. Now it was the Tibetan Rinpoche's turn. He hesitated for a moment before taking the bold steps, then finally attempted to walk on the water. Then came a sound, "Splash!" and he fell right into the water. Drenched all over, he was a total mess. Just as the Tibetan Rinpoche was about to drown and lose his life, the Dharma Protector of the Rinpoche, a gigantic Golden-Winged Garuda came to his rescue. It caught hold of him by his collar, and lifted him and released him onto land. The Tibetan Rinpoche felt very embarrassed. He turned towards me and said, "I will revoke your Dharma power."

These two dreams were very unusual. During that period of time, many Tibetan Rinpoches took refuge with me. I conducted a Dharma ceremony together with His Holiness Ganden Tripa, the head of the Gelugpa Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. I had a meeting with the Dalai Lama. I ascended the Dharma throne and expounded the Buddhadharma at the three largest Tibetan monasteries, and I was the only ethnic Chinese to be given this honor.

My reputation spreads far and wide throughout India and Tibet. Many Tibetan Rinpoches took refuge in me. One of them is Jigme Lhundup Rinpoche, who was formerly the chairman of the Sixth Assembly of Tibetan People's Deputies of the Tibetan Government in Exile. My photo is enshrined in the Ganden Shartse Sockpa Khangtsen Monastery, Drepung Tsawa Khangtsen Monastery, and others.
I figure this will certainly establish a deep affinity with Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. This is naturally a good thing because my lineage transmission had come from Tibet, through Guru Norras, Monk Liao Ming, Thubten Nima, Thubten Dali, Guru Thubten Taerchi, the 16th Great Karmapa, Master Sakya Chenkon and others. But likewise, there are some drawbacks to this. Because my Dharma power and my reputation are too widespread, this results in attracting much resentment.
Of course, even Rinpoches can be disgruntled by it. I felt that the Rinpoche in my two dreams was discontented as he had repeatedly said that he wanted to recall my Dharma power. These two dreams came as a wake-up call, and appeared inauspicious.

Without first realizing one's Tathagata nature
Playing the role of Dharma King is but a worthless pursuit
Unenlightened, yet in this place one dwells
How could anyone ever realize True Nature
By scrambling to be the best and most powerful?

I have been cultivating Tantric Buddhism, setting up the Tantric shrine, reciting mantras, achieving yogic response by body, speech and mind, eradicating negative karma, increasing wisdom, and transforming from mortality into immortality. Such merits and spiritual powers are inconceivable.
I have received the very heart teaching that flows from the heart of Maha Vairocana Buddha as he transcends the past, the present and the future, and imparts the inner secret doctrine to Vajrasattva Bodhisattva, among others, at the Most Victorious Dharmadhatu Palace of the Akanistha Heaven.
After receiving the empowerments from many masters and acquiring the secrets of the Dharma, I expounded the Tantric teachings, founded the True Buddha School and established the mandala. Only the Buddhas can measure my achievement.
I know the great merits I have cultivated are literally unheard of in this world. As such, I am True Nature Itself.
The four levels of secret I expound
Are very intricate and deeply profound.
The three karmas of body, speech and mind
Are transformed through the ways of Tantrayana.
How mysterious and esoteric they are.

These two dreams were clear and vividly real. As my consciousness is one and the same as the Buddha Nature itself-complete, undifferentiated in nature and creating no illusion or karma, such dreams are naturally different from those of the ordinary person.
Besides dreaming, my meditation revealed an interesting vision. I found myself walking in the nether world. There was no lamp to help navigate my direction. An inner light radiating from within my heart lit the way. In addition, three golden lamps floated above my head. These are the lights of my lineage transmissions.
Suddenly, a giant Garuda came soaring in the sky above. It dived and snatched away the three golden lamps with its beak. Fierce beasts were roaring around me and sounded extremely horrifying. Blood-curdling screams and cries were heard from many evil ghosts. What a frightening world it was.
I saw a mighty Dharma Protector, riding on a horse and wearing a straw hat. He was none other than Dorje Shugden. I was surprised. These visions came as a flash and disappeared, leaving me puzzled and confused.

Soon after, a certain Sonam Lama visited me from India and secretly told me, "There is trouble, Living Buddha Lian Sheng."
"What trouble?"
"A Khenpo, an abbot by the name of Chod Khang Rinpoche who possesses great Dharma power and holds a high position in cultivation is going to perform a rite to recall your Dharma power."
"Chod Khang Rinpoche?" I thought for a moment and said, "I don't know this person."
"You don't know him. But he knows you." Sonam Lama said.
"Why does he want to recall my Dharma power?" I was perplexed.
"Because you are too famous."
"It's not my wish to be famous."
"Chod Khang Rinpoche feels that you have stepped onto his turf."
"I hold no territory myself."
"When you went to India, you did not pay him a visit!"
"At which monastery was he residing?"
"You visited Drepung Monastery and then Ganden Monastery, but you did not visit Sera Monastery. Chod Khang Rinpoche is outraged. He will surely teach you a good lesson!"
"Is not visiting him a crime?"
"How powerful is this Chod Khang Rinpoche?" I asked.

Sonam Lama said, "Chod Khang Rinpoche became famous at an early age as a sorcerer in the Tibetan regions. He established his fame early on and had defeated many sorcerers. Should he cast his spell, his opponent would either die immediately from vomiting blood, or suffer from a tormenting illness. Others had fallen from their horse rides and suffered great injuries. Still others had fallen off cliffs and died, and so on."
"That's quite powerful!" I exclaimed.
Sonam Lama said, "To my knowledge, Chod Khang Rinpoche has two major Dharma Protectors. One of them is the most famous Dorje Shugden and the other is the Great Golden-Winged Garuda. These two great Dharma Protectors render him unrivalled."
"Dorje Shugden ," I remarked, "Isn't there an order banning this cultivation?"
Sonam Lama replied, "Tibetan Buddhism has split into two factions over this controversy. One faction bans this cultivation while the other allows it. However, the practice of Dorje Shugden enables one to have great Dharma power in a relatively short time. Thus, more and more people are drawn to cultivating Dorje Shugden practice. This crisis is threatening to split up the community of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism."
I was greatly shaken by these words from Sonam Lama, but I felt no fear because I reckoned that "A clear conscience has no room for evil."
Sonam Lama said, "You must take precaution!"
"But how?"
"By summoning one Dharma Protector to fight against another Dharma Protector!" Sonam Lama said.

After giving me this warning, Sonam Lama left in a hurry. I took this warning from Sonam Lama very seriously because it somehow tied in with the two recent dreams I had. However, when faced with such a pressing issue, you can only stay alert and remain still and unmoved in the eye of the storm.
As expected, Dorje Shugden descended from the heaven, and this is how he appeared:
While the four hoofs of his horse step magnificently,
Unperturbed, he supports the heaven with his straw hat.
He roams freely without barriers,
Riding his horse impressively up the highest clouds.
Dorje Shugden hit the top of my head with a Vajra. If I were just an ordinary cultivator, a hit from Dorje Shugden would have crushed my head fatally, sending me to report to the Lord Yama.
However, I do keep up my practice of Dharma protection, thus Yamantaka is always by my side. Naturally, Yamantaka will appear above my head and shield me in all directions. Yamantaka appears in a wrathful form with many heads, arms and legs.
I observed the situation and realized if I had to summon Yamantaka to fight Dorje Shugden, there would be nothing wrong with it. But why let it come to this stage?
I instructed Yamantaka to step back immediately.
I willed my skull to break open into eight petals. A cracking sound was heard and my skull unfolded like a lotus in full bloom. Sitting in meditation on the lotus was Amitabha Buddha himself, manifesting all of his thirty-two major and eighty minor physical marks.

Just as the lotus pond that reflects the moon mirrors only Emptiness
And the bamboo forest seems to sing as the wind blows across it
How many cultivators living on Earth
Have mistakenly thought Amitabha resides on another mountain peak?

When Dorje Shugden realized it was none other than the Amitabha Tathagatha himself in all his compassion and radiance, blossoming like a single lotus in the lotus kingdom, he quickly withdrew his Vajra, held his palms together in respect and left.
Thus, a battle was averted.
At first, I assumed that when Dorje Shugden left, this matter would close. Yet, there was more to it that met the eyes.

Normally, whenever I cultivated and chanted the Invocation Mantra:
"Om Sobawa Suda Sarva Dharma Sobawa Sudo Han."
And added,
"Om Ah Hum Soha"
The deities that I invoked would manifest themselves. Now, they were nowhere to be found. There was not a trace of wind or shadow, nothing. I felt very strange. It seemed that my mantra power had disappeared.

So, I summoned the presence of the most fundamental - the Earth Gods of the four directions:
"Namo san-man-doh, moo-toh-nam, om, doo-loo doo-loo, dei-wei, soha."

I formed a mudra with my hands and stamped my foot on the ground. Usually, the Earth Gods of the four directions would immediately appear. Yet, this time they did not show up. It seemed that my chanting had fell on deaf ears and was not working at all. It was as good as not reciting the mantra at all. I was really worried. My Dharma power had disappeared. Feeling like a punctured leather ball, I could not effectively express my power.

Usually, as I made my offering and recited the Elixir (or Nectar) Mantra:
"Namo Surupaya Tathagataya Tadyatha Om Suru Suru Prasuru Prasuru Svaha."
As I would sprinkle the nectar, spiritual beings would gather to receive the offering. Yet none came. The water was simply water and not the elixir it should have been.

Now this was serious! The Food Transformation Mantra that I had recited was also ineffective. My attempts to summon any deity were futile. Chanting and empowering the Great Compassion Dharani Water did not work. No matter what mantra I chanted, none of them worked. I had indeed lost all my power. Losing all the power of mantra meant that I was no better than an ordinary mortal being. That was scary.I thought about my ability of seeking divination through my fingers, as I wanted to find the cause of this predicament. I extended my hand and prayed to the gods who were passing by to give me some directions. How strange! My fingers did not dance and quiver. Without the spiritual current, I cannot get a divination, as this type of divination requires that the fingers bend automatically. If they don't, then I cannot predict!

I looked up at the sky above. The sky being the sky was all empty. Then it occurred to me that the three golden lamps above my head were nowhere to be seen. These three golden lamps are the symbolic manifestation of my lineage transmission empowerment. How could they have disappeared?Then it occurred to me that while I was facing Dorje Shugden, the Great Golden Winged Garuda secretly stole away the lamps. This occurrence tied in with my dreams. I realized that once the power of lineage transmission was gone, no mantra could ever work.

The book, Doctrinal Essentials of Tantrayana states:
"The Tantric School arises from divine wisdom realized by the Buddha and transmitted directly to the mortals of this Saha or human world. Tantric cultivators receive a surge in spiritual strength and gain inconceivable power. However, Tantrayana emphasizes heavily on the lineage transmission power and anyone who wishes to cultivate must enter into the Great Mandala and receive the empowerment from a Vajra Master. Only then he shall have the power of the lineage transmission. Without this power of lineage transmission, all mantras will be void, rendering all practices as acts of embezzlement."

It also says:
"The lineage transmission power is the single most important fundamental in Tantric practice. It comes from the cosmic universe and awakens the very wisdom that lies within the heart. This is the root wisdom of the Tantric lineage transmission."

In order to regain my Dharma power, I realized I had to get back my three golden lamps. This meant I had to face Chod Khang Rinpoche. I felt that this Chod Khang Rinpoche was really powerful, and my character is such that I do not really want to reveal my Personal Deity to demand the return of my three golden lamps.Fortunately, I am a Tantric lineage holder and I am well aware of secrets beyond all secrets. Even though the three golden lamps had been stolen, I would still be able to light up the three golden lamps again. I can simply manifest immeasurable numbers of these three golden lamps.

The Dharani Sutra of the Great Wheel (Mahachakra) Vajra says:
"Recite this mantra twenty one times and you shall achieve success in all mantra cultivation. All virtuous deeds shall find accomplishment swiftly. This mantra also helps complete the attainment of all mudra practices. In all mandala practices, one enters the great mandala shrine without the need of an actual shrine."

The Sutra of Collection of Dharani states:
"Recite this mantra for twenty one times, and one shall gain entrance into any mandala and attain all accomplishments. Body mudra, among other mudra exercises, may accompany mantra recitation. If a hand mudra is formed while reciting a mantra, it would be easier to obtain results. If one has not entered the shrine of empowerment, one cannot form any hand mudra. However, when one recites this mantra, it is equivalent to entering the Tantric shrine. Forming a mudra for practice would not be viewed as an embezzlement of the Dharma."

The Great Tibetan Essential Tantra states:
"According to the Dharma, all mantras and mudras must be transmitted by the guru. Prior to entering the empowerment shrine, forming any mudra for any practice constitutes as an act of Dharma embezzlement. All of one's practice will yield no results. However, if one recites this mantra twenty one times before the statue of Tathagata, it would be as good as seeing the Buddha himself and entering into all mandalas. All Dharma requested for practice will gain success and attainment."

I immediately reviewed the Great Wheel Vajra Mantra and visualized all my lineage transmission masters above me transforming into the three golden lamps.

I recited the Great Wheel Vajra Mantra:
"Namo Sitriya Tivikanam Tathagatanam Om Viraji Viraji Mahachakra Vajri Sada Sada Sarati Sarati Dariyi Dariyi Vidamani Sambajani Tramati Siddha Griya Deram Svaha"

I recited this mantra twenty one times. I looked up and saw not only three, but many uncountable glittering golden lamps, forming a string of vajra chain. The current was reconnected, and I unleashed the highest force of Dharma power.

The golden lamps above emit a thousand rays.
From the light, lotus upon lotus springs and hovers.
All Dharma power is filled and complete,
Sparkling like pearls, shining as exquisite as jade.

It was said that Chod Khang Rinpoche found that the three golden lamps he stole from me through the Great Golden-Winged Garuda suddenly hovered into the sky and vanished.
Chod Khang Rinpoche invoked Dorje Shugden, but Dorje Shugden ignored him and refused to be summoned.Chod Khang Rinpoche's face turned black; his vital energy weakened. As a result, he fell sick three times and had to struggle with lingering illnesses ever since. He became a wretched old man. Chod Khang Rinpoche told people, "You can challenge any sorcerer except Living Buddha Lian-sheng, Sheng-yen Lu. His Dharma power is simply inconceivable. After losing his three golden lamps, he was able to manifest thousands of golden lamps."
What I really want to say is that I did not cast any spell on Chod Khang Rinpoche. I actually did nothing at all.


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