All Dharma-Listening Centers,
In April, 2010, the International Buddhism Sangha Association (IBSA) distributed a “Buddha Hall Layout Diagram for Dharma-Listening Centers.” Because the description given by IBSA’s department that published the document was overly rough, misunderstanding was caused in some dharma-listening centers. The arrangement of hanging the Dorje Chang Buddha Lineage Refuge Tree, the portrait of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III, the Brief Buddhist Lineage Refuge Tree, and the photo of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III accepting the World Peace Prize on a same level is okay for paying just respect and general worshipping. Such arrangement is like keeping up with the tradition. However, it is wrong to regard that as the layout of a mandala where one formally makes offerings.
Today, we requested instructions from the Office of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III (the Office) regarding this “Buddha Hall Layout Diagram for Dharma-Listening Centers.” The Office seriously reprimanded the chairperson of IBSA. The chairperson of IBSA then investigated this matter with the people who had handled the matters related to this diagram at the time. It turned out that the people handling this matter at the time mistakenly thought the diagram was for a worshiping-type hanging arrangement of a traditional nature in dharma-listening centers and Buddha halls. Therefore, the mistake was caused due to the lack of a clear explanation.
The Office of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III seriously and correctly pointed out that the arrangement in this layout diagram for making offerings and worshiping is not in conformance with the teaching of the dharma. A correct layout diagram of a mandala should follow the Office’s fourth public announcement or the method of laying out a mandala described in The Supreme and Unsurpassable Mahamudra of Liberation.
Therefore, we hereby ask everyone to pay attention. For the purpose of displaying and paying respect to, a layout in a Buddha hall according to this diagram can be kept. However, in a mandala for formally making offerings, such a layout is not in conformance with the teaching of the dharma. Please correct that immediately. The correct way is: hanging just one of the visages for making offering to and worshiping. If you would like to worship all four visages of the Dorje Chang Buddha Lineage Refuge Tree, the portrait of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III, the photo of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III accepting the World Peace Prize, and the Brief Buddhist Lineage Refuge Tree, top spaces on the four walls in different directions should be used for making offerings and worshiping. Independent offerings should be set up. It would be better to use multiple and different rooms with separate offerings. Actually just hanging one to worship is sufficient.
In addition, there is something that you all should particularly be aware of. The Office of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III pointed out to IBSA that some people put the visage of Sakyamuni Buddha below the Dorje Chang Buddha Lineage Refuge Tree. That is a serious conduct of impure karma. Although Dorje Chang Buddha is the ancestral primordial Buddha to Sakyamuni Buddha, Amitabha Buddha and other Buddhas, Sakyamuni Buddha is nonetheless the supreme leader of Buddhism in this earthly world. Therefore, to make offering to Sakyamuni Buddha, the visage must be at the center location without the Dorje Chang Buddha Lineage Refuge Tree. If the Dorje Chang Buddha Lineage Refuge Tree must be worshiped due to the requirement of the dharma, Sakyamuni Buddha should be worshiped on the wall of another side or in another room. One must not put visage(s) of Sakyamuni Buddha, Amitabha Buddha, Kuan Yin Bodhisattva, Manjushri Bodhisattva, and Samantabhadra Bodhisattva under the Dorje Chang Buddha Lineage Refuge Tree. This is because they are all ancient Buddhas and should be treated equally. Moreover, please also note that only Samantabhadra Buddha (a.k.a., Dorje Chang Buddha I) can be worshipped above the head of other Buddhas.
Cultivators who learn and practice The Supreme and Unsurpassable Mahamudra of Liberation must rigorously lay out the mandala according to the dharma of The Supreme and Unsurpassable Mahamudra of Liberation. Otherwise, there will not be any beneficial effect.
May this announcement be known to all!
International Buddhism Sangha Association
February 15, 2012