Why Is “Seven Masters and Ten Witnesses” Required?
In the explanations given here today, we first ask you all for forgiveness. What we say may not be nice to hear. However, the purpose is for the wellbeing of you all.
A few days ago, our Association (the IBSA) issued explanations about the question of “Seven Masters and Ten Witnesses.” However, some Buddhists still do not understand. Some even said that there has never been the stipulation of requiring how many masters and how many witnesses in Buddhism and that this was just nonsense made up by the IBSA. Some called this unnecessary chores.
Those who said so are ignorant, or did not think before speaking. The teaching of Buddhism includes the Tripitaka and the twelve divisions of canons. Most likely, you have not read half of that, right? Moreover, there are ten divisions of esoteric scriptures. How much of that did you read? In addition, there are Buddha-dharmas of the Division of the Water-World, the Terma Division, the Division of Mind Transmission, the Division of Verbal Transmission, and the Division of Transmission from Hearing. How much of that did you ever see? The study of Buddhism and Buddha-dharma are as limitless as a vast and bottomless ocean. Even Bodhisattva Nagarjuna once made the mistake of drawing arrogant conclusions without really seeing the facts, not to mentioned beginners such as you. Could it be possible that our Buddhist disciples today possess more broad and profound knowledge than Bodhisattva Nagarjuna? There are too many kinds of knowledge that you do not know and do not understand! If the act of denial without seeing the facts is not ignorant, can it be called cleverness and intelligence instead? According to the doctrine of Buddhism, even the three platform full ordination ceremony for transmission of the three groups of Mahayana precepts requires the presence of three masters and seven witnesses. How could the test of accomplishment with holy realization power possibly be exempted?
Recalling your experience of learning Buddhism, you will suddenly realize a fact. In this lifetime of yours, perhaps you heard about many eminent monks. They all seem to have high and profound Buddha-dharma with great realization power. Some claim to possess tummo concentration; some talk about having entered very profound meditative concentration; some declare having opened the crown from dharma practice; and some state the ability of opening the mind nature for you. However, if you think back carefully, all these were from one’s own declaration or the words of others who helped to spread the message. Did you see anything real? You have heard about crown opening. However, did you see with your own eyes anyone who had his crown really opened? You may have heard about letting out the spiritual consciousness after a total transformation of one’s physical body. In reality, have you ever seen a person who truly has such ability? You only have heard about baseless stories but never saw true manifestations, right?
The fact is that you simply have never met any people who hold true Buddha-dharma. All you encountered were just theorists in the study of Buddhism or experts with incomplete knowledge and evil views or at most a kind and knowledgeable one. However, being kind and knowledgeable is not equivalent to having attained accomplishment and the mastery of true Buddha-dharma. If there is not a genuine holy virtuous one in the circumstance, what is the use of holding such an exam? Similar analogies exist in worldly affairs. Before finding authentic material, of course there is no need to worry about how to make use of it. Can you find a genuine great holy virtuous Buddhist who commands true Buddha-dharma to come forward to take the exam of seven masters and ten witnesses? You will not find one. Even if you found one, very likely that person dares not come due to the fear of not passing the exam. Because of that, the exam of seven masters and ten witnesses will be useless. That is why it may be unheard of to you.
Let’s not refer to the stipulation of Buddha-dharma for a moment and just think in terms of worldly common sense. How could you be so dump and stupid? You even got the idea of that which did not undergo the verification by seven masters and ten witnesses is better and that which was insured by seven masters and ten witnesses is not good? It sounds like that the food that passed FDA’s inspection is bad and harmful and inferior food items that did not go through any inspection are the best. Is your mind in such a disorder?
In this dharma-ending era, the Buddhist world is in a total chaos making it extremely hard to distinguish holy versus mundane and true versus false. Mahayana Buddhists disapprove Hinayana. Hinayana cultivators resist Mahayana. Esoteric practitioners look down upon Exoteric Buddhism. Exoteric followers oppose Tantrayana. The Pure Land Sect denounces the Discipline School. Hinayana states that it is the true original Buddhism. Mahayana declares that only it carries out the bodhichitta of benefiting living beings. Tantrayana claims to have the power of attaining Buddha-hood in the current lifetime. The Zen Sect talks about attaining enlightenment to become a Buddha. Even within Buddhism, the situation is already confusing enough. Adding the erroneous copying and rewriting by people in the society, scholars, researchers of Buddhism, and heretics, it is totally a pond of muddy water! Each one of them can throw out theories from Buddhism studies at will. Their speeches pose like thick dark clouds covering the entire sky and can bend Buddhists from standing upright.
To tell the truth, readers and audience did not understand a fact. Theories are made of just words and sentences and are not real and substantial. As long as a person has studied sutras and has made a serious effort to remember some terminologies, very likely he will be able to give impressive speeches and pull a collection of theories together to appear like an note-worthy figure on the subject. Regardless of who that person is, reading sutras more will lead to proficiency in the theory. However, the subject about Buddha-dharma is about attaining liberation and is a serious matter of life and death. It is not explaining books. Just talking about useless sophistry from one’s misunderstanding of the Tripitaka not only has no effect on ending the cycle of birth and death but also is truly an act of denouncing sutras and Buddha-dharma!
The goal of a cultivator is liberation and accomplishment. Only after having realized and manifested true realization power and holy abilities, the theory one relied upon can be discoursed as a genuine theory. To distinguish true and false, without the test and verification by practice, you can never tell whether it is a diamond or a piece of glass.
Any theory taken from sutras that does not lead to real beneficial effects and accomplishment is just a theory of evil views. This is because the person giving discourses on the theory did not truly understand the sutras. However, this kind of person is too numerous to count in the world. They possess the status of eminent monks and great virtuous ones and have solid knowledge in theories. Having written books and created their own dogmas, they appear bright and impressive. However, there is one thing that they lack. The lifelong work on theories did not let them acquire any true realization power. This is because their theory is based on evil views and because they did not understand the true essence of the sutras taught by Sakyamuni Buddha. Without talking about the manifestation of miraculous transformation and having one’s mind enlightened and seeing one’s own nature, even his own crown is tightly closely as if being covered by an iron cap. (hard to follow. Are we still talking about the same group of people? If so, it needs to be following the plural form.) There is not even a tiny gap to be found, Forget about having an opening of two-finger width. Even a width of a one-millimeter is non-existent. How could anyone talk about seeking liberation from such a state of stinky body? All these people are transmigrating between the stages of birth, aging, illness and death just like all other ordinary beings. All they can do is use hollow theories to scam offerings for the current lifetime. Without true understanding from reading sutras, they hold onto partial and erroneous views and talk only false Buddhist theories with the effect of defaming the Buddha and Buddha-dharma. For instance, these people often “give discourses” about the great Diamond Sutra, Heart Sutra, and Surangama Sutra expounded by the Buddha. Their discourses spread evil views that contain negligible knowledge and understanding. Their so-called discoursing on the nature of emptiness and teaching prajna either fall into the view of nihilism or belong to worldly views. They adamantly oppose the law of cause and effect and even use such fallacy to resist the utilization of wonderful existence and deny Sakyamuni Buddha’s realization power of reality as recorded in sutras. What they did is just demonic acts in disguise. Unfortunately, Buddhist disciples mistakenly regard that as dharma expounded by eminent monks and commentaries made by great virtuous ones. They are really sinful without a limit!
Buddhist disciples please do not forget. The dharmas of prajna and the nature of emptiness, supernatural power and wonderful existence, and bodhicitta and cultivation expounded by Sakyamuni Buddha comprised a complete system of perfect teaching. None of them can be dispensable. Cultivators must rely upon and abide by all of them as one entity. Only evil masters and demonic beings use the nature of emptiness to oppose wonderful existence and take a view of nihilism to deny views of the world. Only ignorant people and stupid people do not seek the understanding and instead choose to listen to and believe in preferentially.
To verify and prove real facts, exams by seven masters and ten witnesses are very important. This is because this world has many people who have very little knowledge and understanding or can only talk about hollow theories, who possess evil views without any true realization, and who are just swindlers or bad ones. Even worse, there are laypersons who cut their hair and claim to be dharma masters, self-claimed rinpoches who never cultivated as Buddhists, self-conferred dharma kings without the recognition of three masters and seven witnesses, and precept-violating bhiksus and bhiksunis posing as eminent monks and great virtuous ones. Summarized in one sentence, they are all put up elegant decoration on the surface but have only shabby and broken inner contents. Such mundane beings disguise themselves as holy ones and wander around to play fraudulent deceptions on people! These swindlers all have a common characteristic of borrowing words from sutras to talk their own nonsense and sticking with hollow theories without any true realization. Unfortunately, kind believers of men and women in today’s world do not have the correct knowledge about Buddhism. They do not understand the relationship of mutual utilization between theory and practice and do not know that cultivation must eventually lead to true accomplishment and holy realization in order to attain liberation from the transmigration between birth and death. That is why they are always blindsided by evil masters and demonic masters. Most likely, they would end up wasting their lifelong cultivation and descending into lower realms to suffer again.
You all should remember that, without holy realization, there is no foundation for attaining liberation. Anyone who speaks perfect theories but does not have holy realization is a mundane person. The distinction of holy ones is that they have already attained liberation and holy realization from the theory. However, such holy realization is not established by talks. Eminent monks and great virtuous ones are not made by putting up a smiley face or making good gestures on the dharma rostrum or organizing a bunch of people who give flattering remarks. True holy ones must be recognized by manifesting accomplishment and holy realization. This is done by the exam with the proctoring of seventeen dharma masters and rinpoches face to face where true realization power must be exhibited for proof and verification. Only with the vows from the seventeen proctors as certification and guarantee, can one be proven as a person possessing true realization power. This is because no one serving as a proctor would be willing to make a severe vow with the consequence of descending to the hell realm to guarantee a swindler or a false holy person.
Ordinary people posing as eminent monks are just holy ones faked by swindlers. These people always distort the correct truth in the Buddha’s sutras into theories of evil views. Exactly because they do not understand the genuine principles conveyed in sutras and can only come up with erroneous interpretations, they do not have the realization of a holy one. Of course, they will not pass the exam proctored by seventeen people. As long as the exam of seven masters and ten witnesses is required, anyone who erroneously interprets sutras will not acquire true realization power and cannot pose as a holy one. This requirement can prevent swindlers from becoming eminent minks. Therefore, we can say that the exam of seven masters and ten witnesses is a vajra stick for protecting the interests and good roots of living beings.
You can all ask yourself a heart-felt question. Do you want to listen to theory only and refuse to enter the realm of true holy realization? Please do not forget. The sutras of our supreme leader, Sakyamuni Buddha, recorded everywhere explicitly and clearly manifestations of holy realization. On the other hand, evil masters and fake holy ones in today’s world can only baselessly talk about theories and do not have any true realization. Therefore, they can only madly oppose the holy abilities and state of realization of Sakyamuni Buddha stated in sutras. Otherwise how could they cover themselves up? Privately, they behave totally in ordinary people’s manner and conduct the deeds of swindlers. When speaking of Buddha-dharma, they bring up the terminologies of unconditional dharma, the nature of emptiness, the emptiness of the four great elements, the non-appearance of dharmakaya, appearance and supernatural power being non-real and illusionary, and so on. They use the verbiages from Buddha-dharma to deceive people. Beside hollow theories, what they can come up with is still theories that are hollow. On the other hand, the state of realization of Buddha-dharma and holy abilities from accomplishment are what they absolutely have to avoid. Otherwise, their disciples will see clearly what they are.
Buddhist disciples, think about the sixteen venerable upper-class disciples of Sakyamuni Buddha. Which one of them did not understand the nature of emptiness and true such-ness? Which one of them did not have holy abilities? Now you can take a look at the so-called eminent monks of the current time. What do they have other than giving empty talks? Do they possess the dharma of tummo? Have they opened their crowns? Do they master meditative concentration? Did they enlighten the mind and see the original nature?
We would like to remind you all to ask yourself these questions. Do you believe only hollow theories or believe the existence of true realization power? Can you become liberated without true realization power? Can one be an eminent monk or a great virtuous one without true realization power?
The life of being a human is precious. Every day, we are getting closer to death. The outcome from making a wrong step can be entering one of the three lower realms. Also, making a step in the right direction can lead us to become a liberated holy one. Do not waste time. You should strive for real results now. Without waking up in the mind, a whole lifetime will be finished!
The International Buddhism Sangha Association
October 30, 2011