from the Office of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III:
Currently, in the entire Buddhist circle and in different countries and regions, Buddhists from many different sects are inquiring about an issue that particularly requires immediate clarification by a public announcement. Does a holy virtuous master have to possess a certificate signed by seven masters and ten witnesses? Is there a conclusive statement from H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III on this issue?
Actually, this is not a question of whether there is a conclusive statement. It is a question about a very serious iron-clad principle because it involves the greatly important matter of causation regarding whether Buddhism and Buddha-dharma can be responsible to living beings and whether evil masters and swindlers would have the opportunity of hurting and harming living beings. In today’s society, many people have self-claimed themselves as holy ones and reincarnations of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Such people exist in various places of the whole world. In the end, which ones among them are true and which ones are false?
If a master strictly abide by the precepts, is being responsible to living beings, does not make false claims, is truly devoted to self-cultivation, and always wants to help others without selfishness, he would be most happy about and full of praise for the requirement of being certified by seven masters and ten witnesses. This is because all true great holy virtuous ones and true holy virtuous ones have the qualifications of genuine gold and they are not afraid of being refined by fire in a furnace, not to mention undergoing the process of distinguishing whether a master possesses true or false holy realization.
Let’s for a moment not consider holy virtuous ones. Whenever the levels of a master’s qualifications and performing initiations for disciples are involved, even a master who has a selfless mind would be transparent to his disciples and let them know the truth clearly. A master should not tell his disciples hollow talks about his lineage and what great dharma he possesses but actually leaves them in suspicion and confusion.
Verification and certification is not limited to the master’s qualifications. Even the fact of receiving precepts requires the certification by three masters and seven witnesses. The purpose is to prevent the act of creating an undeserved image to people by claiming false precepts. What is the purpose of having such requirements? That is based on the seriousness of the responsibility of Buddhism and Buddha-dharma to living beings and on the holiness, purity, and flawlessness of Buddha-dharma. Therefore, every Buddhist disciple must clearly know and understand that certification by seven masters and ten witnesses is a stipulation of the dharma that is for being responsible to all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in the ten directions, to dharma protectors, to one’s master, to living beings and to one’s disciples and is most beneficial for disciples to distinguish true holy virtuous ones, great virtuous ones, and kind knowledgeable ones.
If a master stated that certification by seven masters and ten witnesses is not necessary, having made such statement itself already represents a serious problem. Why would one even choose to say that? If this master truly takes up benefiting living beings as his own responsibility, and is not a falsely self-claimed master, shouldn’t he provide a fair presentation of himself to cultivators and to his disciples? Why would he be afraid of being certified by seven masters and ten witnesses?
For example, there are quite a number of rinpoches in the world who claimed themselves either as reincarnation of Amitabha Buddha or as Avalokiteshvara (Kuan Shi Yin) Bodhisattva coming to the world again. They even possess certifications of recognition corresponding to their claims. Well, since you are a reincarnation of Amitabha Buddha or Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, you should have the realization power and abilities corresponding to that of Amitabha Buddha or Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva and should not just use empty speeches to represent Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Then, certification by seven masters and ten witnesses is the proof for testing the level and category and the realization power and abilities of true holy virtuous ones.
As another example, you can hear the claims of possessing the supreme dharma of Great Perfection and manifesting a Rainbow-Body. However, you must know that, if one has not practiced tummo concentration to the realization of reality and has not even raised his body temperature, is it possible to manifest a Rainbow-Body that requires the foundation of tummo concentration? Actually, because of that, many people who practiced the dharma of the Rainbow-Body not only were not able to manifest a Rainbow-Body, they died from illnesses instead.
Simply speaking, for the purpose of benefiting living beings, would a true Buddha or Bodhisattva be afraid of taking a test that is to be certified by seven masters and ten witnesses? Therefore, it should be clear to everyone that the dharma stipulation of being certified by seven masters and ten witnesses is a must and is controlled by the Buddha’s realization power. There is no way that maras and demons can correspond to that, not to mention that it is definitely beyond the reach of any swindler.
Of course, certificate by seven masters and ten witnesses may not be required for great virtuous ones and kind knowledgeable ones, because they do not belong to the highest and inner-tantric masters and because they do not claim to be holy ones. Or, even there are holy ones among them, as long as they do not regard themselves as holy ones, certification by seven masters and ten witnesses is not required. However, in order to let living beings learn Buddha-dharma without having doubt and concern, holy ones should strive for the opportunity of taking the test of obtaining a certificate by seven masters and ten witnesses. Doing so is for benefiting cultivators.
It has been particularly frequent recently that the Office of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III is continuously receiving letters of inquiry from great holy virtuous ones, holy virtuous ones, great virtuous ones, and cultivators. They stated that many swindlers emerged in today’s world. With the status of rinpoches, venerable ones, or dharma kings, they falsely self-claim to be great Bodhisattvas. These people carelessly and erroneously expound and make up discourses of Buddha-dharma, as their way of deceiving cultivators and collecting offerings. This is one of the chaotic phenomena in this dharma-ending age. Evil masters who display the banners of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and use borrowed dharma lineages are everywhere. Buddhas have known this fact long ago. Suppose this requirement of being certified by seven masters and ten witnesses did not exist, how could the situation be under any control? Kind cultivators would all be harmed.
Because of this situation, the Office of H. H. Dorje Chang Buddha III hereby provides, in the next paragraph, a simple and brief statement based on a section of the doctrine of the dharma regarding respecting and worshipping Buddhas, distinguishing the true or false of the dharma, and emphasizing the master’s qualification from The Supreme and Unsurpassable Mahamudra of Liberation, for cultivators’ purpose of making distinction and identification.
Provisions of The Supreme and Unsurpassable Mahamudra of Liberation stipulates that any master who possesses master’s qualifications in one of the three levels of the Highest Level of Holy Realization, the Middle Level of Holy Realization, and the Beginning Level of Holy Realization (these three levels are further sub-divided into six categories) or who is a great holy virtuous one or a holy virtuous one possessing holy realization must have a certificate signed by seven masters and ten witnesses. Before rising to the dharma seat to conduct initiations or giving discourses to his disciples, such master must hang the certificate on the front side of the dharma rostrum (This is a must, regardless of the circumstance and in what form the dharma rostrum is. It is similar to the rule that monastic persons must wear the proper robe and dress up formally when they prostrate to pay respect to the Buddha.). The master must first prostrate to the Buddha to pay respect, chant the mantra of paying respect to the Buddha, and then prostrate to the certificate. Only after that can he rise to the dharma rostrum. Before receiving the master’s dharma transmission or listening to the dharma, disciples must first prostrate to the Buddha to pay respect, next prostrate to the certificate, and then chant personally the text of the certificate once, so as to know whether this certificate hanging at the dharma rostrum was certified by seven masters and ten witnesses, which level this master is at, whether he belongs to one of the levels of the Upper Highest Level Of Holy Realiation Enlightenment, Middle Level of Holy Realization, or the Beginning Level of Holy Realization or is a great holy virtuous one or a holy virtuous one. If a master claims to be a holy one but does not hang the corresponding certificate or uses various excuses as arguments of his not hanging the certificate, it means this self-claimed holy one is a counterfeit and simply does not have a certificate by seven masters and ten witnesses. Therefore, this master is a monster or evil one without a doubt. According to the iron-clad stipulation from The Supreme and Unsurpassable Mahamudra of Liberation’s Holiest Ultimate Tantric Sutra, when any holy virtuous master rises to his dharma rostrum to conduct any business of Buddhism, not hanging the certificate is a vicious deed that humiliates the Buddha and disrespects Buddha-dharma. Disciples who take refuge in and follow him would commit the same level of dark karma. They must immediately leave the master and must not rely upon and learn from him. If a master belongs to great virtuous ones or kind knowledgeable ones, because he does not have a certificate of this kind, he is not required to hang one. This is legitimate. Regardless of which school or sect, all masters must abide by this iron-clad dharma stipulation from The Supreme and Unsurpassable Mahamudra of Liberation. No alteration is permitted.
Actually, this stipulation of the dharma has only one purpose. It is for preventing evil masters and swindlers from deceiving living beings using the banners of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, so that disciples can clearly understand the fact and have the peace of mind in cultivation and learning Buddhism. To summarize in one sentence, we should do this that is good for living beings and beneficial to everyone and we should not do what is not good for living beings and does not benefit everyone.
From the Office of H. H. Dorje Chang Buddha III,
June 18, 2010-Revised July 15, 2011