The Office of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III
Distinguishing True or False with the Certificate Issued by Seven Masters and Ten Witnesses
Recently, the United International Buddhism Association Headquarters issued a number of certificates of holiness and virtue. After seeing that, some rinpoches and dharma masters raised some questions on what they did not understand, although they already knew that the Office of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III had already expressed its view in the 13th Public Announcement. Noteworthy ones include:
- Since they clearly read that the certificates should be signed by seven masters and ten witnesses, why some people hold the certificates signed by three masters and seven witnesses?
- Some people mentioned that the symbols of star wheels that indicate the rank of the certificate holder can be created by anyone who knows computer technology.
- Some other people raised the question of whether a so-and-so rinpoche’s declaration of being able to forecast with divination before the fact is true or not.
- Related to that, how many ways of practicing the dharma of forecasting with divination are there?
- Does a master who possesses master’s qualification at the highest level of holy realization represent a specific great Bodhisattva known to us?
In response to such questions, the Office of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III hereby elaborates further in the following:
First, we agree completely with this method used by the United International Buddhism Association Headquarters. First, it can prevent false masters, swindlers and evil masters from making untrue claims. Secondly, it truly benefits living beings. Thirdly, it is in accordance with the dharma taught by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. Still, just as H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III stated while expounding the dharma, “Certificates of master’s qualification is not important. What is truly important is studying the three great mind essences of the Supreme and Unsurpassable Mahamudra of Liberation and carrying them out in one’s thinking, speech and actions.”
However, a certificate of holiness and virtue issued by seven masters and ten witnesses does serve as a threshold measuring whether a cultivator is a holy one or an ordinary person and can reveal one’s level or grade of holy realization. One who has a certificate of holiness and virtue issued by seven masters and ten witnesses is absolutely a holy person. Conversely, anyone who self-claims to be a holy one but does not have a certificate of holiness and virtue issued by seven masters and ten witnesses or who possesses some other kind of certificate and claims it as the evidence of a holy master is without a doubt a swindler or demonic evil one. Of course, there can be other types of situations. There are great virtuous ones, eminent monks and kind and knowledgeable ones among true cultivators who do not make the claims of being holy ones. People should learn from them too. (Note: there are actually two kinds of certificates of holiness and virtue issued by seven masters and ten witnesses, the certificate of holiness and virtue and the certificate of holiness and virtue with master’s qualifications. A certificate of holiness and virtue only has Sumeru star wheel(s). On the other hand, a certificate of holiness and virtue with master’s qualifications has Sumeru star wheel(s) as well as Sun-Moon star wheel(s) or only Sun-Moon star wheel(s).)
Therefore, this exam of seven masters and ten witnesses held by the United International Buddhism Headquarters is a deed of truly being responsible toward the Buddha, to Buddhism, and to living beings. The purpose is to set a standard of distinguishing true and false for cultivators and to identify, select and recommend true holy and virtuous ones and good masters who benefit living beings.
In contrast, false holy or virtuous ones are not able to manifest true realization and abilities. They cannot pass the exam given by the United International Buddhism Headquarters. Because of that, they dare not take such an exam held in public. All they could do is making up lies privately. Or they may just use some video clips and photos to deceive people for as long as they can. However, regardless of what rhetoric or evidence this person makes up, a false holy one will never be able to have a certificate of holiness and virtue to show his/her disciples. The fact is just unalterable. To cover up, such evil masters can only make up some lies to deceive people, in order to delude their disciples and make them believe.
Unfortunately, some disciples do believe when their master does not display a certificate of holiness and virtue but tries to use some other so-called proof to substitute. They are just too silly and ignorant and could not be saved by any means! They should just think: Why didn’t my master dare to face the exam for determining holiness and virtue? Why does the master claim himself as a so-and-so holy and virtuous one even though he does not have a certificate of holiness and virtue? To tell you the simple truth, without a certificate of holiness and virtue, even if one has been recognized as the reincarnation of Guru Padmasambhava by the dharma kings of all four major sects, that person is still an ordinary being, a false holy and virtuous one, a fake Guru Padmasambhava!
Dharma King Gar Tongstan, Chairman of the United International Buddhism Headquarters, said, “I am already a person of old age. Death as a form of impermanence can be right in front of me. As a cultivator, I cannot afford to be wrong with the law of cause and effect. I dare not make even a tiny bit of mistake. I can only wholeheartedly practice the true Buddha-dharma for living beings. This is the vow that I must carry out to enlighten myself as well as others.”
For the next question, some people think that this certificate of holiness and virtue appears to be just several figures composed of ink stamps and color blocks. Such figures can be created easily. Then, why is it important? This kind of understanding is really an ignorance of enormous proportion. This is because the importance is not in the number of figures or whether these figures are beautiful or not. The key is the essence embodied in the meaning of these figures, which can only be obtained by true manifestation of holy realization and accomplishment. Just looking at these signs, several star wheels truly do not seem to be very important. However, the essence is using the star wheels as a proof that the certificate holder has passed the exam proctored by seventeen monastics and holy virtuous ones. They really witnessed the state of the certificate holder’s transcendental holy realization and being in the rank of holy beings. Therefore, the opposite is true. The star wheel itself is a very important sign and is a precious treasure. Of course, it is not just a figure comprised of ink stamps and color blocks.
Also, there is an even more important fact. Every certificate of holiness must be independently signed with a vow by each of the seven masters and ten witnesses totaling seventeen monastics. Among the seventeen proctors, there must be at least three of them being holy and virtuous ones. These seventeen people as well as the spectators from the public at the scene must personally experience and proctor what the exam taker does and personally see and recognize the manifestation of the power of the exam taker’s true realization. That is certainly not a trivial matter. The exam taker must demonstrate true abilities for others to recognize. Moreover, these holy virtuous ones and monastics will practice their own dharmas on the spot to test the exam taker. For instance, they may chant the Diamond Sutra, the Great Compassion Mantra, the Shurangama Mantra, the Lotus Sutra, Mahakala, the Mantra of Yamantaka Vajra, the Mantra of Kalachakra Vajra, the Mantra of Single Hair Mother Vajra, the Mantra of Rehula Vajra, and others. If this exam taker is a practitioner of heretic ways, he is bound to be paralyzed by the true Buddha-dharma and would not be able to do anything. If the exam taker is a practitioner of the true Buddha-dharma but does not have sufficient power of realization, he would not pass the exam. Then, no proctor would dare to guarantee for that person by making the vow and signing the certificate with the consequence of descending into the hell realm.
Furthermore, the certificate requires all seventeen proctors to sign and make vow. Not even one absence is permitted. You can all imagine that there is no way to fabricate anything false in the process. Therefore, passing is passing and not passing is not passing. Passing the level of one star wheel cannot be stated as passing the level of two star wheels. Passing the level of two star wheels cannot be stated as passing the level of three star wheels. A certificate of holiness and virtue with Sumeru star wheels cannot be called as a certificate of holiness and virtue with master’s qualifications that must have Sun-Moon star wheels. Speaking in a very simple sentence, this fact is just like one is one and two is two, without any false ingredient or purposely lowering of the standards! If any statement on the certificate is untrue, no one would dare to make a vow that bears a severe consequence and sign it! No matter what patriarch, venerable one, dharma king, rinpoche, or dharma master that great virtuous one may be, and no matter whose reincarnation he is, he just has to use his power of realization to take the exam in public. Only after the seven masters and ten witnesses have made their vows and signed the certificate, is the evidence produced. That will tell whether the exam taker is a holy one or an ordinary person, which level his power of realization is at in terms of the type and number of star wheels, and whether he is a holy and virtuous one or a holy and virtuous one with master’s qualifications. No one would be able to make any false claim in the process. Therefore, such a certificate of holiness and virtue is the most solid certificate in the Buddhist world without any untrue additive. It can truthfully prove that the holder was issued the certificate by manifesting his holy realization that clearly transcends the abilities ordinary people.
Please also note that this certificate of holiness and virtue has to be jointly signed by seven masters and ten witnesses, totaling seventeen monastics altogether. It cannot be signed and issued by any single holy and virtuous one alone. Even H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III made the following statement on this matter:
“I do not have the power of signing and issuing any certificate of holiness and virtue. Nor do I have the power of vetoing the issuance of any certificate of holiness and virtue. A certificate of holiness and virtue is a demonstration of the power of true realization. It represents the manifestation of the dharma on the spot in terms of the state of divination and the state of realization by wisdom and can reveal the level of an Arhat, the stage of a Bodhisattva, or the enlightenment measurement of a Buddha of the certificate holder. To receive such a certificate, one must take the exam proctored by seven masters and ten witnesses and be confirmed by all people present. A definitive and exact conclusion can only come from passing the exam in front of the dharma masters, rinpoches and the public. I am a humble one. Therefore, I do not possess the qualification (of issuing the certificate).”
Therefore, regardless of what level the certificate of holiness and virtue is for, it has to be signed by all seventeen monastics and holy virtuous ones who proctored the exam on the spot and then be issued to the holy and virtuous one who passed the exam. Only after accomplishing this step and having gathered the complete, iron-clad evidences, will H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III agree with the certification. That is why H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III said that He did not have the power of signing or not sighing.
We also learned that the certificates of holiness and virtue people saw now were signed by a total of ten cultivators including three masters and seven witnesses. Such certification of a holy and virtuous one is based on one or two investigations among video recording, infrared heat-sensing imaging instrument and the result from high-tech measurement of MRI. That is why this type of certificates carries the statement of, “This certificate is issued based on preliminary test and verification. Three masters and seven witnesses served as the proctors. The eventual certification requires an exam by seven masters and ten witnesses.” That is to say, this certificate of holiness and virtue as it is now cannot substitute for a certificate of seven masters and ten witnesses based on an on-the-spot exam. To receive the final and definite certificate of holiness and virtue, regardless who that person is, one must pass the exam held by seven masters and ten witnesses. Only the holder of a certificate of holiness and virtue issued by seven masters and ten witnesses is truly a genuine holy and virtuous one with a one-hundred-percent certainty without any discount. Then, you can look at the certificate of holiness and virtue to see what type of and how many star wheels it has for more detailed information.
It was stated clearly in the Supreme and Unsurpassable Mahamudra of Liberation that the six categories of master’s qualifications, including the categories of master’s qualifications at the highest level of holy realization, cannot represent the true identity of a known Bodhisattva. These six categories are just definitions on the scopes of holiness and virtue. To find out clearly and definitively a holy and virtuous one is the reincarnation of which Bodhisattva, the test by forecasting with divination is the one and only way that can get the firm and exact answer.
There are three different kinds of rituals of practicing the dharma of forecasting with divination to recognize and identify a true incarnation. To forecast the incarnation of a Bodhisattva at the level of universal enlightenment or wonderful enlightenment, the ceremony of practicing the dharma must be held at the main hall (worshipping Sakyamuni Buddha) in an orthodox Buddhist temple. First, the monastics of the temple will conduct a solemn dharma assembly. They will all recite sutras and chant mantras, such as the Diamond Sutra, the Great Compassion Mantra, the Shurangama Mantra, the Lotus Sutra, Mahakala, the Mantra of Yamantaka Vajra, the Mantra of Kalachakra Vajra, the Mantra of Single Hair Mother Vajra, the Mantra of Rehula Vajra, and others. The holy master in charge of the dharma practice will designate dharma protectors to guard the site. The seven masters and ten witnesses as well as other holy and virtuous ones will proctor the exam together. The main character of the event (the exam taker) who declared himself as a so-and-so Bodhisattva will announce his own forecast to give the name and title of this Bodhisattva in front of the seven masters and ten witnesses as well as all onlookers. Then, he and all others present will take part in the exam. Half of the people will act first to possibly invalidate his forecast. Then, this main character will manifest his power of holy realization of a Bodhisattva at the level of universal enlightenment or wonderful enlightenment to let everyone see clearly that the outcome he gets is in complete agreement with the Bodhisattva’s identity he forecasted. Moreover, this test has to be repeated on the spot for a total of three times without a miss.
To give a simple analogy for the above process, let’s say that there are twenty individually numbered paper balls with completely the same appearance and size. They are all put into a golden vase and cannot be seen by human eyes. The exam taker will first predict the number on the paper ball he would pick and then actually take the predicted number from the vase. He has to do the drawing three times without a mistake. Another way of testing the ability of forecasting and proving is to let the exam taker predict how many nectar pills he will get in one grab (of the order of several hundred or thousand). Then he will reach out to grab. The number of nectar pills held in his hand has to be exactly the predicted number. Only by such demonstration, can the exam taker be firmly established as the true incarnation of a so-and-so Bodhisattva at the level of universal enlightenment or wonderful enlightenment. As a result, a certificate of master’s qualifications at the highest level of holy realization will be issued, which has four Sun-Moon star wheels indicating “Holy Buddha Arriving in Person” and the specific name of the Bodhisattva who is at the level of universal enlightenment or wonderful enlightenment. However, it should be pointed out that, during the current dharma-ending era, such occurrence is basically impossible to happen in this world. Even if it happens, the Bodhisattva will not be among or in normal contact with the general mass. This fact is dictated by the karmic conditions in this dharma-ending era. Other abilities of letting water penetrating through the wall of a dharma bowl made of gold, silver or brass only belong to the state of realization of holy and virtuous ones possessing master’s qualifications at the middle level of holy realization and cannot represent the incarnation of Bodhisattva at the level of universal enlightenment or wonderful enlightenment. If a holy and virtuous one can create a mandala at the other side of a separating stone or invite Buddhas to bestow nectars in public, he definitely possess master’s qualifications at the highest level of holy realization.
Another kind of situation is recognizing the incarnation of a Bodhisattva at a certain stage (bhumi). The ritual does not stipulate the exam taker to make a forecast by divinity. Instead, the forecast of divinity is made by the master responsible for the recognition. After that, the exam taker has to draw the correct one from a number of mixed pieces that is in complete agreement with the forecast made by the master responsible for the recognition. Then, the master responsible for the recognition has to do the drawing twice. The same piece as the one picked by the exam taker has to be drawn each time. The results from the total of three drawings have to agree with the forecast given by the master responsible for the recognition without any discrepancy. Only that can accurately establish the exam taker’s identify of a so-and-so Bodhisattva as recognized by the master responsible for the recognition. However, to receive a certificate of master’s qualifications, one must pass a test proctored by seven masters and ten witnesses to meet the standards of master’s qualifications at the middle or beginning level of holy realization. Then a certificate of master’s qualifications indicating the corresponding holy realization will be issued.
In the other type of circumstance of establishing the true identity of a venerable Arhat, the person to be recognized does not have to make a forecast. The process requires a forecast of divinity from a master who possesses master’s qualifications at the highest level of holy realization. Then a separate master in charge of the recognition will conduct the dharma to verify the forecast three times, each without a discrepancy. Such an outcome will accurately establish the identity of incarnation. However, to receive a certificate of master’s qualifications, passing the exam given by seven masters and ten witnesses is again required. This is because the seven masters and ten witnesses fulfill the responsibility of causality by making their vows and providing their signatures. As a special note, please understand that this process is not a mundane ceremony of drawing lots from a golden vase. It is not a random drawing with the number of lots equal to the number of candidates. The outcome must be first made in public as a forecast by divinity. Holy realization is manifested immediately after to prove the forecasted identity.
Great virtuous ones, kind and knowledgeable ones, and holy and virtuous ones please understand. We are Buddhists and have to bear our responsibility toward all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, toward living beings, and toward Buddhism. Therefore, our Office must speak from the truth.
The chairman of the United International Buddhism Headquarters stated that great virtuous ones and kind knowledgeable ones who truly possess holy realization can go to Hua Zang Si in San Francisco, USA to test their individual holy realization. All are welcome regardless of which sects you are associated with, as long as you are a Buddhist. Hua Zang Si can hold exams for holy and virtuous ones as well as the exams for the six categories of master’s qualifications that are classified into three levels. Of course, there is no need for those who already passed the exam of seven masters and ten witnesses to take the exam again. Certificates of holiness and virtue will be issued to them according to the specific levels based on the standards they met.
All kind believers and Buddhist disciples please pay special attention to a possible scenario. If your master uses his status of dharma king, venerable one, great Rinpoche or great dharma master to declare himself as a holy one or happily and proudly acquiesces in other people’s addressing him as a holy one, it is utmost important that you request to prostrate to and read his certificate of holiness and virtue. If not, you would sow the karmic sin of despising the dharma. The resulting effects of worshipping an ordinary being as a holy one, assisting evil ones, and promoting false holy ones can lead to the consequence of descending into the three lower realms. Once that becomes the fact, you will not have any chance of receiving an initiation of state practice in this lifetime or even forever. Consequently, the possibility of attaining accomplishment right away will be non-existent. Therefore, you must request to prostrate to and read your master’s certificate of holiness and virtue.
If your master declares himself as a holy one but does not hang a certificate of holiness and virtue and can only make up various excuses to explain to you, that fact just tells that this master is greatly questionable and dares not take the exam in front of seven masters and ten witnesses. Under such circumstance, you should respectfully beseech and request him to register and take the exam to get a certificate of holiness and virtue, for the sake of removing any doubt in people’s mind and benefiting living beings. If this master still declines to do that using all kinds of excuses but continues to sit high on the dharma rostrum as a holy and virtuous one and accepts worshipping and offerings as usual, he is absolutely a figure in the category of swindlers. Even with the lineage of true Buddha-dharma, this master himself can still only be an evil master without any other possibility. Cultivators must leave him immediately and start to find a good master elsewhere. Otherwise, disciples who remain with him will suffer the same karmic retribution as the evil master.
Among the masters who take the title of venerable one, dharma king or great dharma master including those who were once approved by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III, if one does not take the exam for the certificate of holiness and virtue, the only conclusion is that this master has already gone away from the track toward enlightenment in his cultivation and practice and has entered into a deviated path. It may even be possible that he has committed violations related to evil views. That is why H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III said that all conclusions have to be drawn from seeing a certificate of holiness and virtue with the vows and signatures from seven masters and ten witnesses.
However, you all should also note the following situation. If your master does not fall into the 128 evil views and erroneous views and benefits living beings with a bodhicitta of great compassion, if he exhibits the virtues of always regarding himself as a humble one both in public and in private, strictly abiding by the precepts, upholding the principles of great compassion and bodhicitta, benefiting living beings, never boasting himself to be a holy and virtuous one, not calling himself as a Bodhisattva and so on, he belongs to the rank of great virtuous ones and is a kind and knowledgeable master. Then, he does not need to take the exam for a certificate of holiness and virtue.
A certificate of holiness and virtue is the identity held by a person in the rank of holy ones and is the ironclad evidence of his holiness and virtue. It is also the document of distinguishing and recognizing holiness and virtue with absolute certainty established for the ranks of venerable ones, dharma kings and great rinpoches. It is definitely not a concept of an individual falsely self-claiming to be a holy and virtuous one. Nor is it a concept of recognizing an individual by a leader of a certain sect or a great rinpoche. The certificate reflects the causality bore by seventeen people using their virtues accumulated since the beginning-less time to bet their future to be either descending into the hell realm or attaining holy accomplishment. These seventeen people made their vows of heavy consequences in front of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to guarantee the person being certified as a true holy and virtuous one by accepting the karmic consequence determined by the law of cause and effect. Therefore, to distinguish whether someone is a holy one or an ordinary being and to find out what level or grade he is at, there is only one criterion: examining his certificate of holiness and virtue! To determine whether a master is an evil one or represents the true Buddha-dharma, there is only one way: using the 128 evil views and erroneous views!
From the Office of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III,
September 3, 2012