Currently, some people who have the status of a master, including some who have the title of a venerable one or dharma king, rinpoches, and dharma masters, raised an issue that the Office of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III (the Office) must resolve. This is about:
The Office of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III announced publicly long ago that, with the exception of great holy and virtuous ones and extremely great holy and virtuous ones at the level of three Sun-Moon Wheels or higher, regardless of what status or class a master has or is at, he or she can only lead Buddhist disciples to respectfully listen to the recorded dharma lessons expounded by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III or hold ceremony of taking refuge and transmit dharma for Buddhist disciples. However, they absolutely do not have the qualification of giving discourses to Buddhist disciples.
Actually, this did not state that the commentaries, reasoning, and discourses of such masters are all wrong. It means that, among these, there are correct as well as many erroneous discourses. Even if the percentage of correct ones is as high as eighty, there would still be errors of twenty percent. When Buddhist disciples hold onto this twenty percent in their cultivation and practice, the direction will be completely deviated. Taking driving along a mountain road for example, an entire journey of 100 kilometers must be completely on the correct path. If you accidentally crossed the edge of the road and went beyond the supporting cliff, the result would be that you are totally finished!
Now, a small number of masters claimed that this announcement by the Office of not allowing them to give discourses to their disciples deprived them the rights of teaching and transforming their disciples and also reduced the conditional opportunities for them to create merit and virtue. They think that such outcome is unfavorable for propagating Buddha-dharma and benefiting living beings. Some masters even express grievance to each other whenever they meet. They fully regard themselves as eminent monks and great holy and virtuous ones of the current era. Then why aren’t they permitted to give discourses to resolve delusion and remove karmic impediment for their disciples? Thus, they raised many disagreeing opinions. However, they forgot an important question when expressing their opinions. That is, how many Sumeru Wheels does he or she have for his or her status of holiness and virtue? How could he or she only engage in self-bragging without taking the exam to get a certificate with Sun-Moon Wheel(s) representing a holy and virtuous one with master’s qualifications?
Now, since you expressed a strong disagreement in your opinions, for the purpose of protecting you and moreover for safeguarding living beings’ opportunities of acquiring wisdom and increasing their benefits, we must solve this serious problem.
Actually, you all must have learned from the thirty-third public announcement from the Office that the dharma discoursed by a holy and virtuous one having one Sun-Moon Wheel definitely contains errors, errors and mistakes will also occur in the discourse given by a holy and virtuous one having two Sun-Moon Wheels, and there will be a little errors when a great holy and virtuous one having three Sun-Moon Wheels with master’s qualifications at the middle level of holy realization gives a discourse. That is to say, as long as the discourse is not given an extremely great holy and virtuous one having four Sun-Moon Wheels, it is certain to have errors. Needless to say, a discourse by a holy and virtuous one having Sumeru Wheel(s) without any Sun-Moon Wheel to indicate having master’s qualifications or by a person who is not even a holy and virtuous one will definitely be full of errors and mistakes. Moreover, this master who carelessly gave discourses may have committed offenses in many articles of the 128 evil views and erroneous views or even told lies to deceive his or her disciples. How can such a person be qualified for giving discourses? In addition, you just need to look at the fact that many errors, violations against the sutras’ teaching, and evil theories have already been discovered in some discourses and books by some world-renowned great dharma kings and great venerable ones. That is sufficient to show the tragic consequence of harming the great mass due to carelessly expounding Buddha-dharma and giving discourses. Those of you who are masters must clearly understand one thing. Even patriarch masters had errors in their commentaries and writings. How could you be an exception? Once the sin is committed in discourses and expounding the dharma, it is a matter of principle. Harms will be caused to Buddhist disciples.
It is for protecting cultivators on their path of acquiring correct knowledge and views, guarding these masters’ successful growth and development, preventing you all from falling into the deep trap of sin and negative karma, as well as avoiding the outcome of Buddhist disciples discovering the serious faults and errors in your discourses and then looking down on you or even leaving you after their learning and progressing that the Office rigorously stipulated that anyone who is not an extremely great holy and virtuous one with master’s qualifications at the highest level of holy realization is not qualified to give any discourse. This is not for depriving you of your right of saving living beings. Rather, it is for protecting your and living beings’ opportunities of acquiring wisdom, letting you more successfully create more merit and virtue, and attaining early realization of the holy capacity of a great holy and virtuous one who lives up to his status, has true conduct of bodhicitta, and is able to pass the exam proctored by seven masters and ten witnesses to benefit the great mass. You must clearly know that, once the discourse is wrong, one who gave the discourse has to bear the resulting sin and karma. If you have to bear the dark karma, you will never receive an initiation of state practice to learn great dharma in your entire lifetime!
Cultivators have to know this. If you want to attain liberation and accomplishment, you cannot carelessly give discourses pretending that you know what you actually do not understand. On the other hand, disciples absolutely cannot carelessly raise questions and ask your master to give discourses on the dharma. If people have already listened to a master’s discourse, Buddhist disciples can only use that as a reference, not as the correct answer.
Some Buddhist disciples think that they have received the fourteen root precepts regarding the master (i. e., the Fourteen Fundamental Precepts of Esoteric Buddhism) and must not violate that. You must clearly understand one thing first. The master referred to in the fourteen root precepts regarding the master is a great holy and virtuous master at the level of having Sun-Moon Wheel(s) or higher, and definitely is not a master who is not a holy and virtuous one or who is still violating precepts or falling into the 128 evil views and erroneous views! If the master has already fallen into the 128 evil views and erroneous views, cultivators should not abide by the fourteen precepts of esoteric Buddhism awarded by this master at all. Rather, continuing to abide by the fourteen precepts of esoteric Buddhism toward this master in one’s practice actually violates this admonishing teaching by the Buddha: One who blindly follows a master who has deviated views to practice the first precept of the Fourteen Precepts will not attain liberation.
One must leave and stay far away from masters who fall into the 128 evil views and erroneous views. Regarding holy and virtuous ones and great virtuous ones, you can only follow them to take refuge and learn rituals of Buddha-dharma from them. As to the correct answers you are looking for, the only way is to listen to the recorded dharma lessons expounded by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. The dharma lessons have all answers. Otherwise, from listening to the discourses given by masters who are not great holy and virtuous ones with Sun-Moon Wheel(s), there will absolutely be incorrect or evil knowledge and views of various degrees. Once your view deviated from the correct path, you will not attain liberation and accomplishment. To those who carelessly listen to discourses and acquired incorrect or evil knowledge and views, no holy inner tantric initiation or other high-level Buddha-dharma will ever be conferred.
As a matter of fact, the situation that discourses by masters in the current world have errors is hard to avoid. Just consider the fact that even some patriarch masters in the history of Buddhism also had errors in their teaching of Buddha-dharma. Of course, if a master has already reached the level of giving correct discourses about Buddha-dharma, the Office will definitely recognize that and publicize his or her credential of giving discourses. At the same time, he or she will also be issued a certificate of holiness and virtue that corresponds to his or her level.
Masters who understand Buddha-dharma all know that the most important and indispensable thing for one who is learning Buddhism is the practice of meditation. Without practicing sitting meditation, one is just a novice to Buddhism. You all must be careful on one issue. Do not think that, as long as you are not practicing the teaching of the Zen School, you do not need to learn the practice of meditation and can have nothing to do with it. You must understand a fact. Regardless of which sect you belong to and what dharma you practice, as long as you follow a daily practice (including the practice of chanting the Buddha’s name), your practice is related to the characteristics of meditative practice. The nature of meditation (or Zen) is the ultimate truth, the ultimate truth leading to accomplishment and liberation. This is because any dharma gate must deal with the issues of tranquilizing the mind, focusing on one, and entering into concentration. Doing so involves the doctrine and essence of meditation (or Zen). Therefore, masters should all know the practice of meditation. It is not true that the practice of meditation is only used by the Zen School. If you do not know the practice of meditation now, you have to know it by learning from now on. Otherwise, regardless of whose incarnation a master may be, he or she is definitely not qualified to teach any practice to disciples and is even farther away from having the qualification of giving discourses.
In order to fulfill your wish of being deemed as possessing the qualification of giving discourses, talented people who can give discourses must be selected. The Office does not intend to test you in terms of holy realization. Only a theoretical problem is given for the exam. All of you who are masters and who are venerable ones, dharma kings, rinpoches, and dharma masters with disciples, come forward to write a discourse on this lesson that must be known by and is mandatory to people in learning Buddha-dharma. The topic is: “What is the practice of meditation? What is its effect? How do you actually apply the method of meditative practice? What is the ultimate truth that is eventually gained?”
If one can write with a correctness of 90% on this exam problem, he or she will be deemed as possessing the qualification of giving discourses at a certain level. One who does not know the essence and practice of meditation (or Zen) simply does not have the qualification of giving discourses to disciples. The reason is very simple. Not knowing the basic principles regarding the direction and aim of practicing Buddha-dharma or not knowing the practice of meditation means one does not know Buddha-dharma. No sect or school of Buddhism, regardless of whether it belongs to exoteric Buddhism or esoteric Buddhism, or to the instant gate or gradual gate, can exist without the practice of meditation. Therefore, one who is a master must know the basic Buddha-dharma of meditative practice. The practice of meditation is a mandatory dharma that Buddhists must practice, and is also a process that must be experienced in the dharmas of practicing rituals, silent sitting, thinking, chanting mantras, outer qi (vital air), inner qi, and so on. For example, a master who does not know the practice of meditation absolutely cannot be permitted to give discourses. This is because this person has already departed from the highest principles and does not belong to the rank of regular Buddhists. Much less can this person be a Buddhist master. Therefore, no matter how high his or her status may be, this person will only deceive followers and harm disciples. The Office absolutely will not agree with this person’s using discourses of baseless fabrication and nonsense to deceive followers!
Now that the exam problem has been given, we ask all masters with all types of status and at all levels who have disciples to send your writing of answer to the Office’s email box within one month (before August 16, 2013). All masters at the levels of venerable one, dharma king, rinpoche, dharma master, and acarya who have and lead disciples, as long as they are not at the level of having three Sun-Moon Wheels or higher, should all take this exam to answer the problem.
If a master tells his or her disciples various excuses of not taking the exam, it can only show that this master has rather serious problems and is purposely being irresponsible to disciples. Such masters, no matter how high their superficial statuses and titles may be, do not know Buddha-dharma in their inner quality, to say the least. That is why they dare not to take this exam and leave a record for the exam. If one who does not take this exam even makes up a set of rhetoric to blindside disciples, this person is without a doubt deceiving followers. Buddhist disciples must leave and stay far away from this type of masters. They cannot be followed and replied upon! Otherwise, you are sure to devolve lower! Taking this exam but not passing is still an act of being responsible to living beings after all. Coming forward to take this exam shows that this master is a true cultivator in quest of advancing higher and is a master who deserves respect from disciples.
Without exception, the Office will not publish the exam scores of the masters. When people inquire about a master who took the exam but did not pass, we will only inform the inquirer(s) that this so-and-so master took the exam but will not tell the inquirer(s) this master’s score. The names of masters who do not take the exam will not be published in a list either. However, in case of being inquired by followers, we can only abide by the precepts and tell the truth: there is no record showing that this so-and-so master submitted an answer for the exam. Regarding a master who scored 90% or higher, we will publish in writing as to at what level this master can give discourses. If people inquired about a master who is at the level of great holy and virtuous one with three Sun-Moon Wheels or higher, we will reply that this master’s holy realization and accomplishment is a great holy and virtuous one at a high level of Sun-Moon Wheels and is not within the scope of this exam.
By doing so, a very clear and to-the-point response is given to those of you who asked for being deemed with the qualification of giving discourses. This will also fulfill the wish of some masters who strongly asked for being permitted to give discourses to their disciples and let the exam results show their lack of qualification. We once again tell you that we will not publish your score on the exam.
From the Office of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III,
July 16, 2013