As soon as you enter into the realm of cultivation and learning Buddhism, you would hear that almost every master who transmits Buddha-dharma says that his dharma is the best. It can be said that among 1000 masters it is difficult to find one who says that his dharma is mediocre. How to distinguish high or low and good or bad is all based on verbal words. Since people who learn Buddhism are almost all ordinary persons, they simply have no way to recognize and distinguish the level or quality. So this fact has become a very serious problem. Therefore, to truly and clearly understand what determines the levels and qualities within Buddha-dharma, you must pay attention to distinguish clearly holy Buddha-dharmas, worldly Buddha-dharmas, as well as false Buddha-dharmas. Even two dharma rituals without any difference in the text may have different natures. One may be holy in nature and the other may be worldly in nature. This is similar to the situation of medicines with the same ingredients. If the medicine has been approved by the FDA, the FDA bears responsibility on it and that means it meets the FDA standard. If the medicine is not FDA-approved, The FDA is not responsible for it. That means it does not meet the FDA standard.
The same is true for textbooks of cultivation and dharma practice. There exist three different categories. There can be two completely different types of nature for the same book on cultivation or dharma practice without changing a word. The first category includes texts having cultivation that is approved by and is endorsed by the responsibility of the yidam and dharma protectors and having dharma practice that is approved by and is endorsed by the responsibility of the yidam and dharma protectors. The purpose is to definitely confirm the one-hundred-percent correctness of the cultivation and dharma practice in accord with the dharma. (The yidam refers to a Buddha or Bodhisattva in space.) The second category includes texts of cultivation and dharma practice that have not been approved by and endorsed by the responsibility of the yidam and dharma protectors. Those belong to worldly cultivation and dharma practice. However, because the meaning of the dharma therein is correct, no bad effect will be caused. Nonetheless, the process of attaining accomplishment will be slower. One who learns and practices according to such a text diligently and piously and strictly abide by the precepts can become accomplished, but there is no absolute certainty. The third category includes false cultivation and false dharma practice that are created by excerpting incomplete contents from sutras and commentaries with the author’s own editing and assembling. Those look like Buddhism or Buddha-dharma on the surface but are really evil dharmas of heretics using the name of Buddhism. Such texts are made by charlatans and evil masters, with the purpose of committing fraud to collect offerings. Such things not only provide no help for attaining accomplishment, but also can cause practitioners to meet bad luck and devolve into the three lower realms.
The difference between holy cultivation and practice and worldly cultivation and practice is in whether there exists the direct responsibility borne by the yidam and dharma protectors or not. Then, what can be regarded as a holy ritual with the approval from the yidam and dharma protectors? The answer to this question is provided in the following.
Many Buddhists have heard about the fact that upper-level Buddha-dharmas have dharma methods of qiejia, decision by selection, contemplation of (or watching) the torga Vajra chain, and so on. Among common Buddha-dharmas, there are ways of dropping divine pieces, divination, lot drawing, watching sacred lake, and turning tsampa ball, but these are not decision by selection. Whenever speaking of decision by selection, it means the yidam, who is a Buddha or Bodhisattva, comes to the site in person to make a decision on whether the subject of decision by selection is correct or incorrect. Therefore, all holy rituals of cultivation and dharma practice must have had a decision by selection made by the yidam in public to give the approval according to the dharma. Only after being determined by the yidam in person according to the dharma, will the yidam and dharma protectors take the special responsibility for this practice of cultivation or the dharma. Such decision cannot be made by hollow ways of divination, lot drawing, dropping divine pieces, calculating using fingers, and playing cards. (Note: Why does the determination of holy nature require the yidam to perform the decision by selection? This is because Buddhas and Bodhisattvas do so to prevent cults and false dharmas from deceiving Buddhists. The yidam and dharma protectors only bear responsibility for the ritual of dharma or cultivation in the dharma booklet, not for individual persons. One must receive an inner-tantric initiation, then the yidam and dharma protectors will bear responsibility for this person who cultivates himself or practices the dharma.)
Any holy ritual of lineage must undergo a decision by selection to determine its nature. On the other hand, all cultivation and dharma practice that have not been approved by the yidam or failed to get the yidam’s approval, though being cultivation or dharma practice from correct teachings, are always rituals of worldly cultivation and dharma practice. This is due to not having the professional responsibility borne by the yidam and dharma protectors. If the decision by selection was performed through presenting a petition to a Bodhisattva, the ritual represents the cultivation and dharma practice of a top-level great holy dharma that is approved by all Buddhas in the ten directions. However, to practice a yidam dharma to get the decision by selection is very, very difficult, because the master must be a great holy virtuous one who is a Shang Zun at the level of Golden Button Grade 3. If presenting a petition to a Bodhisattva is to be performed to determine the nature of a ritual of cultivation or dharma, only a Yu Zun who is above the level of Golden Button Grade 3 and is close to the level of Golden Button Grade 4 has the ability to do so successfully. Moreover, a great holy virtuous one who can accomplish presenting a petition to a Bodhisattva will have no problem at all in establishing an inner-tantric mandala.
The second category are the rituals of worldly cultivation and dharma practice, some of which do accord with the teachings of Buddha-dharma and the precepts. However, those absolutely do not have the siddhi power directly affiliated with the yidam and dharma protectors to empower the ritual. Since those have not been approved by the yidam, there exists no direct responsibility borne by the yidam and dharma protectors. However, in the history of Buddhism, there also exist cultivations, dharmas, and sutras that went through decisions by selection performed by the yidam and dharma protectors. For example, the Diamond Sutra translated by Weimoteng and the Heart Sutra translated by Dharma Master Xuanzang are holy. However, there also exist translations by other people, with 99% of the meanings of the dharma being the same. Because there has been a small change in the text, the yidam did not give an approval at the time of decision by selection. Those are the versions of the Heart Sutra that have no responsibility borne by the yidam and dharma protectors. That is why a tiny difference can cause a huge loss.
Separately, within the ritual of a complete cultivation or dharma, if there is one sentence that is not approved by the yidam who is a Buddha or Bodhisattva, the ritual will not pass the decision by selection. That means that dharma booklet is not a ritual of holy cultivation or dharma. Or, if a cultivation or dharma that has been approved by the yidam through performing a decision by selection in accordance with the dharma has one sentence being altered by a kindly-intended cultivator or a member of a cult, the yidam will no longer have anything to do with this ritual of cultivation or dharma. Then descendants of demons will take this opportunity to enter into it and disturb and confuse cultivators. That is why there are incidents of people entering demonic states. You must remember to guard against such possibility.
Rituals of Buddha-dharma expounded by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III are all cultivations and dharma practices that went through a dharma practiced by great holy virtuous ones or a tremendously great holy virtuous one to invoke the yidam to perform the decision by selection to determine the nature of the dharma, and therefore belong to holy cultivations and dharma practices with the yidam and dharma protectors to bear the responsibility. For example, Expounding the Absolute Truth through the Heart Sutra was not only determined to be holy by the decision by selection, but also received validation and verification from the Buddhas coming to bestow nectar.
There was once an instance when someone changed one sentence in the 128 views and then presented it to a Shang Zun for a decision by selection. Immediately, it was disapproved by the yidam and dharma protectors. After changing back to the original sentence, it is approved again. This process was repeated three times and the result was always so. No one, regardless of who that person may be, can change any sentence in cultivation or dharma practice expounded by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. Otherwise, the yidam and dharma protectors will not approve and demons and devils will take the opportunity to invade to disturb and confuse cultivators.
A great virtuous one at the level of Blue Button Grade 3 Plus 3 Black Buttons that is the highest blue button grade once added the words of “no appearance of all things and myriad of forms in the past, in the present, and forever into the future” into the Diamond Sutra. There seems to be no problem in such words, but the yidam did not approve when the dharma of decision by selection was performed. After immediately restoring the original text of the sutra, the yidam approved the sutra right away. H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III told him to change the sentence to “no appearance of past, present, and future” and give a try. Then, the Shang Zun practiced the dharma of decision by selection and the yidam immediately approved. This shows the fact that the meaning of Buddhas is difficult for myriad of holy ones to understand, not to mention the fact that first-stage Bodhisattvas do not know matters of second-stage Bodhisattvas. “A person with a mundane flesh body does not understand holy views, holding a bowl under rainy sky to falsely claim getting nectar.” Dharma expounded by the Buddha is holy. How could ordinary persons know the profound connotation? Even a great Bodhisattva cannot make a change of one sentence, not to mention ordinary persons who have no proficiency in the Five Vidyas. How could those who have violated the definitive dharma imposed on Bodhisattvas by Buddhas, do not possess the nature of a Bodhisattva, and do not even have the knowledge and level of accomplishment of an Arhat recognize what the true dharma with the genuine holy meaning from Buddhas and approved by the yidam is?
Now, evil and malicious swindlers within Buddhism in the world pose themselves as holy ones and appear rampantly everywhere. One person even applied his views of an ordinary being with a flesh body to revise the 128 views and What Is Cultivation?. For that, holy monastics did not start from any preexisting views and just submitted the text with his revisions to practice the dharma of decision by selection. The result was that the yidam did not accept it. Not only was it determined as not a holy dharma booklet, but also it was decided to be “evil views of an ordinary being; this text must not be learned and practiced.” So, we ask you all to be especially careful and pay attention to this very serious big matter. You absolutely cannot overlook it. You have to know clearly the fundamental nature of the differences between the three types of holy dharmas, worldly dharmas, and evil theories, to avoid mistakenly choosing an evil theory to bring a major disaster that will harm you throughout your lifetime, miserably lead you into one of the three lower realms, and cause you to miss the opportunity to practice the true dharma.
World Buddhism Association Headquarters (Seal stamped on every page)
December 21, 2017
 Qiejia is且伽 in Chinese, meaning cutting through.