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Buddhism, Its Practices, Goals, and Results

 
 

 by  Zhaxi Zhuoma Rinpoche:

Venerable Zhaxi Zhuoma Rinpoche

 Zhaxi Zhuoma Rinpoche

We are very happy to be here at Archbishop Riordan High School in San Francisco. I want to introduce Dharma Master Ruo Hui who is the Assistant Abbess at Hua Zang Si, a Buddhist temple located in the Mission District on 22nd street between Mission and South Van Ness. She was formerly a dean at a Buddhist College in Taiwan. She has been engaged in teaching Buddhism for many years. Zheng Yin in the back with the cameras is the Dharma Master’s Assistant and in charge of documenting our events while Sister Iwen Bernstein will serve as their translator.

I am Zhaxi Zhuoma and a rinpoche. In the Buddha-dharma, rinpoche means “treasure among human beings.” The status of a rinpoche cannot be recognized casually. Normally, a rinpoche is someone who has practiced very well in a previous life or lives, practices well in this life, and has been recognized or found by someone with a high state of realization whom we call a holy accomplished one. This would be someone who has reached nirvana, as some of you asked in your questions. I was recognized by a great dhama king and given the title of rinpoche. There are several types of Buddhist practitioners: lay men and women, novice monks and nuns, and fully ordained monks and nuns, just like there are in Catholicism. The ordained ones who practice well can be promoted to the title of abbott or abbess or eminent monastics while the ones who have high academic achievement will become geshes. This is like having a PhD and can take upwards of twenty years of study in a Buddhist University or monastery. The ones who are higher than this and who have been recognized as incarnations of previous accomplished ones will be called rinpoches. Therefore, my level is about the eighth rank or level. I would like to become the ninth level, which is a Great Rinpoche, who are very awesome. However, I feel very ashamed and must tell you that I am like all of you seated here and still must practice diligently, seriously, and attentively every day.

Now I will explain a little bit about just what Buddhism is, what its practices are, the goal of these practices, and some of the results one obtains after achieving the goal. Later on, my sister will give a brief introduction to one of these practices—meditation—and lead you in this practice.

I can tell from your questions, that you, like most Americans, do not understand what Buddhism is.

First, Buddhism is not really a religion. There is no dogma or creed, nor is there any worshipping of divinities as such, but as you just saw, we do honor and show extreme respect and devotion to the Bodhisattvas and Buddhas who teach us the dharma or the way to liberation. Buddhism is really a system for developing true compassion and ultimate wisdom, obtaining supernatural powers, and the means to eliminate the suffering of sickness, old age, and death. What we are talking about when we refer to Buddhism are the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha, an Indian prince who left his life of pleasure and riches to find the truth of the universe and solve the riddle of life and death.

Buddhism was not founded by Shakyamuni Buddha. Instead, it was expounded by Him in this world so we follow Him as the leader of what became known as Buddhism. Buddhism had existed in this world before Prince Gautama became Sakyamuni Buddha over 2500 years ago. The truth discovered by the Buddha already existed in this universe. It did not begin when He was born or end when He left. It is similar to the fact that this world had been here before mountains and rivers were formed. It is wrong to say that Buddhism was invented by the Buddha. That is not true. The truth does not need to be invented. It is a true existing principle and was discovered by the Buddha. It is very much like what has happened to science. The true principles of science exist in the universe and were discovered and developed by scientists like Newton and Einstein step by step. It is the same notion. There had been numerous ancient Buddhas who came to this world and planted the causes of the dharma before the Buddha was here.

Sakyamuni Buddha is not the only Buddha. There are innumerable Buddhas. A Buddha is someone who has awaken to His full potential as a living being. He is awake to who He really is and has complete and total wisdom, understanding the universal law that underpins the operations of the universe and as such has unlimited supernatural powers and the ability to transform into various forms to help living beings in their quest toward buddhahood. All of us have the potential to become Buddhas and eventually will become Buddhas. Although there were many Buddhas before Shakyamuni Buddha, in this world, it was Shakyamuni Buddha who developed Buddhism to its current level. Several of you asked abut the “fat Buddha.” That’s Maitreya Bodhisattva. He will be the next Buddha—the fifth one in our world system. There will be 995 more. Our master is a Buddha.

In our form of esoteric Buddhism, known as vajrayana Buddhism, we practice the methods to become enlightened beings and eventually Buddhas in this lifetime. Esoteric or vajrayana Buddhism is used to describe the mystical or secret school of Buddhism, but it also includes the teachings of all the other schools. Just as we are all evolving toward buddhahood, Buddhism has also evolved with the vajrayana or the esoteric teachings having the most advanced or quickest methods. The exoteric or open teachings of the hinayana and mahayana traditions include various sects that you may have heard of like the Theravada sects from south-east Asia or the Pure Land and Zen sects from China, Japan, and Korea. The Buddha taught 84,000 methods to lead you to buddhahood to meet the needs of living beings who have different levels of intelligence and different qualities that need to be corrected. The teachings of all true followers of the Buddha, no matter their sect, are essentially the same, but the methods can vary considerably.

In answer to your questions about which type is best—that depends on your karma. One size does not fit all in Buddhism. Different medicines are required to treat different diseases, and even at different stages in treating any given disease.

My lineage is from western China and Tibet and still requires that you receive secret initiations and rituals to be able to practice the advanced dharmas. Our master, H.H. Wan Ko Yeshe Norbu, is the highest, supreme leader of both exoteric and esoteric Buddhism in the world today.  Our Master is now living in the United States but He came here from Sichuan Province in China.  Sichuan Province includes part of what was known as the Kham Region of eastern Tibet. Many of the modern Buddhist saints and great masters, as I will tell you about later, came from that mystic land of snow-capped mountains.

Now another word that I know you know, but may not know what it means in Buddhism—saints.  Saints in Buddhism, like Catholicism, are holy beings, who have lived a very pure life and who have exhibited miracles. A Buddhist saint is one who has obtained enlightenment or reached nirvana and possesses the compassion and wisdom of a Buddha and who is free of the suffering and sorrows of mundane existence. Our practice teaches people how to actually become saints in this lifetime. The key is to realize the truth of how the universe functions and the true nature of reality and this is done through various forms of meditation. What you will find from your meditation is that the underlying principle is something you also know about—it is love and compassion. We call that bodhicitta which literally means the “mind of bodhi or enlightenment,” that is the underlying principle of truth—the ultimate truth of the universe.

What is the use of understanding truth? It is used to liberate us, the human beings. Why do we have to be liberated? Can it be said that we human beings do not have liberation? Human beings do not have liberation since humans have all kinds of sufferings and sorrows such as birth, aging, illnesses, death, greed, anger, ignorance, affections, parting with what we love, meeting with what we hate, unattained aims, worries, and obstacles, etc. That is why no one is happy. Some people might look happy but it is only temporary. Why do you think your blessed virgin is called “Our Lady of Sorrows?” What is waiting in the future for them is entering the crematorium and being cremated or the graveyard and being buried. In Tibet they could look forward to “sky-burial” where the corpses were cut up and fed to giant buzzards, but I am digressing.

Unless we become enlightened, the future that we are looking forward to is the time we take our last breath and suffer extremely from the unbearable pain of leaving this physical body and the breakdown of the four great elements that make up our bodies—earth, water, fire, and wind. In the future, all you beautiful students will age and become very unattractive. You will lose your hair, be wrinkled and decrepit, and not be able to run and play like most of you can today. You may even meet an accidental death and leave tomorrow. These are all sufferings. On top of these, you have to study, take exams, and you will have to work, earn your living and go through all kinds of stress, which I am sorry to say does not get easier when you graduate. That is why human beings are suffering.

Why do humans suffer? It is because of the very simple, but profound truth of impermanence. All things change, including you. You are not the same person you were ten or even five years ago before you became a teenager and you will be a different being five years from now when you may have a family, a car, and a mortgage….maybe not in that order. There is nothing in this world that is permanent that we can hold on to and that is the source of our dissatisfaction and suffering. We seek the truth, the same truth that the Buddha sought and found, through our various practices, including meditation, which my sister here will elaborate on later. In Buddhism you must seek and find this truth for yourself though your own efforts, although you, of course, receive guidance and support from your Master, your companions on the journey, and from higher sources.

In Buddhism we do not hold “going to Heaven” as the highest ideal because the heavens are still part of the mundane world. It is true if you lead a good life and do not do evil things you can reincarnate in these very pleasurable higher levels of existence. However, they are not eternal either and also subject to impermanence, although they may exist for a very, very long time—like billions of years. You can go to these places if you have very good karma but when you have used up your good karma, you must go to the lower realms to pay back your evil karma. It is what is called the cycle of reincarnation or rebirth. The lower realms mean the various hells or life as a hungry ghost or craving spirit or even as an animal. Enlightenment is obtaining the wisdom to be able to escape this cycle all together. This is what we call “liberation” and this is the goal of our practice. But precisely because the Buddha realized in His enlightenment that the underlying principle of this wisdom is bodhichitta as expressed in loving kindness, compassion, and equanimity, we seek liberation for all living beings, not just ourselves.

Three more new concepts: equanimity, living beings, and karma. Living beings includes all forms of life—humans, animals, insects, ghosts, devas or heavenly beings, even the residents of hell, including the demons that torture them. And we must be able to apply loving kindness and compassion to all of them equally, our friends as well as our enemies—that’s equanimity. It is easy to do this to our friends and relatives as well as soft cuddly furry mammals, but we have to have the same compassion and love for snakes, and scorpions, and spiders and cockroaches, etc., as well as beings from this and other dimensions who are often not kind to us—who maybe even want to kill us. Karma is very simply you do good, you receive good; you do evil, you will receive evil results. In other words, it is as Jesus said, “As a man sows, so shall he reap.”

How do we develop loving kindness, compassion, and equanimity? The ancient method taught by the Buddha was to realize that all beings have at some time been our mothers. Since we have lived an immeasurable number of lives, this is true. Once we can see all beings as our mothers, we think of the kindness and compassion mothers have, and by wanting to repay that kindness we develop loving-kindness and compassion for all beings. That should be something you all can easily grasp, as I understand you are a Marianist school, and your model, the Holy Virgin, represents this principle so well.

The other and related way is to let go of one’s self and let the truth reveal itself. We want to capture the real truth. It is our attachment to a concept of “Me” that binds us and keeps us from being liberated. I’m sure you have some idea of what I mean by “me-ness” where we tend to think we are more important than any other being. That is part of the truth of understanding the concept of no-self. It’s deeper than that, but I don’t have time to explain that fully now. That is part of what our meditation practices do—helps us to understand who we really are and that all other beings are suffering just like we are. After we have captured this truth, there will be no birth, no destruction but everlasting joy and happiness. Of course, it is the most important thing that we want to pursue in Buddhism. We can capture it by using various methods of meditation practice, which Dharma Master Ruo Hui will tell you about. Now you have an introduction to the “three marks” of Buddhism that you asked about: impermanence, suffering, and no-self.

As I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of schools and sects within Buddhism. All the schools and sects have their own methods of meditation. In addition to the methods, of course, there is Buddha-dharma. Buddha-dharma is not a method. It requires taking refuge, the transmission of mantras and secret rituals, and listening to and benefiting from dharma lectures. It will produce certain energy, which can be called a “magnetic field” in modern scientific terms. It requires a special secret ritual for this type of dharma field or the force of dharma to occur. To obtain the secret ritual one needs to take refuge in a lineage of a temple that follows these rituals, follow the transmitted dharma, and take on the private teachings of the dharma. Then, one is able to easily enter the profound dharma and understand the true significance of Buddha-dharma. Since these are secret teachings, I cannot say too much now.

What will be one’s liberation? It refers to the ending of one’s rebirth and death, which represents the attainment of certain achievement. Today, if I wanted to pass away, then I would be able to do it. If I changed my mind after I passed away, I could come back to life tomorrow if I wanted to. If one wants to die, then one dies. If one wants to live, then one does. If one wants to have power, then one has power. If one wants to save people, then one can save people. If one wants to have happiness, then one has happiness. If one wants to avoid disasters, then one will not have disasters. These are what the practice of the dharma is built upon. But, the beginning level of this type of dharma is what we call the meditation practices. You need certain skills to do these advanced practices, but these are skills you can all learn—just like you all learned to walk.

There are many recorded and well documented examples of Buddhists who have achieved these levels of leaving their bodies and then returning after they have been dead for some time. This happened quite recently to one of our nuns in Los Angeles. There are also disciples who go the Buddha Lands and return to tell their families about it. I personally saw my Master take my Uncle and Aunt to the Western Paradise after they died. They were not Buddhists, but were very devout and compassionate Christians. We are in the process of publishing a book that documents some of these events. The Buddha Lands, including the Western Paradise, are lands where Buddhas and Bodhisattvas live and are beyond the heavens and hells of our world system. Bodhisattvas are enlightened beings who have chosen to not yet become Buddhas so as to return to help others become enlightened. Beings in the Buddha Lands have gained control over death and rebirth and are free of all sufferings, but are free to reincarnate if they so choose.

In general, the meditation practices can lead you to be able to know your time of death or rebirth. You can even be in a meditative state and in a sitting position without food for months or years. There are many such cases. You will be able to find such scientific reports even in magazines. There are many great achievers who do not need food for a very long time. A vajra brother of mine, whom I saw only last week, was able, after receiving a special initiation, to stay in meditation for twenty-two days with out either food or drink. I was with our Master when he came out of that meditation and he sounded strong and vibrant. I saw him shortly after that and he looked wonderful. This same sixty+ year old brother is currently doing a pilgrimage around the island of Taiwan to atone for the sins of others by doing a full prostration with every step. He has completed over 500 miles or 75% of his journey so far.

Of course, what you ultimately achieve is the control of your own birth and death, but what we can also attain is happiness in this life and it is attained by working hard. What we can achieve is the freedom of certain liberation without the sufferings of worries or ignorance. What will come upon us is all auspicious, peaceful and joyful, which includes family happiness and abundant finances. This is the Buddha-dharma that we want to follow.

All of the forms of happiness that we can obtain, including health, wealth, and good interpersonal relationships, are called “the fortune of happiness” or “good fortune.” The ability to control one’s birth and death is called “the fortune of wisdom.” Therefore, Buddhism advocates the cultivation of both good fortune and wisdom, including the wisdom that leads to the development of supernormal powers. It does not mean as some of you implied that you necessarily live in poverty or are poor. Some of the advanced disciples of my master are very rich.  Of course, they use their wealth to help living beings. All these resources must be used to help living beings. Actually as one progresses on this path, these powers will naturally come to you. This includes the ability to fly and do many miracles, the ability to read others’ minds, and the ability to see the past and future, as well as have the “divine eye” or clairvoyance and the “divine ear” or clairaudience.

What I have been talking to you about today is the most basic aspects of Buddhism. The deepest and profound Buddha-dharma would be even more significant. One will have the ability to come and go without traces and entering and exiting through walls. When it comes to the time of passing, it is not limited to the control of death. One is able to transform oneself into the multicolored rainbow body and go directly to a Buddha-land. It is a magnificent ability. There have been several documented cases in recent times.

For example, in 1952 an ordinary simple stone carver, Sonam Namgyal, became ill, but was strangely very happy. No one knew he had practiced the secret dharmas. He asked his family that when he died to not move his body for a week. The family noticed that the body seemed to be shrinking and that there was an extraordinary display of rainbow lights all around the house.  When the undertakers came on the eighth day after his death to get the body all they found was his nails and hair under his clothing.  He had disappeared.  Many people witnessed this event. The great rinpoche, Jamyang Khyentse, after seeing the remains, verified that this was a case of someone, in this case a very ordinary lay person, obtaining the rainbow body.

In 1958, Khenchen Tsewang Rigdzin, a three hundred and thirty pound lama from Eastern Kham was captured and bound to a yak by the Chinese communist soldiers to be taken to what they called “struggle sessions” whereby the military tortured and tried to make these holy beings give up their religious practices.  Khenchen Tsewang Rigdzin meditated for many years and had achieved a very high state of realization. As the soldiers were moving him to the prison in the village near where he was living, a fierce whirlwind over took them. The soldiers huddled on the ground, covering their faces to protect themselves from the dirt and wind. The storm was very intense, but very brief and when they got up they saw the yak peacefully standing there, but no lama. The ropes were still on the yak, but there was no trace of the lama. Someone looked up and they saw him flying away on multicolored clouds. This is also a form of achieving the rainbow body. Several of the soldiers who were responsible for taking the lama in and witnessed this event all became devout Buddhist after this and reported what happened. There were other accounts of the Tibetan lamas turning into rainbows when the Communist came to capture them.

The most recent documented report of the rainbow body happened in 1998 and has been reported even in Christian journals. In a series of very serendipitous events, Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk whom I believe is still living in San Francisco, became fascinated with the rainbow body phenomena because he felt it might help explain the resurrection and ascension stories in Christianity. He contacted a friend in Switzerland, who is a Zen Buddhist teacher to see if he knew of any recent examples of the rainbow body occurring, since there were many Tibetans living in that part of Switzerland at the time. Brother David immediately received a reply that a Tibetan had just unexpectedly approached his friend and told him that one of his Tibetan’s teachers, Khenpo A-chos, had just achieved the rainbow body and that a famous rinpoche, Lama Achuk Rinpoche, who witnessed what happened had written an account of the event. Brother David then contacted another friend, Father Francis Tiso, an ordained Roman Catholic priest who was living in Marin County at the time and who speaks Tibetan and is also familiar with Tibetan culture, to see if the father might be going to Tibet any time soon. As it turned out Father Tiso was leaving that very day and agreed to take a side trip to Switzerland and research this event. Khenpo A-chos was a Gelugpa monk, also from the Kham region, who had studied the Great Perfection Dharma, the highest practice of the Nyingma Sect, as had the other recent cases. Everyone reported that the kenpo had been very faithful to his vows, lived a pure life, and often spoke of the importance of cultivating compassion. People who knew him said that he had the ability to teach even the roughest and toughest of types, including bandits, how to be a little gentler and a little more mindful. It was said that to just be in the khenpo’s presence changed people. He was also reported to have developed many supernormal powers while alive, like the ability to be in more than one place at the same time and to walk though walls and doors that were locked. Miraculous events started appearing before he died, including rainbows appearing directly above his hut. Those present at his death reported that they saw the wrinkles on the eighty-year old khenpo disappear and the skin become smooth and shiny like that of a young boy’s. Some said the skin actually became luminous. Everyone present noticed a sweet fragrance, like perfume. Outside the khenpo’s hermitage they saw many rainbows in the sky, which was filled with a very fine rain. In a few days they also heard beautiful music, but could not understand the words. Many of the khenpo’s disciples reported dreams or visions of their master after his death.

Khenpo A-chos’s disciples consulted with Lama Achuk Rinpoche. Lama Achuck told the disciples to cover the body with the khenpo’s yellow robe and not to touch it for seven days. The disciples could see through the robe that the body was shrinking, but saw no signs of decomposition and no insects, although the weather was warm. On the eighth day they looked and saw that the body had completely disappeared leaving only the yellow robe, which had no marks on it.

There are many such achievements. Within Tibetan esoteric Buddhism, there are records of more than a hundred thousand people from just one temple who achieved the transformation of the rainbow body. I am not just saying this. Since you are not familiar with Buddhism, you do not understand the magnificence of Buddhism. The miracles performed by these great lamas and dharma kings would astound you. The rainbow body phenomena is not limited to those who die. The three hundred plus pound lama exhibited a highly evolved state prior to his flying away. His attendant reported that when he tried to tie a belt around his master’s waist he tied it too tight and the rope went through his Master and came out the other side. Father Tiso reported seeing photos of rainbow lights emitting from one of the lamas he interviewed in Tibet. At a recent sacred place where my Master had performed many initiations and empowerments, amazing rainbow lights appeared along with the otherworldly beautiful scents like those that were just described by the lamas. I actually experienced this.

You asked if Buddhism has anything against any other religions. It does not. It does not matter whether you are a Christian or a Muslim, as long as your religion is virtuous and you care about your country and mankind. It is very important for you to bring benefit to others. Also, Buddhism is very much in opposition to any form of terrorism and violence. Buddhism is about great compassion and loving-kindness. That is, we want to break up our attachments, give all benefits to others, and help others become happy, even before we are happy ourselves. Buddhism has no violence, no brutality, or cruelty to any living being—and not just humans. It has only loving kindness, compassion, patience under insults, and endurance for the happiness of others. This is the kind of mentality that is called “bodhichitta” as I mentioned earlier. The type of bodhichitta where you practice patience under insults, which you can think of as “turning the other cheek,” will cause many Bodhisattvas in the Ten Directions including Mahasattvas and Bodhisattvas to help you. This bodhichitta is the quality we want to have for ourselves. (By the way, mahasattvas are great bodhisattvas.)

Why can Buddhism achieve that? It is because Buddhism is not an empty theory. It has profound dharma teachings. There are secret doctrines of great depth within it. I will have to say that either your principal or your teacher has invited the right persons to give you lectures on Buddhism, because we follow the most orthodox Buddhist lineage. Not all Buddhists would tell you these things.  Our Buddha-dharma is supreme and profound. Without exaggerations, our Master is as magnificent as the Buddha. This is not an overstatement. In the future, we will be able to provide you with some materials showing that our Master is widely recognized as the most magnificent saint among all virtuous patriarchs in the past. [See H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III]

The Buddhist ways of learning and developing wisdom is different from other ordinary methods. We usually sit on a chair and study all day. We exhaust ourselves in learning but are not able to accomplish even two subjects of knowledge. Our Master, the Great Dharma King, on the other hand, is capable of everything. There is nothing that He does not know. Will you say that He was born with it? Of course, it has something to do with it. However, it has more to do with the fact that he possesses Buddha-dharma. Whoever obtains Buddha-dharma will become the most significant person in any field he chooses.

I will give you another example about a person who practices Buddhism. I would like to show you some newspapers that we have brought. This is our Jinba Rinpoche. She gave an amazing dharma discourse at the age of nine, which shocked all the great doctors and professors who were present. What kind of wisdom would you call it for giving a profound discourse at an age of nine? It is because she has learned Buddha-dharma for many life times. You will be like her if you learn Buddha-dharma. I believe she is about a year younger that you are now.

There are more examples. You study at an art school. After five years of study and hard work, you will not necessarily become an artist after you graduate. Most of you will only end up working for someone else, and not be able to sell your own artwork. What a shame! How many will you say can actually become self-supporting artists? Very few. It is different in Jinba Rinpoche’s case. When she saw her brother become an artist recognized by the Royal Academy of Arts of the United Kingdom, she requested our Great Dharma King to teach her Buddha-dharma. The Great Dharma King said, “All right! I will teach you, but under one condition. You have to make a public announcement about this first.” She then made a public announcement in front of the press and made an oath that she had never learned this particular form of art. She said, “I will immediately learn the art. I will become an international artist in six months and publish a book of mine.” Think about it! You will realize that a child, who never learned about art, dared to proclaim that she is going to become an artist within six months. She even got interviewed by the press. This was reported in the newspapers. You can see from the first news article when she first met the press, started her learning, and achieved certain goals. It was all reported in the newspaper. I was there when she did this and I know she had not shown any aptitude for or done any art like what she was soon able to produce.  She successfully achieved the goal in six months and was acknowledged by the New York Academy of Art as an international artist. She has earned the title of the world’s youngest international artist. There was even a famous art broker who wanted to promote her work.

Who else can achieve that? Which art school can do something like that? Which religion can make that happen? Only Buddhism can, but no one else. It is because only Buddhism has the method of opening up great wisdom. You can become not only an artist but an expert in any other field. If it were not true, our Great Dharma King wouldn’t be able to easily excel in every field. You can see examples of His accomplishments now at our temple. There is an exhibition of His work that will run until November ninth. I urge you to go there and see this for yourself. You need to know just how great the Buddha-dharma is!

I cannot tell you in great detail about the Buddha-dharma since you are students and are not disciples of Buddhism. To become a disciple of the Buddha and attain achievements, liberation, and achieve the ultimate goal of cultivation there is one more important thing to do, which is to take refuge in and follow the Three Jewels (the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha). If one does not follow and abide by the Three Jewels, one cannot be transmitted certain dharma. You need to visit Hua Zang Si if you would like to learn greater dharma, more magnificent Buddha-dharma. There are dharma masters and rinpoches at Hua Zang Si. More importantly, there is the greatest and most supreme dharma treasure, the dharma lectures of our greatest Master, who is as magnificent and luminous as the Buddha. His achievements and wisdom is unparalleled and with inexhaustible meanings.

Currently, the twenty-one categories of His work exhibited at Hua Zang Si are only part of His achievements but enough to show us how He created them with his wisdom of the Buddha-dharma. There will be a book, as I mentioned earlier published, which includes thirty categories of achievements. You probably would say, “Are there still more?” Of course, there are more! We only list thirty categories because we are afraid that if we listed more, you would have a hard time holding the book. It is already quite large.

Buddha-dharma contains wisdom that is with inexhaustible meanings. Therefore, one becomes very smart after learning Buddha-dharma. More importantly, it is beyond being smart. One will not only be free of disasters, but also very wealthy and happy. It will cause one to be happy, your family to be happy, your friends to be happy, countries to be auspicious, and mankind to be happy. There is happiness everywhere. There is only happiness, peace and comfort and no sufferings at all. There are a lot of occurrences justifying the magnificence of the Buddha-dharma and its actual achievements and liberation. We also have books for you to read so you will understand.

Today’s occasion is the result of a great karmic affinity. You have great fortune. We do not defile any other religions. I just mentioned earlier that people, no matter what religions they belong to, will be considered good people and be praised by Buddhism as long as they do virtuous deeds. All the virtuous saints of Buddhism will praise them. I must tell you that Bodhisattvas incarnate in many forms and many places to help living beings. They are not always known as Buddhists.

However, the most important thing is Buddha-dharma. Buddha-dharma has stipulations. We can only teach some basic meditation practices to you today since this is a lecture. If you would like to learn the true Buddha-dharma, you have to abide by the dharma, which means that you need to listen to dharma lectures and understand what it is about. You should contemplate on how Buddha-dharma is not empty theories. It can even cause the flesh, our body, to transform into rainbow lights and soar to the space. In addition, it can control reincarnation from one lifetime to the next. Someone could say, “I will be reborn in so and so place. You can find me there.” Then, you could find him there. Think about this! Is Buddha-dharma empty? I will not say that Buddhism or Buddha-dharma is greater than any other religion since we respect every religion. However, the significance of Buddha-dharma represents the truth of the universe. There is only one truth in the universe and this truth is what the great Buddha possessed and what our Buddhism possesses.

My wish is that everybody can learn the Buddha-dharma. I want all of you here, and all living beings everywhere to realize happiness, achievement, and liberation. When I see that you students are happy and have achievement, I will also be very happy. It is very important for you to realize that your happiness—true happiness, is my happiness.

This is just a beginning introduction. My vajra sister, Dharma Master Ruo Hui, will now teach you how to enter profound meditation practices.

 Lecture given to several classes of senior boys at Archbishop Riordan High School in San Francisco