Story of a Bhikshuni That Is Unheard of within One Hundred Years

Published on August 15, 2012

by Su Jing, published in

Master Bhikshuni Zhengda (Awang Deji Rinpoche)

Master Bhikshuni Zhengda (Awang Deji Rinpoche)

Throughout ancient and modern times, to pursue happiness, countless people chose the path of becoming a monastic cultivator. Traveling monks and nuns who have credentials of ordained monastics can be seen everywhere in the world. People become monastics due to various karmic causes. That can be the pressure of making a living, loss of peace within the family, conflicts in society, starvation, or being stricken by disaster or illness. Some became monastics to quest for liberation from the sufferings of living, aging, illness and death, while some others did so with the ideas of seeing through human vanity, cultivating the dharma for accomplishment, and wishing to get on the path of transcending worldly people. However, monastics coming from situations of having a perfect combinations of glory, honor, wealth, and fame as well as an enjoyable family life with loving and kind spouse and children are truly as rare as a drop in the ocean.

In recent generations, elder Dharma Master Hsu Yun, Dharma Master Hong Yi, Dharma Master Nenghai, and Dharma Master Longlian are representative figures of such true monastics. They entered the order of monastics based totally on the determination of following the Buddha, without a slightest trace of worldly dust or any contamination of mundane customs. That is to say, when they made the decision of taking the tonsure, all they wanted is following Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. While still living in a mundane family, the mind was already on the journey of reaching the Spirit Vulture Peak. Moreover, they came from rich families with abundant means as well as glory, honor, wealth, and fame. They themselves were also full of talent and fame and well respected by people. Some of them had already become masters with many students and had earned great honors that made their family names glisten. However, they were able to take the tonsure without hesitation and attachment. Even their families had not been informed before the fact and were only notified with a letter conveying the news of  them becoming a monastic person wearing monk’s robe in a temple. These few greatly famous people mentioned above all had such attachment-free mind practice and eventually became eminent monks extremely well-known in the world at their times. This type of genuine act of entering the order of monastics is very hard to find in the world. There may not be even one such instance in a timespan of several decades.

However, right at this day, a bhikshuni emerged with resolute severance with the mundane world. Her act is even more extraordinary than the stories of people mentioned before. This is because she had been a layperson rinpoche with the dharma name of “Awang Deji” and quite famous in the teaching of Buddhism in China. She had established dharma centers in more than ten provinces in China. She also had Buddhist organizations in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Wherever she went, she was received by her disciples. When she was on the dharma rostrum, people all paid respect. She was greatly respected and praised by her disciples. Because she upholds the principle of great compassion and was energetically active in society, her personally owned business firm was also doing very well. It can be said that she possesses wealth of two kinds (spiritual and material) and she is a very great virtuous one of the current time. In her situation, she simply does not need to put up an appearance of monastic person to get respect from people. With an abundant stream of wealth, she was already able to broadly save living beings and propagate the dharma taught by the Buddha.

As early as twenty years ago, she was already a cultivator of the dharma of Lamdre (Path and Fruit) from the Sakya Sect. According to Awang Deji Rinpoche’s own statement, she spent a great effort to practice the Lamdre Dharma. She cultivated and practiced diligently but did not receive any benefit from it. When she asked the extremely great virtuous master of the Sakya Sect why there was no benefit from her practice, the great venerable one replied, “Perhaps you are not in correspondence to the dharma.”

Later, she became a disciple of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III to learn and practice the non-common dharma of Lamdre. In less than one year, she accomplished what the dharma has to offer. At that time, she finally realized that the dharma of Lamdre she learned and practiced before was a dharma that can be taught to the public without restriction. Anyone, regardless of being a good person or a bad person and regardless of whether one’s good root is deep or shallow, can practice this dharma. It is just a worldly dharma for practice. How could that be called Buddha-dharma! Because H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III had transmitted to her the dharma of Lamdre with the genuine lineage, she successfully attained the state of reality of the non-common dharma of Lamdre. In 2011, after passing an exam with three masters and seven witnesses, she received a certificate of holiness and virtue that even many dharma kings did not get.

Because of her acts of diligent cultivation and upholding the principle of great compassion to benefit living beings, her reputation was soaring toward the sky. That caused a few people whose cultivation is mediocre to be jealous of her. They started to make rumors to damage her reputation. However, Awang Deji Rinpoche did not have any thought of anger and hatred in mind. She treated all slandering and humiliating acts calmly with good composure. She still gave praises to those who had slandered her.

Seeing such incomprehensible negative opinions toward her, for the purpose of treating the facts objectively, the International Buddhism Sangha Association (IBSA) applied to the United International Buddhism Headquarters to hold a serious and fact-finding examination for Awang Deji Rinpoche to test her realization of holiness and virtue and to test her qualifications in terms of her state of realization. Though Awang Deji Rinpoche had been accused in demeaning ways, during this exam proctored by seven masters and ten witnesses, she manifested miraculous supernatural powers to let her mind consciousness fly out of her opened crown to demonstrate her accomplishment in realizing the original nature. The seventeen proctoring officials were all greatly astonished. They all gave awe-inspiring praises. Every one of them wrote a vow-backed document as affidavit of the event.

There is another fact that is more worthy of mentioning. At the time of her mind consciousness flying out of her crown, Awang Deji Rinpoche saw Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in person. She was together with Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and talking with them. She was extremely moved. On the spot, she cut off a bunch of her wavy beautiful hair to show her determination and made a declaration in public:

She had once made a vow in her mind to Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva. If, one day, she was able to personally see Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in the vast sky, she would ordain right away and become a bhikshuni to engage in the deeds of widely saving living beings. Now it should be the time for her to fulfill the effort of her vow to enter the order of monastics.

What happened next was exactly as she had stated. Shortly after that, while her family members were still uninformed, she already ordained as a nun at the Lifeng Monastery in Taiwan. Her Buddhist name is Zhengda. She has put away everything related to worldly glory, honor, wealth, and fame as well as enjoyable family life. Now she is uncontaminated by the six dusts in the world and has transcended mundane beings and entered the rank of holy ones. (A photo of her is included in this news article.)

I am deeply moved by and have great admiration toward this holy virtuous person. I was fortunate to have the opportunity of interviewing some people who were present at the scene. They mentioned that Awang Deji Rinpoche appeared totally ashamed at the time. This holy virtuous rinpoche could not calm her emotion. She said, “I am too inferior. I am simply not a cultivator. I should have entered the order of monastics long ago. I even made the issue of being ordained a term of bargaining with Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. I am really so bad as to be willing to ordain only after seeing Buddhas and Bodhisattvas with my own eyes. I simply cannot be regarded as a cultivator. I feel sorry for myself. What is even more unforgiveable is that I already realized the holy state. Why should I have waited until now!” She could not stop criticizing herself.

After hearing this round of speech from the bottom of her heart, I felt without a doubt that Awang Deji Rinpoche is a truly genuine holy virtuous one. In contrast, looking at the people who are good at making rumors behind people and creating rights and wrongs, I have to ask them: Can you accomplish what Awang Deji did? I can also give the answer for you. It is: You can’t. It is easy for anyone to give empty talks. However, when the promise has to be fulfilled, those who are not able to do so just have to find covers or change the topic. Just look at the fact that Awang Deji ordained while her life was full of wealth and happiness and she was greatly famed in central China. You are not able to do so. As to the holy state that she realized, you should know that you are not even remotely comparable. It is high time that you introspect upon yourselves. Do you really want to carry the karma of insulting holy being to enter mountains of knives and hot pots filled with boiling oil?

There is one more piece of good news to pass along. Fellow monks and nuns took Awang Deji Rinpoche, who is now Master Zhengda, to a test with scientific instrument. The result confirmed that her body was totally transformed. She transcended the level of non-common Lamdre and entered the dharma of profound accomplishment of Mud-Pill Lamdre. The crown opening is three-finger wide. The encephalon can be seen through the deep hole. Even among dharma kings who specialized in the dharma of Lamdre, it is hard to find one such example. Now, the United International Buddhism Headquarters has publicly declared that Awang Deji Rinpoche, Master Bhikshuni Zhengda, is a true holy virtuous one who passed the exam proctored by seven masters and ten witnesses. She is a bhikshuni winning honors to Buddhas and is a good master for living beings to follow and rely on.