By Zhaxi Zhuoma Rinpoche:
Over the past ten years I have been indeed fortunate to receive so many empowerments and initiations from H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. I have practiced the dharma of self-cultivation taught me by my Buddha Master so that I do have a modest degree of realization. My life has been dedicated to helping others learn and practice as well. I have seen many miraculous states including seeing my Buddha Master and other Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in the heavens and watching a vajra pill fly out of my hand in a dazzling red light. I was also able to awaken another vajra pill and hear and see others sing and dance. But were these signs that I was a holy being? His Holiness had said that I was, but would ordinary people be able to see the transformation? My real concern was, would I be able to help liberate other living beings? Would they believe me and follow the teachings that I had learned from my Buddha Master?
I learned of another magnificent Buddha-dharma from The Supreme and Unsurpassable Mahamudra of Liberation that can enable one to actually demonstrate that they have the body of a saint or holy being. It is known as the Tien Jie Mandala Ni-Wan Dao-guo Fa or Heavenly Realm Mandala Mud Pill Lamdre Dharma. “Ni-wan” translates literally as “mud pill.” Lamdre is a Tibetan term for “the path and its fruit.” Through this dharma, the “gate to heaven” on the crown of the head can truly be opened. The “mud pill” is also found in the meditative techniques of inner alchemy in Daoism. The Mud Pill crown opening was what was sought to become an immortal. Ancient emperors of China would have given their kingdoms and fortunes to be able to receive this dharma. Ni-wan is also a Daoist term for the place where the consciousness or spirit enters and leaves the body of an immortal. It literally means a point on the top of the head that when open feels like soft mud. A newborn’s brain is like this, which is the reason one has to protect the head of a baby until these openings or fontanelles can grow shut. This point is also known in acupuncture as the Bai Hui or the hundredth meeting point and is connected to the hypothalamus, pineal and pituitary glands—all parts of our anatomy that modern science does not fully understand or appreciate. This is also the Hindu Yogic equivalent of the Crown Chakra. The “ni-wan” also refers to the upper Cinnabar Field in Daoism or the center for intellect and spirituality. In Daoism, one refines one’s essence (jing) into vital energy (qi), refines one’s vital energy into spirit (shen), and refines one’s spirit into emptiness. One unites one’s primordial spirit to become form (an immortal) and dissipates that spirit to become formless vital energy. One is then neither empty nor substantial. That is what is called “non-doing.” In Daoism you are said to also be able to receive cosmic energy through this point as well.
Lest there be confusion, I want to make something perfectly clear. The Mud Pill of Daoism is the place on the crown of the head through which one leaves the body to ascend to heaven. Buddhism also recognizes that the Mud Pill is the place through which one leaves the body to become a celestial being or immortal, which is one type of living being among all of the living beings in the six realms. However, what I am writing about is the Buddha-dharma and not Daoism or any other form of religion. When Buddhism came to China, the Daoists adopted many aspects of Buddhism. Still, Buddhism leads one to become a Buddha or Bodhisattva, and Daoism leads one to become an immortal. People who misunderstand what I am saying might question why I talk of a Daoist practice. This is a result of simply not understanding the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha. Shakyamuni Buddha clearly stated in the sutras that there are six realms into which living beings can reincarnate and that the highest realm is the realm of the immortals. The ten types of immortals are described in general terms in the Surangama Sutra and elsewhere, but they can generally be grouped into three classes: earth bound immortals who continue to live amongst us, heavenly immortals who will go to the heavenly realms only after they leave this earth, and the divine immortals who can go to the heavenly realms now with their earthly bodies as well as after they leave this world. What the Surangama Sutra does not say, but the Buddha explains in other texts, is the fact that those who cultivate themselves according to the teachings of the Buddha can continue their practice in these heavenly realms and go on to become Bodhisattvas. The translation that I have of the Surangama Sutra is not clear on this point and appears to be discussing primarily the earth-bound immortals and not their higher forms.
Although this Buddha-dharma can be transmitted to non-Buddhists as well as Buddhists and help sincere practitioners of other religions to achieve their goals of heavenly rebirth, its purpose for a Buddhist is quite different. Buddhists are also able to take rebirth in the Heavenly Realm and enjoy this paradise, but they do so in order to continue their cultivation and practice of the dharma and be able to eventually become Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. In the Sutra on Loving-Kindness (Metta Sutta), Shakyamuni Buddha tells us that although a non-Buddhist may enjoy a life-span in these heavens, when that life-span ends he must return to the lower realms to repay his karmic debts due to the law of cause and effect. However, one who follows the way of the Buddha can enjoy the pleasures of these realms and also gain liberation through the practice of Buddha-dharma while in these realms, eventually attaining the… “complete extinction of lust, hate and delusion in that same kind of heavenly existence.” But there is another aspect of this dharma that also makes it important. When one becomes accomplished in or achieves the fruit of this dharma, one’s structural body actually changes. One’s bones become different than those of an ordinary being to enable one’s consciousness to ascend to the heavenly realms. In this way one becomes a true holy being or saint.
Why is this important? Only holy beings or saints can liberate other living beings, and our work here as Buddhists is to help others seek liberation from the unhappiness, pain, and suffering of samsara or worldly existence. So, how do we know that someone is a holy being? There are many who claim such status and their disciples support them by calling their master a holy being, but are those who make such a claim really able to demonstrate their holiness?
There are two aspects of holy beings that distinguish them from ordinary beings. The first is that they manifest the Great Compassionate Bodhisattva State. This is a type of mind or level of accomplishment whereby everything they do is done for living beings. No matter what they do, say, or think, it is to help living beings become accomplished in the dharma or liberated. This is the aspect of virtuous conduct. However, this alone is not enough to be designated a holy being, because, generally speaking, it cannot be seen or understood by ordinary people.
The second aspect of a holy being is that their physical body type is different from that of ordinary people and there are ways that this can be demonstrated. This is seen through miraculous events that actually change the structure of the body. The Mud Pill Holy Dharma is a Highest Form of Inner-Tantric State-Practice Initiation contained in The Supreme and Unsurpassable Mahamudra of Liberation. The Mud Pill Holy Dharma can accomplish this change in the structure of the body, as can accomplishment in the practice of Tummo Dharma that goes beyond the second stage. It is one way to prove that someone actually has the true Buddha-dharma and can help liberate other living beings. The process for becoming a saint in Catholicism is quite similar. A person has to have exhibited a pure, moral, and kind life and demonstrate some sort of miracle. The opening of the crown in the skull without any visible means on the surface of the skull is such a miracle! But scientific tests show that there indeed is such an opening!
As I mentioned earlier, the Mud Pill dharma from The Supreme and Unsurpassable Mahamudra of Liberation is unique in that such dharma can be practiced by the practitioner of any religion. Although one needs to be a good person with deep roots of kindness, one does not need become a Buddhist to practice it. However, one must be careful in applying this dharma. It can be used to have the consciousness leave and return to the body, and it can be useful at the time of leaving this earth. But if your crown has been so opened, you must strictly abide by the Mud Pill Path Fruit Precepts. If you violate any of those precepts, you must repent that same day. If you repent a day later, your crown will close and you will not attain liberation. But if you abide by the precepts, you will be able to go immediately to the heaven or paradise of your choice after death. You do not need to pass through the bardo. A Christian’s soul would go the Christian Heaven to be with Jesus, while a Hindu would have his consciousness merge with Universal Consciousness (Supreme Cosmic Spirit) in the formless realms or go to the Brahman Heavens of the Form Realm, and so on. In an oral discourse on the dharma, the Buddha Master expounded that our crowns must be opened for us to go to any of the higher realms. What we call consciousness and others refer to as the soul or “spirit” exits the body at the time of death. The means by which it exits determines the next life. The Buddhist sutras also state that if the exit is through the souls of the feet or Yong-Quan gate, one goes to the hell realms; the lower orifices, one becomes an animal; or the navel, one becomes a hungry ghost. The part of the body that determines where the consciousness/soul/spirit of the person goes will remain warm after the rest of the body becomes cold. If one’s heart is warm and the rest of the body is cold, one is reborn to the human realm to be a human. If the throat or the throat gate is hot and the rest of the body is cold, one becomes an Asura. If one’s body is cold and the Mud Pill gate, or fontanelle, is hot, one becomes a deva or a heavenly being. When one is liberated and/or is reborn into a Buddha land, the exit place will be at the Da-Le gate, i.e. the top gate right in the middle of the skull. I remember Dr. Mitchell Levy at Zion, Illinois reporting that after the Sixteenth Karmapa departed this world, to his and the rest of the hospital staff’s amazement, the area around his heart remained warm for a very long time, which would imply that he would be reborn as a human.
The “Mud Pill” dharma does not enable one to become a Bodhisattva. It only enables one to become an immortal and go to the heavenly realms. It can demonstrate that one’s physical body has the qualities of a holy being. However, there are many kinds of holy beings. It does not mean that as long as you have your crown opened it can be said that you are a great holy being. This is true no matter what type of crown opening you receive—either from the Ni-wan Dharma or the Vajra Substitute Body Meditation Dharma. These crown openings belong to the initial stage of a holy being. They are not great holy beings who truly attain the level of perfect liberation. His Holiness has made it very clear that even for the dharma of Vajra Substitute Body Meditation, the opening of the crown should reveal a hole as big as an egg. Moreover, there should be a deep hole in the brain. It does not count if one just has an opening of the scalp or scull bone. His Holiness taught us that using scientific exams alone is not enough to determine the success of a crown opening. In front of the watchful eyes of many people, testing and verification of the crown opening must take place based on Buddha-dharma rules. There is 100% proof that the crown opening was successful when three peacock feathers hanging over the crown of the person tested move about as a result of his consciousness leaving his body or his energy leaving his crown.
MRI scans of those who have received the Mud Pill empowerment show a small opening at the crown. However, the concentration powers of a small portion of those practitioners are not strong. For the sake of their safety, it is best that their openings are closed. At the time of their death, their crowns will naturally open again. There is no need to close the openings of those whose concentration powers are strong. Still, such people must strictly abide by the Mud Pill Path Fruit Precepts. I know of a devout Tibetan whose skull had many such openings from empowerments he had received from various rinpoches. His skull was retrieved from the sky burial field and kept for veneration at a local temple because the lamas knew that he was a true holy being.
So, although I was encouraged to continue my dharma practice and seek higher states of realization, my Master wanted me to have this empowerment. At the time of my Mud Pill Path Fruit Crown Opening, I wrote a vow of truth that stated the following: “FACING WHAT IS TRUE—Becoming accomplished through the Mud Pill Path-Fruit of The Supreme and Unsurpassable Mahamudra of Liberation does not require the Master to touch the crown of the head or pour water onto the crown from a precious vase. The Master was on one side of the garden, and I was on the other side. The Buddha Master never came close to the crown of my head. His Holiness used His mind to accomplish this transmission. Right then and there His Holiness caused the Emperor of Heaven to descend and open the crown of my head. I clearly saw a wondrous state appear before me. It was extremely clear. Nobody would believe me. How could this be? I was worried it might have been an illusion, so I had it evaluated by a scientific instrument. That evaluation proved that what had happened was real. This fact proves that I have the qualifications of an immortal. If what I have just stated is false, I will surely descend into hell. Sincerely spoken by Zhaxi Zhuoma.”
I hope that virtuous non-Buddhists with deep roots of kindness will also receive this empowerment.
My own experience in receiving and practicing the Mud Pill Dharma of The Supreme and Unsurpassable Mahamudra of Liberation was incredible. I find it difficult to describe in any way that can explain what happened in a believable way. Fortunately, I have the MRI photos that can show the success or fruit of my efforts. I truly believe that these pictures are “worth a thousand words” as far as demonstrating the results, but let me try and tell as much as I can about how they came about. As I have mentioned elsewhere, one does not usually talk about the empowerments and holy inner-tantric initiations one has received. In fact, we are prohibited from doing so according to the dharma. This is an inviolable rule especially with respect to State Practice Initiations. However, I will describe what I am permitted to describe in order to provide non-Chinese speaking people with more specific information about the magnificence of the true Buddha-dharma.
First, it was a beautiful, balmy day. The sun was shining brightly with a slight breeze, providing ideal weather. I sat under a large orange tree next to a calm pool. My assistant sat behind me and was some distance away from me. She faced the opposite direction since she could not witness the ceremony. Of course, I cannot give the particulars of the ceremony itself, but what I can tell you is that my magnificent Master was not in any way near me. His Holiness never touched me or my head before, during or after the ceremony. In fact, my Master was on one side of the yard and I on the other during the ceremony. His Holiness used His mind to accomplish this transmission of the Buddha-dharma to me. His Holiness continued to pray for me while I practiced the dharma. His Holiness prayed that I be a most kindhearted person, that I always benefit all living beings, that I always wish my country and its people be at peace, that I always wish all living beings be free from disasters and hardships, and that I always wish all sentient beings be eternally happy. After I received this dharma, I sat and chanted a certain mantra silently. When I experienced a bright, distinct holy state, I began chanting the same mantra loudly to thank the Emperor of Heaven—also known as the Jade Emperor— for receiving me. My place in the celestial realms as an immortal had been insured. Right then and there my practice of the dharma caused the Emperor of Heaven to descend and open the crown of my head. The wondrous state that appeared before me was extremely clear. There was no doubt that something supernatural had happened!
After the ceremony my Master still did not touch my crown, including the entire time from when I received the dharma until year of 2010 at a medical center where I went to have a MRI image made of my head. Even if the Buddha Master had opened the “Gate of Heaven” on my crown by touching my head, such a power would have exceeded that of all of the Buddhist patriarchs throughout the generations. Even without touching my head, the Buddha Master enabled me to experience the supernatural state through mind transmission alone. I still wondered, “Could this just be an illusion?” It was, after all, an incredible accomplishment. I knew that in ancient times many great sages had devoted their entire lives and resources to achieving this to no avail. Why was I able to realize it?
As soon as I returned from the MRI center, I put the CD of the procedure on a computer. I knew from personally witnessing the beautiful holy state that the ceremony had been a success, but what would the MRI scans show? Would modern medical science be able to see this crown opening? Would the photos record that which is not visible to the naked eye? We were not disappointed. The results were phenomenal! The MRI image showed exactly what should appear according to a discourse given by my Master on this subject—that the Emperor of Heaven connected with me and opened my crown with a hole that was at least an inch wide. The bone around the opening even curved downward to allow for the opening. It was as if the bone had been transformed to a soft wax that could easily be shaped into a different form. Some of the images showed the opening from different angles. It was amazing! Who could believe it? Yet when I looked in the mirror, there was no sign of any change on my crown. No scars, no marks, nothing was visible to the ordinary eye. However, the sophisticated scientific instruments at the MRI center clearly showed a large opening in my crown. It went all the way through the bone into the soft tissue of my brain. It was so amazing. To the average person, this was a miracle! To a holy being, this was supernormal! I now had the body of a holy being and could prove it!
After the image was recorded, I deeply understood that my powers were not yet mature enough. Therefore, I decided to temporarily close my crown to prevent my consciousness from leaving my body and not returning or riding the clouds to heaven before my time has come. That way, I can remain in this world for a while longer. If I abide by the Mud Pill Dharma precepts, I will be received by the Emperor of Heaven and the other celestial beings and be able to continue my study and practice of the Buddha-dharma in paradise. If I become accomplished in the Buddha-dharma in this lifetime, my Da-Le gate will automatically open and I will be able to go to the Buddha-lands. Should I be able to go to the Buddha-lands, the celestial beings will come to escort me there. My Buddha Master is magnificent. I sincerely pray that all living beings have the opportunity to receive this blessed dharma. My gratitude to my Buddha Master is without limits.
[Note: This article was taken from the book H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Is Living in America—Zhaxi Zhuoma Visits the Fifty States of America to Propagate the Buddha-Dharma. ]