Reprinted from the International Daily News:
May 26, 2004 of the Gregorian calendar and April 8th of the lunar calendar was the birthday of Shakyamuni Buddha. The sun over that place in the United States was unusually radiant and beautiful. On a lawn of a religious site surrounded by large blue curtain screens that formed a dignified-looking mandala (Buddhist altar area), great Rinpoches and Huo-Fos, great Dharma Teachers, and great laypersons from all over the world assembled. An unprecedented, wonderful “Highest or Ultimate Form of Bathing the Buddha Dharma Assembly” was taking place. This was certainly not an ordinary, worldly bathing of the Buddha accompanied by chanting that one is used to seeing in temples. On such occasions, the participants merely show their respectful hearts. In contrast, the bathing that took place that day was a true bathing of the Buddha grand assembly. At such a Highest Form of Bathing the Buddha Dharma Assembly, the conductor must have the state of realization of a Buddha or Bodhisattva to invoke the manifestation of holy supernatural sights. At the May 26th assembly, the Buddha personally arrived, the Dharma protecting Bodhisattvas exhibited holy sights, and celestial dragons and other dharma protecting deities laughed in the sky. It was a grand dharma realm assembly in which various holy scenes unimaginable to worldly people appeared. Supreme Vajradhara H.H. Wan Ko Yeshe Norbu, who is the supreme leader of both exoteric and esoteric Buddhism, conducted that assembly and practiced the dharma during that assembly.
The Dharma Assembly was divided into an internal mandala and external mandala. The internal mandala was the central area where the Buddha was bathed. The external mandala was the dharma realm of accomplishment. Eminent monastics and persons of great virtue attended the Dharma Assembly. Those who were part of the internal mandala included Akou Lamo Great Rinpoche, Zhaxi Zhuoma Rinpoche, Dharma Teacher Long Hui, Dharma Teacher Jue Hui, Dage Gongla Rinpoche, Bodi Wentu Rinpoche, Dharma Teacher Kui Zhi, Dharma Teacher Ruo Hui, layman Ciren Jiacuo (Gyatso), Dharma Teacher Miao Kong, Dharma Teacher Baolian, and others. Those who were part of the external mandala included Fuzang Wanghu Great Rinpoche, Yan Long Great Rinpoche, Awang Nuobu Great Rinpoche, Kang Qin Great Rinpoche, Xijao Zhibenge Rinpoche, Yixi Kanbu, Dharma Teacher Cikong, Dharma Teacher Fahai, Dharma Teacher Cixin, Dharma Teacher Haoling, and others.
The dharma stipulates that the purpose of a Highest Form of Bathing the Buddha Dharma Assembly is pouring dharma water that has been used to bathe the Buddha. The ability to pour such dharma water is based upon one’s true level of realization. Pouring such water bathes the celestial beings in the various heavenly realms. It shows that the Buddha blessed the celestial beings in the various heavenly realms, the dharma protecting deities, and the seven types of disciples. Thus, there must be a successful “pouring of water based upon one’s true realization.” Otherwise, it is not a Highest Form of Bathing the Buddha Dharma Assembly.
Additionally, at that Dharma Assembly all seven holy states were manifested. The seven types of holy states are: (1) Wind Celebrates the Mandala, (2) Flowers Rain from a Tree, (3) A Dharma Object Manifests Holiness, (4) A Cloud Provides an Umbrella-Like Covering, (5) Celestial Dragons Laugh Joyfully, (6) A Lama is Given a Sign, and (7) The Color of Dharma Water Is Received.
The successful “pouring of water based upon one’s true realization” is the most important part of such a Dharma Assembly. It is the key aspect of a Highest Form of Bathing the Buddha Dharma Assembly. It is why the name of such a Dharma Assembly contains the words “Highest Form.” Three to five thousand pounds of dharma water are used to bathe the Buddha. After the Buddha is bathed, this water is used to bathe the celestial beings in the various heavenly realms. When bathing the celestial beings, the dharma water must be poured down from the lotus tub used to bathe the Buddha into the tub used to bathe the celestial beings. During the pouring process, one cannot touch the dharma water with any part of one’s body, nor can one use any type of container to be filled with water. That is because the human body and containers are soiled by unclean dust and dirt. People are only allowed to tilt the entire lotus tub used to bathe the Buddha so that water is poured downward.
With such a heavy amount of dharma water in the lotus tub used to bathe the Buddha, how could anyone tilt that tub to pour the water down into the tub used to bathe the celestial beings? One must rely upon one’s Buddha-dharma state of realization. But no more than ten people can attempt to lift the lotus tub used to bathe the Buddha. Otherwise, it would not be regarded as the Highest Form of Bathing the Buddha Dharma Assembly. If the dharma water is not successfully poured into the tub used to bathe the celestial beings, then no matter what types of supernatural holy sights may appear at the Dharma Assembly, it cannot be called a “Highest Form of Bathing the Buddha Dharma Assembly.”
FLOWERS RAIN FROM A TREE
The atmosphere that day at the mandala to bathe the Buddha was holy and solemn. H.H. Wan Ko Yeshe Norbu wore his golden brocade and jeweled robe. His Holiness had an extremely dignified-looking appearance. A golden bronze statue of Dharma Prince Siddhartha stood in the mandala. In the middle of the mandala was a lotus tub used to bathe the Buddha that was 3 feet high, square, and weighed 700 pounds itself without water. Over the middle of that tub was a beautiful lotus flower about the size of a car wheel. Below and adjoining that lotus tub used to bathe the Buddha was a rectangular, one-foot high tub used to bathe the celestial beings. Ninety buckets of fragrant water were also placed in the mandala to be used to bathe the Buddha. The offering water in those buckets was light brown due to the sandalwood, eaglewood, saffron, and other scents that were boiled and added to the water.
At the beginning of the Dharma Assembly, His Holiness practiced Dharma according to Buddhist scriptures. As soon as the Buddha Master began practicing dharma, a tree full of jacarandas (a pale purple flower) immediately began raining flowers. The jacarandas drifted in the golden sunlight and fell all over the mandala and into the ninety buckets of water. Auspicious clouds rolled through the sky. It seemed that the mandala was no longer part of this world. Rather, it seemed like a holy Buddha-land. Flowers rained for more than three hours continuously, starting from the beginning of the Dharma Assembly. Those flowers floated down upon everyone. However, not one petal touched the Buddha Master. When the Dharma Assembly ended, the flowers instantly stopped raining.
In order to express the unity of exoteric and esoteric Buddha Dharma, the Buddha Master did not select a highest-level practitioner of great virtue or a highest-level Great Rinpoche to announce and conduct the rituals and ceremonies of that Dharma Assembly. Rather, His Holiness selected Great Dharma Teacher Long Hui to announce the rituals and ceremonies. Great Dharma Teacher Long Hui is Han Chinese and is Chairperson of the International Buddhism Sangha Association. His Holiness also selected Great Dharma Teacher Jue Hui, Great Dharma Teacher Kui Zhi, Great Dharma Teacher Ruo Hui, and Dharma Teacher Miao Kong to conduct the rituals and ceremonies.
When Great Dharma Teacher Long Hui announced that all Buddhist disciples in attendance should pour fragrant water into the tub used to bathe the Buddha, all of the Rinpoches and Huo-Fos, Dharma Teachers, and laypersons in attendance quickly poured the ninety buckets of light brown fragrant water into the tub used to bathe the Buddha, filling it up completely. Everyone then returned to their seats and respectfully requested that His Holiness consecrate the fragrant water in the lotus tub. The Buddha Master was then seen holding a white Vajra Wheel.
His Holiness approached the lotus tub used to bathe the Buddha and placed that Dharma object (i.e. the Vajra Wheel) into the water. That dharma object is half as thick as a coin and as large as the palm of the hand. The Buddha-dharma stipulates that only a Supreme Vajradhara Dharma King may possess such a Vajra Wheel. After the Supreme Vajradhara Dharma King’s empowerment, the dharma protecting Bodhisattvas in the sky descended upon that dharma object. That dharma object can move around in the dharma water used to bathe the Buddha. It can rise up in the water and sink down into the water. After it does this, the practice of the Highest Form of Bathing the Buddha Dharma Assembly may begin.
Everyone surrounded the lotus tub to see that dharma object. One or two minutes later, everyone indeed saw the Vajra Wheel moving in the water. No one touched the lotus tub. While in the water, that dharma object moved forward and backward, to the left and the right, all on its own. One moment, it sank downward; the next moment it floated to the surface of the water. When the Vajra Wheel was approaching the bottom of the water, many saw red light emanate from the bottom of the Vajra Wheel. That red light was the true fire of samadhi. Many people saw eight dharma protecting bodhisattvas standing on that dharma object. There were also those who saw Mahakala and Sri-maha-devi supernaturally change their forms on that Vajra Wheel. Everyone present was full of dharma joy.
After a dharma object manifested holiness, everyone began to respectfully recite the invocation text. Suddenly, a strong wind began blowing from the west. Trees began to sway and things began to shake in the once peaceful mandala. Jacarandas flew through the air. Everyone was amazed. Indescribable and auspicious dharma joy filled the entire assembly. The world-honored Buddha had arrived in the sky above the mandala to manifest the dharma! Everyone chanted a mantra in unison to respectfully welcome the arrival of the Buddha. That strong wind from the west blew for a period of time and then abruptly stopped. The quietude of the mandala was restored.
An auspicious atmosphere filled the mandala. Amid the sound of everyone chanting a mantra, the holy ritual of bathing the Buddha formally began. Great Dharma Teacher Kui Zhi respectfully lifted the statue of Dharma Prince Siddhartha off the altar and put it on the lotus flower in the middle of the lotus tub. Everyone then respectfully requested that H.H. Wan Ko Yeshe Norbu bathe the Buddha. After His Holiness bathed the Buddha and practiced Dharma, each of the attendees bathed the Buddha three times. Great Dharma Teachers Jue Hui and Ruo Hui wiped dry the statue of the Buddha with a white silk scarf, put a robe on the statue of the Buddha, and placed it back on the altar.
POURING OF WATER BASED UPON ONE’S BUDDHA DHARMA REALIZATION
After the Buddha is bathed, according to the rules and rituals of the Buddha-dharma, it is time to pour fragrant water from the lotus tub used to bathe the Buddha into the lower tub used to bathe the celestial beings. At that time, His Holiness must practice dharma to bathe the celestial beings. According to fixed dharma, the bathing of celestial beings must take place in order for it to be a real Highest Form of Bathing the Buddha Dharma Assembly. Otherwise, the words “Highest Form” should not be used. This is the key factor in determining whether the Dharma Assembly will be completely successful.
Dharma Teacher Long Hui announced the ritual and requested that everyone attempt to lift the lotus tub used to bathe the Buddha so that its fragrant water would pour into the tub used to bathe the celestial beings. All of the attendees stepped forward one after another and attempted to lift it in groups of ten. However, no matter how hard they tried, they could not lift that lotus tub. Later, in violation of the rules, fourteen strong men together attempted to lift that tub. They assumed various postures and used all of their strength to tilt that lotus tub while shouting out a mantra. In the end, their faces turned red, they became exhausted, and they gave up in frustration. They were not able to move that lotus tub one bit. With awkward smiles on their faces, they went back to their seats.
That lotus tub used to bathe the Buddha weighs more than seven hundred pounds. When 90 buckets of fragrant water used to bathe the Buddha were added to this weight, the total weight was 4,260 pounds. Only a large crane could lift that tub. Even world-class musclemen would have no chance of lifting it.
Everyone looked at the lotus tub and felt the situation was hopeless. Great Dharma Teacher Long Hui did not know whether to cry or laugh. She could not announce that the ritual was successfully completed. Under these circumstances, the Dharma Teacher thought of a disciple of His Holiness by the name of Akou Lamo Rinpoche. That Rinpoche is from Tibet and can cause a mani stone to fly through the air. Great Dharma Teacher Long Hui asked Akou Lamo Rinpoche to test her strength and attempt to lift the lotus tub. Akou Lamo Rinpoche said, “I want to select someone to assist me.” She then invited an elder layman who lives in the Unites States, Ciren Jiacuo, to step forward and assist her. Elder layman Ciren Jiacuo has realized the state of prajna emptiness. He constantly abides in the dharmakaya state. His state of realization is extraordinary. He is a person of great accomplishment spoken of in the tapes contained in the silver box.
Akou Lamo and Ciren Jiacuo each held one side of the lotus tub. Upon Akou Lamo’s uttering the mantra “Ong Ah Hong,” they lifted their shoulders. With a roaring sound of cascading water, the lotus tub tilted upward. Holy water used to bathe the Buddha was poured into the tub used to bathe the celestial beings. Upon another uttering of the mantra “Ong Ah Hong,” the two of them again lifted the lotus tub. Like a silver pillar, dharma water poured into the tub used to bathe the celestial beings.
All of the attendees were astonished! They sat there dumbfounded. Fourteen men using all their strength in concert could not move that more than four thousand-pound lotus tub. However, to everyone’s surprise, a young woman and an elderly man seventy years old exhibited their states of realization and lifted that lotus tub for all to see! What a wonderful expression of the true Buddha-dharma, of the power of Vajra! Neither of them has any innate spiritual powers. Under Holiest Tathagatha Wan Ko Yeshe Norbu, they have practiced and learned the true Dharma and have reached a high level of Buddha-dharma realization. That is why they were able to successfully complete the key ritual of the Dharma Assembly— pouring water based upon one’s Buddha-dharma realization. All of the attendees were surprised and praised the two of them highly. Everyone was moved and joyful. That Highest Form of Bathing the Buddha Dharma Assembly was successful precisely because of this holy event.
CELESTIAL DRAGONS LAUGH JOYFULLY
After pure water used to bathe the celestial beings was successfully poured, the His Holiness began practicing the dharma to bathe the celestial beings. As soon as all of the attendees chanted in unison one time the verses relating to bathing the celestial beings, suddenly, a strong wind began swirling. The curtain screens began to bulge and rumble. The tankas hanging on the curtain screens flew upward in a ninety-degree angle from the ground. The poles holding up those curtain screens creaked in the wind as if they were about to break. Even the sandbags used to anchor the curtain screens were turned over and moved by the wind. Two-thirds of the people there heard very loud, low and deep dragon’s roars explode in the air accompanied by the clap of rolling thunder. One-third of the people there only heard the sound of the wind but did not hear the sound of thunder. This all the more proves the magnificence of the Buddha-dharma, since different karmic states manifested at the same time.
At that time, the hot sun was high in the sky. It seemed as if the joyful roars of the celestial dragons shook the sun so that it shined even more brilliantly! The dharma protecting deities came to the mandala where the Buddha was bathed and received a dharma bathing bestowed by the Buddha! At this time, people remembered that a few days before the Dharma Assembly when the curtain screens and dharma altar were being erected, the Buddha Master personally arrived. His Holiness repeatedly instructed everyone to fasten well the foundational support for the dharma altar and curtain screens so that the altar and screens would not be blown over by the wind. A layperson whose last name is Hsu said to the Buddha Master, “The weather station forecasted that there will be no rain or wind for the next seven or eight days.” His Holiness then told everyone, “At the Dharma Assembly, of course it will not rain. However, when I practice the Dharma, a strong wind will blow. There will be strong gusts of wind, especially when all of the Dharma protecting deities arrive and manifest their powerful spirits. Therefore, the foundational support must be fastened firmly.” It is very fortunate that the buddha Master made such a prediction. On the day of the Dharma Assembly, the dharma protecting deities joyfully laughed in the sky. Although there were strong gusts of wind, the dharma altar and curtain screens did not fall.
After the Buddha Master practiced dharma to bathe the celestial beings and the dharma protecting deities, His Holiness instructed everyone to look inside the water to see whether the Vajra Wheel was moving. People were amazed to see that even though those two people with holy virtue and high states of realization lifted the lotus tub and thereby poured Dharma water from a tub weighing more then 4,000 pounds downward into the tub used to bathe the celestial beings, the Vajra Wheel surprisingly did not move in the slightest. The Vajra Wheel remained in its original position. Many people saw eight dharma protecting bodhisattvas standing on that dharma object blowing air upward.
At this time, a rinpoche who weighs 280 pounds beseeched the Vajra Wheel to manifest its powers and eliminate his remaining karmic hindrances. His Holiness agreed to this request and put the Vajra Wheel on that rinpoche ’s chest. At first, that rinpoche felt that the temperature of the Vajra Wheel was cool. His Holiness then began intoning a mantra. With his fingers pointing to the sky, His Holiness lightly snapped his fingers. That rinpoche suddenly let out a miserable scream. He was in such pain his face turned pale. Like the power the Incantation of the Golden Hoop had over the Monkey King in Journey To The West, the Buddha Master’s mantra caused the solemn face of the rinpoche to become distorted from pain he could not endure. It seemed that the rinpoche could not endure the pain. As a result of His Holiness practicing a certain dharma, the Vajra Wheel emitted the true fire of samadhi. Its temperature quickly rose to an extremely high degree. Of course, that rinpoche could not endure such heat.
H.H. Wan Ko Yeshe Norbu then snapped his fingers again, and the true fire of samadhi instantly disappeared. The Vajra Wheel suddenly became cold. That rinpoche immediately returned to his normal condition. He was not injured in the least. However, there remained an imprint of the Vajra Wheel on his chest. His Holiness predicted that after one week a three-dimensional dharma object in relief would grow out of the imprint on that rinpoche ’s chest. That rinpoche was full of dharma joy and thanked His Holiness for eliminating his karmic hindrances. That rinpoche then vowed to do his utmost to benefit living beings.
A CLOUD PROVIDES AN UMBRELA-LIKE COVERING
From the beginning of the Dharma Assembly all the way to its end, a beautiful cloud continuously floated in the sky above the mandala. The shadow of that cloud continuously covered the bronze statue of Dharma Prince Siddhartha. The Dharma Assembly lasted more than three hours. The sun moved westward. That cloud moved together with the sun. It was like an umbrella that served to block the sunlight from the statue of Dharma Prince Siddhartha. However, the sun continued to shine upon the area of the dharma altar only two or three inches from the statue of Dharma Prince Siddhartha.
THE COLOR OF DHARMA WATER IS RECEIVED
The Dharma Assembly ended solemnly. Everyone took some dharma water from the tub used to bathe the Buddha and the tub used to bathe the celestial beings. Suddenly, someone said in a surprised manner, “The Dharma water is changing!” Everyone rushed over to see. They discovered that the ninety buckets of light-brown fragrant Dharma water taken from the tub instantly became clear water. The Buddha and the celestial beings received the merit of that fragrant water. The merit of the Dharma Assembly was wonderful and complete. All of the attendees prostrated and uttered words of praise.
H.H. Wan Ko Yeshe Norbu conducted this Highest Form of Bathing the Buddha Dharma Assembly, a respected event in the history of Buddhism. His Holiness practiced the dharma during this assembly. All seven holy states were manifested. Water was poured based upon the states of realization of those who poured it. Those two people thereby exhibited their extraordinary powers. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and the heavenly dharma protecting deities personally arrived at the mandala and received bathing water bestowed by the Buddha. Various holy states of the Buddha-dharma appeared one after the other. Only this type of magnificent Bathing the Buddha Dharma Assembly is a true Bathing the Buddha Dharma Assembly as stipulated in the dharma. This grand event in Buddhism took place as a result of the good fortune of living beings.
After the Dharma Assembly, one of the two persons with high states of realization who lifted that lotus tub, Akou Lamo Great Rinpoche, requested that the holy lotus tub used to bathe the Buddha be transported to Tibet so that it could serve as an offering in furtherance of Tibetan Buddhism. Great layperson Ciren Jiacuo requested that it be kept in the United States as an offering. In order to be fair, His Holiness had everyone vote on the matter. Akou Lamo Great Rinpoche lost the vote by a ratio of three to two. The United International World Buddhism Association Headquarters will keep that lotus tub used to bathe the Buddha. It will be kept in the United States as an offering.
Dharma Teacher Long Hui then announced that all of the attendees should dedicate the merit of that day’s Dharma practice to a holy person who had recently passed away, laywoman Wang Cheng E-Fen. This holy person was not a follower of another sect. Dharma Teacher Long Hui said that she was, rather, a relative of our most esteemed Master, the Supreme Vajradhara Buddha Master. This holy person followed His Holiness and practiced Guan Yin Bodhisattva Dharma. On May 23rd, she passed away in Xindu, Sichuan, China.
On May 29th, a reporter received a fax from Xindu. After this holy, elder laywoman passed away, unprecedented holy states appeared. Everyone saw the appearance of auspicious, multi-colored clouds. Amitabha Buddha, Guan Yin Bodhisattva, and other Buddhas and Bodhisattvas appeared in the sky. A multi-colored Buddha light appeared in the sky and surrounded the earth. The head of that elderly laywoman radiated a Buddha light. She left behind more than 60 extremely wonderful, firm relics. These relics were both round and rhombic. The discovery of such holy phenomena was unprecedented in the history of Bao Guang Chan Temple, one of the four great temples in China where that laywoman was cremated.
Furthermore, in the afternoon of February 15th of the lunar calendar in the year 1991, Wang Ling-Ze, who was the husband of Wang Cheng E-Fen, stepped outside his house in the Laodong Village of Xindu County. Standing in front of his house, he urged people to be kind and good. He described to people holy sights in the Western Paradise of Ultimate Bliss and told everyone of the true Buddha-dharma. After giving his Dharma talk, he showed his control over his own birth and death. Right then and there, he sat down in the cross-legged posture and passed away. He sat there serenely for seven days. His face was like that of a living person. He was also cremated at Bao Guang Temple. Many holy phenomena appeared during his cremation. After he was cremated, he left behind thirteen firm relics. These two highly virtuous people were very close relatives of H.H. Wan Ko Yeshe Norbu. They learned under His Holiness, received true Dharma from their Buddha Master, and ended the cycle of birth and death.
Reporter Zhuo Ga, June 2, 2004
[NOTE: The translation of certain names have been changed to better reflect current conditions.]