Once upon a time, far away in a deep forest, there was a nation of 80,000 monkeys. They had a king who was unusually large, as big as a fawn. He was not only big in body, he was also ‘large in mind’. After all, he was the Bodhisatta — the Enlightenment Being.
One day, he advised his monkey nation by saying, “My subjects, there are poisonous fruits in this deep forest, and ponds possessed by demons. So if you see any unusual fruit or unknown pond, do not eat or drink until you ask me first.” Paying close attention to their wise king, all the monkeys agreed to follow his advice.
Later on, they came to an unknown pond. Even though they were all tired out and thirsty from searching for food, no one would drink without first asking the monkey king. So they sat in the trees and on the ground around the pond.
When he arrived, the monkey king asked them, “Did anyone drink the water?” They replied, “No, your majesty, we followed your instructions.” He said, “Well done.”
Then he walked along the bank, around the pond. He examined the footprints of the animals that had gone into the water, and saw that none came out again! So he realized this pond must be possessed by a water demon. He said to the 80,000 monkeys, “This pond is possessed by a water demon. Do not anybody go into it.”
After a little while, the water demon saw that none of the monkeys went into the water to drink. So he rose out of the middle of the pond, taking the shape of a frightening monster. He had a big blue belly, a white face with bulging green eyes, and red claws and feet. He said, “Why are you just sitting around? Come into the pond and drink at once!”
The monkey king said to the horrible monster, “Are you the water demon who owns this pond?” “Yes, I am,” said he. “Do you eat whoever goes into the water?” asked the king. “Yes, I do,” he answered, “including even birds. I eat them all. And when you are forced by your thirst to come into the pond and drink, I will enjoy eating you, the biggest monkey, most of all!” He grinned, and saliva dripped down his hairy chin.
But the monkey king with the well-trained mind remained calm. He said, “I will not let you eat me or a single one of my followers. And yet, we will drink all the water we want!” The water demon grunted, “Impossible! How will you do that?” The monkey king replied, “Each one of the 80,000 of us will drink using bamboo shoots as straws. And you will not be able to touch us!”
Of course, anyone who has seen bamboo knows there is a difficulty. Bamboo grows in sections, one after another, with a knot between each one. Any one section is too small, so the demon could grab the monkey, pull him under and gobble him up. But the knots make it impossible to sip through more than one section.
The monkey king was very special, and that is why so many followed him. In the past, he had practiced goodness and trained his mind with such effort and attention, that he had developed very fine qualities of mind. This is why he was said to be ‘large in mind’, not because he simply had a ‘big brain’.
The Enlightenment Being was able to keep these fine qualities in his mind, and produce a very unlikely event – a miracle. First, he took a young bamboo shoot, blew through it to make the knots disappear, and used it to sip water from the pond. Then, amazing as it may sound, he waved his hand and all the bamboo growing around that one pond lost their knots. They became a new kind of bamboo.
Then, all his 80,000 followers picked bamboo shoots and easily drank their fill from the pond. The water demon could not believe his green eyes. Grumbling to himself, he slid back under the surface, leaving only gurgling bubbles behind.
Yun Sculpture is a new form of art that H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III created for humanity. It has never appeared before in history. Since the advent of Yun sculptures, artwork that can never be duplicated has appeared for the first time in the human world.
H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III created these miraculous sculptures containing mysterious mist in order to make people around the world understand the magnificence of the True Buddha-dharma. These miraculous works can be seen and touched. However, they cannot be created by anyone who is not a being of the highest holiness.
The mysterious mist in these sculptures can be found floating among wondrously carved, seemingly changing, and intriguingly interconnected hanging rock formations. Why is such art called sculptures containing mysterious mist? It is because in those sculptures there is the mysterious and beautiful scene of auspicious mist swirling in between hanging rock formations. This is a manifestation of the realization of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III in the craftsmanship vidya and the inner realization vidya.
In the treasure room of International Art Museum of America, there is a sculpture entitled “Mysterious Boulder With Mist.” After carving the material into the form of an oval boulder, H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III created two grottoes inside the boulder, each of which contains its own scenery. When you look inside the right grotto, you will see thick mist enveloping everything. The structure of the carved scenery inside this hole is vague, since it cannot be clearly seen through the mist. You are left with the impression that the mist is a few dozen yards deep inside the hole when it is actually only three or four feet deep. When you look inside the left grotto, you will see that there is no mist at all. You will clearly see the structure of the carved scenery inside this hole. The material used to carve those two grottoes was the same, the colors applied to both of them were the same, and their depth is the same. The carving skills and inner-realization of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III caused this mysterious phenomenon of one side containing thick, enveloping mist and the other side containing no mist at all.
Mysterious Boulder with Mist
It is no wonder that people praise these sculptures containing mysterious mist as the only form of art in human history that contains natural mist. People also praise them as unique and precious masterpieces that cannot be found in nature. These works of art are one type of sculpture created by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III.
Many people have been astonished by the breathtaking beauty of Yun sculpture artwork created by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. They spoke heartfelt words, such as, “This is a treasure sent to the human world from God,” “This is a holy object from a Buddha-land brought here by a Buddha,” “Its beauty captures people’s souls,” and “Since the appearance of Yun sculptures, earthly jewels are like stars surrounding a bright Moon, losing all their color and splendor.” This is indeed true. Some people brought the most exquisite jade and jewelry as well as splendid stone sculptures for comparison. All of those objects immediately lost their beauty and luster when compared with Yun sculptures. There is a world of difference between those objects and Yun sculptures. None of those objects can be regarded as being in the same category as Yun sculptures.
In the Tang Dynasty, there was a peculiar Zen master. He didn’t even have a Dharma name, and his practice was very special. He did not live in a temple. He settled himself in an awning like a bird nest on the top of a pine tree. People called him “the Zen Master of the Birdsnest”. Many visitors hiked to the remote forest to seek the monk’s wise advices.
Bai Juyi, was a very famous Chinese poet, also a high level officer at that time. One time, Bai Juyi traveled long distance to visit the Zen Master. He asked Zen Master Birdsnest, “Can you tell me what is the most important thing the Buddha ever said?”
The Zen master replied, “Don’t do any bad things, and do all the good things.”
Bai Juyi thought this answer is far too simple, he sneered, “Even a three-year-old can say this.”
Zen Master Birdsnest said: “Although a three-year-old child can say it, but an eighty-year-old man still finds it very difficult to do it.”
Master Qinluan was a famous Japanese Zen master. At the age of nine, he made up his mind to become a monk and asked Zen Master Cizhen to shave his ordination for him. Zen Master Cizhen asked him, “Why do you want to become a monk when you are so young?” Qinluan said: “Although I am only nine years old, my parents have both died. I don’t understand why people must die. Why must I be separated from my parents? Therefore, I must become a monk and explore these truths.”
Zen Master Cizhen said: “Very well. I’m willing to accept you as a disciple. However, it’s too late today, so I’ll shave you tomorrow morning.” Qin Luan said, “Master! Although you said that you will shave me early tomorrow morning, I am still young and ignorant. I can’t guarantee whether my determination to become a monk will last until tomorrow. Besides, Master, you are so old, you can’t guarantee that you will even wake up tomorrow morning!” After listening this words, Zen Master Cizhen was surprisingly happy, and said joyfully, “Yes! What you said is absolutely right. Now I will shave for you!”
Three Moves by Mencius’s Mother
Mencius, was a famous scholar well-known for his erudition. He was one of the greatest representatives of Confucianism in ancient China.
He had a great mother, who really focused on education. Once his family lived near a graveyard when he was a child. Therefore, he often played near the grave and imitated people’s crying or digging the tombs. When his mother saw this, she said: “It’s not a good place for a child to live in.”
His mother moved the family to a house near a market. Soon Mencius began to amused himself by imitating peddler’s hawking and bargaining. His mother found this place still not good for a child to live in. She decided to move away again.
At last they settled down near a school. Mencius quickly began copying the students’ reading and writing. He also took pleasure by imitating the sacrificial rites on ceremony and formalities of courtesy. He became more polite and hardworking. Then his mother said: this is a good place for a child !.
Ever since I heard that Namo H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha IIIand Fomu, Holy Mother the Great Mahasattva, entered parinirvana, I felt my dreamy plan shattered. For many years I have thought: I will definitely die before Buddha enters parinirvana, and Buddha will kindly deliver me to the Pure Land — West paradise. Now that Buddha has entered parinirvana, what should I do with the matter of my own death? This woke me up, and I asked myself what Dharma I have learned that can help me on this. I remembered I haven’t listened to the Dharma discourses for a while, and have not touched the Dharma books lying on the altar for several months.
It was time for me to earnestly read the Buddha’s Dharma books and listen to the Buddha’s discourses. A small booklet, “Learning from Buddha”, I have read many times. We even had a group study on it. And Buddha required every disciple to study it, and to always bring it whenever we have the chance to see Buddha. I thought I completely understood the book, and that I always followed Buddha’s teaching in my daily cultivation. But I was so wrong, for until now I realize that I didn’t even understand what is pure land. In the book, Buddha clearly told us: a member of any of the Buddha-land worlds does not have the slightest dark karma or impure karma in his conduct. That is why those worlds are called Buddha-land worlds of pure karma. For example, the pure land of Amitabha Buddha is the Western World of Ultimate Bliss , which is also called the Pure Land. The Eastern World of Lapis Lazuli is called a Pure Land of Peace and Bliss. It is also a pure land.
There are as many as ten trillion such worlds, which are called the rigorously pure Buddha-lands. What is called “rigorously pure Buddha-lands” means that they are rigorously governed, and pure karma is mandatory. There is not an iota of contamination; only absolutely pure karma. Dark karma is forbidden. The pureness is due to good karma and merit. The pureness is due to the state of holy beings there who have ended cyclic birth and death. Those are called the pure lands.
I felt I was so foolish and ignorant. I had dreamed that Buddha will kindly deliver me to the pure land after I die on this earth. I did not ponder to myself if I was really qualified to be a member of pure land. Do I still have a mind of selfish thoughts, a mind of differentiation, hatred, greed, jealousy, presumptuousness, arrogance, or shamelessness, a mind that considers oneself always in the right, or a mind that deceives others? If evil or bad people carrying impure karma could ascend to a pure land, there would long ago have been nobody left in this world. Everybody would have gone to the World of Ultimate Bliss. The World-Honored One also would not have taught people to practice the Ten Wholesome Behaviors and the Four Limitless States of Mind. The Buddha would simply have come to receive people, sending both the good and the bad ones to a pure land.
I felt ashamed that I have read this book many times before, but failed to introspect and examine myself; I always falsely considered myself as truly following Buddha’s teaching. Yet, indeed I did not. Today I searched deeply for the reason why. It is because I still didn’t attain a state of mind that truly fears impermanence, thus I could not establish a firm mind that gives rise to thoughts of leaving the cycle of reincarnation. I still naively and selfishly wish to rely upon Buddha’s great compassion to re-birth in the pure land, to live a grand, wonderful, blissful life. In pure land I can learn from Buddha and all the holy beings without any worries, struggling, sufferings… only well-being and happiness. I deeply and sincerely repent that I treated Buddha’s teaching so lightly, and didn’t use my mind and heart to think carefully about Buddha’s teachings, let alone to practice Buddha’s teachings correctly.
After this several days continually study the book, I finally understood if I want to go to pure land, I must completely cleanse my own dark karma by being patient under humiliation and adversity and cultivating myself, practicing the Ten Wholesome Courses of Action, practicing the Four Limitless States of Mind and Six Paramitas, and arousing bodhicitta. Following the simple and easy guidance from Buddha in daily life: “Before I went to sleep at night, did I think of anything unbeneficial to living beings? Did I think about doing those things? Did I think of doing something not good to others for the sake of myself, my children, or my relatives? Did I think of doing something not good to my fellow brothers and sisters? Did I crave credit or merit for myself? If I did, I must repent at once, I must correct myself!” By doing that every day, I will naturally and gradually become purified and will become a great holy person.
I have no excuse for not doing “the three daily introspections”, because I want to leave the death and birth cycle. I want to go to the pure land, and when I become a holy being, I will come back to this Saha world to help other people and living beings to reach the liberation. I deeply feel the great compassion of the Buddha. He never tires of repeating the Dharma for us –foolish beings. He never tires of helping us to reach the enlightenment and liberation.
Great compassionate Buddha and Fomu, Holy Mother the Great Mahasattva! Thank you boundlessly for using your life to sound the alarm of impermanence for me. And thank you boundlessly for using your life to bring Buddhist disciples the extraordinary cause and condition to study the Tathagata Dharma. I vow to use my own real actions to wash away my sins, and benefit all beings with compassion and pure goodness in order to repay Buddha’s grace!
Great compassionate Buddha and Fomu, Holy Mother the Great Mahasattva! I, a disciple, still want to hold on to a glimmer of hope and beg you all to return to the Saha world and give us foolish beings another chance!
Green Tara (Jetsun Drolma) statue from the Gyantse Kumbum Pagoda, Pelkor Chode Monastery, Gyantse, Tibet
H.E. Tangtong Gyalpo Bodhisattva (1361-1485)
It is through the understanding and practice of the Buddha-dharma that one becomes a holy person–a living jewel. Sainthood in Buddhism has a somewhat different meaning than that held in Christianity although both refer to people who live an exceptionally holy life, are very compassionate, and can demonstrate certain “miracles.” In Buddhism it also means one who has become enlightened—been liberated from the cycle of reincarnation and all its related suffering. The Christian saint aspires to be born in the Christian heaven, but this is not the goal of a Buddhist. A Buddhist saint is one who has escaped samsara or existence all together and gone beyond what is possible in the heavenly realms. A Buddhist saint would live in the Dharma realms or wherever he choses to be to help living beings. A saint in Buddhism is one who, like the Buddha, has become enlightened and realized his or her original nature, possessing the skills and wisdom of a Buddha. They have gained control over life and death and are thus liberated from the cycle of reincarnation. This is true happiness!
In Buddhism saints may not lead what is normally thought of as a “conventional” life. There are many examples of Buddhist saints who exhibited most unorthodox (“deliberate“) behavior. Examples of these kinds of happy, crazy saints are Han-shan and Shih-te, eccentric Ch’an (Zen) hermit-monks from Tang Dynasty, as well as Monk Ji-gong and Birdnest Roshi, but there are many others including the crazy yogis of Tibet like Padmasambhava, Virupa, Manjusrimitra, Tsang Nyon Heruka, and Tangtong Gyalpo. Saints can manifest in innumerable forms and may appear as humans or animals or live in other dimensions.
Japanese hanging scroll by Hashimoto Gaho of Han-shan and Shih-te (Kanzan and Fittoku), eccentric Ch’an (Zen) hermit-monks from Tang Dynasty, whose poetry is popular in the west.
It is important to know that one cannot fully understand what takes place on higher levels of the path. For example, those on the first Bodhisattva stage do not know about what takes place on the second Bodhisattva stage and so on up the path. Those on the second Bodhisattva stage see those on the first Bodhisattva stage as having impurities. Even those on the tenth Bodhisattva stage see those on the ninth Bodhisattva stage as having certain impurities. It is natural that the impurities and obscurations of those on the lower levels would be greater than those at the higher levels. Nevertheless, those who are kind and benefit others can guide and transform living beings no matter where they are on the path. However, ordinary beings and those at the lower levels of the path cannot possibly understand the behavior of true holy beings.
The key features of the various paths to becoming a holy being are summarized in the chart “The Way to Become a Holy Being or Saint.” It is useful to think of these paths as stages on the way to becoming a Buddha. It is interesting to note that the other world religions are also included as initial stages on the way to buddhahood in as much as they teach compassion, loving kindness, some aspects of morality, and discourage evil. Some also teach various forms of training the mind in meditation. Bodhisattvas do not only incarnate as Buddhists to help living being. The three pure precepts of Buddhism—cease evil, do good, and help others—can be practiced in many forms.
You must remember that ALL sentient beings are evolving toward the perfection of being a Buddha, whether they know it or not, and whether at the moment they may be very confused and behaving in foolish or even evil ways. This includes the minions of Mara and the demons of hell as well as the devas or gods in heaven.
From ancient times to the present, the art of making frames has existed in the East, the West, regions of different nationalities, among the general population and within imperial palaces. There have been many kinds of frames for pictures, paintings, and other forms of art. There are truly unique, beautiful, and elegant art frames displayed in International Art Museum of America, located in San Francisco downtown, that I never seen at anywhere else before.
H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III, the artist created sculpted art frames in the style of various natural elements. Examples of this include frames made in the style of ganoderma lucidum (a type of hard dark brown fungus supposed to possess supernatural powers), tropical plants that wind around trees, coral, ancient-looking unearthed cultural relics, white and green jade, and winding vines, faux withered vines, faux tree roots, faux white jade, faux old wood, faux spotted jade, faux ganoderma lucidum, faux red coral, etc. All frames there are artistic fascinating.
The ganoderma lucidum art frames are formed by putting together many of those hard mushroom-type fungi. Of course, such frames are not composed of real ganoderma lucidum. Rather, the ganoderma lucidum in such frames are created from carving and application of colors. The shapes of the Ganoderma lucidum are connected together on the wooden frame to form an exquisite, integrated shape. Those ganoderma lucidum have the same color, air, and shape of real ganoderma lucidum. Furthermore, rare thousand-year-old ganoderma lucidum, old hundred-year-old ganoderma lucidum, and new tender Ganoderma lucidum are interconnected to form an elegant and charming appearance. Many ganoderma lucidum mushroom caps and mushroom stems are interconnected in a beautifully rhythmic manner. The interchange between substance and emptiness, highness and lowness, largeness and smallness, and thickness and thinness creates a highly elegant appearance.
The faux green jade art frames have an ancient-looking green jade color to them that is steady and elegant. This color is not stale or old-fashioned in the least. Rather, it is a natural combination of refined blackish green and sprightly verdant, although there is not much verdant hue. This color expresses the essence of old jade that has slowly matured over thousands of years, with a vigorous and spirited quality that is clearly seen. This refined green jade color will every now and again reveal a lustrous white, like the color of the feathers of immortal cranes. Such a mixture of hues truly transcends all traces of the mundane. The color green alone could be further divided into many different types based upon its various hues. There is aged green, light green, blackish green, glossy dark green, pastel green, verdant, fresh green, deep green, translucent green, etc. There actually are countless gradations of green in these art frames, all of which are natural looking. All of these various shades of green interconnect and interact so naturally there is not the slightest sign they were created by man. Therefore, it is difficult to fathom how the creator of these frames could harmonize these colors so masterfully, fittingly, flawlessly, and beautifully.
Each and every detail of the frames in the museum, expresses an extremely natural quality in both form and spirit. Some frames are devoid of the dark spots or broken parts that natural objects have after being exposed to wind, frost, rain, and snow. His Holiness has developed to a perfect degree the depiction of the fleeting beauty that natural treasures display during their growth process. Simply put, the worth and prestige of any painting mounted to those frames will increase tremendously.
One of the deities most frequently seen on altars in China’s temples is Quan Yin (also spelled Kwan Yin, Kuanyin; in pinyin, Guanyin). In Sanskrit, her name is Padma-pâni, or “Born of the Lotus.” Quan Yin, alone among Buddhist gods, is loved rather than feared and is the model of Chinese beauty. Regarded by the Chinese as the goddess of mercy, she was originally male until the early part of the 12th century and has evolved since that time from her prototype, Avalokiteshvara, “the merciful lord of utter enlightment,” an Indian bodhisattva who chose to remain on earth to bring relief to the suffering rather than enjoy for himself the ecstasies of Nirvana. One of the several stories surrounding Quan Yin is that she was a Buddhist who through great love and sacrifice during life, had earned the right to enter Nirvana after death. However, like Avlokiteshvara, while standing before the gates of Paradise she heard a cry of anguish from the earth below. Turning back to earth, she renounced her reward of bliss eternal but in its place found immortality in the hearts of the suffering. In China she has many names and is also known as “great mercy, great pity; salvation from misery, salvation from woe; self-existent; thousand arms and thousand eyes,” etc. In addition she is often referred to as the Goddess of the Southern Sea — or Indian Archipelago — and has been compared to the Virgin Mary. She is one of the San Ta Shih, or the Three Great Beings, renowned for their power over the animal kingdom or the forces of nature. These three Bodhisattvas or P’u Sa as they are know in China, are namely Manjusri (Skt.) or Wên Shu, Samantabhadra or P’u Hsien, and Avalokitesvara or Quan Yin.
Quan Yin is a shortened form of a name that means One Who Sees and Hears the Cry from the Human World. Her Chinese title signifies, “She who always observes or pays attention to sounds,” i.e., she who hears prayers. Sometimes possessing eleven heads, she is surnamed Sung-Tzu-Niang-Niang, “lady who brings children.” She is goddess of fecundity as well as of mercy. Worshiped especially by women, this goddess comforts the troubled, the sick, the lost, the senile and the unfortunate. Her popularity has grown such through the centuries that she is now also regarded as the protector of seafarers, farmers and travelers. She cares for souls in the underworld, and is invoked during post-burial rituals to free the soul of the deceased from the torments of purgatory. There are temples all over China dedicated to this goddess, and she is worshiped by women in South China more than in the North, on the 19th day of the 2nd, 6th and 9th moons. (For example, it is a prevalent birth custom in Foochow that when a family has a daughter married since the 15th day of the previous year, who has not yet given birth to a male infant, a present of several articles is sent to her by her relatives on a lucky day between the 5th and 14th of the first month. The articles sent are as follows: a paper lantern bearing a picture of the Goddess of Mercy, Quan Yin, with a child in her arms, and the inscription, “May Quan Yin present you with a son”; oysters in an earthenware vessel; rice-cakes; oranges; and garlic.) Worshipers ask for sons, wealth, and protection.
She can bring children (generally sons, but if the mother asks for a daughter she will be beautiful), protect in sorrow, guide seamen and fishermen (thus we see her “crossing the waves” in many poses), and render harmless the spears of an enemy in battle. Her principal temple on the island of Putuoshan, in the Chusan Archipelago off the Zhejiang coast near Ningbo, is a major pilgrimage site sacred to the Buddhists, the worship of Quan Yin being its most prominent feature on account of the fact that the Goddess is said to have resided there for nine years, reigning as the Queen of the Southern Seas. The full name of the island is P’u t’o lo ka, from Mount Pataloka, whence the Goddess, in her transformation as Avalokiteshvara, looks down upon mankind. Miao Feng Shan (Mount of the Wondrous Peak) attracts large numbers of pilgrims, who use rattles and fireworks to emphasize their prayers and attract her attention. In 847, the first temple of Quan Yin was built on this island. By 1702, P’u Tuo had four hundred temples and three thousand monks, and was the destination of countless pilgrims. (By 1949, however, P’u Tuo was home to only 140 monasteries and temples.)
No other figure in the Chinese pantheon appears in a greater variety of images, of which there are said to be thousands of different incarnations or manifestations. Quan Yin is usually depicted as a barefoot, gracious woman dressed in beautiful, white flowing robes, with a white hood gracefully draped over the top of the head and carrying a small upturned vase of holy dew. (However, in the Lamaistic form, common in bronze from eighteenth-century China and Tibet, she is often entirely naked.) She stands tall and slender, a figure of infinite grace, her gently composed features conveying the sublime selflessness and compassion that have made her the favorite of all deities. She may be seated on an elephant, standing on a fish, nursing a baby, holding a basket, having six arms or a thousand, and one head or eight, one atop the next, and four, eighteen, or forty hands, which which she strives to alleviate the sufferings of the unhappy. She is frequently depicted as riding a mythological animal known as the Hou, which somewhat resembles a Buddhist lion, and symbolizes the divine supremacy exercised by Quan Yin over the forces of nature. Her bare feet are the consistent quality. On public altars, Quan Yin is frequently flanked by two acolytes, to her right a barefoot, shirtless youth with his hands clasped in prayer known as Shan-ts’ai (Golden Youth), and on her left a maid demurely holding her hands together inside her sleeves known as Lung-nü (Jade Maiden). Her principal feast occurs yearly on the nineteenth day of the second lunar month. However, she is fortunate in having three birthdays, the nineteenth of the second, sixth and ninth months. There are many metamorphoses of this goddess. She is the model of Chinese beauty, and to say a lady or a little girl is a Kwan Yin is the highest compliment that can be paid to grace and loveliness.
According to one ancient legend her name was Miao Shan, and she was the daughter of an Indian Prince. Youthful and serene, she chose to follow a path of self-sacrifice and virtue, and became a pious follower of Buddha, herself attaining the right to buddhahood but remaining on earth to help mankind. In order to convert her blind father, she visited him transfigured as a stranger, and informed him that were he to swallow an eyeball of one of his children, his sight would be restored. His children would not consent to the necessary sacrifice, whereupon the future goddess created an eye which her parent swallowed and he regained his sight. She then persuaded her father to join the Buddhist priesthood by pointing out the folly and vanity of a world in which children would not even sacrifice an eye for the sake of a parent.
Another Miao Shan legend was that the son of the dragon king had taken the form of a carp and was caught by a fisherman and displayed for sale in the market place. Miao Shan sent her servant to buy the fish and released it.
As related in yet another legend Quan Yin was said to be the daughter of a sovereign of the Chou dynasty, who strenuously opposed her wish to be a nun, and was so irritated by her refusal to marry that he put her to humiliating tasks in the convent. This means of coercion failed, and her father then ordered her to be executed for disobedience to his wishes. But the executioner, a man of tender heart and some forethought, brought it about that the sword which was to descend upon her should break into a thousand pieces. Her father thereupon ordered her to be stifled. As the story goes, she forthwith went to Hell, but on her arrival the flames were quenched and flowers burst into bloom. Yama, the presiding officer, looked on in dismay at what seemed to be the summary abolition of his post, and in order to keep his position he sent her back to life again. Carried in the fragrant heart of a lotus flower she went to the island of Putuo, near Ningbo. One day her father fell ill and according to a Chinese custom, she cut the flesh from her arms that it might be made into medicine. A cure was effected, and in his gratitude her father ordered her statue to be made “with completely-formed arms and eyes.” Owing to a misunderstanding of the orders the sculptor carved the statue with many heads and many arms, and so it remains to this day.
The image of this divinity is generally placed on a special altar at the back of the great Shakyamuni Buddha behind a screen, and facing the north door, in the second half of the Buddhist monastery. Quan Yin is also worshiped by the Taoists, and they imitate the Buddhists in their descriptions of this deity, speaking in the same manner of her various metamorphoses, her disposition to save the lost, her purity, wisdom, and marvel-working power.
From early Ch’ing times to the present, many thousands of statues of Quan Yin have been carved in jade. The Maternal Goddess, the Protectress of Children, the Observer of All Sounds, Quan Yin is a favorite figure in domestic shrines. As well, her image is carved on small jades which Chinese women offer faithfully at the temples dedicated to her. She also is the single most important figure crafted in blanc de Chine ware, with approximately nine out of every ten figures from Dehua representing that divinity in one or other of her manifestations. (The Quan Yins often were described to European purchasers as “white Santa Marias,” so as to make them more desirable to a Christian market.)
In the past, and even in some places today, people have had superstitions. One such is that a large or unusual tree is inhabited by a tree god, or some kind of spirit. People think that they can make a promise to this tree god, so he will help them in some way. When they think the god has helped them, then they must keep their promise.
Once upon a time, in the city of Kasi in northern India, a man came upon a large banyan tree. He immediately thought there must be a go
d living there. So he made a promise to this tree god that he would perform an animal sacrifice, in return for a wish being granted.
It just so happened that his wish was fulfilled, but whether by a god or a demon or by some other means — no one knows. The man was sure the tree god had answered his prayer, so he wanted to keep his promise.
Since it was a big wish, it called for a big sacrifice. He brought many goats, mules, chickens and sheep. He collected firewood and prepared to burn the helpless animals as a sacrifice.
The spirit living in the banyan tree appeared and said, “Oh friend, you made a promise. You are now bound by that promise. You think you must keep the promise in order to be released from the bondage to it. But if you commit such terrible unwholesome acts, even though promised, the unpleasant results will put you in much greater bondage. For you will be forced to suffer those results in this life, and even by rebirths in hell worlds! The way to release yourself into future deliverance is to give up unwholesome actions, no matter what!
“And furthermore, since you think I’m a true god, what makes you think I eat meat? Haven’t you heard that we gods eat better things, like ‘ambrosia’ or stardust or sunbeams? I have no need of meat or any other food offerings.” Then he disappeared.
The foolish man understood the mistake he had made. Instead of doing unwholesome deeds that would force unhappy results on him in the future, he began to do only wholesome deeds that would benefit himself and others.
The moral is: Keeping a bad promise is worse than making it.
United International World Buddhism Association Headquarters Announcement 20170101: The Result From The Holy Test Is Published
To help Buddhist cultivators select a kind and knowledgeable guru from whom they can learn, the United International World Buddhism Association Headquarters has held public exams to people of the master level for two years. We wanted to select someone virtuous, who practices cultivation, who has dharma power, and who knows Buddha Dharma. There have been a total of 11,657 Buddhists from all over the world who came to register for the test, including Dharma listening masters, Dharma transmitting masters, the venerable ones, dharma kings, rinpoches, dharma masters, and laymen. Three thousand two hundred seventy-three people formally entered the written test on Sutra, Vinaya, and Sastra, consisting of one hundred problems, and there were only 1,085 people who had the final qualification for taking the holy examination.
This Headquarters held the holy test on the foundation of the one-hundred-question written test on Sutra, Vinaya, and Sastra. Those questions test the correct understanding and correct teaching of Sutra, Vinaya, and Sastra. Now we show a few example items as follows:
Are the viewpoints of Buddhism the same as those of the other religions? Is Buddhism a god-worshiping system (神仰論)? Or is it not a god-worshiping system (非神仰論)?
What is the relationship between the power of prajna wisdom and mantras?
Explain the origin and effects of concentration and wisdom.
Briefly describe the theoretical concepts of Prajna (般若), Madhyamaka (中觀) and Kosa (具舍); what are their commonality and contradictions?
Describe the pros and cons of 1. The view of total annihilation and 2. The view of permanence. Which way is accurate?
What differentiates the esoteric sect from the exoteric sect?
Briefly explain beliefs, vow, practice, precept, concentration, and wisdom.
What is the goal of Zen meditation? What exactly is to obtain?
What constitutes the Three Spheres (三界)? What is the Dharma Sphere (法界)?
What is the cause within the effect* (果中之因)?
What is the mind of false thoughts (妄念心)? What is the state of prajna wisdom (般若智境)?
Explain why the Supreme and Unsurpassed Mahamudra of Liberation surpasses the fast track of attaining accomplishment by way of Zen, Pure-land, and Esoteric Buddhism.
Explain what exactly is attaining Buddhahood in Bardo (中陰成佛) of the Intermediate Existence Dharma Gate (中有教授).
What is the Unconditioned Dharma (無為法)? What is Conditioned Dharma (有為法)?
Explain the effects of the Dharmas Fangyankou (放焰口lit. almsgiving to hungry ghosts), Homa Fire Offering (?護摩火供), Rite of Water and Land (水陸法會), Chöd (施身法), and Vajra Faman (金剛法曼)
What are the views regarding liberation for the Consciousness Only Dharma Characteristics School (唯識法相)? What are the differences among the Huayan School (華嚴宗aka. Avatamsaka), the Vinaya School (律宗), and the Agama School (阿含宗)?
What does each of these terms mean: Dead Emptiness* (頑空), Small Emptiness (小空), Grand Emptiness (大空), Empty Emptiness* (空空), Emptiness of Annihilation (寂滅空), True Emptiness (真空), or the Eighteen types of Emptiness (十八空)?
What is the evidential measure* (現量) and inferential measure* (比量) of hetu vidya? What are the wisdom of the known state (已知境智) and the wisdom of the unknown state (未知境智)? What is the non-duality wisdom* (無二智)?
List the Five Initiations of Esoteric Buddhism. In each of them, who is the administer of the initiation? Are they inner tantric, outer tantric, or holy tantric?
Describe in general what Zen, Concentration, Samatha (Cessation), and Vipassana (Contemplation) are. What are the effects of the Four Levels of Zen Meditation and the Eight Levels of Concentration (四禪八定)? What are the effects of the Three Bodies and the Four Wisdoms (三身四智)?
Explain in detail what the View of Natural Wisdom* (自然智見), the View of External Emptiness* (他空見), the Emptiness of Self (我空) vs. the Emptiness of Dharma (法空), and the Emptiness of Others (人空) vs. the Emptiness of Dharma (法空) are. What are the differences? Which sects or schools are they originated from?
What commentaries did each of Nagarjuna (龍樹), Aryadeva (提婆), Dinnaga (陳那), Candrakīrti (月稱), Vasubandhu (世親), Asanga (無著), Sankarasvamin (商羯羅), and Buddhapālita (佛護) primarily write? What are the primary viewpoints in each of those commentaries?
Having answered the one hundred problems in the written test, one can then enter the holy test. In the Holy Test, Famen Gongyu (法門宮羽) is used as the Zejue (i.e., Determination by Holy Selection) Dharma to determine the qualification of the person. The central part of the test takes place in the Samsara Eight-wind Array and the Vajra Array, which can be either the grand array or the lesser array. The Holy Test of the Eight-wind Array or the Vajra Array is witnessed by seven holy masters and ten witnesses, as well as many other disciples who are also taking the test. The test is conducted in the conditions of collectiveness, openness, fairness, and equality. It is just like having a rock on the ground where everyone can try to pick it up equally. Some people can pick it up in the first and second times but fail in the third time, some can pick it up for the first time but cannot do it the second time, and some cannot even pick it up for the first time.
For example, we encircle a parcel of land that is about 20,000 square feet with a rope. Although only a string separates the area and everyone can see the ground very clearly, some test candidates who have enough levels can walk in, but others who do not have enough levels cannot step beyond the rope. Some may even collapse in a faint outside the land before the string. All the test candidates can watch and monitor one another.
The various guru levels or levels of holiness and virtue identified as a result of the test by the array formation include Gold Button Level 3, which is a Great Holy and Virtuous One, such as Wangzha Shangzun. Wangzha Shangzun presided over the entire test on site of the array. A person of Gold Button Level 3 is called Shangzun and belongs to the Great Holy Virtuous Class. They are a non-retrograde Bodhisattva. They do not need to take the test, but since Wangzha Shangzun is the one administering the tests on-site of the array, to lead by example, He proactively requested to take the test.
A person of Gold Button Level 2 is called Jiaozun and belongs to the Holy and Virtuous Class. One who is of Gold Button Level 1 is called Ruzun and also belongs to the Holy and Virtuous Class. Below the Gold Button levels are the Blue Button levels, the highest of which is Blue Button Level 3 with Two Black Buttons and is called Dade (pronounced as dah-duh), or a Great Virtuous One. The next level down is Blue Button Level 3 with One Black Button; It is called Xuande (pronounced as shu-ann-duh); the next level down is Blue Button Level 3 and is called Runde (pronounced as ru-en-duh), the next one down is Blue Button Level 2 and is called Zengde (pronounced as zeng-duh), the next one down is Blue Button Level I and is called Xingde (pronounced as shing-de). It is already not easy to have the suffix ‘de’ in one’s title, which means the virtuous one in Chinese. There is no more level below Xingde, and the range of guru’s qualifications ends. Even those people who are a Xingde, who have only passed for Blue Button Level 1, must have made evident gains in their learning from Buddha and cultivation, or they must have a Dharma-listening center to benefit people. They must do good deeds and have good virtue to be a Xingde. Therefore, even though they are only at Blue Button Level 1, they are also worthy of people to learn from them.
On December 31, 2016, the tests which had been held in public by the United International World Buddhism Association Headquarters for two years formally ended, and no more registration will be accepted for the test. What we are especially telling people is that only Shangzun, the Great Bodhisattva of Gold Button Level 3, and all levels above are non-retrograde. Other than Them, all others can regress in their learning from Buddha and practice of cultivation by falling in the 128 evil and erroneous views. Therefore, this Headquarters will hold random drawings for annual re-examination. The purpose of doing that is to guarantee the safety of those who learn from Buddha and practice cultivation to guard them against being misled by a retrograde master.
At present, there is only one Shangzun of the Great Holy and Virtuous Class who is spreading the Dharma in the world, and He is Wangzha Shangzun, the Great Holy and Virtuous One. All other Shangzuns are not publicly spreading Buddha Dharma. In terms of the Jiaozun Class, there are only two who have passed that level. Both of them are propagating the Dharma, but they do not have any disciple. For the Holy and Virtuous Ruzuns, there are only four of them, and only one has disciples and is spreading the Dharma. The other three do not have any disciple. For the Dades, or those who have passed for Blue Button Level 3, there are only two of them, and they both are doing Buddhist work. None of them has any disciple. There are seven who passed Blue Button Grade III with One Black Button. Except for two who are doing Buddhist work without having any disciple, the other five have disciples and have set up Dharma-listening centers. There are thirteen who passed Blue Button Level 3. All of them have disciples and have set up Dharma-listening centers. Fifty-eight people passed Blue Button Level 2. They all set up Dharma-listening centers, and basically, all have disciples. Very many passed Blue Button Level 1. Some have disciples, and some only have Dharma-listening centers.
Wangzha Shangzun specially admonishes the masters who have passed the levels: “First, congratulations on your obtaining various levels from the test. However, I must caution you one thing. Why is H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III against determining one’s level using the holy test as a final means? I have now realized that, even though the Holy Test can determine the class of one’s guru qualification most accurately through the holy selection and it has made contributions to guarding Buddhist cultivators against evil masters and swindlers, it is impossible for a master to attain accomplishment through it. If you want to attain accomplishment and be liberated, you must listen to the Dharma impartation by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III, you must understand the Buddha books by His Holiness the Buddha, and you must cultivate yourself and learn Dharma according to the teachings. Only then can you attain accomplishment. Remember, you are a Buddhist. That is, you are the disciple of Shakyamuni Buddha and Buddhas in the ten directions. I am not your master of levels. I, too, am cultivating myself, following the teachings of my benevolent Dorje Chang Buddha Master and Shakyamuni Buddha. Therefore, I hope that you all do everything that is good and not do anything that is bad and really abide by Buddha’s teachings to cultivate yourself and benefit all living beings. Only so can you finally attain accomplishment and liberation, and that is the ultimate purpose.”
People be aware! If you find someone who has taken the test but does not wear Dharma attire with the corresponding level buttons, then it says this master has regressed. He or she is not one who truly practices cultivation and learns from Buddha but is a cheater who deceives people under the disguise of Buddhism! It is because this master is worried that his or her disciples could see he or she doesn’t really have a high level, which is not the same as what he or she had bragged about him or herself before. They will find that this master is already a retrograde cheater in nature. That is why he or she does not wear the attire with the corresponding level buttons completely and hopes he or she can last as long as possible and deceive as many people as possible. Also, in another case, some people had registered for the test but never dared to show up. Some people took the written test but failed so miserably and did not qualify to enter the main examination. Therefore, they have no corresponding level button to wear. Those people do not belong in the range of guru qualifications. We hope they can continue to strive forward and become a virtuous one someday soon.
To prevent some masters from committing the evil conduct where they purposely do not wear the corresponding level buttons so that they can deceive disciples by faking to be real or high level but are false and low level, this Headquarters now publish the result from the holy test. You can inquire at the United International World Buddhism Association Headquarters about the tangible results of those ones of virtue from the test starting from January 15, 2017. The inquiry telephone number is +1-626-789-1001, and the inquiry email is email@example.com.
United International World Buddhism Association Headquarters
January 1, 2017
(Translated by Zunba; last edited 2020-05-30)
Translator’s note: (*) requires further confirmation in word choices
United International World Buddhism Association Headquarters
Announcement No. 20160102: The definitive sense of the level from the test and the robe that indicate one’s Dharma capability and accomplishment
To protect Buddhist disciples from falling prey to deceit and lies, it is decreed that the master, whom Buddhist disciples prostrate themselves to, must take the test to determine their status. The test tells whether they are holy or ordinary and what level of accomplishment they have attained. The test result is given per the Dharma rather than the person; It is based on the definitive meaning, not the provisional meaning. No matter how high the status a Buddhist holy person is, it only counts if they have taken the test. If they dare not take the test, it proves that there are severe problems with that master, whom you must not trust even if their fame is higher than the sky.
Unless being determined by the exam, no matter what a venerable, dharma king or a certified reincarnated rinpoche one professes to be is not trustable. Additionally, a person can gain or recede according to whether their cultivation is good or bad before reaching the stage of a non-retrograde Bodhisattva. Consequently, they don’t have the definitive status of accomplishment, even if they may have the nirvana path-fruit (泥丸道果), had their crown opened deep and wide via the Vajra Change-body Zen (金剛換體禪), can show the Tummo Samadhi (拙火三昧) power, can have their consciousness exit the body, or can practice a Dharma to invite a Bodhisattva to manifest holiness and empower the disciples.
The Vajra Faman Selection Dharma (金剛法曼擇決), the Knowing in Advance and Foretelling Dharma (先知預言), or the Selection From One Hundred Dharma Bright Gates in Total Darkness Dharma (百法明門黑關擇決) must be performed to verify a master’s status and realization capability with 100% certainty. Otherwise, that master must have passed the test through the Vajra Array or the Eight-wind Array to get the corresponding level and the robe.
Unless that master can prove themselves by showing the even higher Dharma ability to Establish Mandala Through A Stone Slab (隔石建壇), or by being able to perform the Holy Inner-tantric Initiation, where the disciple holds a Vajra Ball that is as big as a pea in their hand and the master stands five meters away from the disciple. The master practices the Dharma to make the Vajra Ball in the hands of the disciple go through a holy transformation or dance. Any other miraculously manifested phenomenon is not a component of divine accomplishment. But to concretely tell the master’s level of capability, their level from the test and the robe must be checked for confirmation. Only then can their level of ability be known. The following are the details to ascertain the real status of a master definitively:
First, the people taking this year’s test to examine their actual Buddhist status must go through the one-hundred-problem written test on Sutra, Vinaya, and Sustra. Then they must be verified through Famen Gongyu (法門宮羽) to get the certificate of eligibility for the test before they can be qualified to take the holy test. If they can get the certificate of eligibility for the test, but their score from the written test is too low, they cannot take the holy test either.
There are two ways to take the holy test. The first is to write all your strong suits in one document and take one test on all of them. The second is to separately write your items and take a test on each one of them independently. Especially for Blue Button Level 3, which is a fundamental and critical level before advancing up to the Gold Button level, there can be three different types of indication. If one gets Blue Button Level 3 in one test, one can only get three blue buttons. If one retakes the test and gets Blue Button Level 3 again, then one will add a small black button in addition to the three blue buttons that one has already had. If one takes the test for the third time and gets Blue Button Level 3 again, then one adds yet another small black button. In that case, there will be three blue buttons and two little black buttons, totaling five buttons. The master is called Blue Button Level 3, having the status of the Runde.
If you still have more independent strong items that you would like to take the test on, in such a case, you cannot take the Blue Button test anymore. Instead, you will receive the advanced test for the Gold Button. You will then write all the items you have been tested on for the Blue Button Level 3 in one combined document and take the test for Gold Button Level 1 directly. If you fail to pass the Gold Button test, your previous Blue Button level will still be kept. If you pass the Gold Button test, then you will add one gold button to your robe, which maintains the original three blue buttons and two small black buttons, amounting to a total of six buttons. You will become a Holy and Virtuous One of Gold Button Level One.
If you see a master having only three blue buttons, it says that the master has only passed the test for Blue Button Level 3 once. If you see three blue buttons and an additional small black button, it says that the master has passed the test for Blue Button Level 3 twice on two separate items. If you see three blue buttons and two small black buttons, then it says that master has passed the test for Blue Button Level 3 three independent times, each on a different item. It is tough to obtain Blue Button Level 1 from the test. You may only be able to find one such person in two to three thousand Buddhist cultivators. Blue Button Level 2 is naturally higher than Blue Button Level 1, and all who have Blue Button Level 3 have the Runde status, which is extremely rare. It is hard to find one such person among one thousand masters or rinpoches. The Gold Button levels are the rarest among the rarest.
But all the masters taking the test must especially clearly understand that the headquarters has detailed records of everyone who comes to take the test for people to check. The Holy Test Inquiry Team will tell your test results factually to whoever is inquiring but will not expose your score from the written test on the Sutra, Vinaya, and Sustra. We will reply with how many times you have taken the test, and in each time which item you receive the test as well as what level you obtained, whether or not you were engulfed in the Samsara Black Region (輪迴黑界), whether you were unable to enter the Safe and Auspicious Region (平安吉界) that was right in front of you and fell to the ground or as soon as you had entered the Safe and Auspicious Region, you were pushed out of it by the eight winds, and whether you fell to the ground unconsciously and your flesh was hauled out by the four great guardians, but you recovered to safety by the master presiding over the mandala who practiced Dharma to save you.
Except for the robe a master wears, the United International World Buddhism Association Headquarters also issue a Certificate of Level that corresponds to the attire to the master who has achieved the level. If you find that the level and the certificate don’t match, then the robe the master wears is an act of falsehood and lying.
Additionally, we solemnly inform you that this holy and virtuous team will guarantee, with holy and virtuous righteousness, to everyone who calls or emails to inquire with us. We will keep the secret for you and will not reveal which master you are inquiring about or have inquired about.
This public announcement is now published.
United International World Buddhism Association Headquarters