The first time I saw this Chinese ink painting, I cried from the bottom of my heart. What a wonderland beyond this world, how I wish I could live there! It gave me the deep impression of otherworldliness, leisureliness and tranquility. This place is not for ordinary people, it is the place for the holy hermits living untethered from the world. The painting seems like a clear spring flowing through my body and purifying my soul. People have said: a good painting is like a fine poem, like a beautiful song. Looking at this transcendental art piece, I could hear the elegant Chinese classic music “River flowing down from the tall mountain”, and see the gentle pleasant whisper of the clouds sweeping through the forest. It also reminds me one of the Cold Mountain’s poem:
Clambering up the Cold Mountain path, The Cold Mountain trail goes on and on: The long gorge choked with scree and boulders, The wide creek, the mist blurred grass. The moss is slippery, though there’s been no rain The pine sings, but there’s no wind. Who can leap the world’s ties And sit with me among the white clouds?
Here you can see the artist combined different kinds of painting skills: center brush-tip technique, side brush-edge technique, large-scale freehand brush work, splash-ink technique and fine brush stroke. The mountain scenery was painted with black ink and heavy hues of green. This artwork not only preserves traditional painting skills but also manifests the realistic effect of modern Western oil paintings.
In Chinese paintings, it is very difficult to apply the perspective technique, with its three-dimensional look, to paintings in which the center brush-tip technique is used to express scholarly charm. However, this painting combines four different elements: the three-dimensional perspective technique together with the scattered perspective technique, the splash-ink technique with lines freehand brushwork, and realism. Attributes from both Chinese and Western paintings form a single stylish charm. It depicts a pristine rural setting, a land accompanied by mountain, river, sun and moon spirits. One regards a place as home when one has cherished feelings toward the local customs and conditions of that place. Wouldn’t you like such a home?
Healing viday is one part of the Buddhism five vidyas. Healing vidya is not only the ability to heal the diseases of humans, but also the ability to fix or heal anything that goes wrong with any non-sentient things or any sentient beings. Whenever people mention H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Wan Ko Yeshe Norbu Holiest Tathagata’s accomplishments in the healing vidya, they all praise the incredible healing power of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III .
Venerable Long Zhi Tanpe Nyima Renpochi is one of the great disciples of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. He is at the side of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III all year round, serving as an attendant of His Holiness. He transcribes and organizes the recorded Dharma discourses of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. He has witnessed many holy miracle feats. He ever told two true stories about the greatest healing power of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III that he personally experienced at the spot.
“The first incident was when the Buddha Master wrote a poem on Chinese calligraphy paper for each of the ten faux jade plates. The calligraphy of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III is a model for others, and His Holiness has formed his own style of writing. His calligraphy is elegant, exhibits no attachment, and is free from defilements of the mundane world. Every piece is exquisite.
In order to have the calligraphy carved on the giant wooden boxes containing the faux jade plates, I brought the Buddha Master’s original calligraphy to Kinko’s to make copies. I selected Kinko’s because their machine can make copies the size of four feet or larger. Because the calligraphy was on rice paper, which tends to be fragile, no matter how careful I was, when I got to the third piece of calligraphy, the inevitable thing still happened: The printer jammed the whole piece of paper. I asked the Kinko’s technician to turn off the machine. He tried really hard to get the paper out of the machine. It was all torn into pieces with ink smudges. The writing was badly torn and smudged. As a result, I dared not copy the rest. I then brought them back.
At that time, it was night already; yet, the Buddha Master was just having his lunch. The Buddha Master saw the pieces and said to me, “After I finish my meal, I will heal it.” It ended up that the Buddha Master cleaned the exquisite piece of calligraphy. His Holiness restored it to its original perfect condition. One couldn’t see that it was put together from pieces. I don’t know how the ink stains disappeared. The strange thing is that whenever raw rice paper comes into contact with water, the paper will loose its structure or disintegrate. How, then, was it possible for the Buddha Master to clean the ink stains that were already blended with the writing? Nevertheless, this was what happened!”
“The second incident happened in December of 1998. A fellow disciple, Heng Sheng Rinpoche from Taiwan, bought a printer that could print an A4size photo directly from a video camera. He brought it to Shenzhen to offer it to the Buddha Master, H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. When it was brand new, we printed some photos and they came out great. At that time I was the only one who operated the machine. Later, all the prints came out with lines through them or with patches of color so that they no longer looked like photos. It was possible that I had accidentally touched a key somehow and reprogrammed the printer.
I followed the manual myself and tried to adjust it. It still didn’t work. The Buddha Master criticized me because of this. No matter how hard I tried, I still couldn’t make the machine get back to normal. With no more options, I called Heng Sheng Rinpoche and asked him to consult the manufacturer. The next day, we paid the manufacturer’s technician to make a special trip from Hong Kong to Shenzhen to fix the machine. In the beginning, the technician seemed very confident of himself. He didn’t seem to care much. Then, he started to get upset because after a long time of trying, the printout still looked the same as it did when I had tried earlier. When it was getting dark, he had to head back. If he stayed any longer, he would not be able to get back to Hong Kong. Before he took off, he said that this machine was the newest product of Mitsubishi and had just come out. This was the only one in the whole of south-east Asia. He couldn’t fix it. The only way was to take it back to the manufacturer’s headquarters in Japan.
Yet, we were in a hurry to print an A4 size photo with it. It was obvious that it would be too late to take it back to Japan for repair. Under such circumstance, the Buddha Master said to me, “Let’s check what’s wrong with it.” (This is roughly what His Holiness meant. I cannot recall exactly what His Holiness said.) The Buddha Master then sat on the sofa that was placed next to the wall. I sat on the floor, and the printer was placed right next to me. The Buddha Master was usually very busy. His Holiness would not normally do things like this. His Holiness first asked me how this machine worked. I reported to the Buddha Master about all the function keys on the machine, how they worked, and what numbers needed to be keyed in to print out a photo. Four sets of numbers were needed for each photo, and every set of numbers could have more than ten variations. The choices could go up into the hundreds. It was several times more complicated than a safety box combination. After the Buddha Master listened to this, His Holiness told me to key in a set of numbers. It still came out only lines.
Next, the Buddha Master told me another set of new numbers. After I keyed in the numbers, the print turned out better. Yet, we could still see colored lines. After the Buddha Master saw it, His Holiness had me again key in another set of new numbers. This time, when it printed half way, it was all black, like black paper. The Buddha Master uttered a roar, and said, “Good. Good. All right. It is successful!” I was puzzled. I thought, “Just this awful sheet of black paper? How can this be successful?” It was very strange because all the colors were gone, and only a mass of black was left. At this time, the Buddha Master said, “Hurry up and key in xx, xx, xx, xx.” After I keyed in these four sets of numbers, I immediately printed out the photo. Just when it came out a little bit, I already could see the true and beautiful colors of the photo. The result was exactly what the Buddha Master had predicted. It was a very good photo. The quality of the photo was the same as the one we printed out on the day the machine arrived. The most bizarre thing was that the Hong Kong technician and I also tried this set of numbers. However, why couldn’t it print out a photo at that time?
I remember very clearly this photo. It was a photo of the Buddha Master’s disciple, Daxila Rinpoche. Daxila Rinpoche is a Dharma King of the Kagyu Xueba sect. He is a solemn, great virtuous one who has reached a very high level of accomplishment. At that time, I wrote down those numbers on the back of the photo as a record.
Karmic conditions change constantly. It is a pity that I couldn’t take this memorable printer with me as I wished when I left Shenzhen. This has also proved the Buddha’s teaching: All conditioned phenomena are like a dream, an illusion, a bubble, and a shadow. I believe that this incident can give us much to ponder. First, this is a machine that had just been invented. Second, even the manufacturer’s technician could not fix it. Third, the Buddha Master only tried three times. In addition, His Holiness concluded that His Holiness would succeed after a piece of paper was printed out all black. This is foreseeing the future! This is the manifestation of the highest Buddha-dharma wisdom, complete proficiency in exoteric and exoteric Buddhism, and wondrous mastery of the Five Vidyas. What else can it be?”
I am truly grateful for Venerable Long Zhi Tanpe Nyima sharing these amazing Buddha Dharma manifestations. In Buddhism sutra said “The wisdom of the Buddha pervades everything”, it is so very true. Hope all sentient beings has the good karmic affinity to encounter the true Buddha Dharma, to cultivate themselves and reach liberation.
An old Chinese saying goes, “There are three hundred and sixty trades, and every trade has its master.” Jill Perez, a doorman of 35 years at the Christie‘s Auction house, is a perfect proof of these words. Anyone could be an expert in their profession through their efforts.
Jill Perez was an ordinary child born in a poor family in the black area of New York. Because of poor family circumstances, Jill started working as a security guard when he was very young, earning a meager salary to subsidize his family. But fortunately, Jill’s company is the world-renowned art auction house Christie’s company. After working diligently as a security guard for a year, the boss solemnly handed over the key of the warehouse door to Jill. You know, the company’s warehouses hold valuable auction items from all over the world, and Jill could keep the keys, which shows the company’s trust in him.
Jill have worked for several years and there has never been any difference. When the seniority was enough, the boss wanted to promote him to the supervisor of the warehouse, but surprisingly, Jill refused on the spot, because he prefers to work with people eagerly, and to look after the warehouse alone, which really does not fit his personality.
In this way, under Jill’s voluntary application, he became a concierge in charge of sliding doors for guests. Although this job had to stand upright for a whole day, it was very hard, but Jill enjoyed it. Of course, Jill is not perfunctory at this simple job, showing 100% enthusiasm. In order to make each guest feel enthusiasm and warmth, he forced himself to write down the name, appearance and basic life experience of each guest. In this way, when sliding the door, he can say a cordial sentence: Welcome, Mr./Madam!
Every day on the way to work, he is practicing more natural greetings. Every supper, he asks his wife to test himself, and strives to imprint the appearance of every guest in his mind.
Time flies, Jill’s outstanding performance has made countless guests feel as warm as a spring breeze, and has also earned Christie’s a lot of goodwill.
Until the company is about to hold a grand auction in London, the superior attaches great importance to this event, hoping to select a receptionist who knows all the artists and guests. The result was chosen, only Jill had this extraordinary ability.
But Jill’s child is only three weeks old, and the small family cannot do without him. Because of the backbone, Jill declined the request of his boss. Unexpectedly, the boss was resolute and asked Jill to go to London with his wife and children, and the company was responsible for settling his wife and children.
On the day of getting off the plane, someone from the company drove an extended Lincoln to pick up them. Although Jill understands that this is the company’s emphasis on this event, the feeling of being respected is so wonderful that it makes him even more convinced that his efforts are correct.
At this event, Jill put on a gorgeous tuxedo, but he said that the back of the tuxedo was very uncomfortable, and he was not as good as when he was a doorman. Jill did not fail the company’s trust and became a perfect part of the event. Since then, his work has remained the same, and it has not caused any waves.
After 35 years of conscientious work, Jill finally ushered in the day of retirement. He thought he would leave the market in such a bleak manner, but unexpectedly, the company gave him a big surprise.
The leader held a grand farewell banquet for him alone, and praised Jill at the banquet: Jill has been in the company for 35 years. During this period, he has seen the changes in the company and the price of art Ups and downs, but never lost the heart to treat customers warmly. Not only that, the leader also announced on the spot that Jill will retire as a “vice president” and enjoy a pension at the vice president level and various benefits.
The story of such a humble person is always more touching than the successful case of a wealthy son. Jill finally set a great example to young people: Treat work and life with enthusiasm and sincerity, and life will not treat you badly. In fact his story is very inspiring; it makes people reevaluate the definition of success. Success does not just mean wealth, power and fame, it also simply means one can enjoy and try their best to fulfill the responsibilities one has in their life.
Once upon a time the Bodhisattva – the Enlightenment Being – was born into a high class family in northern India. When he grew up he gave up the ordinary desires of the everyday world and became a holy man. He went to the Himalayan Mountains where 500 other holy men became his followers.
He meditated throughout his long life. He gained supernatural powers – like flying through the air and understanding people’s thoughts without their speaking. These special powers impressed his 500 followers greatly.
One rainy season, the chief follower took 250 of the holy men into the hill country villages to collect salt and other necessities. It just so happened that this was the time when the master was about to die. The 250 who were still by his side realized this. So they asked him, “Oh most holy one, in your long life practicing goodness and meditation, what was your greatest achievement?”
Having difficulty speaking as he was dying, the last words of the Enlightenment Being were, “No Thing.” Then he was reborn in a heaven world.
Expecting to hear about some fantastic magical power, the 250 followers were disappointed. They said to each other. “After a long life practicing goodness and meditation. our poor master has achieved ‘nothing’.” Since they considered him a failure, they burned his body with no special ceremony, honors, or even respect.
When the chief follower returned he asked, “Where is the holy one?” “He has died,” they told him. “Did you ask him about his greatest achievement?” “Of course we did,” they answered. “And what did he say?” asked the chief follower. “He said he achieved ‘nothing’,” they replied, “so we didn’t celebrate his funeral with any special honors.”
Then the chief follower said, “You brothers did not understand the meaning of the teacher’s words. He achieved the great knowledge of ‘No Thing’. He realized that the names of things are not what they are. There is what there is, without being called ‘this thing’ or ‘that thing’. There is no ‘Thing’.” In this way the chief follower explained the wonderful achievement of their great master, but they still did not understand.
Meanwhile, from his heaven world, the reborn Enlightenment Being saw that his former chief follower’s words were not accepted. So he left the heaven world and appeared floating in the air above his former followers’ monastery. In praise of the chief follower’s wisdom he said, “The one who hears the Truth and understands automatically, is far better off than a hundred fools who spend a hundred years thinking and thinking and thinking.”
By preaching in this way, the Great Being encouraged the 500 holy men to continue seeking Truth. After lives spent in serious meditation, all 500 died and were reborn in the same heaven world with their former master.
Since ancient times, Buddhists all over the world celebrate Buddha’s birthday by using fragrant water to bathe the image of the infant Buddha. There is great significance in the act as the fragrant water is poured over the statue of the infant Buddha three times.
It symbolizes the cleansing of our body, speech and thoughts to eradicate anger, greed and ignorance in order to purify our minds to cultivate merits and wisdom.
The universal message is that “it’s easy to wash away physical dirt, but much more difficult to cleanse one’s inner impurity of greed, anger and ignorance”. This is the true meaning of the Bathing of the Buddha Ritual.
Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike are welcome to partake in this significant ritual which involves kneeling in front of the baby Buddha with sincerity and pouring water over the shoulder three times by saying:
Bill Porter lived for three years in the early seventies as a Buddhist monk in Taiwan where he began his translations of poetry by the famous Chinese poet-recluse Cold Mountain. Porter’s mentor in this undertaking was the Buddhist scholar and translator John Blofield. After leaving monastic life, he married a Chinese woman and continued his translation work. Years later, Porter began the first of many long journeys in mainland China that he chronicled for radio audiences in Hong Kong and Taiwan. He produced over 1,100 short programs about different Chinese locales, embellishing his narratives with details from Chinese history and culture. In recent years he has focused on China’s great Zen monasteries, traveling to scores of the remaining abodes of famous ancient Zen teachers.
Porter’s main books of translation, published under the name Red Pine, include The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma (North Point Press), The Zen Works of Stone House (Mercury House), The Clouds Should Know Me by Now: Buddhist Poet Monks of China (Wisdom Publications), and his latest, The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain (Copper Canyon). Road to Heaven: Encounters with Chinese Hermits (Mercury House) is published under the name Bill Porter because it is not a book of translation. This interview was conducted in Ukiah, California, north of San Francisco, by ANDY FERGUSON.
Tell me about your background and how you became interested in Buddhism.
My dad was a bank robber. He and his gang were knocking off banks in the South and worked their way north to the Michigan area. There they got in a shoot-out with police. All the robbers were killed except my dad, who was wounded in the knee and lost his kneecap. Then, of course, he went to prison. In the meantime, the family farm down South got sold and when Dad got out he used his portion to get into the hotel business in Texas. He then became a top hotel magnate and the family got very rich. So my childhood was one of wealth, with maids and big homes. First we lived in L.A., then later we lived near Coeur D’Alene in Idaho.
Dad bought Bing Crosby’s house. He liked Democratic Party politics and actually became head of the Democratic Party in California. He toyed with the idea of running for office, but he had this problem with his background, so he’d just get himself nominated for different offices and then turn down the nomination. Eleanor Roosevelt nominated my dad, Arnold Porter, to be President of the United States on national TV at the 1956 Democratic Convention. The Kennedy brothers, Ted and Robert, used to visit our house. John never came there, but when he was in the White House Dad used to get drunk and call him on the phone. He’d just do it to show off to us kids. My sister and brother and I went to fancy private schools, but even at a young age I hated it all. It was so phony, with everyone caught up in wealth and ego and power. It all seemed to me to be so hollow. Later, my dad divorced my mother and subsequently we lost everything. It all went into receivership. My sister and brother had a very difficult time learning to live without lots of money. But as for me, I was actually relieved when this happened. After some unsuccessful stints in junior college I served for three years in the Army as a clerk in a medical unit in Germany, and when I got out the GI Bill paid for my college education at UC Santa Barbara. When I encountered Buddhism, I didn’t have any problem understanding exactly what it was talking about. The whole thing was quite clear to me. After four years of college, I could have gone further into graduate school, but at that point all I wanted to do was become a Buddhist monk.
You’re recognized as an authority on Chinese religious culture not only among many Westerners, but among Chinese as well. For example, the head of the mainland Chinese Buddhist Association, Abbot Jing Hui of Bailin Monastery, has directed his head monk Minghai to translate your English book Road to Heaven: Encounters with Chinese Hermits into Chinese. Many Chinese learn about their traditions from you. In this case, your book is a window on the phenomenon of Chinese hermits. Talk about the perception of hermits in China and whether it is very different from our regard for them in the West.
The hermit tradition is actually one of the most important parts of Chinese society. We [in the West] almost always think of hermits as misanthropes, as people who want to step out of, and have nothing to do with, society—whereas in China the hermit has always been seeking the wisdom with which to guide society. My conversations with hermits in China led me to conclude that [for them] seclusion was like going to graduate school. Afterwards they can teach. Seclusion did not necessarily mean individual seclusion. It could also occur in a relatively secluded monastery. Persons who could “break the mold” and become teachers almost always required a period of seclusion for maturation. The Zen tradition represented one aspect of this tradition by producing these individuals en masse. You almost never hear of anybody who became a teacher by just working their way up through the ranks of an organization. This was true not only in Zen, but among other Buddhist schools such as Pure Land or T’ien-t’ai. It was true in Taoism as well. There was an awareness that to bring the teachings they had learned to fruition, individuals needed to be alone with them, and so Chinese hermits have been doing that. Nowadays, when I visit my hermit friends, I often find Chinese Communist officials visiting them too. One woman hermit I visited had six Communist officials in her hut, seeing if they could do anything to help her out. The Chinese previously maintained, and have recently revived, an awareness that these people were doing society a lot of good. They’re like a mountain stream that brings fresh water down into town. The water eventually reaches the town, no matter whether you pipe it down or it comes down as a spring.
In your book, Road to Heaven, it’s notable that at least one-half of the hermits you interviewed were women. How do you account for there being so many women hermits in China?
One of the reasons is because of the inequality between the sexes in China. It was a major decision for a family to allow a son to enter the clergy, since a son represented the parents’ social security. For daughters to marry out of the family, however, was expensive. It also represented a loss of labor to the family. Plus, the family had to make a big dowry payment. So it’s been easier for women to leave home to become hermits or enter religious orders for this reason. Sixty to seventy percent of the hermits I interviewed were women. It was very unlikely for a family to let a single son become a monk because he wanted to become one. If there was an extra son, however, it might be considered a good religious investment to let him become a monk.
You have a new book on the poetry of Cold Mountain out now. How did your interest in Cold Mountain come about and how did you come to translate his work?
I lived at a monastery in Taiwan run by Dharma Master Wuming, Chiang Kai-shek’s personal teacher. He gave me a copy of Cold Mountain poems that he had published. I liked them so much that I translated them myself. After I had done 150 of them, I wanted to publish them but didn’t know how to go about it. An Australian friend saw a lot of books on my bookshelf by John Blofield and said, “Why don’t you send them to him and ask him what to do with them?” So I did. John Blofield kindly answered my letter and we then began a relationship. Eventually I published three hundred of the poems and John Blofield provided the foreword for the book. Now, with my latest book, I’m revisiting those poems. It hadn’t occurred to me when I did the first book that when you translate a poem you have to write a poem.
I know that seems obvious, but it hadn’t really occurred to me. Now, after fifteen years, I feel I can translate a poem as a poem.
A hermit poet you’ve written about who had profound influence, not only in China, but also in Korea, was the Chinese Zen master Stone House. Can you talk about his place in the hermit tradition and why he came to have such a widespread influence?
Well, he was one of the exceptional Zen students who became a poet. Stone House had a genius for poetry that is unique. I’ve always said that he was the greatest of all the Chinese Buddhist poets. And although he was a hermit, he was a Zen teacher, too, and he taught individuals through his poetry. Stone House loved the hermit tradition, but managed to attract people to his hermitage just as if he was living downtown. He is a good example of how the hermit tradition affects society. By staying up on his mountain, he was able to affect the course of Zen in Korea. A prominent Korean monk came and studied with him at his hermitage and then took the robe and bowl of Stone House back to his country and established the Chogye Order, Korea’s main Zen tradition.
So Stone House was able to affect people by being a hermit, and his influence as a teacher was bound up in his skill as a poet. There were Zen masters in China who were his equal or even his superior in their Zen understanding, but nobody wrote a better poem.
What was it like to visit the place where Stone House lived?
One of the things I always try to do in China is “revisit the scene of the crime.” I go to the sites associated with figures that I admire. On one trip, I sought out the mountain where Stone House lived as a hermit. In the last five hundred years a road was actually built to the top of the mountain and now there’s a military electronic relay installation there. Within a few minutes after we arrived we were surrounded by the authorities there. But as soon as I whipped out my published translations of Stone House’s poems along with the original Chinese, the officer in charge told the soldiers to put away their guns. He then got out his machete and personally led me through the undergrowth to an old farmhouse made of rocks on the mountain. He said, “This is where those poems were written. When we moved here it used to be a little Buddhist temple.” There was a farmer living there who confirmed that this was where Stone House lived. The spring was still flowing right behind the hut, the only spring on the mountain. It was just remarkable to go to a site where someone you know lived a long time ago and find the same old hut there, with only a few bricks replaced or the roof having been repaired after falling in six or seven times since he lived there. That’s what I love to do in China. I love to visit these old places.
It sounds like the Chinese officer in charge was quite interested in helping you.
Even though there’s religious oppression going on in China, it is mainly a political oppression. It doesn’t have anything to do with the underlying cultural appreciation that remains with the people of China, even with the Communist Party officials at the local level. It goes to show that despite fifty years of Communist rule, the Chinese people themselves have an amazing appreciation for their own culture, their history, and the religions of China.
At the time of the ancient living Buddha, there was an old beggar woman called by the name “Relying on Joy.” She would watch the kings, prince, and common peoples make offerings to the Buddha and his disciples. There was nothing she would have liked more than to be able to do the same. One day she went out begging, but at the end of a whole day all she had was one small coin. She took it to the oil-merchant to try to buy some oil. He told her that she could not possibly buy anything with so little money. But when he heard that she wanted the oil to make an offering to Buddha, he took pity on her and gave her the oil she wanted.
The beggar woman took the oil to the monastery, where she lit a lamp. She placed it before the Buddha, and made this wish: “I have nothing to offer but this tiny lamp. But through this offering, in the future may I be blessed with the lamp of wisdom. May I free all beings from their darkness. May I purify all their obstructions and lead them to enlightenment.” Over time that night, the oil on all the other lamps went out. But the beggar woman’s lamp was still burning at dawn, when the Buddha’s disciple Maudgalyayana came to collect all the lamps. When he saw that one was still alight, full of oil and with a new wick, he thought: “ There is no reason why this lamp should still be burning in the day time.” And he tried to blow it out.
But it kept on burning. He tried to snuff it out with his fingers, but it stayed alight. He tried to smother it with his robe, but it still burned on. The Buddha had been watching all along, and said: “ Maudgalyayana, do you want to put out that lamp? You cannot. You cannot even move it, let alone put it out. If you were to pour the water from all of the oceans of this world over this lamp, it still wouldn’t go out. The water in all the rivers and lakes of the world could not extinguish it. Why? Because this lamp was offered with devotion and with purity of heart and mind. And that motivation has made it of tremendous benefit.” When the Buddha had said this, the beggar woman approached him, and he made a prophesy that in the future she would become a perfect buddha, called: “Light of the Lamp.”
In our own lives, we must remember that it is the source of our motivation that determines the significance of our deeds. After all, it is easier for a rich man to give than for a poor man to give the same amount. It is difficult to give something of immense value, or if that something is everything you have, just to help someone who is more in need. You can help someone, but maybe in the back of your mind you are thinking: If I help him, I will reap some benefits from this myself. Or you can help someone, knowing that you are giving your time, energy or possessions without any expectation of benefiting yourself. The latter should be our motivation. Remember: it is not only actions that demonstrate the good that we do, but the motivation behind our actions.
H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Wan Ko Yeshe Norbu Holiest Tathagata was awarded the title of “Master of Oriental Art” at year 1991. The representative presenting that award praised H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III for restoring the 5,000 year old culture of China. In 1994, the 5,612 experts and scholars representing forty-eight countries and regions at the World Poets and Culture Congress unanimously named H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III as a “Distinguished International Master.” However, H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III did not want to accept such honors and continued making further contributions to mankind in a quiet and selfless manner.
H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III is selfless and noble, and the first person in Buddhism to possess substantive holy realization power of a Buddha and perfectly flawless accomplishments at the pinnacle of the Five Vidyas. One of the Five Vidyas is called Sabdavidys (sound vidya), including literature, poems, music, drama, etc. Here are few examples of his mastery in this field.
The poems of this ancient Buddha H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III, such as His qi jue poems (four-line poems with seven characters to a line and a strict tonal pattern and rhyme scheme) and qi lu poems (eight-line poems with seven characters to a line and a strict tonal pattern and rhyme scheme), retain the ancient poetic style and have reached a level on par with that of the ancient great poets. However, in the area of expressing philosophy, His Holiness’s poetry has surpassed the poetry of the ancient virtuous ones. It is self-evident that H.H. Wan Ko Yeshe Norbu Holiest Tathagata is truly the most outstanding master of Chinese poetry from ancient times to the present.
After you are enraptured by poems of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha IIIand reflect on His poetic style, you will discover that H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III has reached the peak of perfection in both the hao fang and the wan yue styles. Those are the two major styles of the ci type of Chinese poetry. The hao fang style is bold and powerful, while the wan yue style is soft, elegant, and graceful.
Take, for example, the bold and stirring ci type of poem entitled “To the Tune of Nian-Nu-Jiao.”（念奴嬌） It is an excellent poem due to its extensive and powerful spirit that moves the universe as well as its expansive and transcendent poetic perspective. You cannot find such an exceptional poem anywhere else in the world. In contrast, the ci type of poem entitled “To the Tune of Ye-Ban-Le”（夜半樂） has the feel of the enchanting moon on the Xiao and Xiang Rivers, the reflection of towering pagodas on the water, and the beautiful sound of a Chinese lute played under willow trees. How enrapturing, elegant, and charming that poem is!
Actually, we lack the understanding to give an in-depth appraisal of the poetry of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. However, we do know that writing poetry is a simple matter for this ancient Buddha and represents less than a drop of water in the vast ocean of His Holiness’s talents.
To the Tune of “Jiang Jun Song”
Plum Fragrance in the Holy Realm
Reveal her icy bearing and proud bones,
See how plum blossom commands the scene,
The crowd of beauties suddenly lacks color,
Seductive peach has lost its looks.
A few casual strokes,
So many eons of wind and dust.
The smoke and fire of the human world all disappears,
Leaving only a pure fragrance from the paper,
It wafts over me, awakening my mind.
The smile of the enchanted dream still remains,
Buddha Vajradhara has come
Three times to this world.
To this Buddha Land of merciful compassion
That great one has brought purity,
Feelings of the brush,
Traces of the brush,
One smile in the wind and dust,
Now the wind and dust,
So many eons of wind and dust.
To the Tune of “Jiang Jun Song”
Cold Harmony Heralds the Spring
I remember: myriad lofty peaks,
And scattered everywhere, sparkling gems of light,
The smile of cold fragrance,
Red plum trees hanging from the cliffs.
Such feelings of tranquility.
Cliff walls and high valleys – where have they gone?
Now all I can see is a willow-like sway.
A few threads lightly float,
Moved by the west wind,
Suddenly I realize,
Cold clouds are heralding the spring,
And this contented mind,
Intoxicates the man,
Intoxicates the mind,
It seems like tranquility,
Such feelings of tranquility.
To the Tune of “Sheng Jun Tong”
A Painting on the Wall
This square wall
A vast, white space of nothing,
Ah, I see now,
A brilliant blaze in a grove of trees,
With not even a bird there.
Gaze in the distance,
It is an ocean of self-nature in a garden,
With not even an insect there.
Ah, I see now,
There is no grove;
Ah, I see now,
There is no brilliant blaze,
Where are the insects?
Ah, in fact,
Hanging on the wall,
And a few brushstrokes,
Ah, in fact,
I am roaming in a dream,
From whence does the dream come?
Ah, do not cling to it,
There is no wall;
Ah, do not cling to it,
There is no painting.
Roaming thoughts should not be,
Should not be.
To the Tune of “Ling Jun Hui”
Heralding Spring in the Wondrous
Dark figure of a tree,
Light, refined blossoms,
Bewitches a myriad peaks,
How many times has cold fragrance come?
The scent rises in your nose,
As a most cherished memory
Mysteriously reveals her graceful bearing,
She is here again to herald the spring.
It is in this way,
Plum greets the spring,
That parting will come soon matters not,
For now perfume wafts through the Wondrous Realm.
To the Tune of “Ying Ge Chun”
A Plum That Grows Tall and Strong
The herald of spring, where does she sleep?
Ah, cold harmony before the window,
Midnight dreams of branches beneath a drunken moon
Ah, she returns after roaming in vast space.
And a return to the great world.
Drifts of fragrance wind around pavilion and hall,
As before, to the great world.
Open the window,
Graceful she stands,
There is a plum tree,
Growing tall and strong,
Growing tall and strong.
To the Tune of “Ying Ge Chun”
Strong Feelings in the Scroll
On the paper, this shade of pink,
Ah, who can guess its real color?
Next to her, all the flower queens are slaves,
Ah, alluring brows and vermilion ink songs.
Ah, she remains here in the painting,
Until the guest comes.
Tenderness everywhere heralds the dawn of spring,
Ah, the guest has gone,
Yet later will come again.
Ah, gaze in the distance,
Breaths of cold harmony,
Ah, the perfume of the plum,
Tenderness in the scroll,
Tenderness in the scroll.
To the Tune of “Pu Sa Mahn”
One dark, one pale, a pair of buds grow on the
Light green, dark green, samadhi nourishes the world
Following karma, you lightly dance and float,
Immutably still, yourself an ancient Buddha.
You ask about the color of the plum blossom?
It is learning contained in virtue.
Wait until it is plucked, and without bonds
Then freely hold it and turn it in your hands.
To the Tune of “Wang Hai Chao”
The Plum Greets All Beings
The frozen purity of a jade grove
The startled soul of space
Spreads out far to east and west.
Cold fragrance, down of pink,
And though only a single spray of blossoms,
Loveliness greater than any mood,
So time itself becomes a mulberry dream.
Look: wind and bone expressed in ink,
In ten-thousand ages it will never fade.
The compassion of an ancient Buddha,
Captivates all beings, and brings them to truth.
Color artistry, free and graceful,
Powerful brushstrokes crossing vast space,
An atmosphere of erudition,
These words and paintings, year after year,
Bring constant blessings,
The auspiciousness of plum blossoms.
Look: within is a mysterious power,
Which I offer to the ten-thousand ages,
From the brush, an elegant air.
Just look at delightful spring color,
And all beings will enter holiness.
His Holiness is also a vocalist whose songs are unique masterpieces. Whether singing in a robust, resonant, stirring, and thunderous manner, or in a quietly elegant, floating, light, sweet, and captivating manner, His Holinesss vocal performances are marvelous and heavenly. His Holinesss songs and lyrics contain true Buddha-dharma. They teach goodness, impart wisdom, and benefit people. Moreover, H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III composes the melody, writes the lyrics, and sings these songs all by Himself. There are many audiotapes and CDs of these songs. Even expert vocalists have sought the guidance of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III on singing. An example of this is a disciple of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III by the name of Jacky Cheung, who is known as a tremendous singer.
Once upon time, the King of Benares had a royal bull elephant who was kind, patient and harmless. Along with his sweet disposition, he had a lovely gentle face. So he was affectionately known as ‘Ladyface’.
One night, a gang of robbers met together just outside the elephant shed. In the darkness they talked about their plans for robbing people. They spoke of beating and killing, and bragged that they had given up ordinary goodness so they would have no pity on their victims. They used rough he-man type gutter language, intended to scare people and show how tough they were.
Since the nights were quiet, Ladyface had nothing else to do but listen to all these terrible plans and violent rough talk. He listened carefully and, as elephants do, remembered it all. Having been brought up to obey and respect human beings, he thought these men were also to be obeyed and respected, even as teachers.
After this went on for several nights, Ladyface decided that the correct thing to do was to become rough and cruel. This usually happens to one who associates with those of a low-minded cruel nature. It happens especially to a gentle one who wishes to please others.
A ‘mahout’ is what the Indians call the special trainer and caretaker of a particular elephant. They are usually very close. Early one morning, Ladyface’s mahout came to see him as usual. The elephant, his mind filled with the night’s robber-talk, suddenly attacked his mahout. He picked him up in his trunk, squeezed the breath out of him, and smashed him to the ground, killing him instantly. Then he picked up two other attendants, one after another, and killed them just as ferociously.
Word spread quickly through the city that the once adored Ladyface had suddenly gone mad and become a frightening man-killer. The people ran to the king for help.
It just so happened that the king had an intelligent minister who was known for his understanding of animals. So he called for him and asked him to go and determine what sickness or other condition had caused his favorite elephant to become so insanely violent.
This minister was the Bodhisatta, the Enlightenment Being. Arriving at the elephant shed, he spoke gentle soothing words to Ladyface, and calmed him down. He examined him and found him in perfect physical health. As he spoke kindly to Ladyface, he noticed that the elephant perked up his ears and paid very close attention. It was almost as if the poor animal were starved for the sound of gentle words. So the understanding minister figured out that the elephant must have been hearing the violent words or seeing the violent actions of those he mistook for teachers.
He asked the elephant guards, “Have you seen anyone hanging around this elephant shed, at night or any other time?” “Yes, minister,” they replied, “for the last couple of weeks a gang of robbers has been meeting here. We were afraid to do anything, since they were such mean rough characters. Ladyface could hear their every word.”
The minister returned immediately to the king. He said, “My lord king, your favourite elephant, Ladyface, is in perfect physical health. I have discovered that it was by hearing the rough and vulgar talk of thieves during many nights, that he has learned to be violent and cruel. Unwholesome associations often lead to unwholesome thoughts and actions.”
The king asked, “What is to be done?” The minister said, “Well my lord, now we must reverse the process. We must send wise men and monks, who have a high-minded kind nature, to spend just as many nights outside the elephant shed. There they should talk of the value of ordinary goodness and patience, leading to compassion, loving-kindness and harmlessness.”
So it was carried out. For several nights the kind wise ones spoke of those wonderful qualities. They used only gentle and refined language, intended to bring peacefulness and comfort to others.
Lo and behold, hearing this pleasant conversation for several nights, Ladyface the bull elephant became even more peaceful and pleasant than before!
Seeing this total change, the minister reported it to the king, saying, “My lord, Ladyface is now even more harmless and sweet than before. Now he is as gentle as a lamb!”
The king said, “It is wonderful indeed that such a madly violent elephant can be changed by associating with wise men and monks.” He was amazed that his minister seemed to be able to read the mind of an elephant. So he rewarded him appropriately.
The moral is: As rough talk infects with violence, so do gentle words heal with harmlessness.
Tai chi helps reduce stress and anxiety. And it also helps increase flexibility and balance.
By Mayo Clinic Staff
If you’re looking for a way to reduce stress, consider tai chi (TIE-CHEE). Originally developed for self-defense, tai chi has evolved into a graceful form of exercise that’s now used for stress reduction and a variety of other health conditions. Often described as meditation in motion, tai chi promotes serenity through gentle, flowing movements.
What is tai chi?
Tai chi is an ancient Chinese tradition that, today, is practiced as a graceful form of exercise. It involves a series of movements performed in a slow, focused manner and accompanied by deep breathing.
Tai chi, also called tai chi chuan, is a noncompetitive, self-paced system of gentle physical exercise and stretching. Each posture flows into the next without pause, ensuring that your body is in constant motion.
Tai chi has many different styles. Each style may subtly emphasize various tai chi principles and methods. There are variations within each style. Some styles may focus on health maintenance, while others focus on the martial arts aspect of tai chi.
Tai chi is different from yoga, another type of meditative movement. Yoga includes various physical postures and breathing techniques, along with meditation.
Who can do tai chi?
Tai chi is low impact and puts minimal stress on muscles and joints, making it generally safe for all ages and fitness levels. In fact, because tai chi is a low-impact exercise, it may be especially suitable if you’re an older adult who otherwise may not exercise.
You may also find tai chi appealing because it’s inexpensive and requires no special equipment. You can do tai chi anywhere, including indoors or outside. And you can do tai chi alone or in a group class.
Although tai chi is generally safe, women who are pregnant or people with joint problems, back pain, fractures, severe osteoporosis or a hernia should consult their health care provider before trying tai chi. Modification or avoidance of certain postures may be recommended.
Why try tai chi?
When learned correctly and performed regularly, tai chi can be a positive part of an overall approach to improving your health. The benefits of tai chi may include:
Decreased stress, anxiety and depression
Improved aerobic capacity
Increased energy and stamina
Improved flexibility, balance and agility
Improved muscle strength and definition
More research is needed to determine the health benefits of tai chi. Some evidence indicates that tai chi may also help:
Enhance quality of sleep
Enhance the immune system
Help lower blood pressure
Improve joint pain
Improve symptoms of congestive heart failure
Improve overall well-being
Reduce risk of falls in older adults
How to get started with tai chi
Although you can rent or buy videos and books about tai chi, consider seeking guidance from a qualified tai chi instructor to gain the full benefits and learn proper techniques.
You can find tai chi classes in many communities today. To find a class near you, contact local fitness centers, health clubs and senior centers. Tai chi instructors don’t have to be licensed or attend a standard training program. It’s a good idea to ask about an instructor’s training and experience, and get recommendations if possible.
A tai chi instructor can teach you specific positions and breathing techniques. An instructor can also teach you how to practice tai chi safely, especially if you have injuries, chronic conditions, or balance or coordination problems. Although tai chi is slow and gentle, and generally doesn’t have negative side effects, it may be possible to get injured if you don’t use the proper techniques.
After learning tai chi, you may eventually feel confident enough to do tai chi on your own. But if you enjoy the social aspects of a class, consider continuing with group tai chi classes.
Maintaining the benefits of tai chi
While you may gain some benefit from a tai chi class that lasts 12 weeks or less, you may enjoy greater benefits if you continue tai chi for the long term and become more skilled.
You may find it helpful to practice tai chi in the same place and at the same time every day to develop a routine. But if your schedule is erratic, do tai chi whenever you have a few minutes. You can even practice the soothing mind-body concepts of tai chi without performing the actual movements when you are in a stressful situation, such as a traffic jam or a tense work meeting, for instance.