A mighty eagle with sharp claws, and cold eyes suddenly descended from the sky. A white-flowered snake wandering on an ancient tree, before it had time to react, the eagle’s deadly claws had already penetrated deep into its abdomen, the snake instinctively struggled and twisted. The eagle and the snake looked at each other, their eyes full of unprovoked anger and the horror of death. The eagle roared ferociously with its mouth open; the snake also spit out his venomous tongue… The atmosphere of the picture is terrifying, tense, bloody, it makes people shudder and thrill.
This is a real scene shown in the Chinese painting “Ying She Dou”. The shape of the picture is thick and powerful, the composition is full and atmospheric, the coloring is extremely simple but vivid. The eagle and the snake were painted with fine, meticulous brushwork. Looking at the eagle: the towering wings are like mountains painted with thick ink, with an overwhelming momentum, and the pure scorched royal black is full of mysterious power. The accompanying withered tree trunk was painted with bold, vigorous strokes in the freehand style. It has the charm of a casual style together with the scholarly air and graceful ancient look typical of engraved stone seals. Unaffected, seasoned, extraordinary artistic skills are embodied in an image that simple lacks any sign of mediocrity.
After viewing the painting, in addition to being shocked, one cannot help but ponder the inner meaning of the painting. From the perspective of aesthetics and art: this is a masterpiece of Chinese painting with the spirit of symbolism. In most of the cultures, eagle is often a symbol of justice and righteousness, snake usually represents greedy, evil and malignity. The two parts are constantly fighting in world, and also in our mind kingdom.
The western philosopher Nietzsche once put the eagle and the snake as specific artistic images in literary works. He designated the eagle as the exemplification of wisdom and spirit. The snake, a creature living in the dark, acts as a symbol of desire. In his view, spirit and desire cannot be separated from each other, and although they are opposite to each other, they also depend on each other. Spirit connects with reality through body, and body enhances its own value through spirit. The high-end spiritual pursuit cannot be accomplished without the practical materialistic aspects of life embodied by the snake. On the other hand, a purely materialistic life, a rejection of the eagle’s virtue and insight, will only result in spiritual stagnation. Only through the combination of the two can human civilization continue to develop.
“Ying She Dou” is a Chinese painting that uses objects to describe people. The artist is H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. As a Buddha, he knows all the concepts of Eastern and Western cultures as well as the living conditions of all living beings. And his concerns and compassions for the fate of all living beings are incomparable. The painting represents the truth that justice will eventually triumph over evil. We should use the spiritual wisdom to watch our thoughts, and guide our words and conducts. In this way, we can bring out our best to each other, and together we could make the world more brighter kinder and happier.
Lifting the Pestle onto the Platform is the most direct and explicit testing mechanism to verify the difference between true and false Buddha Dharma, or true and false holy ones.
H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III‘s physique and physical strength are unparalleled in the world. On December 23, 2021, H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III in Holy Miracle Temple lifted the 437.2-pound Hall Guarding Vajra Pestle with only four fingers and held it for more than 13 seconds. PoShan WanXiang TaiZun (TaiZun is the highest stage of Bodhisattva) asserted:”Before Maitreya Bodhisattva enters Buddhahood, no one could lift the Buddha’s pestle in this Saha world.”
The video below shows H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III lifting the 437.2-pound Vajra Pestle, which even other strong men could not move.
Statement on a Pledge to Give an Award
Back to February 9, 2020, H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III lifted 420 pound Supreme Holy Vajra Pestle. Tow disciples had made a ‘Statement on a Pledge to Give an Award’ on USA Today at March 27, 2020.
A Dharma Assembly for the “Lifting the Pestle onto the Platform” to assess realization power of Buddhist practitioners was held in the Grand Hall of Shakyamuni Buddha at the Holy Miracles Temples on February 9, 2020. We have personally attended the Dharma Assembly held for the exam, and also tried to lift the Supreme Holy Vajra Pestle. All the people there, including strongmen, took turn to show their physical power. Yet no one was able to lift the Supreme Holy Vajra Pestle at all.
To fulfill the criteria for “Lifting the Pestle onto the Platform,” one has to meet the standard of lifting his base weight, and then surpass that standard. One who surpasses his base weight standard by 10 levels, is a Grand Master of strength, World’s Strongest Man for Lifting the Pestle onto the Platform. Throughout world history, the highest level that any national-level or world-class strongmen, Great Bodhisattvas, or Tremendously Great Holy Gurus in any countries have bene able to attain was 30 levels above their own base weight standard On that day, the Holy Gurus set up a difficult situation that unexpectedly involved His Holiness Dorje Chang Buddha III in the resolving of the conundrum. Due to such a karmic condition, H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III has set a world record after having lifted a 420-pound Vajra Pestle with one hand and held it for 13 seconds, surpassing His own base weight standard by 56 levels. It is simply impossible for any human beings or Holy Gurus to achieve that. That was a feat unprecedented in history. It clearly pointed to the fact that the intrinsic quality of His Holiness the Buddha is that of a true Buddha.
Yet H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III said: “I am truly humbled. How could t be said that I have the power of the greatest enlightened Buddha? I am just an ordinary person. Although I did what I could to lift the Vajra Pestle, afterwards, my hand was sore, and my back was sore. This morning when I got up, I could hardly lift 100 catties (approximately 110 pounds). What does this say? I am simply an ordinary person just like everyone else. Many people can surpass their own standards by 56 levels.”
However, all of us are of the opinion that except for a true Buddha, no body else has such holy corporeity and holy physical power. No persons or Holy Gurus are able to surpass their base weight standards by 56 levels. We pledge that if anyone can lift a weight at the base standard correlating to his own age and body weight, and further surpass their own base standard by 56 levels to break the world record set by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III, we will award US$20 million to such as person who can break such a record. People from all over the world, regardless of their gender, race, or religious faith, are welcome to participate, and all will be treated equally. Show your power to get this award. We will fulfill what we pledge and we are willing to undertake the legal liability!
All are welcome to come to the Holy Miracles Temple in California in the United States and, with sincere respect and piety, lift the Supreme Holy Vajra Pestle that H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III lifted and held for 13 seconds. We wish that this will bring you magnificent blessings and auspiciousness.
Attention: WE have officially entrusted Dharma Master Zhengrui Shi of the Holy Miracles Temple in California, United States, as our entrusted representative in this matter to handle all the procedures regarding “Lifting the Pestle onto the Platform” If anyone can lift the Pestle at a weight surpassing the base weight standard correlating to his own age and body weight by 57 levels and hold it for 13 seconds to break the world record set by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III, then we will execute our pledge and give out the award as per our statement above.
Mount Jiuhua (‘Nine Glorious Mountains’) is an important Buddhist site and natural scenic spot. It is one of the four famous Buddhist mountains, one of the first batch of 5A level scenic spots and one of the first batch of natural and cultural heritage sites in China. Mount Jiuhua is dedicated to Ksitigarbha (Chinese Pinyin: Dizang), a bodhisattva and protector of beings in hell realms according to Mahayana Buddhist tradition. At Mount Jiuhua you will emerge in the breathtaking nature scenery and profound Buddhist culture.
Mount Jiuhua was originally known as Jiuzi (Nine-Peak) Mountain. A legend says that Li Bai, the celebrated poet in the Tang Dynasty wrote of the mountain: ”Sailing down the Jiujiang River the other day, I saw the Jiuhua Peaks in the distance. Looking like a heavenly river hanging in heaven, Its green water embroidering cotton rose hibiscuses.“ After that the name changed from Jiuzi to Jiuhua.
Mount Jiuhua has been a Buddhist Holy Land with over 1600 In 401 AD in Eastern Jin Dynasty, the monk “Beidu” from old India came to Mount Jiuhua to build temples and preach Buddhism. In 719 AD, Kim Qiaoque, a Silla (today’s South Korea) prince came to Jiuhua Mountain and cultivated himself for 75 years. He died at 99 years old and his corporeal body stayed intact. Because he was very similar in appearance to Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, the monks here believed Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva was reincarnated in him. Hence, Mount Jiuhua became the place to hold rites for Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva.
Jiuhua Mountain is reputed as “the First Mountain in Southeast China” with magnificent peaks, murdering streams, bizarre rocks, beautiful waterfalls, seclude caves, etc. Here are some most popular attractions where you can have a better understanding of Buddhism or feast your eyes on the spectacular natural landscape.
The Incarnation Grand Hall (肉身宝殿)
With about 1300 years’ history, the Incarnation Grand Hall is the burying place for Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva – Kim Qiaojue. Hence, the Incarnation Hall is also called Ksitigarbha Pagoda. The hall is built on a high terrace with stone pillars, red wall, iron tile, white marble and “The First Mountain in Southeast China” (东南第一山) inscribed on the front door. In the Hall, travelers can view the seven-story wooden Ksitigarbha Pagoda with white marble base. Inside the pagoda, you can worship the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva with over 100 statues which is magnificent and solemn.
Unlike other Buddhist temples, there is a Taoist guardian as a Dharma protector in Mount Jiuhua. Skanda Bodhisattva is the chief protector of Shakyamuni Buddha, because Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva made a great vow :”If the hell is not empty, I swear not to become a Buddha”, that inspired Skanda Bodhisattva to come to protect the Dharma. But now in this Incarnation Grand Hall the Dharma guardian is the Taoist Wang Lingguan. There is a legendary story to explain why.
In ancient times, there was a great scholar who visited Jiuhua Mountain. He heard that the body of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva was enshrined there. Because he did not believe in Buddhism, he wanted to see if that was true, so he used a needle to pinch Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva’s corporeal body. As soon as the needle went down, the blood flowed out, he was extremely shocked, and hurriedly fled away…
When Skanda Bodhisattva saw someone disrespectful to Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, he wanted to punish him. Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva did not allow it, and said “Everything has cause and effect, so don’t harm him.” However Skanda Bodhisattva still used his vajra pestle to punish that scholar.
Ksitigarbha King Bodhisattva couldn’t bear it, so he drove Skanda Bodhisattva out of Jiuhua Mountain. Then the Taoist Wang Lingguan was called in as a Dharma protector temporarily.
Zhiyuan Temple (祗园禅寺)
Located at the entrance of Jiuhua Street, Zhiyuan Temple, first built in Ming Dynasty, is listed as one of the Four Buddhist Temples of Mount Jiuhua. This temple is composed of nine separate buildings – Linggong Palace, Maitreya Palace, the Great Buddha’s Hall, Bright Lecture Hall, etc. All the structures are exquisite. Inside the Great Buddha’s Hall, travelers can see the 12-meter-high Buddhas – Sakyamuni Buddha, Amitabha Buddha and Bhaisajyaguru Buddha, moreover, you can see Manjusri Bodhisattva, Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, the Eighteen Arhats’ sitting statues. In the Depository of Buddhist Sutras, there is the precious “Tripitaka” (Qianlong Version), the only tripitaka in Chinese engraved by the official in Qing Dynasty. Walking around the temple, you can view a huge bronze cooking pot which can be used as cook for 1000 monks. If time permits, you can get up early to Zhiyuan Temple to catch the beautiful and misty morning glow.
Heavenly Terrace Scenic Area (Tiantai Scenic Area, 天台景区)
Heavenly Terrace Scenic Area is another must-be-visited area of Mount Jiuhua. Both natural and cultural sights can be appreciated in this scenic area. Tiantai Temple (alt: 1306m ), located in the Tiantai Peak (also translated as Heavenly Terrace Temple), is the highest temple of Mount Jiuhua. It is believed that Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva once accommodated in the temple. Besides, there are many other worth-visiting attractions scattered from the foot to the summit of Tiantai Peak, such as Ancient Lecture Temple, Huiju Temple and various kinds of Buddhist Nun Communities… Shiwang Peak, the highest peak of the whole mountain, is also located in Heavenly Terrace Scenic Area.
The best season is after the snow in winter, when the sky is blue and the light clouds surround the Tiantai Temple, like a flash of Buddha’s light.
Flower Terrace Scenic Area (Huatai Terrace Scenic Area, 花台景区)
Having typical features of granite terrain, Flower Terrace Scenic Area has the most magnificent and beautiful natural landscape and is regarded as the most beautiful place in Jiuhua Mountain. If you are a nature lover or shutterbug, don’t miss Flower Terrace Scenic Area. There is no temple in Flower Terrace, but it has peaks with different posture everywhere. Since the road is quite dangerous and it needs 5-6 hours to hike the mountain, taking caber way is a great choice to save your energy and time. Recommended sights of Flower Terrace Scenic Area are Tianzhu Peak, Luohan Peak, Ksitigarbha Well, ksitigarbha Boots, Manjusri Cave, etc.
Mt. Jiuhuashan owns the feature of subtropical monsoon climate and alpine climate. It is moist and rains a lot on the mountain with an average rainfall of 2400 mm and an average temperature of 13.4℃. The weather changes very distinctly at a high elevation – spring comes late, summer is short, autumn comes early and winter is long.
In spring season, it is cloudy and foggy and travelers who reach the top of the mountain can enjoy the spectacular sea of clouds. Moreover, it is windy in May which lasts for about 20 days. During April to June, travelers can enjoy azalea, peach, Chinese rose, camellia, peony, Chinese herbaceous peony, like beautiful painting unfolding before your eyes. Summer is the best time to escape heat from bustling city and enjoy the cool of Mount Jiuhua which has an average temperature of 23.8℃. The autumn season in Mount Jiuhua has about only two months at Jiuhua Street and only one month at Tiantai Peak. In the middle of September, the whole mountain is turning into golden and red which makes it the best time to appreciate colorful leaves and flowers. From the middle of November to late March is the winter season with 36 days snow-capped days which could be the crystal palace over the mountain. Each season has its own features and the most recommended seasons are from the middle March to Middle November.
The Explanation of the Buddha’s Title – “H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III
On April 3, 2008, a solemn and dignified first-publishing ceremony of a fact-recording book entitled H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III, which published jointly by the World Buddhism Publishing LLC and the World Dharma Voice, Inc., was held at the Library of the Congress of the United States. The book was also formally accepted into the collection of the Library of the Congress of the United States. Only since that time, did people in the world know that Master Wan Ko Yee, who had been broadly respected by the great masses and who had also been known as Great Dharma King Yangwo Yeshe Norbu, had been recognized by the world’s leaders, regent dharma kings, and great rinpoches of Buddhism through official documents as the third incarnation of Dorje Chang Buddha, who is the primordial Sambhogakaya Buddha of the universe. The Buddha’s name is H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. Since then, people began to address His Holiness the Buddha by “Namo Dorje Chang Buddha III.” This is similar to the situation that Sakyamuni Buddha’s name was Prince Siddhartha Gotama before attaining Buddhahood. However, after Sakyamuni Buddha had attained Buddhahood, His title changed to “Namo Sakyamuni Buddha.” That is why we now address His Holiness the Buddha as “H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III.” In particular, on December 12, 2012, the Senate Resolution No. 614 of the United States Congress officially used “His Holiness” in the name addressing Dorje Chang Buddha III (That is to say, “H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III.”) Since then, the title and status of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III has been definitive by nature. And, as a matter of fact, “Dorje Chang Buddha III” is a name used legally in governmental and official legislative documents. Therefore, the previously used respected name and titles such as “Wan Ko Yee,” Great Master, and Great Dharma King no longer exist. However, the news below was published before the Buddha’s title of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III was publicly announced. At that time, people did not know about the true status of His Holiness the Buddha. Therefore, to respect the true history, we still kept the names used before the title of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III was legitimately determined in republishing this news. However, all must clearly know that the only legitimate name of His Holiness the Buddha is H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III and all other names used before the legitimate determination no longer exist.
Gongjue Tuji Rinpoche, who founded and leads the Xuanfa Dharmazentrum (Dharma Center) in Cologne, Germany. He is truly a sincere, humble, and dedicated buddhist disciple and totally devoted to our Buddha Master H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III and his yidam.
In mid-February, after H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III entered parinirvana, Gongjue Tuji Rinpoche had been visited by the Buddha. H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III, reassured that Gongjue would be able to receive the inner-tantric initiation, His Holiness had promised that Gongjue’s yidam would make the arrangements. During Gongjue’s practice, his yidam Green Tara appeared and confirmed all this as Gonjue explains in this short video.
CLICK for an article of Gongjue Tuji Rinpoche received a powerful lesson from attending the June 2018 Dharma Assembly celebrating the birthday of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III.
CLICK for an article from Gongjue Tuji Rinpoche on his relationship with Green Tara and how She had helped his wife through a dangerous bout of cancer at year 2013. You will see that this is not the first or only time his yidam appeared and spoke to him.
On April 16, 2013, Karolin (Shown here with her daughter Julie), the young wife of Gongjue Tuji Rinpoche of the Xuanfa Dharmazentrum (Dharma Center) in Cologne, Germany was diagnosed with a rare and very dangerous form of thyroid cancer that can very rapidly metastasize throughout the body and is often fatal.
The decision to operate was made very quickly and on April 18, she had both her thyroid and other cancerous and non-cancerous lymph nodes in her throat removed. One of the most famous doctors in this area in all of Germany performed the surgery.
Before the surgery Gongjue Tuji gave Karolin one red vajra pill that he had as well as a Black Jewel Medicine Pill (Kazhuo Ande Pill) he had received from his master, Zhaxi Zhuoma Rinpoche.
Gongjue Tuji called to tell Zhaxi Zhuoma Rinpochethat the surgery went well, but he really wanted to report something else that happened. He is a very devout practitioner of Green Tara. His wife has not been very interested in Buddhism, but has encouraged Gongjue in his practice. Gongjue was waiting while his wife received a CT scan to see if they were too late and the cancer had spread to any other parts of her body. He was practicing his Green Tara Dharma and visualizing Green Tara as he often does and dedicating any merit from his practice to Karolin. Suddenly Green Tara started moving around the mandala that he visualized. He saw Her dance and heard Her laugh heartily, and She told him not to worry, that his wife “would get a second chance.” That is exactly what he had been praying for and the CT scan came out clean. He was very emotional and happy about this. Zhaxi Zhuoma Rinpoche and he both wept with joy as he explained what happened. He was uncertain if he could tell his wife about this and not violate his precepts. His master told him he should tell her and not tell her and let his joy be witness to what he saw. He should tell her about how wonderful the true Buddha-dharma is, but not tell her anything about the practice itself except in general terms.
A few nights later, again while practicing the Green Tara dharma, Gongjue Tuji was told in a very excited way: “Quick! Go and look outside. Go and look outside.” While he was moving the laundry drying rack in their living room in order to get to the door of the balcony, he was thinking to himself “Gongjue, you are becoming ridiculous,” but when he stepped outside on the balcony, he looked at the moon and there was a huge Buddha-light! Again he called his master to tell her that he was so joyous and happy that it was impossible to express his feelings in words, but he knew that Green Tara was giving her blessing. Two years earlier, Gongjue Tuji had taken a picture like the one shown in the slide show on the homepage of this website of the green being in the Buddha Light while he was visiting his master at the Xuanfa Institute in Sanger, California.
But this is not the end of the story. Zhaxi Zhuoma Rinpoche reported this matter to her Buddha Master, H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III and He laughed and said this was very good and that He already knew about the matter. When she told Gongjue Tuji of this she received the following with an update of a second surgery Karolin had to have as they did not get everything the first time.
The second surgery went well, too. Even the nuclear medicine specialist who transferred Karolin to the hospital assisted the professor during the second surgery, which is very unusual. But he wanted to be sure that the surgeons remove everything this time. They only removed 15 more lymph nodes and not 30 as I mentioned in an e-mail before. Three of these 15 have been malign, the biggest measuring about one inch. Unfortunately the diagnose was even worse after the second histological result.
Days later, Karolin had a doctor’s appointment with her nuclear medicine specialist to discuss the results. The doctor was not very happy with the new diagnose. Karolin asked him about the tumor marker but he had not received the blood results yet from the hospital so he called the hospital to inquire about it. A normal value for this specific marker should not be higher than 5 for a healthy person. Karolin’s value before the first operation was about 1,500 and after the first operation it was still about 500. When the doctor was talking to the hospital he couldn’t believe what they said and asked a second time. The tumor marker value is now below 2!!! At first he was speechless and didn’t know what to say. Both, Karolin and the doctor, where almost moved to tears. He said that’s sensational! He would have never expected such a result after that diagnose.
When Gongjue Tuji Rinpoche got the news from his wife he said: “I can not express how happy and how grateful I am towards all the Buddhas and the Boddhisattvas, especially to the Green Tara. This would have never resulted that way without all the blessings and the support of the Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas. I am also very grateful to everybody who supported us in their thoughts and sent their blessings. ” This is just another example of the amazing power and results of practicing the true Buddha-dharma.
Gongjue Tuji Rinpoche, who founded and leads the Xuanfa Dharmazentrum (Dharma Center) in Cologne, Germany received a powerful lesson from attending the June 2018 Dharma Assembly celebrating the birthday of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. Below is his account of what happened.
When I heard that a very special dharma assembly was going to take place and everyone was encouraged to attend, I was very excited. Actually, I had already planned my trip for this year and booked the appropriate airline tickets. I originally wanted to visit the Holy Vajrasana Temple for a few days later in the year and read the preliminary translations of the Supreme and Unsurpassable Mahamudra of Liberation and Imparting the Absolute Truth through the Heart Sutra. My personal situation usually only allows me to travel to the USA once a year. Which made it a bit difficult for me in this case as it is always a cost issue.
Also, the date fell pretty close in the time we were supposed to move into our new home. All in all, it seemed as if it would not be possible for me to participate in this dharma assembly. But since it was said that everyone should do everything possible to attend, I knew that it had to be something special that I shouldn’t miss. Perhaps we would all be given a very special Dharma? I didn’t want to miss it under any circumstances. I was very sad at the time when the Holy Monk Yin Hai passed away and I was not able to attend one of the dharma assemblies to pay my last respects. This is a brief account of what I experienced when I travelled to the dharma assembly for celebrating the birthday of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III at Heavenly Lake, California.
So this time I had to do everything I could to make sure I didn’t miss this important event. Since 2009 I have been travelling regularly to the USA to learn and receive the true Buddha Dharma. So far everything has always worked out happily and I have never experienced anything negative on these trips. So this time it surely should work, too, although the signs were not good.
So I decided to discuss it with my wife. She is not a Buddhist, but she supports me a lot in being able to practice Buddhism. She wasn’t thrilled when I told her about it. The move was almost upon us and there was still so much to do. Also, we had a lot of expenses at that time with the purchase of the house, so our parents had to support us financially. In the end she agreed to let me go. But she only did it because she didn’t want to be blamed for me missing this important event.
So I booked another flight to California at short notice and was very happy that I was allowed to leave. Unfortunately, it turned out that the flight I had booked before for my trip to the Holy Vajrasana Temple could not be cancelled and I was left with the cost. I still got an affordable accommodation, but due to my limited budget, it was not in an all too nice neighborhood. Arriving there, the first doubts arose whether the decision to fly and leave my wife and daughter behind in the chaos of our move was right.
The next day was the day. The dharma assembly was about to begin. His Holliness, the Buddha came and rose up to the dharma rostrum. Now I should be compensated for everything. Deep down I hoped to get a great Dharma, something which was priceless. And so it was! It was just something completely different than I had expected. His Holliness, the Buddha began to give us a Dharma discourse about self-cultivation. At that moment I began to understand how stupid I really was. It became clear to me that even when searching for the Dharma, you can’t go beyond the principles of self-cultivation, which are to not let others suffer by putting your own interests first. I began to understand how terrible my wife was feeling at that moment when I left her alone at home with all the work and spent a lot of money that we could have used differently right now. I felt very bad and wanted to go home quickly.
When the Buddha finally announced that each participant should receive a special vajra pill, I was at least a little calmer. In the new house I will finally have my own Buddha room with a large altar and I will place this pill there as a “trophy”. So I thought.
From then on I focused on my journey home. All I had to do was check in and get to my plane in time and then everything would be fine again. At the motel I tried to check in online for my flight. But unfortunately the flight was already overbooked and I was not assigned a seat. If I didn’t get this plane anymore and was forced to take the next one, I wouldn’t make it to our move in time. I knew that my wife would not forgive me for this and would get divorced from me. And as if that wasn’t enough, I had also lost my robe. This has never happened to me before and it was not a good sign.
I was devastated and in a state of despair I beseeched my Yidam to help me in this situation. During the practice of my Yidam Dharma I was told not to worry as I would return home in time for the move. But due to my misconduct I have to bear the karmic consequences immediately. In addition, my Yidam explained to me that it is not about how great and big my altar is in my new Buddha room. The highest offering I should make to all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas is correct cultivation. That’s the most important thing! I wouldn’t need to collect “trophies.”
I was deeply grateful and burst into tears. I found out afterwards, that I could book a Priority Seat by a further surcharge. In total, this was the most expensive flight I ever had. This was just karmic consequence. So I actually got home in time and from that point on focused even more on correct cultivation.
I had to promise my wife that I wouldn’t renovate and build the Buddha Room until I had finished everything else in the house. Meanwhile, the new Buddha Room is standing, and every time I enter it, I think back about the event and reflect on whether I have cultivated correctly so as not to enter the room without a real offering.
It was late January, just a few weeks before Chinese New Year, when we headed to Zhoushan in Zhejiang Province. It was bitterly cold and traveling to Mount Putuo (普陀) for a two-day visit was not good timing. COVID-19 was—and still is—running rampant around the world. Any kind of travel required constant and painstaking vigilance, including full compliance with stringent prevention measures in China. Nevertheless, our destination looked as beautiful as ever, a glimmering island in the great ocean, celebrated as the “Buddha-land in the sea.” (Haitian fogou 海天佛國)
Mount Putuo is very environmentally friendly. Except for public buses, no vehicles are allowed, so we had to leave our car at the wharf. Most residents simply cycle around for their daily errands, and even said bicycles are under a quota control. For visitors to move about, you can take a bus, cycle, or simply walk. Roads and pathways are well maintained, and there is a long road that connects all the temples on the island, big or small, affording a pleasant journey at one’s own pace.
It was warm and sunny with a gentle breeze by the time we reached the island in the early afternoon. As there were very few visitors, we could stroll around at our leisure, enjoying the sunlight’s embrace. “You are so lucky,” commented our trip’s docent. “It was so windy in the morning that the ferry service was about to be suspended. In a week, the entire mountain might be closed to prevent the chance of further infections, no matter how sporadic.” We were blessed with the good fortune of a joyful excursion.
Mount Putuo is classified by the Chinese government as an “AAAAA Grade Scenic Resort and Historic Site,” attracting about 10 million visitors each year under normal circumstances. Visitation, though down 40 per cent during the pandemic in 2020, has rebounded sharply; as of April, 2.8 million people had visited Mount Putuo, a fivefold increase. The effort to attract visitors is ongoing: the Putuo Mountain College of the Buddhist Academy of China was recently completed, and Guanyin Dharma Park opened last November.
Putuo is a Chinese transliteration of the Sanskrit Potalaka, which is mentioned in several Buddhist scriptures, including the Gandavyuha Sutra (added as the final sutra in the Avatamsaka Sutra). Potalaka is described as the holy residence of Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion. According to Guang Xing, Mount Putuo was identified as the mythical Potalaka mountain by Buddhist monks and Chinese literati (Guang 2011: 1-22). It has been the pilgrimage site of Avalokiteshvara for about a millennium, honored as one of the four sacred Buddhist mountains in Chinese Buddhism. We speak here of Guanyin, the feminine form of Avalokiteshvara popularized in Chinese Buddhism. We will return to Guanyin below. For now, we simply need to know that Mount Putuo’s status matches that of Mount Wutai (五台) for Manjushri, Mount Jiuhua (九華) for Kshitigarbha, and Mount Emei (峨眉) for Samantabhadra.
There seem to be three main demographics for visitors to Mount Putuo: sightseers, pilgrims, and students of Buddhism. The majority of sightseers are visitors who do not have much knowledge of Buddhism, nor much interest in its history, sutras, or temples. Nevertheless, everyone, regardless of background, recognizes this place as one expecting reverence and respect for the buddhas and bodhisattvas. When we worship and make our wishes before the famous 33-meter statue of Nanhai Guanyin, we are also introspecting, contemplating, and reflecting on the vicissitudes and travails of our lives.
The town nearby is neat and chic, full of activity and interesting souvenirs for tourists to commemorate their visit. Even in the winter, Mount Putuo is generously covered with greenery and vegetation, with a multitude of species including ancient camphor trees and the rare wild plants of Carpinus putoensis (普陀鵝耳櫟). They are one of the major treasures on Mount Putuo and monoecious. There are red and yellow variations coexisting, but they do not mature at the same time, so the pollination rate is extremely low. When the Sun is shining, the leaves of many trees turn golden in the backdrop of the Prussian blue sky, surrounded by the various temples. It is truly a picturesque sight.
The beautiful scenery, unique to Mount Putuo, is reminiscent of places I have visited in Japan. The connection between Mount Putuo and Japan can be traced back to the Tang dynasty (618–907), when a Japanese Zen and Tendai monk-pilgrim named Egaku (Chinese: 慧鍔; Hui’E) wanted to bring a statue of Guanyin from Mount Wutai to Japan. However, his voyage back via Mount Putuo was hampered by storms and waves despite several attempts. One day, Egaku had a dream in which he realized that the statue of Guanyin did not want to leave. He decided to enshrine it and built a simple hut near the Tidal Sound Cave. Immediately, his ship sailed through and he was able to return to Japan. This is the story of Guanyin “bu ken qu” or “unwilling to go,” and is the source of many folktales surrounding the establishment of temples and monasteries on Mount Putuo. Exchanges between Mount Putuo and Japan continued over many centuries.
Guanyin is the real protagonist linking Japan and China, with Guanyin known as Kannon or Kanzeon in Japan. Belief in this personification of compassion and benevolence has a long history in China. First introduced from India in the Western Han dynasty (202 BCE–9 CE), Avalokiteshvara was adapted and amalgamated into Chinese culture, most famously through the female figuration and her unique 32 transformations (Guang 2011: 1-22). Beginning in the Song dynasty (960–1279), the Chinese transformed the bodhisattva into the Goddess of Mercy, depicted in the feminine. (Minneapolis Institute of Art)
Belief in Guanyin has flourished in China ever since, going beyond even religious boundaries in everyday life (Guang 2011: 1-22). She is not confined to monastic life, as it is said in the Universal Gate chapter of the Lotus Sutra that any worldly being in danger will be delivered instantly on calling her name. Therefore, Guanyin has been worshipped and revered by all classes of people. As she is a compassionate divinity with countless virtues and merits, she is endowed with transcendental power. She excels in skilful means, allowing her to appear in whatever form needed by sentient beings. And that, in my opinion, is probably the reason behind the 32 forms in the Chinese tradition, including Guanyin Yangzhi (楊枝), or Willow Branch Guanyin. The Guanyin Yangzhi is only one example among many of her history-rich gender transitions.
We were able to visit a 2.5-meter-high, 2.2-meter-wide monument of Guanyin Yangzhi at a nunnery of the same name. The nunnery, situated at the foot of Putuo’s Western Xiangwang Peak, was built in 1608. The artistic style was pioneered by Yan Liben (閻立本), a famous figure painter in the Tang dynasty, while the stele’s engravings appeared during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). Holding a tender willow branch in her right hand and a clear water vase in the left, Guanyin is luxuriously crowned with pearls and precious stones, dressed in sumptuously embroidered garments, and adorned with agate, amber, and pearls. She spreads dewdrops to all the world’s quarters to dispel suffering and pain.
Guanyin is replete with the marks of beauty, dignity, and calm. Except for her face, there are not many traditionally female features shown. Indeed, she appears tall and somehow mighty and masculine, standing on her bare feet. Her belly bulges out slightly, and she has large hands and feet. While beholding her, I could not help but think of the mural of Padmapani, another manifestation of Avalokiteshvara, at Ajanta Cave No.1, in India. Painted during the sixth century BCE, the bearer of the blue lotus is a male figure with a slender body. Both forms of Avalokiteshvara are crowned and bejewelled, have physically beautiful features, and appear composed and graceful.
There are many temples on Mount Putuo, but the two most well known are Puji Temple (普濟寺) or the “front temple” (又稱前寺), and Huiji Temple (慧濟寺) on the peak of the mountain. They receive the most pilgrims, but Fayu Temple (法雨寺) is my personal favorite; when there is no pedestrian crowding, it has a gentle and soothing atmosphere. It is surrounded by towering ancient trees, suspending the visitor in time between past and present. From a distance, one can see that the gate to the monastery is unique, unlike those of other temples on Mount Putuo, which are painted in yellow ochre. Here it is light red in color: a soft, ambient hue that emphasizes an atmosphere of paradisical peace and bliss.
Upon entering and reaching the main hall of Nine Dragons, where a statue of Guanyin is enshrined, one feels a strong sense of sublime and resplendent majesty. Yuantong Hall of the Fayu Temple is renowned for its resplendent appearance and ingenious interior structure, with a large ball hanging from the ceiling of its dome surrounded by nine vertical rafters. Each rafter is carved with a dragon that rears its head in a scramble for the ball. This intricate layout is called the Bracket with Nine Coiling Dragons and is ascribed to Emperor Kangxi (康熙) (1654–1722), who used the materials of the former palace of the Ming dynasty in Nanjing to reconstruct an earlier monastery, Zhenhai Monastery, on Mount Putuo.
What strikes me most, however, is not Fayu Temple’s imperial heritage, but rather two great minds that made their mark here. Venerable Yinguang (印光) (1861–1940) was the 13th patriarch of the Pure Land tradition and the abbot of Fayu Temple for decades. Meanwhile, Ven. Hongyi (弘一) (1880–1942) wrote in traditional calligraphy Fayu Temple’s nameplate of “heavenly flowers and Dharma rain”—first devised by Emperor Kangxi. Li Shu Tong (李叔同) was Hongyi’s secular name. A wealthy and rakish young man, he was also an eclectic and learned scholar of high culture. He relinquished what he possessed and committed to living a monastic life. Fully devoted to promulgating Buddhism, he rose to become an eminent monk.
At some point, the two monastics met each other. It is said that Master Hongyi admired Master Yinguang and asked him to be his teacher. Humble and modest, Master Yinguang refused, but invited him to stay as long as he wanted. The two spent seven days together, studying, practicing, and meditating without a single word exchanged. They simply were, as minds think alike, without verbal obstructions, thoughts traveling and flowing effortlessly. How wonderful it is to exist together beyond words. But in the era of the Internet, we are bombarded with so many words and so much information that we lose our sense of their meaning, let alone their authenticity.
If we wish to be heard, we need to be sincere, candid, and heartfelt. “Guanyin” in Chinese means the Perceiver of Sounds, or “Guanshiyin,” the Perceiver of World’s Sounds. As chanted in the Universal Gate chapter of the Lotus Sutra: “Perceiver of the World’s Sounds, heavenly voice, the voice of the sea’s tide—magnificent, rich and harmonious surpassing all worldly sounds.” If we keep Guanyin in our hearts and call on her sincerely, she will always respond.
Many years ago, I have read an article about Zen Buddhism Master XuYun’s conversation about Christianity and Buddhism with previous presidents of Nationalist Party Mr. Jiang Jie Shi (蔣介石). Master XuYun said Jesus Christ learned buddhism in Indian, he reached enlightenment, and then went back to found Christianity. Even though I knew Master XuYun was a truly holy and virtuous, I was quite doubtful about his opinion.
However when I watched the documentary file below, I was quite convinced. At any rate, the unity and cooperation of these two religions could do a great contribution to peace in the world.
This BBC 4 documentary examines the question “Did Jesus Die?”. It looks at a bunch of ideas around this question until minute 25, where this examination of ideas takes a very logical and grounded turn with surprising conclusions that demonstrates that the three wise men were Buddhist monks who found Jesus and came back for him around puberty. After being trained in a Buddhist Monastery he spread the Buddhist philosophy, survived the crucifixion, and escaped to Kashmir, Afghanistan where he died an old man at the age of 80.
Mount Putuo is one of the four sacred mountains in Chinese Buddhism, lies in the East China Sea and incorporates the beauty of both mountain and sea, and honored as the Buddhist Land on the Sea. Its area is approximately 12.5 square kilometres (4.8 sq mi) and there are numerous famous temples. Mount Putuo has been a pilgrimage site for over a thousand years. After the Tang dynasty, Mount Putuo became a center of Avalokitasvara (Guanyin) worship.
In 863, a Japanese monk called Hui E aimed to carry a statue of Avalokitasvara from Mount Wutai to his country by ship. However, when the ship was passing through the sea nearby Mount Putuo, it was prevented by the stormy waves and hundreds of iron lotus flowers suddenly appeared on the sea, blocking the way. Monk Hui E believed that Avalokitasvara didn’t want to leave China. So he knelt down on the bow of the boat and silently prayed to the Bodhisattva Avalokitasvara for instructions. After a while, the iron lotus on the sea disappeared, and the boat drifted to the shore of Mount Putuo, where he built a temple in the purple bamboo forest to enshrine the statue of theBodhisattva. From that time, Mount Putuo got the spirit and became the bodhimanḍa of Bodhisattva Guanyin.
Traditionally there were three main temples: The Puji Temple (founded 10th cent.), the Fayu Temple (founded 1580 CE), and the Huiji Temple (founded 1793 CE). Today, there are more than 30 major temples located at Mount Putuo. In addition to these monasteries, there is the Institute of Buddhism, one of the largest Buddhist academic institutes in China.
Puji Temple is the main temple of Mount Putuo and all important Buddhist activities are held here. Covering an area of 37,019 square meters, it contains Grand Yuantong Palace, Hall of Heavenly Kings, Depository of Buddhist Sutras and 357 other buildings. Grand Yuantong Palace is the main hall which houses an 8-meter-high statue of Guanyin surrounded by 32 Bodhisattva with different costumes in a variety of poses on east and west walls. Haiyin Pond in Puji Temple was a free life pond full of spring water primitively and now a lotus pond. At the night of summer, the gorgeous lotus and bright moonlight compose an attractive scenery.
Fayu Temple was built along the uphill with grand building groups and extraordinary manners. It got such a name in that you could see amazing relives of nine dragons are fighting for pearl on the screen wall before the gate of Halls of Heavenly Kings. Among the 294 halls of Fayu Temple, Nine Dragons Guanyin Palace(also called Grand Yuantong Palace), said to be a Buddhist Temple transported from the imperial palace of Ming Dynasty, acts as the most magnificent one. The highlighted part of this palace must be the Nine Dragons Caisson Ceiling. With unique shapes and vivid images, it enjoys high artist value and is listed in Three Treasures of Mount Putuo.
Huiji Temple (惠济禅寺)
Huiji Temple is perched in Foding Mountain, the highest peak of Mount Putuo. The architecture of the whole temple is unique. It is located on the mountain and is arranged horizontally. The hall is spacious and magnificent. Hidden in a luxury forest, Huiji Temple features in peaceful environment. Standing at the peak of Mount Putuo, you can have a distant view of the mountains, sea, reefs, beaches and buildings. In the whole temple, statues, carvings and pictures of Guanyin can be found everywhere.
Statue of Standing Nanhai Guanyin
Standing in the south Shuangfeng Peak, Statue of Standing Nanhai Guanyin is the largest outdoor statue of Guanyin made from copper in Asia. With an 18-meter-high statue, 2-meter-high lotus and 13-meter-high foundation, the whole structure has two stories in its foundation. The first story displays elegant carvings, while the second story houses 500 statues of Guanyin in different poses. On the consecrating day at year 1997, a strange nature phenomenon happened. Before the consecrating ceremony, the sky was full of dark cloud and it seemed that it would rain soon. However, as the ceremony began, it became sunny as if two hands pushed aside the clouds. A beam of sunlight just casts on the Guanyin statue.
Avalokitasvara, Guan Shi Yin in Chinese, means the Perceiver of World’s Sounds. The Lotus Sutra says: “Perceiver of the World’s Sounds, heavenly voice, the voice of the sea’s tide—magnificent, rich and harmonious surpassing all worldly sounds.” The bodhisattva always help all beings in danger and distress and is willing to bear the pain of all beings. There are many stories and folk tales about the bodhisattva’s infinite mercy and compassion.