By Gadu Rinpoche
In the beginning of 1999, a short trip of pilgrimage to the Buddhist holy sites in ancient India gave me the second feeling of returning home. In particular, when we were all prostrating around the Buddha’s Nirvana Temple in Kushinagar and respectfully lighting up 108 lights during the morning practice, suddenly dharma joy grabbed my entire body. I felt pleasantly serene and happy as if I was at the side of Sakyamuni Buddha. The feeling of coming back to home was so good! However, this was only a feeling from my emotions. I did not reach enlightenment in Buddha-dharma. There was no realization power to talk about. I kept asking myself whether this was due to my heavy karmic blockage. Otherwise why didn’t I receive practical benefits from the practice of meditation and some other dharmas? The more I thought about this, the more I felt that I was a very inferior person. The more inferior I felt, the more I was determined to learn and master Buddha-dharma.
One day, I received a copy of the book True Stories about a Holy Monk from a fellow Buddhist friend. I opened the book and started to read. Upon reading into the section about Buddha bestowing nectars, I suddenly entered into a somewhat dazed state of mind. The holy scene of Buddha bestowing nectars emerged in my mind. Such impression appeared real but was illusionary, gave the feeling of between existence and non-existence, was felt like my own experience and lasted a long time before disappearing. There was an indescribable joy in my mind. From that, I was sure that this is the true Buddha-dharma and is truly what I should quest for, rely upon and practice. After reading the book, I often felt in my mind an urge of wishing to meet and pay respect to the great holy one in person as early as possible. On the other hand, I also felt sad for the expected departure from the monk students at the Buddhist Academy whom I supported for quite a few years.
One day, on my way to work in the morning, this question came to my mind again. I suddenly felt a lump in my throat and tears gushed out from my eyes. I uncontrollably burst into a big cry. I managed to hold off my feelings to drive into the underground parking lot of my company. Once the car stopped, I could not control my emotions any longer and I cried for 20 minutes in the car. My eyes became swollen. I repeatedly beseeched Kuan Shi Yin Bodhisattva to empower me and point out my way. After a while, I thought that for a person with such heavy karmic blockage, how could it be possible for me to receive empowerment and guidance from Kuan Shi Yin Bodhisattva?
I put on a pair of sunglasses and went into my office. I sat on my chair with my mind being blank. Within five minutes, my secretary came in and asked me if I wanted to answer a phone call from a fellow Buddhist sister. I said yes. Once I picked up the phone, from whatever she told me over the phone, the only thing I could remember was “Brother, would you like to go on a trip to pay respect to the great holy master?” At that time, I happily answered, “Yes, Yes, I do!” I immediately prostrated on the ground with my palms together to thank Kuan Shi Yin Bodhisattva for pointing out the path for me.
I flew across the Pacific Ocean to the United States to pay respect to my greatest and kindest Buddha Master, H. H. Dorje Chang Buddha III, in the end of 1999. When I respectfully presented my offering gift as homage to the dharma with a pure white hada in prostration, my heart was beating heavily and my eyes dared not face upward. However, with only one brief peek, I felt enlightened right away. My instinct told me that this great holy being in front of my eyes is a Buddha! At the instant when the Buddha’s eyes were staring very benevolently at me, I felt that an extremely strong force of empowerment was transmitted from the top of my head into my entire body. My whole body felt very warm. This time I really came back home! I felt extremely confident and tears flooded out of my eyes. I did not have enough words to describe the dharma joy I had at the time.
After I had calmed down my feeling, my Buddha Master spoke to me, “Weren’t you looking at the sky since your childhood to search for answers? I will tell you now.” My Buddha Master told me the important affinities in my current life as well as the affinities between my Buddha Master and me from the past lifetimes. My Buddha Master also told me to buy an alms bowl and bring it back immediately. I and Henghsing Gyatso Rinpoche immediately bid farewell to my Buddha Master and left. We asked a fellow sister to drive us to a shopping mall to buy an alms bowl. Because of our unpreparedness, we could not find the alms bowl we needed. In the end, I had to buy a porcelain soup bowl with cover and came back. My Buddha Master looked at it and then asked Henghsing Gyatso Rinpoche who took me to buy the bowl whether he had provided any suggestion or advice to me. Henghsing Gyatso Rinpoche answered, “No, I did not. He chose the bowl and bought it on his own decision. I did not do anything for him.” At that time, I presented the bowl to my Buddha Master. My Buddha Master told me, “Do not hand it to me. I will not touch your bowl. You go and fill it with water by yourself.”
I immediately washed clean the porcelain bowl I bought with pure water and wiped it dry with the hada. Then I, by myself, filled it with pure water and respectfully laid it on a square dharma table that was before us. My wife and I prostrated in front of the dharma table. We respectfully held our palms together and kept chanting “Om, Ah, Hum!” My Buddha Master was at a distance of more than three meters from us and conducting the dharma at the top of a tall dharma rostrum. Not long after, at my Buddha Master’s dharma decree, bodhi holy water penetrated the side of the bowl and flowed out. I saw with my eyes that dharma water permeated through the surface of the porcelain bowl filled with pure water and flowed onto the table. At this time, at every dharma decree from my Buddha Master, the dharma water flowed to the left, right, or forward, exactly as instructed. My wife and I gazed at the scene and were simply speechless. My Buddha Master told us, “I will use this bodhi holy water to set up the mandala to guard against demons from stealing the dharma. I am going to perform an initiation for you two.” After that, my Buddha Master sprinkled dharma water around the perimeter of the mandala (Buddhist altar for transmitting Buddha-dharma or worshipping Buddhas and Bodhisattvas) to prevent evil beings and demons from listening to the Tathagata Dharma. Then the ceremony of initiation started. At the moment of dharma water sprinkling down to my head, I felt an extremely pleasantly cool feeling of empowerment that was pouring from the top of my head to my heart. The dharma joy I experienced at the time cannot be described in written languages.
During the six years before meeting my kind Buddha Master, because of my foolishness, deep and heavy attachment to the self and various types of ignorance, I created much dark karma. Consequently, my health was deteriorating steadily as time went by and eventually had to be sustained by medicine and the injection of placenta extract. My complexion was black and dark. Upon seeing me for the first time, my Buddha Master told me, “Your health is not good. I will teach you a dharma now. You should make a good effort in practicing it. You will get well.” In the years since then, I cultivated by adhering to the teaching and practiced according to the dharma. Miraculously, my health has recovered completely. From the year end of 2002 until now, I have not had much illness to speak of. Except going to the dentist office once a year to clean my teeth, I did not visit any hospital or clinic. For a 1,000-mile long-distance driving of 16 hours from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon, I drove by myself without a stop and did not even feel tired. All these come from the empowerment of the great Buddha-dharma from my Buddha Master!
Before respectfully meeting my Buddha Master, I heard that my Buddha Master had been living in a room on the second floor of a fellow brother’s home, where the space is small. My wife and I immediately had the idea of offering a house to my great and kind Master, for propagating Buddha-dharma in America. Upon being led into the mandala where we became my Buddha Master’s disciples, the wish of offering the house emerged immediately. We respectfully reported to my Buddha Master and beseeched my Buddha Master’s benevolence to accept it. However, while my wife and I respectfully stated what we intended to present, my Buddha Master replied, “I accept your sincere wish but I do not accept the house. However, I will temporarily stay in your home for two years.” My Buddha Master’s discourse made me very surprised. For years, I had been cultivating and practicing in exoteric sects of Buddhism. I supported and made offerings to many monks, dharma masters and major temples. I never received a response like that. The conduct of the Buddha is so pure, selfless, faultless and great as to beyond my imagination. Later on, I also made offerings of great sums of money. My Buddha Master also declined them all. Where in the world can you find such person? There is no such eminent monk even among eminent monks. Only Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in Buddha-land possess such holiness and pureness.