In traditional China, painting was revered as “silent poetry,” while poetry was seen as “painting with sound.” Both art forms found expression through the medium of calligraphy, which was considered the “art of handwriting.” Scholars and artist-scholars incorporated calligraphic brushstrokes into their paintings, viewing their artworks as vehicles for self-expression. Consequently, painting was not only regarded as an art form of equal purity and lyricism to poetry and contemplative thought but also as a means to evoke sensory experiences, emotions, and a holistic engagement with the world.
For Western observers, it may be intriguing why Chinese artists incorporate writing in their paintings and what significance the characters hold. By examining some of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III’s paintings, we can gain insight into these questions and witness the embodiment of the concept known as the “Three Perfections.” This concept represents the harmonious fusion of fine painting, poetry, and calligraphy within a single artwork.
This painting, titled “Song of the Waves in the Three Gorges,” beautifully captures the grandeur of splash-ink technique alongside the charm of water and ink colors. Its overall tone carries a weighty presence. The brushwork employed in this artwork evokes a powerful sense of momentum, lively charm, and a vividness akin to the scene of a long, flowing river just passing by. The inclusion of a few small sailboats adds elegance to the water scene as they gracefully navigate through it. The combination of the mighty river and awe-inspiring mountains, enveloped in mist and holding sacred spaces, has a purifying effect on one’s emotions. This painting possesses a quality that is reminiscent of both poetry and calligraphy.
Notably, H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III has inscribed an elegant Chinese poem onto this painting, which can be translated as follows: “The song of waves echoes in the gorge. Hanging colors of rocky cliffs burst with charm. A few cloudy, misty mountains reveal shades of blue. The vast water’s melody sets the sails in motion.” This poem aptly captures the beautiful and misty landscape of the Three Gorges, where the water and sky harmoniously blend, and human emotions become intertwined with the scenery. This painting serves as an artistic paragon, showcasing the mastery of poetic, calligraphic, and painting skills.
This remarkable painting showcases a rare combination of splash-ink and splash-color techniques, displaying the artist’s bold and skillful brushwork. The resulting natural effect achieved through these techniques is truly indescribable. Within the bold and dynamic brushstrokes, one can discern countless intricate details and traces of charm emerging from the flowing watery ink.
The painting depicts a scene of mountains and water during the approaching dusk, conveying a profound message. The poem imparts the wisdom that we should strive to engage in virtuous deeds rather than harmful actions, treating all living beings with kindness and respect. By embodying such a way of life, one can transcend to another realm and grasp the truth of existence beyond the concepts of birth and death. This painting offers a profound contemplation on the purpose and significance of human existence.
The calligraphy in the two art works are executed in a cursive style, known for its swift and dynamic strokes. Cursive writing is often characterized by its rapidity and vitality, effectively conveying the artist’s profound emotions.
The Title “A Lotus Pond Has Carp” suggests profound Philosophical implications that transcend everyday life. In addition to its masterful artistry, the painting contains subtle messages of the Dao and its fruits. The lyrics on the left and right sides of this work correspond perfectly with the image of the fish, forming a whole that awakens and enlightens, richly rewarding its viewers.
Why is this painting so artistically enchanting that it stirs the hearts of those who see it? One reason is that the fish are depicted with uncanny realism. The swimming carp are infused with vitality. The painting’s details clearly reveal the damage done to the carp’s skin, accumulated over a lifetime in the water, through lines that fade in and out. Appearing as delicate as a fine gauze, the translucent fins, for example, possess a natural realism. Texture and spirit are captured with utter precision, providing the viewer with stirring aesthetic pleasure. The surface and bottom of the pond are depicted with a wonderfully hazy charm, while the lotus flowers, leaves, and pods are portrayed in bold freehand brushwork with distinct and unusual brushstrokes rapidly applied.
The painting is mainly composed of back ink and rich colors. Only a few brushstrokes were used to create each vibrantly red flower, which seem to emit a pure fragrance. The hanging lotus pods embellish the painting, conveying an elegant contrast of hues and instilling a sense of vitality. As the fish swim about, free of any inhibition, the sunlight faintly reflecting off the water ripples provides the illusion of movement that occurs in the natural world.
When examined more closely, the painting has an intricate style to ascertain, for it seems to transcend realistic fine brushwork and convey the feeling of freehand brushwork. It is not in the style of conventional paintings. Instead, freehand brushwork was applied to produce the effect of fine brushwork with close attention to detail.
Fine brushwork was applied that transcends realism. The real and the surreal blend, resulting in a work that excels the beauty of a natural lotus pond. It represents a combination of techniques from the “Menglong” style of painting and bold, large-scale freehand brushwork.
For the painting, H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III composed these lyrics of a Dao song: “No Dao exists on the high mountain, yet hearts yearn to go there. A lotus pond has carp; men have inquired about them. Which path leads to the truth is worth pondering. It would be better to look tranquil to our original nature, like a lotus flower sitting over its leaves in tranquility.” These lyrics speak of mysteries unknown to the ordinary person – seeing fish, not as fish; seeing water, not as water; no Dao exists on the high mountain, so no value exists in searching for it; and the fish have neither life nor death.
To understand the origin of the painting, we must ask: where did the fish come from? What state of realization was relied upon and gave birth to this exquisite painting? What form of realization manifested this mysterious, hazy, and illusory painting? The magical illusion of the fish and water is nothing more than a superficial image. Spirit is within; A life force underlies spirit. Spirit is empty or nothingness. The original essence of all things is neither empty nor substantive. Everything illusory and impermanent quickly changes in time and space, but their original nature remains constant. Thus, the lyrics of the Dao song continue: “To find our original nature, do not seek the source, as the source is our original nature, tranquil and unmoving, like a lotus flower sitting over its leaves in tranquility. There is no such thing as arising, passing away, and change. From this surpassing wisdom, usages that arise from Buddha-nature will naturally manifest. These usages include calligraphy and painting. Only in such a way is a consummate work created.” Thus, one should understand the tremendous meaning of this song of Dao written in this painting. Profound mysteries are deeply hidden within it.
In case the viewer remains oblivious to right stanza, on the left side of the painting, the second stanza of the song continues with: “The carp rely on the Dao, and the Dao awakens the fish.” The Dao refers to the state of holy ones, a realm that transcends the realm of ordinary people. It does not refer to regular abilities. The artist created this carp painting based on such a holy state. “The Dao awakens the fish” means that this painting of carp in a lotus pond was accomplished based on the wisdom of the transcendent Dao. Only with such wisdom could this lifelike, graceful scene of carp swimming in water be painted, a setting that combines the real and the surreal, emptiness and substance in such a wondrously appealing way. This scene of carp complimented by the boldly and powerfully depicted lotus leaves results from the artist’s awakening to the holy Dao.
This painting of carp, then, is merely an expression of one who has attained the Dao and reached enlightenment. Thus, this work is not just an ordinary combination of brush strokes, color, ink, and water. Instead, it results from techniques derived from the beautiful application of holy wisdom. The profound mysteries contained in “A Lotus Pond Has Carp” cannot possibly be conveyed by the superficial meaning of the words in its title! Actually, this explanation is entirely unnecessary. All those with discerning eyes will understand once they see the lyrics of the Dao song and the calligraphic skills with which they were written on the painting.
In a world where art manifests itself in countless forms, there are rare instances when we stumble upon something truly extraordinary—a concealed treasure that enthralls our senses and moves us on a deep level. Such a remarkable encounter occurred one fateful day as I explored the gift shop at The International Art Museum of America (IAMA), nestled in the heart of downtown San Francisco. Amidst the vast array of artistic wonders, my gaze became fixated on an exquisitely crafted wood carving—a masterpiece that exuded an ethereal essence of spirituality and profound significance.
This awe-inspiring sculpture, meticulously chiseled from a single tree, originated from China and was skillfully brought to life by gifted folk artists. It portrayed an enchanting realm of spiritual growth and profound accomplishments in Buddhism. Towering at an impressive height of approximately three and a half meters and spanning one meter in width, this artwork was a testament to the dedication and artistry of its creators. Every intricate detail, meticulously carved figures, and delicate embellishments, painted a vivid tableau illustrating the virtues of compassion, enlightenment, and the transformative journey towards Nirvana.
The intricately carved sculpture was a masterpiece that depicted the journey of practitioners from being ordinary to mastering the higher levels of Buddhahood. The figures in the relief were so vividly carved that it was easy to see their progression towards enlightenment and Nirvana. Every detail, from the facial expressions to the flowing cloth, the delicate flowers, and the instruments, was so meticulously presented that it was impossible not to be impressed.
The beauty of this piece lay not just in its stunning visual presentation but also in the message it conveyed. It illustrated the importance of practicing compassion in thoughts, words, and deeds to achieve spiritual growth. It reminded us that every act of kindness, every gesture of love, and every moment of selflessness is a step towards enlightenment and Nirvana.
The sculpture had a calming effect on me. It was a tangible reminder of the power of art to transcend language, culture, and time. It spoke to me in a language that was universal, one that transcended borders and connected people across the world.
As an art lover, I have seen many beautiful pieces over the years, but this wood carving sculpture stood out as a true masterpiece. It was a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the folk artists who created it, and it served as a reminder of the timeless beauty of art.
Once, I had the privilege of listening to a pre-recorded dharma discourse by the esteemed H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. During this enlightening session, His Holiness shared a captivating story that left a profound impact on my mind. It was the tale of Kumarajiva, a legendary figure who demonstrated his profound inner realization by consuming needles. Intrigued by this extraordinary account, I felt compelled to delve further into the remarkable life of Kumarajiva.
Kumārajīva was a Buddhist monk, scholar, missionary and translator from the Kingdom of Kucha (present-day Aksu Prefecture, Xinjiang, China). Kumārajīva is seen as one of the greatest translators of Chinese Buddhism. According to Lu Cheng, Kumarajiva’s translations are “unparalleled either in terms of translation technique or degree of fidelity”.
Kumārajīva settled in Chang’an during the Sixteen Kingdoms era. He is mostly remembered for the prolific translation of Buddhist texts written in Sanskrit to Chinese he carried out during his later life.
At Chang’an, Kumārajīva was immediately introduced to the emperor Yao Xing, the court, and the Buddhist leaders. He was hailed as a great master from the Western regions, and immediately took up a very high position in Chinese Buddhist circles of the time, being given the title of National Teacher. Yao Xing looked upon him as his own teacher, and many young and old Chinese Buddhists flocked to him, learning both from his direct teachings and through his translation bureau activities.
Kumārajīva appeared to have a major influence on Emperor Yao Xing’s actions later on, as he avoided actions that may lead to many deaths, while trying to act gently toward his enemies. At his request, Kumārajīva translated many sutras into Chinese. Yao Xing also built many towers and temples.
Yao Hsing was so impressed with Kumarajiva’s political acumen, intellectual talent and spiritual depth that he was impelled to try a eugenic experiment. He insisted that Kumarajiva move out of the monastic community into a private house staffed by female attendants. Yao Hsing believed that the offspring of Kumarajiva and carefully selected maidens would be as brilliant and talented as their father. Although Kumarajiva was repelled by the experiment, he refused to jeopardize the welfare of the translation centre by refusing to obey his emperor. He complied with Yao Hsing’s orders but was concerned about the effect his actions might have on the monastic community. He likened himself to a lotus growing out of the mud and enjoined the monks to attend to the lotus and ignore the mud.
However, it is widely understood that monks are expected to adhere strictly to the rules and precepts, diligently purifying their bodies and minds while maintaining purity in their six senses. Deviating from these principles, particularly by engaging closely with women and disregarding the precepts, can hinder the attainment of positive outcomes. Consequently, doubts began to arise among the Sangha regarding Kumarajiva’s integrity, leading to a decline in the commitment of some disciples to uphold the essential Buddhist rules.
When Kumarajiva became aware of the troubling trend spreading among the monks, he could not afford to be complacent. In response, he summoned all his disciples to gather before him, determined to address the issue head-on.
Before the perplexed audience, Kumarajiva unveiled a bowl filled with silver needles, their sharpness and gleaming appearance catching everyone’s attention. The monks were left wondering about the purpose behind Kumarajiva’s display.
In a solemn tone, Kumarajiva addressed his disciples, saying, “Not every monk is qualified to enter into worldly attachments and establish households. If you can swallow these silver needles as I do, then I will consider granting you permission to marry and have children. However, if you are unable to do so, you must never attempt to follow in my footsteps.”
Having spoken these words, Kumarajiva proceeded to place each silver needle into his mouth, consuming the entire bowl with a composed ease. The supernatural power exhibited by Kumarajiva left the assembled monks awe-struck, their eyes widened in astonishment. In the end, they were all convinced by Kumarajiva’s demonstration, believing him to be the true successor endorsed by the Buddha.
With this act, Kumarajiva showcased the potency of the correct Buddha Dharma. Consequently, no one dared to criticize him from that point forward. Instead, they committed themselves to diligent practice, upholding the precepts, engaging in self-cultivation, and abandoning any fantasies of pursuing worldly desires.
The community perceived Kumarajiva’s actions as an exemplification of self-sacrifice in the pursuit of the Bodhisattva Ideal, despite the disappointment he experienced due to the children of Yao Hsing’s experiment falling short of his grand expectations.
The High-Leg Treasure Horse is a thoroughbred horse with great stamina. When this treasure horse perspires, it appears to be bleeding due to the color of its perspiration. According to ancient legend, it is the most precious among all species of horses. It has the reputation of being able to travel over three hundred miles a day. Long mane hairs and a mighty, strong-willed, handsome appearance are its prominent characteristics. The High-Leg Treasure Horses in this painting have longer legs than horses commonly seen in paintings. The hairs of their manes are also long and strong. An extremely rare brushwork technique that combines haziness with clarity was applied to paint the hairs of the horses. The gossamer-thin hairs are strong but pliable. One can clearly see the natural effect of sunlight on the horses’ manes. Moreover, contrasting variations of dark and light are seen in every hair. The hairs of the horses are depicted with a realistic effect that nonetheless transcend their natural look.
An artistic technique was used to thoroughly capture on paper the charm and atmosphere of the grassland, lake, sky, and land. The “haziness technique” was applied to express a state of realization in which there is no distinction between emptiness and form. The ancient cypress tree was drawn in one shade of green without the need to add decorative touches in several different shades of green. Both the spirit and form of the tree were captured through the artist’s brush. In addition, elegant charm is revealed by a small number dots of red leaves in the background that compliment the scene. The most difficult part of this work of art was painting the roots, trunk, and leaves in a spontaneous, casual manner using the center brush-up technique yet maintaining a scholarly tone. Such mastery of painting cannot be easily attained and requires solid skills in calligraphy, literature, and painting as well as a noble moral character. From the brushwork style and details of this painting, we can sense the profound inner-cultivation of a renowned scholar. The abilities of a literary giant with abundant talent are visible everywhere. The scholarly tone and brushwork style are skinful and vigorous, totally free of any trace of the mundane, and reflect the highest level of painting and calligraphy. Anyone who lifts a brush in an attempt to paint such painting will appreciate the fact that this scholarly style cannot be accomplished by anyone other than a literary giant who is a great master of art. This painting coherently unites realism and small-scale freehand brushwork as well as the use of haze and clarity.
This painting is in the permanent exhibition of The International Art Museum of America. H.H. Dore Chang Buddha III, an artist of great talent, has created sixteen distinctive painting styles. The composition we are discussing here belongs to the “Menglong” style. This style combines realism and non-realism to capture the essence of the portrayed subject, resulting in a seemingly realistic but actually non-representational depiction. The brush strokes and color application in these paintings create a whimsical and dreamlike appearance, where the real and surreal merge into a lovely and hazy composition.
Although I am an ordinary RINPOCHE without any deep realization, nevertheless, I am very fortunate to have visited many Rinpoches. I have sought instruction from Great Dharma King Yangwo Yisinubu and from famous Rinpoches, such as Panchen Lama, Dalai Lama, Karmapa, Bo Mi Qiang Ba Luo Zhu, Dorje Losang, Dilgo Khyentse, Jiang Gong Kang Qin, Jiang Gong Kang Ce, Ga Wang, Zong Nan Jia Chu, Chuang Gu, Xia Ma, Hsi Jao, Bei Lu Qin Zhe, Tai Xi Du, Heng Sheng, Jia Cha, and Kalu. Especially with respect to nectar, I have a detailed understanding.
In general, nectar can be divided into five types: Most Precious Nectar, Great Precious Nectar, Long Life Nectar, Vajra Nectar, and Bodhi Nectar. These different types of nectar can also be divided into two different types: nectar that comes from sacred Dharma practice and nectar that comes from exoteric Dharma practice. There are several different types of nectar within the category of nectar that comes from sacred Dharma practice, depending upon the different manifestations of Dharma by each Buddha. Nectar resulting from exoteric practices is most prevalent in contemporary Vajrayana Buddhism. Basically, any Rinpoche can practice the Dharma to produce such nectar. Medicine or food is mostly used. Added to and mixed together with the medicine or food is sharira or a Dharma object that has been empowered. This is then made into powder to make pills. This powder is then empowered through practice of the Dharma and the recitation of mantras to become various types of nectar. Nectar that comes from exoteric Dharma practice is mostly used for empowerment, curing illnesses, and other reasons.
Nectar that comes from sacred Dharma practice is totally different from nectar that comes from exoteric, ordinary Dharma practice. The degree of empowerment from nectar that comes from sacred Dharma practice as compared with nectar that comes from exoteric Dharma practice is as different as ten thousand miles and one footstep. No words could adequately praise the nectar that comes from sacred Dharma practice. Ordinary Rinpoches and ordinary Dharma Kings who have been conferred such titles by the world cannot successfully practice the sacred Dharma to invoke nectar. Only those who are true Buddhas, or incarnations or transformations of Great Bodhisattvas, can successfully practice such Dharma. In the sacred Dharma practice to invoke nectar, the Dharma King conducting the practice will assemble over 100 Rinpoches to form a mandala. Gold, silver, and other precious items will be burnt as offerings. The Great Dharma King will then practice the holy Inner-Tantric Dharma to invoke the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to bestow nectar from the realm of the Buddhas. The Buddhas will assemble in the sky or will enter the mandala area. This holy scene will be seen by all of the more than 100 Rinpoches in attendance.
At this time, the Buddha who corresponds to the particular nectar that is being invoked will descend. The appearance of that particular Buddha and its bestowing of nectar can be seen. There will be the emission of light and the manifestation of supernormal states when the nectar descends into the bowl. This Dharma bowl must first be thoroughly washed and must be empty. There is absolutely nothing in this world which has the mysterious and changeable shape of the nectar that descends into the bowl. It is exactly as what is described in the book Know the True Doctrines. According to people of great virtue, only this type of sacred nectar is true nectar. According to Tibetan tantra, nectar is the holy material used for initiations. No matter what type of initiation is performed, nectar must be used. Especially for the supreme yoga initiations, true nectar is an absolutely indispensable material for the initiation Dharma water. True nectar represents the causative factor that raises one from the ordinary world to the realm of the Buddhas. If true nectar is not used as the basis for an initiation, such as when man-made nectar created from medicine is used to empower, then such initiation is not an Inner-Tantric Sacred Dharma Initiation. Therefore, according to tantra, nectar is fundamental for liberation. Determining whether a Dharma King is the incarnation of a Buddha or Great Bodhisattva mostly depends upon whether he or she has the depth of realization to successfully practice the nectar Dharma. Can he or she commune with the Buddhas and successfully invoke them to bestow nectar? Any explanation other than this, no matter how many times said, is merely empty talk. This includes explanations such as, “I am the heir to a certain spiritual legacy… Since childhood, I have been officially recognized as a Holy One and have been so for many lives…. I am a Dharma King recognized by a certain Great Rinpoche…I am the head of a certain great temple.” This only proves that they are Rinpoches according to worldly regulations and teachings. Of course, they can save living beings. However, such explanations definitely do not prove that they are able to represent the sacred essence of the supreme tantra. Nevertheless, one cannot dismiss such people. They are persons of great virtue. It is simply a matter of different levels of attainment.
When visiting Rinpoches, I would speak of this matter of the Buddhas bestowing true nectar. Some Rinpoches who do not have the ability to successfully invoke true nectar become quite unhappy when this subject is raised. I think that this is not a big problem. If you think that you are a Great and Holy Dharma King or a Great Rinpoche, then conduct a Nectar Dharma Assembly in order to prove that you are someone whom living beings can fall back upon. Let everybody see that you have the Buddha Dharma within you and that the Buddha Dharma is true. This is saving living beings! Otherwise, use empowered medicine as nectar and save living beings while cultivating yourself with a heart of humility!
I would like to raise the following question for everybody’s consideration. Are the Dharma Kings who successfully invoke the Buddhas to bestow nectar in front of everybody able to represent the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas or are the Dharma Kings who only speak empty words able to represent the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas? This question is worthy of deep consideration! I and many people of great virtue believe that those who can commune with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are definitely Great Dharma Kings. Those who can only reach ordinary states are ordinary Rinpoches!
If monastics do not abide by the Buddha Dharma precepts and tenets, there will be mistakes in their practice, and their practice will become superficial. Such practice will not produce any true accomplishment. Sakyamuni Buddha spoke of those monks who do not abide by the precepts of Buddhism. He said that even if they do not covet the affection and love of others, they still covet personal gain and the offerings of disciples. This means that those monastics who do not abide by the precepts will covet worldly gain and will thus not have minds set upon cultivation. Naturally, it will not be possible for them to become accomplished. Most contemporary practitioners who have gone forth from the household life do not abide by the precepts. These range from certain Dharma Teachers and Rinpoches all the way down to the myriad monastics. Before monastics went forth from the household life, they were attached to worldly feelings of affection and love. They therefore had thoughts of worldly affection and desire. They were no different from the ordinary person. After they cut off their hair and went forth from the household life, if they did not renounce worldly desires, the defilements that obstruct enlightenment naturally would not vanish. They would not be able to cut off the defilements. At this time, even though they are not allowed to give rise to feelings of desire, it is difficult for them to stop coveting their own gain and the offerings of disciples. Thus, the longing they have at this time is longing for their own gain and the offerings of disciples. Therefore, their attachment to the five aggregates is still strong. As monastics, they are not able to abide by the Dharma and precepts. Their practice becomes false, and in the end they are not able to accomplish anything. Many monks do not abide by Buddhism. They covet their own personal gain and the offerings of disciples. They pretend to be pure. They quietly sit in meditation, yet their thoughts run wild. They long for the objects of the five desires and are deluded by sounds, smells, and tastes. They have hearts covered with ignorance and are bound by craving. Such phenomena are described in writings on the Dharma and are manifested in the practice of a portion of those practitioners who have gone forth.
Many monastics have the appearance of being pure. While practicing, they show refined and exquisite expressions. They lower their heads and are serious in speech. They often say “Amitabha!” They are frequently seen meditating in a remote, quiet place. They very much appear to be true cultivators, but in fact they are not.
Although these monastics give the impression of being very pure and scrupulous in their practice, they still have not understood the principle that all Dharmas and all things are empty. Why have they not understood this? Because their six bases are not yet pure. Their attachment to things of the world is not yet broken. Thus, they still crave forms, sounds, smells, tastes, touches, and thoughts. They still think that the five aggregates of form, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness are not empty. They cannot cut off their infatuation with things of the world and thus engage in distorted, dreamlike thinking. They still allow themselves to be tossed about by the illusory things of the world. They cannot see clearly that such things, in essence, are empty. Thus, they are constantly obstructed from attaining enlightenment due to the defilements. Both day and night, they cannot avoid such confusion. Hence, this type of monastic, although appearing to be at peace, in truth has not yet become aware. Although they meditate, their thoughts run wild and are manipulated by the outside environment. Their thoughts are confused due to both inner and outer devils. They are unable to give rise to right mindfulness. Their thoughts are affected by the external environment. Their negative karma, born of ignorance, covers their original bright nature. They are obstructed and disturbed by the defilements. Although their bodies are in one place, who knows where their minds have roamed! Other people meditate and enter into a state of concentration. Their thoughts, however, are scattered, and they think of other things. They sit in the meditative posture, but they allow their good and bad thoughts – the two types of obstructions in attaining concentration – to pour into their minds in waves. They cannot attain peace.
There are a number of those who have gone forth from the household life, including some Dharma Teachers, who covet personal gain and the offerings of disciples and who devise ways to obtain money. In the end, they ruin their reputation and destroy their moral integrity. Those who ruin the reputation of Buddhist disciples are numerous. One often hears about such things.
Since monastics of this type have not yet cut off their defilements and are not permitted to fulfill their desire for love and affection, they then turn to seeking improper gain. It is just as Sakyamuni Buddha said. They will definitely turn to coveting personal gain and the offerings of disciples. Many monastics, under the pretense of furthering Buddhist affairs, cheat good Buddhist followers out of their money and property. Every now and then, some of them secretly embezzle such money or property. Some of them openly incite others to do bad. Some even brazenly steal money and property that would have been used in the furtherance of Buddhism.
There are also those who use the Buddha Dharma in other ways in order to cheat people. For example, there are many people who stand in front of certain Buddhist temples in Tibet. Holding an alms bowl, they force others to contribute money to them. Additionally, some people prostrate themselves a few times on the ground before another person, get up, and then thrust their alms bowl before this person, forcing him to contribute something.
There are many who covertly accumulate wealth. It can be said that they are experts in making money. In the end, they ruin the reputation of true monastics, who are the majority of monastics. They cause people of the world to think that all Dharma Teachers and monks cheat people out of their money, that all of those who have gone forth, whether true or false monastics, are birds of the same feather who hoodwink devout men and women out of their money. These monastics do not abide by the precepts of the Buddha Dharma. They not only destroy themselves since they ultimately cannot become accomplished and will descend into the hell realm, they also destroy the Buddha Dharma. When their lowly, foul conduct is revealed to the world, it not only causes a great uproar in Buddhist circles, it also causes some practitioners to be unable to practice in peace. These practitioners fall into a state of improper desires. It further causes people of the world to be unable to distinguish between who is true and who is false, who is sincere and who is fake. It causes people to think of leaving the Buddha Dharma. It stirs up prejudice towards even those who are upright monastics. It causes those who have roots of kindness to stay away from the Buddha Dharma. It thus cuts off people’s interest to learn Buddhism and realize liberation. If this continues, it will be a huge disaster for the Buddha Dharma and a great misfortune for living beings. If these practitioners who have gone forth do not immediately cease such behavior and repent, they will harm themselves by descending into the hell realm. This might not matter to them. However, causing countless sentient beings to stay painfully trapped in the burning house of the six realms of samsara for eons and cons without attaining liberation is an offense that is extremely worrisome. The consequences of such an offense are too dreadful to contemplate! I have thus vowed not to accept any offerings. This demonstrates that one can cultivate oneself, propagate the Dharma, and benefit living beings without accepting offerings. It is easy for living beings to give rise to prejudicial thoughts that will cut off their interest to learn Buddhism and realize liberation. This is caused by some monastics who neglect the Dharma and violate the precepts. It can be said that these people cannot possibly become accomplished. Even if they meditate and recite sutras every day just like others, their cultivation will always be superficial. It will not produce any results.
There is the following old story. A monk went to a certain village on his alms round. He constantly reminded himself that he must carefully abide by the precepts and must not violate the Buddha Dharma or proper etiquette. When he arrived before the door of a certain house, the woman of the house invited him inside in order to test whether he strictly abides by the precepts. She said that she greatly respects those who cultivate themselves and that she wanted to offer him the best roasted barley flour and cheese. Who would have known that as soon as he stepped into the house, this woman immediately jumped up and locked the door shut! She then said, “There are three things – if you do any one of them, I will give you the key and let you go. Otherwise, do not even think of leaving here.” This monk, having no other choice, could only ask, “Tell me, what three things?” The woman cunningly smiled and replied, “First, I have here a jar of wine. Drink it all. Second, on the table there is high quality mutton. Eat it. Third, if you and I engage in sexual relations, I will let you go. Of these three, you must do one. You choose!” After the monk heard this, he was greatly surprised, since all three things involved violating the precepts. He was at his wits’ end and did not know what to do. He thought of grabbing the key away from her, opening the door, and escaping. However, she was a woman, and such conduct was not befitting of practitioners who have gone forth from the household life. On the other hand, he feared that if he did not leave, people would certainly become suspicious. He reasoned that of those three things, sexual misconduct and eating meat were both serious violations of the precepts, whereas drinking wine was the lightest violation of the precepts. After thinking it over again and again, he decided to drink the wine. After he drank the entire jar of wine, he was completely drunk. He could not tell the difference between north, south, east, and west. Thus, he ate all of the mutton and engaged in sexual misconduct with that woman. He committed all three violations of the precepts. One can imagine the consequences of such conduct! This story has been passed down and disseminated widely within Buddhist circles. Its meaning is self-evident. It tells all practitioners, especially monastics, of the seriousness of violating the precepts. Not one of the precepts may be violated. Even if it appears to be an insignificant precept, one must be very scrupulous and absolutely must not violate it. If one violates one precept, then there will inevitably be a second violation. After one violates a relatively minor precept, there is the possibility of violating a major precept. If monastics cannot scrupulously abide by the precepts, then they may violate all of the precepts. In the end, they can only blame themselves and will reap what they have sown. Thus, the practice of monastics who do not abide by the precepts will certainly be superficial. For them, becoming accomplished will be like the reflection of flowers on water or the appearance of the moon on a mirror – something that, in the end, they will not obtain.
There is the following saying in Buddhism: “At the door of hell are many monastics.” Its meaning is what I just described. Those practitioners who have gone forth must be vigilant. They must be careful in upholding the precepts! Violating the precepts is committing an offense. Committing offenses will not lead one to the land of the Buddhas. Rather, it will lead one to the three evil realms to spend time in endless suffering!
At the International Art Museum of America in downtown San Francisco, there is a special exhibition room, dedicated to Professor Yuhua Shouzhi Wang. This installation was established in 2018, containing a variety of water and ink paintings as wells as sketches. Professor Wang’s acclaimed works have been displayed all over the world, including an exhibition at Congress in 2008, where they called her work a ‘treasure of the world’. In 2019, Professor Wang’s art was exhibited at Shanghai Exhibition Center in China and the Louvre Museum in Paris. An art critic Aude de Kerros praised this event in Paris, saying ‘I have curated and critiqued so many art exhibitions, yet I have never seen an exhibition like this where all the guests are so touched and amazed by the art.’ Following the Paris exhibition, Professor Peter Drake, the Provost of the New York Academy of Art, presented a certificate to Professor Wang, recognizing her extraordinary contributions to representational and abstract art. In December 2020, the Chairman of Centre for Peace in United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Guy Djoken awarded an “International First-Class Artist” title to Professor Wang for her accomplishment. Professor Wang is the only Asian artist who has ever received such a title. On December 29th 2020, Chairman Guy Djoken came to the museum to personally present the title certificate to Professor Wang.
Many people are aware that Professor Yuhua Shouzhi Wang is a world-renowned artist. However, the true identity of Professor Yuhua Shouzhi Wang is revealed as Fomu, Holy Mother the Great Mahasattva. She embodies great wisdom and compassion, noble morality, kindness, altruism, and selflessness in a perfect manner. She always considers other people’s well-being and is humble and very approachable. The compassion and kindness of Fomu, Holy Mother the Great Mahasattva, are pure and flawless. For example, in 2015, someone sneaked into the International Art Museum of America in San Francisco and tried to steal an artwork that had been acclaimed by the World Federation of UNESCO (WFUCA). This person was arrested by the police on site and subsequently detained. Since the artwork that he tried to steal was one of Fomu’s masterpieces, the court repeatedly requested Fomu to provide a valuation of the artwork, so that they could use her valuation to determinethe term for sentencing. When Fomu, Holy Mother the Great Mahasattva, knew about this person’s distress, She provided a statement saying that the artwork was rather ordinary and had no value. The court had no way of sentencing the person to any term and had to release him.
Another time, Fomu, Holy Mother the Great Mahasattva, saved a butterfly that had fallen into the water. Worried about the butterfly’s safety, Fomu brought it home and kept it for a few days to make sure the butterfly is well-recovered before letting it fly away. Fomu relentlessly led disciples to conduct life-releases. She went every week to woodlands to feed ducks and birds and never missed a week. She paid for it with Her own money and never accepted offerings from Buddhist disciples. Fomu, Holy Mother the Great Mahasattva, is well known for Her diligence and thriftiness. For many decades, the noble Fomu, Holy Mother the Great Mahasattva, always cooked Her own meals and washed Her own clothes. She never entrusted others to do Her chores. She would save the food that She could not finish eating and finish it the next day or two. She was never wasteful. Usually, Fomu, Holy Mother the Great Mahasattva, would even save the water that She did not finish drinking, the water used for washing vegetables or hands, or wastewater from the filter and use it for irrigating flowers or flushing toilet. Through Her deeds, the Great Fomu, Holy Mother the Great Mahasattva, was teaching us how to start with the small things, cherish our good fortune, and actualize our cultivation practices.It is impossible to recount all the numerous exemplary deeds of Fomu.
Wherever Fomu, Holy Mother the Great Mahasattva, went, dragon Dharma protectors were present, and holy miracles manifested. When Fomu performed initiation and transmitted Dharma, holy states were manifested. For example, at the Antelope Valley, Fomu’s hat turned into a black garuda. In New Jersey, the hair of Fomu, Holy Mother the Great Mahasattva, suddenly went up and wrapped around a tall building in Manhattan on the opposite shore. In San Francisco, a twin Buddha light suddenly appeared, centered around where Fomu stood. All cultivators are touched by the compassion and morality of Fomu, Holy Mother the Great Mahasattva.
In the “Buddha Imparts The Parables Sutra,” Sakyamuni Buddha explained a story to King Shengguang that conveyed the true meaning of life. The story goes like this: A thousand eons ago, there was a man wandering in the wilderness who was suddenly chased by a ferocious elephant. With no place to rely on, he ran in fear and came across an empty well with a large tree beside it. Desperate to escape, he followed the roots of the tree and hid in the well. However, the well was not a safe place either. There were two mice, one black and one white, constantly gnawing at the tree roots. And there were four poisonous snakes surrounding the well, ready to strike, and a poisonous dragon at the bottom of the well. The man was afraid of the snakes and the dragon, and also worried that the mice would eat away the tree roots. Just then, five drops of honey from a honeycomb on the tree fell into the man’s mouth, and he immediately forgot his fear and worries. But soon, bees from the honeycomb stung him due to the shaking of the tree, and a wildfire suddenly broke out and burned the tree.
The Buddha told King Shengguang that the wilderness represents the long night of ignorance, the man represents all sentient beings, the elephant represents impermanence, the well represents life and death, the tree root represents life, and the black and white mice represent night and day. The four poisonous snakes symbolize the four elements of earth, water, fire, and wind; the honey represents the five desires of wealth, sex, fame, food, and sleep; the bees represent evil thoughts; the wildfire represents aging and disease; and the poisonous dragon represents death. The Buddha emphasized that birth, old age, sickness, and death are inevitable and frightening. One should always be vigilant and not be consumed by the desires for wealth, sex, fame, food, and sleep. Upon hearing the Buddha’s teachings on the parables of life and death, King Shengguang was deeply moved.
This story serves as a reminder for us as well. Have we become absorbed in the sweetness of “honey” in our lives, forgetting that the “black and white mice” are constantly nibbling away at our time? Life is like a fleeting dream, and it is empty. It is crucial for us to awaken from this dream of fleeting existence.
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 “NamoDorje 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.
Several decades ago, Elder Dharma King Dorje Losang approached the Great Dharma King seeking clarification on certain Buddhist questions that troubled living beings. Provided below are the English translations of these questions.
The elder Dharma king asked: Living beings have certain questions, which I would like to ask on their behalf. Great Dharma King and respected Master who is supreme, would you instruct us? The Great Dharma King answers: If you have any questions, then raise them.
Q: What types of practitioners of Buddhism have the ability to successfully invoke nectar? A: Those Holy Ones and Great Dharma Kings who have reached the level of a Buddha or Mahasattva. Q: According to what the Great Dharma King just said, do all Dharma Kings within Vajrayana Buddhism have the ability to successfully invoke the Buddhas to bestow nectar? A: Not all of them are able. Q: Why are not all of them able? A: It is not necessarily true that all Dharma Kings are able to successfully invoke nectar. Q: What is the reason for this? A: Since there are those who are Dharma Kings in name but who have not attained the realization of a Dharma King, they are, therefore, not true Dharma Kings. Naturally, they are unable to commune with the Buddhas. How, then, could nectar be bestowed? Q: Can the present Dalai Lama successfully invoke the Buddhas to bestow nectar? A: I have not heard it said that he has such ability. Q: What is nectar? A: Holy food that corresponds with the miraculous powers and great wisdom of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Q: What is the function of nectar? A: To plant the holy seeds of Vajra in order to realize enlightenment. It can eliminate all karma one produced in this world. Ending the cycle of birth and death becomes as easy as turning one’s hand. Q: How big is the difference in power between true nectar and the five types of nectar in this earthly world? A: As big as the difference between the great ocean and a drop of water, between 10,000 miles and a small step. There is no comparison. Q: What is the reason for this? A: Those five types of nectar are called nectar. In fact, they are ordinary things of this world that are empowered by mantras. True nectar bestowed by the Buddhas is something sacred that has come from the realm of the Holy Ones and Buddhas. There is a world of difference. It is the difference between the ordinary and the sacred. How could they be mentioned in the same breath? Q: Have there been any ordinary Rinpoches who have successfully practiced the nectar Dharma? A: Throughout Buddhist history until the present, there has not been one. Q: You are the Great Dharma King and Holy Master in our world. Could you invoke some nectar to empower everybody? A. When certain causes and conditions of living beings mature, nectar will fall naturally. If the Buddhist practitioner does not possess enough merit, there will be no nectar. I am an ordinary practitioner of Buddhism. I do not have the ability to successfully invoke nectar. Q: Then why did I personally see you successfully invoke the Buddhas to bestow nectar? A: That was due to the fullness of merit of those who were able to partake of the nectar. I alone do not have the depth of realization to successfully invoke the Buddhas to bestow nectar. Q: In this world, how many Rinpoches are able to successfully practice the Dharma of invoking the Buddhas to bestow true nectar? A: All of those who have attained the realization of a true Dharma King can successfully practice it. Furthermore, they must practice it. O: Is it unacceptable not to practice it? A: It is unacceptable. Q: Why is that? A: With respect to the highest Dharma within Vajrayana Buddhism, the initiation of Ati Yoga, Great Perfection of the Vajra division, nectar is an indispensable holy element for cleansing one’s negative karma and is the resource for planting the seeds of Vajra. If the truc nectar Dharma is not practiced, then it is an ordinary initiation.
Q: The level of realization of Amang Nopu Pamu is extremely high. She is also able to successfully invoke nectar. Is she a Dharma King?
A: In order to successfully invoke the Buddhas to bestow true nectar, one must recite the holy mantras of a Dharma King, must put one’s hands in the mudra of a Dharma King, and must ascend to the throne of a Dharma King. Q: I would like to ask if the Great Dharma King’s Buddha Dharma is any different from her Buddha Dharma? A: The Buddha Dharma is the same. It is all passed down from the ancient Buddhas. Q: Does the Great Dharma King study the Buddha Dharma with Pamu? A: I have not seen her yet in this lifetime. Until now, I have not yet spoken to her. The Buddha Dharma is not the study of Buddhism. It does not contain the element of study. Only ordinary people of the world study it. Q: Generally speaking, what is the Buddha Dharma? A: It is cultivating yourself to live in accord with the law of cause and effect or karma. It is that simple. It is the same with nectar. Q: What is the reason for that? A: No reason. For example, you, Dorje Losang, have attained the position of an Elder Dharma King. However, your realization deepened and your beard grew only after you received empowerment from Pamu. This is cause and effect. Q: Can the Eight Great Rinpoches of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism successfully invoke the Buddhas to bestow nectar? A: Even the Four Great Dharma Princes do not have such power. Q: Why does each and every Rinpoche in today’s world have nectar pills? A: This is correct, but such pills are ordinary things of this world, such as medicine or other things, that are empowered by adding shar-ira and chanting mantras. After such empowerment, they are called nectar or the five great pills. Q: Thus, can 100 out of 10,000 Rinpoches successfully invoke nectar? A: It would not be a disappointing result if there were only 1 out of 10,000 Rinpoches who can successfully invoke nectar. O: If there are so few, how can they save living beings? A: All 84,000 Dharma methods can be used to save living beings. As long as any method is the Buddha Dharma, it can be used to save living beings. O: Which Dharma is the best and easiest method for attaining liberation? A: It is best to learn the Dharma spoken by Sakyamuni Buddha and the Dharma of true Great Dharma Kings. In today’s world, the Buddha Dharma that can liberate living beings most easily can be found in Buddhist books which are composed of commentary and instruction by Amang Nopu Pamu! O: Is there any usefulness in being initiated without real nectar? A: There is usefulness in being initiated by ordinary Rinpoches. As long as it is the correct Buddha Dharma, accomplishment can be achieved.
Q: If accomplishment can be achieved through both real nectar and ordinary nectar, then why distinguish between real nectar bestowed by the Buddhas and nectar made from ordinary objects that have been empowered? A: The difference lies in whether the accomplishment is great or small and the time it takes for such accomplishment. If one cultivates oneself according to the Dharma after having been initiated with real nectar, then one day of such cultivation would be better than 10 years, or even 20 or 30 years, of cultivation after having been initiated with ordinary nectar of this world. After having been initiated with real nectar, one can achieve in this lifetime the Three Bodies. Q: Why are the initiations performed by many Rinpoches not called nectar initiations? A: Nectar is the basic ingredient used in any initiation. This basic ingredient of nectar is then mixed with other things according to different tantra. Therefore, there are different names for various initiations. Q: Are those who were able to receive an ordinary initiation also able to receive a true nectar initiation or a true nectar empowerment? A: If one devotedly practices the Buddha Dharma and lives in accordance with Buddhism, then this will be clearly known by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. When one has accumulated enough merit, a Great Dharma King will initiate such person with nectar bestowed by the Buddhas! I already told you. Everything is cause and effect.