IS IT COINCIDENCE, MAGIC, ILLUSION, PITIFUL STUPIDITY,OR WISDOM?




On December 25, 2004, Buddha lights bathed the Hua Zang Si temple in San Francisco. After this holy Buddha-dharma event occurred, many people happily praised such an event, and their hearts were full of reverence. However, I also heard another viewpoint. Some people said that such an occurrence was a type of magic or that it was a type of coincidence. In order to clarify this matter, I made a special trip to interview a highly virtuous and eminent Buddhist monastic.



This eminent monastic gave me the following response: “Living beings are truly pitiable! It is precisely because of this that some people have fallen into the most pitiful state of stupidity. The multitudinous living beings have characteristics to plant the seeds that lead to their future existence in the cycle of reincarnation. If a Buddha light appeared one time after the Great Dharma King invoked it to appear, then one could say it was coincidence. However, in Hong Kong, Taiwan, mainland China, Thailand, and the United States, when the Great Dharma King invoked Buddha light to appear, it appeared each time. Are all of those instances coincidences? 



      This eminent monastic gave me the following response: “Living beings are truly pitiable! It is precisely because of this that some people have fallen into the most pitiful state of stupidity. The multitudinous living beings have characteristics to plant the seeds that lead to their future existence in the cycle of reincarnation. If a Buddha light appeared one time after the Great Dharma King invoked it to appear, then one could say it was coincidence. However, in Hong Kong, Taiwan, mainland China, Thailand, and the United States, when the Great Dharma King invoked Buddha light to appear, it appeared each time. Are all of those instances coincidences?



      Even if all of those instances were coincidences, there is also the preface to a book that eminent geshe Losang Zhenzhu translated. That geshe, who is more than eighty years old, translated a book written by Master Tsongkapa entitled “Brief Commentary on the Stages on the Path to Enlightenment.” In that preface, the eminent geshe stated that the Great Dharma King invited the dharma protecting Bodhisattvas to manifest themselves. The geshe wrote that he personally saw dharma protecting Bodhisattvas and even asked them questions. At that time, the Great Dharma King told the geshe that Buddha light had appeared in the sky. The geshe watched the Buddha light for one half hour. Would this elder geshe, who has cultivated himself and learned Buddhism for more than seventy years, behave deceitfully and lie to living beings? 


     
      Before the Highest Form of Bathing the Buddha Dharma Assembly took place, the Great Dharma King predicted that when the Dharma Assembly began, there would be a fierce wind and the sound of thunder. Just as predicted, as soon as the dharma was practiced at that assembly, from the clear sky suddenly came a fierce wind and the roar of thunder. Is this also a coincidence? 



        During that Dharma Assembly, the Vajra Wheel moved by itself in the water, floating up and sinking down. A camera took pictures of dharma protecting deities standing on the Vajra Wheel continually changing their forms. Could this also be coincidence?



       At that Dharma Assembly, there was a tub used to bathe a statue of the Buddha. When filled with water, that tub weighed more than 4,200 pounds. About a dozen people together tried to lift that tub a few times but did not succeed in moving the tub in the slightest. However, two people of great virtue and high states of realization were able to lift it. There was a person of holy virtue who lifted it alone. Which ordinary person in this world could “coincidentally” show such awe-inspiring power? 


  
      There was an abandoned, desiccated, cracked, and extremely brittle plum blossom branch that had been exposed to the sun for a few months. When the Great Dharma King was expounding the Buddha-dharma, it suddenly blossomed forth tender and beautiful red plum blossoms. Was this holy event a matter of coincidence? In 1996, an outstanding layperson whose last name is Xue took his parents and wife to the Great Dharma King so that they could take refuge in the Great Dharma King. At the Buddhist altar area, a tortoise suddenly appeared amid the four of them and, together with the Xue family, that tortoise took refuge in the Great Dharma King. That tortoise formed a line with Mr. Xue’s family, and it too kowtowed and prostrated before the Great Dharma King. How could such a miracle be a mere coincidence? 


  
      When the Great Dharma King was in the city of PutTaMonTon (Lumpini Park-a holy Buddhist site) in Thailand expounding the dharma, a “divine dragon”; transformed itself into a dragon fish and stood straight up on the water while it bowed to the Great Dharma King. A few dozen people personally saw this event. Have you seen a fish that can use its tail to raise its body and stand perfectly straight on the water? How could fish have such ability? Countless animals of various species have bowed before the Great Dharma King or have made offerings to the Great Dharma King. Even a certain type of fox took refuge in the Great Dharma King. Did all of those animals coincidentally appear? Why didn’t they coincidentally appear before you or me? Why did they just happen to go “coincidentally” to the Great Dharma King? 
 
  

      When the Great Dharma King practices the dharma invoking the Buddhas to bestow nectar, a disciple in attendance takes the dharma bowl in his or her hands and washes it. The Great Dharma King practices the dharma more than ten feet away from the bowl and the disciples in attendance. Out of nothing, the Buddhas descend nectar into the dharma bowl. The disciples in attendance see with open eyes the appearance of nectar in a once empty bowl. This nectar came out of nothingness. How could nectar, which is something beyond the human realm, coincidentally appear?



      There are disciples of the Great Dharma King who attained control over their own living and dying. They passed away while in the crossed-legged meditation posture. How could they have coincidentally liberated themselves from the cycle of reincarnation? 
There was a lay disciple of the Great Dharma King by the name of Lin Liu Hui- Xiu who lived in Seattle. A few months before she passed away, the Great Dharma King openly predicted the time of her passing. Before she passed away, her husband Lin Yong- Mao made an urgent long-distance telephone call to the Great Dharma King. Lin Yong-Mao said that his wife had just passed away at 5:00. The Great Dharma King told him in no uncertain terms that what he just said was not true, that the time the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will come and receive her had not yet arrived, and that she had not yet passed away. After 7:00 a.m. the next day, the Great Dharma King instructed Dharma Teacher Long Hui to lead a group of monastics on a flight from Los Angeles to Seattle. The Great Dharma King said to Dharma Teacher Long Hui, “She has not passed away yet. When all of you arrive there, she will have already passed away.” After 8:00 that morning, Lin Liu Hui-Xiu opened her eyes one more time. At the exact time the Master predicted, she passed on to a Buddha-land.



      There is a laywoman in China by the name of Zhao Xian-Yun. The Great Dharma King told her the time of her passing before it occurred. She returned to her old home and happily said good-bye to her family members. When the time the Great Dharma King predicted arrived, she suddenly sat in the cross-legged meditation posture, put her hands in the mudra the Great Dharma King taught her that leads to rebirth in the Western Paradise, and passed away. At the time of her passing, her whole face was ruddy. Her daughter and neighbors saw Guan Yin Bodhisattva appear in the sky and escort her away. 



      The time people pass away is a matter of great importance. Are such accurate predictions of the time people will pass away mere coincidences? How could the Great Dharma King have “coincidentally” communicated with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas such that he knew when the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas would receive those people and escort them away? 
 
 
 
      There was a professor by the name of Hou Yu-Shan who lived in the United States. He practiced a great dharma that the Great Dharma King transmitted to him that leads to rebirth in the Western Paradise of Ultimate Bliss. Before he passed away, he took a trip around the Western Paradise of Ultimate Bliss. At that time, Amitabha Buddha told him that one week later he (Amitabha Buddha) would receive him and escort him to the Western Paradise. Amitabha Buddha also told him that the best Buddha-dharma is with Great Dharma King Yangwo Yisinubu. As predicted, one week later, Professor Hou passed on to the Western Paradise. At the time of his passing, his family members saw Amitabha Buddha appear in the sky. Is this also a matter of coincidence? 
 
 
 

      Laywoman Yu Lin Cai-Chun died of disease. Her pupils dilated and her body became rigid and cold. Her family members beseeched the Great Dharma King to save her. The Great Dharma King began practicing the dharma. Two hours later, Yu Lin Cai-Chun was resurrected. She spent the next three months happily with her family. She practiced the dharma that the Great Dharma King transmitted to her and passed on to the Western Paradise of Ultimate Bliss. The Great Dharma King teaches disciples to attain control over their own living and dying. Who else would like to try and “coincidentally” do this? I would like to see it done by someone else just once and that would be enough. 



      There are eminent monastics and laypersons of great virtue who are disciples of the Great Dharma King. If they want to live, they live. If they want to die, they die. They have left behind many shariras or firm relics. They have also left behind their body of flesh that does not rot. Many people have read about such facts in newspapers and magazines. How did they “coincidentally” attain such great accomplishment?



      There are so many examples of this kind. If there were only one or two examples, you could say it was coincidental. If there are thousands of such holy feats and people still insist that they are coincidences, then I can only say one thing. But first let me say that I am a monastic engaged in self-cultivation. I do not wish to utter harsh words. I do not speak falsely. However, I must tell the truth. Those who still say that such occurrences are coincidences are foolish and pitiful people who cause their own karmic obstructions. Although such people have the body of a human being, although they possess goodness and basic morality that is part of human nature, nevertheless, it is unfortunate that their thoughts are truly as stupid as those of animals. They are truly pitiable!”



      This monastic continued, “Let me give you an example. Perhaps it is not a very fitting example, but it might help people think about some matters more clearly. A long time ago, a beggar was on a riverbank washing his earthenware pot. In his hands, that earthenware pot was like a pocket made of cloth. He washed the pot by turning the inside out and the outside in.


       Someone saw him doing this and was stunned. That person thought such a feat was unbelievable. He stood there watching for a long time. He could not figure out just what this was all about. In a confused state, he left.
 


      Another person saw the beggar washing his earthenware pot. He was very curious. He felt that the ability to invert an earthenware pot was very good. He thought that if he could learn how to do that, he could show off in front of others or use that skill to make money. Thus, he said to the beggar, “Master, accept me as a disciple. Your power to invert an earthenware pot is so amazing!” Upon hearing this, the beggar ignored him completely. After persisting in his efforts for a long time but attaining no success, he also left. 



      A young man then arrived. He silently observed the beggar for a long time. When the beggar walked up the riverbank, this young man prostrated on the ground before him and said, “Master, please accept me as a disciple!”



      The beggar asked, “What is this? Do you also want to learn how to invert an earthenware pot?” 
The young man replied, “Master, I did not see you invert an earthenware pot.”
The beggar responded, “I am a beggar. Besides inverting an earthenware pot, I cannot do anything else. I just beg for food. What can you learn from me?”



      That young man resolutely stated, “I want to learn from you how to become an immortal.” 
That young man was very sincere in his pursuit of the truth. After many tests, he finally received true teachings from that Master. He realized the truth and became an immortal. That young man was later known as Lu Dong-Bin, one of the eight immortals. The beggar was a transformation of Tie Guai Li. The young Lu Dong-Bin was able to penetrate phenomena and see the essence. Can we?”



      I then asked this eminent monastic what he thought about the concept that Great Dharma King’s holy feats are illusions. He said, “A few thousand years ago, Sakyamuni Buddha explained to living beings the following. “Everything that comes into being through causes and conditions is illusory. Living beings exist in a state that is like an illusion. All dharmas (phenomena) are impermanent, arise conditionally, and are empty in their nature.” Only the true, original nature of all phenomena (i.e. the original essence of all being, the true thusness or reality-nature) is not born and does not die. Yet, if there were no illusory existence, one could not manifest the dharma and enjoy all kinds of supernatural transformations. However, other than the supernatural power of completely extinguishing all defilements in oneself, all supernatural powers are illusory. In the Buddha-dharma, turning illusion into reality is called “wonderful existence.” Living beings see the false as real. They are attached to things and indulge in things. They are immersed in the pain of cyclic existence and do not know it. They do not understand the meaning of “illusion” or “reality.”



      Out of immense compassion, the Great Dharma King has manifested prodigious supernatural powers to teach those living beings that have the karmic affinity to learn from them. That is why magnificent and holy Buddha-dharma states appeared, such as the Buddha light bathing Hua Zang Si temple. That is why the supernatural event involving vines on top of a dharma tent occurred. With the touch of the Great Dharma King’s hand, vines dried up. That was a startling and holy feat that showed the impermanent, always changing nature of vines. Who else in this world can manifest such magnificent illusion with Buddha Dharma?



      Outstanding monks like elder monk Wu Ming, who is chairman of the World Buddhist Sangha Council, eminent monk Yi Zhao, who is successor to the dharma lineage of elder monk Xu Yun, and geshe Losang Zhenzhu, knelt before the Great Dharma King and beseeched him to empower them with nectar. The Great Dharma King directed them to go to an entrance where many yellow jackets (a type of wasp) were swarming. The Great Dharma King stated with certainty that the dharma protecting deities would protect those monks and that the yellow jackets would not harm them. Hundreds of thousands of yellow jackets flew back and forth in front of them. All of those dozen or so monks were safe and unharmed. Who would dare frivolously play around with their own lives? There has never been this type of coincidence or magic in the world. It can only be called magnificent Buddha-dharma.”



      This eminent monastic mentioned the holy feat involving vines on top of a dharma tent. That event occurred in January of 2005. After the grand opening of the Hua Zang Si temple, Rinpoches and Dharma Teachers exhibited their ultimate artistic wisdom relating to carving vines. They made a dharma tent. They then went to the Great Dharma King and asked him to consecrate their tent. 



      Kuru Rinpoche said, “This Padmasambhava dharma tent is an indestructible treasure that removes the negative karma of living beings.” 
The Great Dharma King smiled and said, “Everything that comes into being through causes and conditions illusorily exists. All sentient beings must die. All non-sentient things must perish. All of these things are impermanent.” 
A Dharma Teacher then said, “This dharma tent looks very wonderful. It is not impermanent in the least.”



     The Great Dharma King replied, “In every moment, it is arising, growing old, and dying. In every moment, it is in a state of impermanence. Your ordinary eyes cannot see such a process. If in a few hundred years from now you take another look at it, you will see that those entangled vines on the top of the tent are dried up. Actually, with respect to time and space, there is no past or future. Today, the causes and conditions are ripe. Watch!”



      The Great Dharma King then pressed his hand upon the top of the dharma tent in the middle of the entangled vines. Halfway turning his hand, he then hit the vines once. A crackling sound could then be heard. A few minutes later, people looked at the vines and saw that their color had changed. They had withered and were dried up. In just a moment of time, they became a thousand-year-old cultural relic. They were thoroughly dried up, withered, and ruined. When the Great Dharma King lifted his hand, everyone saw that the Great Dharma King’s hand left an impression upon the vines when it pressed them down. Everyone also saw that the vines that were under the Great Dharma King’s hand did not wither, their color and luster did not change, they did not have any wrinkles, and they did not show any signs of dryness or aging. With respect to that part of the vines, no sign of the process of impermanence could be seen. Everyone was shocked!



      The person in charge of the exhibition department of Superb Art Museum of America hurriedly asked the Great Dharma King, “Could the Great Dharma King bless the picture frame in the shape of vines in our art museum so that it too shows the state of impermanence and becomes a cultural relic?” 
The Great Dharma King replied, “Since you have encountered today’s causes and conditions, I will fulfill your wish!”



      The Great Dharma King then gave the following explication: “All such phenomena do not truly exist. They are illusory phenomena. The Buddha expounded the dharma for forty-nine years, which was also a manifestation of illusory existence. There actually was not dharma that he had spoken of. If you obtain the Mahamudra of Liberation and realize the true, original nature of all phenomena (i.e. the original essence of all being, the true thusness or reality-nature), then it is exactly like this hand imprint analogy--there will be no impermanence nor birth and death. The Buddha expounded all of the dharmas. Sages attained the state of realization, and such dharmas were thereby real. Ordinary beings were confused, and such dharmas were thereby false. But who can turn the false into the real? Who possesses the dharma that leads to realization? Thus, only the correct dharma of the Buddha turns illusion into reality. All of you should listen, ponder, and deeply understand the Great Master’s discourse entitled “The Essence of Seeing One’s Original Nature.” Receiving such an initiation is truly an indestructible treasure. Today you have seen signs of impermanence relating to the dharma tent. Such signs are only an analogy. Such a manifestation is illusory and was done for fun only. Do not take it as being the absolute or ultimate truth. It is just art that one can dismiss with a laugh.



      This lecture by the Great Dharma King has profound meaning and is worthy of pondering. It is exactly like what the eminent monastic stated that although these feats are illusory in nature, who else can manifest such an impermanent illusion? If one cannot manifest illusory phenomena, nor can one turn illusion into reality, then how can one give expression to one’s realization? How can such a person possibly claim that he possesses the Buddha-dharma? If you truly think that you are not foolish and that you are very smart, then go and find someone who can successfully invoke the Buddhas to bestow nectar out of nothingness, which is a substance not of this world. You will then understand whether you are pitifully stupid or wise.



      The dharma tent with vines on top is a wonderful treasure and evidence of a holy feat. Monastics have already respectfully received it in San Francisco, where it is worshipped as an object of veneration at the Hua Zang Si temple.



       

Great Rinpoches, Great Dharma Teachers, and laypersons observe the holy signs of permanence and impermanence that appeared on the top of the Padmasambhava dharma tent. (Photograph by Ru-Jun Zheng)










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