The Nine Stages of Kalachakra Meditation
|Grand Master Lu`s Dharma Talk after the Singapore Kalachakra ceremony
at the Singapore Expo on December 13, 2008
Chinese Transcription by Lianhua Shu-hui and Lianhua Shu-ting
Chinese transcript edited by Lianhua Yan-xiang and Lianhua Yi-xin
Translated by Lianhua Zhi-wei
Proofread by Jackie Ho
Edited by Jason Yu
Translated by: True Buddha Translation Team
Let us first pay homage to Reverend Liaoming, His Eminence Sakya Zhengkong Rinpoche, His Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa, Vajra Acharya Thubten Dargye, and the Three Jewels of the shrine.
We would also like to express our gratitude to Reverend Zhao-shan and Gong-qiao Rinpoche for attending our Kalachakra ceremony. We also would like to thank all of the honored guests.
Most importantly, we want to thank the members of the planning committee for arranging this Kalachakra ceremony, including Vajra Master Lian-jian of Yuan Zheng Chapter and all of the volunteers (applause).
Shimu (Vajra Master Lian-xiang), attending vajra masters, senior reverends, reverends, dharma instructors, dharma assistants, fellow school members, and fellow disciples who are joining us from the web, I want to wish good fortune to all of you.
Today, I will be teaching the Nine Stages of Kalachakra Meditation. The nine stages are nine progressive steps. Yet, everyone needs to know that \`the Dharma does not have absolute forms\` (the Dharma does not have absolute forms and the Dharma does not only have particular means for attainment).
Thus, every cultivator may not necessarily progress through each of the nine stages when they perform the Kalachakra meditation. Those who have cultivated to a deep level are able to achieve samadhi instantly. While those whose cultivation is shallow will progress gradually, moving one-step at-a-time. The Buddha had said, \`The Dharma does not have absolute forms.\`
What does this phrase \`the Dharma does not have absolute forms\` mean? It means that although you were taught a particular practice, you don’t have to follow all of the procedures of the practice absolutely. Based on their experiences, the wise and holy teachers of the past delineated this means of gaining attainment into separate stages, resulting in nine separate stages. Based on my experiential insight, when I want to enter samadhi, I just have to seize my heart and pay attention to the following two important points: \`don’t become drowsy and tired\` and \`don’t become excited or elated.\` When you enter into extremely deep meditation, you can enter samadhi instantly if you can maintain a very clear and calm heart. Of course, normal people can’t enter samadhi instantly when they begin their practice of the Nine Stages of Kalachakra Meditation. Therefore, they need to cultivate one stage at a time.
What does \`the Dharma does not have absolute forms\` mean? “The Dharma does not have absolute forms,?means that there is no absolute right or wrong. I will give an example. Eric Tseng is a famous Hong Kong movie star. He is about as tall as I am. But, I am not as chubby as he is (Grandmaster giggles). Eric Tseng said that Hong Kong`s paparazzi are extremely ferocious. In fact, both the paparazzi of Taiwan and Hong Kong are ferocious. One time, the Hong Kong paparazzi took a picture of Eric Tseng with a beautiful woman. In that picture, Eric Tseng`s eyes were looking at the face of the woman. Based on that photo, the tabloids reported that he was a womanizer. In response Eric Tseng said, \`I wasn’t looking at her face. My gaze was pointing downward.\` Then the tabloids reported, \`He was gazing downward at the protruding part of her anatomy.\` If Eric Tseng were to turn his head and not look at her at all, then the tabloids would report that he had to look away because he felt guilty. What I mean is that no matter how the tabloids reported the story, they claimed their story was \`right.\` At the same time, their story was also \`wrong.\` No matter how they reported the story, they were also \`wrong.\` So, there is neither absolute right or wrong.
Today, you are learning Buddha-dharma. The Dharma does not have absolute forms. You should enter samadhi using the method that you are most familiar with. That method is the most appropriate means. While practicing meditation, it is vitally important that the cultivator do not hallucinate. Why would cultivator hallucinate? The major reason is that improper thoughts or desires arose from the cultivator’s heart. Hence, we must maintain mental clarity and good judgment. You must be able to recognize hallucinations. By maintaining mental clarity and good judgment along with recognizing whether you are experiencing visual and auditory hallucinations, you won’t fall into the realm of Mara.
Sometimes, when a person practices meditation he will experience \`Mara meditation\` (hallucination during meditation). This is an extremely dangerous situation. I have told a joke before about a female mental patient. The director of a psychiatric ward passed by a female patient’s room. He saw that the female patient was lying on her bed and singing. Wow! Her voice was incredible and it was just as good as a professional singer. She sang one song after another without missing a beat or word. Her songs were truly mesmerizing. Just when the director thought the female patient had clearly recovered from her illness and had returned to normal, she flipped over on her bed and started to sing with her body facing down on the bed. In this position, she sang more songs and her performances were just as good as before. So, the director asked her, \`You were singing while you were lying on your back earlier. Why did you flip over and sing with your body facing down?\` The female patient told him, \`I was singing the songs on side A of the cassette earlier. Now, I am singing the songs on side B.\` (Grandmaster giggles) Clearly, she was still mentally ill and her condition was very serious. Everybody, this is very important. Please don’t develop psychological disorders or split personalities while practicing meditation. When you are performing meditation, you have to maintain a very clear and calm mind. You should maintain your mind between the state of waking and sleeping. This is one of the most important key to meditation.
The aim of cultivating this Kalachakra meditation is to merge-as-one with Kalachakra. This is \`becoming as one.\` All the yoga practices in Vajrayana teach you to \`merge-as-one.\` The most important Vajrayana pith instruction is to merge-as-one. What does it mean to \`merge-as-one\`? The awareness of the Universe, Kalachakra, gradually descends, entering into your central channel. He descends all the way until he sits on the lotus flower in your heart. Kalachakra has four faces and twenty-four arms. Kalachakra`s red-colored leg stomp on Mahesvara and his white-colored leg stomps on Mahesvara`s consort. When Kalachakra descends, he enters from the crown of your head through the central channel to sit on the lotus flower in your heart. Then gradually, he becomes bigger and bigger until he is the same size as you and becomes one with you. Kalachakra is not facing you. He is not appearing before you. Instead, you transform into a heruka. You transform into Kalachakra. The Nine Stages of Kalachakra Meditation is the method for you to transform into Kalachakra and visualize Kalachakra. How do you transform into Kalachakra? When you form the Kalachakra mudra, this represents Kalachakra’s body. When you visualize Kalachakra, this represents Kalachakra’s mind. When you chant Kalachakra`s mantra, this means that you have Kalachakra in your heart. When your body, speech, and mind are identical with Kalachakra, Kalachakra will quickly merge with your body. Then, you transform into Kalachakra yourself.
The supermundane powers of Vajrayana all arise from \`merge-as-one\` (yogic union). The purpose of Vajrayana cultivation is to merge-as-one. When I merge with Amitabha Buddha, I transform into Amitabha Buddha. When I merge with Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, I transform into Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva. When I merge with the Lord of Immortals, Golden Mother of the Jade Pond, I transform into Golden Mother of the Jade Pond. After you transforming into the principal deity, you possess the great power of the principal deity. This is the source of supermundane power in Vajrayana. Speaking of this kind of transformation, how many times can you transform? You can transform many times. You can even transform into Vajrayana’s Refuge Tree. When successive lineage holders are in the center and they all enter into your heart, you transform into the composite of the all these lineage holders. All the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, dakinis, vajra protectors, dharma protectors, and gods of the universe, all of them enter into your heart. Then, you possess the dharma power of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, vajra protectors, dharma protectors, dakinis, and gods. This isn’t just restricted to supermundane power. It also can enable you to recognize your pristine awareness and achieve perfect enlightenment. Through cultivation of Vajrayana sadhana (means of attainment), through cultivation of merging-as-one (yogic union) and transformation, you merge with the principal deity, transform into the principal deity. Through the principal deity, you attain the perfect wisdom of the Tathagata and perfect enlightenment.
There are many kinds of transformations. Yamantaka came about because Manjushri Bodhisattva entered into the body of Yama and transformed into Yamantaka. The Thousand-armed, Thousand-eyed Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva came about because Amitabha Buddha exercised his compassion and entered into [the shattered body of] Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva and transformed into Thousand-armed, Thousand-eyed Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva. Kalachakra came about because Shakyamuni Buddha entered into the samadhi of the time wheel and transformed into Kalachakra. These are all transformations.
How do you enter samadhi? You need to meditate. Many people tell me that they can’t meditate, thus they can’t enter samadhi. As soon as they even try to meditate, many distracting thoughts arise. In the first stage of meditation, known as \`initial-abiding,\` the heart is unstable. Many people tell me that they can’t enter samadhi because of distracting thoughts. I am letting everyone know that this kind of situation is normal. If you don’t have distracting thoughts, then that is abnormal. It is normal for people to have distracting thoughts. Only when you have truly entered into deep meditation will you be able to still your mind. There won’t be any distracting thoughts at that point. But, this is a very special case and very few people achieve this state.
First, we will talk about the first stage of Kalachakra Meditation called \`initial abiding.\` In this stage, your heart can barely settle down. Your heart often wanders away and becomes distracted. Originally, you were focused on chanting a sutra. Then all of a sudden, other thoughts enter your heart. This situation arises in the stage of “initial abiding.?The heart is not steady when you try to meditate. In this case, you should visualize the third eye of Kalachakra. The main face of Kalachakra is blue and has a third eye. You should focus your visualization on the third eye. Focus your attention on it and steady your heart. As an example, let us say that there is a light in front of me. I focus all my attention on this light and all the other thoughts vanish. When you are performing visualization, you can just focus your attention on Kalachakra`s third eye and do not let other thoughts enter your heart. Suddenly, your heart becomes distracted again and wanders away thinking about how your stocks are doing because you have money in the stock market. Then, you might start seeing your stock instead of Kalachakra`s third eye. This shows that other thoughts have already entered your heart. This is the condition that you will encounter during the “initial abiding?stage. Even if you can’t focus your attention, you can’t become distracted and end up visualizing Kalachakra`s third eye as cash. Someone once asked a guy who invested in the stock market, \`How are your stocks doing?\` The guy replied, \`Not good, all the stocks are down.\` Then the person asked him, \`Do you sleep well at night?\` The guy replied, \`I sleep like a baby, just like a baby.\` \`Wow, you can sleep like a baby. That`s great.\` The guy with stocks explained, “Yeah, just like a baby. I cry as soon as I wake up.?(Grandmaster laughs) We, the members of the sangha, do not invest in the stock market. So, we sleep very well.
Here is another joke. There was a guy who had a great memory. His memory was really superb (Japanese: ichiban) and his mind was really quick. He said, \`Anything that goes into my head, I memorize it immediately. Whatever practices Grandmaster teaches and whatever Grandmaster says, I memorize them instantly. It all goes into my mind. My memory is the best!\` Then someone next to him said, \`If your memory is so good, then why haven`t you repaid the money that you borrowed from me?\` The guy with the great memory explained, \`That`s because your money did not enter my mind, it went into my pocket.\` (Both Grandmaster and the crowd laughs)
Today, we are learning to meditate, so we start at the stage of “initial abiding.?At this stage, the heart will suddenly become distracted and wander away. In this modern era, everyone`s heart drifts and wanders around aimlessly. You must seize this wandering heart often. Once you grab and re-focus your heart, then you can meditate. If you can perform the visualization in vivid detail by visualizing every aspect of Kalachakra, then that is the best. If you can’t visualize every detailed aspect of Kalachakra, then you must learn to visualize Kalachakra’s third eye. You should just focus your attention on his third eye and don’t think about anything else. Everyone`s heart drifts. When your heart starts to drift away, when you notice it drifting away, you have to bring it back. When your heart drifts away, you have to find it and bring it back. When you often have to bring back the heart that drifted away, this stage is called “initial abiding.?
The second stage is called \`continued abiding.\` When you have repeatedly inspected your heart and are able to re-focus your heart after it wanders away, and you are also able to continue focusing on Kalachakra`s third eye for seven minutes, this stage is called \`continued abiding.\` The first stage is “initial abiding.?The second stage is “continued abiding.?The second stage is continuing to calm the heart and holding visualization of Kalachakra`s third eye for seven minutes. This is practicing meditation and this stage is called continued abiding.
I often think that it is very hard for people living in this modern era to perform visualization. It is very hard for us to focus on a particular thing. Often, the heart wanders. Some put their money in the stock market. Some people keep thinking about how to make more money. Let us be frank. Money can’t buy you good health, longevity, or cultivation. Money also can’t ensure that you will be reborn in the Pure Land. The Bible says, \`It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.\` It is very hard for a rich man to enter heaven because the only thing a rich man worries about is his money. There is a joke about a tycoon who worried about his money all the time. When this tycoon wrote his will, he was still thinking about his money. His wrote, \`When I die, I want all of my money to be buried with me in my coffin.\` Since he was a very wealthy man, his coffin would have to be huge to hold all his money. His wife abided by his wish in the will. She converted all his assets into cash and deposited it into her bank account. Then, she wrote a check for all the money he had and put it in the tycoon`s coffin. She said, \`I gave you the money. If you can rise from the dead again, then the money is yours.\` What I mean by this joke is that everything is gone when you die. The Indonesian word for greeting is \`selamat\` (which sounds like \`have you died?\` in Chinese, Grandmaster laughs). There used to be a dog called \`Bucky\` that lived around the Seattle Temple. When we saw it, we greeted it by saying \`Selamat Bucky?(which means \`good morning\` in Indonesian, but it also sounds like \`Have you died, Bucky?\` in Chinese). Then, we said to the dog, \`Selamat Malam?(Indonesian for \`good night,\` Grandmaster laughs) at night. When a person dies, everything is gone. If you have money, you have to use it to help others. Use it for charity work, build temples or cultivation/retreat centers, use it towards public services, or use it in other ways to help people. That is the meaning of life! (Applause)
When we are in the stage of “continued abiding,?we shouldn’t think about money nor should we think about pretty women. Not just normal people, even cultivators will sometimes get distracted as well. A history teacher once asked his student, \`What is the difference between the Han and Tang Dynasty?\` The student replied, \`The famous beauty of the Han Dynasty was named Zhao Feiyan. The famous beauty of the Tang Dynasty was named Yang Guifei.\` The student continued, “Zhao was so beautiful that when she was riding on a horse, it was `ma shan bu zi`?(When she was on the horse, the horse did not even know it). Her figure was so slender and light that a horse did not even notice when she was on the saddle. “When the Tang dynasty`s beauty got on a horse, it was also `ma shan bu zi`?(when she get on the horse, the horse collapsed immediately).\` (Note: This is a Chinese pun. The Chinese term “ma shan?means immediately or above the horse. The Chinese term “bu zi?is both a homonym for \`not knowing\` and being \`unable to support.\`) Yang Guifei filled out her figure so much that as soon as she was on the saddle, the horse collapsed under her weight. (Grandmaster laughs) So, everyone in the audience, you should focus your heart on Kalachakra`s third eye when performing visualization. Do not think about Zhao Feiyan because Zhao Feiyan is \`bu-zi, ma shan bu zi\` She was so slender that the horse did not even notice when she got on the saddle. Do not think about Yang Guifei either. Yang Guifei is also \`ma shan bu zi\` because the horse collapsed. It collapsed as soon as she got on the saddle.
When we talk about the third stage, it is called \`return abiding.\` When you can focus your attention for fourteen minutes, then your meditation has become more stable and steady. Your mind still drifts and wanders away after fourteen minutes, but you can quickly re-focus it again. This is called “return abiding.?This is the third stage.
The fourth stage is called “near abiding.?Your heart no longer wanders off from what you are focused on. The powers of mental clarity and alertness have been completely revealed. You concentrate your heart on Kalachakra’s third eye and his third eye is always there. Your attention is focused and your heart does not drift away. Other thoughts will not enter your mind. Your heart will also not drift away. At this time, your visualization power has started to increase. Your power to visualize Kalachakra’s third eye has become very strong. This is “near abiding.?
The fifth stage is \`subdued abiding.\` You already have achieved high level of stability, but you still have to be careful because you can become drowsy and fall asleep. To prevent you from falling asleep, this requires introspection into one’s inner alertness. I am telling everyone that the ability to maintain concentration in meditation for seven or fourteen minutes is not too much of an accomplishment. This is because your heart still drifts away. When your heart cannot wander away at all, like the way a fly is stuck on flypaper, then this is called “subdued abiding.?When your heart has been grounded, it is called “subdued abiding.?Here is another analogy: the heart is like a horse that runs very fast on the open grassland. However, it cannot run away when it has been tie to a post. This is subdued abiding.
One of the situations encountered during the stage of “subdued abiding?is that your attention is extremely focused. Other thoughts do not enter your mind and your heart does not drift away. But, you fall asleep. You enter “shi-madhi?(This is a joke and play-on-words on the Chinese transliteration for samadhi. The \`sam\` in samadhi is pronounced like the number three and is transliterated as the Chinese word for three. Here, Guru uses “shi,?which is the Chinese word for four, humorously sounding like a deeper level of meditation). Many people think that this is a very high-level state. Grandmaster had experienced this state before as well. I was meditating on the sofa. I closed my eyes, and I did not think of anything at all. It was sunny outside and it was high noon when I closed my eyes. When I opened my eyes, it was already night-time. Wow, I was in seated meditation for several hours! I thought it was a big deal. As it turned out, I had slept for five hours. I entered into a state of deep sleep. I did not have any dreams, not a single dream. It seemed than only an instant had passed. I opened my eyes and wow, the sky was already dark. I had not even had my midnight snack yet. If you have this kind of experience while you are meditating, this is called “subdued abiding.?Though you have reached a high level of stability by the time you reach the stage of “subdued abiding,?you should still be careful of drowsiness and falling asleep. This requires introspection and alertness.
I know that among the True Buddha School vajra masters, Vajra Master Chang-zhi had entered “shi-madhi??“deep sleep? When I saw him, he was sound asleep. He did not talk in his dream. As soon as I saw him, I recognized that he was in the “subdued abiding?state. There is a joke about talking in one’s sleep. There was once a person who fell asleep and talked during his sleep. This happened while he was meditating. His wife said to him, \`I want you to be examined by a doctor because each time as soon as you meditate, you fall asleep and talk in your sleep.\` The husband said to his wife, \`You should not take me to see the doctor. That is the only time that I have the right to talk in our home.\` (Grandmaster laughs) The only time when he has the right to talk is when he talks in his sleep. This goes to show how bossy his wife was. Just now, I presided over a marriage ceremony, so tonight will be the wedding night for several couples. I have a wedding night joke. A wife asked her husband, \`We are married now. What do you reminisce fondly the most?\` The husband replied, \`I reminisce most fondly the time before I met you.\` (Grandmaster laughs) Sometimes, marriage is very scary. So, when you are at the fifth stage of “subdued abiding,?you should remember this: You have to have internal introspection and clarity. Although you have subdued the heart and the heart is stabilized, you have to pay attention to avoid drowsiness and to avoid falling asleep.
At the sixth stage, \`tranquil abiding,\` power is generated. Kalachakra enters you, and you also enter into Kalachakra. You and Kalachakra become one-and-the-same. You transform into Kalachakra. When Kalachakra merge with you, you will have supermundane power. If you wish for the temperature on earth to be lowered to prevent polar ice caps from melting, the power to fulfill this wish will be generated. When I was living in retreat in Taiwan for three and a half years, I thought, \`Let all the hurricanes coming toward Taiwan change their directions.\` Then, all the hurricanes changed directions and they all went elsewhere. When you transform into Kalachakra, if you do not want a particular enemy to harm you, then that enemy will not be able to harm you. When you become Kalachakra and you put your hand on another person`s body, if you pat him on his shoulder, then his illness will be removed. (Audience applause) When you are at the “tranquil abiding?stage, the power of the heart will be generated. But, you have to pay attention at this time. You cannot become excited. Many people become excited when they have supermundane power. You must have introspective alertness. You cannot let yourself become excited. You must maintain mental clarity and stability. Then, you will not develop an inflated ego and your judgments will be sound.
When you reach the seventh stage, \`most tranquil abiding,\` the heart`s power becomes stronger and stronger, and the stability of your meditation increases more and more. All drowsiness and excitement have vanished. At this stage, the heart is very refined like a needle. When you reach the “most tranquil abiding?stage, you can remain in samadhi for two hours. Deep sleep is very similar to samadhi, but it is not samadhi. Transformation and merging-into-one are samadhi. This is because your heart has stabilized and it is very refined in samadhi. At that same time, Kalachakra will also become very refined and tiny. Kalachakra will merge-as-one with you when he is as thin as a needle. When he expands, he can fill the entire universe. When he merges with you, whatever commands you make, it will occur. Whatever enterprise you wish to accomplish, it will be accomplished in accordance to Kalachakra`s vows. Some people have asked me, \`Why is Grandmaster able to visit hell?\` This is because I have achieved the seventh stage of meditation. \`Why is Grandmaster able to visit the multitude of heavens? How were you able to have the experiences to write the books `Staircase to Heavens` and `Manifestation of Hells`?\` This is because I have the cultivation power of the seventh stage of meditation, the “most tranquil abiding.?In this “most tranquil abiding?stage, your heart transforms into your principal deity. Afterwards, you will possess the power of spiritual travel. Your spirit will be able to crisscross all the space of the universe pristinely; you will be able to visit hells and heavens. These are the result of the power of the seventh stage of meditation. This is because your heart can generate great power at this stage. This power is like the power of Kalachakra. Kalachakra has twenty-four arms, representing twenty-four hours. Kalachakra has red and white legs, which represent red and white bodhicitta. The blue body represents the wind or prana. The red color represents the channel. The white color represents white bodhicitta. His twenty-four arms are full of supermundane power. His four faces can generate power. This is because after the power of the heart is generated, you can travel to all ten realms of the Dharmadhatu. This is called the “most tranquil abiding.?
The first stage is “initial abiding.?The second stage is “continued abiding.?The third stage is “return abiding.?The fourth stage is “near abiding.?The fifth stage is “subdued abiding.?The sixth stage is “tranquil abiding?and the seventh stage is “most tranquil abiding.?The eighth stage is called \`concentrated abiding.\` I have achieved “concentrated abiding.?Just now when we were performing the dharma ceremony, we entered into samadhi. Just when I finished saying the word “samadhi,?there was a \`jiang\` sound and I entered samadhi. Is there anyone here who can enter samadhi like this? There are people shouting, \`Grandmaster can.\` You are right! Just now when Grandmaster entered samadhi, Kalachakra quickly merged with me as one. I transformed into Kalachakra. (Audience applause) This is “concentrated abiding.?That is to say, the practitioner can go from “initial abiding?to the “most tranquil abiding?with very little effort. The practitioner can meditate for an even longer period of time without drowsiness or excitement. You will not feel drowsy and excitement during meditation because you have achieved a very clear heart. This is the stage of “concentrated abiding.?It is not easy for a person to reach this stage. When you cultivate meditation to the eighth stage, then you will experience aforementioned characteristics.
Generally speaking, it is difficult to reach the stage of “concentrated abiding.?If normal people were to win the lottery, they are so thrilled that they can’t fall asleep. When they have to deal with important matters, they experience a lot of stress and have problem sleeping. When they faced a high-pressure situation, they also have problem sleeping. Why does Grandmaster sleep soundly at night? Why am I able to eat without any worries? How can I be at ease? How can my heart and mind be calm and stable at any time and place regardless of the task or challenge is before me? Why doesn’t Grandmaster have any afflicted emotions or feel any pressure? Why is that? This is because I have already recognized my intrinsic awareness and understood Buddha-nature. What does it mean to recognize your heart? It means that you recognize the intrinsic awareness. What does it mean when you recognize Buddha-nature? It means that you see the Buddha-nature. This means that you understand the truth of the universe. So, Grandmaster says, Grandmaster doesn’t have a reputation. Everyone has a body and thoughts. Everyone has this notion of reputation and fame. Some even consider their reputation to be as important as their lives. Why doesn’t Grandmaster have a reputation? This is because Grandmaster`s body doesn’t exist. Both Grandmaster`s reputation and body don’t exist. If you can reach this stage, then you can go from the first dhyana to the fourth dhyana. What is state this called? This state is called the state of \`neither-appearance-nor-heart.\` The most important secret instruction of Vajrayana is that nothing happens. Even world-shattering events don’t affect me. It doesn’t matter. Even the most important event of this mundane world doesn’t enter my heart. I can reach “concentrated abiding?instantly.
The next stage is the ninth stage, which is \`equanimity abiding.\` This stage requires no effort at all. This stage is effortless meditation because everything is in its natural state. Everyone, look at me when I tell you this. If your cultivation reaches this natural and effortless state, then nothing matters and nothing bothers you. Nothing can attach itself to your heart.
On this trip to Singapore, we wished that this land would be blessed so that the nation prospers and its people live in harmony (applause). On this subject of abiding, Vajra Master Lian-jian of Singapore and the Kalachakra Ceremony preparation committee, arranged for me to stay in the Presidential suite. Former US President Clinton, along with many other heads of states, have stayed in this Presidential suite. Just to take a bath in this Presidential suite, I have to walk a long way and I still can’t find the bathroom. When I needed to urinate, I couldn’t find my bathroom. There were too many bathrooms. The suite was just too big. The accommodations they selected for me was truly fantastic. In contrast, you should know how humble the residence that I had in Taiwan was. I have heard that the area for a prison cell in Taipei`s prison is 2.5 tsubo (88.91 square feet). The floor space of the residence that I lived in was covered by just one tatami, which is about 0.5 tsubo (17.78 square feet). There wasn’t even a bathroom, or a living room. My Buddhist shrine was the only room beside my bedroom. That is how simple that I lived in Taiwan. If you don’t believe me, go ask Vajra Master Lian-ji. You can also ask Vajra Master Lian-xiang. She also knows. One time, she said to me, “You can afford to sleep in a bigger place! The bed is so big compared to the room.?However, I was afraid that I would disturb her if I talked in my sleep, so I slept in the small room. (Grandmaster laughs) Now, I am staying in a Presidential suite that is about 100 tsubo (3,556 square feet).
Speaking of “equanimity abiding,?I want to tell everyone that in this state, 100 tsubo (3,556 square feet) isn’t big enough and one tsubo (35.565 square feet) isn’t small enough either. Wherever I abide in meditation, I am everywhere. This is because my heart is boundless! I can tolerate any type of person. To me, everyone is good. I can accept the criticism of mundane people and my heart is forever like empty space. This is “equanimity abiding.?(applause) Not even the slightest effort is required. I do not have conflicted emotions. Why am I able to sever all mental and emotional afflictions? This is because I have reached the level of “equanimity abiding.?Nothing bothers me and I see every situation as it is. There is no situation. Since there isn’t any situation, then there are no afflicted thoughts or emotions. Why aren’t there problems? This is because enlightenment has been achieved. On the day I arrived at Taiwan on this last trip, Dharma Sister Xu Ya-qi came to see me. She told me that she was afraid someone would harm me. I told her, \`No one can harm Grandmaster.\` (Applause) When I arrived in Malaysia, I was very delighted to arrive in Malaysia. I will be delighted when I return to America as well. I don’t have any afflicted thoughts or conflicted emotions. This is because all sentient beings are equal. All sentient beings exist in a dream and they are all equal. Nothing bothers me. You can say whatever you want. “I don`t care.?Go ahead and say it. You should have that right to say what you want. I abide in the heart of equanimity. My nature of equanimity has already been revealed. I wish that all sentient beings would abide in this state of equanimity. I wish that they will all achieve Buddhahood and ascend to the Buddha Pure Land. I do not have sectarian views, not a bit. I hope that everyone become enlightened and achieve perfect enlightenment. (applause)
When your cultivation reaches perfect enlightenment, then the ninth stage meditation state will manifest. This samadhi stage is called “equanimity abiding.?At this time, you can go from the first dhyana to the fourth dhyana, and return from the fourth dhyana to the first dhyana. You can traverse forward and backward and that is samadhi. Within this meditation, you can realize the intrinsic awareness and Buddha-nature. You will realize why Shakyamuni Buddha said that he did not turn the Dharma wheel three times. You will realize why he said that he did not give any teachings. You will realize why he said that if you claim Shakyamuni Buddha gave any teachings that you are slandering the Buddha. The true essence of Buddha-dharma, the supreme truth, is contained within these statements. When you abide in equanimity, you will validate the Wisdom of Equanimity. Then you can enter into the Dharmadhatu, and the Wisdom of Ultimate Reality will manifest. You will be able to use your investigative wisdom to attain the Wisdom of Discriminatory Awareness. When you have supermundane power, this is the All-Accomplishing Wisdom. When you can validate these truths, then this is the Great Mirror-like Wisdom. The Wisdom of Discriminatory Awareness, the All-Accomplishing Wisdom, the Wisdom of Equanimity, the Great Mirror-like Wisdom, and the Wisdom of Ultimate Reality are the Five Wisdoms that arise within samadhi. When you validate these five natures, you have seen Buddha-nature. At that time, who can harm you? Let me tell you, nothing can bother your mind and body. There is no heart. So, how can your heart hold anything? We perceive the phenomena of the heart (emotions and thoughts) to be what our heart is. Actually, the heart is something that cannot be found. When you use Kalachakra`s third eye as the focus of your visualization, you will finally be able to validate the truths of “no abiding,?“no concerns,?and “no attainment?in the final stage. All of these truths arise from meditation.
Let me remind everyone. The first stage is “initial abiding.?There is very slight stability but the heart wanders often. In the second stage of “continued abiding,?you repeatedly practice to seize the heart until you can maintain your focus for seven minutes. In the third stage of “return abiding,?you can maintain focus for fourteen minutes and meditative stability increases. In the fourth stage of “near abiding,?you can maintain your concentration on the meditation focus (e.g., third eye of Kalachakra). In the fifth stage of “subdued abiding,?you have reached a high level of stability. In the sixth stage of “tranquil abiding,?the heart power is generated. In the seventh stage of “most tranquil abiding,?you have the power for spiritual travel. In the eighth stage of “concentrated abiding,?you can go from the “initial abiding?to the “most tranquil abiding?in an instant and in the snap of the fingers. At that point, you have succeeded. In the ninth stage of “equanimity abiding,?you realize the heart`s nature and you see Buddha-nature. The five kinds of Buddha wisdom will arise and you attain accomplishment. You can merge with the principal deity and transform into the principal deity.
For example, when Grandmaster merges with Padmakumara, Grandmaster transforms into Padmakumara. When Padmakumara merges with Amitabha Buddha, he becomes Amitabha Buddha. When Amitabha Buddha merges with Buddha Locana, he becomes Buddha Locana. When Buddha Locana merges with Vairocana Tathagata, he becomes Vairocana Tathagata. When Vairocana Tathagata merges with Samantabhadra Buddha, the Buddha of sixteenth-level of attainment, he becomes Samantabhadra Buddha. This is “merging-as-one.?Vajrayana is “merging-as-one.?
Speaking of yogic union sadhana (means of attainment), you become Grandmaster himself when you merge with Grandmaster (root guru). Grandmaster merges with your body and you achieve yogic union. Afterwards, you should cultivate and merge-as-one with your principal deity. If your principal deity is Amitabha Buddha, then you transform into Amitabha Buddha when Amitabha Buddha enters your body and merges with you. This is attaining Buddhahood in the present body. Through accomplishment in the principal deity practice, you can achieve Buddhahood in the present body. At this point, you can cultivate the \`illusory body.\` Then, you can travel spiritually through your illusory body; visit any part of the universe. You can reach any of the twenty-eight heavens and reach the Four Holy Realms, which are the realms of sravaka (sound-hearers), pratyeka-buddhas (solitary buddhas), Bodhisattvas, and Buddhas. You can validate the existence of all of the heavens. To do this, you just have to practice meditation as I have explained. Let me tell everyone that you can validate all of the heavens instantly. As long as you have familiarized yourself with the nine stages of Kalachakra Mediation, you can instantly achieve accomplishment. (applause)
The Dharma does not have absolute forms. It is possible to achieve accomplishment instantly. You just have to cultivate based on the progressive stages, and then you can achieve accomplishment. The Dharma does not have absolute forms, so the method-to-achieve-attainment becomes unnecessary at the end. You do not need to use any method. At final stage of cultivation, you can achieve samadhi in the snap of the fingers. How long is the snap of the fingers? How long is that? It is just an instant. You can instantly achieve accomplishment. When you cultivate to the final stage, then the accomplishment you have achieved is the Dharma that does not have absolute forms. Although it seems that these means of attainment comprise several distinctive stages, in reality when you are familiar and experienced with cultivation, you can enter profound paramita instantly, and enter into the profound samadhi. This is Prajnaparamita, which was expressed, in the following quote: \`Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva while cultivating the profound Prajnaparamita. . .\` (The opening line of the Chinese translation of the Heart Sutra). When you enter profound Prajnaparamita, what you will witness in the meditation and realize is intrinsic awareness. You will see Buddha-nature. (applause)
Most of the jokes that I told today were from Chen Chuan-fang. Some of the jokes were my own, and some jokes I heard from other people. Chen Chuan-fang told me another joke. There was once a one-eyed king. His other eye was blind and covered with a patch. One time, the king commissioned an artist to paint a portrait of him. The painter was very scared. He painted the king as having only one eye. After seeing the painting, the king became very angry and said, \`Your painting made me look ugly and one-eyed.\` So, the king had the artist beheaded. Then, a second painter was summoned. When he painted the portrait, the king was depicted with both eyes because the painter was afraid of being beheaded for portraying the king with only one eye. The painting portrayed the king as being very handsome and dignified with two very spirited eyes. The king responded, \`This painting does not look like me at all. I only have one eye, but your painting depicted me with two eyes. Behead him!\` Then, a third painter was commissioned. This third painter was intelligent. The king was very satisfied with the painting and gave him a large sum as commission. Then, the king proclaimed this painter as the greatest painter in the land. How was this possible? This was because this third artist painted a side portrait of the king that only showed one eye.
What I mean to say with this joke is that you do not have to cultivate absolutely in accordance to the nine stages of meditation step-by-step. If you are a beginner, you should follow the progression that I have outlined, especially when you begin with the “initial abiding?stage. If you are an experienced cultivator who has been meditating for a long time, you can instantly reach the “subdued abiding?stage. Instantly, you can focus on your visualization without losing concentration. Beginning from the fifth stage, you can go to “concentrated abiding?stage already. If you are even more accomplished than that, you can reach the “equanimity abiding?stage. Then, you have control over the duration of your natural life span and sever all afflicted emotions. Why were you able to sever all emotional afflictions? Why were you able to control the duration of your natural life? Why were you unaffected by events around you? Why do you have no heart? These are what Shakyamuni Buddha realized under the Bodhi tree. I often said. You must thoroughly understand how Shakyamuni Buddha meditated under the Bodhi tree. What was the supreme truth he realized? Why was he able to sever all emotional afflictions? Why was he able to control the duration of his natural life span? This is the supreme essence of the Buddha Dharma. If you realize and validate this truth, this is “equanimity abiding.?
Om Mani Padme Hum.
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