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Dharma Talk > 2018 Grand Master Dharma Teachings

Feb. 25, 2018 Dharma Discourse - Nagarjuna Bodhisattva

2018-02-25 Linkou Stadium, Taiwan
Feb. 25, 2018 Dharma King Living Buddha Lian-sheng Dharma Discourse on Nagarjuna Bodhisattva's Middle Way Doctrine, Dependent Origination Returns to Emptiness and Buddha-nature


Translated by TBTTs (This translation excludes the guru homage and greeting portion)
Translator: Henry Wolf
Editor: DJ Chang

< Dharma Discourse of Dharma King Living Buddha Lian-sheng Sheng-yen Lu at Grand Nagarjuna Bodhisattva Ceremony Organized by Zhong Guan Society on Feb. 25, 2018 in Linkou Stadium, Taiwan>

Today, we conducted a Water Offering Ceremony for Nagarjuna Bodhisattva. This water offering dharma was orally transmitted to me directly from my personal deity, Jade Pond Golden Mother. It's quite extraordinary that the True Buddha School has this kind of water offering dharma instructed by Jade Pond Golden Mother. It isn't found in any other school.

The first deity to manifest today was Jade Pond Golden Mother. I really didn't expect the manifestation of the second deity. My question to the masters is which deity was next to manifest? I'll go ahead and tell you. It was Shakyamuni Buddha. He had his disciples Ananda, Mahakasyapa, Sariputra, and Maudgalyayana by his side. Nagarjuna Bodhisattva, the Tathagata of Wonderful Cloud Unhindered King, together with Tilopa were third to manifest. Then, Bhavaviveka manifested, followed by Padmasambhava, Yeshe Tsogyal, and Mandarava. Next came Naropa, Marpa, and Tsongkhapa. The last to manifest was...who do you think it was? Are you able to guess? It was Padmakumara. Look how many buddhas, bodhisattvas, arhats, and pratyekabuddhas came to our ceremony. It was Jade Pond Golden Mother who arrived first.

As I mentioned yesterday, I was a faithful Christian from the time I was in grade school all the way through high school. I studied both the New Testament and the Old Testament of the bible. During that time, I read the bible. I taught the Acts of the Apostles as well as the gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John in a bible study class. As for the Old Testament, it begins with Genesis. I did indeed study the bible. At the time, I highly respected two prophets, Elijah and Elisha.

I am telling you that, when Jesus came down from the Himalayas, he was clothed in a white robe. He could, however, change into a red robe, similar to our lama robe. He had just these two robes. One robe was the white robe of the Tibetan Buddhist Nyingma Sect. The other robe was a red robe. The Tibetan Buddhist Nyingma Sect also wears red robes.

Jesus came to a river where John the Baptist was performing baptisms. Jesus said ''Let me be baptized by John the Baptist.'' By baptizing Jesus, John the Baptist became the guru of Jesus. At that moment the gates of heaven opened and God said ''This is my beloved Son.'' I have always known clearly without a doubt that John the Baptist was the reincarnation of Elijah, whereas Jesus was the reincarnation of Elisha, Elijah's disciple. There are very few people in the world who know of this reincarnation. Buddhists talk about reincarnation. In Christianity, however, there is little, if any, discussion of ''reincarnation.'' One either goes to heaven or hell. The fact is, figures of the Old Testament reincarnated as figures in the New Testament.

Jesus also transmitted Buddhadharma. What Dharma did he teach? Emptiness of the three aspects of giving. Let not the right hand know what the left hand does, nor the left hand know what the right hand does. This means that ultimately, everything returns to emptiness; all one's good deeds return to emptiness. This teaching was a discourse on Buddhadharma by Jesus.

According to Vajrayana Buddhadharma, there are many masters who possess immense supernatural power and can manifest anywhere and everywhere. Jesus said ''God is omnipresent. He hears one's prayers wherever one may be. He hears one's voice and what one says.'' I therefore have a golden saying for you all today, ''As long as one prays sincerely, one will receive a response.'' Why do I refer to Nagarjuna as 'Avatar' Nagarjuna Bodhisattva? Have you seen the movie Avatar? What is an Avatar? Westerners translate Avatar as ''demigod.'' A demigod is an ordinary human who possesses a divine nature. We are ordinary humans, but we have buddha-nature and this makes us Avatars. This discussion of ''Avatar'' is very important because an ''Avatar'' embodies the supreme consciousness of the universe.

Professor Chu Shiyi of Academica Sinica just said ''The supreme consciousness of the universe transforms emptiness into form.'' How does the formless become form? Formlessness means nothingness. How does that formlessness become form? We know from Physics and Chemistry that there are atoms, neutrons, protons, and electrons. May I ask if you have ever seen a neutron? Have you seen an electron? Have you seen a proton? Have you seen an atom? Has anyone seen them? If you have, raise your hand. Since no one is raising their hand, I take it that no one has.

It seems that only XX has seen them. XX is amazing! She went to see a movie and although it was an exciting movie, she was too tired and slept through it. She woke up after the movie was over. Someone then asked her, ''This was such an exciting movie, how could you sleep through it?'' XX replied ''Don't underestimate me. I just travelled to a planet in outer space.'' Really, there is no need for America to send a probe to Mars, because it takes several years for a probe to make a round trip, whereas XX had already traveled from a movie theatre to a planet in outer space all by herself. How about we perform a test? What kind of test? Let me put it simply, don't we often play dice? Place the dice in a cup. Have all the gambling pros come out. Shake it! Clatter! Dice cup is down on the table. OK, now, who says you are psychic? Tell me right now how many dots are on the face of the dice. If you are really psychic and have supernatural power, come and be tested! If you are correct three times in a row, then you truly are psychic, right? However, what if you are wrong? Then, you'll have to rub your nose, cover your face, being pixelated, and leave from a side door. You claim to be psychic! A psychic should know that their ability is subject to actual testing. Your ''visiting Mars'' is nothing but a load of rubbish. Let's have a test to prove it. Are you really psychic? Let me ask you one thing. Since you claim to be psychic, how many military vessels are available for war at the military port of Zuoying. Give me your answer and we'll have our test right now. Give me your answer. Right at this minute, how many military vessels are in the military port of Zuoying? You can't be off by even one vessel. Let's see if you are psychic. If your answer is correct, you are psychic. I'm asking you! How many military vessels are there right now in China Dalian Military Port? I'm asking you. Since you are psychic, let me know the total number! If you failed the test, then just get out of here. In the future, when I see XX, I'll tell her she's a fake psychic and my this old man will have a little competition with her. How to compete? How will we compete? I haven't thought it out yet. But, it will be very easy to test whether she is genuine or a fraud. XX often claims that animals often talk to her. All the animals talk to her, and she can also converse with them. It's only humans she can't talk to. A Japanese woman showed up. XX couldn't talk to her because XX does not speak Japanese. She can't communicate with people but she's ''able to speak with all animals.'' Do you believe it? Even Hola Amigo! (Spanish, meaning ''how are you.'') Ti quiero mucho! (Spanish, meaning ''I love you.'') When encountering someone Spanish, she cannot talk to that person either. How can XX talk with all the animals but unable to communicate with a person? This is nonsense! She cultivates ghosts, and these ''abilities'' are, of course, merely ghost lies.

Just now, Nagarjuna Bodhisattva, the Tathagata of Wonderful Cloud Unhindered King, communicated with me as described in Wuxia novels. What is the term used in the novels when one person talks to another person but no one else can hear it? It's called ''Secret voice transmission.'' Nagarjuna just informed me, ''The time interval is 500 years.'' This is because Padmasambhava was born after the Buddha entered nirvana, and Nagarjuna was born 500 years after Padmasambhava. Naropa came 500 years after Nagarjuna, although Virupa came prior to Naropa. Naropa came after Virupa. The succession was Padmasambhava, Nagarjuna, Virupa, Naropa, then Tsongkhapa. Next came Sheng-yen Lu, which makes a period of 2,600 years.

Nagarjuna told me this in secret. To think about it, oh! it's not going to be exactly 500 years! It can be off by a few years. Beginning with Padmasambhava, to Nagarjuna, Virupa, Naropa, Tsongkhapa, and then Sheng-yen Lu, each time interval was approximately 500 years. This is the authentic lineage. Padmasambhava emanated as a baby born within a lotus on Danakosha Lake. Hence, Padmasambhava was a true Padmakumara. He emanated as a baby from inside a lotus.

As I mentioned yesterday, my divine eye was opened by Jade Pond Golden Mother. On that very evening, I travelled throughout the entire celestial realm and also returned to Maha Twin Lotus Ponds. Golden Mother of the Jade Pond secretly told me, ''That one is Padmakumara.'' She pointed to a brilliant light. I looked and saw a formless, brilliant white light, extraordinarily brilliant. This experience has been the driving force behind my mission to propagate Buddhadharma in the world. What I am saying here today about Jade Pond Golden Mother who showed me my prior lifetime and said into my ear, ''Look closely. That is Padmakumara, your previous lifetime.'' Yesterday, I didn't swear on this, but I am making this vow today, ''May the Five Thunders strike my head and may I go to hell for eternity if I am fabricating this story.'' Everyone makes the vow! XX, where did you come from? Do you dare to make this vow? The Five Thunders strike a liar's head! Whoever lies will go to hell and stay there for eternity. I dare to make this vow today. It's extremely important.

Let's discuss the Middle Way of Nagarjuna! Since we have Nagarjuna's mudra, we can cultivate Nagarjuna Practice. One can form either the Dharma Teaching Mudra or the Turning the Dharma Wheel Mudra. I will demonstrate the mudras to everyone. (Grandmaster demonstrates the mudras.) This is the Internal Turning the Dharma Wheel Mudra. This is the External Turning the Dharma Wheel Mudra. In addition, there is a special Nagarjuna Turning the Dharma Wheel Mudra which is similar to the Turning the Dharma Wheel Mudra you see in the carved image. The mudra you see Nagarjuna forming in the image is the Turning the Dharma Wheel Mudra. Nagarjuna’s mantra is ''Om, Bie-zha, na-jia-zhuo-na, pu-ti-sa-duo, so-ha.'' The meaning of the mantra is ''the supreme consciousness of the universe, Nagarjuna with great wisdom, accomplished.'' ''na-jia'' [naga] means dragon, whereas ''zhuo-na'' [arjuna] refers to a type of tree in India. ''Om'' is the supreme consciousness of the universe. ''Na-jia-zhuo-na'' is the wise Nagarjuna. ''Pu-ti-sa-duo'' means bodhisattva, and ''so-ha'' is the accomplishment of everything. This is his mantra.

Are you able to visualize Nagarjuna? It is simple. It's similar to the Buddha turning the dharma wheel. What's distinctive are the seven multi-colored dragons above Nagarjuna's head. The meaning of ''seven'' is ''perfection.'' How does ''seven'' signify perfection? A week has seven days. There is no eighth day, so seven is perfection. Why are there seven dragons? Since Nagarjuna has achieved perfect attainment, there are seven dragons. In Genesis of the Old Testament of the bible, one reads, ''God created heaven and earth from the first through the sixth day, and rested on the seventh day.'' There is no eighth day. Nowadays, people take a two day weekend off, or have one fixed and one flexible day off each week. This shows that people have become lazy. God was not lazy, but human beings are. As for me, I work seven days a week. I have never been lazy. I always strive to be diligent and I don't take time off.

Nagarjuna is the Lord of a Thousand Treatises. Wow! He wrote a thousand treatises! The Lord of a Thousand Treatises is praise to him. He wrote an extraordinary amount and was profoundly knowledgeable. Who can compare with Nagarjuna? Moreover, he was patriarch of the Eight Schools of Sutrayana and Vajrayana. Who can compare with Nagarjuna? No one! In the history of Buddhism, there has never been a bodhisattva as great as Nagarjuna, the patriarch of the Eight Schools and the Tathagata of Wonderful Cloud Unhindered King. Think about it.

With the visualization, mudra, and mantra, a sadhana is established. In the video which was played up above, everyone saw how a lotus transformed from an expanse of ocean and how Nagarjuna transformed from a sun disc and moon disc in the center of the lotus. That is, there is a ''bang'' syllable transforming into a lotus, and an ''ah'' syllable transforming into Nagarjuna. Then, after one is blessed by three rays of light, one is purified. Thereafter, one invites Nagarjuna to enter the lotus in one's heart and merge with oneself. In an instant, one transforms into Nagarjuna. Nagarjuna is one and one is Nagarjuna. One transforms into Tathagata of Wonderful Cloud Unhindered King, the patriarch of the Eight Schools.

Merging with Nagarjuna is of utmost importance in our cultivation. Today a reporter asked me, ''Of what significance to you is Nagarjuna Bodhisattva?'' I replied ''I am learning the spirit of Nagarjuna.'' I am telling you! In Taoism, Laozi is truly amazing. You have never thought of this, but he had a saying that goes ''When mind is wandering, there is still something within.'' What is the ''something'' that exists within? I'm asking you all. Stand up, Thubten Siddhi. What is this ''something?'' Buddha-nature! Very good! Laozi was truly amazing! ''When the mind is wandering, there is still something within.'' The Middle Way corresponds with this principle. In the principle of the Middle Way, one discovers this ''something.'' Middle Way is a kind of thinking. That is, in the Middle Way one discovers this ''something.''

In my books, I suggested a metaphor. In the past, wasn't fire produced from the friction generated by a hand drill? In other words, using a wooden hand drill and a stick of wood, one drilled and drilled until reaching the combustion point. Hong! Fire ignites! The inner fire of Vajrayana is also produced in this way. So, let me ask you. Did the person who drilled the wood to generate fire have that fire in his hand? No. There was no fire within his hand. Did the wooden drill have fire in it? No, it didn't. Did the wood have fire in it? No. Where did the fire come from? Huijun! Stand up! Let me ask you. Where did the fire come from? You are saying the fire came from the emptiness? Your answer is off by 18,000 miles. You haven't gotten to the root. That wouldn't be my answer, but it is yours. Your answer that the fire comes from the buddha-nature or empty-nature is only so-so.

I'm telling everyone, the fire came from dependent origination, from conditioned factors. It was produced by a combination of three elements; hands, a wooden drill and a piece of wood. These are the conditions. The empty-nature Huijun was referring to is ''dependent origination and empty-nature'' and is emptiness, void, and empty in nature. When all the dependent conditions have ripened, Master Huijun is originated. Your excessive love of ice cream is the cause of your figure becoming the way it is. This is why when you fell down that day, you couldn't get yourself back up. This is cause and effect! It's your fate! Why have you eaten yourself into this condition? Don't eat pig knuckles anymore. I'm telling everyone, this is the meaning of ''dependent origination.''

The Middle Way of Nagarjuna is like this. Around the 6th century, India's Consciousness Only doctrine was flourishing. Consciousness Only also explores the Buddha-nature but from the vertical standpoint of the six ordinary consciousnesses: eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mental consciousness. There is also the intuitive consciousness and the storehouse consciousness. The storehouse consciousness is where the Buddha-nature resides.

Nagarjuna Bodhisattva, on the other hand, is horizontal, using various concepts to teach people. During that era, there were two figures, Buddhapalita and Bhaviveka. As the supporters of the Middle Way, Buddhapalita and Bhaviveka restored the doctrines of Nagarjuna and Aryadeva. The Middle Way of Buddhapalita became the Consequence School [Skt. Prasangika] whereas Bhaviveka’s became Autonomous Syllogism Sect [Skt. Svatantrika.]

What is the Middle Way Consequence School? Refuting an idea by logical inference that is free from assertions - they believe in reliance on logic. They utilize reason, knowledge, and wisdom to demonstrate what ''emptiness'' means in the Middle Way. As for the Autonomous Syllogism Sect, it not only refutes the opposite but also proposes assertions - they actively explain ''emptiness,'' Buddha-nature, by the inference of Buddhist logic.

Additionally, I explained the meaning of ''eternity'' to the reporters. Taking one's own body as the example, one should frequently think: ''My soul is indestructible. It forever transmigrates through cycles of reincarnation.'' This is ''eternity.'' Some believe that this world is existent, that is, houses are forever, cars are forever, diamonds are forever, and people are also forever. This way of thinking is called ''eternalism.'' What is ''nihilism?'' Some believe that when one dies, one is completely extinguished. Nihilists have no belief in reincarnation, buddhas, bodhisattvas, gods or ghosts. They believe there is nothing whatsoever after death. This is called ''nihilism.''

The Middle Way of Nagarjuna lies between eternalism and nihilism, hence the name Middle Way. For example, ordinary people see Grandmaster as a married man with a wife and children. They see Grandmaster as a worldly being. Spiritually, however, Grandmaster has transcended the mundane. Shakyamuni was also secular in this way. . Shakyamuni's wife was Yasodhara. They had a child named Rahula. Shakyamuni was nonetheless transcendental. He became a monk and chose the supermundane path. He was able to take part in worldly life and also be transcendental. Shakyamuni returned to save worldly people. That is, after Shakyamuni transcended worldliness, he returned to the world to save sentient beings. This is the Middle Way. Why? He was above worldly affairs and had attained enlightenment, Why did he return to the world to save sentient beings? Because he did not part from existence, nor did he part from emptiness. Not parting from either existence or emptiness is called the Middle Way. It is the Doctrine of the Mean.

The example I just gave of fire generated from friction produced by a hand drill can be explained by Shakyamuni's saying that ''everything arises from causes and conditions and disappears by causes and conditions'' (phenomena arise from causes and conditions and disappear by causes and conditions.) Because dependent origination is empty in nature, by eliminating ''cause'' one becomes enlightened to empty-nature and the Buddha-nature. It's by eliminating all ''causes,'' all karmic hindrances, that one realizes one's Buddha-nature. This is the thought of Nagarjuna.

I'll give you another metaphor. Back in grade school, we did an experiment. We took a piece of flammable pape and exposed it to the rays of the sun. We then focused the sunlight through a handheld magnifying glass on a certain point on the paper. After a short while, Hong! The paper started to burn! It's the same question as earlier. The fire was not in the sunlight, so was the fire in the magnifying glass? There was no fire in the magnifying glass either. Was the fire in the paper? The fire was also not in the paper. Where did the fire come from? It came from a combination of paper, magnifying glass, and sunlight. All the myriad material phenomena of this world are produced from causes.

Consider the earth. The earth is also creation, existence, destruction, and emptiness. As for humans? I mentioned yesterday a picture from my childhood showing my bare bottom. I never revealed this picture because everyone would have seen a little bird as small as a peanut. That was Sheng-yen Lu as a baby. There were only a few pictures taken of me during that period, such as school ID pictures in grade school, junior school, high school, university, and at graduation, for a total of five or six pictures, only a few in all. The person in those photos was Sheng-yen Lu and the person now sitting upon this dharma seat is also Sheng-yen Lu. Then who is the real Sheng-yen Lu? There is no Sheng-yen Lu. All those Sheng-yen Lu were dependent originations of the past. Sheng-yen Lu, because of disintegration of the four elements, will someday no longer sit here, will no longer discourse the dharma, and will no longer write. Who then is Sheng-yen Lu? He vanished! All phenomena arising in dependence upon other dharmas with the nature of emptiness eventually return to emptiness. Everyone must recognize this point.

It's not only human beings who are like this. All material phenomena are like this as well. Cars, houses, real estate, anything and everything is like this. Nothing is permanent or forever. If one wants permanence, it's only the Buddha-nature, the empty-nature, that is permanent. Today, Nagarjuna told us the meaning of ''eternal.'' What is eternal life? Eternal life is genuine validation of emptiness, knowing one's Buddha-nature, being enlightened and awakened, and genuine attainment of Buddhahood!

This is how Nagarjuna followed the method of Middle Way to attain Buddhahood. He realized emptiness. Because of this realization, he was as unhindered as a cloud drifting in the void. This is why he is called Tathagata of Wonderful Cloud Unhindered King. As long as one realizes emptiness, one will be unhindered. Let's say one loses one's clothes. Jesus said, ''If someone takes your jacket, then offer him your undergarments as well.'' If some takes my lama pants away from me, then he can have my underwear too. Jesus said this, not me. Jesus also said, ''If someone strikes your right cheek, offer him the left cheek also.'' Strange! Why did Jesus say this? They are your own belongings! But, let me ask everyone, what ''thing'' is truly your own? Good! Master Lianyuan is looking at me. Please stand up. What thing is truly yours? Oh! One's life? Is one's life one's own? Life can be lost, so how can it belong to yourself? What thing is your own? (Nothing is.) ''Nothing'' is the right answer. Please sit down. What I'm saying is, nothing belongs to you. Nagarjuna told us this. Therefore, if you lose money, there is no need to be sad and upset about it. Although you won't be able to use it, someone else will. So what's the point in being sad and upset about it? Anyway, the person who found it will use it! It has value! Either you or some other person will use it! You lost the money, but someone else will have it and use it! It doesn't matter! If you use it or if someone else uses it, what difference does it make? If one can be as unhindered as this, one is Tathagata of Wonderful Cloud Unhindered King. One is Lotus Light Unhindered Buddha. This preaching of Buddhadharma by Jesus is the same Buddhadharma discoursed by Nagarjuna.

We all arose from dependent origination. In the future, we will all return to emptiness. Don't be mistaken about the jewels Grandmaster wears. Wow! Grandmaster wears ruby diamond rings. Engraved on this one is Grandmaster's English name, Sheng-yen Lu. This is an expensive ruby. This one was offered to me by Master Lianxin in Hong Kong. The ruby on this side (right hand) is 29 carats, a very large ruby. Who gave it to me? It was given to me by Dharma Sister Kunyin, the CEO of Luye Royal Group of United Arab Emirates. Would you please stand up? Why is Grandmaster wearing these ruby rings? Because if I don't, Master Lianxin will be unhappy and so will be Dharma Sister Lin Kunyin. Am I right? Therefore, it's best that I wear them so they can see. I sometimes wear the rings by turns. If they notice I'm not wearing the gift they gave me, they may think, ''Why isn't Grandmaster wearing it?'' I wear them to make other people happy, not to make myself happy. I see these items as nothing at all. Honifa, my translator, had a jeweller make the ring setting of the ruby given to me by Kunyin. When Honifa took the 29 carat ruby to the jeweler to have the setting made, the jeweller told her, ''This ruby is genuine. If it was a completely flawless and transparent 29 carat ruby, it would be worth NT100 million.'' NT100 million! However, let me tell you, all rubies have flaws. They all have fractures and might break soon. However, when I wear it, no one can tell that this ruby has flaws and is going to break soon. They can't really see it that well. Anyway, as long as I personally consider it to be worth NT100 million, it's worth NT100 million. So long as I feel happy, so does everyone else and everyone is comfortable. This is the spirit of the Middle Way. Actually, every single thing is unreal. Not one thing is real, but yet, it is still real. Why? I'll tell you. You have always thought that a certain flower is very pretty, so you pick it and give it to your girlfriend. ''This flower represents my heart'' and your girlfriend is pleased. You know? When you picked the flower, it was crying out, ''It's so painful!'' Plants have lives. Don't make the mistake of thinking that one does not kill just because one is a vegetarian. When one pulls a carrot out, the carrot cries out, ''Ah! I'm dead.'' You are a vegetarian. What vegetable enriches the blood the most? (Grandmaster asks Shimu.) Beetroot. What vegetable most nourishes iron? Spinach! They all have a life. When you pull the spinach out like this, it will cry, ''Oh, My! I am dead.'' When one cuts off a branch for firewood, the branch feels pain, ''Ouch, my arm is broken!'' The foot of a tree is broken when the root is severed. Also know that stones have life too. All minerals have life. They have a magnetic field.

In Taiwan, I recently saw an advertisement for a shop that processes marble. Have you seen it? They use an electric saw to cut the marble in half. I'm telling you. If you understand science, you can do an experiment. The magnetic field surrounding a large marble slab is reduced by half once the marble is cut in half. All kinds of precious stones or metals such as gold, silver, copper, iron, tin, and tungsten have life and a magnetic field. The magnetic field may be weak or it may be strong.

Nowadays, a lot of people wear magnetic bracelets on their arms. Magnetic rings are said to improve one's fate. Some people wear these. Is this logical? Yes it is! It's not illogical, but one must consider whether the power is strong or weak, and many ''magnetic bracelets'' are fake. It's all about the principle of dependent origination.

We have been referring to the six realms of reincarnation, but actually ''six realms'' is inaccurate. We should refer to it as the eight realms of reincarnation. According to what I know, plants and minerals should also be included. Referring to reincarnation as eight realms should be correct. To human eyes, there are only six realms; heaven, human, asura, hell, hungry ghosts, and animals. Plants and minerals, however, should also be included to make eight realms. One can perform actual tests with scientific instruments. Ken Hashimoto, a Japanese, was the first to test plants with scientific instruments. Science is more advanced now, and minerals can also be tested with scientific instruments. I am speaking of eight realms of reincarnation. In the future, everyone will know there are eight realms of reincarnation. Plants and minerals are animate beings.

I'm saying that everything is neither real nor unreal. The Middle Way of Nagarjuna is ''All phenomena are like this!'' Everything in this world is like this. It is written in the Fundamental Verses on the Middle Way:
''Whatever is dependent arising
We declared that to be emptiness
That is dependent designation
And is itself the middle way''
The conclusion is ''If a bodhisattva is enlightened to no-arising and no-extinction as well as dependent origination by causes and conditions, it would be like a radiant sun in a cloudless sky where darkness is completely eradicated. Ignorance is eliminated and the fruition of Buddhahood is attained.''

All sentient beings everywhere live in this state. What state? The state of thinking ''What is not real is unreal. If something's not unreal, then it must be real.'' I'm saying what is not real is not necessarily unreal for the reason of dependent origination. When dependent origination reaches the final point, everything returns to emptiness.

When one has cultivated to where one's destiny in this human realm is about up, one then merges with emptiness. One becomes supreme power which is permanent and unlimited. One is Nagarjuna. One is Asvaghosa Bodhisattva. One becomes one with the Lord, merges with the Lord, and becomes the supreme consciousness and the personal deity. One becomes a buddha. Once one has awakened, become enlightened, and brings all one's good and evil causes and conditions in the human realm to a complete end, one reaches attainment.

I often ask this question, ''Is there anyone on the moon?'' Let me ask Shimu, ''Is there anyone on the moon?'' Shimu said, ''No, there isn't anyone on the moon.'' According to science of the present day, the Moon is the closest planet to the Earth, and there are no people there. Now, let me ask everyone, ''On the moon, what can be called good or evil? Is there good or evil on the moon?'' Why is no one answering the question? [Someone replied.] No? That is correct! There is neither good nor evil on the moon. Let me also ask, ''On the moon, what is vegetarian and what is non-vegetarian?'' There is no such thing as vegetarian or non-vegetarian on the moon. I'll ask further, ''Is there Buddhadharma on the moon?'' Who just answered loudly? That person also said ''No!'' Right? Eh? Why are you not answering? You said ''no'' right? Why are you not answering?

There is no Buddhadharma on the moon. If one studies Buddhadharma to the most profound level, one will realize that the Buddhadharma is only a boat to ferry people across the river! The Diamond Sutra states it very well: ''One should abandon Buddhadharma, not to mention non-buddhadharma.'' One must let go of Buddhadharma. When one has reached attainment, is enlightened to the true and authentic Buddha-nature and emptiness, and good and evil are liberated from one's body, meaning one no longer having either good or evil karma, one then is in the state of permanence. When one is in this state, one does not need to practice Buddhadharma anymore. We are now practicing the Four Preliminaries, Guru Yoga, personal deity, non-leakage, inner fire, light drops, light, highest yoga tantra, and the rainbow body. However, after one attains the rainbow body, one no longer needs to cultivate the Four Preliminaries, the personal deity, non-leakage, inner fire, light drops, or light, as oneself has become light.

Everything arises out of causes and conditions. Our minds also give rise to existence. For example, when seeing a dried plum one begins to salivate because of its sourness. This is the functioning of mind. Buddhadharma is really just the functioning of mind. When one visualizes, one's mind is purified. When one recites a mantra, one's speech is purified. When one forms a mudra, one's body is purified. Vajrayana utilizes these methods of purification. One cultivates to the point where there is total purification of one's good and evil karma. When one reaches complete purification, one transforms, into the light of the universe.

In Vajrayana, there is attainment of Buddhahood in the present body, that is, even the body can be accomplished. One can attain enlightenment in this lifetime and one may also attain enlightenment in the bardo. If one becomes a bardo spirit, one can still reach attainment by merging with the personal deity, the peaceful and wrathful deities. This is called bardo attainment, a really magnificent way to attain Buddhahood.

I am going to tell a joke. A wife asks her husband an old question, ''Who will you save first if your mother and I both fall into water?'' The husband replies, ''You, of course!'' The wife was touched, ''Wow! I am moved! But, why?'' The husband answers, ''Because the water level will decrease after you are saved and my mom will be saved also.'' This is the ''inference'' of Buddhadharma, because the wife is truly overweight. One day, a suddenly remorseful husband told his wife, ''From now on, I will no longer drink.'' He then wrote in his diary, ''Alcohol is my enemy whereas my wife is my life. This statement is to demonstrate my regrets and transformation.'' The wife was very pleased when seeing it. She casually asked, ''What will you do if you see your enemy in the future?'' The husband replied without any hesitation, ''I will fight the enemy for my life, of course.'' This is also inference. A man was touring the prairies of Inner Mongolia. Upon getting out of the car, he immediately took a deep breath, ''The air is so fresh, such good quality.'' Surprisingly, he fainted right on the spot because his body could not bear such a clean environment and he was poisoned by the oxygen. An ambulance rushed to the scene. The medical technician asked him where he was from. Upon hearing him reply he was from Taichung, the technician instantly replaced his oxygen hose with the exhaust pipe of car. After inhaling several times, he gradually woke up and said softly, ''This is the taste of my hometown.'' Let me tell you, it is called eco-friendly, environmental protection. The pollution in Taichung is serious. Once I return to Seattle, I will definitely not get used to the Seattle air which is really fresh. It is better to live in Taiwan. I am only saying this to make everyone happy! This is also a comparison. It arises by causes and conditions. The air in Taichung was nice at one time. Why not now? Fire powered electricity generating plants! Dependent origination by causes and conditions.

Following is also a comparison. Chunghwa Telecom surveyed phone call durations by different type of users. The average duration per phone call was as follows: male to male: 59 sec; male to mother: 50 sec; male to father: 30 sec; male to female: 1 h 23 min 59 sec; female to female: 5 h 29 min 59 sec; husband to wife: 3 sec; and wife to husband: 14 no answers. This is inference. Chinese New Year is coming next week. I went to a bank this morning to withdraw some money. Wow! It was crowded and there was a long line. I waited in line for a long time and finally it was my turn. The teller asked me, ''How much do you want to withdraw?'' I told the teller NT200,000. The teller told me there was not that much. I then said, ''Just NT100,000.'' The teller again told me there was not that much. I lost my temper right on the spot, ''It's true that there are many people making withdrawals today, but how can a bank this big not even have NT100,000?'' Surprisingly, the teller also lost his temper and raised his voice, ''It's not the bank that doesn't have money, it's your account that doesn't have that much money!''

Therefore, I'm saying that if one doesn't cultivate, that's like not having any savings deposited in the bank. Even if one has gained some enlightenment from today's discourse, if one does not cultivate, one's bank account will still not have sufficient provisions for deliverance because one's karmic hindrances still continue to exist. We must to cultivate today to ensure we have sufficient provisions for deliverance. Om Mani Padme Hum.
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