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Chapter Thirteen - Basic Concepts on Practising the True Buddha Esoteric school of Buddhism

1997-01-01 Seattle
1. In practice, first think of yourself as having defilement and impermanence, being made up of the four elements(earth, water, wind and fire); then visualise yourself in the state of voidness and personalise yourself as the Buddha.

This is a manifestation of internal brilliance, the unification of outer and inner lights will result in a greater bond.

2. The Secret of Mudra

i. When a mudra is formed, it represents the body of the personal deity and facilitates the direction of visualisation.

ii. Sometimes the Mudra is an edict, a direction, a propelling force. Through close coordination with visualisation, mudra can create power.

iii. Sometimes it is an antenna, the source of transmitting and receiving. Through which, the cosmic power can be received and our energy transmitted.

3. The Secret of Mantra

i. Mantra is the changes of `symbol of the Boddhi heart``. Once Buddhas, Bodhisattvas have achieved enlightenment, they will promulgate their individual heart Mantra.

ii. Mantra is the true treasure that the Buddha personally experienced, it is the main beacon guiding all the esoteric practitioners.

Mantra is the voice, Mantra is the frequency, it is the key to the universe. It is the sound wave to summon the Buddha and Bodhisattva. Since the Esoteric school of Buddhism uses Mantra in their practice , it is also known as the `Mantra Sect`.

iii. If Mantra can not uplift one`s mind, it is of no use. The mantra that leads to the achievement of spiritual response is the result of mixing self-purification with mind manifestation.

iv. In order to feel the effect of the Mantra, one must chant whole-heartedly. Out of the mouth, into the ear and imprint onto the heart, until the seed of Mantra blossoms and reaches the centre of the universe. Use the most sincere and earnest way to summon the Buddha and Bodhisattva, and they will descend to your sacred altar, as the mantra enters into your true-self, there must be spiritual response.

v. The most prohibitive ways of chanting:

a. inattentive

b. mechanistic

vi. There are five ways to chant the Mantra

a. Lotus chanting - the voice uttered is as soft as the passing breeze.

b. Vajra chanting - the mouth is closed, no voice is uttered, although the tongue is moving.

c. Samadhi chanting - first observe your heart, and visualise a moon disc within the heart region with mantra written on it. Without uttering a word, use your mind to urge the mantra word by word. In other words your mind thinks of the sound of the mantra.

d. Conch-induced chanting - First visualise a lotus flower in your heart, then think of the mouth of a white conch, uttering the melodious mantra.

e. Brightness chanting - visualise your mouth, emitting countless rays of bright lights, with the mantra words flowing out one after another.

vii. You may chant it loudly, so that there is concentration, but it may be harmful to your qi(air). Without uttering, it may be too stuffy. That is why, it is advocated that while chanting, the first few sentences should be uttered. Then lower the voice, and finally chanting without any voice. This is a good way. Most importantly, it should suit your individual physiology and the chanting should be comfortable.

viii. The secret of the mantra lies in the way of breathing. After chanting for a while, the breathing will follow a set routine and circulation. The Mantra and breathing frequency will amass certain energy and hide in the joints of the bones, and the qi (air) will move around the arteries and veins. This is a major revelation by Living Buddha Lian Shen after his enlightenment.

ix. When the sound of Mantra in a person and that of the universe can be resonant, there is unification,resulting in samadhi. The greatest secret of the sound of Mantra is to unite; and the greatest secret of Mantra to vibrate and resound.

4. The Secret of Visualisation (Yantra)

i. The Esoteric school of Buddhism regards visualisation, thought, and will power to be the utmost secret. All dharma cannot be devoid of visualisation. Will power itself is a wave. Through sheer concentration, the will power can form a wavy point, and later into light. This is one of the essences found in practice, and a major one.

ii. Visualisation is a form of training for the senses. Its main aim is to use the cause, to concentrate until one¡¦s thought, mood, and senses to calm down, and reach a stage of purification. Without any distracting thoughts, your mind will enter a stage of tranquility, brightness and relaxation that was never experienced before. A sense of bliss grows in the process.

iii. To reach tranquility after full concentration appears to be very cagey to many people. All the esoteric practitioners in fact use symbolic visualisation to achieve `using thought to cease the thought`, and visualisation is regarded as the most expedient way. Lay persons like us are unable to get rid of distracting thought quickly, and cannot hold even a few moments without thought. Therefore they must visualise. in order to stop the thinking process.

iv. An esoteric practitioner can replace worry with a better form of visualisation. (Worry is, after all, only a form of imagination, or visualization.) Better still if he or she could see through worry, and create the power of self-confidence, and eventually progress to reach profound meditation.

v. There are many types of visualisation in esoteric school of Buddhism:

a. Mandala visualisation

b. Seed-word visualisation

c. Deity visualisation

d. Causual ground visualisation

e. Resulting Buddhahood visualisation

vi.The Esoteric school of Buddhism depends on thought to reach enlightenment. And the utmost secrecy is visualisation. This encompasses all the secrets. It is even more secretive than Mantra and Mudra. Mantra and Mudra can also be merged into one`s visualisation.

5. An esoteric practitioner, because of his purified thought, will have a balanced growth and be able to maintain adequate qi (air) in his body. All parts of his body can function easily and actively. Lightness and nimbleness are the result of practising the Esoteric school of Buddhism. At the same time, because there is righteous qi (air) in his body, he can repel the invading force of any evil spirit, as a result they dare not attack him, that is why it is `fearless`.

6. A true practitioner must eradicate greed, hatred and delusion. He just become enlightened himself, so that he can help others to become enlightened. If he can accomplish perfection in his behaviour, he then can be considered a compassionate and benevolent Bodhisattva. He must give alms, observe precepts, be patient, practice conscientiously, meditate and gain wisdom. He must practise all virtues, in order to walk the Bodhi path. Then this is considered real practice.

7. Stages of Enlightenment

i. Un-thorough enlightenment. The way of practice stresses surpassing everything, the aloofness is lofty and pure, more of a unique nature.

ii. A true enlightenment. The heart is purified and unconventional. He does not dislike commoners. He is eager to help and propagate dharma. He is celestial as well as secular; inclining and centifugal at the same time.

8. Personal practice is of the utmost importance when learning the esoteric dharma. Find a real vajra guru, and take refuge in him, offer alms to him sincerely, practise incessantly, and progressively. Even if you do not have spiritual response this life, you will not regret it when you die, as human beings can end his life at any moment. If you practise incessantly, even without any accomplishment this life, you will have results in your next life.

9. Practice is like a growing tree. You don`t see its growth, but it is growing daily. If you practise daily, you will improve daily.

10. All the Buddhism dharma must be practised in your daily life. It is then your profound knowledge. Knowing and doing must be stressed equally.

11. Practising dharma without cultivating your mind, you will follow your own habits. Your greed will intensify and become insatible. If you are really learning Buddhism, you must find the right path and return to the `voidness`. Using the son-light you emitted to meet the mother-light of the universe, you will be enlightened. Otherwise, you are only worshipping outwardly.

12. There are three reasons why a person falls sick.

i. Physiology - imbalance of the four elements, and five internal organs.

ii. Psychology - sickness created by formless ghosts and gods.

iii. Karma - karmic sickness from the unwholesome deeds of previous lives.

Physiological sickness must be cured by doctor. Psychological sickness can be cured by asking a venerable monk to chant and do ritual to eradicate calamities and invite fortune. Karmic sickness can be cured by accumulating merit, doing good deeds, donating and repenting.

13. The Theory of Emancipation

i. The law of karma is that a cause will have an effect. Good deeds will not eradicate bad deeds. That is why Bodhisattva is afraid of the cause,and the lay person the effect.

ii. Although cause and effect cannot be eradicated, it may be lessened by other means

a. By the law of Substitution, and using the Grand Master`s power, he can suffer the effect on behalf of the disciples, and thus the calamity is eradicated.

b. By the law of Transference, and using the Grand Master`s power, he can transfer the effect into the earth, and thus the calamity is eradicated. These two methods can only be carried out by an enlightened vajra guru, or carried out by the descending Boddhisattvas on the devotees behalf, secretly.

c. Equal karmic forces can be changed by guru`s blessing, while karmic calamity is difficult to change. Unless the practitioner can use dharma power to emancipate (himself), it will not be eradicated. To emancipate your own unwholesome karma, the best method is to practise dharma yourself. Those non-practitioners will find it virtually impossible to be emancipated from the hindrance.

d. Believers and practitioners can use eight methods to sustitute and transfer:

(1) Chant the sutra of High King Avalokitesvara one thousand times.

(2) Recite root-guru`s Heart Mantra one million times.

(3) Practise repentance rituals 200 occasions.

(4) Pay homage, offer alms, print sutras, erect temples, stupa, and Buddhist statues.

(5) Recite the name of Buddha, Bodhisattva until there is spiritual response.

(6) Meditate to obtain the power of precept, meditation and wisdom.

(7) Root guru performs ritual to empower, substitute and transfer.

(8) Voidness changes the karma to nothingness.

Living Buddha Lian Shen says the first seven methods namely, power of Sutra, power of Mantra, power of ritual, power of giving alms, power of Buddha, power of meditation, power of root guru are nothing but substitution and transference. Only the last power of voidness can really absolve one from the consequence of karma.

14. Mantra is not used for eradication of human calamities. It is used to lead human beings from the dark whirlpool to bright emancipation.

15. Human beings may blame practice for causing aberration, when actually it is no fault of practising. Without having the right thought at the outset, one will never achieve enlightenment. To probe further, it is caused by our untrue heart; not because of practising dharma. Meanwhile, if you know how to treat all the phenomena seen in your practice as fictitious, you should not be happy or sad, but alway maintain a middle path, and you will not go astray. It is important that all practitioners must maintain such attitudes.

16. The Importance of Breathing Control

i. Correct method of breathing controls the energy of one`s life, which in turn controls the mind. This is interconnected. After proper training in breathing control, the human mind will be able to reach the stage of samadhi which is the state of clear light and bliss.

ii. To enter into the root source, you must not be bound by the five aggregates. You must consider true breathing the most important of all. Mind cultivating is a refined breathing control. It is slow, deep, rythymic. It eradicates karmic hindrance, and all evil thoughts. Greed will dissolve into something clear and bright; and the mind will be nimble and bright.

iii. Concentrate and inhale a bright stream of light and exhale black smoke. Continuously breathing in and breathing out, the cosmic power will be approaching you, and you will float into the centre of the universe and be oblivious to matters around you. You look, but see nothing, you listen, but hear nothing. Your concentration on breathing control will lead you into deep meditation. When the cosmic power fills your body, and your force unites with that of the universe, there will be spiritual response.

17. Living Buddha Lian Shen concedes there are five main essentials to achieve great accomplishment and be enlightened:

i. Taking refuge in a true guru, the starting point towards attaining enlightenment.

ii. Making a vow - using dharma to succour all sentient beings - the birth of Bodhi heart.

iii. Repenting - all unwholesome karma are caused by our mind our thought and behaviour.

iv. Making offerings to the guru - By making offering to guru you are also making offerings to triple gems of Buddha, dharma, and sangha. Virtuous guru is sum total of the triple gems.

v. Obtaining guru`s lineage power - the Guru will distribute the cosmic power he obtains to all the disciples. This is the lineage power. By practising the guru yoga, and having spiritual response you will receive the lineage power.
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