The Secrets of the Kalachakra Mantra -- The Genuine Bodhi of Knowing Your Heart and Seeing Buddha Nature
Vajra Acharya Lian-xiang, honored guests, vajra acharyas, senior reverends, reverends, dharma assistants, chapter leaders, and fellow school members, good afternoon. (Enthusiastic applause)
"Kalachakra's Mantra is "Om Ha Kamala Walaya Soha" which transliterates exactly into ten words [in Chinese]. The meaning of these ten words are "life span," "heart," "material possessions," "career/enterprise," "birth," "divine transformation," "extraordinary understanding," "vow," "wisdom," and "all hindrances-transcending awakened state." Today, I will explain Kalachakra's heart, which is equivalent to explaining his heart mantra. In the meanings and symbolisms of these ten words, there are knowing the heart, seeing Buddha-nature, True Suchness, liberation, bodhi, etc. You should listen carefully because this explanation will not be given a second time. So, this Kalachakra Empowerment Assembly is very, very important! (Enthusiastic applause)
When I enter into samadhi during Kalachakra practice, I am Kalachakra himself. So, I will explain the meaning of these ten words in the first person. Now, I want to ask everyone. For life span, is a long life better? Or is a short life better? Some people say, "Just right is good." That is true. Really, from the perspective of Kalachakra, whether it is a long, short or even no life span at all, they are all good. What does this mean? Shakyamuni Buddha transformed into Kalachakra and visited Shambhala Pure Land. Kalachakra gave King Suchandra instructions on the Kalachakra Tantra. Hence, the Kalachakra Tantra was passed down.
Some people say that Shakyamuni Buddha had a long life because he lived to eighty-some years old. There are also people who say that Shakyamuni Buddha's life was very short. But, the Buddha taught [in the Diamond Sutra) "All appearances are like illusory dreams and fleeting bubbles, Like morning dew and lightning flashes, they should be seen as such." Shakyamuni Buddha also said, his form body in the Saha World is an illusion. It is illusory and inherently empty of existence. Kalachakra is the same. Hence, Venerable Master Guang-qin [a Chinese monk who lived in the late 19th-20 century] made this statement, "Never came, never left, nothing happened." Shakyamuni Buddha taught Buddha-dharma for forty-nine years. He never came, and never left. Nothing happened. Kalachakra's teaching of the Kalachakra Tantra is the same. He never came, never left, and nothing happened.
This thing we refer to as life span is in reality non-existent. Today, Sheng-yen Lu is sitting here and I am sixty-three years old this year. Is my life span long? It's long, sixty and above can be consider as long-life. Is my life span short? Doctor Chuan-qi Hong told me that it is possible for normal people to live up to one hundred twenty or even one hundred fifty years now with modern medical technology. He hopes that I can live up to between one hundred twenty to one hundred fifty years old. (Grandmaster Lu laughed. The crowd laughed and enthusiastically applauded) Don't applaud, my life span won't be that long. I'll tell everyone, a long-life is good, a short-life is good, no life span is also good. This is the genuine essence.
Shakyamuni Buddha and Kalachakra are currently both at Akanistha Heaven teaching the Dharma. I am currently at the Saha World teaching the Dharma. I now ask you, "What life span do I have?" Listen to the question carefully! Do I have a long-life, a short-life, or no-life span? (Someone answered, "no life span") No life span means it is over. This is because I am also teaching at Akanistha heaven.
Now, let's discuss the second word, heart. Nowadays, people all talk about gentle and compassionate heart. Past masters wanted everyone to bring out his heart. You have to find your own heart, understand your own true nature.
Do you understand? Someone in the audience answered that he kind of understands. Then, please bring your heart over for me to see. Someone answered, "The heart is at the present." The present? Located at the present, I still can't see it. (Grandmaster Lu and audience laughed) I'll tell you. When you search for you heart, you can travel across tens of thousands of miles and thousands of mountain passes. You can do some self-introspection and think about what your eyes see, ears hear, nose smells, tongue tastes, body touches, and consciousness conjures up. In response to that previous answer of [the heart is] located at the present, you will only be able to seize the heart for one instant, seize it for the present, but did you really seize it? No! That is the answer. You just said that you seized it. Now, you answer you didn't seize it. Simply put, it is just not really there, empty of existence. It doesn't really exist, nor is it really empty.
For example, right now is 4:15 PM. Let's wait a couple of seconds. Okay 10 seconds have passed. The present of 4:15 PM is gone. Then, this is in the realm of having birth and cessation. What you can see with your eyes, can it last forever? What you hear with your ears, can it last eternally? All the things perceived by faculties of the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and consciousness are not eternal. They are not genuine. They exist only for a time.
When you cannot find your heart, then you can realize your true heart. When you can't find your heart, then this can be considered as "knowing the heart." I'll tell you this story. In his youth, a monk who would later become a great Ch'an (Zen) master sought out teachings from Ch'an Buddhism's Sixth Patriarch, Cultivator Lu (Hui-neng). Hui-neng and I share the same family/last name. When this monk went back home, someone asked him, "What did you gain from seeing the Sixth Patriarch?" That monk answered, "I gained nothing." "Since you didn't gain anything, why did you go to see the Sixth Patriarch?" The monk answered, "Only after seeing him did I realize that I couldn't gain anything. If I didn't go, I wouldn't have realized that there is nothing to be gained." What is "knowing the heart"? I have already revealed it.
Vajra Acharya Lihui of California's Purple Lotus Temple/Society once asked me, "Grandmaster Lu, you said you are going to entrust the Dharma to someone. But the Dharma is already non-Dharma, so how do you entrust the Dharma?" I told her, "What I want to entrust to my students is this non-Dharma. This is because there is no Dharma, so I have to reveal to you the Dharma of non-Dharma. This is entrusting the Dharma. (Enthusiastic applause) If you understand what I said, you "know the heart."
Okay, now let's talk about material possession. It is the third word. You can ask Vajra Acharya Lianzhe. He gave me this gift, a five wheel stupa (translator's note: the five wheels of the stupa refer to the 5 elements of earth, water, fire, wind, and space). It is made of pure gold and is very heavy. Amitabha Buddha, this five wheel stupa is very heavy. I don't think I will be able to carry it back with me. (Grandmaster Lu and the audience laughed) Let me tell you. All the things that we refer to as material possessions, you can't take it with you. I am sincerely telling you this. All of the people of this world are pursuing these material possessions. It is because you are pursuing these material possessions that deluded thoughts arise, and that's why you have anxiety, fears, and afflicted emotions.
Frankly speaking, when gold was cheap a while ago, I asked Vajra Acharya Lian-xiang and Lian-ji if they wanted to get rich? They didn't answer my question. So, I prepared some money and went to buy gold. I went to the Jing-Bao-Shan jewelry shop and I told the owner that I wanted to buy gold. The owner told Acharya Lian-xiang, "He's out-of-his-mind! People don't invest their money in gold any more. They all invest their money in the stock market." Why did I want to buy gold? It is because I knew its price was going up. Where is Vajra Acharya Lian-ji? Please stand up. Did I ask you that question? Yes! Did I buy any gold? No! (crowd laughed) This was because that jewelry-store owner refused to sell it to me. These material possessions, you can't take them with you. Although the deal didn't go through, my heart was calm as still water. This is because I know that I can't take them with me.
Some people said that Taiwan Lei Zang Temple is really big and magnificent. Its monetary value is incredible! Grandmaster Lu, you are the abbot. You should be hugging those magnificent temple columns, telling each of them they are yours, telling all the Bodhisattvas and Buddhas statues in the temple that they are yours. Then, I would cling onto these columns, trembling each day fearing that people would steal them (crowd laughed). I'll tell all of you. All of the Lei Zang Temples worldwide are the cultivation grounds for True Buddha School's joint cultivation. I can register all these Lei Zang Temples under my name. If I did that, I would be laughing to myself in secret. Why? This is because all of them are illusory. I couldn't possibly take them with me (applause). I would not register the Lei Zang Temples under the name of Living Buddha Lian-sheng. I won't do that. I don't want any of them.
This five wheel stupa is made of real gold and is very expensive! Looking at it for a long time, most people would be mesmerized! Even if you stare at it completely mesmerized, would it really become yours at the end. (crowd laughed) You have to see this world as it really is! Cars are not yours, houses and buildings are not yours, it is only there for you to occupy temporarily, to possess temporarily. In the end, you cannot really own it. So ultimately, you really gain nothing. Also, it is because you understand there is nothing to be gained that you don't have any hindrances! In the Heart Sutra, it said it very clearly, "Since Bodhisattvas have no attainment, they abide by the means of Prajnaparamita." It is because you know there is nothing to gain, so you will throw away all of your worries and become a Bodhisattva.
This fourth word is career (or enterprise). I, Kalachakra, came to this world. I have only one career (or enterprise) and that is transmitting dharma. Shakyamuni Buddha had forsaken his home life and left without saying good-bye. He travelled to cultivate in the Himalayas and performed arduous ascetic practices for six years. Later, he finally achieved supreme enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. He said his career/enterprise ended there and was about to enter Nirvana. This is because the ultimate truth that he had realized was impossible to explain. He said, "All sentient beings have Buddha-nature." It turns out all sentient beings possess Buddha-nature! Yet, he cannot explain it, so he was about to enter Nirvana. The Great Brahma came and pleaded for Shakyamuni Buddha to transmit the Dharma. After forty-nine years of teaching the Buddha-dharma, Shakyamuni Buddha stated, "If anyone claimed that I had taught any Dharma, that is slandering me!" Let me ask you, what did he mean by that? He really did give teachings for forty-nine years, yet why did he say this? I will tell everyone, his career/enterprise was to transmit Dharma, yet at the end he said that he did not transmit any dharma. This is because this Dharma was originally there. Even if he didn't transmit the Dharma, the Dharma would still be there. Even if you say it doesn't exist, it would still exist. So, he said that he didn't give any teachings. So I want to ask you, what kind of Dharma is this? There are vajra acharyas who explain it as "neither birth nor cessation." That is an external [[[understanding]], only scratching the surface]. This person said that there is birth. Then, let's combine these two answers together: "there is no birth, but there is also birth."
What is career (or enterprise) exactly? Today I, Sheng-yen Lu, am sitting here teaching Dharma. But, I can also say that if you claim Sheng-yen Lu taught any Dharma, you are slandering Sheng-yen Lu! What does this mean? This means that [true and genuine] Dharma cannot be taught. It is something that cannot be explained, all things that can be explained are all false-Dharma, [still distorted by concepts and ideas). The Dharma that is beyond words is the true and genuine dharma. (Applause). If you still don't understand, there is nothing left that I can say.
The fifth key word is birth. From the time Shakyamuni Buddha entered into Queen Maya's womb to the time he was born, he maintained his primordial awareness. After he was born, he walked seven steps in each of the four cardinal directions and returned to the center, with one hand pointing to the heavens and another pointing to the earth. He proclaimed "I am the most venerable being on earth and in the heavens." Then, his primordial awareness became clouded, and he became a mundane person. This happened because he came to perform a play for the human world. He would start-off as any mundane person and gradually cultivate to achieve Buddhahood. He came to put on a show. Grandmaster Lu is like him. This crown on my head, it looks great. It was made by Lianhua Shu-fang. I didn't buy it. She gave it to me as a gift. (Applause) This large dragon robe that I am wearing - wow! -- it was a gift by Vajra Acharya Le-zhi. (Applause) Everything that Grandmaster Lu owns are actually gifts from other people. To be honest, even my physical body is a gift from my father and mother. Some people ask for my hair sariras. I am bald and don't have hairs, so I have shave some of my facial hairs. Many students give me clothing to wear. My body is a gift from my parents and likewise I give myself wholeheartedly to everyone.
Grandmaster Lu wholeheartedly gives away [his] entire life and physical body to serve sentient beings. So, I can tell you no-birth is also no cessation. I was born, but I am giving this life as a gift to everyone, so this can also be called no-birth. I wholeheartedly give my life away to serve sentient beings and this is also no-birth. Even though I had a birth, this also becomes no-birth.
The sixth key word is divine transformation. What is this? It is super-mundane power! Thirteen years ago, I held a dharma ceremony in Indonesia while the country was suffering a very severe drought. I announced to everyone during the ceremony that the dharma ceremony that day would bring rain. The weather that day was like today, clear sky as far as the eye can see. Yet, in fifteen minutes, a great rain came pouring down on every island, over one thousand islands, of Indonesia. It ended the Indonesian drought. What was that? That was divine transformation. Another example was when I transmitted the Instant Wealth practice at Seattle Lei Zang Temple. Lianhua Somay and his wife received empowerment. Then, they devotedly cultivated this practice. Through divine transformation, they won $55 million USD, the jackpot. This is equivalent to $1.9 billion Taiwan dollars. They won that entire jackpot. Divine power enabled this student and his wife to win the jackpot of 1.9 billion Taiwan dollars. Frankly, the chances of winning a lottery is smaller than being struck by lightning. Lianhua Somay really won the jackpot. The drought in Indonesia really did end. Any students from Indonesia? Please stand up. Did the drought end right after the ceremony? Yes! Fifteen minutes after the ceremony, the rain came. They are all genuine divine transformation (applause).
Also, I had transmitted the Seven Great Practices of the Golden Mother of the Jade Pond. Vajra Acharya Lianhua Cheng-zu, please stand up. He is a Datuk (an honorary government title given to distinguished citizens by the Malaysian government) (Applause). He used to have a tumor on his head. I am not sure how many years he had that tumor, perhaps he might have had it since he was a child. After he received empowerment for the Golden Mother's Seven Great Practices, he cultivated one of them. After several days, the tumor shrank and vanished. After performing the practice for two weeks, the tumor vanished (Applause). He can testify to whether or not what I just said is true! (Crowd laughed) Oh! He said that it is all true (Applause, Laughter). This is divine transformation! This is the transformation of [one of] the Five Wisdoms of the Tathagata into the All-Accomplishing Wisdom. It can pacify misfortune, and bring enrichment.
There is a couple. I am not sure if they are here today, but I can't reveal their names. Originally, they couldn't get married because there were many obstacles. But through Grandmaster Lu's blessing power, these obstacles went away and they got married. They are a very loving couple with several children who are taller than I am. This is divine transformation of pacifying misfortune, magnetization, enrichment, and subjugation. But, this subjugation transformation cannot be revealed. This is one of the Tathagata's Five Wisdoms -- the All-Accomplishing Wisdom. When you gain the All-Accomplishing Wisdom, then naturally, the five consciousnesses from the first to fifth consciousness will be transformed into the All-Accomplishing Wisdom.
Of course, I hope my students win the lottery, and not that I win the lottery. My students winning the lottery is the same as me winning the lottery. When my students' misfortunes dissipate, it is like my misfortunes are lifted. When my students are ill, then I am ill. When my students recover from their illnesses, I am also disease-free (applause). If you understand what I just said, then you understand divine transformation.
Now, we come to the seventh key word, extraordinary understanding. Do you know what is knowing the heart? It is because you realize that you cannot find the heart that you know the heart. If you found it, then it is not called knowing the heart. It is because you know that the heart cannot be found, hence you understand the heart. You should know if you found your heart, that heart is a fake. This is extraordinary understanding.
Do you know what is seeing Buddha-nature? You know your body is illusory, not genuine, and your heart is illusory and false. You see Buddha-nature only when you understand everything. If you understand, then Buddha-nature is with you everyday. You have seen Buddha-nature with your own eyes. Do you understand it? Do you know it?
Now, the eighth key word is vow. What kind of vow? In all my future incarnations, I vow to [be a ferryman and] deliver sentient beings to the shore of liberation. This is my vow and my bodhicitta aspiration. I vow to assist all sentient beings to achieve Buddhahood. I wish that sentient beings will not have suffering. I vow to bring joy to sentient beings. I willingly let go of everything. I do this willingly and this is my vow.
The ninth key word is wisdom. This is Prajna. How many kinds of wisdoms are contained in Prajna? Strictly speaking, Prajna contains three kinds of wisdom. If from listening to this talk, you understand emptiness of the dharma, then you have the wisdom of the Sravaka and Pratyeka-Buddha. If you differentiate everything, differentiate what is good and evil, then that is the wisdom of Bodhisattva knowledge of all things in proper differentiation. Finally, there is the perfect and all-encompassing wisdom of the Buddha. What are afflictions? What is suffering? What is a deluded thought? What is the beginningless delusion? If you possess these three wisdoms, then you know the heart and see Buddha-nature. You realize the genuine state of True Suchness, the ultimate truth.
The final key word is all hindrances-transcending awakened state. For example, it was really noisy over there. Maybe they were arguing. They have all lost their all hindrances-transcending awakened state. On the news, I have seen Taiwan's legislators fighting in the Legislature. In other countries, they joke that these fighting incidents should be reported in the sports section because they are engaging in physical training (Audience laughed). The arguments that occurred over there should be reported on the financial pages because the stock market is like this. People screaming, bidding prices up and down, then transaction are made. (audience laughed)
What is all hindrances-transcending awakened state? Water in the river stream gradually flows into the lake and then into oceans, and its flow never stops. Grandmaster Lu's life force is circulating. It is moving and circulating in this world. It is always moving, but its axis doesn't move. This is the all hindrances-transcending awakened state. If a noisy marketplace can't bother you, then you can achieve all hindrances-transcending awakened state. When hearing a noisy marketplace makes your heart restless, then you don't have the all hindrances-transcending awakened state. If you can compose yourself and chant Amitabha Buddha, then that is the all hindrances-transcending awakened state.
There is an Avalokiteshvara by the name of all hindrances-transcending awakened state Avalokiteshvara. What does this title all hindrances-transcending awakened state mean? It is because he does not have attachments to any outcome. His mind is like a stream flowing unobstructed, like clouds that drift naturally in the wind. Where is the cloud? You go look at a cloud and you see it is somewhere in the sky. Take another look later on, and the cloud is gone -- it is somewhere else. So, is it there or is it not there? That cloud is in its natural state, the natural state of all-hindrance transcendence. When you see a flowing stream, put a foot into the stream and make contact with the water. Now, lift your foot out and put it down again. You can't make contact with the same water that your foot came into contact with earlier. Why is that? That water is in its natural state, the state of all-hindrance transcendence. So, Grandmaster Lu walks along with the wind. The heart of Grandmaster Lu is called the "heart of no heart." That is "no heart." It is not the "heart of the heart." If you can understand what this natural state called "heart of no heart" is, then you know the heart. When you can see things as they really are without any veil of mental projection or concepts, then you have reached the state of seeing Buddha-nature. You will be able to know Buddha-nature and reach the True Suchness stage. It is always there, but it does not have duality. It is pristine and uncontaminated. This is True Suchness.
This is because I realize knowing the heart, seeing Buddha-nature, and know True Suchness. In addition, in the Four dhyana meditations and Eight concentrations, I am able to go from the first dhyana and progress one by one to the fourth dhyana. I even know how to enter Nirvana. You have to go through the four dhyana and eight concentrations to enter into Nirvana. Then, you can attain the dharma nature of True Suchness. If you didn't [pass through the four dhyanas and eight concentrations], you will not be able to enter Nirvana.
When I enter into Nirvana, where do I go? Christian ministers often say "ashes to ashes, dust to dust." The ashes of my physical body will be placed in the western hall of Taiwan Lei Zang Temple. (Enthusiastic applause) I have previously said, I welcome everyone to share residence with me (Grandmaster laughed, audience laughed and enthusiastically applauded). Do you know the Pure Land "Where Ordinary and Holy Beings Dwell"? It is not that I am advocating "living together." Even in the Western Pure Land, they share a Pure Land (Where Ordinary and Holy Beings Dwell). My genuine Buddha-nature will be in the Eternally Quiescent Light Pure Land; my Bliss Body (Sambhogakaya) will reside in Real Reward Pure Land. My emanation body will be in the Pure Land of Expedient Liberation for those with Substrate. My physical body will be in Pure Land Where Ordinary and Holy Beings Dwell.
In the future, Grandmaster Lu's cremated ashes will be placed in Taiwan Lei Zang Temple. After Grandmaster Lu has passed away, other Lei Zang Temples can request Vajra Acharya Lian-zhe to send some of the ashes to other Lei Zang Temples. What is being distributed? It is all-hindrance transcendence. I am genuinely telling everyone, Grandmaster Lu has seen through all illusions and transcended all hindrances.
This ring was given to me by Hong Kong's Vajra Acharya Lian-xin. Would you please stand up (Enthusiastic applause). Vajra Acharya Lian-xin is the famous "Night Club Guan-yin." (Audience laughter and enthusiastic applause). She owned "Good Time Forest Night Club" in Wanchai, Hong Kong. There were some two hundred girls working for her. She was a mamasan/madam. But then how did she become a vajra acharya? Grandmaster Lu awakened her, and she awakened those two hundred girls working for her. So, she has truly set an example. Anybody, no matter what his or her station in life, can turn his/her life around and achieve Buddhahood.
One of the Reverends here used to be a musician at night clubs. I was in the club one day and we made eye contact. Then, he willingly sought refuge and now has taken monastic vows (applause). This way of delivering sentient beings is an exercise of all-hindrances transcending. I deliver them according to affinity and their wishes. The axis of Grandmaster doesn't move. However, in the effort of delivering sentient beings, I do my best to complete the task.
These ten key words are: "Life span," there is not really any life-span; "Heart" and "material possessions," neither of which you can attain; "Career/enterprise" is illusory and transient in the transformation; "Birth" is no-birth; "Divine Transformation" is a tool to deliver sentient beings; "Extraordinary understanding" is to understand all we talked about today; "Vow" is boundless; "Wisdom" is Maha Prajna Paramita; "All hindrances-transcending awakened state" is to see the world as it really is, seeing the world as the transformation of illusions. It is like water and clouds, and all things are temporary transformations of illusions. Hence, when I pass away in the future, everyone should just recite Buddha's name, Namo Amitabha Buddha.
You have to see the illusory nature of your existence -- only then will you recognize True Suchness. Only when you realize your illusory nature can you achieve all hindrances-transcendence in the face of all circumstances that life can bring; only then can you deliver and transform sentient beings; aspire bodhicitta; fulfill bodhisattva vows, Maha Prajna Paramita, Om Ma-Ni-Ba-Da-Mi-Hum Zuli, carried out as celestial law, Inviting Golden Mother of the Jade Pond to oversee this matter, Om Maha Prajna Paramita, Om Ma-Ni-Ba-Da-Mi-Hum Zuli. Carried out as celestial law. Transcend all hindrance. Om Ma-Ni-Ba-Da-Mi-Hum Zuli.
Amitabha Buddha (enthusiastic applause from the crowd).
Chinese Transcription by Lan He
Translated by Lianhua Zhi-wei
Edited by Jason Yu