What is the True Buddha School?
The True Buddha School is a school for spiritual cultivation,
founded by Living Buddha Lian-shen. It is calls the True Buddha
School because it offers a True Transmission and Practice of an
authentic Tantric Dharma which can truly lead one to Buddhahood.
All students who have taken refuge in the True Buddha School must
practice the True Buddha Tantric Dharma. The True Buddha Tantric
Dharma is a Mahayana practice which, by directly visualizing oneself
and Buddha as "One" and, through the cultivation of the
purification of body, mind, and speech, can enable an ordinary,
worldly person to directly arrive at realm of Buddhahood.
How does the True Buddha School differ from other esoteric schools?
Buddha School teaches a unique Yoga Practice, Padmakumara (Lotus
Bodhisattva) Vajra Yoga, which enables the practitioner to arrive
at the Guru's "siddhi" of the Maha Twin Lotus Ponds, an
inconceivable Buddha Pure Land manifested by the Buddha Locana.
Other esoteric schools differ in that their "siddhis"
or "accomplishments" are different.
What are the roots of the True Buddha Tantric Dharma?
An infinite number of kalpas ago, the First Buddha in the Center,
Mahavairocana, transformed into Buddha Locana (the Non-Evil Eyes
Tathagata) whose two eyes became manifested as a Pure Land, the
Maha Twin Lotus Ponds. Residing in the Maha Twin Lotus Ponds are
the eighteen Padmakumaras (Lotus Bodhisattvas), among whom the White
Padmakumara is the Chief. After an experience of traveling to the
Maha Twin Lotus Ponds, Living Buddha Lian-shen realized that he
is an emanation of the White Padmakumara and has incarnated in the
human realm to fulfill his vows of liberating the sentient beings.
Living Buddha Lian-shen also received [during his meditational practice]
Buddha Shakyamuni's empowerment and prophecy [of Buddhahood] and
was bestowed a Red Crown by Bodhisattva Maitreya. Living Buddha
Lian-shen was entrusted by Amitabha Buddha with the mission to lead
sentient beings to the Maha Twin Lotus Ponds, and was taught by
Padmasambhava [while in meditation] various Tantric Practices. Seeing
that the foundations of sentient beings vary greatly, Living Buddha
Lian-shen employs many skillful means, using teachings from Taoism,
and Sutric and Tantric Buddhism, to lead different sentient beings
to take refuge in the Dharma that will liberate them. This is a
universal pathway that does not forsake any sentient being. Thus
True Buddha Tantric Dharma is the Dharma transmitted in the human
realm by White Padmakumara of the Maha Twin Lotus Ponds.
How can one ascertain that the True Buddha Tantric Dharma is
a "True" Dharma?
Living Buddha Lian-shen has proclaimed openly that he is willing
to risk his life, even if he had to subject himself to pulverization,
in order to lead sentient beings to liberation -- this is a True
Vow to liberate sentient beings. The number of books published by
Living Buddha Lian-shen has reached one hundred and thirteen. These
books contain the record of Living Buddha Lian-shen's authentic
experiences, from his first initiation into Taoism to later Buddhism
-- this is a True Record. Living Buddha Lian-shen shares openly
with sentient beings, without holding anything back, what he himself
has learned in spiritual cultivation -- this is a True Revelation
of the secrets. The manifestation of Living Buddha Lian-shen's transcendental
power and his self-mastery, as demonstrated by the occurrence of
numerous miracles and the conquering of evil forces, is evidence
of his possession of True Wisdom as well as True Subjugation Power.
The propagation of the True Buddha Tantric Dharma to bring many
sentient beings to Enlightenment illustrates its True Efficacy.
How should a True Buddha practitioner serve one's Root Guru?
A True Buddha practitioner should observe the Fifty Stanzas
of Guru Devotion and have great faith in the Root Guru. One should
treat the Root Guru as a Buddha and life-long refuge. Since the
Root Guru is the Consciousness of all Buddhas, if a refuge student
has no faith in the Root Guru, or even opposes the Root Guru, then
the student will not be able to receive any spiritual response.
Such a student does not merely lose the merits that were bestowed
upon him or her at the Initiation Empowerment by the Root Guru,
he or she also becomes disconnected from the empowerment of all
past lineage holders. A refuge student who ceases to be faithful
to the Root Guru is actually worse off than someone who has not
Of which Buddha or Bodhisattva is Living Buddha Lian-shen an
Living Buddha Lian-shen has revealed straight-forwardly that
he is an emanation of Padmakumara (Lotus Bodhisattva). Actually,
the body of Living Buddha Lian-shen is that of Buddha Amitabha,
his speech that of Bodhisattva Maitreya, his mind that of Buddha
Shakyamuni, and his hands those of Vajrapani. Therefore, as Padmasambhava
had predicted, Living Buddha Lian-shen is the Vajra Emanation of
the Body, Mind, and Speech of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Any
offering made to Living Buddha Lian-shen is being made to his Three
Bodies (the Dharma Body, the Bliss Body, and the Transformation
Body), and there is no difference between such merits and merits
acquired from making offerings to ten thousand billion Buddhas.
How does one visualize the past lineage holders?
Living Buddha Lian-shen has altogether five human Tantric gurus
and has received teachings and empowerments from the Tibetan Tantric
schools of Nyingmapa, Gelugpa, Kagyupa, and Sakyapa. However, the
most direct teachings he has received are the Tantric Dharma Practices
transmitted to him by Padmasambhava. Therefore, a practitioner can
do the following direct visualization of the past lineage holders:
sitting right above the Root Guru is Padmasambhava and, successively
above, are Vajrapani, Buddha Shakyamuni, and Buddha Vairocana.
Among the many True Buddha Tantric Practices, which ones can
be empowered remotely?
The Empowerments for Initiation, Four Preliminary Practices, Padmakumara
Vajra Yoga, Personal Deity Yoga, and Karma Yoga can be obtained,through
remote empowerment. However, once one progresses to the stage of
Dharma Protector (or Wrathful Deity) Yoga, one needs to meet with
the Guru personally to receive the empowerments and the special
teachings, since each one of the Five Great Dharma Protector Practices
requires a high level of secret skills and special visualization.
The rituals and visualization covered in the Highest Tantra involve
such a great number of details that one must definitely meet personally
with the Guru to receive the empowerment and teachings.
If, after one receives the Initiation Empowerment, one does not
follow the proper sequence in the course of practice and, before
a sound foundation is built, eagerly attempts the higher practices,
there will be many setbacks. If the practitioner pursues his goal
single-mindedly, the setbacks might be considerably less. However,
if the practitioner is not focused in his spiritual pursuit, and
also not well advised on the special rituals and offerings required,
the attempt can be very dangerous. The Dharma Protectors or Wrathful
Deities will consider improper any attempts before the obtaining
of an empowerment and will, therefore, cause accidents and misfortunes
to happen to the practitioner.
What precepts should one observe after taking refuge in Living
Buddha Lian-shen and in the True Buddha School?
As a True Buddha practitioner, one must observe the Five Precepts
and the Ten Wholesome Acts of the sutrayana schools. In addition,
one should observe the Fifty Stanzas of Guru devotion and the Fourteen
Root Tantric Vows. Practitioners who have accepted the Bodhisattva
Vows should observe the Vows. There are also the Great Tantric Buddhist
Vows which are insurpassable! The aim of these vows is to help one
turn away from evils, perform good deeds, and develop the "unperturbed
mind" which is a prerequisite for entering into the "inconceivable"
realm of the Buddhas. As a part of the traditional, graduated course
of training, precepts are not merely theories, they have to be put
into practice and will become powerful tools in meditation. Thus
a True Buddha practitioner must observe the precepts.
What are Living Buddha Lian-shen's future plans?
My life may be more or less divided into four phases:
(i) The Dharma Learning Phase - this period extends from the time
of my birth, through the first spiritual encounter, to my initiation
into the study of Taoism, and Sutric and Tantric Buddhism.
(ii) The Dharma Propagation Phase - after Self Realization and
Perfect Enlightenment, I started propagating the True Buddha Tantric
Dharma, which is an integration of the essences of Taoism, and Sutric
and Tantric Buddhism.
(iii) The Wandering Phase - I travel alone around the world to
teach the Dharma to anyone who has an affinity with it.
(iv) The Retreat Phase - I shall depart from everything in the
world and enter into Nirvana, which is the "Realm of Stillness
and Tranquility." This is the ultimate path for all spiritual
I know I have acquired the Great Spiritual Power that can liberate
sentient beings. I have learned all this-worldly and other-worldly
Dharmas, and penetrated the knowledge of Taoism, and Sutric and
Tantric Buddhism. I have merged with the Great Wisdom of the Universe's
Consciousness, attained the Vajra Indestructible Body, and possessed
the Great Transcendental Power.
However, the boundless merits of spiritual cultivation do not reside
in the gain of worldly profit and reputation. Therefore, one has
to rupture fame and profit by resigning and retreating and, ultimately,
returning to a state of owning nothing. This is my future plan.
What should one do if one has trouble in producing a clear visualization?
Many students have asked this question. Since the thoughts of humans
run like wild horses and are not easily quieted, unclear visualization
often results. The best suggestion for the beginning student is
to carry around a photograph of the Guru, or of the Buddhas or Bodhisattvas,
so that he or she can often look at the photograph and have the
image impressed in the mind. By constantly impressing the photographic
image on the mind, one will, over time, develop the ability to do
clear visualization. This involves studying with effort the Guru's
or Buddha's eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and the whole face. One will
eventually succeed if one practices assiduously.
Can an uninitiated person chant the mantras and do the practices
taught by Living Buddha Lian-shen?
Many people have asked this question. Many people also have
asked if a person who has not taken refuge is allowed to participate
in our school's group cultivation sessions. My reply to these questions
is "yes." People who have not taken refuge or received
the Initiation Empowerment may practice the Dharmas taught by Living
Buddha Lian-shen and join our group cultivations.
However, such practices bring relatively fewer merits to people
who have not taken refuge, as they are like students who just attend
and are not enrolled in class. The most important element lacking
in these people is the Blessing from the lineage holders, which
brings great merits. Students who have taken refuge have formally
enrolled in the course and will automatically receive great blessings
from the past lineage holders.
If one is interested in practicing the True Buddha Tantric Dharma
and in joining the group cultivation, why would one not take refuge
and receive the Initiation Empowerment?
Which one is better for chanting -- the long version or short
version of the Guru's Heart Mantra?
Many people also have asked this question. My answer is: if
one has plenty of time, one may chant the long version and, if one
has less time available, one may chant the short version. Both versions
produce the same amount of merits; there is no difference. The long
version of Living Buddha Lian-shen's Heart Mantra includes the Six
Realms of Beings. However, the Six Realms of Beings are also implicitly
present in the short version.
What can one do to attain responses in this-worldly Dharma practices?
The most important element is not to have any doubts. If one
harbors doubts about the Dharma one is practicing, one's wishes
will not materialize. In the practice of this-worldly Dharmas, one
must have sincerity and devotion. If one is not sincere in one's
supplications, how can one expect them to become manifested? This
is a principle that can be easily understood. Within our True Buddha
Tantric Dharma are many practices that one can do, to pray for children,
health, blessings, wealth, status, purification, subjugation, and
magnetization. These practices are greatly effective as long as
one is focused in mind and sincere in heart. A sincere heart can
move heaven and earth.
What are the qualifications of a True Buddha School acharya
Strictly speaking, a True Buddha School acharya or master should
have the following qualifications:
(i) Be well-versed in all Buddhist classics and scriptures.
(ii) Have knowledge of the whole course of the True Buddha Tantric
Dharma Practice, know its liturgies, and understand all practices
up to and including the Highest Tantra.
(iii) Be able to enter into Samadhi and merge with the Ocean of
Consciousness of Vairocana.
(iv) Be able to unite with and transmute into one's Personal Deity.
(v) Generate the Bodhicitta to liberate all sentient beings.
Is it necessary to become a vegetarian in order to practice
the True Buddha Tantric Dharma?
There is no rule that one must be a vegetarian in order to practice
this Dharma. One can follow one's own instinct in making that decision.
Both vegetarianism and meat-eating are acceptable, as it is the
consciousness behind the behavior that is most important. A Buddhist
should not grasp too tightly onto a doctrine, as this can create
an impediment in many ways. In order to bring a wider liberation
to more sentient beings, the True Buddha Tantric Dharma does not
insist on one being a vegetarian but instructs that, if one chooses
to be a meat-eater, one should chant the Rebirth Mantra or the Bodhisattva
Manjusri Rebirth Mantra to deliver the animal before one consumes
it. This way, hindrances will be lessened and all endeavors will
Please comment on the necessity of setting up a shrine and
the employment of Tantric implements.
To practice Tantra, one must have a shrine as well as some Tantric
implements to aid in the practice. Enshrined at the altar are images
of one's Personal Deity, Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, one's Root Guru,
various Deities, and Dharma Protectors. One should have at the least
a vajra and a bell as implements and, beyond that, whatever is required
and afforded for any particular practice. For example, if one desires
to practice any one of the Five Great Yogas of Purification, Enhancement,
Love, Magnetization, or Subjugation, one must possess mala beads
of a color that corresponds to that particular Yoga. These are part
of the Tantric rules.
However, I understand that some students have the desire to practice
the True Buddha Tantric Dharma, but are unable to set up an altar
in their homes or to afford the requisite implements. Therefore,
I teach them to visualize the shrine, the offerings, and the implements.
This is an allowance made for those students who do not have any
Anyone who is capable and can afford an altar and the implements
must acquire them. Visualization is only used when there is no other
What is the Ultimate Dharma?
The True Buddha Tantric Dharma is the Ultimate Dharma. Like
a priceless Dharma vessel, the True Buddha Tantric Dharma carries
us across the river of Life and Death to the other shore where there
is Liberation. An Ultimate Dharma is a Dharma that can transport
one directly to the other shore. As a human being, one's spiritual
cultivation completely determines whether one will, in the future,
ascend or descend through the various realms in the Universe. This
Ultimate Dharma is, therefore, the most critical element in one's
life and it cannot be emphasized enough how important it is to turn
one's mind single-mindedly to this Dharma.
How can one acquire the Faculty of Divine Eyesight?
This question has been asked by many people. I personally feel that
this Faculty can only be acquired by someone who already has accumulated
sufficient amounts of merits and wisdom. The Faculty of Divine Eyesight
results after the purification of the mind, because the Buddhas
and Bodhisattvas allow themselves to be directly seen only by someone
whose mind is pure. Therefore, if one wants to acquire the Faculty
of Divine Eyesight, one must first carry out the basic requirements
of "repentance" and "accumulating of merits and wisdom."
When the dual impediments of attachment to klesa (troubles) and
knowledge are removed, one will automatically attain the Faculty
of Divine Eyesight.
What are the prerequisites for practicing the True Buddha Tantric
To truly learn the True Buddha Tantric Dharma, one must first
take refuge in a qualified Root Guru. Afterwards, one should follow
the teachings of the Root Guru and practice the Dharma single-mindedly,
without any distraction. One must not have any fear in overcoming
the hardships involved in the practice of the Dharma. One has to
forsake all worldly fame and profit. All this is done in accordance
with the ways taught by the Root Guru. One first has to have faith,
then one will acquire the Great Wisdom and arrive at the Ultimate
How important are the key teachings contained in the text, True
Buddha Dharma: The Inner Commentary?
All the key teachings in the True Buddha Dharma: The Inner Commentary
are culled from the Guru's own experiences of spiritual cultivation
to Enlightenment; therefore, a True Buddha practitioner should always
bear these important keys in mind. If one learns from these key
teachings and cultivates the Dharma firmly and persistently, one
will definitely be able to experience the extraordinarily wonderful
expansion of awareness and perceptions and arrive at a higher level
of spiritual maturity and realization. These key teachings are the
root secrets of the Guru's own Enlightenment and one should never
As a spiritual cultivator, how can one keep pure one's motivations
One must never be too rigid and stick inflexibly to one's own view,
as such an attitude will create opportunities for the negative forces
to take advantage of one. One should rely upon one's own judgment
and not be taken in too easily by other people's words. People of
little faith are easily influenced by others. If one has faith in
one's Root Guru, then all kinds of merits will be generated.
After obtaining an understanding of the True Buddha School and
the significance of the True Buddha Tantric Dharma, if one wants
to take refuge in the True Buddha School and become a disciple of
Living Buddha Lian-shen, what should one do?
To take refuge in Living Buddha Lian-shen and become a student
of the True Buddha School, there are two courses:
(i) In person - Make an appointment ahead of time to visit the
True Buddha Tantric Quarter in Redmond, Washington, USA to receive
direct Initiation Empowerment from the Living Buddha Lian-shen.
(ii) By writing - It is often not possible for someone who lives
far away to come in person to take refuge. Those students who desire
to take refuge can, on the first or fifteenth of any lunar month,
at 7:00 a.m., while facing the direction of the rising sun, recite
three times the Fourfold Refuge Mantra: "Namo Guru bei, namo
Buddha ye, namo Dharma ye, namo Sangha ye" and prostrate three
On the first or fifteenth of every lunar month, at the True Buddha
Tantric Quarter, Living Buddha Lian-shen performs a ceremony of
"Remote Initiation Empowerment" - to give empowerment
to all the students who could not journey in person.
A student who takes refuge from a distance, after performing the
rites at home, only needs to send a letter to the True Buddha Tantric
Quarter stating that he or she is seeking refuge, together with
his/her name, address, age, and a small fee for making offerings
to the Buddhas. Upon receiving the letter, Living Buddha Lian-shen
will send a certificate, a picture of the Guru, and a note stating
the level of practice at he/she should start. The address of the
True Buddha Tantric Quarter is:
17102 NE 40th Ct.
Redmond, WA 98052, USA