Padmakurmara - Translating the Teachings of the Great Buddhist Master, Grandmaster Living Buddha Sheng-yen Lu Padmakurmara - Translating the Teachings of the Great Buddhist Master, Grandmaster Living Buddha Sheng-yen Lu Padmakurmara - Translating the Teachings of the Great Buddhist Master, Grandmaster Living Buddha Sheng-yen Lu Padmakurmara - Translating the Teachings of the Great Buddhist Master, Grandmaster Living Buddha Sheng-yen Lu Padmakurmara - Translating the Teachings of the Great Buddhist Master, Grandmaster Living Buddha Sheng-yen Lu Padmakurmara - Translating the Teachings of the Great Buddhist Master, Grandmaster Living Buddha Sheng-yen Lu Padmakurmara - Translating the Teachings of the Great Buddhist Master, Grandmaster Living Buddha Sheng-yen Lu

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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?
Living BuddhaTrue 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 taken refuge.

Of which Buddha or Bodhisattva is Living Buddha Lian-shen an emanation?
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 cultivators.

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 or master?
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 be smoother.

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 other recourse.

Anyone who is capable and can afford an altar and the implements must acquire them. Visualization is only used when there is no other option.

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 Dharma?
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 Shore.

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 forget them.

As a spiritual cultivator, how can one keep pure one's motivations in cultivation?
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 times.

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:

Sheng-yen Lu
17102 NE 40th Ct.
Redmond, WA 98052, USA









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