Jiangba Luojie's Preface:
Remarking from Dzi to Tibetan Buddhism
Prostrating myself before The World-honored One
Who has all wisdom;
Offering my body, speech and mind
To Three Jewels
About ten years ago, a Dzi fashion arose in Taiwan from the trend of the western New-Age thought mixed with the local social customs. Dzi, originally the Tibetan women’s family heirloom, was promoted intentionally as ‘the treasure falling from Heaven but not belonging to the Earth’. And ‘anyone who carries it will become a buddha in the future, without the need of practice.’ However, the modern science then proved that it was just a processed product of the ancient agate. (Ironically, Taiwan becomes the biggest exporter of Tibetan agate Dzi in the world nowadays, exporting to Tibet for satisfying the worldwide collectors.) The announcement of this fact terminated the fairy myth.
From the viewpoint of anthropology, the spreading of Buddhism in history often made cultural substitution according to the time or place. But the restructured cultural elements are influenced by local environment too. Therefore, Mr. Lee Yuan-song of The Modern Zen Organization in Taiwan said: “Tibetan Buddhism as a religion is just like a diamond surrounded by gilded garbage.” However, this sparkling fake diamond is by no means the absolute truth realized by Buddha Sakyamuni either when he touched the ground by hand or when he saw the morning star. It is really a diamond-like glass that hurts Tibetan Buddhist practitioners’ eyes because of its sparkling harsh brightness, and causes their blindness to the true reality.
In general, Chinese Buddhism completely adopts Indian Great-vehicle (Mahayana) Buddhism before Tang Dynasty of China, while Tibetan Buddhism adopts the heretical development of the subsequent Indian Buddhism. In the ancient India, after Great-vehicle Buddhism had flourished, it gradually assimilated a lot of cultural elements from Hinduism, underwent the transformation of those elements and developed into Tantric Esoteric Buddhism (Vajrayana). It then became the main stream of Indian Buddhism. This development process can be proved by the archaeological records from Nalanda Monastery ruins as well as the writings from Masters Hsuan-tsang and Yi-jing of Tang Dynasty.
Tibet went into its recorded history during the period governed by Emperor Songzan Ganbu (about the early Tang Dynasty). At that time, Tibet absorbed a lot of new cultural elements from India and China. In those cultural elements, the official declaration of Buddhism as the national religion was the most influential one. Later, after the dark age of King Glang-dar-ma’s repression on Buddhism, Tibet almost completely adopted Indian Tantric Esoteric Buddhism with combination of some cultural elements from Tibetan Bon Sect. In addition, after the broad spreading by Rin-chen Bzang-po, who was a translation master, the context and the framework of Tibetan Buddhism were established; the major practice methods follow the sequence of Small-vehicle (Hinayana), Great-vehicle (Mahayana), Vijra-vehicle (Vajrayana), and finally the attainment of Buddhahood in a lifetime.
According to their philosophical basis, Tibetan Secret Schools can be generally classified into two systems: one is Independent Middle-Way School (Svatantrika Madhyamika), and the other is Advanced Middle-Way School (Prasangika Madhyamika). The former, including such schools as Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya, and Jonang, has several different doctrines, like Thus-come-store, Independent Middle-Way, Consciousness-only view, the view of the union of samsara and nirvana, Great Middle-Way, the view of the emptiness of other, and so on. The schools in this system are based on the principle of ‘the worldly truth is nihility, but the ultimate truth is existence’ to describe the gist of their own ultimate truth; however, there are considerable differences among them. The latter was formed by Tsongkhapa and his disciples of Gelug School. At that time, Gelug School used its great political power to oppress the spreading of the Thus-come-store thought, leading to the decay of other schools. Thereafter, Advanced Middle-Way School has become the mainstream of Tibetan Buddhism.
In Tibetan Secret Schools, Highest-yoga (Mahayoga) is regarded as the greatest and hardest practice method, which is also the only way for the practitioner to attain Buddhahood in a lifetime (even without passing through the bardo body). They think that the practitioner who has both merits and wisdom can rely on practicing this yoga to accomplish the three bodies (Dharma, Reward and Embodiment) and complete the fruition of Buddhahood. It is observed from this practice method that, the initial and the second empowerments provide the basis for entering the third and the fourth empowerments later. With the attainment of merits from the third empowerment, the practitioner continues to practice the fourth empowerment and then attains the fruition of Buddhahood. Some might pass over the wisdom empowerment (the third one) and practice the noun empowerment (the fourth one) directly. However, the process basically contains at least three different empowerments.
In 1984, I started to practice the methods of Tibetan Secret Schools. At that time, I spent much time to receive the whole instructions and complete the empowerments. Thereafter, I left my worldly affairs alone, and took the practice as my whole career. I contemplated tantras (read most books in the Buddhist library) by day and practiced the esoteric methods by night. This situation lasted around eleven years. I still remember that it was difficult to get any tantric information at that time, because those who had that kind of information regarded it as the precious treasure, not willing to share with others. In order to get the information or teachings of tantras, I traveled many places to visit teachers and friends. I went to India and Nepal several times to visit elder practitioners in various schools as well. In those years, I experienced the flourishing of Tibetan Secret Schools in Taiwan.
Although I experienced most tantric practicing trails that those Vajrayana forefathers had attained, I felt doubtful about Tibetan Secret Schools more and more. Tibetan secret tantras, known as the extraordinary teachings beside the sutras, violated the sutras that Buddha Sakyamuni taught in every place. Those differences were too significant to be attributed to ‘the expedient or temporary teachings.’ And the worst of it was that, when I asked the questions to those Vajrayana gurus who proclaimed being ‘broad in learning and deep in practicing,’ they could only talk about nonsense and tried to cover up what they did not understand.
After the fading of the Dzi fever in Taiwan, there came the upsurge in Iron Meteorite. Originally, at Bouddhanath of Nepal, the owner of a Buddhist utensil shop put an iron pestle at the doorway unconsciously. This pestle was then heated by the sunshine. A traveler from Taiwan touched it. No sooner had the traveler touched the pestle than he declared the hot pestle was surely blessed by the buddha. Then this Taiwanese traveler paid a lot of money to have that ‘induced’ pestle. Afterwards, every owner of the Buddhist utensil shop in Nepal put pestles at the doorway to draw the attention of Taiwanese pilgrims. The large amount of money bestowed by Taiwanese Buddhists made a grand help in constructing the monasteries in Tibet, India and Nepal. Very often I met those pious Buddhists in the foreign land who gave up their family and work to follow the gurus of Tibetan Secret Schools. They held such a devout mind to Buddhism and were not remiss in their conducts. But what they attained eventually was the illusory thought of perishable dharma. I could not help but pity them for their ignorance.
The practices on the four empowerments of Highest-yoga all focus on imaginative thinking and conscious awareness. They even require self-hypnosis and self-anesthesia. Sometimes, they have to interact with ghosts or deities. All of those still stick to the self-nature of illusory thought. As stated by Guru Norlha: “Being capable of talking with the deity is only the first step of practice.” The tantric practitioners do not realize the magic power they achieve is given from ghosts or deities. And what is worse, they may become the ghost’s or the deity’s servitors. Furthermore, no matter how robust and glorious Heaven-yoga is attained, such attainment will disappear when an anesthetic is injected into the practitioner’s body. How can such a practice be called attaining the yoga of deity’s heavenly body?
As for the second and the third empowerments of Tibetan Secret Schools, their contents are actually a series of the practices of subtle-body on the channel, Chi and bright-drop (bindu) in tantric School of the ancient India. The so-called achievement of subtle-body is the yoga of tantra in Hinduism, but borrowing the term samadhi from Buddhism. It actually has nothing to do with the practice of Buddhism. The Hinduism practitioners also practice the channel, chi, bright-drop yoga, and the dual operations as well. As stated in Hinduism legend, some of them also achieved the rainbow body. Interestingly, many of their gurus in Tibetan Secret Schools are also the dogma heirs of Hinduism.
Since the hippy fashion occurred in the West, many books about subtle-body of Hinduism have been translated into English. According to those books, we can easily figure out that the practice method of Tibetan subtle-body yoga actually originates from the teachings of Hinduism. Both of them have exactly the same cultivating process. The only difference is that Tibetan yoga borrows the terms from Buddhism. However, most practitioners in Tibetan Secret Schools are not willing to study Buddhist sutras, nor even the worldly dharma. Therefore, they are unable and unwilling to admit this fact. Besides, the five dogmas of Tibetan Bon Sect, such as Great-perfection and Vajra-pestle, are in essence the same as the teachings of Tibetan Secret Schools. In history, the doctrines of Bon Sect originally had much to do with Hidden treasury (Terma) of Nyingma School, and many tantric gurus held the master title of both Esoteric Buddhism and Bon Sect at the same time. Thus, they could not tell the difference between the true Buddhism and the heretical schools.
The noun empowerment represents the end of the practice process. However, according to the unsurpassed, top-secret essential teachings of the four great secret schools, we can find they all fall into the illusory thoughts, similar to the imagination of ‘comfortable spreading everywhere in the space’ mentioned by Master Yue-xi in Hong Kong. Such teachings are only on the conscious mind (the sixth consciousness) and impossible to get enlightened. Those tantric practitioners cannot even observe the operations of their own seventh (Manas) or eighth (Alaya) consciousness, but they declare that they have attained the true-suchness of the Buddha ground. What they attain actually does not depart from the sixth consciousness and its functions. How can they transform the consciousness into the wisdom of prajna? Apparently they do not know all such declarations have made themselves fall into the karma of severe deception.
The practice of Highest-yoga really means nothing to the three kinds of training (i.e., discipline, samadhi and prajna) in Buddhism. It only has the appearance of Buddhism, and falls into the same falsehood that other religions do. It is exactly this reason why Sakyamuni’s Buddhism was essentially destroyed in India in the process of transforming into Tantric Buddhism, without waiting for the massacre by heretics. Due to this transformation, the core of Sakyamuni’s Buddhism was totally lost.
To sum up, the doctrines of Tibetan Secret Schools are not real Buddhism, and they violate Buddha Sakyamuni’s teachings everywhere. Due to lack of bodhisattva’s Way-seed-wisdom and without knowing Buddha Sakyamuni’s real intention, the tantric Buddhists could not verify the correctness of their teachings and practices so that they have no choice but to rely on what they have learned from their gurus. Like this, the former Tibetan Buddhist gurus already misunderstand Sakyamuni’s Buddhism at first, and the later generations do not know they go farther away from the right Buddhahood path. After a long period of time, Tibetan Buddhism has essentially become the heretical teachings with the Buddhist terms only. The tantric practitioners are unable to verify their teachings by themselves. They also idolize the fame and the authority of their dharma-kings and gurus. Accordingly, they cannot face the truth or analyze where the correct doctrine is. What they can do is just to anesthetize themselves emotionally.
Eventually, they force themselves to believe such myths as: their gurus are identical to the buddha; their imaginary heavenly body will finally come true; the state they have visualized will become a reality; the state shown by the sky-walker deity is real; the subject to visualize and the object to be visualized can be merged together; what the sky-walker deity (transformed from the ghost) teaches are all true dharma; what they have seen in meditation is real; Shambhala Pure Land really exists and the imaginary pure land will eventually come true; the achievement of channel and Chi yoga is indeed the buddha’s body; Couple-Practice Tantra is the ultimate dharma irrelevant to the obscene actions; the thoughtless pristine awareness is the original mind of nirvana; transforming the visualized deities from one’s body into the buddha’s image after death is entering the union of samsara and nirvana; and so on.
The expansion of Tibetan Secret Schools becomes vigorous now. Just in Taiwan, there are up to one hundred Tibetan tantric centers, attracting hundreds of thousands of Buddhist disciples together with the aggregation of countless resources. It seems that Buddhism flourishes in Taiwan; however, the fact is that those tantric gurus are leading the disciples into heretical beliefs, out of the real Buddhism, and even into the felony of breaking the Buddhist precepts. This means the history that the Sakyamuni’s Buddhism was destroyed in the ancient India will repeat. The real cause of this phenomenon is that Master Yin-shun’s writings have been taught in almost every Taiwanese Buddhist institute for the past decades. However, the main thought of Yin-shun actually follows the teachings from Gelug School, namely the doctrines of Advanced Middle-Way School (Prasangika Madhyamika). In Yin-shun’s writings, there are words in many places that imply: “Great-vehicle (Mahayana) Buddhism is not what Buddha Sakyamuni taught; there is no Buddha Amitabha or his pure land; there is no such thing as Buddha Sakyamuni’s reward body existing and teaching dharma in the Highest Heaven palace of the form-realm; there is no such thing as bodhisattvas, hells, and so on.” In order to lift the level of practice, his disciples must go into either of the two extremes, Small-vehicle (Hinayana) or Tibetan Buddhism, to search for the true dharma. Yin-shun is really the person so called ‘wearing the Buddhist monk’s clothes, but breaking Buddha’s teachings.’ Many Buddhist masters in Taiwan do not have the seed-wisdom of prajna to verify and thus to believe Yin-shun’s teachings. Or those masters crave for the disciples, the reputation, and the wealth of Tibetan Secret Schools and adhere to them. Such situations are very worrying: where is the future of the real Buddhism?
All three-vehicle Buddhists should make serious self-examination and think about the following questions: “What is the initial motive for learning Buddhism? Does my learning light up more the dark sides of my inner mind? Does it more or less get rid of some delusions? Has it yielded the wisdom of Buddhism? Do I rely on prajna or my master? Does my behavior really benefit other sentient beings? Do I really carry out the correct dharma which Buddha taught? Do I myself really realize the ultimate truth of enlightenment? Further, as Buddha said that sentient being’s seventh and eighth consciousnesses always exist, do I understand how they operate concurrently and uninterruptedly in the body?” Without knowing the everlasting Alaya consciousness that everyone originally possesses and the Manas consciousness that discerns and decides all the time, the practitioner is deceiving himself as well as others if he says how marvelous his other samadhis are.
In winter 1996, perhaps because I might have accumulated a little of virtue in my former lives, I could fortunately learn Sakyamuni’s Buddhism from my teacher Pings. Since then, I have gradually understood the deep meanings of orthodox Buddhism. On one hand, I amended the misconception that I had learned before. Therefore the context of the correct dharma became obvious to me. After my doubts about tantric Buddhism were gradually cleared up, I then realized my misconceptions and self-confinement. Thereafter, I had a clear understanding of how to attain Buddhahood from the stage of ordinary people, then the bodhisattva ground, and to the Buddha ground finally. Gradually, I possess part of Way-seed-wisdom and the dharma-eye, which make me capable of seeing through the teachings of each school, just like watching a fruit in my palm. On the other hand, I began with a special method of buddha-remembrance, Buddha-remembrance Without Appearance, and the prostration to the buddha for improving my concentration. After I could concentrate my mind continuously for a long time, I was very sure that I would be reborn in Buddha Amitabha’s pure land, without the need of waiting for the appearance of Buddha Amitabha after my death. I suddenly realized the reason why many ancient and present venerable Buddhists, though feeling it possible, still lacked the confidence to be surely born in Buddha Amitabha’s pure land after death. One day I had a chance to validate the true reality, which is even unknown to deities and is also the foundation of all the three-vehicle sutras of ultimate meaning. To improve myself step by step from this basis, I will continuously cultivate on All-seed-wisdom and various samadhis according to Buddha’s teachings and my teacher’s instruction. All of these detailed experiences on prajna can only be talked among the same family members (who validated the true reality). I am no longer like the ephemera or the frog in a well in the past that could not know the dragon flying up in the sky.
My venerable teacher Pings was a great religious leader in his former lives and his left teachings are still worshipped by many Buddhists nowadays. However, he determines to put away his former illusory reputation. He despises those religious masters who concentrate on doing tricks to fool believers. Being the model for all people, he always behaves himself and teaches disciples in an ordinary, honest and dependable manner; he never boasts about his own achievements of cultivation so that those imperious practitioners often despise him. In respect of the spreading of Sakyamuni’s Buddhism, he is willing to protect it with his body and life; even being despised, he never changes his mind to protect the orthodox Buddhism. Due to his compassion for ‘those who originate with good intention but completes the karma leading to hells,’ he adheres to Buddha’s preaching style of shaking the world and roars to them like a lion in order to awaken and rescue the ignorant persons. However, people who fail to understand him usually regard such a roar as an arrogant action. It is definitely a misunderstanding.
As I have followed him for years, I deeply know my teacher has an amiable personality and deals with affairs in accordance with conditions. He is very kind, compassionate and willing to benefit others with a total disregard for himself. For protecting a great number of Buddhists, making a radical reform in the current Buddhism, and sustaining Sakyamuni’s Buddhism long, my venerable teacher cannot ignore and act like a hypocrite; instead, he wants to be a doctor to cure the practitioners of the ignorant disease. Accordingly, he gathered a large number of books on Tibetan tantras, and wrote this great book for clearly demonstrating the relationship of Tibetan Buddhism to the Buddhism-like heretical religion and showing the seed-wisdom of prajna to purify the current Buddhism and to protect enormous practitioners from falling into the hell in their next lives. It is only the returned bodhisattva that can fulfill such an amazing achievement.
Not caring about my slow wits, my teacher asked me to write a preface for this book. I wrote these words with great adoration. I wish that all the readers can temporarily put your preconceptions aside, carefully examine those tantras, think them over based on the evidence in this book, and save yourselves from those illusory teachings. This is my humble wish!
A Holder of Bodhisattva Precepts
Qiuji Jiangba Luojie
New-Year Vacation, 2002
At Shuanghe Residence