On Day 9 of the Lunar year
The three pestles in “Presenting the Three Vajra Pestles” are 1. “Earth Pestle,” 2. “Heaven Pestle,” and 3. “Dharma Pestle.” Presenting these three pestles is a necessary procedure in establishing an inner-tantric mandala, unless “Presenting a Petition to a Bodhisattva” can be performed. “Presenting the Three Vajra Pestles” is also to test and verify whether a master possesses inner realization or not, whether his physique is weak and exhausted or not, whether he has strong physical power and internal power or not, and whether his accomplishment is exaggerated or not.
For a genuinely excellent male rinpoche whose age is around 30 (i.e., from 25 to 34. The age is rounded to the nearest 10. Ages 35-44 are in the 40s category), and whose body weight is around 200 pounds (also rounding to the nearest 10), the requirement is to lift an Earth Pestle weighing 260 pounds up from the ground to the initial (or first-stage) offering table. One whose age is around 40 has to lift and place 240 pounds on the offering table; one whose age is approximately 50 has to lift and place 220 pounds on the offering table; one whose age is about 60 has to lift and place 200 pounds on the offering table, and one whose age is around 70 has to lift and place 180 pounds on the offering table. In case of presenting the “Heaven Pestle” as an offering, the pestle must be raised above the shoulder, but the weight is reduced by that of the “Earth Pestle” based on one’s age and body weight. All forms of presenting the offering are to lift the pestle up and onto the offering table by one hand only.
Presenting and offering the “Dharma Pestle” is rather challenging. Although the “Dharma Pestle” is very small, the offering cannot be performed just by a robust external power. One must have the holy realization and inner strength to be able to present this offering. Any rinpoche who is able to “Present the Three Vajra Pestles” is proven to be a genuinely great rinpoche with a healthy physique and internally realized power.
“Presenting a Petition to a Bodhisattva” is even more critical than “Presenting the Three Vajra Pestles” because the petition is a descriptive statement that must be reported to the Yidam, who is a Bodhisattva. “Collecting the Petition and Transforming It into a Rainbow” must be seen by all as the evidence of approving the inner-tantric mandala. Such can only be accomplished by an absolutely great holy virtuous master.
Standing at a distance of more than five meters away, the master presiding over the initiation asks the Vajra Pill to transform miraculously, change its height and/or size, perform a dance, change its appearance, or fly into the sky and disappear. “Miraculous Transformation of Vajra Pill” and “Presenting a Petition to a Bodhisattva” can rigorously prevent evil masters and charlatans from using magic and wicked ways to deceive Buddhists. A magician can play all kinds of evil trick or magic, but never will he be able to fake the situation, where a sheet of paper with writings by another person is closely guarded by that person in front of himself. The master presiding over the initiation is told to stand far away to invite a Bodhisattva to come and collect this sheet guarded by that person before the crowd. The paper then transforms into a rainbow and flies into the sky before disappearing. If the master cannot accomplish this, then it is proof that this master does not have the accomplishment of establishing a real inner-tantric mandala and is not a great holy one! Conversely, any miracle or strange phenomenon that a master who fakes as a holy one shows to his disciples is mere magic. This master is just an ordinary person, one with a weak or handicapped body.
You think about this. Can’t a Bodhisattva or a great holy one turn a sheet of paper into a rainbow? Without this bit of capability, can one be a great holy person?
Inquiry Center of the World Buddhism Association Headquarters
Written on behalf of great holy virtuous ones to answer questions raised
February 24, 2018
(translation edited by Zunba 2020-06-03)
35 Important Replies from Holy Virtuous Ones and Eminent Monastics