The following is the translation of an inquirer’s letter to the World Buddhism Association Headquarters:
(An email dated Wednesday, September 8, 2021, at 3:36 PM)
Respected Team of Holy Gurus of the World Buddhism Association Headquarters,
We are the Buddhist disciples from New York. We have a grave concern regarding the wisdom roots of people, whether they are subject to righteous or evil influences.
Dharma Master Zhizhuang presided over the Great Compassionate Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva’s Blessing Dharma Assembly in New York on July 25, 2021. Many attendees experienced various phenomenal states. However, a rumor is going around that the Great Compassionate Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva’s Blessing Dharma which Dharma Master Zhizhuang practices, is not from an authentic Buddha Dharma transmission, and those who attended this Dharma Assembly would carry sinful karma.
We humbly beseech the Holy Gurus of the World Buddhism Association Headquarters to edify us. Is the Great Compassionate Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva’s Blessing Dharma which Dharma Master Zhizhuang practices from a genuine Buddha Dharma transmission?
Furthermore, the group led by Dharma Master Zhizhuang in New York is looking to purchase a temple. However, a lay devotee is also looking to buy the same temple. Whom should we support to acquire the temple?
We sincerely implore the Holy Gurus to edify us on the matters. We owe a debt of gratitude to the Holy Gurus.
With great reverence and in complete prostration three times
New York Buddhist disciples
Reply to the inquiry:
Regarding Dharma Master Zhizhuang mentioned in your inquiry, we are unsure which Dharma Master Zhizhuang you are referring to. Suppose it is the Dharma Master Shih Zhizhuang who gave up being Granada’s UN ambassador to become a Buddhist monk. In this case, he is a triple-platform-ordained Buddhist bhikkhu. Lay Buddhists should offer respect to him. We, the team of Holy Gurus, have respectfully submitted our verification petition to Namo Dorje Chang Buddha III. His Holiness, the Buddha Master, proclaims: “From the lineage of Jiaozun Shih Zhengda, Dharma Master Shih Zhizhuang is the third-generation authentic Buddha Dharma transmission holder of the Great Compassionate Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva’s Blessing Dharma. To this date, the Great Compassionate Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva’s Blessing Dharma Assemblies he has hitherto presided by are authentic. He is not a mara master. The Buddhist practitioners blessed in the Dharma assembly received true Buddha Dharma blessings. Suppose the practitioners turn away from all evildoings and commit to doing good. In this case, those attending this Dharma Assembly and doing good to benefit all beings will receive the blessings.
Regarding the temple purchase, the Holy Guru team must comment that Pratītyasamutpāda (dependent origination) will determine the final buyer of the temple. However, according to Buddhism rules and regulations, a Buddhist temple should be administered by a Vinaya-abiding ordained Buddhist monastic. It is a merit that Buddhist practitioners support monastics to propagate Dharma and benefit all beings. This act follows Buddhist doctrines established by Namo Shakyamuni Buddha. According to Buddhist regulations, Buddhist temples should be administered by monastic Bhikkhus or Bhikkhunis. A laity can only serve as an interim administrator as a temporary measure if no monastic is available. However, when a qualified monastic emerges, this individual should be chosen to lead the temple. It is a traditional Buddhist monastic structure. However, there can be one exception. A laity can lead a Buddhist temple if this individual is a Gold-Button Holy Guru, Dharma king of a Buddhist lineage, lay devotee with dharma power or greatly virtuous person. Additionally, when a Buddhist practitioner has discretionary income (i.e., left over after paying taxes and necessary cost-of-living expenses), the practitioner should consider almsgiving to Gold-Button Holy Gurus or doctrine-abode monastics for temple construction to benefit all beings. It is a great cause to gain merits.
Inquiry Center, World Buddhism Association Headquarters
September 12, 2021
(This public announcement was translated from Chinese to English by Sheila Lauly and checked by Eric Huang.)