LA Weekly | January 26, 2013 | Written in Partnership with Robert Wright
H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III is the Pope of Buddhism. With altruistic compassion, He has made an enormous contribution towards the development of world peace. Every year since 2012, Buddhists around the world proactively release captured lives or do charity work to commemorate and celebrate the H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Day, the only Buddha’s Day proclaimed by a government in this world.
Take people in the U.S. as an example. To celebrate the H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Day this year, 2023, the Heartwood monastics and students of Correct Cultivation Learning from Buddha Academy in North Carolina consecrated a new temple in His Holiness the Buddha’s honor, where the Holy Gurus of the Holy Miracles Temple assisted in the auspicious placement of holy objects and images, selecting chants and establishing a mandala according to correct Buddhist principles. In Las Vegas, the Benevolence Temple held a Dharma assembly to release captured lives and pray for auspiciousness. In Fresno, California, the Xuanfa Institute’s Learning from Buddha College and Seminary is offering free membership in its programs to anyone incarcerated at the local Central California Women’s Facility. In Los Angeles, California, a large group of Buddhist disciples participated in a life release event organized by the H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Cultural and Art Museum and the Holy Miracles Temple at the inner bay of Marina Del Rey. In San Francisco, the Hua Zang Si Temple also held a life release event in Loch Lomond, and the Macang Monastery organized an H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Day food drive event to celebrate the day.
In 2011, the then mayor of Washington D.C., Mr. Vincent Gray, proclaimed January 19, 2011 as H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Day and called upon all people to salute to H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. That is how H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Day officially came about. It is the only Buddha’s Day ever proclaimed by a government.
In Mayor Gray’s proclamation, he greatly praised H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III for selflessly spreading peace to the world. He commended H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III for His enormous achievements that have helped to strengthen the foundation of a peaceful society in various places of the world and for ceaselessly, compassionately, and without remuneration using His wisdom, talents, and moral characters to help heal those in need.
H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III received the World Peace Prize Top Honor Prize in 2010. The award ceremony was solemnly held in the Gold Room of the U.S. Capitol on June 14, 2011. The World Peace Prize Awarding Council made the following statement: “H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III is recognized for His selfless devotion to an immensely wide scope of healing and rescue-relief activities directed at people from different communities throughout the world. His wisdom and benevolence embrace all races, ethnicities, cultures and religions: bringing kindness, and peace and equality to all… H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III’s life-long contributions to humanity are living examples of the benevolent spirit of a Buddha, setting a model of humanitarian practices for all to emulate.”
On December 12, 2012, the Senate of the 112th U.S. Congress unanimously passed Senate Resolution 614 to celebrate H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III for receiving the World Peace Prize. In the Senate Resolution, the title of His Holiness (H.H. for short) is officially used on H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III, showing that the U.S. Congress pays the highest respect to H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III as the supreme leader of Buddhism.
On January 19, 2012, the first anniversary of the H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Day, the Sino-American Philatelic Center announced the issuance of the world-limited edition, a total of only 2000 sets, of the H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Day first-day covers to celebrate this wonderful occasion. It is the first time in U.S. philatelic history that a first-day cover is issued in the name of Buddha.
On International Day of Vesak in 2019, the U.S. Postal Service issued a first-day cover with the image of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III sitting on a lotus platform. Furthermore, since 2019, over 60 countries’ Postal Services have issued commemorative stamps of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III’s portrait for promoting His supreme moral character and spirit of selflessness and compassion, which is remarkable in world philatelic history.
Nowadays, more and more people are proactively learning H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III’s teachings and benefiting from doing it. One such example is the Venerable Pannavati, who is the Director of Heartwood Refuge Center, the Dean of Correct Cultivation Learning from Buddha Academy in Hendersonville, NC, and an international retreat teacher who has lectured at Harvard, Columbia, NYU, Duke, UCA Berkeley, UNC, Union Theological Seminary and other university campuses. The Ven. Pannavati said: “His Holiness Dorje Chang Buddha III is my supreme master… His penetrating eyes let me know He understood every question I had and would ever have. My encounters with Him, combined with deeply reading and pondering the meaning of several unofficial English translations of His Chinese dharma discourses, listening to live translated recordings and studying The Dharma of Cultivation and Learning from Buddha sutras totally transformed my understanding of Buddha Dharma and its goal. His unofficially translated works: Imparting the Absolute Truth Through the Heart Sutra and The Supreme and Unsurpassable Mahamudra of Liberation, continue to do so in a way that is difficult to explain. I can simply say that every one of my fellow students that have heard any part of these dharmas and put it into practice has undergone a tremendously quick transformation. That is because His dharma discourses are clear, to-the-point, concise, laying an ax to ignorance, yet so magnificently inspiring and enveloped in the kindest spirit imaginable that you give yourself permission to change! Surely, they speak the mind of a Buddha.”
Zhaxi Zhuoma, founder of The Holy Vajrasana Temple & Retreat Center and the Learning From Buddha College and Seminary, has been a disciple of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III for decades. She said: “I was learning that compassion and wisdom were not only guiding principles, but they were also the ultimate truth of the universe, and it was possible to live in the world and manifest this truth… There are three gifts from Him (H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III) that are our foundation: The Dharma of Cultivation, The Supreme and Unsurpassable Mahamudra of Liberation, and Imparting the Absolute Truth through the Heart Sutra… H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III told us the last two are what we need to achieve enlightenment and obtain liberation from the cycle of reincarnation in this lifetime. I want everyone interested in ending suffering and gaining good fortune and wisdom to know about these holy gifts and what they do.”
H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III showed people a broad and bright path leading to compassion, love, a successful career, a happy family life, and a peaceful society. As long as people abide by the teachings of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III to cultivate oneself and benefit others, the ethics of humanity would be significantly elevated. That is an enormous contribution that H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III, the Pope of Buddhism, made to human society.