On Day 15 of the Lunar yearWe are sorry, but we must speak truthfully to tell the real situation because we cannot afford to err on causality. We fear causality and, therefore, dare not say false words. “Venerable one” as a title of status originated from the sixteen Venerable Ones who were Sakyamuni Buddha’s disciples and were great Arhats. Therefore, it is easy to know from this fact how remarkable, venerable, and revered this status is. How can this be a status comparable to the levels of eminent monastics and greatly virtuous ones such as you? Even many of the patriarchs of exoteric Buddhism and esoteric Buddhism of later generations did not reach the level of a venerable one.
One at even the highest level of Blue Buttons has not achieved the accomplishment of a venerable one yet. Only holy virtuous ones at the Gold Button Levels deserve the word venerable in the title, such as Ruzun of Gold Button Level 1, Jiaozun of Gold Button Level 2, and Shangzun of Gold Button Level 3, indicating the status of the venerable ones at different levels. (Translator’s note: ‘zun’ means the venerable in these titles.)
The Venerable Ones at the Gold Button Levels 1 and 2 do not possess the realization capability to “Present a Petition to a Bodhisattva”! Even a Shangzun of Gold Button Level 3 does not have the absolute confidence to be able to “Present a Petition to a Bodhisattva.” Only those who are above Gold Button Level 3 can “Present a Petition to a Bodhisattva!” A venerable one who is a Golden-Body Arhat cannot “Present a Petition to a Bodhisattva” either, because it is difficult for such a venerable one to invite a Bodhisattva to enter the mandala. Without a Bodhisattva arriving, the written petition cannot be submitted. If no Bodhisattva accepts the written petition paper, how could it transform into a rainbow and fly away?
Separately, regarding non-receding (or non-retrograde) Bodhisattvas, one must at least attain the realization capability of Gold Button Level 3 to be a non-receding Bodhisattva.
Inquiry Center of the World Buddhism Association Headquarters
Written on behalf of great holy virtuous ones to answer questions raised
March 2, 2018
(translation by Zunba; lasted edited 2020-10-05)
35 Important Replies from Holy Virtuous Ones and Eminent Monastics