After the United International World Buddhism Association Headquarters had published the announcement about holding the holiness level test this year, H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III saw the content of it and praised us for doing the checking unselfishly and without any demand for Buddhist cultivators to help them examine their master’s qualifications and correctness, which is a proper behavior of walking on the Bodhi path.
But, H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III also very harshly criticized us and said:
“Many of the holy and virtuous ones who have passed your selection are not even as good as a good person who does not practice cultivation, but they are elated. They are merely feathery chicks but think of themselves as rocs in the clouds. It is all because you guys need to do more strict checking and have lowered the standard significantly. The holiness levels you have listed are vague, and there are no titles for positioning them. You only addressed the issue halfway. It is easy to mislead people that way.
“For example. Cultivating yourself by learning from Buddha emphasizes abstaining from all evildoings and engaging in all good deeds, benefiting living beings unselfishly, and walking the Bodhi path with the four limitless states of mind. But you people turn and support Dharma competition, which involves showing supernormal abilities, which has caused Buddhist cultivators to mistake mysterious phenomena and supernormal powers for Buddhism. If everyone is like that, then Buddhist teachings will be diverted. This world will be chaotic between the good and the evil, and fighting will become a fashion. When that happens, would Shakyamuni Buddha’s correct way of Tathagata, which entails great loving-kindness and compassion to benefit living beings, still exist?
“Of course, you will say: “What we use are the Dharmas to subdue the demon, i.e., the Vajras’ Dharmas and authentic Tathagata Dharmas, which have nothing to do with evil.” However, you did not mention the lineage of the Dharmas; you did not clarify what true Tathagata Dharmas are. You even forgot one thing. Among most of those so-called holy and virtuous ones whom you have accepted, some will induce evil to harm living beings even when they apply true Buddha Dharma because they do not understand Tripitaka—i.e., Sutra, Vinaya, and Sastra—at all. They have departed from the moral ethics of cultivation in the Supreme and Unsurpassed Mahamudra of Liberation totally and are fake Buddhist cultivators who have violated many items of the 128 evil and erroneous views and understanding. It is equivalent to giving a sharp knife to an extraordinarily vicious and mean bandit. Will he take the knife to chop vegetables and prepare food for people in the kitchen, or will he use it to rob people? Who have the Dharma masters and rinpoches at your United International World Buddhism Association Headquarters not paid attention to choosing this correct bearing? If you all enforce the rules on the boundaries, would there still be the auspicious state of Buddha and Bodhisattvas that are kind and compassionate with Bodhicitta?
“Do not forget that we are humbled Buddhist cultivators. We do not have any capabilities, any power, or any pride to brag about. We can only introspect to know that we are lacking, incapable, and not serving living beings enough. We think about how to benefit living beings, help others, endure insults and carry burdens, and not fall captive to the 128 evil and erroneous views so that we can walk the Bodhi path to attain accomplishment. Only if every Buddhist cultivator in this way will the world be filled with auspiciousness, the Dharma realm be prosperous, and the Buddhist light shines brightly. Only this way is the authentic Buddhist dharma gate and path.
“Of course, you have not thought these things through now, and I will not blame you. Shakyamuni Buddha often mentioned incredible and unthinkable holy feats of abhijina in the sutras, and the patriarchs have also left many miraculous stories. But, you must clearly know that mentioning abhijina was to encourage living beings. It is not the path to be pursued for liberation but rather the embodiment of attachment, which hinders accomplishment. Why? For ordinary Buddhist cultivators, these stories only increase their attachment, avarice, and enjoyment; they grow people’s self-attached views and only recount others’ jewels. Of course, I do not have those miraculous capabilities myself. But I must say, the Dharma principles discussed in my Dharma discourses are something you must learn. The Supreme and Unsurpassed Mahamudra of Liberation, Imparting Absolute Truth Through Heart Sutra, and What is Cultivation are also the first and foremost teachings that Buddhists must put into in-depth practice. As far as the Sutra of the Definitive Meaning, just like the Diamond Sutra, it is not something the average person could understand. Many so-called conversant people can only say the abstruse words but, in fact, have neither awakened nor realized anything.”
In consideration of the impartation by the Buddha, the holy gurus of the Headquarters repent themselves to the Buddhas in the ten directions. We must admit that we have indeed been like how H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III criticized us. For example, we should have checked it more carefully. We lowered the test standards, which we had no choice but to do to benefit living beings. Although this conundrum has not been solved till now, we did analyze it and conclude that those who have passed the test as holy and virtuous are definitely more substantive than those who have not passed or did not take the test. We have done a bit for Buddhist cultivators and checked it somehow. But Buddhist cultivators must study what they are to be tested on to know clearly in what aspect their accomplishment level is relatively high. That is very important.
The holy and virtuous ones accepted by the test include the Sumeru Wheel (Blue Buttons) and the Sun-moon Wheel (Gold Buttons). We have established titles for the different Sumeru Wheel levels to correct our incorrect actions. Sumeru Wheel Blue Button Level 1 is formally called Xingde (pronounced as Shing-duh. Xing means to practice, and De means virtue), which means they have started cultivating themselves by carrying out holy and virtuous conduct; Sumeru Wheel Blue Button Level 2 is formally called Zengde (pronounced as Zeng-duh. Zeng means to increase, and De means virtue), which means based on carrying it out, they are growing their holy and virtuous conduct; Sumeru Wheel Blue Level 3 is formally called Runde (pronounced as ru-en-duh. Run means full and smooth, De means virtue), which means on top of increasing the level of holy and virtuous conduct, they are not attached to the merit so that their behavior is full and smooth. These three holy and virtuous levels can be attained if any item in the four major categories is achieved. If anything in the major categories is fulfilled, passing the Sun-moon Wheel Gold Button Level 1 test would be easy.
At the same time, you must clearly understand that the holy and virtuous ones with the same level may have hugely different levels of achievement. You must check which item a person was tested to obtain the holiness level certificate. Take Xingde, for example. Suppose there are three rinpoches who all have passed the test for Xingde. The first was tested on Keeping the Practice and Ethics because they selflessly helped people in adversity and used up the money they painstakingly saved. They feel happy seeing people being helped. The second one was tested on Keeping the Practice and Ethics because they give beggars clothing, food, money, or goods to save living beings from suffering. The third one was tested on Dharma Power and Realization Capabilities, where they entered a Dharma competition and defeated the opponent with their realization capabilities and power. They feel superior to others because of it.
Among these three holy and virtuous ones, the first should be higher than the second and the third. However, that is not a 100% definitive judgment because the three cases’ components have different depths and breadths. They cannot be judged accurately at all by humans. Therefore, in the end, the holy test must be taken, and the three candidates are handed to the Yidam and Dharmapalas, who will measure with definitiveness exactly how much weight is contained in each of the three cases.
Maybe you think: “Can one obtain the holiness level certificate just by testing these three items?” I ask you back: “Are these three items not the conduct of holy beings? Can you do any one of these three items for Xingde? It is the Dharma-ending era now. How could it be easy to find a Tremendously Holy Guru who can pass all four major categories? That is the capacity of holiness a Buddha or an Equal Enlightenment Bodhisattva has! To encourage people to cultivate themselves and to gain benefits, we now call the conduct of this Xingde the holy and virtuous conduct, respectfully calling it a holy and virtuous one.
Wangzha Shangzun of Gold Button Level 3 said: “If I were let to take the test on the four major categories, I would not pass even one-fifth of the Realization Capabilities and Dharma Powers. I would pass at most a bit more than half in the test of Keeping the Practice and Moral Ethics. The Sutra Teachings and the Learning of Sastras are as vast as the ocean, and I would get at most 20%. I believe I would not fall short of the Correct Views and Knowledge. Knowledge and views are the pivots between accomplishment and descent. I dare not slack.”
Therefore, the holiness level certificates issued by the Headquarters for those who have passed the test indicate their highest level in an independent item in a category. In other words, they are the holiness level certificates for the holy and virtuous component in one single thing that is tested (such as what is mentioned in the example above: saving living beings in suffering, often giving beggars food and money, etc., which are each a single item in Keeping the Practice and Moral Ethics), and not the overall achievement in a portfolio of things.
Namo H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III has often said that He disapproves of the holy and virtuous ones we have accepted. In the Public Announcement No. 42 published by the Office of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III in June 2014, the Dharma impartation by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III is quoted as: “Many highly prestigious Dharma Kings, Venerables, Great Rinpoches, and Great Dharma Masters who have authored a lot of books in the society and the whole world are evil masters and liars. It would be nice if you could find 2 or 3% among those with the holy and virtuous titles to be up to the standard.”
Of course, one must have profound cultivation practice, merits, and realization capabilities to pass the test for being a holy guru of the Sun-moon Wheel Gold Button level, unless one is a Great Holy Guru like Arahat or Bodhisattva. Therefore, we tell the Buddhist disciples to clearly understand which category item a candidate is tested to attain: Xinde, Zengde, or Runde. It is crucial.
Take Badeng Luode Hsirao Gengdeng as an example. He took the test on Opening Crown by Vajra Change-Body Dhyana in the Dharma Powers and Realization Capabilities category. The Vajra Change-Body Dhyana is a great Dharma. One can attain the Three-Star Sumita Wheel holiness level if one can achieve the Generation Stage to apply one’s consciousness outside the body. If he had been tested on Keeping the Practice and Moral Ethics or Sutra Teachings and Sastra Learning, he would have only got 2 or 3% at most. If he had been tested on the Correct vs. Evil Knowledge and Views, he would have violated at least 30 items. If one has broken only three subjects, one would regress from the holy and descend to the ordinary. Therefore, if it were not for Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, who came to save him when he passed away, he would have almost fallen to the hell realm. Fortunately, at the last moment, he listened to the Dharma Voice of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III and faced his wrongs. He gave rise to a mind of complete repentance and corrected his wrongs to align with the good. (He said it to Songjie Rinpoche, his son, in person.) At that moment, he was saved by Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva in person and taken to the Western World of Ultimate Bliss. Therefore, from this example, you should understand that there are holy, virtuous ones with the same holiness levels but different kinds of Dharma practice.
Some people are concerned about the Vajra Array. They asked: “Does the Vajra Array manifest its power similar to a formation that is set up with mechanisms like thunders, tumbling logs and rocks, swords, spears, arrows, flowing earth and sand, darting needles and bullets, poisonous gas, corrosive liquid, explosives, deluges, engulfing flames, traps and so on? We want to tell Buddhist cultivators who plan to take the test that we are not using artificial mechanisms, hidden weapons, or any non-Buddhist theurgy. What we use is the authentic Dharma formation in Buddhism. It is the mind-seal lineage Wangzha Shangzun received from Manjushri Bodhisattva and Guru Padmasambhava. The Yidam of the Eight-wind Array is Mahāmāyūrī Vidyārājñī Tathagata (孔雀明王如來), while the Yidam of the Vajra Array is the Nirmanakaya of Shakyamuni Buddha. The ferocious power of either the Eight-wind Array or the Vajra Array is beyond compare, but they are all true Tathagata Dharmas. They come from the invisible space. We will not use the mischievous world dharma of terror, killing and harm on living beings because that is the behavior of evil people and demons.
Take the Vajra Array, for example. We check it very strictly. We will only set up 2/1000 of its innate power. As soon as the candidate burns their test document at the gate of the array, the power of the array starts. If you stand at the entrance of the array, what you see and feel is natural and as usual, but if you take one step forward into the gate, you will feel an overpowering force to decompose your four great elements immediately in the invisible space. Or, you can stand outside the gate, and everything feels normal. But as soon as you extend your hand into the entrance, you will likewise feel the invasion by the strong power that is decomposing the four great elements of you immediately. The array is set up on flat land, and no wall or gate can be seen. There is no visible boundary. It is just a peaceful parcel of flat land.
The Vajra Array is held in the form of either the large or the small array. The large one takes an area as big as a few acres. In the center is a crystal platform on which a Vajra Seal (金剛印) is placed. Should there be an evil man or an impostor who feigns as an Arahat or Bodhisattva, this seal will fly in the air and emit the transcendental and ferocious power of the Four Great Elements—Earth, Water, Fire and Wind. It will chase the flesh body of the person closely and unrelentingly until it overwhelms and suppresses the person. At that time, only the master presiding over the mandala could remove the power of the Array.
We vow to the Buddhas in the ten directions that we will not have the slightest mentality or the conduct of harming living beings. We will not set up even 2% of the array’s power, which will be enough to harm living beings. Wangzha Shangzun especially guaranteed to H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III that He would not lose Bodhicitta or have a bit of a vicious mind. The test he presides over is for living beings to distinguish between the true and the false masters or between the correct and the evil gurus. It is intended to serve living beings by checking the candidates. He asked the beneficent Buddha Master to rest assured. He knows He cannot bear the responsibility of causality and, therefore, dares not violate the law of cause-and-effect a bit.
The voluntary registration for the holiness level test has started at the United International World Buddhism Association Headquarters. Those interested in enrolling can contact the United International World Buddhism Association headquarters directly.
When you register for the test, make it as simple as possible. Write down your mundane name and Dharma name as the candidate yourself, and whether you want to be tested for the Blue Button level, Gold Button holiness level, or whether you want to be directly tested as an Arahat or Bodhisattva. At the time of the test, you can weigh your accomplishment against the standards and ask to cancel what you think is higher than you could achieve or request to be tested at an even higher level than you have registered. For registration, leave your telephone number, email, and contact address.
United International World Buddhism Association
June 24, 2015
(This announcement is translated from Chinese to English by Eric Huang. It is last updated on 8/27/2023.)