The difference between Blue Button Level 3 and Gold Button Level 1 is both great and small. It is small because Gold Button Level 1 can only be one step away from Blue Button Level 3; it is big because Gold Button Level 1 can be as much as 90 steps away from Blue Button Level 3. Gold Button Level 1 is obtained based on the candidate’s overall quality of holy virtue, while Blue Button Level 3 is mostly obtained based on an item of holy virtue by the candidate. In short, one is based on the overall structure and quality of holy virtue, encompassing conduct, speech, and mind; while the other is due to a single item or a few items of conduct or mindset of the candidate meet the standard of conduct or mindset for holiness and virtue. The scope of variation between the overall quality of virtue and the single item or items of virtue is quite wide.
Let’s talk about the case where Blue Button Level 3 is only one step away from Gold Button Level 1. In that case, the person of Blue Button Level 3 only needs a little bit more in the keeping of his or her cultivation to advance to the virtue quality of Gold Button Level 1. Take practicing the Dharma as an analogy. If a person practices the Vajra Change-Body Dhyana (金剛換體禪) and as long as they have opened their crown and converged their consciousness inwardly* (神識內斂), then they can pass the test for Blue Button Level 3, but in that case, they are still 90 steps away from Gold Button Level 1. If they can attain the Generation Stage (生起次第), that is, if on the grounds of having the crown opened, their consciousness can freely enter or exit the body, then at that stage, they are at least 80 steps away from Gold Button Level 1. If, however, they can attain the Completion Stage (圓滿次第), then at that stage, they will only be one step away from Gold Button Level 1.
That is to say, in terms of the practice and realization of the Vajra Change-Body Dhyana, because one is still a step short of having the structure of the overall quality of virtue, one cannot attain Gold Button Level 1. It is only till when one gets to the Perfection Stage (生圓不二次第) that the last step is taken. Only at that time does one attain Gold Button Level 1, because one is no longer short of any step. At that time, one can easily pass the test for Gold Button Level 1.
By the same token, The difference between Gold Button Levels 1 and 2 is as small as one step and as big as 90 steps; the difference between Gold Button Levels 2 and 3 is also as small as one step and as big as 90 steps. Therefore, for two people who are tested on the same item of virtue and have passed the same level, there can be a huge difference between their levels of accomplishment.
For example, at the best stage when Hsirao Gendeng practiced Dharma and realized the Generation Stage of the Vajra Change-body Dhyana, he had only 20% of the Dharma power. His generation stage could only be counted as a single item of virtue, as he was still 80% short of the overall quality of virtue.
Anyway, that was just an illustration by the Vajra Change-body Dhyana, it does not mean the principle only applies to the Vajra Change-body Dhyana. The principle applies to the practice of Tathagata Dharma of any Yidam or Dharmapala, as well as cultivation and observance of the precepts. A candidate can take the test on any of these items.
Based on the discussion above, for people who have passed the test for the same level on the same item or the practice of the same Dharma, their levels of achievement can be totally different, and the difference can be huge.
If you want to prove you are a holy being who descended to this world or an incarnated Arahat or Bodhisattva, then you must pass the Vajra Array Test, otherwise, your status as an Arahat or Bodhisattva cannot be certain. Of course, your true status can also be ascertained by way of the Holy Determination by Vajra Faman (金剛法曼擇決) or the Dharma of Knowing in Advance and Foretelling the Future (先知預言). If you want to take the Vajra Array Test, we suggest that you first take the test of the Eight-wind Array and have a definitive result before you take the Vajra Array Test. It will only do you good because you have nothing to lose. In that case, if you fail the Vajra Array Test, you can still keep the level that you have definitively attained through the Eight-wind Array.
For those people who want to take the Vajra Array Test directly without taking the test on the single items of virtue, you must have good confidence and be certain that you are a reincarnated Arahat or Bodhisattva. If you waive to be tested on the items of virtue from the four major categories and directly take the Vajra Array Test, you will not even have Blue Button Level 1 if you should fail it. It is because you have waived the definitiveness from being tested on the items of virtue from the four major categories and the Eight-wind Array. No make-up test will be held retroactively for you.
Pay special attention. There are two ways to take the Vajra Array Test. One is to follow the normal sequence of the test, and the other is to directly take the test. A candidate who wants to take the Vajra Array Test must apply to do it at registration. Someone who plans to take the Vajra Array Test through the normal sequence can call it off if he or she does not want to take it anymore at the test time, but those who apply to directly take the Vajra Array Test cannot cancel it. If you do not apply to take the Vajra Array Test at registration, you will not be arranged to take the test. However, those who have not applied to take the Vajra Array Test before can still apply now.
There are three ways to register for the test. You can choose either one at registration by declaring:
- “I am a Gold Button Level 1 holy guru, or I am a reincarnation of an Arahat or Bodhisattva. I waive the test on the single item or items of virtue from the four major categories and apply to directly take the Vajra Array Test to validate my status”,
- “I apply to be tested on a single item or items of virtue first. I want to take the Vajra Array Test after I have passed the test of Eight-wind Array for Blue Button Level 3”, or
- “I apply to be tested on a single item or items of virtue from the four major categories.”
People of Blue Button Level 2 are not eligible for taking the Vajra Array Test. Maybe a candidate is only one step away from Blue Button Level 3, but he or she is at least 101 steps away from Gold Button Level 1 and therefore is not eligible for taking the Vajra Array Test.
The Vajra Array Test is set up primarily for Gold Button levels holy gurus such as Arahats or Bodhisattvas. We suggest that you take the test for Blue Button Level 3 first as a back up before you take the Vajra Array Test. If you fail at the Vajra Array Test, at least you will still have obtained the certificate and the robe wear for Blue Button Level 3.
Some people look down on Blue Button Level 1. That is an erroneous view. It is not easy to pass for Blue Button Level 1; you can hardly find one person among a thousand. They are much better than those dharma kings, rinpoches, or dharma masters who cannot pass for it. The item of virtue on which one is tested and passed for Blue Button Level 1 is the model for people to learn from, and it is exactly the item that those who could not pass for the test are lacking.
United International World Buddhism Association
August 23, 2015
(English translation by Zunba)