The truth and the original nature of all conditioned and unconditioned phenomena in the universe are contained in the word Buddha-dharma. The Buddha-dharma is all causes and effects in the universe. To understand all causes and effects, yet not be controlled by cause and effect, is to realize liberation and the Buddha-dharma. No matter how many schools or sects there are, the Buddha-dharma has only one truth. It is the truth of the universe: the dharma of ending the cycle of birth and death!  The Buddha-dharma is the life order of another world and dimension.

However, this rather abstract definition does not tell us how we realize or learn the Buddha-dharma. In a series of dharma discourses on learning Buddhism released in January 2016, H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III gives such a practical definition. It is the dharma that we practice in the vajrayana form of Buddhism. It is the preliminary, main, and ending practice in their totality. The true Buddha-dharma emphasizes real practice and skills and is not merely theoretical Buddhist studies. The holy manifestations or miracles described on Xuanfa Institute’s website and in the book H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III are evidence that the true Buddha-dharma, as practiced by Shakyamuni Buddha and the accomplished ones of the past, still exists in the world and that very high levels of spiritual accomplishment are possible for those who follow a true vajra master.

H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III has said: “After you enter the door of Buddhism, you must cultivate yourself according to the dharma. Your three karmas of body, speech, and mind must correspond with the teachings of the Master. Only then will you be able to become accomplished. Conduct that is not in accord with the teachings of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas must be corrected through concrete actions. You must make your conduct accord with the teachings contained in the Tripitaka and the states of morality, concentration, and wisdom. Yet, correcting your words and conduct must be carried out within everyday worldly life. That is because everyday worldly life (worldly or secular dharma) is the Buddha-dharma. There is no Buddha-dharma to accomplish apart from worldly or secular dharma. That is why you must use all mundane or worldly experiences to improve your self-cultivation. You must use worldly experiences to perfect your realization and conduct. If your basic worldly conduct is not proper, it is of no use to speak in a high-sounding way about emptiness or to speak boastfully and wish wildly.”

However, we must have patience in learning the Buddha-dharma. You cannot completely understand the principles of the dharma in a brief period of time. You must go though the sequence of first hearing the principles from your vajra master, gradually acting in accordance with these principles, walking the correct path and so on. You must advance step my step. You cannot expect that your negative karmic obstructions that have formed over many past lives can be purified in just one day. The tantric dharma that we receive when correctly practiced will enable us to overcome our obstructions, purify our three karmas, and enable us to progress on this path. Do not waste time on activities that do not lead to liberation and becoming a Buddha. DO NOT WASTE TIME!!!



Dharma-Ending Age

Although most would agree that we are currently living in degenerate times, often referred to as the “Dharma-ending Age,” there are other considerations given in the sutras that offer great hope. First, it would appear that the most dire of predictions on the time that the dharma would remain applied to India, the land of its earthly origins. For example, The Sutra of the Golden Age states that the dharma will only exist in its pure form for 500 years after the passing of Shakyamuni Buddha. After that the dharma will exist as a shadow of its real self for another 1,500 years. Other sutras refer to a period of 1,000-2,000 years as well. It is true that the Buddhism lasted in India for less than 2,000 years. However, Buddhism was exported to other countries where it took root and flourished for much longer. In China it lasted for many centuries and in Tibet it flourished for over a thousand years. It is still the state religion in many countries in south-east Asia. However, there is good evidence that some of the original power and effectiveness of the teachings have been lost over time and in many cases, only a “shadow” of what Shakyamuni Buddha taught remains

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World’s tallest statue of Buddha (175 feet tall) in Bamiyan, in Afghanistan. Destroyed by Taliban Islamic militia in 2001

Also, as Shakyamuni Buddha tells Subhuti in the Diamond-Cutter Sutra, when the dharma ending days come, great Bodhisattvas who possess morality, fine qualities, and wisdom will incarnate to revitalize the dharma. In India there were the Six Jewels (Great Dharma Kings–Nagarjuna, Aryadeva, Asanga, Vasubandhu, Dignaga, and Dharmakirti) who developed the texts that are considered the core classic commentaries today. In Tibet there were the great Dharma Kings: Padmasambhava, Marpa, Sakya Pandita, Dolpopa, Longchenpa, Tsongkhapa, Tangtong Gyalpo, Taranatha, Jigme Lingpa and others.

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Bamiyan Buddha, in Afghanistan

For over 500 years between the coming of Master Padmasambhava in the 8th century until Master Tsongkhapa came in the 14th century, the great or high dharmas were available in Tibet and many people easily achieved enlightenment in one lifetime. This was because the tantric teachings were freely taught—even to many who did not have the discipline or qualifications to receive them. By the 14th century, Master Tsongkhapa (1357-1419) had a different situation. Because the tantric teachings had been so liberally transmitted and the discipline required for proper transmission had been lax, there were many false rinpoches and lamas and much of what was being practiced as dharma was not correct. Master Tsongkhapa was sent to this world by the Adharma Buddha (Adi-Buddha), Samantabhadra. Master Tsongkapa’s mission was to restore the discipline and bring order out of the chaos that had developed from the other transmissions to the Nyingma, Jonang, Kagyu, and Sakya sects. It is not that the other transmissions were wrong. It is just that because of the lack of discipline and the transmission of dharma to those who were not qualified to receive it, the dharma became corrupted and many of the lineages were filled with false rinpoches and false dharma, as is true today. Master Tsongkapa, a great scholar and disciplinarian, dutifully set out to correct the dharma and restore order to monastic practice. To set an example for his monks, Master Tsongkhapa, himself a monk, did not practice the higher tantric dharmas. As a result he was not able to obtain the rainbow body or become a Buddha while alive. He only obtained Buddhahood in the bardo. Also he did not transmit these higher dharmas to his disciples. The Geluk sect itself does not have these higher tantric practices. The Gelukas cannot obtain enlightenment in one lifetime from the practice of their own teachings.

The systems that evolved for classifying these periods or ages of the dharma are generally as follows:

Golden Age or Age of True Dharma(500-1,000 years): Practitioners are of a high capacity and the teachings are transmitted intact, so that many achieve the goal of liberation. During this period the teaching is vigorous, people are capable of comprehending it AND putting it into practice and many attain enlightenment under their own power.

Age of Counterfeit or Semblance Dharma; zobo in Japanese (500-1,000 years): Practitioners have lower capacities, shorter life-spans, and the teachings are transmitted imperfectly so that only a semblance of the true dharma remains, with attainment of the goal being rare. Only a few people of great intelligence are able to grasp the doctrine correctly and obtain enlightenment.

Dharma-Ending Age or Age of the Final Dharma, mo-fa in Chinese or mappo in Japanese (500-1,000 years): Practitioners are of a low capacity, the dharma cannot be transmitted correctly, and the world is beset by so many problems that is not possible to practice. It was in response to the perception that we had entered this period that the new modes of practice arose such as the Pure Land Sect that relies on the power of an already-enlightened Buddha or the Nichiren Sect which relies on chanting the Lotus Sutra.

It is also stated that the method for accounting for these periods are different in the sutras and in the tantras. The Kalachakra tantra, for example, has the end of the vajryana coming in 4224 C.E. and the mahayana in 4120 C.E.

By any of the methods of accounting and by just observing the world around us, it can be seen that we have entered the “Dharma-Ending Age.” However, the Buddha, having foreseen this dark age, provided for teachings that were appropriate for the different ages and predicted that great Holy Ones would incarnate at appropriate times and places to revitalize and teach the dharma that was appropriate for that period of time and place. It is because of these conditions that His Holiness Dorje Chang Buddha III came to this world to demonstrate that the true Buddha-dharma does still exist and to offer us a “Quick Path” to liberation. When talking about H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III, Penor Rinpoche, the third leader of the Nyingma Sect, told  Zhaxi Zhuoma Rinpoche that “because this is the Dharma-Ending Age, it is good that such a high being has incarnated.”



The City of Covina Holds Its Tree Lighting Ceremony for the 31st Year, With an Enhanced Festival


The lights of the Covina Christmas tree were lit up amongst the music of the Covina concert band and the cheers of the crowd. (Photo by David McCarty)

The City of Covina’s Tree Lighting Festival was held on November 5th, with the participation of the Covina Christmas Parade Committee, and the H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Cultural and Art Museum, and other businesses and individuals in the city. The City proudly partnered with people and organizations in the community, to bring local families together and get into the spirit of the upcoming holidays.

The lights of the Covina Christmas tree were lit up amongst the music of the Covina concert band and the cheers of the crowd. (Photo by David McCarty)

While the tree lighting has been done for years, this year was different and expanded, with more of a storyline to the festivities, and an added sense of joy and purpose. After COVID-19’s disruption of so many festivals and get-togethers last year, this year’s tree lighting and festival atmosphere were designed to bring back the sense of joy and wonder that makes the holiday season a special one for so many people. It’s a great time of year to move on from a tough time in life with a renewed spirit of happiness and peace.

The representative of 22nd Senate District Susan Rubio’s office presented the certificate to the City of Covina. (Photo by David McCarty)

When asked about the history of the event and the differences compared with past tree lighting events, Covina’s Mayor Jorge A. Marquez said, “The City of Covina has had a Christmas Parade that’s run for 70 years. We also have a tradition of lighting up the Christmas tree every year, to add extra holiday cheer. The difference now, compared to the past, is we have added a storyline within the event, to keep kids entertained, and added activities for kids and their families to enjoy.”

With the lingering issues caused by the pandemic, and the stress and strain that has put on many families, it’s important for everyone to have some fun and fellowship as the holidays approach this year. The City of Covina was focused on that during the festival, and the City is dedicated to making the holiday season a better one for the community, as much as possible. Taking time away from worries, for families to celebrate and enjoy the magic of the holiday season, is a great way to do that.

Brian Tyan, the President of the H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Cultural and Art Museum, shares that opinion. The museum chose to partner with the City of Covina for this event by collaborating with the Covina Parks and Recreation Department and the Covina Christmas Parade Committee, in order to bring the joy of the holiday to the community more fully.

The event was held at Heritage Plaza, and included the Covina Farmer’s Market, where visitors could get great food and shop for holiday gifts. There was also live holiday music from the Covina Concert Band, and plenty of free activities for everyone to enjoy. Giveaways, letters to Santa, and children’s crafts were just some of the offerings the City worked to make possible. While adults understand the seriousness of the pandemic, and the toll it took last year, the children were often the ones who missed out.

The Christmas light decorations of the H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Cultural and Art Museum building attracted a large number of local residents. (Photo by David McCarty)

When asked about what he feels the event means to the community, the Mayor replied, “To me, this Christmas I believe allows us to come together as a community, to kick off the winter holiday and enjoy each other’s fellowship. Especially this year, with COVID-19, we are hoping to get back to normal, to celebrating not just Christmas but each other, as a strong, tight-knit community.” While the City of Covina already has a Christmas parade, the Tree Lighting Festival added even more joy and completeness to the festivities.

This year was the 31st tree lighting ceremony for Covina, and the event has been a favorite of the community all during that time. According to Tyan, the H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Cultural and Art Museum recognizes that last year was rough on people, with losses including jobs and loved ones. The hope is that, through the Tree Lighting Festival, more people in the community can feel joy in their hearts and experience a reprieve from the pandemic.

To help encourage that, a professional holiday lighting company was hired, and that company decorated the entire museum building and the parking lot. There were snow machines on the event date, so people could enjoy the experience of snowfall. Parents and children were able to take photos with the snow falling, and there were light-up elements to add to the happiness and peacefulness of the occasion, as just one aspect of the overall festival, and the joyous atmosphere it produced for residents of Covina.

The museum sponsored the hot cocoa and coffee booth, where anyone could get free cocoa or coffee during the event to keep warm and cozy on a chilly night, and increase the feeling of holiday cheer. There were glow sticks and gifts for visitors who came to the booth, and the fun and excitement of the trackless train, allowing kids at the event to have a free train ride as part of the festival and  as a way to move on from COVID-19 and have more adventures.

Link: https://wisdomtea.org/2021/11/10/the-city-of-covina-holds-its-tree-lighting-ceremony-for-the-31st-year-with-an-enhanced-festival/