H.H. Master Wan Ko Yee Honored with Museum Dedicated in His Honor

H.H. Master Wan Ko Yee Honored with Museum Dedicated in His Honor

The government of the People’s Republic of China built a palace-like museum to house the many awards and honors received by H.H. Master Wan Ko Yee along with examples of his paintings, calligraphy and books on logic and Buddhist philosophy. This was the only such museum constructed while the honoree was still living. The buildings and gardens are in the classic Chinese Imperial style and consist of seven separate pavilions or “halls.”

Master Wan Ko Yee Museum in Sichuan, China

Entrance to the Master Wan Ko Yee Museum-China

The Hall of Knowledges at Master Wan Ko Yee Museum in Sichuan, China

At a ceremony held at the museum to honor H.H. Master Wan Ko Yee, the building began to drip nectar. For three years the 5,612 experts and scholars of the World Poets and Culture Congress, from 48 member countries and territories, undertook an exhaustive review in the comprehensive research and merits of H.H. Master Wan Ko Yee with respect to Buddhism, the Humanities, Chinese painting and calligraphy and ethical morality. Based on the assessment of their findings, the Fourth Session of the World Congress bestowed upon H.H. Master Wan Ko Yee the title “International Master: of the “Preeminently Distinguished” literary rank, or “Preeminent Distinguished International Master” in full. H.H. Master Wan Ko Yee was presented with a mortar, robe and the inscribed gold medallion of the “Preeminent Distinguished International Master.” This award was announced in Hungary with a congratulatory awards ceremony held in Sichuan Province in China at the Master Wan Ko Yee Museum. During that presentation the perfectly dry museum dripped nectar and auspicious clouds and a dragon appeared in the bright blue sky.

link: https://wisdomtea.org/2023/01/05/h-h-master-wan-ko-yee-honored-with-museum-dedicated-in-his-honor/

Receiving Dharma

Receiving Dharma

You can receive the dharma from many sources. You can listen to discourses given by dharma kings, rinpoches, lamas, or great dharma teachers or read their writings. You can also read the exoteric and esoteric texts as well, along with the classic commentaries on these texts by fully-realized masters. But how can you tell if these are authentic teachings?  How do you know if the master or teacher is a true master and, even if they are, how do you know if the translations you receive are correct if the original source was not in English? This is even true with the holy sutras and tantras which come to us from various traditions, cultures, and translations. You must remember that it took centuries and the power and resources of kings and emperors for these translations to be completed in China, Japan, Tibet, and other Buddhist countries and the subsequent testing of their correctness by greatly accomplished holy ones. They can only be considered correct if they work.

Does following them result in becoming a fully enlightened being? How do you tell if someone is an accomplished one? They will exhibit complete mastery of the sutras and tantras and manifest great proficiency in all five of the vidyas. You need to quickly develop your wisdom to ascertain what you can use and what you cannot and who is a true dharma king or rinpoche and who is not. You need to listen to the discourses and read the books of His Holiness Dorje Chang Buddha III. His Holiness teaches the correct Buddha-dharma and has exhibited His mastery of all five vidyas. You can rely on His discourses.

Master Mipam Gyatso (1846-1912) of the Nyingma Sect also warned us that “…as sutras and tantras prophesy, there are many who, having abandoned the profound meaning through dry analysis seems so plentiful and so good, distribute quasi-doctrine for material gain, leading those of low merit and small intelligence on a perverse path at this time of the end of the era (Dharma-Ending Age).”

His Holiness Dorje Chang Buddha III told us that the real words of dharma will enlighten people and make people’s fortune increase and get rid of their disasters and help them enter the bodhi state. The Buddha further said that the dharma must be taught according to the Buddha’s Tripitaka and other commentaries of those who have realized enlightenment (saints). It does not matter how high a person is who gives the words of dharma or whether he or she is a lay person or a monastic, if the teachings are not according to the Tripitaka or the tantras and if they are not according to bodhichitta and given out of compassion then they will contain some problems. The dharma must tell us how to attain happiness and how to walk the correct path to achieve liberation and freedom from the cycle of reincarnation or it is of no value.

The Buddha has also said that it is very precious to have the necessary affinity to be able to listen to the dharma in our cultivation. Listening to the true dharma for a day may achieve what you can’t get from ten years or even decades of practicing and meditation by yourself…In reality, listening to the dharma is a reward for the merit you have accumulated. Otherwise you would not even have the opportunity to do so. It is not easy to get such an opportunity… This is because it is a matter of karmic conditions related to good fortune.

If you do not understand the many principles of Buddhism, your cultivation will be wasted because you will practice based upon a confused understanding of the teachings. It is necessary to listen to discourses by His Holiness and read genuine Buddhist books to know how to cultivate yourself properly.

How you listen to dharma is also important. The analogy of the three pots is often given in this regard. A pot can have three faults: it can be upside down, it can be dirty, or it can be full of holes. It is useless for holding water if it has any of these faults since 1) the water cannot go in, 2) if it goes in, it will be contaminated by filth, or 3) if it does go in and it is pure, it will not remain. Similarly, even if you have the good fortune to hear the dharma, it will not help you if you 1) do not pay attention, 2) though paying attention, misunderstand what is heard or listen with a bad motivation, or 3) do not remember what was said.

Modern people may lack the incredible capacity for memorization possessed by those in ancient India and Tibet, but we do have the advantage of electronic recordings and the printed word. We should repeatedly listen to and reread the teachings until we thoroughly understand the principles being expounded and practice them daily–that is real understanding.

We also have the “Seven Dharma System” of listening to Dharma Discourses given to us by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III that provides a simple method for listening to, understanding, and using or applying the dharma to our daily lives. The Xuanfa Five Vidya Institute (XFVU) has developed a series of seminar/courses that uses this method to help us become accomplished.

It is not enough to just listen to or read or even memorize the words of dharma. You must understand the dharma and apply it to your daily life. All of the teachings of the Buddha were intended to be put into practice and not just serve as the basis for intellectual discussion or study. Your actions, speech and thoughts must be consistent with the dharma. Dorje Pa Mu’s book Dharma That Every Buddhist Must Follow is an excellent guide as are all of her and H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha’s books and regular discourses. However, this is just one part. You must read the book H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III to be able to understand where the true Buddha-dharma is in the world today.

The sutras teach that when attending a dharma lecture or listening to any dharma teacher or lama, a practitioner should concentrate on listening and learning the dharma. He should avoid personal reactions to the teacher, such as, the teacher 1) has/has not violated the precepts; 2) comes from a poor/wealthy background; 3) has a pleasant/unpleasant physical appearance; 4) has good diction/a speech impediment; or 5) has a melodious/harsh voice. Furthermore you should heed the advice of the Buddha who gave us four guidelines in the Catuhpratisarana and the Samdhinirmocana Sutras:

Rely upon the teaching, not the teacher.
Rely upon the meaning, not the text.
Rely upon the definitive meaning, not the provisional meaning.
Rely upon prajna (wisdom), not consciousness.
You should become familiar with the Tripitaka and tantras so that you can evaluate the authenticity of any teaching and then practice those teachings and see if they really work. You should also rely on the “128 Evil and Erroneous Views” contained in the Supreme and Unsurpassable Mahamudra of Liberation to evaluate the validity of what you are reading.

link: https://wisdomtea.org/2022/12/29/receiving-dharma/

Three foods options to boost immune system

Three foods options to boost immune system

If you’re looking for ways to prevent colds, the flu, and other infections, then you can try these 3 food options. Feeding your body with these 3 food options may keep your immune system strong.

#1 Citrus fruits

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin well known for its role in supporting a healthy immune system. Most people turn straight to vitamin C after they’ve caught a cold. That’s because it helps build up your immune system.

Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells, which are key to fighting infections.

Citrus fruits are an excellent source of vitamin C that fights free radicals in the body which may help prevent or delay certain cancers and heart disease, and promote healthy aging.

Popular citrus fruits include grapefruit, oranges,  clementines, tangerines, lemons, and limes.

#2 Red Bell Peppers

A cup of chopped red bell pepper contains nearly three times more vitamin C than an orange—190 mg. Red peppers are also a great source of vitamin A, which promotes eye health.

#3 Broccoli

Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your plate.

One cup of raw chopped broccoli has 81 mg vitamin C. That’s not quite as much as orange juice, but a big serving of raw broccoli provides most of the vitamin C you’ll need for one day.

Link: https://wisdomtea.org/2022/12/22/three-foods-options-to-boost-immune-system/

Finding a True Vajra Master

Finding a True Vajra Master

The practice of esoteric Buddhism depends on establishing the proper relationship with an authentic vajra master. This requires that a karmic affinity exists between the master and the disciple. A disciple must carefully choose his or her master and the master must select the disciple as well to determine whether or not the potential disciple is a suitable vessel to receive and understand the teachings of Buddhism. An unqualified disciple is not allowed to receive the great tantra. Once the relationship between a disciple and a vajra master is established, the disciple must respect his or her master as a Buddha throughout his or her lifetime. Once you have found an authentic master, you should begin to learn the teachings in a fully committed, whole-hearted way. If there are Bodhisattva masters present, you should learn from them. The rules of the dharma require that you must learn from your vajra master in order to attain accomplishment.

It is critical in practicing esoteric Buddhism that you envision the master as being capable of developing the fundamentals and that you rely on this master for your liberation by faithfully establishing your actions, speech, and thought to be the same as your master’s. Paying utmost and sincere respect to your master is essential to the way of becoming a Buddha. This is because when the master is treated with respect as a Buddha, you are learning from a Buddha and only a Buddha can liberate you. If you cannot see your master as a Buddha, how can he or she confer the special blessings of a Buddha that can enable you to become enlightened? If you view your master as an ordinary person you will definitely only receive the results of an ordinary person, no matter what level of realization the master may have.

You must know that your three karma gates (conduct, speech, and thought) must correspond to the three karmas of your vajra master. However, it is essential to clearly evaluate and verify the qualifications the master possesses. If the master does not have an understanding of the sutras, possess the realizations of Buddha-dharma, or is able to perform two or three of the five vidyas that are beyond the ordinary person’s abilities and powers, the master is not qualified. This so-called master is an ordinary person and is not qualified to be considered a master. Corresponding to the three karmas of a unqualified master can lead you to being guilty of the most heinous crimes.

The three steps of showing respect to a vajra master are:

1.  Do your best to serve and please your master.

2.  Have complete confidence in the teachings of your master.

3.  Treat your master and the Buddha as one and the same.

There are many different types and levels of masters:

  • The refuge master
  • The conditional or basic master (sometimes referred to as a doctrine master)
  • The vajra master

Your refuge master is the one from whom you receive the refuge vows and precepts and who teaches you how to practice the refuge state.

The conditional or basic masters, who may or may not also be your refuge master, are kind and dignified Buddhist teachers who are very knowledgeable and compassionate. This is the master that you listen to for his or her interpretation of the sutras or discourses. These discourses are according to the teachings of sutra-pitaka. When the conditions are right, you may study or learn from such a master. Even a great vajra master or dharma king may serve as your conditional master or even your refuge master.

On the other hand, the vajra master teaches the tantra and confers the tantric initiation. Your vajra master is the master who transmits the Buddha-dharma to you and initiates you in the Buddha-dharma. The disciple follows the doctrine of this master in the practice of the disciple’s yidam. The vajra master also teaches and transmits the doctrines of exoteric Buddhism. The high level vajra masters have acquired liberation from the cycle of birth and death and have already obtained the dharmakaya themselves.

The highest of all is the dharma king master who represents the highest accomplishments of all with an understanding of the Tripitaka and tantras that is equal to the Buddha, who is able to conduct all of the inner tantra initiations, and who has the highest level of achievement in all of the five vidyas. Such a being has direct contact with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and can exhibit supernatural powers both in the mandala and in other ways.

A disciple may take refuge with any vajra master who can meet the qualifications listed below and who can arrange that the disciple will receive the appropriate inner tantra initiations when the disciple is ready to receive them, either by conducting them or by having his or her vajra master conduct them. This means that a beginning vajra master must have as his or her master an authentic inner tantra master or a dharma king or Buddha who will serve as the disciple’s “Grand Master” and give the highest initiations. If you want to achieve liberation, you should not take as your master one who does not meet these standards.

As a minimum, any master must have very high moral achievement; must understand the meaning of the Buddha’s teachings and have command of sutra and tantra; is conversant in the five vidyas; can continue the dharma lineage by having sufficient merit to disseminate the Buddha-dharma to liberate all sentient beings; and have received the Vajra Acarya Initiation or other form of certification from someone who possesses the qualifications to bestow it. A vajra master must also have the other four virtues of always obeying his or her master’s orders; not violating any of the esoteric or exoteric precepts; expounding the Correct Dharma; and having equal compassion for all believers, never giving up on them, and loving everyone—even his or her enemies. In addition, a vajra master should diligently practice the principles explained in “What Is Cultivation?,” perfect the six paramitas, and be able to manifest at least two of the five vidyas. They must also have the approval of their vajra master to enter a mandala and perform empowerments and initiations for disciples. You can count on following such masters to reach liberation.

An inner tantra master, in addition to the above conditions, must possess the mandala power to confer at least one of the inner tantra initiations. The disciple must be able to see evidence that the dharma protecting deities have actually come to the mandala. (In this context, mandala refers to the sacred altar area where initiations are given.) An inner tantra master must be able to document that he or she has met the qualifications for giving inner tantric initiations. A dharma king must possess all four divisions of the inner tantra initiations and the supreme secret inner tantra initiations in addition to all the criteria stated above and greatly excel in all five vidyas. In short, a dharma king must be able to communicate directly with the saints or great holy ones (Buddhas and Bodhisattvas). A true holy dharma king also possesses a vajra dharma wheel (dharmachakra) that can make decisions concerning who should receive which inner tantra initiations as well as perform other miraculous functions.

There is also the Holy Form of Inner Tantra Initiations that is even more rare and will not be discussed here. Read H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III for more information on this very high form of practice. There are very few people in the world today who can perform it.

You should never be confused by outer appearances. Do not misconceive the false as the true and mistake outer tantra initiation as inner tantra initiation. Most empowerments or initiations given today are only outer tantra initiations. The inner tantra initiation is for people with the utmost Mahayana’s faculty to enter Buddhahood in their current lifetime and not for regular practitioners. Moreover, the saint who can confer an inner tantra initiation is very rare; it is hard to find one in 10,000 great rinpoches. However, you should never look down upon outer tantra initiation and its practices that were also handed down by the Buddhas and also possess the tantra blessing power. If you correspond your three karmas with the teachings of your master and practice accordingly, then you can get out of reincarnation by means of outer tantra initiation.

Practitioner Mi-Kong in How to Recognize the Vajra Tantra states:

“Tantra provides a shortcut for achievement and for the highest level of attainment (that is, for one who practices unexcelled yoga, Supreme Tantra enables one to become a Buddha in the current life, make the whole body transparent, transform miraculously at one’s will and be the same entity as the universe). Hence, many practitioners have devoted their entire life to seeking the utmost tantra since Adharma Buddha (the Adi-Buddha) started teaching tantra. I have studied tantra for decades in Tibet and have seen an enormous amount of tantra—similar to a deep ocean—that is immense, concise and wise. Many great virtuous ones throughout Tibet have achieved Nirvana based on tantra. Consequently, a number of normal Buddhism teachers and false practitioners pretend to be rinpoches or khutukhus and claim themselves to be vajra masters. They teach false tantra. Innumerable innocent people have been deceived and learned nothing but rather wasted time and effort; even worse, some have entered the wrong paths and become the devil’s offspring. Especially during the current degenerate period, it is difficult to distinguish between a Buddha and a devil, and there are more false masters than can be counted. Sentient beings are easily bewildered by false dharma and deceiving masters.”

The United International World Buddhism Association Headquarters has developed a system for determining the qualifications and levels of accomplishment of various masters. You should refer to their public announcements on how to determine the level of any master so that you will not be misled. You should also know that until any master reaches a very high level of non-regression, he or she can devolve into an ordinary being even though he or she was once a true vajra master. Reading the 128 Evil and Erroneous Views and listening to recorded dharma discourses given by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III are also helpful in knowing what to look for in a vajra master.

Link: https://wisdomtea.org/2022/12/15/finding-a-true-vajra-master/

True innocence relieves the suffering of many

True innocence relieves the suffering of many

Once upon a time, the Enlightenment Being was born as a fish in a pond in northern India. There were many kinds of fish, big and small, living in the pond with the Bodhisatta.

There came to be a time of severe draught. The rainy season did not come as usual. The crops of men died, and many ponds, lakes and rivers dried up.
The fish and turtles dug down and buried themselves in the mud, frantically trying to keep wet and save themselves. The crows were pleased by all this. They stuck their beaks down into the mud, pulled up the frightened little fish, and feasted on them.

The suffering of pain and death by the other fish touched the Enlightenment Being with sadness, and filled him with pity and compassion. He realized that he was the only one who could save them. But it would take a miracle.

The truth was that he had remained innocent. by never taking the life of anyone. He was determined to use the power of this wholesome truth to make rain fall from the sky, and release his relatives from their misery and death.

He pulled himself up from under the black mud. He was a big fish, and as black from the mud as, polished ebony. He opened his eyes, which sparkled like rubies, looked up to the sky, and called on the rain god Pajjunna. He exclaimed, “Oh my friend Pajjunna, god of rain, I am suffering for the sake of my relatives. Why do you withhold rain from me, who am perfectly wholesome, and make me suffer in sympathy with all these fish?”

“I was born among fish, for whom it is customary to eat other fish – even our own kind, like cannibals! But since I was born, I myself have never eaten any fish, even one as tiny as a rice grain. In fact, I have never taken life from anyone. The truthfulness of this my innocence gives me the right to say to you: Make the rains fall! Relieve the suffering of my relatives!”

He said this the way one gives orders to a servant.

And he continued, commanding the mighty rain god Pajjunna: “Make rain fall from the thunderclouds! Do not allow the crows their hidden treasures! Let the crows feel the sorrow of their unwholesome actions. At the same time release me from my sorrow, who have lived in perfect wholesomeness.”

After only a short pause, the sky opened up with a heavy downpour of rain, relieving many from the fear of death – fish, turtles and even humans. And when the great fish who had worked this miracle eventually died, he was reborn as he deserved.

Link: https://wisdomtea.org/2022/12/08/true-innocence-relieves-the-suffering-of-many/

Dharma Assembly of Empowerment by Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva’s Mind of Great Compassion ——Note Written Afterwards to Describe the Most Magnificent Scene at the Site

Dharma Assembly of Empowerment by Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva’s Mind of Great Compassion ——Note Written Afterwards to Describe the Most Magnificent Scene at the Site

Written By: Hua Yan (Chen, Shuyan)

In September this year, I had the good fortune to attend the Dharma Assembly of Empowerment by Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva’s Great Compassion and received great empowerment from Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva. The effect was very magnificent. I take this opportunity to share my experience and feelings at that time with my fellow cultivators.

At the beginning of the dharma assembly, I was a little nervous. I closed my eyes and raised my arms to the horizontal position. I bent my legs slightly. A short while later, I heard the hearty laughter from some people. I wanted very much to know who received the empowerment from Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva so quickly, but I dared not open my eyes.

I firmly remembered what the presiding master told us and did my best to keep my mind calm and focused. Suddenly, a strong heat flow went from my right shoulder to the left shoulder. My hands then began waving spontaneously to the left and right. I felt heat emitting from my body. Next, I opened my voice to cry and shout. My hand-waving and crying lasted for a while and then gradually came to a stop. At this time, my body felt hot and sweated. I felt rather tired and so sat down on the ground.

After resting for a while, I stood up with my eyes still closed. I raised my arms again. At this time, I heard someone singing. The voice of singing came closer from far away and in a short while was behind me. Ah, I heard clearly that the song was the Six Character Great Bright Mantra. The ear-pleasing singing changed from the solo singing at the beginning to a chorus with many people. Eventually I heard that the wonderfully pleasant singing also came from the space. I felt that the Bodhisattva was empowering us from the space. I naturally joined the singing. Tears unintentionally flew down from my eyes. That was my gratitude to the kindness received! Meanwhile, my legs started to tremble and my hands were waving again. However, the movement this time was somewhat different from what I did earlier and was like dancing along with the pleasant singing. At that time, my mood was joyful and delighted and my body was very relaxed. In this manner, my hands were waving continuously until the dharma master announced, “Stop.”

After the dharma assembly concluded perfectly, the relaxed and pleasant feeling remained in my mind. I am extremely grateful!

After the dharma assembly, I have two beneficial effects from the empowerment. The first is that my shoulder pain has completely disappeared! Shoulder pain was an old illness that plagued me for many years. The second is that I am now much more energetic than before! In the past, when I was practicing the dharma or reading respectfully Buddhist books, I would feel sleepy after half an hour. I am now much more energetic and will not dose off even after two hours.

I am extremely grateful to the good fortune of attending such a magnificent dharma assembly this time!

I prostrate to H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III!

I prostrate to the greatly loving and greatly compassionate Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva!

Link: https://wisdomtea.org/2022/12/01/dharma-assembly-of-empowerment-by-guan-shi-yin-bodhisattvas-mind-of-great-compassion-note-written-afterwards-to-describe-the-most-magnificent-scene-at-the-site/

My Dog Becomes a Buddhist

My Dog Becomes a Buddhist

Regina Chang

Hua Zang Si is a temple in the United States that propagates the dharma of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. I have been a disciple at Hua Zang Si since I was in middle school. As a young adult, I gained valuable wisdom and experience attending temple with my family. The blessings I have received are innumerable and I am always grateful for everything I learn from the true Buddha dharma.

My Dog, Pansy

On Saturday, May 6, 2017, my dog was able to take refuge with Hua Zang Si temple in San Francisco under Qupei Rinpoche after attending a one hour fish release dharma assembly. I adopted Pansy, in October 2016 from the San Francisco SPCA Mission branch. Pansy is now two and a half years old, but still very boisterous and energetic like a puppy. She is very playful and likes to jump on people. She also barks and runs a lot when there are many people and dogs around her and she wants their attention on her. I was worried about Pansy taking refuge during the fish release because she is often very vocal and difficult to control in crowds.

As the fish release dharma assembly began, being near five other dogs in attendance should have driven her into a frenzy, yet she remained calm and simply paced around. Pansy only barked two times during the whole ceremony. It was a shock to me that she was not barking and crying nonstop the whole time. When the master came over to bless Pansy with holy water, she sat still and regarded everything with a calm disposition. She didn’t bark at Qupei Rinpoche or jump on her. She was very well behaved. As I went down to the dock to release fish, Pansy sat down next to my mom and waited patiently for me to return.

Pansy met the five other dogs and they were now Buddhist brothers and sisters.
Pansy met the five other dogs and they were now Buddhist brothers and sisters.

After the ceremony was complete, Pansy met the five other dogs and they were now Buddhist brothers and sisters. It was a beautiful day filled with a lot of happiness. All the monastics gave Pansy water to drink and pet her. I could tell Pansy was content and happy by the way her tail wagged and her trot around me. I want to give thanks to the sangha, the master, and the Buddha for allowing her to gui yi (taking refuge in Chinese). I hope in the future, Pansy can receive more blessings and have a chance to meet H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. In the future, my wish is for Pansy to reincarnate to the human realm to cultivate and study Buddhism to get out of the cycle of birth and death.

Link: https://wisdomtea.org/2022/11/24/my-dog-becomes-a-buddhist/

Giving thanks can make you happier

Giving thanks can make you happier

Each holiday season comes with high expectations for a cozy and festive time of year. However, for many this time of year is tinged with sadness, anxiety, or depression. Certainly, major depression or a severe anxiety disorder benefits most from professional help. But what about those who just feel lost or overwhelmed or down at this time of year? Research (and common sense) suggests that one aspect of the Thanksgiving season can actually lift the spirits, and it’s built right into the holiday — being grateful.

The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways, gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, being grateful also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.

In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.

People feel and express gratitude in multiple ways. They can apply it to the past (retrieving positive memories and being thankful for elements of childhood or past blessings), the present (not taking good fortune for granted as it comes), and the future (maintaining a hopeful and optimistic attitude). Regardless of the inherent or current level of someone’s gratitude, it’s a quality that individuals can successfully cultivate further.

Link: https://wisdomtea.org/2022/11/17/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier-2/


10 Steps To Effective Listening

10 Steps To Effective Listening

by Dianne Schilling

In today’s high-tech, high-speed, high-stress world, communication is more important then ever, yet we seem to devote less and less time to really listening to one another. Genuine listening has become a rare gift—the gift of time. It helps build relationships, solve problems, ensure understanding, resolve conflicts, and improve accuracy. At work, effective listening means fewer errors and less wasted time. At home, it helps develop resourceful, self-reliant kids who can solve their own problems. Listening builds friendships and careers. It saves money and marriages.

Here are 10 tips to help you develop effective listening skills.

Step 1: Face the speaker and maintain eye contact.

Talking to someone while they scan the room, study a computer screen, or gaze out the window is like trying to hit a moving target. How much of the person’s divided attention you are actually getting? Fifty percent? Five percent? If the person were your child you might demand, “Look at me when I’m talking to you,” but that’s not the sort of thing we say to a lover, friend or colleague.

In most Western cultures, eye contact is considered a basic ingredient of effective communication. When we talk, we look each other in the eye. That doesn’t mean that you can’t carry on a conversation from across the room, or from another room, but if the conversation continues for any length of time, you (or the other person) will get up and move. The desire for better communication pulls you together.

Do your conversational partners the courtesy of turning to face them. Put aside papers, books, the phone and other distractions. Look at them, even if they don’t look at you. Shyness, uncertainty, shame, guilt, or other emotions, along with cultural taboos, can inhibit eye contact in some people under some circumstances. Excuse the other guy, but stay focused yourself.

Step 2: Be attentive, but relaxed.

Now that you’ve made eye contact, relax. You don’t have to stare fixedly at the other person. You can look away now and then and carry on like a normal person. The important thing is to be attentive. The dictionary says that to “attend” another person means to:

  • be present
  • give attention
  • apply or direct yourself
  • pay attention
  • remain ready to serve

Mentally screen out distractions, like background activity and noise. In addition, try not to focus on the speaker’s accent or speech mannerisms to the point where they become distractions. Finally, don’t be distracted by your own thoughts, feelings, or biases.

Step 3: Keep an open mind.

Listen without judging the other person or mentally criticizing the things she tells you. If what she says alarms you, go ahead and feel alarmed, but don’t say to yourself, “Well, that was a stupid move.” As soon as you indulge in judgmental bemusements, you’ve compromised your effectiveness as a listener.

Listen without jumping to conclusions. Remember that the speaker is using language to represent the thoughts and feelings inside her brain. You don’t know what those thoughts and feelings are and the only way you’ll find out is by listening.

Don’t be a sentence-grabber. Occasionally my partner can’t slow his mental pace enough to listen effectively, so he tries to speed up mine by interrupting and finishing my sentences. This usually lands him way off base, because he is following his own train of thought and doesn’t learn where my thoughts are headed. After a couple of rounds of this, I usually ask, “Do you want to have this conversation by yourself, or do you want to hear what I have to say?” I wouldn’t do that with everyone, but it works with him.

Step 4: Listen to the words and try to picture what the speaker is saying.

Allow your mind to create a mental model of the information being communicated. Whether a literal picture, or an arrangement of abstract concepts, your brain will do the necessary work if you stay focused, with senses fully alert. When listening for long stretches, concentrate on, and remember, key words and phrases.

When it’s your turn to listen, don’t spend the time planning what to say next. You can’t rehearse and listen at the same time. Think only about what the other person is saying.

Finally, concentrate on what is being said, even if it bores you. If your thoughts start to wander, immediately force yourself to refocus.

Step 5: Don’t interrupt and don’t impose your “solutions.”

Children used to be taught that it’s rude to interrupt. I’m not sure that message is getting across anymore. Certainly the opposite is being modeled on the majority of talk shows and reality programs, where loud, aggressive, in-your-face behavior is condoned, if not encouraged.

Interrupting sends a variety of messages. It says:

  • “I’m more important than you are.”
  • “What I have to say is more interesting, accurate or relevant.”
  • “I don’t really care what you think.”
  • “I don’t have time for your opinion.”
  • “This isn’t a conversation, it’s a contest, and I’m going to win.”

We all think and speak at different rates. If you are a quick thinker and an agile talker, the burden is onyouto relax your pace for the slower, more thoughtful communicator—or for the guy who has trouble expressing himself.

When listening to someone talk about a problem, refrain from suggesting solutions. Most of us don’t want your advice anyway. If we do, we’ll ask for it. Most of us prefer to figure out our own solutions. We need you to listen and help us do that. Somewhere way down the line, if you are absolutely bursting with a brilliant solution, at least get the speaker’s permission. Ask, “Would you like to hear my ideas?”

Step 6: Wait for the speaker to pause to ask clarifying questions.

When you don’t understand something, of course you should ask the speaker to explain it to you. But rather than interrupt, wait until the speaker pauses. Then say something like, “Back up a second. I didn’t understand what you just said about…”

Step 7: Ask questions only to ensure understanding.

At lunch, a colleague is excitedly telling you about her trip to Vermont and all the wonderful things she did and saw. In the course of this chronicle, she mentions that she spent some time with a mutual friend. You jump in with, “Oh, I haven’t heard from Alice in ages. How is she?” and, just like that, discussion shifts to Alice and her divorce, and the poor kids, which leads to a comparison of custody laws, and before you know it an hour is gone and Vermont is a distant memory.

This particular conversational affront happens all the time. Our questions lead people in directions that have nothing to do with where they thought they were going. Sometimes we work our way back to the original topic, but very often we don’t.

When you notice that your question has led the speaker astray, take responsibility for getting the conversation back on track by saying something like, “It was great to hear about Alice, but tell me more about your adventure in Vermont.”

Step 8: Try to feel what the speaker is feeling.

If you feel sad when the person with whom you are talking expresses sadness, joyful when she expresses joy, fearful when she describes her fears—and convey those feelings through your facial expressions and words—then your effectiveness as a listener is assured. Empathy is the heart and soul of good listening.

To experience empathy, you have to put yourself in the other person’s place and allow yourself to feel what it is like to be her at that moment. This is not an easy thing to do. It takes energy and concentration. But it is a generous and helpful thing to do, and it facilitates communication like nothing else does.

Step 9: Give the speaker regular feedback.

Show that you understand where the speaker is coming from by reflecting the speaker’s feelings. “You must be thrilled!” “What a terrible ordeal for you.” “I can see that you are confused.” If the speaker’s feelings are hidden or unclear, then occasionally paraphrase the content of the message. Or just nod and show your understanding through appropriate facial expressions and an occasional well-timed “hmmm” or “uh huh.”

The idea is to give the speaker some proof that you are listening, and that you are following her train of thought—not off indulging in your own fantasies while she talks to the ether.

In task situations, regardless of whether at work or home, always restate instructions and messages to be sure you understand correctly.

Step 10: Pay attention to what isn’t said—to nonverbal cues.

If you exclude email, the majority of direct communication is probably nonverbal. We glean a great deal of information about each other without saying a word. Even over the telephone, you can learn almost as much about a person from the tone and cadence of her voice than from anything she says. When I talk to my best friend, it doesn’t matter what we chat about, if I hear a lilt and laughter in her voice, I feel reassured that she’s doing well.

Face to face with a person, you can detect enthusiasm, boredom, or irritation very quickly in the expression around the eyes, the set of the mouth, the slope of the shoulders. These are clues you can’t ignore. When listening, remember that words convey only a fraction of the message.

Listening Skills Exercise: Summarize, Summarize, Summarize!

For at least one week, at the end of every conversation in which information is exchanged, conclude with a summary statement. In conversations that result in agreements about future obligations or activities, summarizing will not only ensure accurate follow-through, it will feel perfectly natural. In conversations that do not include agreements, if summarizing feels awkward just explain that you are doing it as an exercise.

Link: https://wisdomtea.org/2022/11/10/10-steps-to-effective-listening/


The Magnificent Process That I Witnessed in Person When Layperson Zhao Yusheng Passed Away and Reached Liberation

The Magnificent Process That I Witnessed in Person When
Layperson Zhao Yusheng Passed Away and Reached Liberation

Amitabha! Dharma masters, rinpoches, and kind virtuous ones, my name is Bee Bee Moh. I will now talk about the magnificent process occurred when Layperson Zhao Yusheng passed away and reached liberation. To avoid missing something when I talk, I wrote my speech down earlier.

Zhao Yusheng was a disciple of Chen Baosheng and had learned the evil teaching from Chen Baosheng before. Every day, he chanted “supreme vajra master” and that one’s accomplishment all depends on the master and relies on the joy and pleasure of the master. Zhao Yusheng said that he helped Chen Baosheng hide the truth and create false information while working at the tile company. That caused the company to lose more than 800,000 yuan just last year. He said, “I also helped him make false propaganda to deceive people. My situation became worse and worse as I was learning from Chen Baosheng. I am bounded by sin and bad karmas. My body now has cancer and is in great pain and suffering.” Zhao Yusheng realized that he had been harmed by Chen Baosheng’s demonic dharma. He was able to meet H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III after his cancer had reached the terminal stage. When Zhao Yusheng saw His Holiness, the Buddha, he piously repented before the Buddha Master. The Buddha Master said that repenting or not is not important and it is important that one should cultivate oneself well and truly correct the evil and pursue goodness to benefit society and living beings. Zhao Yusheng repented wholeheartedly. He no longer wanted to be a rinpoche and completely stopped learning the evil teaching. He did not fear death and only wished to be reborn in the Buddha-land. He made the greatest vow. H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III saw his sincerity and the maturing of his karmic condition and transmitted the dharma to him. Amitabha Buddha was invited to manifest in person to touch his head and transmit the dharma to him. Brother Zhao Yusheng was also able to see the main gate of the Western Paradise of Ultimate Bliss at that time. Amitabha Buddha told the Brother that Namo Kuan Shi Yin Bodhisattva would come to receive him to go to a place in the 5th lotus stage in the Pure Land. After receiving the dharma transmission from Amitabha Buddha and returning to San Francisco, the Brother practiced the dharma all the time every day and did not want to talk much. Sister Zhao Chen, who is the Brother’s daughter and I waited day by day. We did not know which day Namo Kuan Shi Yin Bodhisattva would come to receive the Brother. I have a company at Washington DC to run, but I also wanted to see the Brother attaining accomplishment. That created a contradiction in my mind. Well, a day spent was like a year to me! Eventually I had to call to beseech instructions from the Buddha Master. The Buddha Master said, “He will not be reborn there for the time being. For Zhao Yusheng’s physical condition, the decisions from the doctors and nurses should always be followed.”

On the day before Brother Zhao’s passing away and attaining liberation, he and I sat on a bench outside. He told me, “Chen Baosheng is a demonic devil, demonic evildoer, person of sin, criminal of fraud, and swindler. Kuan Shi Yin Bodhisattva wanted me to expose his sinful acts and said that He will come tomorrow to receive me. I was told to manifest the dharma to let people know when I am received to leave. However, I am worried that I may be drowsy and forget to expose him when Kuan Shi Yin Bodhisattva comes to receive me tomorrow.” I told the Brother, “Don’t worry. You don’t worry. Namo Kuan Shi Yin Bodhisattva will definitely come to receive you, and you will not be drowsy.”

At about 2:30pm in the afternoon on August 24 in American time, I was taking a nap at the time. After going outside to the restroom by himself, Brother Zhao came in to wake me up. He told us that he was about to leave and we should sincerely learn the dharma from the Buddha Master so we will meet again in the Western Paradise of Ultimate Bliss. He was going to take a bath. At that time, we felt quite sad. Is this person who is alive now truly going to leave? We help him take out the clothing prepared for him earlier. After putting on his clothing, we smelled a kind of special fragrant scent from Brother Zhao’s body. Then, the Brother said, “I will now use my freedom from birth and death to prove that the Buddha-dharma of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III is the holiest. Chen Baosheng is a demonic devil and demonic evildoer! He is an evil master, big swindler, and a person of sin!” He also said, “The true dharma of the Tathagata is at where our great Buddha Master, H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III, is. Okay, okay, I will stop now. Namo Kuan Shi Yin Bodhisattva has come to receive me!” After finishing speaking, Brother Zhao emitted light from his entire body. I saw the extremely tall and great Kuan Shi Yin Bodhisattva, radiating strong and intense white light everywhere from His body. Surrounded by five-colored light, Namo Kuan Shi Yin Bodhisattva was extremely solemn and majestic, standing above the top of Brother Zhao’s head. At that time, I saw that Brother Zhao’s spiritual consciousness rushed out from the top of his head toward Kuan Shi Yin Bodhisattva and left in the sky! While watching, I suddenly was unable to see Kuan Shi Yin Bodhisattva and Brother Zhao. I hurriedly ran into the courtyard. At this time, my phone rang. I raised my head and saw that Brother Zhao left in the sky while stepping on white clouds and following Kuan Shi Yin Bodhisattva. I also saw that fragrant nectar was coming down from the trees in the yard! Dharma masters from Hua Zang Si came right at that time. When they arrived, they also saw that nectar was descending from the trees. The dharma masters also recorded the scene by video. This nectar was strange. It disappeared before touching the ground. I was not the only one seeing the event. An elder lady who is 92 years old and from Malaysia also saw that Kuan Shi Yin Bodhisattva received Brother Zhao Yusheng and brought him away! This holy manifestation is difficult to hear even in millions of kalpas.

Link: https://wisdomtea.org/2022/11/03/the-magnificent-process-that-i-witnessed-in-person-when-layperson-zhao-yusheng-passed-away-and-reached-liberation/