Articles by alphabetic order
 Ā Ī Ñ Ś Ū Ö Ō
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

The Fourfold Refuge

From Tibetan Buddhist Encyclopedia
(Redirected from Fourfold Refuge)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The next step in the liturgy is the Fourfold Refuge Practice, which also employs mantra, mudra, and visualization. Please note that this practice is the source of the power of reliance. Through relying on one's guru, who transmits to one the lineage, one obtains this power of reliance.

The mantra to recite is: Namo Guru bei, Namo Buddha ye, Namo Dharma ye, Namo Sangha ye. Before this mantra is recited, one visualizes the guru, Triple Jewels, and scriptures to appear in the space before and above one, swirling to transform into a beam of great white light which pours down on oneself. The guru, Triple Jewels, and all of the scriptures combine to form the great white light which enters through the crown of the practitioner, so one's body is filled with a luminous, white nectar. This is followed by the expulsion of black vapor from one's skin pores. The empowerment of the light causes the obscurations within one's being to be expelled through the skin pores. After this visualization, one then proceeds to recite three times, "Namo Guru bei, Namo Buddha ye, Namo Dharma ye, Namo Sangha ye." This Fourfold Refuge Practice is, in itself, the power of reliance. One's root guru plays an extremely crucial role because all the practices in cultivation are transmitted to one by the root guru.

The Nyingmapa Lineage

I would like to speak about my own gurus. When I was living at Ballard (Washington) and cultivating there, Padmasambhava appeared to me out of the spiritual realm and brought me to a place called Pon-je-pu in Nepal. I don't know if you have heard of the place, but it was there that he gave me teachings and empowerments in many practices. He still continues to teach me. That is why Padmasambhava is equivalent to my guru in the Nyingmapa lineage.

The Gelugpa Lineage

Regarding my Gelugpa lineage, I have taken refuge in Guru Thubten Taerchi. He recently gave me two tokens, a vajra and a bell made of gold. He told me, "This vajra and bell represent my empowerment to you of the Highest Tantra Practice." These two tokens are now upstairs in my office. In addition, my guru from the Gelugpa lineage, or your grand-guru, has personally scribed a verse in calligraphy which is now on display in the dining area. The name "Thubten Chi-ju" appears on it, too. Thubten Chi-ju is the refuge name given to me by Guru Thubten Taerchi, and it represents the lineage of Lama Thubten of the Gelugpa school.

The Origin of Thubten Chi-ju

There was a period in the past when I called myself Thubten Ch'i-mo because, at the beginning, my guru gave me a note with the word "Thubten" on it and asked me to pick from another list a word to create my refuge name At that time, a group of his students started their refuge names with the word Ch'i and I liked the word Mo because it reminded me of Maha, so I became Thubten Ch'i-mo. Later, while I was in Hong Kong for another visit, my guru told me that many of his students were not very good. Well, how should I describe this? He sometimes likes to use rather coarse words. [audience laughter] He was commenting that the students whose refuge names began with Ch'i were not very good, well, I won't say anymore, as I was also one of them. [audience laughter] Anyway, he said he was going to annul the discipleship of all students with names that began with Ch'i. Then he suddenly wrote the verse with the name Thubten Chi-ju and showed it to me as my new refuge name There was nothing I could do but to accept the new name [audience laughter] In the verse he added "True Master Lienchiang" (Mrs. Lu) behind my name Perhaps she is the true master, while I am just the assistant. [audience laughter] Anyway, this new name of mine, Chi-ju, means self-mastery and freedom, so I don't really care who is the head and who is the assistant head. After all, my name is written before her name [audience laughter]

So, after writing this verse, which has "Thubten Chi-ju" and "True Master Lian-hsiang" in it, he asked the students in the Hong Kong chapter to have it mounted and framed. Then he hung up the calligraphy and asked Master Lian-hsiang and I to stand in front of it to have a picture taken. This really made him happy. I guess my guru is somewhat eccentric. [audience laughter] I shouldn't have said that! [audience uproar of laughter]

The Sakyapa Lineage

You all know that my guru from the Sakyapa lineage is Sakya Cheng-kung, who is also an old master. After I met him, he gave me many empowerments including the Acharya Empowerment. Padmasambhava also gave me the Acharya Empowerment. Guru Thubten Taerchi gave me the Highest Tantra Empowerment.

The Kagyu Lineage

When I met the sixteenth Karmapa, he gave me the Five Dhyani Buddhas Empowerment, which is the highest empowerment — even higher than the Acharya Empowerment. If one knows about Tantric Dharma, one will understand that the Five Dhyani Buddhas Empowerment or the Supreme Buddha Crown Five Dhyani Buddhas Empowerment is the pinnacle of all empowerments. In this empowerment, one of the Buddhas stands above one's head, one in front of one's brow, a Buddha at each ear, and one Buddha at the back of one's head. The only Buddha greater than the Five Dhyani Buddhas is the Adi Buddha — the Primordial Buddha — or Pu Hsien Wang Tathagata [[[Samantabhadra Buddha]]]. He, however, is a Dharma Body, a Vajra Dharani, whose manifestation is the Five Dhyani Buddhas. Therefore, the Supreme Buddha Crown Five Dhyani Buddhas Empowerment is, indeed, the greatest empowerment. The Five Buddhas are: to the north the Buddha that formed from the merging of Buddha Shakyamuni and Amoghasiddhi; to the east Akshobya Buddha, who is also known as the Immovable Buddha; to the south Ratnasambhava; to the west Amitabha Buddha, and in the center Mahavairocana.

Thus it is rather strange that, upon meeting me, the Sixteenth Karmapa would give me the Five Dhyani Buddhas Empowerment. Perhaps it was a mistake. [audience laughter] Anyway, I had requested the Five Dhyani Buddhas Empowerment and he bestowed it. Therefore, this empowerment is the greatest, even greater than the Acharya Empowerment. There are as many levels of empowerment or initiation as there are levels of practice: external, internal, esoteric, and inner-esoteric. There are also many other kinds of empowerments such as the Vase Empowerment, Vajra Empowerment, Bell Empowerment, Crown Empowerment, and Name Empowerment. All these are related to higher level practices.

Respecting Teachers

At the beginning, Mr.Three-Peaks-Nine-States taught me many kinds of mudras and I was brought to the realm of the spirits by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. They brought me to visit the Maha Twin Lotus Ponds. The Taoist Hermit of Purity (Taoist Ching Chen), also known as the Monk Liao Ming, taught me many Taoist and Tantric practices. When I was at the Jade Emperor Temple in Taiwan, I met the blue-robed lady, Ms. Chi 0, whom we now call Aunt Chi O. She asked me to join my palms and kneel down and, as soon as I did this, I immediately achieved Oneness with the Universe and obtained the Divine Eyesight. I have met many teachers in the past and, even now, my heart is full of reverence for every one of them. In the end, Ms. Chi O also took refuge in the True Buddha School, and that is why she often talks about how a teacher helps a student and then the student turns around to help the teacher.

For three years my invisible teacher from the spirit realm, Mr.Three-Peaks-Nine-States, taught me many detailed practices. Someone has commented that they found it curious that I should address him as Mister rather than Master. Actually, in ancient China, Mister is the most revered title one could use to address an honored person. The person who made that comment had a poor knowledge of Chinese culture and was unaware of the traditional connotation. In modern times, Mister has become a very ordinary form of address. For example, when someone now writes "Mr. Sheng-yen Lu," it is meant to be a common form of address. But, in ancient China, only extraordinary personalities who were very lofty and who had attained realization were referred to as "Mister." That is why my spirit teacher refers to himself as Mr. Three-Peaks-Nine- States. There is another Great Being from whom I frequently received teachings, who calls himself Mr. Ancient Lotus. Very great Buddhas have come to teach me. All these happenings are authentic. The lineages transmitted to me are also authentic.

Criticism — A Form of Blessing

To be very honest with you, in this life, I have no fear of criticizing anyone. After all, when I criticize someone, I am actually blessing that person. So, what does it matter! [audience laughter]

When a Buddha criticizes a sentient being, it is motivated by love. Why would I even bother unless I cared about the individual? Isn't this true? I only scold people for whom I care and wish the best to happen. That is why such criticism is also a kind of love, a kind of empowerment from my inner being.

I have taken a lot of criticism from many of my own gurus. Guru Thubten Taerchi frequently criticizes me, but I take it very well. In the past, Sakya Cheng-kung also scolded me severely, but I never answered him back, nor any of my gurus for that matter. After all, a disciple is supposed to be empowered by his guru, not the other way around! [audience laughter] I feel that it is entirely appropriate for my guru to empower me through criticism. I am completely accepting because it shows that my guru cares and thinks about me. When one's guru stops criticizing one, it could be that the guru no longer thinks of one or there is no longer any kind of gurudisciple relationship between them. It is worthwhile to be scolded by one's guru, as it shows that the guru cares and loves and thinks about one.

My guru loves to scold me, and he does it all the time. Yet, whenever I visit, instead of criticism, I get a big hug from him. I have heard of my guru's criticism of me, and I still go to pay homage to him This pleases him tremendously, as he feels that I am a good disciple who thinks about him and who will not be turned away by criticism.

Power of Reliance

Amid all this is the power of reliance. After taking refuge in a certain guru, one has to obey the guru and treasure the practices transmitted by the guru. One should not change the pronunciation of the mantras, nor should one alter any of the practices taught by one's guru. Why not? Because all these practices and mantras have within them the power of lineage transmission and the power of reliance. What if one feels that the guru's practices are flawed because the guru has an idiosyncratic pronunciation of mantras? Of course my pronunciation of the mantras carries a Taiwanese accent because I am Taiwanese. However, do not assume that one is being one hundred percent correct by following a Tibetan pronunciation. In Tibet, there are three dialects. Tibetan tulkus from different districts would have different pronunciations of the same mantra.

There are more than two hundred dialects in the Himalayas. Each guru, depending on the district, will pronounce the same mantra differently. Which one of them is to be considered "correct"? Furthermore, the Tibetan mantras came originally from the Indian Sanskrit, which evolved from Primitive Sanskrit. Primitive Sanskrit is the original, correct sound. Therefore, as long as one relies on the mantra sounds transmitted to one by one's guru and, if one's guru has attained realization through these same sounds, then it won't be wrong. What kind of power is this? It is the power of reliance.

Are there any differences between the Tantric practices transmitted by me and those transmitted by existing practice texts? Yes, there are. Differences can be found in the three elements of mudra, mantra, and visualization. Which version should one choose? One should choose the version directly transmitted to one by one's root guru, as that would be the correct one. What kind of power is this? It is the power of reliance.

If one visits another teacher and finds that the mudra used by this other teacher is different from the one transmitted by me and, if one then thinks the root guru has made a mistake and decides to use the other teacher's mudra, one would be in error. One would thus lose the power of reliance.

Once a True Buddha student came to see me and tell me that he had taken refuge in another guru. I spoke to him, "That is very good. What has this guru taught you?" He replied, "His mudra for the Ucchusma Practice is different from yours!" "Oh, is that the case? Then what did you do?" He then said, "Grand Master, I could tell that he is much older than you are." [audience laughter] I then asked him, "What do you mean?" [audience laughter] What he meant was that the guru who was more senior in age must be right.

According to this student, his other guru was an adept in the Ucchusma Practice, so I asked him to show me the mudra he had learned from his other guru. Following my request, he started to fashion a mudra like this [[[Grand Master]] makes a quick hand gesture movement and audience laughs.] No sooner 52 than it was formed he released it, apologizing at the same time that he really could not teach me how to do it.

I found this quite amusing. Actually I learned the Ucchusma Mudra a long time ago. The late guru (Master Hui San) who taught me the Ucchusma Practice was one of the three Buddhist masters from whom I received the Bodhisattva Vows. This is the mudra he taught me. [[[Grand Master]] demonstrates]

That student was afraid that I would learn his mudra; therefore, he behaved the way he did. Actually it did not matter, as the Dharma I have learned stretches to infinity. How many gurus do I have? I myself have more than twenty gurus. I have learned and practiced the Dharma for more than twenty years. Could it be possible that I do not know how to form the Ucchusma Mudra? Since this student made a comparison and decided to learn from the other master, he may have lost the chance of obtaining the authentic Ucchusma Practice from me. In the future, I will eventually teach the Ucchusma Practice and, perhaps, this student could learn it from me, if he stayed on with me. As with the Achala Practice which I have transmitted, there are many keys and secrets to the Ferocious Deity Practice. If one practices according to my instructions, one will obtain the power of reliance on the lineage transmission. If one alters the practice by substituting certain portions with teachings from other gurus, one loses the power of reliance.

Have you read a book called Gurus of the Himalayas? It was written by Swami Lama. I read it more than ten years ago in Taiwan. I don't know whether or not you noticed a very important chapter in the book. In it, a guru climbed a tree from which hung a beehive. He talked to the bees, "Please do not sting me, please do not sting me." None of the bees touched him, and he climbed back down safely. A disciple witnessed the strange event and asked his guru, "What kind of mantra did you use to keep the bees from stinging you?" His guru replied, "You only need to remember to tell them 'Please do not sting me' and the bees will not sting you." So this student climbed up the tree and spoke to the bees, "Please do not sting me." Indeed the bees all obeyed him, and he came back down unscathed. This student thought to himself, "Wow, how wonderful!" Hurriedly he went to teach other people the same method. Consequently, someone followed his advice and climbed up the tree and repeated the same saying, but got stung to death!

Empowerment from the Guru

Why does the same saying work for some people and not for others? It has to do with the presence of the guru's energy or empowerment. When a Tantric practice is taught by a realized guru, it becomes efficacious. If one just learns the practice from a text without receiving any empowerment from the guru, i.e., without the power of reliance from the guru, the practice will not be effective. Therefore, in Tantric practice, every visualization, mantra, and mudra has to be taught to one and empowered by the guru. Such empowerments are necessary for quick yogic responses.

When Milarepa studied under the Lama Ngokpa, he made no progress. Finally, after meeting his root guru Marpa, who bestowed him an empowerment, he went into retreat and was able to receive a yogic response. In fact, it was the same practice, as Lama Ngokpa was himself a student of Marpa. However, it took an empowerment from the root guru to provide the spiritual power of reliance which allowed Milarepa to become successful in practice.

Therefore, to chant "Namo Guru bei, Namo Buddha ye, Namo Dharma ye, Namo Sangha ye" is to call upon this power of reliance. From this Fourfold Refuge Mantra, a kind of power which intimately connects the disciple to the root guru will come into being. When one chants this mantra, one should be wholeheartedly asking the guru, the Triple Jewels, and all the Dharmas to empower one. If it is not done this way, the power of reliance will not be present. One has to recite this mantra one million times in order to generate an authentic power of reliance. It is a very important practice in the Four Preliminary Practices.

Many students do not realize that the crux of the Fourfold Refuge Mantra resides completely on beseeching the guru, the Triple Jewels, and all the Buddhadharma to give one empowerment and blessings. In doing this liturgical step, one first visualizes and then chants the mantra. The visualization must be very clear, with the guru and the Triple Jewels of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha merging together to form a brilliant beam of white light which enters the crown of one's head. After this visualization, one chants the Fourfold Refuge Mantra.

Of course it is not easy in this world for a student to find a capable guru, nor is it easy for a guru to find a worthwhile student. But, as long as one aspires to the Universal Truth, as long as one has the mind to attain the Universal Consciousness, then, when one prays sincerely, one's guru will appear to empower one and transmit one with the Dharma, and to always be nearby. Thus, when a true disciple is ready, the guru will manifest. One does not have to fear that there will not be a true guru to teach one the Dharma. As long as a student has made all the adequate preparations, one's guru will manifest in front of one. This is a very important point.

The Samaya Pledge

Students of superior foundation as well as masters who are fully realized are rare in this world. Before taking refuge in a guru, one must first examine the guru closely. After taking refuge, one must never find fault in one's guru. Do not think that I am without faults; I do have shortcomings. Neither do I think that my gurus are without faults; they too have shortcomings However, one must not think that something is amiss with the guru just because he has lost his temper or that he has done something wrong in one's view.

Are you aware that, after taking refuge in a guru, one should not have any regrets? In Tantrayana, there exists between the guru and his disciple a Samaya Pledge [[[sacred]] commitment] which binds the two completely together. When one criticizes or annihilates one's own guru, one is annihilating oneself, as the bond of the Samaya Pledge is absolutely sacrosanct. Therefore, before committing oneself and taking refuge, one must get to know the guru very well. After one takes refuge, one must try not to break the Pledge at all costs, as the force of the Samaya Pledge in Tantrayana is very strong and indestructible. Humans do err. My gurus also have shortcomings which I would not talk about. Isn't it so? What one learns from one's guru are his merits and virtues and not his failings. Actually, what one has to learn from the guru is the Buddhadharma. A guru teaches the disciple the Buddhadharma that he knows and, after obtaining the power of reliance from the guru, the disciple works to attain realization. It is just this simple. So why should one be bothered by one's guru's behavior? Why should one mind if the guru sings, dances, or drinks wine? Don't be bothered with any of these! After all, these are not what one has to learn from the guru. What one has to learn from the guru is the Buddhadharma. Make no mistake about it!

Reliance on the Dharma

I have many gurus and each of them lives his own lifestyle. I do not let any of their lifestyles affect me. I only learn the Buddhadharma from each of them. I respect them and the Buddhadharma that they teach. When one takes refuge in a Tantric guru, the strong and unbreakable Samaya Pledge automatically becomes effective and one then obtains the lofty power of reliance. The power developed through practice taught by one's guru is that of lineage transmission.

One must realize that the relationship between the guru and the disciple is, in fact, very direct and intimate. This Fourfold Refuge Mantra serves to enhance and strengthen this relationship and the power of reliance. [[[Grand Master]] rings the Bell.]

The Armor Protection

Next I will discuss the Armor Protection. In performing the Armor Protection, one forms the Vajra Handclasp Mudra and chants seven times the mantra "Om, bo ru lan ze lee." The mudra is brought to touch the brow point, the throat, heart, left shoulder, right shoulder, and then back to the crown before it is released. At the moment of releasing the mudra, one visualizes the Vajrasattva or the Dharma Protector at one's shrine transforming into four bodies, guarding oneself in front and behind, and to the right and left sides. This is to protect one from evil forces. This step gives one the power of protection.

This Armor Protection might appear to be very simple, as it only involves bringing the Vajra Handclasp Mudra to press upon the brow point, then the throat, heart, left shoulder, right shoulder, and finally the crown before releasing it. Or does the right shoulder come before the left shoulder? [Audience replies, "Left shoulder first."] Sometimes I forget the sequence, after having practiced it for so long. [[[Grand Master]] laughs.] One does not have any problem during regular practice but, with the video camera running now and recording everything, I am afraid that if! make a mistake with the order of the shoulders, many questions will arise and! will later get many letters asking for clarification.

In general, Tantric practices consist of the three elements of mudra, mantra, and visualization. Mudra is the secret used to purify body, mantra is the secret used to purify speech, and visualization is the secret used to purify mind or habitual consciousness. The purification of body, mind, and speech is an inherent secret of Mahavairocana Buddha, the Great Sun Buddha. Utilizing this secret of the Tathagata, a tantrika can integrate the three secrets and purify karmic traces associated with the three existences of body, mind, and speech. Put more simply, by replacing the karmic traces of body, mind, and speech with the corresponding three secrets of mudra, mantra, and visualization, an ordinary person transmutes into a Tathagata. This method of purification of body, mind, and speech forms the entire basis of all Tantric practices.

Armor Protection is found only in Tantrayana and not in Sutrayana practices. There are many kinds of Armor Protection methods. For example, I have already taught you the Dream Mahamudra. In that particular method, one practices this skill of protection before one falls asleep: one assumes the Lion Posture, chants a mantra, and visualizes the Root Guru or Personal Deity appearing to emit light on one; then, from one's throat a red light is emitted and transformed into a red tent over oneself, providing a sacred space for Clear Light meditation during the sleep state. This is a protective force of the Dream Mahamudra.

During meditation practices, one performs the mudra, mantra, and visualizes the Dharma Protector to keep guard around one in each of the four directions, protecting one throughout the practice. When one forms the mudra correctly, chants the mantra well, and enters deeply into the visualization, one definitely receives protection from the Dharma Protectors.

Other Circumstances When Armor Protection Is Needed

There are also other circumstances when there is a need to perform the Armor Protection. Meditation is not the only situation where there is a possibility of subtle interfering forces. For example, one has to exercise caution when one visits a hospital. Many patients in the hospital have "attached spirits". Why are these patients sick? Many of the illnesses are caused by attached spirits and ghosts. When one visits patients in the hospital, one should first perform the Armor Protection. Otherwise, it is possible that some of these attached spirits might follow one home and become one's own attached spirits. Then it will take some effort to have these attached spirits delivered through a Deliverance Ceremony. Therefore, before visiting a hospital, one should perform the Armor Protection.

Slaughterhouses also have many angry spirits. Why? Because these are places where many lives are taken and many embittered spirits are engendered. Therefore, one needs to perform the Armor Protection before visiting slaughterhouses; otherwise, there will be many harassment when one becomes entangled by a rancorous spirit.

Before visiting a cinema, one should perform the Armor Protection. Why are there ghosts inside cinemas ? [audience laughter] One might not know that many roaming ghosts like to converge inside cinemas. Therefore, there is a need to perform the Armor Protection.

Weddings and funerals also require the Armor Protection. When one gets married, one's ancestor spirits come to participate and celebrate as they care very much about such major events in the lives of their descendants. When one dies, the spirits come to have a party to welcome one's birth into their world. Therefore, it is necessary to perform the Armor Protection in both these circumstances.

It is best not to visit any places where pornography or sex is sold. If one does go to such a place, one should perform the Armor Protection. [audience laughter] What kind of ghost is most populous there? The lust ghosts! [audience laughter] One might have a Pure Dharma Body [audience laughter] but, when a lust ghost attaches itself to one, one's thoughts will have a difficult time remaining unperturbed. One falls down when one's mind is tainted with lust. Because of the presence of lust ghosts in such places, one has to perform the Armor Protection.

In general, when one visits such places, in addition to performing the Armor Protection, one sometimes also needs to recite the Hundred Syllable Mantra. When one chants the Hundred Syllable Mantra in the vicinity of these places, it brings great benefits to oneself as well as to other sentient beings, including the spirits.

Therefore there are several circumstances when the Armor Protection has to be performed. A student has asked me if I could teach a special method as a substitute for the Dream Mahamudra. He says that the Dream Mahamudra, which is equivalent to the Armor Protection, is too long. He is usually quite fatigued when he goes to bed, and so he falls asleep half way through the Dream Mahamudra. [audience laughter] He works very hard during the day and, by the time he goes to bed, he is bone-tired and yet still has to practice the Dream Mahamudra! Why does the True Buddha Tantric Dharma have to be so tiresome! [audience laughter] Sleeptime is sleeptime, why be bothered with the Dream Mahamudra!

One might not be aware of this but, during the state of sleep, it is most difficult for one to remain mindful. I can assure you that I am continuously in the state of mindfulness during the nighttime as well as the daytime; but can you assure that for yourself? Even if one is capable of uninterrupted mindfulness during the day, one might not be able to maintain such a presence at night. In order to be mindful during sleep, one must have some protective force guarding one. If demons come to steal one's chi or vital energy during sleep, then the longer one sleeps, the more tired one becomes. One might wonder why one is lucid and capable of noble and lofty discussions with others during the daytime but, as soon as one falls asleep, one is overtaken by confusion and chaos. One racks one's brain wondering why, but the same situation recurs each night. Such a condition indeed exists, which is why nighttime is when it is easiest to lose one's mind.

There is a simple way to do the Armor Protection and today I will teach you this Dharma Treasure. [audience applause] In contemporary society, people prefer something that is simple and easy over anything that is too long and cumbersome.

Protection Power of The Vajra

When one is lying in bed, regardless of one's sleeping posture, first visualize one's two big toes joined together and extending out until they are very long. Then visualize the area at the top of the crown also start to protrude and become long and extended. Doesn't it seem to turn one into a kind of unicorn? Well, let's not worry about it. Next the kneecaps start to transform into the five prongs of a vajra, and the area between the kneecaps and the neck becomes the mid-section of a vajra, while one's head becomes another set of five prongs. What has one become? One has become a vajra. The five prongs knot at each end tapers out to a point, while the body transforms into the mid-section of a vajra. After such visualization, one chants the tri-syllable mantra, "Lang, Yang, Kang." One chants this twenty-one times, or forty-nine times, or one hundred eight times, or until one falls asleep.

One's visualization has to be very clear before one chants the mantra, then what is sleeping on the bed will be a vajra. When the demons come and take a look, all they see is a sacred weapon that can destroy them! [audience laughter] They leave one alone because one has chanted the tri-syllable mantra. The final syllable "Kong" means strong and sturdy. By chanting the tri-syllable mantra repeatedly, one becomes strong and sturdy, and transformed into a vajra lying there on the bed. The demons would not have the nerve to assault one. This is the simplest and easiest way of protection.

An additional benefit of doing this practice is that one's life-span will be lengthened. So this is a very good method in developing strength and longevity.

Other Applications of Armor Protection

We have to learn to apply the Armor Protection in our daily lives. One of these applications is to chant seven times the mantra, "Om bo ru lan ze lee," while holding the clothes one is to put on and visualizing them transforming into armor. Chant another seven times the mantra "Om bo ru lan ze lee" while holding one's hat and transform it into a warrior's helmet. The clothes become body armor and the hat becomes a steel helmet. This is the way to practice Armor Protection.

One has to learn diverse uses of the Armor Protection due to the power of demonic forces. When one performs the Armor Protection and has the vajra gods guarding over one, cultivation will be free of negative interference. Every spiritual cultivator requires such inner protection. One can visualize the vajra as golden in color.

"Lang, Yang, Kang." All of you here today who have heard this method can practice it when you go home. You will generate a kind of power. When you repose at night as a vajra, negative forces will leave you alone. This is the most effective method of protection.

Today I have discussed three liturgical steps: the Mandala Offering, Fourfold Refuge, and Armor Protection. Actually there are numerous alternative forms of Armor Protection methods, such as the Four Animal Spirits Armor Protection mentioned in one of my books, but this Vajrasattva Armor Protection is sufficient. When one performs, in addition, the Vajra Transformation at night, I believe one can become very firm and strong and will be able to attain very high spiritual power.

Om Mani Padme Hum.