Hierarchy of Buddhist Dharma Kings
Living Buddha Dechan Jueren, 14 July 2003
Los Angeles Dari Rulai Temple
Translated by: Jaliniprabhakumara
Transcribed by: Decheng
Jaliniprabhakumara: They were talking about the crown…Dharma kings are different than living Buddhas. Certainly, every Dharma king is a living Buddha, but not every living Buddha is a Dharma king. It’s a different concept. A Dharma king has that authority, a living Buddha does not have that kind of authority. There are only…when you say Dharma king, it has to be a crowned Dharma king. If you use the title loosely, Dharma king applying to an other living Buddha who has no crown, that is not a king, because there’s no throne chair, no crown. There are only so many crowned Dharma kings in Buddhism, there are not infinite numbers.
For example, Karmapa is a crowned Dharma king, a black crown. Representing one of the five Buddhas, Ratnasambhava.
Tilopa is also a crowned Dharma king, a blue crown, representing Aksobya Buddha.
Master Yu has the golden crown which means the Mahavairocana, the central Buddha. There are two others that haven’t shown up yet, but soon. Hopefully I’ll be able to snap their pictures with their crowns and put it on the website (www.darirulai.org).
Master: Certainly we will be introducing more of this kind of knowledge and understanding about Buddhism, the hierarchy in spiritual attainment. One Buddha and eight Bodhisattva … actually five Buddha and four Bodhisattvas. If you really want to be able to receive knowledge through understanding of what Buddhism is all about, the real deal, then you have to free yourself from any kind of political disturbances. If you have any political view, you may have all kinds of doubts and questions.
I often say this in my talks, people have this bad habit, they cannot accept others. They are always examining the world through what they know. What do they know? What kind of knowledge do they really have? The knowledge is whatever they have read or heard before. That’s where they draw their reference. From newspaper or media or whatever source. Therefore they will examine the world, drawing reference from their knowledge base. And judge what they don’t know.
In Buddhism there are actually only nine crowned Dharma kings. You can think of the nine Dharma kings, like nine major universities. Every living Buddha has to graduate from one of these universities, graduate from a Dharma king’s teachings. There are nine universities, but each university is at a different level. Certain universities are more advanced than others. Whichever living Buddha graduates from these universities, they all attain to different levels, depending on their focus and discipline.
If you want to understand about knowledge of Buddhism, what Buddhism is all about, you have to free yourself from political disturbances. If we were to mention certain famous names, and people have their own point of view, they will begin to argue about what they think they know. Actually when I mention the name Dharma king, to be honest, most of you don’t really know who are the real Dharma kings.
In the real discipline and teaching of Buddhism, there are nine Dharma kings. Just like in the Illumination of the nine suns meditation. Of these nine suns, certainly the central one is the absolute sun, is the Mahavairocana, or the great sun, great enlightener, the sun that forever shines always. From these central suns, in each direction north, south, east, and west, are the other 4 Buddhas, what we call the 4 Jnana Buddha, or wisdom Buddhas, meditating Buddhas.
At each corner, NE, NW, SE, and SW, are the 4 Bodhisattvas. The great Bodhisattvas, equivalent to what we call a Tathagata, one that …..gone, just like a Buddha in a sense. Certainly, I have written a book, and many of the Chinese students have read it but most of them haven’t really paid much attention to it. Let me kind of elaborate for you.
There are five levels of Buddha hood. In Buddhism, in the beginning, it’s a Vajra being. Lohan, or Arhat …….. Bodhisattva, then Prab….. Buddha, means the lone awakener, the highest one is Buddha. Such terms like living Buddha in China, or in Tibetan they call it Rinpoche, these kind of terms apply loosely. Most of these living Buddhas or Rinpoches are at the Vajra or Lohan/Arhat stage. That’s a loosely applied term encompassing all these five.
The two most famous names of living Buddhas are Dalai Lama and Panchan Lama. Most people are aware that Dalai Lama represents the manifestation of Avalokitesvara.
Not everyone knows that Panchan Lama represents the manifestation of Amitabha Buddha.
Most westerners are not aware of this other type called ?Huktu?. There is a greater Huktu and lesser Huktu. It’s a title, actually it’s a Mongolian term, however it’s by the Qing emperors, officially giving titles to the highest living Buddhas of the Mongolian region. The greater Huktu and lesser Huktu together are the representatives of the manifestation of the Longevity Buddha.
Jamyang Tubtan Rinpoche of the Palace of Harmony, he is the representative of the manifestation of the Immeasurable Vajra.
?Labran? Another famous living Buddha represents the manifestation of Vajrapani the diamond ……?.
Some of you have met Master Wu from Beijing. His Sanskrit name is actually called ??Denghuiranabanzar?? Living Buddha, he represents the manifestation of the High Knowledge.
All these names I have mentioned for you, they are certainly famous names in the Living Buddha circles, some of the top names.
Dharma kings know, exactly, clearly, where they are going to be in their next reincarnation. They can draw their own picture…this is exactly what they will look like in their next reincarnation and where they are going to be. They have that option or choice to decide for themselves. To the point where the king, the real Dharma kings, they can write down their father’s name and their mother’s name right now for the next life. Each of these nine Dharma kings certainly have their own particular personalities, characteristics in the mandala of Buddhas/Bodhisattvas.
If you understand so far what I am trying to explain to you, in Buddhism, the highest are the nine Dharma kings. The leader of these nine Dharma kings is the central one. The one with the golden crown. I mention sometimes, only with certain disciples alone, what the future will be like. We are in the age when all schools, all teachings, will merge together. Only in this age will the lineage holder of this line, the Mahavairocana, the central sun Buddha reveal to the world. Before that in history it was a very secret thing, very few people knew about it. If we were not in this age, Mahavairocana, the Great Enlightener Dharma King would not reveal himself to the world either.
-Break in Tape-
….They came into this world, trying to turn the world around. They all tried to turn the world around, to change people to become better. Understand, any of this kind of force that follows the natural rhythm, will never be greater than the force that is going against the natural rhythm. All that they have advocated, has all been drowned out. You can say Buddhism, not as a particular religion or sect, is no longer a continuation of all these ideals.
Even the Islamic teachings of Mohammad, he had the same teachings, same ideals, to turn the world around. In Mohammad’s time there were eight main families, these families controlled everything. They checked each other and fought each other. By their own selfishness, even though they were…… Mohammad, therefore, you know what happened.
And certainly Jesus Christ also had those same ideals. What Jesus Christ did……At the peak of his years, when he was most able to do things for the people, he was sold out by his own disciple.
Shakyamuni continued those same ideals. Certainly Shakyamuni continued also the Brahmans ideals. Shakyamuni advocated salvation for every being, and he was actually viewed unfavorably by the Brahman church. The teaching of Buddhism is a natural perfection, boundlessness. However, through history Buddhism actually suffered quite a few times.
We all know Buddhism originated in India. Around the 2nd century, when the Muslims invaded India, most Buddhists didn’t fight back. They stayed where they were, and they were slaughtered. Buddhism suffered greatly from the Muslim invasion, most of them were killed off. Only 11 Buddhists escaped India.
Then Buddhism, at that time, you can say mainly was no longer in India, but in China. Around the 8th century, the Tang emperor viewed Buddhist teachings unfavorably, so Buddhism suffered in China just like it did in India. 25,000 scrolls of the sutras were burned by the order of the emperor Tang Wu Zong.
Tibet schools came later, not counting the Tibetan traditions, they have retained a lot of the teachings.
In Chinese Buddhism, in all schools, there are only actually 83 different collections of sutras. It is incomplete. I can tell you this, of these 25,000 scrolls of teachings, they are in my head. I am the only one who knows them all. Have you not thought about it? The one that sent the bullet my way may not be a human being. They knew what they were aiming at, they wanted to stop me. You can think of it as devils, they don’t want the teachings to be made public in the world.
Of so many people in the world today, since the last 50 years we have had this population explosion. Did you not know, the majority of them, or a lot of them, they are not really human beings? You may look at a person, on appearance it’s a human. They have two legs, wearing clothes, walking on the street. ….. When you see into him, what is on his mind.
Only when human beings are able to truly grasp the teachings of Buddhism and Buddha Dharma will we elevate ourselves to a different stage, and this world will no longer have war. This modern world we have right now we are in, this is a terrible world. Most everybody lies and cheats each other.
A: By the time the whole world knows, it will be about four years later. That major earthquake begins inside, in everybody’s inner heart, they begin to shake up about their belief, their faith. They will begin to have new understanding or perception on what faith or religion is about. By then, four years later, a lot of things will have happened. People will begin to realize, any religious figure having any kind of political attachment, they are not on the right path, people will begin to see this for themselves.
Why do people begin to cheat and lie to each other and put on facades and never be truthful and honest anymore? Because we are in this environment in this world, we are accustomed to it and we have adapted to the environment, therefore we lie and cheat ourselves. Even though they are cheaters and liars, I do not see them as sinners. I see them as trying to preserve themselves and protect themselves, they have no other way. This is the only way they can do it. Certainly this is a mistake, an error in their behavior and activities.
How to change that around? That is a very difficult mission. People by default in this world are unable to give up things they are so accustomed to. It’s hard for them to surrender. If we want them to really be able to surrender all of this, then they have to learn the ways to raise or elevate themselves to a higher stage. Only when human beings are able to do this…..When people reach that higher stage, then they will naturally surrender all of this. A real earthquake is coming.
Q: What is the mission of the first Golden Dharma King……Inaudible
A: To spread the seeds.