Still More Please! Part I


Yogi C. M. Chen

Chapter I of this essay has been published as New Booklet No. 22, "The Crucifixion", and Chapter II as New Booklet No. 23, "Everlasting life and Heaven". We begin here with Chapter III.

III. Baptism

Every religion has its cause, effect and path. To believe in and be affected by the crucifixion is the cause of Christianity. To aspire to attain everlasting life in heaven is the effect of Christianity. We have already discussed these ideas in the previous chapters. Now we shall consider the path of Christianity.

Certainly when the Lord Jesus was alive, He himself was the path (John 14:6) and we had only to follow him step by step. Now since his death and before his next coming we should find the path in the Bible. There are several important teachings in the Bible which are also found in Buddhism that we must follow: Baptism, the Ten Commandments, Love, Devotion, Almsgiving, Prayer and Meditation. I will describe each of them in the following chapters.

In this chapter, I would like to discuss baptism within the following context: A. The purpose of baptism, B. The outward sign of baptism, and C. The inward grace of baptism.

A. The Purpose of Baptism

There are five purposes of baptism:

1) Baptism is the first and most important sacrament because without it no other sacrament can be validly received. It gives us a new birth by which we become children of God, members of the Church (I Corinthians 12:13) and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven (Ephesians 5:5).

2) It imprints a new indelible character.

3) It cleanses one of all sins--original and self-inflicted.

4) It remits all temporal punishment due to sin.

5) It bestows sanctifying grace and makes the soul the temple of the Holy Ghost (Act. 2:38, 22:16; I Corinthians 3:16; Titus 3:5; I Peter 3:20-22).

In Buddhism baptism serves many purposes other than those mentioned above. The Christian religion does not allow anyone to become God through baptism, however, Buddhists are permitted to become Buddha. Salvation for oneself and all sentient beings may also be attained through baptism. However, whether the individual does achieve Buddhahood and salvation or not, he certainly is the recipient of good karma which ensures his attaining salvation and Buddhahood in another lifetime.

In Christianity there is only one baptism (Ephesians 4:5), but in Buddhism there are many kinds of baptisms for many different purposes. If you want to become a Buddha like Amitabha you may ask your Guru for the Amitabha baptism. Similarly, if the desire is to become the Great-Joy Vajra, this baptism is requested.

In the supreme yoga teaching of Tantric Buddhism, there are four important baptisms; the first is to absolve human nature, and sanctify the form and spirit of innocent emptiness; the second is to testify that the disciple has adequately practiced Buddhahood in form and spirit and sanctifying him that he might develop the inward holy body of subtle wisdom through the exercise of mind-wind in oneness; the third testifies that the disciple has practiced the wisdom body in oneness well, and sanctifies him so that he may practice the Divine-Wisdom-Love with the Goddess; the fourth is to testify that the disciple has learned that the Zen-truth and the great joy are in oneness. This is in agreement with all the Buddhas of the past.

A detailed explanation of these four kinds of baptisms appears in my Chinese work entitled: "An essay on the Tantric Initiations." The baptisms help the disciples to attain the accomplishment of Nirvana. For worldly benefits, you may get the baptism of wealth from the Buddha of Wealth which enables one to obtain money honestly; for those desiring long life, there is a baptism of the Long-Life Buddha; the baptism of the king of birds, Garuda, is for healing leprosy; the baptism of the Medicine-Buddha is for healing any kind of disease. I have received five hundred different baptisms in Tantric Buddhism. If Baptism is good,why have only one? My good readers, please aspire further and become a Buddha through Buddhism.

B. The Outward Sign of Baptism

The outward sign of baptism is water. One is either immersed in or sprinkled with water. In Christianity only water is used, but baptism in Buddhism is performed with the use of twenty-five other substances that are put in the water. These twenty-five substances include five kinds of gems, five kinds of nectars, five kinds of medicine, five kinds of meat, and another group of five kinds of ingredients.

The Christian religion uses pure water which represents the negative purpose of washing. The positive effect of inward grace comes from baptism in the name of the trinity, but not from the water. The Buddhist baptism in twenty-five substances contains both negative and positive affects. These substances indicate the five essential elements and the five-fold wisdom of the Buddha. They are mixed as the five nectars of the male Buddhas mixing with that of the five female Buddhas. On the one hand, the sins of the disciples are washed away, and on the other hand, the Buddhahood nature appears.

Besides the water mixed with twenty-five substances mentioned above, there are five objects used in the first baptism: a precious vase which denotes the Eastern Buddha, a precious Vajra which denotes the Western Buddha, a precious crown denoting the Southern Buddha, a Bell which represents the Northern Buddha, and a precious wheel symbolizing the Central Buddha.

In the second baptism, sugar is used to represent the male Buddha's nectar; wine is used to represent the female Buddha's.

In the third baptism, a Female Buddha , female angel or female divinity is given by the Guru to accompany the disciple.

C. The Inward Grace of Baptism

We know that a perfect example of the receipt of inward grace occurred in the baptism of Jesus. The inward grace was symbolized by a dove which meant that the Holy Ghost was coming down into his body and the other grace was a holy voice saying, "This is my beloved son," spoken by God himself at the exact moment when Jesus received the baptism. This holy event contained two important characteristics of inward grace: one is a sign of heaven representing the Holy Ghost, and the other is a heavenly voice. Both should appear at the exact moment of baptism. If they do not happen at that very moment, but occur either before or after the baptism, they represent only blessings from God.

In Mark 9:7, we read that a voice was heard from a cloud saying, "This is my beloved son..." Though this voice again represented the Holy Ghost the same as it did on the day of Jesus' baptism, we cannot say whether this voice also represented the grace of baptism or not, but we can say it was a blessing.

However, from the various Buddhistic biographical works there are many wonderful examples of the grace of baptism. The following are a few examples:

When the Tibetan great Yogi Milarepa received the baptism of the Great-Joy-Buddha from his Guru, Marpa, the paradise of the Great-Joy-Buddha appeared in the sky simultaneously with Marpa's description (or introduction) of that holy place.

The great Saint named Biwapa received the Dorje Palmo baptism from the Non-Ego Dakini and he attained the accomplishment of the sixth stage of Bodhisattvahood.

When I received the Four-Arm-Mahakala-Protector baptism from my Guru in Changsha,Hunan, it hailed and thundered as the signs of his coming. The sound of these two kinds of voices arose and stopped simultaneously with the beginning and ending of my Guru's invoking music to him. My body was filled with warmth and joy. I heard a voice saying, "Surely you have received this baptism."

If we imagine the sea to be ink and Mt. Meru to be pen, even then we would run out of ink and pen before repeating all the many instances of grace as related in biographies. Dear readers, don't you desire to be baptized in Buddhism to attain what you have not attained in your own religion?

Please pray: May the Buddhas preach to God in heaven and deliver Him as well as ourselves. May God protect every Buddhist for Buddha's sake. May we get the opportunity to be baptized in Buddhism and attain the grace of that baptism.

IV. The Ten Commandments

A bridge to heaven, a sword against Satan, a Key to the gate of God's kingdom, a foundation to all religions, are the commandments.

What are the main characteristic of the Ten Commandments? Which commandments are neglected by the Catholics and Protestants? What should be borrowed from Buddhism? what other questions may arise about the Commandments? I deal with all of these questions in this chapter individually.

A. What are the main characteristics of the Ten Commandments?

The Ten Commandments were spoken by God (Exodus 20:1), (Deu. 5:4-22); written by God (Exodus 32:16), (Exodus 34:1-28), (Deu. 4:13), (Deu. 10:4); and enumerated by God (Exodus 20:3-17). They are the law of God (Mat. 5:19) described in both the Old and New Testament as pure (Psalms 19:8); spiritual (Roman 7:12); holy, just and good (Roman 7:12); perfect (Psalms 19:7); true (Psalms 19:9). They were given to Adam (Gen. 2:16-17), (Rom. 5:12-14), Noah (Gen. 9:9) and to the Israelites (Exo. 20:2), and are exceedingly broad (Psalms 119:96).

The Ten Commandments are:

1) I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt and out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make to thee any graven image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them.

2) Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

3) Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

4) Honor thy father and thy mother.

5) Thou shalt not kill.

6) Thou shalt not commit adultery.

7) Thou shalt not steal.

8) Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

9) Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife.

10) Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods.

Among these commandments, those against killing, adultery, stealing and bearing false witness certainly are the main ones and are common to all religions. Both Hinduism and Buddhism preceded Christianity and the explanations of the four main commandments differ in the various religions. However, the most subtle explanations appear in Buddhism. For example, in Buddhism it is not only a sin to kill human beings but animals, tress and herbs also. There is a story about Saint Nagarjuna which is based on this belief. The saint had reached a high degree of Buddhist Enlightenment. One day a robber attempted to kill him with a sword but the sword could not harm him. Nagarjuna told the robber, "I never killed a man with a sword, but I did pick a blade of grass in a previous life, therefore, you may harm me by putting a blade of grass around my neck. It will kill me as repayment of my previous sin." The robber killed the saint according to his instructions.

Today it is very common to see fathers go hunting. It is a very shameful thing for a Buddhist to do so because the animals are our neighbors. The definitions of neighbor in the commandments is as follows:

a.) One who dwells or is placed near another (Kings 4:3).

b.) Every man or woman to whom we have an opportunity to do good (Mat. 22:39).

c.) A fellow-member of the same group of people (Acts 7:27).

d.) One who does good, and has pity on us and relieves us when we are in distress (Luke 10:36).

The meaning of neighbor in Buddhism is very broad. Any organic or non-organic thing is our neighbor: they are within our Dharmakaya. How a Buddhist should love his neighbor shall be discussed in the next chapter. It is good to keep the commandments but better to extend their meaning as illustrated above.

B. What Practices are Neglected by Both Catholics and Protestants?

If we read all that God taught us through the prophet Moses personally, we can find many rules, laws, and Commandments that are neglected by the two sects of Christianity. In those three chapters of Exodus 21, 22 and 23, there are many laws that are not included as part of the Ten Commandments. The other commandments may be divided into three types, namely: a) Ceremonial laws--those relating to the manner of worshipping God; b) Civil Laws--those relating to the administration of justice; c) A covenant of works to the Jews as a nation.

Most of these commandments are kept by Catholics but not all Protestant sects, e.g., they have no sacraments, but both are against the laws and do not observe the fire sacrifice to God. In Hinduism and Buddhism that sacrifice has been maintained. It would be good if Christians would overcome this negligence in the worship of God. I am sorry to say that the more modern times become and the more sects that arise, the fewer are the commandments that are followed.

Today we can see Protestant youth associations in all countries of the world. Their churches organize and have many clubs whose sole purpose is to please the youth. They have theaters, billiard halls, saloons, restaurants, barber shops and play grounds. Some of the clubs, etc. are the cause of adultery, and others cause them to love this evil world and forget the kingdom of God. If our Lord were still alive, he would cast them out from the church as he did the buyers and sellers in the temple of Jerusalem.

As for the rules of St. Benedict, Saint Augustine and St. Francis, they contain many innovations of the law; but they are neglected even by the Catholic church now. It is important that we encourage and promote these rules again.

C. What Should be Borrowed from Buddhism

There are three kinds of commandments in Buddhism.

l). Those which have the rules to get rid of evil things.

2). Those with good things.

3). Those which have blessings for all sentient beings .

There are commandments to suit the different kinds of disciples at their various stages of accomplishment. As I indicated previously, the commandments against stealing, bearing false witness, adultery, and killing are basic and are the foundation, but apart from these there are others: the ten for the ordained who have left home, the eight for the devout at home, the 250 for monks, the 348 or 500 for nuns. In Tantrism there are 14 main commandments and eight secondary commandments, three for the spiritual teacher or master (acharya), five for the Buddhas of the five directions, and five for the female Buddhas of the five directions.

For the development of the Bodhi-heart, there are four commandments that should be kept even after death and there are 45 commandments which apply to those who are learning to be Bodhisattvas.

In order to become a Buddha from the state of a layman there are many commandments according to the different stages of advancement which are reached. In short, the more commandments one is able to keep the higher is the stage attained thereby.

D. Some Other Questions

There is another important difference in viewpoint between Buddhism and other religions. Most religions do not permit the followers to approve of the teachings and practices of other religions, however, this is not true of Buddhism. Buddha Gautama always trained his disciples to be agreeable to any good things done by members of other religions.

It is said that our sins both past and in the future were redeemed by the Crucifixion. There is no question about the remission of our sins but it is very easy to misunderstand about future sins. A Christian must keep the commandments and sanctify himself. He must do nothing contrary to the commandments, then he will have no sin in the future. It does not mean that he may commit the same sins over and still be redeemed.

There is another problem I would like to discuss. According to Buddhism, a sin has been perfectly committed if four conditions occur: one, if that sin was willfully committed by the person without factors of heredity or drunkenness being involved; two, if the act is done with the use of a weapon such as killing with a sword; three, if it has already occurred; four, if the end for which the act was committed has been obtained. According to the above, Adam did not commit a sin in the Garden of Eden. Let us pray:

May God encourage us to be generous enough to keep all the commandments which He wrote in our hearts. May He help us to overcome all the temptations of Satan. May God lead us to meet the good Buddhist Guru and get more teachings and commandments from him; this will enable us to be a better instrument of God as well as of Buddha.

V. Love

The word "Love" appears in the Bible about 482 times according to "Complete Concordance". Among these 482 references, some speak of only one aspect of love and others of several aspects. Therefore, there may be more than 600 references to love in all its aspects. Lord Jesus sums up all the commandments and said that God taught unto us one word--love. When we love God and our neighbor, we keep all the commandments. Verily love is one virtue which contain all other virtues.

We are told that love is an abiding principle (I Cor. 13:8-13), the end of the commandments (Tim. 1:5), a fruit of the spirit (Gal. 5:22, Cor 1:8), an active principle (I The. 1:3, Hev. 6:10), the fulfilling of the law (Rom. 13:8-10, Gal. 5:14, Epistles of James 2:8), a bond of union (II Cor. 2:2), and the bond of perfectness (II Cor. 3:14).

It is of a higher value than sacrifices and even than supernatural gifts (I Cor. 13:3). All things should be done with it (Cor. 16-14), such as ministering to the wants of others (Mat. 25:35), clothing the naked (Mat. 25:36), visiting the sick (James 1:27), supporting the weak (Gal. 6:2, I The. 5:14), covering the faults of others (Peter 4:8), forgiving injuries(Eph. 4:32) and so on.

It should be exhibited not only toward God, the Lord Jesus and the Saints, but also to the Father's ministers (I The. 5:13) and to our families (Eph. 5:25, Tit. 2:4), our fellow-countrymen (Exo. 32:32, Rom. 9:2-3, Rom. 10:1), strangers (Lev. 19:34, Deu. 10:19), and all men (Gal. 6:10), even enemies are included (Exo. 23:4-5, II Kings 6:22, Mat. 5:44, Rom. 12:14-20, I Pet. 3:9). Love is not only practiced by ordinary members but also by saints. They should put it on (Cal. 3:14), follow after it (Phil. 1:9, I The. 3:12), continue in it (I Tim. 2:15, Heb. 13:1), be sincere in it (Rom. 12:9, II Cor. 6:6, II Col. 8:8, I John 3:18), be disinterested in it (I Cor. 10:24, I Cor. 13:5, Phil. 2:4), and be fervent in it(I Pet. 1:22, I Pet. 4:8).

We can find many examples of saints in the Bible, such as Moses (Heb. 11:25), Joseph (Gen. 24:15), Ruth (Ruth 1:16-17), Jonathan (I San. 2:17, 41, 42), Obadiah (I Kings 18:4), Centurion (Luke 7:5), the primitive church (Acts 2:46, Heb. 10:33-34), Lydia (Acts 16:15), Aquila and commandments (Rom. 16:3-4), Paul (I Cor. 6:11-12), Epaphroditus (Phil. 4:15-19), Colosiosus (Col. 1:4), Themotheus (I The. 3:6), Onesephorus (II Tim. 1:16-18), Philmon (Phil. 7:9). We should follow them as well, for everyone who is endowed with love knows God (I Cor. 8:3), is preserved by God (Psalms 145:20), delivered by God (Psa. 91:14), received His mercy (Exo. 20:6).

God Himself has loved us so much that He gave Christ(I John 3:16), He sent His only son, Christ, when we were sinners (Rom. 5:8), adopted us (I John 3:1), made salvation attainable for us (Tit. 3:4-7), forgave sins and quickened our souls (Eph. 2:4-5) and drawing us to Him (Hosea 11:4). We should love all living beings which have been created by Him; by doing that, we give thanks to Him, for Him, for His abounding love.

Christ has given us many examples of loving us, so much that he came to seek the lost (Luke 19:10), prayed for his enemies (Luke 22:34), gave himself for us (Gal. 2:20), died for us (John 15:13), washed away our sins (Rev. 1:5), interceded for us (Heb. 7:25), sent the spirit after his death (Psa. 68:18). His love is unquenchable (Song of Solomon 8:27), constraining (11 Cor. 5:14), and indissoluble (Rom. 8:35). In order to compensate for His love, we should love living beings, which are also loved by him.

Love has always had an important place in all religions. What can we learn from Buddhism in this respect? In Buddhism, there are two great methods to develop love, philosophically and scientifically.

The philosophical method of developing love consists in realizing the truth that every living being is identified with the Dharmakaya. The Buddhist who wants to enter the Dharmakaya will be unable to do so if there is any being he does not love. On the other hand, Buddhists believe in transmigration; and because of inestimable numbers of births, they feel that there is no being who has not at one time been their parents. Therefore, they must love each being as they love their parents in this life. Thirdly, one becomes a Buddha through the development of the Bodhi-heart which is based on love. If they have no love they cannot develop the Bodhi-heart, and neither can they become Buddha. By developing love they develop their Bodhi-heart; by developing the Bodhi-heart they become Buddha; by becoming Buddha they can be the saviour of all living beings.

The scientific methods of developing love may be divided into two main parts: one is psychological and the other is physical. The psychological methods of developing love are as follows:

1). They keep the commandments of the Bodhi-heart and the vows of the Bodhisattva.

2). They show a great deal of goodwill toward all sentient beings. The Medicine Buddha held 12 great vows, when he was a Bodhisattva. Amitabha Buddha holds 48 vows. I myself have learned to make 10 vows. According to the Buddhas' vows, they love all beings actually, disinterestedly, wholeheartedly, diligently and continually.

3). Gautama Buddha taught his disciples the six paths of Bodhisattvahood. They are: (a) almsgiving, (b) keeping the Commandments, (c) patience under insult, (d) zeal, (e) meditation and (f) wisdom.

Of these six paths, the first three are directly pertaining to the love of all sentient beings, the last three permit one to attain secret powers by which we may save beings and indirectly love them. There are still four all-embracing virtues taught by him, such as: charity, affectionate speech, cooperation with others and accommodating oneself to others. By this method, we may pass from a state of selfishness to a state of loving-kindness, and become psychologically changed in our minds, speech and actions. Such persons think only of living beings and not of themselves. If they eat, they eat for all beings; if they work, they work for all beings, and if they die, they die for all living beings. If they are born again, they are reborn for all the living beings until they are all saved by them.

Love for them is as wine for the drunkard, opium for the drug addict, a beautiful girl for the frequenter of brothels, and the bride to the bridegroom. Love is their blood; it gives them energy to do good things for all beings. Love is their bones and permits them to stand up before the multitudes as a model for goodness. Love is their daily bread; it enables them to work continually in loving-kindness for the multitude. In short, their thought is only of love, and their soul is full of love. This is what is called the psychological change toward love.

Physical love is loving a divine being. In the esoteric school of Buddhism, there are many secret doctrines which teach the practice of divine love. Their fundamental method is yogic exercises and breathing. By this profound path, one may obtain powers with which to save others without leaving his seat. It is both a practical and fruitful love.

To awaken genuine love in us is not an easy thing to do. The main source is our own goodness. However, it is important to find someone to help us awaken it. In Christianity only one God is acknowledged. Therefore, they get help only from him. In Buddhism there are many Buddhas from whom one may obtain assistance. First of all, the Buddhas in the Ten Directions gathered their love into one body called Kuan-Yin, Avalokitesvara. When it seemed that more help was needed, he transformed himself into many, many forms of divine angels and human beings in order to save others (Jesus is also an incarnation of him. I shall explain this further in the last chapter of conclusions). Again, at seeing so much suffering, he wept all day and gathered his tears which were transformed into the female Buddha "Tara". She always appears before all prayers. The reports of inspirations from her have been compiled and cover many volumes. Then Tara transformed herself into 21 incarnated forms. Every form has its own special powers to help others in specific circumstances. One may get help in obtaining wealth, health, sons and daughters, knowledge, and powers from them. Therefore, if you practice Buddhism you may get help from everywhere to help you to excel and fasten your love deeply without discrimination. If you want to learn more methods of love, you should drop sectarianism and open your mind to Buddhism.

Let us pray: May God make us a good instrument of love. May He enable us to be more useful to Him in saving others. May we become acquainted with the methods and doctrines of love of every religion so that we may save others as the Buddha does.

VI. Almsgiving

We must not just speak of loving others but put it into actual practice. Almsgiving is an expression of love which every religion enjoins as practice. To the young man who had kept all the commandments but still seemed to be lacking something, Jesus told him to give his riches to the poor so that he would have riches in heaven (Mat. 19:16-30, Mark 10:17-31). Jesus said that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to the kingdom of God (Mat. 19:24).

Wicked men are often abounding in riches (Psalms 73:12). They gather up riches without charity (Job 27:16, Psalms 39:6, Ecc. 2:26), and keep them to their harm, such as falling into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts (I Tim. 6:10). They err from the faith and use unlawful means by which to acquire their wealth (Proverbs 28:20), thereby bringing trouble upon themselves and the family (I Tim. 6:10, Proverbs 15:27). By almsgiving we can be rid of all the above sufferings.

He who lacks charity is so because he loves money more than humanity. Jesus taught us saying "The love of money is the root of all evil" (I Tim. 6:10). We can affirm that the love of charity is the root of all good. Why should we be so attached to riches when we know that they are only temporary (Proverbs 23:5), deceitful (Mat. 13:22), uncertain (I Tim. 6:17), unsatisfying (Ecc. 4:8, Ecc. 5:10), corruptible (James 5:2, Peter 1:18), fleeting (Proverbs 23:5), and liable to be stolen (Mat. 6:19).

If you cannot practice almsgiving by your love of others, then practice it because of your love for yourself, and succeed to overcome bad conduct, habits and thoughts such as pride (Ezekiel 28:5, Hosea 12:8); forgetting God (Deut. 8:13-14); denying Him (Proverbs 30:8-9); forsaking Him (Deut. 32:15); rebelling against Him (Nehemiah 9:25-26); rejecting Christ (Mat. 19:22); self suffering (Proverbs 28:11); anxiety (Ecc. 5:12); an overbearing spirit (Proverbs 18:23); violence (Micah 6:12); oppression (James 2:5); fraud (James 5:4), and sensual pleasure (Luke 16:19, James 5:5) that are caused by riches. Again, if one loves himself, he should give up his riches to the poor (Mat. 19:21, I John 3:17), use them to promote the salvation of others, esteem it a privilege to be allowed to give (I chronicles 29:3). In brief, by seeking after riches and keeping them we suffer, but by charity we profit.

God Himself gave his only begotten son to the world. He died for our sins and will return again. What great almsgiving that Jesus gave up his parents, livelihood and all worldly things in order to set an example for us to follow. He gave his flesh and blood to us as spiritual food. What a great almsgiving it was. We, his disciples, should follow his example in endless charity without limitations.

There are many doctrines taught by Buddha about almsgiving from which we may borrow. There are three kinds of almsgiving: almsgiving of wealth; almsgiving of Dharma; and almsgiving of fearlessness. The equivalents in Christianity are almsgiving, preaching, and giving help to those who are in distress and being oppressed. But the quantity and quality differ from that of Buddhism.

The quantity of wealth-almsgiving in Buddhism is very plentiful and sometimes eternal. It is without number or end because it is a belief that according to one's conduct, one may continue to attain many human births. In the event that a divinity or angel invites him to rise to heaven, he may refuse it for Buddha's sake and wish to live without end in samsara, making himself and his wealth the object of almsgiving for countless generations. He does not allow himself the pleasure of a happy life in heaven because he loves all sentient beings in this world.

The quality of Buddhist charity is very high indeed. There is nothing that can not be given to others; neither outer things (those of the body), nor inner things (those of the soul).

It is said that Joyful-Deed-Bodhisattva gave his eyes as alms; Victory-Deed-Bodhisattva gave his ears; Puspadanti Bodhisattva his teeth; Avaivartika Bodhisattva his tongue; All-almsgiving Bodhisattva his flesh; Enlightened-King Bodhisattva gave his bones; Good-Minded Bodhisattva his blood; Excellent-Wisdom Bodhisattva gave his head; Insatiable Bodhisattva his heart; and Ajita Bodhisattva gave his whole body.

There are many doctrines of almsgiving to hungry ghosts. By the use of incantations and mudras, the alms are made as nectar so that it is taken without difficulty. It is a common practice in Christianity for the rich to give to the poor; but the one who knows the Tantric Buddhist doctrines may enrich others, whether he is materially wealthy or not. In Christianity Jesus was able to give alms by his secret power as we see in the story of the fish and that of the wine, but few disciples could do the same. Prayer is the only method left to most. In Tantric Buddhism everyone who learns the incantations and mudras can do the same miracles that Jesus did.

Preaching is an important practice of charity. Here, I would like to praise the Protestants for the numerous tracts of the Bible that they have given and still are donating to the world. They are very diligent about this matter. Even though it is obviously a good deed, Catholics do not follow their footsteps. Another good practice of Protestants is that they kneel down and pray for the multitude in the way of the cross. As people pass by they feel the effect of the prayer and become converted. Once I saw the Protestants doing this prayer and I was so moved with thanks that I began to weep.

The content of doctrines in Christianity is meant to lead one to heaven; but the goal in Buddhism is Nirvana which transcends heaven. Buddhist sutras number 11970 volumes and 80634 Chinese pages (one Chinese page is equal to two pages of English). A large number of publishers are presenting more and more of these works every year. This is a greater expression of charity than the Protestants' tracts because the sutras are for the benefit of heavenly beings as well as humans. These sutras can be the medium through which wondrous things occur. If there is a drought and all the believers, holding the sutras, walk about the area, rain will come at once. It is said that once a bull went across a path where a Buddhist had just placed sutras. The bull saw them and later died. ln his next life, the bull became a man and had a knowledge of some of the verses.

The Buddha is an example of Dharma-almsgiving for all his disciples. He rose to heaven and then went to the dragons of the sea to preach. For 49 years of his life, he preached the Dharma. Today there are many countries that are predominantly Buddhist. As a matter of fact there are many Americans and Europeans who are converted from Christianity, Judaism, etc. to Buddhism. Day by day the translation of sutras into Western languages increase. Can it be possible that these new converts are fools? It is true that many of the converts are professors, Philosophers, and men wiser than we. Do not delay longer to accept and practice Buddhism, because life is short.

By fearlessness-almsgiving others are helped to flee from distress, temptation, imprisonment, tumults, labors, fasting, affliction (II Cor. 6:4-5). The above is as described in the New Testament. But in Buddhism there are still more bountiful teachings of fearlessness-almsgiving which are meant to help humans and beasts alike. In Tibet, which is a Buddhist country, one can see many animals which are elsewhere domesticated, loose in the mountains, free from labor and slaughter. All Buddhist countries such as Japan, Ceylon, Thailand, Nepal, Burma, Korea and Malaya have associations of Ahimsa (non-injury) and practice fearlessness-almsgiving towards animals. Fish in nets, birds in cages, etc, were all set free. It is really a peace movement because the kindness we display to animals spills over into our relationships with fellow human beings. In any Buddhist state we can find that there was a great practice of fearlessness-almsgiving.

Let us come to the manner of almsgiving. He who gives alms with a desire to get rewards in heaven is not a pure practitioner. According to Buddhism, purity in charity exists where there is no thought or desire of reward. We are taught that there must be emptiness of the gift, the giver and of the receiver. Our Lord Jesus taught that we should not let the left hand know what the right hand is doing when giving charity (Mat. 6:3). But how can this be done when both hands are of the same body? In Buddhism one practices emptiness in which the ego is transcended. In Christianity there is no voidness meditation and the ego is maintained. How can we hide the left hand within the framework of ego?

To give alms is selfishness, and to desire to go to heaven is also a type of selfishness. It is only when one is free of the ego that selfishness disappears and Nirvana immediately appears devoid of desires. By this, we can see that the same action of almsgiving may give different results. In Buddhism, the negative approach to charity is used, and by this method we not only help others but ourselves. In almsgiving we renounce selfishness; then we give up the idea of a difference between ourselves and other selves. We give up the Dharma and Nirvana. We renounce the voidness until there is nothing more to renounce, then we arrive at complete Enlightenment which the Buddha attained and of which he taught.

Let us pray. May almighty God help us to release ourselves from our selfish ego through almsgiving. May all our sorrows caused by the hoarding of wealth be destroyed through almsgiving. May the instructions of the Bible and Sutras be practiced by all humanity with the accomplishment of heavenly saints and excellent Buddhas being the result.

VII. Offering

To practice love of our neighbors by almsgiving was considered in the last chapter. In this chapter, we will discuss offering, the practice of love of Almighty God, Jesus and the blessed mother Mary along with all the saints and angels in heaven.

The Bible mentions many kinds of offerings: burnt (Lev.1:3-17, Psalms 66:15); sin or ignorance (Lev. 4:3-35, 6:25,10:17); trespass (Lev. 5:6-19, 6:6-7); peace (Lev. 3:1-17,7-11 ); wood (Nehemiah 10:34); meat (Lev. 2:1-16); drink(Gen. 35:14, Exo. 29:40); thanksgiving (Lev. 22:29, Psalms 50:14); freewill (Lev. 22:38, Deut. 16:10); incense(Exo. 22:29); Jealousy (Numbers 5:15); peasants offering for redemption (Exo. 30:15). The offerings are required to be perfect (Lev. 2:22); the best of their kind (Mal. 1:14); offered willingly (Lev. 22:19) offered in love and charity (Mat. 5:23-24); brought in clean vessels (Isa. 66:20); brought to the place appointed of God (Deut. 12:5-6. Psalms 27:6, Heb. 9:9); before the altar (Mat. 5:23-24); presented by the priest (Heb. 5:1); brought without delay (Exo. 22:29-30).

Offerings are declared to be most holy (Num. 18:9). There are some things forbidden for offering as the price of a dog and the price of a whore (Deut. 23:18), whatever was blemished (Lev. 22:20), whatever was imperfect (Lev. 22:24), and whatever was unclean (Lev. 11:17).

In Leviticus, God speaks out of the tabernacle in which he dwells and tells his people of that which befits his holiness in their approach to and communion with himself. Leviticus gives the laws and details of offerings.

Today, only Catholics keep altars and continue with the sacraments. Protestants feel that since God is the creator of all things, he needs nothing from man. They don't realize that it is for our own sake that we make offerings to God, not because he needs it. God loves us so much that he wants us to confess our sins and have peace. He wants us to be forgiven by the beloved and to thank him. Therefore, he teaches us how to make offerings. He told Moses three times "None shall appear before me empty" (Exo. 23:15, Deut. 16:16). Then it seems that the Protestants are against the law of God. They do not burn even a stick of incense nor do they light candles or hold mass, nor do they give personal sacrifices.

According to the new law, Christ made an offering of himself in the last supper. Protestants protest this law stating that they have already offered themselves the same as Christ; however, they keep their riches for their families. They earn their livelihood through labour and build homes larger than the local chapel or church. In short, they forget what Christ did. Jesus had no specific place to lay his head, but they have large comfortable houses. What is their personal sacrifice? Jesus never worked for his family and called our Lady woman only; Protestants lay down holy services in order to work for their family. What does personal sacrifice mean to them? Jesus was unmarried while most Protestants have at least one wife, and at the same time will rebuke Catholic priests and nuns who follow Jesus' example. In fact, the priests and nuns who keep all the sacraments are hated by them. Why should not they give offerings to God? Why should they hate priests and nuns, have they not made personal sacrifices to God?

Good readers, if you are a Protestant, I beg you to change your manner and diligently give offerings to God. Offering serves four main purposes. First, and foremost, it acknowledges God's supreme domain and offers him adoration; second, to thank him for his goodness and kindness to us; third, to confess our sins and atone for them; fourth, to obtain God's blessings.

It costs so little to purchase candles, flowers, etc. and the benefit is so great. Is it more difficult to do this than to offer yourself in personal sacrifice? If you are not a priest, monk or nun, you should never say that you have offered yourself as a sacrifice.

The practice of offering in Buddhism is even more elaborate than that in Christianity. Even a Buddha must make offering to other Buddhas. Amitabha Buddha made 48 vows and the 23rd vow is that offerings be made to all other Buddhas in the ten directions actually and perfectly performed during the time span of one meal.

Many Bodhisattvas burned their bodies alive as offerings to Buddha. There are still some monks who burn incense on their bodies, which is as a stupa, until the incense burns become painful and wound the skin. Some wrote the sutras with blood from their tongue over long periods of time. The fourth finger (which represents ignorance) of many Chinese monks was completely burned before Buddha as an offering. The above are instances of offerings of the body.

As to offerings of wealth, in Tibet there is a good number of persons who have offered their entire wealth to their Guru. Domesticated animals, land, and everything which the family may have accumulated over a period of hundreds of years may suddenly be given and the disciple becomes a pauper without regret. There is a story which is told of one of Marpa's disciples who gave all of his wealth except for a lame lamb. Marpa rebuked the disciple heartedly for this act of impropriety. Later, the disciple returned tearfully with the lame lamb on his shoulders for the confession offering. This man's wealth increased one hundred fold more than it had been before.

There are many practices which when held to intensively and clearly will give full meaning to the offering. By repeating the three vajra mantra words (OM AH HUM) many times while offering, the offering becomes purified. Every offering has its own mantra or incantation. Every offering has its symbolic meaning. For example, water represents Dana or giving, perfume represents Ksanti or patience under insult, incense signifies Virya or zeal and progress, food represents Dhyana or meditation and light represents Prajna or wisdom.

Beside the worldly offerings, there are excellent offerings in the Mandala of Buddha. Four female Bodhisattvas are the constant offers of pleasures such as the pleasure-vajra, coiffure-vajra, song-vajra and dance-vajra. We should meditate on them as though it were ourselves making the offering. In the highest Tantric doctrine of offering, the most fruitful and important offering is the Dakini offering. She is seated in a double posture of meditation and action and has holy nectar of the Buddha.

Every offering arranged on the altar to Buddha is returned with blessings. If the offerer is greedy and moved by selfishness, he always keeps the offering for himself; therefore, the fire sacrifice is needed. Everything put into the fire is burned and all that remains is the poverty of the spirit; and only this is returned as pure bliss. It is said that the fire sacrifice is one offering from which it is very easy to get inspirations. In the Old Testaments, we read of many saints who gave offerings in fire to Almighty God. Cain sacrificed the fruits of the earth (Gen. 4:3); Noah, the birds and beasts (Gen. 8:20); Melchizedek, bread and wine (Gen. 14:18). Abraham's son was almost burned as an offering to God but as it was commanded by God so was the command recalled by God.

Today, even Catholics do not make fire offerings but Hindus and Buddhists do. Because of this, I wrote an article in Chinese on a fire sacrifice with mass using fish, wheat, bread, wine and the cross to Lord Jesus. I have also written fourteen poems for each of the fourteen stations of the crucifixion which may move pious persons to tears. I sang the poems during the fire sacrifice. Perhaps someday, someone will translate it into English so that it may be used by all Christians.

Meditations on offerings practiced in Buddhist tantra contain many profound doctrines. There are ten philosophic paths in which one may meditate. In the meditation, the small becomes large, the single becomes the many, the simple becomes the complex. For example, the offerer may imagine that his body is transformed into many bodies which are all offerings. The offerings of each is transformed into many different offerings. The Buddhas receiving them transform themselves into numerous incarnations granting the offerers countless graces. These practitioners always think of the entire sky as being covered with offerings and nothing being unoffered. First of all, the elements (earth, water, fire and wind); secondly, all the best wines, bread, meat, clothes, ornaments, and all things used by man should be offered; thirdly, the beautiful girls and boys, pictures and pleasures which make humans happy should be offered; fourth, all of the good accomplishments, enlightenment, the great joy-in-Dhyana, the five wisdom, the five Buddha-Goddesses and the five Buddha bodies, the four Nirvana virtues, and the eighteen characteristics of Buddha along with all the unworldly excellent virtues should be offered. This is the meditation of the offering in the omnipresent space.

The moment the offerer meditates as stated above, he may be practicing with the power of all the offerings of the past and future. The philosophic explanation does not recognize the three times (past, present and future), there is only now. The mind of the meditator is truth itself and therefore transcends the three times. Whatever it thinks he may perform. Even the most insignificant offering is as a stone thrown into the enlightenment ocean; the waves of it will spread limitlessly over the entire ocean.

My good readers, don't you think that such a meditation is worthy of being offered to Almighty God and our Lord?

Let us pray: Forgive me Almighty God that I have believed in you and have made offerings less than the Buddhist. Therefore, please help me to learn some Buddhist practices in this respect so that I may please you more.

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