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The Great Venerable Wangzha Shagnzun said: “In an attempt to convince others, some individual unlawful masters falsely claim that they could perform inner-tantric Dharma or give holy inner-tantric initiation and that they could communicate with the Yidam and let the disciple who is receiving the initiation attain all accomplishments in a short time. The fact is, these self-bragging masters are not even approved by the Yidam of Famen Gongyu for entering the door themselves. You must know Famen Gongyu is not just for entering the door to the holy test. It is used as long as seeing and interacting with the Yidam and the Dharma Guardians are involved. If you want to receive and learn an inner-tantric initiation, you must be approved by the Yidam of Famen Gongyu for you to enter the gate as the first step. You can only learn the initiation if you have entered the inner-tantric palace. It is absolutely forbidden if you can’t even enter the door to the inner-tantric initiation but shamelessly claim to be a great holy guru and feign with fakeness, taking advantage of the vague and confusing concept of the holy guru status to deceive a lot of Buddhists.
To prevent evil master and liars from hurting living beings, the Headquarters has adopted the Divination and Divine Foretelling and Famen Gongyu, which are used in the holy test, to definitively establish the titles of masters for the different levels. Although we have published many public announcements to explain this serious issue about the guru titles for the different levels so far, some masters still go around pretending to be a great holy guru and deceiving people with their superficial titles, such as venerable, dharma king, rinpoche, or great dharma master. People fall in their traps even though their actual essence does not match the title of holy or great holy being that they profess to be.
At present, there are still some individual masters who do not really cultivate themselves or rigorously abide by the precepts. They know well that they do not have the three vidyas and the six dharmas* (三明六法), but they still pretend to be holy and falsely claim to be a holy being or great holy being. Buddhist cultivators, on the other hand, do not read the public announcements but only listen to the untrue bragging of these people. Therefore, they always end up being deceived, only to complain a lot afterward. It is they to blame because they never read the public announcements. That is why they are incorrigible because they are willing to fall into the trap of deceit.
To completely put an end to the vile behaviors of those who cheat and hurt Buddhist disciples by feigning to be true and high but are fake and low, and by claiming to have realized the level but have not, you must first understand that a 100% pure holy guru must obtain their title and level through the test.
This Headquarters confers authentic titles to those holy gurus who have passed the test and issues the holiness level certificates and the buttons to be worn on the Dharma robes according to the levels they attain in the holy test. The titles issued are the most standard and correct guru titles. Other than obtaining the titles through the holy test, only the titles obtained from the six categories of guru qualification such as the Dharma of Knowing in Advance and Foretelling, or the Dharma of Vajra Faman which is used to determine matters regarding the supreme holy, can be considered definitive and standard. Except these, anyone who is a certified reincarnation from a patriarch or a dharma king, a great dharma king, or a great rinpoche cannot be a true and certain holy guru!
The titles of the levels we publish today are based on the reasoning of the teachings and chosen by Divination and Divine Foretelling and Famen Gongyu that are employed in the holy test. These titles are definitive: Blue Button Level 1 is called Xingde (pronounced like shing-duh); Blue Button Level 2 is called Zengde (pronounced like zeng-duh); Blue Button Level 3 is called Runde (pronounced like ruen-duh). Blue Button Levels 1 to 2 can be called master. As the Chinese proverb says: “Among every three people there must be one whom I can learn from,” because he or she is good at something to teach others. Blue Button Level 3 is defined according to the Dharma rule as a Vajra Master; Gold Button Level 1 is defined according to the Dharma rule as Ruzun (pronounced as ru-zuen), Gold Button Level 2 is defined according to the Dharma rule as Jiaozun (pronounced as jiao-zuen), Gold Button Level 3 is defined according to the Dharma rule as Shangzun (pronounced as shah-ng-zuen), Gold Button Level 4 is defined according to the Dharma rule as Taizun (pronounced as ty-zuen), and Gold Button Level 5 is defined according to the Dharma rule as Shengzun (pronounced as sheng-zuen).
This Headquarters beseeched H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III for His approval with the titles defined according to the Dharma rule. His Holiness the Buddha said: “I am not going to take part in the work of setting up the titles for the masters by your Headquarters. As long as it is an undertaking that is benefiting people, you do it! Establishing these titles according to the Dharma rule to prevent those impostor masters from hurting people and to protect living beings is quite good. It is an action of correct karma.”
From now on, you must not call someone with the nondefinitive and confusing titles of venerable, dharma king, or rinpoche in person or in writing when it comes to calling someone who has a level, because those titles are vague and nondefinitive concept. Who knows if the person is a holy guru, or what kind of holy guru they are! If people continue using such non-definitive titles, these people must be evil people who intentionally help the demon in hurting living beings. All Buddhists must respect what is decreed by the holy Dharma and not aide the evil to cheat people. You must use the Dharma-decreed titles in your calling. If you do not use the Dharma-decreed titles in your calling, you have committed the vile act of disdaining the Three Jewels, because these Dharma-decreed titles are established using Divination and Divine Foretelling and Famen Gongyu. Only when these titles are fixed can those who have an evil mind to fake as holy be prevented from cheating and confusing the world by pretending to be holy and high-level with ordinary and low-level.
You must pay special attention. Up till now, there has not been one Ruzun of Gold Button Level 1, Jiaozun of Gold Button Level 2, Shangzun of Gold Button Level 3, Taizun of Gold Button Level 4 (an Equal Enlightenment Bodhisattva), or Shengzun of Gold Button Level 5 (a Marvelous Enlightenment Bodhisattva) who is publicly propagating Dharma in the world. Therefore, you can say people cannot meet a Taizun or a Shengzun at all. That is because the good retributions and karmic conditions of living beings are not there.
The exaggeration of some famous people in the society where they make the pretense of a Marvelous Enlightenment Bodhisattva or an Equal Enlightenment Bodhisattva is 100% deceitful. They are not the reincarnation of any Bodhisattva at all. Where is their achievement in Five Vidyas? They completely violate the stipulation that says “Bodhisattvas are to be found in Five Vidyas” by Shakyamuni Buddha. Even a great rinpoche who is a reincarnated patriarch from thousands of years ago may not be a true holy guru, because the Buddhist history is, all the same, rife with uncertainty and unreal falsity. The title of a Great Holy Guru is not a vague concept. A Great Holy Guru must be a Shangzun of Gold Button Level 3. A Tremendously Holy Guru must be a Taizun of Gold Button Level 4 or a Shengzun of Gold Button Level 5. Anyone who has not realized the status of Shangzun but falsely claims to be a great holy guru must be a master who has regressed and become evil!
Buddhist disciples! Everything is dependent on the levels as indicated on the robe the master wears. Based on that, you can know how to call the master without violating the precepts. We hope you all read this public announcement well, lest you should fall prey to the deceit of the individual bad people! The Headquarters cannot do much for Buddhist disciples, but we disapprove of anything thing that violates the law of causality! Therefore, we must issue this solemn public announcement!
United International World Buddhism Association Headquarters
September 30, 2015
*translator’s note: the English translation of this phrase needs further confirmation
(English translation by Zunba)