The Story of My Guru, Yogi Chen

The Transmission of Adi Buddha Mandala Lineage to the US

A talk given by Guru Yutang Lin
Interpreted in Polish by Disciple Xu Ming
The Asian Gallery of Asia and Pacific Museum, Warsaw, Poland
May 29, 2018

Reviewed and Revised by Guru Lin
Transcribed by Disciple Ji Hu


Disciple Xu Ming asked me to talk about Yogi Chen. And, Yogi Chen didn' t really write his own autobiography, because as Buddhist, you know, we believe in No Self″, you know. And also, another reason is because he thinks if you are interested in knowing me, the main point is to find out about me through my writings, because there you will find my understanding of Dharma, my practices, my inspirations, that kind of thing.

However, when he was doing retreat in Kalimpong, India by himself for twenty-five years, he started to publish booklets in English, and sent them freely to Buddhists, and Buddhist organisations and libraries all over the world. So, some Buddhists gradually became aware of him. And, two monks from England went to Kalimpong and asked him to give a series of talks on Buddhist meditation.

At the very beginning of that series of talks, he did mention briefly his own autobiography, and the whole book in English is posted at our websites. And you can find the website address in this book, or in those bookmakers and cards that are available for you in the back. And disciple Wisdom Lotus has just today also finished translating this brief autobiography into Polish, and some of you got a copy. And in a few days, we will be able to post it at our websites. And I don't believe that when people meet, we still take out something and just read. So, I am not going to read the autobiography to pass the time.

Ah, I come to know and follow my Guru in the last seven years of his life, and that was from 1980 to 1987. And, so, I don't know his life as a history in many details, but I contacted him mainly for Dharma, and followed him, and assisted him in Dharma services, and so, after he passed away, I was able to carry on. So, first, I tell you briefly what I know about his life in general.

He was high school teacher on Chinese when he was young, and because he' s good in writing, so, when the people in his area wanted to invite a famous monk to their place to give teachings, then people asked him to start contact that Chinese monk, and that's how he began to contact Buddhism. Before that he also studied Taoism and did some Taoist practices. And in Buddhism he started the practice of Pureland—repeating ″Amitabha″. And during that period, he was vegetarian. And later he has opportunity to follow a Gelugpa monk, and so, he completed his foundational practices during that period. Because he was a teacher, so he has to get up early—4 o'clock in the morning, and do the practice for two, three hours, and then go to work. And then later, there were Nyingma Guru, Nona Rinpoche came to China to give teachings. (Xu Ming: which year it was about? 1930?) In the thirties, yah.

And then, after Nona Rinpoche passed away, there was another Kagyupa—Kagyupa Guru, Gong Ga Rinpoche went to China to carry on Nona Rinpoche's teachings, so he also followed that. And, during that time he was so dedicated to the Dharma practices that he went into mountain caves, two caves, one is ″Flower Offering″, and the other one is ″Heavenly Dragon″, two caves for two, three years, he practiced alone. And then, in order to learn the secrets of Tantra, he left everything behind, and went alone to Xi Kang and Tibet for four, five years. And at Palpung (Monastery), he also learnt from Khyentse Rinpoche, and I think that was the time when he was classmate with the Sixteenth Karmapa. And, in Tibet and Xi Kang, in total he followed over thirty Gurus. And, from the Khyentse Rinpoche in Palpung he received the totality of all initiations that's over five hundred deities, that took several months.
And then, he was aware that China was going to turn Communist, so he went to India to continue his Dharma practices. And in India, he stayed in a small apartment, and stayed there alone, in retreat, for twenty-five years. Such lengthy retreats are very rare in the history. During his retreat in India, because of the booklets he sent out, people from different places wanted to invite him to their country. (Xu Ming: May I say that I also found these booklets, and that is why I got to you.) Yah, that's because after I met him, I was helping with the publications. And finally, one couple from America succeeded in inviting him to America.

When he went to India, the first thing he did was to—went to Bodh Gaya to make pilgrimage to Sakyamuni Buddha. And there Sakyamuni Buddha told him, ″Oh, someday you will bring me to America″. And he said, ″Oh, how could it be that I bring You there? Of course, You bring me there″. But Buddha said, ″You will know when the time comes″. And then, before this American couple showed up, one day in his meditation light, he saw Dragon King appeared. Traditionally, in Tibetan Tantric thangkas, Dragon Kings are upper body human, but lower body is still Dragon. But this one, who appeared to him, was full human form and wearing, dressed up, like a Chinese Emperor. And the Dragon King kneeled down to him and said, ″Please come to America to spread Dharma″.

And, I started to look into Buddhist books after I got my candidacy in PhD. Even though I come from Taiwan where Buddhist books are abundant, but, because I studied Logic, that kind of things, so, I didn't study Buddhism in Taiwan. And, after I had my candidacy, I had more free time, so I studied for three years, mainly books on Buddhism and Buddhist Sutras. So, at that time I also came across Guru Chen's books in Chinese in the library. And, he at that time was living in Berkeley, near the University of California campus, so, I sometimes come across him on the street. So, I didn't say hello to him, or try to contact him.

And, after three years of reading the books, I chose for myself the practice of repeating ″Amitabha″. And I take it very seriously, everyday I repeat ten thousand times. For beginner like me, that was—that means eight hours a day. And after I repeated it, accumulated over four million times, then, you know, there was an opportunity for me to get to know him. Because Yogi Chen published booklets to mail every year, you know, twice, and one time, he asked the Chinese small print shop to do that work, and the owner is a friend of mine. And that friend knows that I'm practicing Buddhism, so he said, ″Oh, I can introduce you to him, I know him″. So, I invited Yogi Chen through my friend to my apartment to have dinner; that's how I began to know him.

And, at that time he started his series of talks on Pureland Buddhism, he vowed to do the lecture forty-eight times because Amitabha Buddha has forty-eight vows. And at that time, it was time when he's doing the first one in San Francisco. And that time the talk was five times, and once every week, so, I go with him to the talks. And, after that, you know, soon I followed him, and started to become his disciple, and helped him with Dharma activities. But, you have to know that he' s not as easy—for example, if you try to follow me, I don't know Polish, and, if you don't know English, then it's very difficult, right? Even though he is Chinese, and I am also Chinese, but he speaks his Hunan dialect; then, he was also in Tibet and Xi Kang, and then India, so, his spoken language is very difficult to understand. But, because we talked mainly about Dharma, so, about one month, I can completely understand him.

And, at the beginning when we walked on the street, sometimes he was just reciting his Chinese poems—you know, the ancient Chinese poems are very succinct, very brief. So, you know, I have to ask him one word after another, one word at a time, to figure out what he is trying to say. So, at the beginning it was so difficult. But, the reason that I become, you know, easily just keep following him is because, by that time I had done repetition of ″Amitabha″ over four million times, and I get inspirations, so I noticed this is the true place, you see. Yah, I can sense, you know, power, lights, you know, and inspirational dreams. So, you know, you know, it has real things here. And also, because I am capable, so, very soon, you know, I am doing all the booklets. And also, he let me gradually take over the vase offering, fire pujas. And even his forty-eight lectures on Pureland, before he passed away, I have spoken on behalf of him several times. And, by the time he entered Nirvana, he gave, including the ones I spoke for him, forty-five. But in two years after his Nirvana, I finished the remaining three.

So, for example, you know, at the beginning when he was in America, and not many people know about him, so, his Dharma activities in the fifteen years he was in America, for example, fire pujas two hundred times, and then the vase offered was one hundred and fifty, to the Dragon King. But, now is about thirty-one years after his Nirvana, and fire pujas are over nine hundred, and the vases to be offered soon here in Poland, is number 4351 & 52. And, we have printed for free distribution not only booklets, but many books in Chinese, in English, and even some in Polish. And, we have four websites, their contents are mainly the same, and we also have a Polish website. And there you can find almost all of his works, and all my works. And it's a pure Dharma offering because no commercials, no links to other things, and everything's free for you to download. And, I have also a few Polish disciples, and, like this one (Guru pointing at disciple Xu Ming), he's over twenty years now. And I think that they can follow me is because they also find that working for this lineage, you know, they get inspiration. All the Polish translations are done by them voluntarily.

And, he (Xu Ming) wanted me to talk about the lineage. The lineage is just that Guru Chen, you know—oh, the name of the Dharma lineage is called ″Adi Buddha Mandala Dharma Lineage″. And, the special characteristic of this lineage is because Guru Chen has not only comprehended and mastered the Tantric traditions, but also know all about the Chinese Buddhist traditions. And, he always emphasized that the three yanas is a unified system. So, I am just following this tradition. And, if you visit our websites, I suggest that you might try to start with reading the lectures, because my talks are always, you know, very little Buddhist terminology, but try to bring Dharma to your life, is connected to our daily life. And also, I think, you know, one way to understand why we continue doing this service, even though we don't see any, you know, worldly results, is just because, for example, the vase offerings and fire pujas, they continue because people request for it, because people will keep coming to request this kind of Dharma services. Because they experience that it has real blessing benefits, so, next time when they have problems themselves, or their friends and relatives have problem, they recommend it to them on their own. And the number we have accumulated shows you that, you know, it's really something there, otherwise it wouldn't be able to have this result.

And, I hope that if you have time, you know, try to find Yogi Chen's autobiography and study it; it says a lot, you know, you might want to appreciate, yah. And now I finished what I think need to be said about this topic, so, if you have questions, or you want to know more about certain thing about Guru Chen, then you raise your questions.


Auspicious Completion


June 12, 2018
Transcribed in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Reviewed and Revised in El Cerrito, California



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