Dragon-adorned Dharma Outfit

Yutang Lin

Four limbs circled by dragons as the Bodhisattva Vajrapani,
Long beards bitten by Dragon to prolong stay in this world,
Five colors of the Five Buddhas shape the melon-rind cap,
Dragon and phoenix guard around the Gem Ball of Tantra!


Guru Chen used Chinese style long robe and melon-rind cap as his formal Dharma outfit. Whenever he gave Dharma lectures, offered Dragon vases, performed fire pujas, released lives back to nature, or performed Powa, he would solemnly put it on. We also followed this tradition and continued to use such outfit for more than a decade.

In recent years disciple Upasaka Min wanted to offer Dharma outfit. Then it occurred to me that years ago when, with Guru Chen's permission, I was going to perform the fire puja to the Heavenly King Vaisravana for the very first time, that morning in a dream I received blessings: four small snakes (representing dragons) simultaneously and forcefully circled around my four limbs, just as the adornments on the Bodhisattva Vajrapani. (During fire puja to Vaisravana the master is to visualize himself as Vajrapani.)In addition, there was a large snake in front of my body, it rose up from below and opened its mouth upward, then bit my beards and pulled downward; this signified the Dragon King was giving me blessing of longevity. In commemoration of this grace I asked Min to have dragons embroidered around the sleeves and trousers of the Dharma outfit to be made. To facilitate movements during Dharma activities I changed the long robe to a short one. As to the melon-rind cap, in accordance with the five colors of the Five Buddhas of the Five Areas in Buddhist Tantra, the top circle is blue in color (center), the front is white (east), then going clockwise, right side is yellow (south), back is red (west), and left side is green (north). Black (color of protectors) rim of the cap has a Gem Ball in front, and it is surrounded on two sides by a pair of dragon and phoenix or a pair of two dragons.

Through the efforts of Upasaka Min, including two trips to Shang Hai, China to have such outfits in different colors and materials custom-made, I have been using them for about two years now. Here I carefully recorded the origination of this matter in gratitude to his sincere reverence. And I hope that all those who will hear about or see these Dharma outfits or read this report will be blessed by Dharma and the Dragons.

Written in Chinese and translated on July15, 2005
El Cerrito, California

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