In the history of Buddhism, especially in Tibet, reincarnated rinpoches must go through the recognition procedure for their true identities to be determined. The procedure requires the issuance of recognition certificates by at least one Dharma king or a relatively high-level rinpoche of the same Buddhist sect as the person being recognized. It also requires that other rinpoches of the same sect issue corroborations and congratulatory letters. A rinpoche of the Gelug sect must be recognized by the Gelug Sect. A rinpoche of the Nyingma sect must be recognized by the Nyingma sect, and the same applies to rinpoches of Kagyu, Sakya, and Jonang sects. Usually, rinpoches of significant status must be recognized and corroborated by several eminent monastics.
Reincarnation of Buddha
His Holiness Dorje Chang Buddha III has been recognized by more than 100 Dharma kings, regent Dharma kings, top leaders, and great rinpoches of major Buddhist sects to be the reincarnation of the Primordial Buddha, Dorje Chang Buddha. The only occasion in which anyone is recognized by multiple Buddhist sects is when that person is a Buddha. Other Buddhist leaders such as the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama, Karmapa, and the likes of them were recognized by greatly virtuous Buddhist practitioners within their respective sects. The same applies to the recognition of rinpoches. This system has been integral to the recognition of reincarnated Buddhist practitioners for more than 1,000 years.
According to the principles of Buddhism, a “Buddha” is the highest leader of Buddhism in the entire world. That’s why H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III is naturally the highest leader of Buddhism in this world today.
In response to being recognized as an ancient Buddha, H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III said: “Even though Dharma kings of great holiness have formally recognized that I am the incarnation of an ancient Buddha, who I am a reincarnation of is not important. What is important is for everyone to understand “What is Cultivation.” A reincarnated Buddhist practitioner is of importance only if they cultivate themselves in accordance with Buddha Dharma. The true gift that I bring to everyone is Buddha Dharma. If everyone follows Buddha Dharma to develop profound realization, then everywhere will be filled with brightness, and the world will be a peaceful place. Living beings will forever be joyful, enjoy limitless beneficial effects from Buddha Dharma, and have perfect merit and wisdom.”
A celebrated artist and scholar
His Holiness Dorje Chang Buddha III was born in China. Prior to being recognized as Dorje Chang Buddha and ever since a young age, He has been well-known for being a distinguished artist and scholar. He was also recognized to be the Vajradhara Great Dharma King by Dharma King Dorje Rinzin, most prominently known to have transmitted great Dharma to the Dharma King of Dzogchen Monastery, and who was also known to have famously observed solitary practice for more than 30 years. Due to His Holiness the Buddha’s highly respected erudition in all aspects of Buddhism, many eminent monastics and greatly virtuous Buddhist practitioners formally became disciples of the then young Dorje Chang Buddha III to learn Buddha Dharma from Him. Due to His exceptional achievement in art at a young age, The Central Newsreel and Documentary Film Studio in China made a documentary about Him, “One Who is Determined to Strive,” that was released nationally.
In 1987, the People’s Daily Newspaper reported that the National Commission of China for UNESCO had established The Chinese Painting Research Association in Beijing, and H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III was named president. The Buddha was much younger than all the other leading figures in the Association, such as Xie Zhiliu (1910-1997), Yuan Xiaoyuan (1901-2003), Qian Juntao (1907-1998), and Wu Zhangshu (1919-2006), many of whom were already in their 70’s or 80’s.
In 1995, His Holiness Dorje Chang Buddha III was included in the “Yearbook of Who’s Who of China.” He was also invited to visit Taiwan for the first time and to exhibit His paintings at the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall in Taipei. Upon arrival at the Taipei airport, more than 10,000 people were there to welcome Him. A police motorcade was sent to escort His car, and a civilian motorcade spanning 1,700 cars escorted Him to the hotel. All the cars displayed banners with the wording “Welcome Master and Madame Yi Yungao.”
Dignitaries, including former General Secretary of Taiwan’s National Security Committee, Chiang Wei-Kuo; the Director of Taiwan’s National Theater and Concert Hall, Li Yan; Director-General of the Taiwan National Police Agency, Chuang Heng-Dai; as well as many dignitaries and senior government officials, formally requested to become the disciples of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. More than a dozen chieftains of the Taiwan Gaoshan indigenous tribes proclaimed H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III their Arch Chieftain. During His stay in Taipei, an overwhelming number of people from all walks of life lined up day and night at the hotel to seek help and teachings from the Buddha. Throughout day and night, the Buddha personally helped them, without resting at all. H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III is highly respected not only for his accomplishments and complete proficiency in both Esoteric and Exoteric Buddhist teachings, but also for His compassion and selflessness in personally helping the sick, the elderly, the poor, the distressed, and even any stray and injured animals that He comes across.
In 1999, He came to the United States and has since made California His home. For more than 20 years since setting foot on American soil, He has not been back to China even once. However, in 2002, after H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III had already left China for more than two years, a criminal case against Him was filed by the Guangdong Public Security Bureau in China. It was alleged that in 2000, the Buddha defrauded Liu Juan and Lau Pak Hun in a real estate transaction in Shenzhen. However, the Buddha has never owned any company in China, nor has He ever been a shareholder, manager, or staff member of any company. Also, both Liu Juan and Lau Pak Hun have openly stated in writing that the Buddha has never defrauded them for even a penny.
A servant of humanity
Ever since Shakyamuni Buddha founded Buddhism, it is both a tradition and a customary practice throughout the world for Buddhist disciples to make offerings to their master or teachers from whom they receive teachings. This is a practice stipulated in Buddhist teachings and is a matter of course. However, to lead by example in the field of Buddhism, His Holiness the Buddha has vowed very early on to not accept any offering throughout His life. Rather, He gives of Himself to serve others purely on a voluntary basis and absolutely does not accept anything in return. H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha has said many times, “I am a servant for living beings.” Throughout the Buddha’s life in China, as well as during the time that the Buddha first settled in the United States up to now, many Buddhist disciples have tried to make monetary offerings in the amounts of millions, and even tens of millions of USD to Him, but the Buddha steadfastly carries out His vow, and absolutely refuses to accept anyone’s offering. Some Buddhist disciples have written open testimonials to describe their experiences in making an offering to the Buddha and the Buddha refusing to accept it.
In 2005, thirteen top Chinese legal experts, including law school deans and professors, as well as legal journalists, conducted a legal symposium to conduct an in-depth analysis on the case established by the Guangdong Public Security Bureau against “Yi Yungao.” “Yi Yungao” used to be the secular name of the Buddha. The experts jointly signed a legal opinion based on the conclusion of their discussion. It was their opinion that this case was fabricated, had no legal basis, and suggested that the Court should rectify it. The group of experts included scholars from the Beijing University Law School, China University of Political Science and Law, Renmin University of China Law School, Tsinghua University Law School, Special Edition Department of the Legal Daily newspaper, director of People’s Forum Department of the People’s Daily newspaper, and specialists from other legal institutions. In their joint opinion statement, they also pointed out the following: Liu Juan and Lau Pak Hun were said to be the “victims” of the case, but based on all documents, there was no record of any fraudulent activity committed by anyone, there were no victims, and the so-called victims could not have been defrauded because there was no record of any transfer of any property by the so-called victims to the so-called criminal. Rather, the experts found that the Public Security Bureau held and seized the so-called victims’ property and did not return the property to them.
There was bias in the adoption of evidence submitted: The judgment showed that the court adopted the prosecution’s evidence. However, after evidence submitted by the defense was listed in the judgment, the court did not explain the reasons why it did not adopt the defense’s evidence. Such a practice was illegal.
After serious analysis of the relevant material and thorough discussions, the experts concluded that in the areas of legal process and application of substantive law, this case has obvious improprieties, and the judgment contains serious flaws.
During the development of this case, the Guangdong Public Security Bureau had used this case as a pretext to take away valuable paintings that belong to H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III and His disciple. Almost 800 paintings were taken away by them without any legal basis. They did not show any legal documentation to support their actions. The 800 paintings included more than 700 artworks created by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III, as well as classical paintings by famous painters collected by one of the Buddha’s disciples.
The Guangdong Public Security Bureau went further to present this case to INTERPOL and requested that Red Notices be issued for the arrest of the Buddha. The Chinese authorities then conducted years of investigation that led them to eventually request INTERPOL to cancel the Red Notices. By that time, INTERPOL had also completed their own investigation. In 2008, during the 72nd Session of The Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files, the Red Notices were officially annulled.
In November 2009, H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III received a letter directly from INTERPOL informing Him that “the Red Notices have been canceled upon the request of that member country.” The member country this letter referred to was China. The letter also stated that all INTERPOL member countries should never be able to use the Red Notices as a basis to detain H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III.
Compassion and Forbearance of Buddha
During all the years that H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III was subjected to injustice and defamation, and even after the Red Notices were canceled, the Buddha never made any public statement to clear His name. After the injustice was averted, many people asked the Buddha to show the INTERPOL letter to the public to prove His innocence, but the Buddha still did not do so.
In the meantime, public security agents who took the 800 paintings from the Buddha and His disciple continued in various ways to spread slanderous news on the internet and in local media to discredit the Buddha. Otherwise, if they officially acknowledge that H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III is innocent, the crimes that they have committed will be exposed. They will have to account for the whereabouts of the paintings and return the paintings to the rightful owners. They will also be subjected to criminal investigation.
Nonetheless, H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III did not defend Himself in any way and did not make the INTERPOL letter public. He continues to undertake His duty to help and serve those in need, as usual.
The World Buddhism Association Headquarters, however, was faced with intense criticism by those who still thought that the allegations against H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III were true. In 2019, to let faithful Buddhists all over the world understand the facts, the WBAHQ strongly requested H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III to make the INTERPOL letter public. His Holiness the Buddha finally agreed to do so. The World Buddhism Association Headquarters subsequently issued a public statement regarding the facts of this case and also revealed the letter issued by INTERPOL.
Despite being subjected to injustice for so many years, H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III remains compassionate toward those who put Him through the ordeal and those who slandered Him. True to the character of a Buddha, His Holiness always considers other people’s situation instead of His own. Regardless of the situation, He always puts the well-being of others in place of His own. Even for those who subject Him to harm, He still does not want anything unfavorable to happen to them. H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha once said: “If Shakyamuni Buddha was still here in this world, He would be compassionately benefitting others in the same way. That’s why when the King of Kalinga cut off a part of Shakyamuni Buddha’s body, the Buddha did not hate him. Rather, the Buddha vowed to help the King become a good person. Even though I am very ordinary, it is an honor to learn from Shakyamuni Buddha, the Lord of Buddhism in this world.”
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