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|School||True Buddha School Lineage|
Living Buddha Lian Sheng|
Grand Master Lu
Huaguang Zizai Fo
White Lotus Padmakumara
June 27, 1945|
(5th month, 18th day of the Lunar Calendar)
Chiayi County, Republic of China
|Spouse||Lu Li-hsiang (Lian Hsiang)|
|Based in||Redmond, Washington State|
Lu Sheng-Yen (Chinese: 盧勝彥; pinyin: Lú Shèngyàn; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Lô Sèng-gān, born 27 June 1945), commonly referred to by followers as Grand Master Lu (師尊) is the founder and spiritual leader of the True Buddha School, a New religious movement with teachings taken from Buddhism, as well as Taoism. Lu is known by the sect as Living Buddha Lian Sheng (蓮生活佛, Liansheng Huófó) and is revered by his disciples as a Living Buddha.
Lu's sect claims 5 million followers worldwide, the majority of whom hails from Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Hong Kong. There are more than four hundred local chapters of the True Buddha School over the world. He holds dual American and Taiwanese citizenship, and often travels between the two countries.
Lu is married to Lian Hsiang, who is also a vajra master, and is referred as Grand Madam Lu in Chinese. Prior to becoming a monk, the couple already had two children.
Lu was born in Chiayi County, Taiwan in 1945. Lu was raised a Christian and attended a Protestant school. He graduated from Chung Cheng Institute of Technology with a degree in Survey Engineering. In his early twenties he was both a survey engineer and a Sunday School Bible teacher.
In a biography, Lu wrote that his third eye was activated by the Jade Pond Golden Mother (Western Jin Mu Deity) in 1969, and followed the instructions of Monk Liao Ming (of the Taoist Ching Zhen Sect) and the Three Mountains and Nine Marquis. The Three Mountains is said to represent Dharmakāya (Vairocana Buddha) Sambhogakaya (Locana Buddha), Nirmanakaya (Sakyamuni Buddha) while "Nine Marquis" represents a combination of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, each corresponding to different directions. They are named to be, Mahavairocana Buddha (Centre), Akshobhya Buddha (East), Ratnasambhava Buddha (South), Amitabha Buddha (West), Amoghasiddhi Buddha (North), Samatabhadra Bodhisattva (South East), Manjusri Bodhisattva (South West), Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva (North West), Maitreya Bodhisattva in the (North East).
He then actively practiced Taoism, Geomancy Sutrayana and Vajrayana Buddhism, through which he cited that a mystical experience led him to seek twenty-one human gurus in Taoism, Sutra, and Tantra. In 1982, Lu and a small following of his disciples moved to the United States, settling in the state of Washington.
Additionally, Lu is a prolific writer with over two hundred and fifty-three (as of April 2016) Chinese books already in print. His books have also been translated into Japanese, English, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Bahasa Indonesia, Spanish and other languages. Lu’s paintings have also been compiled into nine volumes. His vocal sermons had been recorded into various formats and distributed worldwide.
He went into retreat for six years in late 2000, spending most of his time in Tahiti, and to a lesser extent in Taiwan. Today he predominantly lives in Taiwan and Redmond, Washington. In a sermon, he told his disciples that he aspires to never abandon any sentient being.
Lu teaches the Mahamudra method of attaining Buddhahood. His teachings follow the traditional stages of the practice of the Four Preliminaries, followed by Guru Yoga, Deity Yoga, the Vajra Practices, and finally Highest Yoga Tantra. Lu's spiritual gurus included the Monk Liao Ming, the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, Dezhung Rinpoche, and Tai Situ Rinpoche among others.
With full knowledge of his origins, being the White Maha Padmakumara from the Maha Twin Lotus Pond, bearing edict from Amitabha Buddha, Grandmaster Lu is a true practitioner of Tantric Buddhism. Grandmaster Lu holds lineage from Ningma, Kagyu, Sakya and Gelug schools of Tibetan Buddhism and has attained the highest fruition in those schools including The Great Perfection, Mahamudra, Lamdre, and Yamantaka Sadhana. After intense training and practice over a period of fourteen years, he became a Master of exceptional accomplishment in these disciplines and achieved Perfect Enlightenment.
He stated: I have practiced in accordance to the True Buddha Tantra in the following sequence: Four fundamentals, Guru Yoga, Personal Deity Yoga, Treasure Vase Breathing Practice, Psychic Heat, Central Passage, Opening of the Five Chakras, Bright Spot, Uncontaminated Dharma, Unrivalled Tantra and Maha Perfection and attained Bright Flower Sovereign Buddha.
Lu's teachings do not prohibit the consumption of meat for his disciples. For monks and nuns, alcohol consumption is prohibited, while meat requires bardo deliverance of the soul prior to consumption. In an interview from Taiwanese media in 2010, he explained: "In Tantric Buddhism, we don't differentiate if a disciple wants to consume vegetables or meat. If a disciple wants to consume vegetables, we let her consume vegetables. If a disciple is not willing to consume meat, it is convenience. For those ordained (monks, nuns, etc) if able to consume vegetables, then we always try our best to consume vegetables. If he cannot consume vegetables, it is also convenience. But this convenience is also different. Because there is a difference of Theravada and Tantric in Buddhism, tantric masters or monks firstly have to make offering of the food they consume to the buddhas and bodhisattvas. Secondly, they also have to salvage the spirits of those they consume and cleanse their spirits to pure lands or higher realms. So for tantric buddhism, there are ways to convert the spirits we consume to a better places or realms for their good before we consume. However, for theravada buddhism, they emphasize we do not consume meat. But for tantric, because we have a method of salvation, we are able to consume meat. The most important precept is we must not witness the slaughtering or hear the slaughtering or slaughter animals for our desire as a guest. According to Buddha, this is known as "three cleansed meat" or 3 types of cleansed meat."
In 2000, Mogao caves had a new discovery where White Maha Padmakumara statues were discovered, coincidentally matching to Grandmaster Lu's claim about the existence of Padmakumara in 1970. One of the scriptures discovered in Mogao caves contain the names of three thousand future buddhas and the first one thousand buddha in lead is named "Bright Flower Buddha", coincidentally matching to Lu's claim on his buddha name back in 1982.
Lu is the first person to hold the Adharma Buddha and Mahottara Heruka (The wrathful emanation or the other side of Adharma Buddha) ceremony on a large scale to benefit the sentient beings. Before this first ceremony in 2015, there is no information on the mantra of Adharma Buddha or Mahottara Heruka. In Sutrayana, Adharma Buddha is called Samantabhadra Tathagataand also "Dorje Chang". In other English translated version, it is known as Adi Buddha. Grandmaster Lu explained: "Adharma Buddha is a 16th-ground buddha and extremely venerable. Adharma Buddha has said that as long as one receives his empowerment, learns his practice, and attains spiritual union with him, one is sure to attain buddhahood within seven lifetimes. He is the highest. There is none higher than him. There is another point. Once you have received the empowerment of this deity you will never again reincarnate into the three evil realms (three lowest realms in six mundane realms). Adharma Buddha is the primordial buddha, the original buddha. He is primordial and original. In Buddhism he is supreme, the most venerable, the highest and the most sacred. He is the most saintly and the greatest. By praying to or supplicating this deity it is certain that your prayers will be granted. All buddhas, all bodhisattvas, all deities, dakinis and protectors are emanations of Adharma Buddha."
Master Hsuan Hua warned his disciples about Lu Sheng-yen's claims, lamenting that many modern people lack wisdom, and dismissing Lu by saying, "I don't know what this person is. I call him a demon runt." Despite the malicious claims from other sects, Lu did not response negatively as he explained all religions should be respected because every sentient being has buddha nature.
The True Buddha School has been criticized in 2007 by six Buddhist organizations in Malaysia. The True Buddha School has attempted to counter the criticisms made by the organizations. The Tzu Chi Foundation backed out from the group of seven organizations making such claims.
Lu made headlines during an investigation by the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission into his cash donations to then-Governor Gary Locke, who Lu had hoped would run for the White House. Locke was cleared of any wrongdoing by the commission in 1998. Further, this did not affect Locke in his pursuit for confirmation as U.S. Secretary of Commerce.
He was also sued, albeit unsuccessfully, in civil court by a former Malaysian immigrant disciple over allegations of sexual misconduct, while the King County, Washington prosecutor declined to file charges for lack of evidence. The case was dismissed by King County Superior Court Judge Kathleen Learned citing constitutional issues. In the case S.H.C. v. Sheng-Yen Lu, the Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 1, granted the Temple's motion for summary judgment, and the Court of Appeals later "affirm[ed] the order granting summary judgment of dismissal to the Temple."
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