I first came across the teachings of Master Jun Hong Lu of Guan Yin Citta (Xin Ling Fa Men 心灵法门) last month in October. Sadly, I found out the news that Master Lu (盧台長) had passed away on 10 November 2021. However, it has been hard to find information about his passing for the past few days.
The teachings of Master Lu is considered controversial and he was even labeled as a cult leader.
I have watched a number of his videos on totem readings and read his books on Metaphysics (available for download for free from his website). I would like to share some thoughts about his teachings based on my experience of meeting many other Buddhist Masters and also my experience in meeting a similar Master (who had similar teaching style) when I was young who healed me of an incurable disease.
Personally, I do not think his teachings is a cult. I would explain my opinion based on other experiences I have encountered with similar teachers.
First, please note that I am not affiliated with Guan Yin Citta (Xin Ling Fa Men 心灵法门) or Master Lu, since I only saw his videos last month. Actually, I have been a long time practitioner of Theravada Buddhism which I find I have a stronger spiritual affinity towards. But over the years, I have been studied various Buddhist teachings and met and heard teachings of various Buddhist Masters from monastics to lay persons.
My mysterious illness and experience with a similar Master who was linked with Guan Yin
When I was 15 years old, I suddenly developed seizures. My mom actually brought me to the top neurologist in the hospital who did an EEG scan. The results show that my brain waves was abnormal and I was formally diagnosed with epilepsy and had to be on medication for life. The neurologist said there was nothing much that could be done as there was no cure for epilepsy. Due to the aggressive nature of my seizures, I was not expected to live past my 20s.
Prior to that, I have no such attacks and both my parents families did not have any history of epilepsy or seizure.
My mom started me on the medication immediately. Still, I continue having seizures. Desperate, she consulted with her friends and was willing to try anything (originally, my mom was not superstitious but I was her only daughter so she was not willing to lose me).
A friend of hers who operated a shop selling prayer items recommended a Master who is linked to Guan Yin Bodhisattva. The Master had similar approach, ie she would not hesitate to reprimand a person in public, right in front of other people who went to see her. She could really read minds and know our bad thoughts. She reprimanded my mom for being so foolish to send me for swimming lessons in the Hungry Ghost month (the 7th lunar month of the Chinese calendar which is said ghosts and spirits roamed the earth more than other months). Actually, my problems really started when I took the swimming lessons.
She told me my seizures was the result of a possession from a vindictive spirit who wanted me dead. It is not easy but she said she can heal me and it would require 6 months. I had one more attack within the 6 months I saw her. And true enough, after 6 months, I have not had another attack since and it has been decades.
I started going to see her on other matters just my studies. But this Master, similar to Master Lu, was very direct and would reprimand me directly, often in a fierce tone. I was young and immature, so I could not take her direct words. But there was one thing I always remember she told me. She said my mind is too complicated and I think a lot. She said my type of person is hard to teach and she suggested for me to channel the restless mind energy to read Buddhist scriptures. She said my mind is able to comprehend the complexity if the scriptures.
When my mother got cancer 21 years ago, my mom was too weakened by radiotherapy treatment. She had to complete 36 doses of radiotherapy but got too weak before the 10th dose. That time, radiotherapy treatments were very intensive and patients suffer a lot (just like the chemotherapy). And people around us was telling us no need to go for treatment, just go vegetarian and organic and buy certain direct selling products (Spirullina was trending during that time). When seeing my mother got so weak, we had wanted to stop the radiotherapy treatment and just go organic as everyone seemed to suggest.
On the day we made the decision to stop the radiotherapy treatment, I dreamt of the Master. In the dream, she told me to go and see her.
When I ask my mother’s friend to help contact the Master, originally she already did not want to see me but since I had dreamt of her, she said Guan Yin was compassionate on us and she agreed to see me.
She told me, my mother’s condition is very dangerous. The cancer was very aggressive. If my mother stop the treatment, for sure 100% she will not survive. But if she continue with the treatment, there is a 50-50 percent chance she can make it. It would depend on her kamma but she also said my mom had some spiritual disturbance that caused her pain and distress and she would give some blessed water to help my mother.
With that, my mom decided to continue with the treatment. I had to hospitalize my mom around the 10th dose as my mom got too weak to travel by car. She made it and till today, I am thankful for the Master for saving both my mother and my life. I am also thankful that she pointed me towards the right path to take in life and with people like me, telling me nicely would not snap me out of my bad habit.
I still think of her (the Master who saved my life) often and seeing Master Lu’s videos reminded me of her.
Some teacher’s methods are more direct and they reprimand publicly
There are some similarities in the approach between Master Lu and the Master who saved my life. Both were direct and would not hesitate to reprimand because they can read our thoughts. As I traveled around, I have head and come across many Buddhist Masters, many prominent monks who would not hesitate to reprimand people in public.
Once, there was a totem reading where Master Lu in Singapore where a lady had cancer that had spread all over. At first glance, she looked very pitiful. But Master Lu saw her past and directly reprimanded her to say that she had not been a good person in the past and the illness was the many wrongdoings she had done. She had manipulated and hurt many people, especially men using her beauty when she was younger. He seemed to show no mercy as he pointed out each of her character flaw. The lady did not deny it and seek forgiveness for her wrongdoings in the past.
If anyone was to see the video, they may be appalled at the way Master Lu spoke to the lady as well as the way he sometimes spoke to others. But I just want to share that based on my experience in meeting other enlightened Masters, some Masters also do that. Master Lu is not the only person who is like that.
Reason being is because some people have very hard, stubborn and obstinate character. I admit I was one of them. These people are not those who can be easily taught and even their parents would have a hard time with them. However, they also have a Dhamma seed or spiritual potential in them which these Masters could see but lay dormant. Most of the time, that dormant spiritual potential needed to be triggered back into awareness through a Master who raised his voice and uses words that pierces directly and break their ego.
Usually, a Master would not waste his breath to scold if the person is pure evil and cannot be taught. I have seen spiritual masters just keeping quiet when they come across someone who is evil hearted. He would only reprimand those who can be taught. In forest monastic tradition, it is said that if a teacher is good to a person who have flaws, it is like a death sentence because the teacher know the person cannot be taught. The teacher would only scold and raise their voice on someone who can be taught.
A good teacher would not tell us what we want to hear but what we need to hear. The fact that Master Lu is not afraid to say in front of hundreds of thousands of people show that he had nothing to hide. And when he reprimand one person, at the same time many others who watch his videos or are part of the audience would reflect if the situation applies directly to them. I have heard a few highly accomplished teachers who explained that when they reprimand someone openly, the same time they are also teaching others who are present. The person who got corrected also indirectly help many others in the same situation (and save them the situation of being reprimanded).
Do not mistaken this for psychopath or narcissist
I have worked in 2 large corporate companies during my career. I have my share of meeting and working with psychopath, narcissist and bullies.
I can tell you, the vibe is different. Even though they can smile and be friendly, we would leave after each interaction with them feeling drained, uncertain and fearful.
If we watch Master Lu’s video, using our heart and not intellect, one can sense that the reprimand is not done out of malice but stems from compassion. If our ego gets in the way, or what he said happen to hit on something that we are suppressing, then we may have a strong negative reaction towards what he said.
I wish to say that if you are in an inner circle with a spiritual master, the way Master Lu reprimands pale in comparison. This is because if it is a true teacher, they have no ulterior motive or after your donation or support. They only have your genuine wellbeing in their heart hence often they need to raise their voice or shout some sense or shatter that ego.
Deviation from orthodox Buddhist teachings?
Many Buddhist societies said that Master Lu’s teachings had deviated from the original teachings of the Buddha. But sometimes, it is important for us to understand that different teacher practices different teaching methods.
Often, a person develops genuine faith when they witness how the Buddha Dhamma and Guan Yin solve their deepest problem. It is hard to expect people to develop faith when they encounter a problem and no one could solve it. It is hard to have faith and practice if a person is worry because she is diagnosed with terminal cancer, have down syndrome and autistic kids (and wonder what will happen to their kids when they are gone) or face with financial woes and not able to put food on the table or pay for mortgage.
But if a teacher can directly pin point the cause of their problem and provide a solution then it can result in a person developing faith in the religion because it can solve their woes. For example their business is bad because they are disrespectful of their parents or their illness is due to too much killing done in family (for example a lady who had 2 autistic kids because her husband’s family slaughtered pigs)
We need to understand that most people are not born with a spiritual halo around them and want to practice automatically. Even if they do, as they grow up, temptation of worldly desires will pull them away from any spiritual path.
Until they come across a difficult path in their lives- an incurable illness (either they themselves or their loved ones), obstacles, life dangers, etc. And no one, not even the best doctors or any other sources could help them.
Some turn to spiritual practice after all other methods fail, eg doctors saying there is nothing they could do on a terminal illness, constant pain or their child’s strange behaviour. Personally, I believe if what happen to a person is due to kamma or the illness is of spiritual nature, then only spiritual practice can cure.
Despite many protestation, some wonder why the Guan Yin Citta’s followers continue to grow. Why is it so is because he solved people’s woes and problems provided they follow the guidelines he had provided. If his methods are bogus or fake, he would not have lasted for so many years.
I have seen a number of videos where people with incurable diseases, and parents with children who either have autism, mental illness or cognitive development issues. As you know, a child who is autistic, with issue of mental development and sometimes cannot walk – there is no medical cure. Anyone who has a child with special needs would understand the desperate feeling of finding a cure and relieving the child of their condition. Master Lu has been known to cure many children with such condition.
Take a look at the playlist below by a channel created by someone who also come across Master Lu’s teaching and decided to translate the teachings:
On each case, Master Lu explained the cause and provide the solution. It involves liberation of animals and chanting “Little Houses”. Little Houses consists of chanting of established Buddhist sutras such as The Great Compassion Mantra and Heart Sutra in certain number and combination.
Do note that in most of the ‘prescriptions’ given by Master Lu, it involves one to start one’s spiritual practice. Except with animal liberation, the rest does not cause money. Animal liberation is a method that is well promoted by Mahayana Buddhism as a meritorious act. Many other prominent Buddhist monastics adopt animal liberation practice. In fact, many years ago, Dr Lai Chun Nan also spoke of liberation of fishes as a way to prolong life.
When Master Lu visit different countries and have a convention, there is no entrance fees charged. There are also materials made available via free distribution. I have also never heard him openly asking for donations to set up this place or that place. However, Master Lu has saved many lives and it is nothing wrong if some of his disciples feel deep gratitude and wanted to donate money to Guan Yin Citta so that it can help and benefit more people. I have in cases of other Buddhist Masters too where grateful disciples who have the financial means make huge donations. There is nothing wrong- as some people who have surplus funds, would donate money while some who do not have, would donate their time.
It is foolish if a poor person donates all his money until he does not have enough money to feed his family- that is generosity with no wisdom. No ethical religious organization would expect one to contribute when they cannot afford. We can always volunteer our time instead.
For example, a person called Andy who discovered Master Lu’s Totem readings in Mandarin thought about benefiting the English speaking world that he started providing English subtitles to Master Lu’s videos. He is not under the Guan Yin Citta, which he made clear but he mentioned he was inspired and benefited from Master Lu’s teachings. As a Chinese who cannot read Mandarin, his translations made it possible for me to learn about Master Lu’s teachings.
Entries to all Master Lu’s public talks were free and so are his ebooks. Even animal liberation, he always ask them to do gradually and not in one time. When a person does the liberation, their life will improve gradually which would enable them to continue. His totem readings are based on random selection so anyone gets a chance and he never show discrimination against poorer segment.
The “Little Houses” that Master Lu prescribed consists of established Buddhist chants but in specific order. Yes, I do believe that in order for spiritual practice to work, a ‘prescription’ ie the sutra to chant and the repetition is important. He provides a specific amount based on each individual.
Note: I myself have sleeping problems for 2 decades (a lot of active dreams and wake up feeling as if my life force energy is sucked out of me)- I have tried a lot of remedies but nothing work except chanting, followed by transference of merits. I chant Pali texts- a long list of it each night. I could only sleep better after hitting a certain ‘requirement’. Therefore I believe that for the chanting to work, one need to hit a certain minimum threshold and chant with sincere heart.
Actually, in order to clear our own karmic debts, we have do it the practice ourselves. Or a close family member with strong karmic bond can do it for us. We cannot ‘outsource’ by paying money to have it done for us. When we do spiritual practice example recitation of sutras, it will change us.
Sometimes, even though in the beginning they are gung ho but when they start the practice, they find it tough and then give up. Then their life does not change and they would blame the teacher. It is like a doctor had diagnosed our problem and give us medicine as well as lifestyle changes we need to make in order to improve our health. But we refuse to follow and when our health is still bad, we turn around and blame the doctor. Does it make sense?
Beginning it will be tough but with time, something within us will change. Rest assure, you would very likely face challenges and obstacles, as if some hidden force is trying to stop us. I remember my mom told me, in the beginning when she decided to chant, the first few weeks were so tough. She would be chanting and would feel soooooo sleepy. She said as if some force is pulling her to lie down to sleep. But my mom was a determined person and once she set her mind to do it, she would not get deterred easily. She persevered and she said after a few weeks, the sleepiness suddenly disappeared and replaced by alertness.
Last time when I was not into practice and used to see her chanting each morning, I would ask her, don’t she get bored chanting the same thing each morning. She just answered me, “well, you gotta breathe right? Chanting is like breathing to me.”
I would say that chanting is a very effective method. It provides strong spiritual protection and with transference of merits, it helps us to settle our karmic debts. The person may be chanting “Little Houses” for their parent, spouse or child but guarantee they also reap the merits, protection and blessings for themselves.
21 years ago, both my mother and father encounter life threatening danger at the same time. It was the ripening of an abortion that my mother had done at my father’s insistence. My mother survived but my father passed away. The difference was spiritual practice. 10 years before the tragedy, my mom had the urge to start chanting. She chanted The Great Compassion Mantra and White Robe Guan Yin chant each morning without fail. My dad did not believe in spiritual practice. However, we did not know about karmic creditors and did not do transference of merits. Still, the practice my mother saved her life and offered her protection. My mom had actually met with life threatening dangers a few times.
Master Lu passed away so suddenly
The reason of his passing is not officially stated. But I did read a post in one of his Facebook pages that he has been unwell as he is taking a lot of the karmic burdens.
I have came across a forum thread which there were a lot of unpleasant things said about why he passed away so soon. If ever we do not agree with what a person is doing, it is best not to condemn or say bad things if we have nothing nice to say. This is because if a person is a virtuous person, the karmic retribution towards the person who did the condemning is very heavy. Even when Master Lu is alive, he himself have said never to say anything bad about other religions or Buddhist sects. For those who wish to know more about such thing, please read Journey to the Underworld which contain some interesting stories. Even though I am from different Buddhist tradition, I have heard similar stories from my Buddhist masters over similar type of deeds that is being performed and we have been taught repeatedly that if we truly can see how karma ripens, we would not dare to even think let alone say or do any bad deeds.
Compassionate teachers taking over karmic debts resulting illness or early passing
There are many compassionate spiritual teachers I have come across who are heavily affiliated with illness. A lot of these illness is related to taking over the karmic burdens of their disciples. Here, I wish to specify that I do not know exactly how Master Lu passed away but I can share on how sometimes spiritual teachers or even healers can take over the karmic burden of others.
I will give you a scenario based on real life event. A woman goes to see a female nun who is very accomplished in meditation. Her life is miserable- husband have another woman outside, children are not obedient, got bullied at work and having health and financial problems. The teacher saw and correctly state that she has done 2 abortions in the past and now the karmic consequences is ripening (spiritual teachers can usually know how many abortions a woman has done through able to perceive the number of child spirit around her as spirits from abortion generally do not leave the mother). In my tradition, one of the method used is temporary ordination or observe 8 precepts but stay in temple. The woman is to temporary ordain as a Buddhist nun for a specific period and then use the merits to dedicate to the aborted children.
The woman was desperate because there is no other solution. She promised to do it. Because she promised, the teacher then asked the spirits if their mother agree to ordain and dedicate merits, would the spirits forgive and accept the merits to take a rebirth? Usually if the mother is sincere and repentant on her action, they would agree. So a time in future is set for her to set her things in order and then come for ordination. Bear in mind it is temporary and not permanent ordination.
Because the spirits were told their mother was going to ordain, they stopped sabotaging her so much. So the mother saw some improvements in her life after meeting that teacher. Then somehow, she ended not coming because either she met people who dissuaded her, suddenly got a job promotion or could not get off work, or once the emotions wears off is no longer interested.
Or, she could have also ended up coming and shaving her hair. But find ordained life to be too challenging. Contrary to what some people may think, that being ordained does not mean is relaxed and just live on other people’s donation. Usually in this type of situation, she would be presented with a lot of challenges- meeting disagreeable people, not able to sleep, feeling extremely restless or not comfortable, etc. These challenges are meant to be overcome because it is in through develop resilience and patience that one develops virtue and that is where the merits come from to offer to the karmic creditors. So halfway through, the mother feels she could not take it, and disrobed before completing the promised duration and left.
I have seen all the scenarios above. In the spiritual world, a promise is a promise. If we cannot make stick to it, do not ever make a promise. If we make such promises we cannot keep and break it, the consequence is worse than not making at all. So the karmic creditors will go after the teacher, being very angry. So what’s the deal, they ask. They are ready to go after the mother which would cause something really terrible to happen all out because they suffered rejection after rejection (first, not wanted and aborted by the mother, then seeing the mother giving birth and dotting on her live children, and now breaking her promise). Sometimes, the teacher may feel so sorry for the mother that she persuade the karmic creditors to let the mother go and that she (the teacher) will take over and generate sufficient merits for the spirits to take rebirth.
Above is only one type of scenario. You would have different karmic creditors that come from other deeds. That is why sometimes you see monks and nuns with many followers who have a lot of health issues and even the best doctors could not heal them. It is not because they did bad things while in the robes or while being a teacher. It is because they are shouldering karmic burdens of others which they would not have to do in the first place should their followers kept their promise and vows!
Therefore, you can imagine for case like Master Lu where he have millions of followers. You can see in a lot of his Totem readings, many people are in near death or having critical condition. It is not surprising that many people who made vows ended up not being able to keep them. Sometimes, their time is up but it is through the vow that kept them alive. So if they break their vows, they would not survive. Master Lu would know about this and out of compassion he may end up bearing the karmic burden of some of the followers. In his scale, we are not talking about just a few person but easily could be up to thousands of people. It is not that the spirits all go and take revenge on him or what. But when we bear the karmic burden of someone, it produces a very negative karmic force towards us. If that volume is just too large, the mortal body is not able to withstand the enormity of it and the person’s physical body would disintegrate.
The Dhamma body would not die and would continue to live on. I believe for those who continue to practice, Guan Yin and Master Lu can continue to guide in their Dharma body (example coming in a form from messages received via dreams).
Even though Master Lu is gone, you can still access to his videos with English translations. He also offer guidelines and general ‘prescriptions’ of number of chants to do in his ebooks which you can download for free via his website: https://www.guanyincitta.info/ (scroll down to ebooks). He has left legacy and the metthods behind. All you need to do is to give it a try.