Category Archives: Buddhist Practice

From the most recognizable Buddhist World Leaders Respond To Violence Against Muslims In Myanmar


From the most recognizable Buddhist World Leaders:

Myanmar Buddhists Muslim

To Our Brother and Sister Buddhists in Myanmar,

As world Buddhist leaders we send our loving kindess and concern for the difficulties the people of Myanmar are faced with at this time. While it is a time of great positive change in Myanmar we are concerned about the growing ethnic violence and the targeting of Muslims in Rakhine State and the violence against Muslims and others across the country. The Burmese are a noble people, and Burmese Buddhists carry a long and profound history of upholding the Dharma.

We wish to reaffirm to the world and to support you in practicing the most fundamental Buddhist principles of non-harming, mutual respect and compassion.

These fundamental principles taught by the Buddha are at the core of Buddhist practice:

Buddhist teaching is based on the precepts of refraining from killing and causing harm.
Buddhist teaching is based on compassion and mutual care.
Buddhist teaching offers respect to all, regardless of class, caste, race or creed.

We are with you for courageously standing up for these Buddhist principles even when others would demonize or harm Muslims or other ethnic groups. It is only through mutual respect, harmony and tolerance that Myanmar can become a modern great nation benefiting all her people and a shining example to the world.

Whether you are a Sayadaw or young monk or nun, or whether you are a lay Buddhist, please, speak out, stand up, reaffirm these Buddhist truths, and support all in Myanmar with the compassion, dignity and respect offered by the Buddha.

We stand with you in the Dharma,

Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh
Nobel Peace Prize Nominee
Vietnam

Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
President Buddhist Global Relief
(world’s foremost translator of the Pali Canon)
Sri Lanka/USA

Dr. AT Ariyaratne
Founder Nationwide Sarvodaya Movement
Ghandi Peace Prize Laureate
Sri Lanka

Ven. Chao Khun Raja Sumedhajahn
Elder, Ajahn Chah Monasteries
Wat Ratanavan, Thailand

Ven. Phra Paisal Visalo
Chair Buddhika Network Buddhism and Society
Thailand

Ven. Arjia Rinpoche VIII
Abbot Tibetan Mongolian Cultural Center
Mongolia/USA

Ven. Shodo Harada Roshi
Abbot Sogenji Rinzai Zen Monastery
Japan

Achariya Professor J Simmer Brown
Chairperson Buddhist Studies
Naropa Buddhist University
USA

Ven. Ajahn Amaro Mahathera
Abbot Amaravati Vihara
England

Ven. Hozan A Senauke
International Network of Engaged Buddhists
Worldwide

Younge Khachab Rinpoche VIII
Abbot Younge Drodul Ling
Canada

Ven. Sr. Thich Nu Chan Kong
President Plum Village Zen temples
France/Vietnam

Dr. Jack Kornfield Vipassana Achariya
Convener Western Buddhist Teachers Council
USA

Lama Surya Das
Dzogchen Foundation International
Vajrayana Tibet/USA

Ven. Zoketsu N. Fischer Soto Roshi
Fmr. Abbot largest Zen community in the West
USA/Japan

Tulku Sherdor Rinpoche
Director BI. Wisdom Institute
Canada

Professor Robert Tenzin C. Thurman
Center for Buddhist Studies
Columbia University
USA

HH the XIV Dalai Lama
Nobel Laureate
Tibet/India
Though not able to be reached in time to sign this letter, HH the Dalai Lama has publicly and repeatedly stated his concern about the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. He urges everyone to continue to practice non-violence and retain the religious harmony that is central to our ancient and revered culture.

Source:Huffington Post : Buddhist Leaders Respond To Violence Against Muslims In Myanmar

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/10/buddhist-leaders-respond-to-violence-against-muslims-in-myanmar_n_2272336.html

Pratyutpanna Sutra


佛說般舟三昧經
Buddha Pronounces the Sūtra of the Pratyutpanna Buddha Sammukhāvasthita Samādhi

Translated from Sanskrit into Chinese in the Eastern Han Dynasty
by
The Tripiṭaka Master Lokakṣema from the Yuezhi Land

Chapter 1
The Questions

Thus I have heard:
At one time the Bhagavān was in the Karaṇḍa Bamboo Garden of the city of Rājagṛha, together with an innumerable multitude of great Bodhisattvasbhikṣusbhikṣuṇīs,upāsakas, and upāsikās, as well as godsdragonsasurasyakṣasgaruḍaskiṁnaras, and mahoragas. All were seated in the huge assembly.
    At that time Bhadrapāla Bodhisattva1 rose from his seat, arranged his attire, and fell on his knees. He joined his palms and asked the Buddha, “I would like to ask some questions. May I have Your permission to ask them now?”
The Buddha replied, “Very good! Ask any questions as you wish. I will answer them to you.”
Bhadrapāla Bodhisattva asked the Buddha, “What dharmas should Bodhisattvas do in order to develop wisdom, like the immense ocean accepting myriad streams? What should they do in order to acquire broad knowledge and understand what they have heard without doubts? What should they do in order to know their past lives and whence they have come to reborn? What should they do in order to live a long life? What should they do in order to be reborn into a family with a great name and to be loved and respected by their parents, siblings, relatives, and friends? What should they do in order to be endowed with even, comely features? What should they do in order to acquire excellent talents, to be outstanding in the multitudes, and to develop superb, all-encompassing wisdom? What should they do in order to acquire the merit and wisdom required for Buddhahood, to achieve immeasurable awesome power, and to adorn their magnificent Buddha Lands? What should they do in order to subjugate hostile māras? What should they do in order to achieve command so that their vows will never fail? What should they do in order to enter the Door of Total Retention? What should they do in order to acquire the transcendental powers to travel to Buddha Lands everywhere? What should they do in order to acquire the bold valor of a lion, with nothing to fear, unmovable by māras? What should they do in order to realize their holy Buddha nature and to accept and uphold the Dharma in the sūtras with understanding, not forgetting anything? What should they do in order to achieve self-fulfillment, free from sycophancy and flattery and unattached to the Three Realms of Existence? What should they do in order to be free from hindrances and to acquire the overall wisdom-knowledge, never deviating from the Buddha’s intention? What should they do in order to win people’s trust? What should they do in order to acquire the eight tones [of a Buddha] and sound 10,000 koṭi tones? What should they do in order to acquire the sublime appearance [of a Buddha]? What should they do in order to acquire the power of all-hearing? What should they do in order to acquire the bodhi-eye to see into the future? What should they do in order to acquire the Ten Powers and true wisdom? What should they do in order to see, in a single thought, Buddhas from worlds in the ten directions all standing before them? What should they do in order to know that the four appearances of every dharma have no reality? What should they do in order to see in this world innumerable Buddha Lands in the ten directions and to know the good and evil life-journeys of the people, gods, dragons, spirits, and wriggly insects in those lands? These are my questions. I pray that the Buddha will explain to me and resolve all my doubts.”
The Buddha told Bhadrapāla, “Very good! Your questions are so comprehensive that they are beyond measure. You can ask these questions because you have acquired merit in your past lives under past Buddhas; because you have made offerings to Buddhas, delighted in the Dharma in the sūtras, observed your precepts, and lived in purity; because you have always begged for food, not accepting meal invitations, convened assemblies of Bodhisattvas, taught people to stop doing evil, and seen the equality of all; and because you have always had great lovingkindness and great compassion. Your merit is beyond measure.”
The Buddha told Bhadrapāla, “There is a samādhi called Buddhas from Worlds in the Ten Directions All Standing before One. If you can do this dharma, you will have the answers to all your questions.”
Bhadrapāla said to the Buddha, “I pray that You will pronounce it. What the Buddha will now pronounce is all-encompassing. It will give peace to [sentient beings in worlds in] the ten directions and provide great illumination to Bodhisattvas.”
The Buddha told Bhadrapāla, “There is a samādhi called Concentrated Mind. Bodhisattvas should constantly guard, learn, and uphold it, never to follow other ways. Of all virtuous ways, this is the foremost one.”

Chapter 2
The Training

The Buddha told Bhadrapāla, “If Bodhisattvas aspire to attain this samādhi quickly, they should stand in great faith. Those who train themselves in accordance with the Dharma can attain this samādhi. Do not raise any doubts, even as slight as a hair. This Dharma of Concentrated Mind is also called the Bodhisattva Way Surpassing All Other Ways.”
[Then the Buddha spoke in verse:]

With a single thought, believe in this Dharma.
Following the teachings heard, think only of one object.
Keep only one thought, ceasing all other thoughts.
Stand firm in your faith, without any doubts.
Progress energetically, never negligent or indolent.

Think of neither existence nor nonexistence, neither progress nor regress.
Think of neither front nor back, neither left nor right.
Think of neither nonexistence nor existence, neither far nor near.
Think of neither pain nor itch, neither hunger nor thirst.
Think of neither cold nor hot, neither pain nor pleasure.
Think of neither birth nor old age, neither illness nor death.
Think of neither body nor life, nor longevity.
Think of neither wealth nor poverty, neither nobility nor lowliness.
Think of neither sense objects nor desires.
Think of neither large nor small, neither long nor short.
Think of neither beauty nor ugliness.
Think of neither evil nor good, neither anger nor delight.
Think of neither rising nor sitting, neither proceeding nor stopping.
Think of neither the sūtras nor the Dharma.
Think of neither right nor wrong, neither grasping nor abandoning.
Think of neither perception nor consciousness.
Think of neither cessation nor continuation.
Think of neither emptiness nor true reality.
Think of neither heavy nor light, neither hard nor easy.
Think of neither deep nor shallow, neither broad nor narrow.
Think of neither father nor mother, neither wife nor children.
Think of neither friends nor acquaintances, neither love nor hatred.
Think of neither gain nor loss, neither success nor failure.
Think of neither clarity nor turbidity.

Cease all thoughts and be vigilant for a given period of time, never distracted.
Progress energetically, never negligent or indolent.
Do not count the years, nor feel tired in a single day.
Hold one thought, never losing it.
Avoid sleep and keep the mind alert.
Always live alone and avoid gatherings.
Shun evil ones but stay near beneficent friends.
Serve illuminated teachers, regarding them as Buddhas.
Hold firm your resolve, but always be gentle.
Meditate on the equality of all things.
Avoid your hometown and keep away from relatives.
Abandon love and desire and live in purity.
Meditate on that which is asaṁskṛta and cease desires.
Drop distracting thoughts and learn the way of concentration.
Gain wisdom from words in accord with dhyāna.
Remove the three afflictions and purify the six faculties.
Cease lustful pursuits and leave sensory pleasures behind.
Do not be greedy for wealth or accumulate things.
Know contentment in eating and do not covet flavors.
Take care never to eat any sentient being [dead or alive].
Dress in accordance with the Dharma, and do not be ornately adorned.
Do not tease others, nor be proud or arrogant.
Do not be conceited, nor elevate yourself.
Expound sūtras in accordance with the Dharma.
Understand that the body has always been like an illusion.
Do not be engrossed by the [five] aggregates, nor revel in the [twelve] sensory fields.
The five aggregates are like thieves, and the four domains are like snakes.
All are impermanent and all are unstable.
Recognize that there has never been an everlasting ruler in one,
Only convergence and divergence of causes and conditions.
Understand and know that nothing in existence is real.
Bestow lovingkindness and sympathy on all.
Give alms to the poor and relief to the unfortunate.

This is meditative concentration in the Bodhisattva Way, which
Will unfold the fundamental wisdom and elicit myriads of wisdom-knowledge.

The Buddha told Bhadrapāla, “One who trains in this way will attain the samādhi in which present Buddhas all stand before one. If, among bhikṣus, bhikṣuṇīs, upāsakas, and upāsikās, there are those who want to train according to this Dharma, they should fully observe their precepts and live alone in a place to think of Amitābha Buddha, who now is in the west. According to the teachings heard, one should also think of His land called Sukhāvatī, which is ten million koṭi Buddha Lands away from here. One should single-mindedly contemplate for one day and one night, or even seven days and seven nights. After the seventh day, one will see Him. By analogy, one sees things in a dream, not knowing whether it is day or night, indoors or outdoors, and one’s sight is impervious to darkness or obstructions.
“Bhadrapāla, Bodhisattvas should do this contemplation. Then huge mountains, Sumeru Mountains, and dark places in the intervening Buddha Lands will all fall away, not posing any obstruction. These Bodhisattvas will see across without having the God-eye, hear across without having the God-ear, and travel to that Buddha Land without possessing transcendental powers. It is not that they have died here and been reborn there, but that they can sit here and see everything there.
“As an analogy, a man hears that in the kingdom of Vaiśālī lives a prostitute named Sumanā; a second man hears of a prostitute called Āmrapālī; and a third man hears that Utpalavarṇā has become a prostitute. These three men have never seen those three women, but they have heard of them and their lust is ignited. They all live in Rājagṛha, and they have lustful thoughts concurrently. Each of them goes, in a dream, to the woman he thinks of and spends the night with her. When they wake up, they all remember their own dreams.”
The Buddha told Bhadrapāla, “The three women I have mentioned serve as an analogy. You may use this story to expound the sūtras, enabling others to unfold their wisdom so that they will arrive at the Ground of No Regress on the unsurpassed true Way. When they eventually attain Buddhahood, they all will be called Superb Enlightenment.”
The Buddha said, “Bodhisattvas in this land can see Amitābha Buddha by thinking intently only of Him. When they see Him, they can ask, ‘What Dharma should I uphold in order to be reborn in Your land?’ Amitābha Buddha will reply, ‘Those who wish to be reborn in my land should think of my name. If they can continue without rest, they will succeed in being reborn here.’”
The Buddha said, “Because of intent thinking, one will be reborn there. One should always think of Amitābha Buddha’s body with the thirty-two physical marks and the eighty excellent characteristics, unequaled in its majesty, radiating vast bright light to illuminate everywhere. He teaches, in the assembly of Bodhisattvas and bhikṣus, that dharmas [in true reality] are empty and, therefore, indestructible. Why? Because indestructible are all dharmas, such as form, pain, itch, thinking, perception, birth, death, consciousness, spirit, earth, water, fire, wind, the human world, and the heaven world, including Great Brahma Heaven. By thinking of a Buddha, one attains the Samādhi of Emptiness.”
The Buddha told Bhadrapāla, “Who have attained this Bodhisattva samādhi? My disciple Mahākāśyapa, Indraguṇa Bodhisattva, the god-son Good Virtue, and those who already know this samādhi, have attained it through training. Hence, Bhadrapāla, those who wish to see present Buddhas [in worlds] in the ten directions should think of their lands single-mindedly, without other thoughts. Then they will be able to see them. As an analogy, one travels to a distant land and thinks of family and kin in one’s hometown. In a dream, one returns home, sees one’s family and relatives, and enjoys talking to them. After waking, one tells one’s dream to friends.”
The Buddha said, “If Bodhisattvas hear of a Buddha’s name and wish to see Him, they will be able to see Him by constantly thinking of Him and His land. For example, a bhikṣu visualizes before him the bones of a corpse, turning blue, white, red, or black. The colors are not brought by anyone, but are imagined by his mind. Likewise, by virtue of Buddhas’ awesome spiritual power, Bodhisattvas who skillfully abide in this samādhi can see, as they wish, a Buddha of any land. Why? Because they are able to see Him by virtue of three powers: the power of Buddhas, the power of the samādhi, and the power of their own merit.
“As an analogy, a handsome young man dressed in fine clothes wants to see his own face. He can see his reflection by looking into a hand mirror, pure oil, clear water, or a crystal. Does his reflection come from the outside into the mirror, oil, water, or crystal?”
Bhadrapāla replied, “No, it does not. God of Gods, it is because of the clarity of the mirror, oil, water, or crystal, that the man can see his reflection. His reflection comes from neither the inside [of the medium] nor the outside.”
The Buddha said, “Very good, Bhadrapāla. Because the medium is clear, the reflection is clear. Likewise, if one wishes to see a Buddha, one with a pure mind will be able to see. When one sees Him, one can ask questions, and He will give a reply. Having heard the teachings, one will be exultant and think: ‘Where does this Buddha come from and where am I going? As I think of this Buddha, He comes from nowhere and I am going nowhere. As I think of the desire realm, the form realm, and the formless realm, thesethree realms are formed by my mind. I can see what I think of. The mind forms a Buddha for itself to see; the mind is the Buddha mind. As my mind forms a Buddha, my mind is the Buddha; my mind is the Tathāgata; my mind is my body.’
“Although the mind sees a Buddha, the mind neither knows itself nor sees itself. The mind with perceptions is saṁsāra; the mind without perceptions is nirvāṇa. Dharmas as perceived are not something pleasurable. They are empty thoughts, nothing real. This is what Bodhisattvas see as they abide in this samādhi.”
Then the Buddha spoke in verse:

The mind does not know itself; the mind does not see itself.
The mind that fabricates perceptions is false; the mind without perceptions is nirvāṇa.
Dharmas are not firm, only founded upon thinking.
Those who see emptiness with this understanding are free from perceptions and expectations.

Chapter 3
Four Things to Do

The Buddha continued, “There are four things through which Bodhisattvas can quickly attain this samādhi. First, have faith that no one can destroy. Second, make energetic progress that nothing can deter. Third, have wisdom-knowledge with which no one else’s can compare. Fourth, always work under a beneficent teacher. These are the four things.
There are another four things which will enable one to attain this samādhi quickly. First, do not engage in worldly thinking for three months, not even during a finger snap. Second, do not sleep for three months, not even during a finger snap. Third, do walking meditation for three months without any rest, except when eating and so forth. Fourth, expound sūtras to others, not expecting their offerings. These are the four things.
There are another four things which will enable one to attain this samādhi quickly. First, take people to the Buddha. Second, gather people to have them hear the teachings. Third, have no jealousy. Fourth, have people learn the Buddha Way. These are the four things.
There are another four things which will enable one to attain this samādhi quickly. First, construct Buddhas’ images. Second, copy this sūtra on fine fabric. Third, teach the conceited ones to enter the Buddha Way. Fourth, always protect and uphold the Buddha Dharma. These are the four things.”
Then the Buddha spoke in verse:

Always believe and delight in the Buddha Dharma.
Progress energetically to unfold profound wisdom.
Disseminate and pronounce the Dharma to others.
Guard against greed for offerings.
Discard desires with good understanding.
Always think of Buddhas, who have awesome virtue,
And see and know dharmas in limitless diversity.
Past Buddhas, future Buddhas,
And present Buddhas, revered among men,
With no more afflictions to discharge,
Are golden in color and have superb physical marks.
They give firm teachings with wisdom beyond the ultimate.
Listen to this Dharma with an undistracted mind.
Forever discard the way of negligence and indolence.
Never bear malice toward others.
Respect teachers as you do Buddhas.
Take care not to have doubts about this sūtra,
Which is praised by all Buddhas.
Always construct and enshrine Buddhas’ images.
Always persuade others to learn this Dharma
And practice it to attain this samādhi.

The Buddha told Bhadrapāla, “Those who want to learn this samādhi should respect their teachers, serve them, and make offerings to them, regarding them as Buddhas. Those who see their teachers as less than Buddhas will have difficulty attaining this samādhi. Bodhisattvas who respect beneficent teachers from whom they have learned this samādhi can advance. By virtue of Buddhas’ awesome spiritual power, when they face the east, they will see a billion koṭi Buddhas. In the same way, they will see Buddhas [in worlds] in the ten directions. By analogy, one observes the night sky and sees myriads of stars. Bodhisattvas who wish to see present Buddhas all standing before them should respect beneficent teachers, not looking for their faults. Never negligent or indolent, they should fully train in giving alms, observing precepts, enduring adversity, and making energetic progress single-mindedly.”

Chapter 4
The Analogies

The Buddha told Bhadrapāla, “Bodhisattvas who have attained this samādhi but do not progress energetically are like those who are shipwrecked midway while crossing an immense ocean on a ship fully loaded with treasures. People in Jambudvīpa will all be in tremendous anguish, concerned about the loss of their treasures. If Bodhisattvas have heard this samādhi but do not learn it, gods will all sadly say, ‘Our sūtra treasure is lost.’”
The Buddha said, “This samādhi is taught and praised by all Buddhas. Those who have heard this profound samādhi sūtra but do not copy, study, recite, or uphold it in accordance with the Dharma, are foolish. As an analogy, someone gives sandalwood incense to a fool, but he refuses to accept it, saying that the incense is impure. The giver says, ‘This is sandalwood incense. Do not say that it is impure. If you smell it, you will know that it is fragrant. If you look at it, you will know that it is pure.’ That fool closes his eyes, refusing to see or smell it.”
The Buddha said, “Those who have heard this samādhi sūtra but refuse to accept it are as ignorant as that fool. They defiantly argue that everything in the world exists. Not having realized emptiness, they do not know nonexistence. Alleging that their views accord with the Dharma, they say in mockery, ‘Does the Buddha have profound sūtras, as well as awesome spiritual powers?’ They say these contradictory words: ‘Are there bhikṣus in the world who are like Ānanda?’”
The Buddha said, “Those people walk away from the ones who uphold this samādhi sūtra. In twos and threes, they say to one another, ‘What do these words mean? Where did they get these words? They must have gathered together to forge this sūtra. It is not pronounced by the Buddha.’”
The Buddha told Bhadrapāla, “As an analogy, a merchant shows a precious gem to a foolish farm boy. The boy asks, ‘How much is it worth?’ The merchant replies, ‘If you place this gem in the dark, its light shines on the treasures that fill up that area.’”
The Buddha said, “The foolish boy still does not know that this gem is precious. He asks, ‘Can its value be compared with that of a cow? I would rather trade it for a cow. If you agree, it is fine. If you disagree, forget it.’ Bhadrapāla, Bodhisattvas who, having heard this samādhi, do not believe it and make contradictory remarks are like that foolish boy.”
The Buddha said, “Bodhisattvas who, having heard this samādhi sūtra, believe, accept, and uphold it, and train accordingly, are supported by those around them, and have nothing to fear. Fully observing their precepts, they are brilliant, and their wisdom is profound. They disseminate the Dharma and tell people to teach others, who in turn teach others, enabling this samādhi sūtra to remain in the world for a long time.”
The Buddha said, “Those fools have not made offerings or acquired merits in their past lives. They have instead elevated themselves, carrying on their slanderous and jealous ways. Greedy for wealth and benefits, they seek fame and reputation. They only want to make noisy remarks because they do not believe in profound sūtras. Having heard this samādhi sūtra, they neither believe nor appreciate it, nor learn it. Instead, they malign this sūtra, alleging that it is not pronounced by the Buddha.”
The Buddha told Bhadrapāla, “Now I tell you this. If good men and good women give, as alms, treasures that fill up the Three-Thousand Large Thousandfold World, their merit is less than that of those who hear this samādhi sūtra and believe and delight in it. Their merit surpasses that of the almsgivers.”
The Buddha told Bhadrapāla, “I now say these words, which will never change. Setting aside those who in future lives will follow evil teachers, if there are those who now have doubts about this samādhi I have pronounced, their merit is not worth mentioning even if in future lives they follow good teachers. These people will nevertheless defect [from good teachers] to work under evil teachers. Why is that they, having heard this samādhi, neither believe nor appreciate it, and choose not to learn it? They disbelieve because they have seen few Buddhas in the past and have little wisdom.”
The Buddha told Bhadrapāla, “I have the foresight and foreknowledge of those who, having heard this samādhi sūtra, will not laugh in contempt, malign, doubt, or suddenly believe and suddenly disbelieve, but will delight in copying, learning, reciting, and upholding it. They not only have accumulated merit under one or two Buddhas, but have heard this samādhi sūtra from one hundred Buddhas. When they hear this samādhi sūtra in their future lives, if they copy, learn, recite, and uphold it even for only one day and one night, their merit will be beyond calculation. They will arrive at the spiritual level of avinivartanīya on their own as they wish.”
The Buddha told Bhadrapāla, “Hear this analogy. Suppose someone crushes a Buddha Land into dust, then further pulverizes each dust particle into more particles. Is the number of dust particles produced from a Buddha Land very huge?”
Bhadrapāla replied, “Very huge, God of Gods.”
The Buddha said, “Suppose a Bodhisattva takes all these dust particles and places each in a Buddha Land. He then takes treasures that fill up all these Buddha Lands to make an offering to Buddhas. His merit is very little in comparison with that of those who have heard this samādhi sūtra and have learned, copied, recited, and upheld it. Even if they explain this sūtra to others only for a short while, this merit is beyond calculation. Even greater is the merit of those who have fully attained this samādhi.”
Then the Buddha spoke in verse:

If there are Bodhisattvas who seek merit,
They should pronounce and train in this samādhi.
Those who believe, delight in, and recite [this sūtra] without doubts
Have immeasurable merit.
Crushing one Buddha Land
Into dust particles,
One can give, as alms, treasures filling Buddha Lands that are
As numerous as dust particles.
Those who have heard this samādhi
Have merit greater than that of the almsgiver.
Their merit is beyond analogy.

I entrust you all to teach others
To progress energetically without negligence or indolence.
Those who recite and uphold this samādhi sūtra
Have already beheld 100,000 Buddhas.
As for the huge dread at the final moment of life,
Those abiding in this samādhi will have no fear.
Bhikṣus who train in this way have already seen me.
They will always follow the Buddha, never far from Him.
As the Buddha’s words never change,
Bodhisattvas should always follow His teachings
To attain quickly samyak-saṁbodhi, the ocean of wisdom.

Chapter 5
The Four Groups of Disciples

Bhadrapāla asked the Buddha, “Unrivaled God of Gods, if there are those who, after abandoning loves and desires to become bhikṣus, have heard of this samādhi, how should they learn, uphold, and practice it?”
The Buddha replied, “Those who, having abandoned loves and desires and become bhikṣus, aspire to learn this samādhi should observe their precepts with purity, without any flaw even as slight as a hair. To remain pure, they should dread the suffering of hell and refrain from sycophancy.”
“What is a flaw in observing the precepts?”
The Buddha replied, “Seeking form.”
“What is meant by seeking form?”
The Buddha replied, “If a person’s motive of observing the precepts for self-restraint is to be reborn in the next life as a god or a Wheel-Turning King, such a wish for pleasures, loves, and desires is called a flaw in observing the precepts.”
The Buddha told Bhadrapāla, “Those who protect their purity, fully observe their precepts, and do not adulate others, are always praised by the wise. They should give alms and progress energetically in accordance with the sūtras. Their resolve should be strong, and they should have great faith and sympathetic joy. Those who serve their teachers as they do Buddhas will attain this samādhi quickly. Those who are disrespectful and readily deceitful to their teachers will quickly lose this samādhi, though they have been training for a long time.”
The Buddha told Bhadrapāla, “Bodhisattvas who have heard this samādhi from bhikṣus, bhikṣuṇīs, upāsakas, or upāsikās should regard them as Buddhas and respect them without intending sycophancy. Bodhisattvas should never be sycophantic but always be earnest. They should always delight in living alone. Though not begrudging even their lives, they should not hope for others to make requests of them. They should always beg for food, not accepting meal invitations. They should guard their moral integrity and be content with what they have. They should do walking meditation, not lying down to relax. Those who are learning this samādhi should abide by the teachings in the sūtras.”
Bhadrapāla said to the Buddha, “Unrivaled God of Gods, it cannot be helped that, in future times, there will be negligent and indolent Bodhisattvas who, after hearing this samādhi, will not learn it diligently. However, there will be Bodhisattvas who aspire to learn this samādhi and progress energetically, and we will teach them to follow the Dharma in this sūtra.”
    The Buddha said, “Very good, Bhadrapāla, as I express my sympathetic joy,2 so too Buddhas of the past, future, and present all express their sympathetic joy.”
Then the Buddha spoke in verse:

Accept and uphold all that I say.
Always live alone and accumulate merit.
Guarding your moral integrity, do not join crowds.
Always beg for food, not accepting meal invitations.
Respect Dharma masters and regard them as Buddhas.
Avoid sleep and strengthen willpower.
Always progress energetically, without negligence or indolence.
Those who train in this way will attain this samādhi.

Bhadrapāla asked the Buddha, “If bhikṣuṇīs who seek the Bodhisattva Way aspire to learn this samādhi, what should they do?”
The Buddha replied, “Bhikṣuṇīs who seek this samādhi should not elevate themselves. They should be humble, neither self-dignifying nor self-aggrandizing. They should harbor neither jealousy nor anger, nor greed for wealth, benefits, or sense objects. They should protect their purity, even at the cost of their lives. They should always delight in the Dharma in the sūtras and learn as much as possible. They should discard greed, anger, and delusion, and they should not be greedy for fine clothing or adornments, such as necklaces of gems. Then they will be praised by the wise. They should respect beneficent teachers and regard them as Buddhas, without intending sycophancy.”
Then the Buddha spoke in verse:

If bhikṣuṇīs seek this samādhi,
They should progress energetically, never negligent or indolent.
Do not follow the mind of greed.
Remove anger and self-glorification.
Do not be arrogant, deceitful, or playful.
Always act in earnest, standing firm in the one faith.
Respect beneficent teachers and regard them as Buddhas.
Those who train in this way will attain this samādhi.

Bhadrapāla asked the Buddha, “If upāsakas who are training for bodhi have heard of this samādhi and aspire to learn it, what should they do?”
The Buddha replied, “Upāsakas who aspire to learn this samādhi should faithfully observe the five precepts. They should neither drink alcohol nor have others drink alcohol. They should not be intimate with women or advise others to be intimate with women. They should not be attached to their wives, nor to men or other women. They should not have greed for wealth. They should constantly think of renouncing family life to become śramaṇas. They should regularly observe the eight precepts in a Buddhist temple. They should always remember to give alms. Because alms are given to benefit others, after giving alms, they should not think: ‘I have gained merit.’ They should have great lovingkindness and respect for their beneficent teachers. When they see bhikṣus who observe their precepts, they should not readily talk about their faults. Having carried out these actions, they should learn to abide in this samādhi.”
Then the Buddha spoke in verse:

Upāsakas who aspire to learn this samādhi
Should observe the five precepts without breach or flaw.
They should always think of becoming śramaṇas,
Not greedy for wives, riches, or sense objects.
They should regularly observe the eight precepts in a Buddhist temple.
Neither conceited nor contemptuous of others,
Their minds do not expect glory, nor think of wants.
They should carry out the Dharma in the sūtras, without a sycophantic mind.
Abandoning stinginess and greed, they should give generous alms.
They should always respect bhikṣus and make offerings to them.
They should resolve to take the one training without being negligent or indolent.
Those who are learning this samādhi should act in this way.

Bhadrapāla asked the Buddha, “If upāsikās who have heard of this samādhi aspire to learn it, what should they do?”
The Buddha replied, “If upāsikās aspire to learn this samādhi, they should observe the five precepts and willingly take refuge in the Three Jewels. What are these three? They should take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Saṅgha, never to follow other paths. They should not make obeisance to gods, nor worship spirits. They should not select auspicious dates. They should not be playful or indulgent, or think of sensory pleasures. Subjugating the mind of greed, they should remember to give alms. Delighting in hearing the sūtras, they should remember to study hard and respect beneficent teachers. Their minds should be vigilant, never negligent or indolent. They should offer a sitting-down meal to bhikṣus or bhikṣuṇīs who pass by.”
Then the Buddha spoke in verse:

Upāsikās who aspire to learn this samādhi
Should observe the five precepts without breach or flaw.
They should serve beneficent teachers and regard them as Buddhas.
They should not worship gods, nor idolize spirits.
They should stop killing, stealing, and feeling jealous.
They should never say divisive words to incite conflict among people.
They should be neither stingy nor greedy, but always remember to give alms.
They should not publicize the evil, but always praise the good.
They should refrain from sycophancy and sexual misconduct.
They should be humble, not self-aggrandizing.
They should respectfully serve bhikṣus and bhikṣuṇīs.
Those who train in this way will attain this samādhi.

Chapter 6
Support and Protection

The eight Bodhisattvas—Bhadrapāla, Ralinnāga, Gaujata, Naradatta, Suṣama, Mahāsusaha, Indrada, and Harandha—having heard the Buddha’s words, greatly rejoiced. They offered the Buddha 500 fine cotton garments and precious gems, and joyfully served the Buddha.
The Buddha told Ānanda, “Bhadrapāla and seven others are teachers to the 500 people who are with them. They will uphold the true Dharma, and teach and transform these people accordingly. Then these people will all be joyful, and their minds will be free from desires.”
At that time these 500 people joined their palms, standing before the Buddha. Bhadrapāla asked the Buddha, “How many things should Bodhisattvas do in order to attain this samādhi quickly?”
The Buddha replied, “There are four things. First, do not believe in other paths. Second, cease love and desire. Third, carry out the pure ways. Fourth, have no greed. These are the four. Those who do them will acquire 500 benefits in their present lives. For example, bhikṣus with the mind of lovingkindness will never be killed or harmed by poison, knives or other weapons, fire, or water. Even when a kalpa is ending with the world in flames, if they fall into that fire, it will extinguish, just like a small fire put out by a massive amount of water. Whether kings, thieves, water, or fire, whether dragons, yakṣas, serpents, lions, tigers, or wolves, whether forest phantoms, hungry ghosts, orkumbhāṇḍas, those who, targeting Bodhisattvas abiding in this samādhi, desire to bewitch them, kill them, rob them of their robes and bowls, or destroy their meditation and mindfulness, will never succeed. Unless such misfortune is brought about by their past karmas, things will be as I say, not different.”
The Buddha said, “Those who uphold this samādhi will not have ailments of the eye, ear, nose, mouth, or body, nor will they have anxiety in their minds, except for misfortune in response to karmas in their past lives.”
The Buddha said, “All gods, dragons, asuras, yakṣas, garuḍas, kiṁnaras, and mahoragas, as well as humans and nonhumans, will acclaim these Bodhisattvas. They all will support, protect, and serve these Bodhisattvas, and make offering to them. As they regard these Bodhisattvas with respect and wish to see them, so too will Buddha-Bhagavāns. If there are sūtras that these Bodhisattvas did not hear or uphold before, they will obtain them because of the awesome power of this samādhi. If they do not obtain them during the day, they will receive them in a night dream.”
The Buddha told Bhadrapāla, “I can describe, for one kalpa after another, the merit of those who abide in this samādhi, but still cannot cover them all. I have only briefly mentioned a few essential ones.”

Chapter 7
Sympathetic Joy

The Buddha told Bhadrapāla, “Bodhisattvas can think four thoughts to kindle their sympathetic joy in order to attain this samādhi. First, past Buddhas [when they were Bodhisattvas] attained this samādhi because of their sympathetic joy, who then attained, through self-realization, anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi, with full wisdom-knowledge. Second, innumerable present Buddhas [in worlds] in the ten directions [when they were Bodhisattvas] have attained this samādhi because of their sympathetic joy kindled by thinking these four thoughts. Third, future Buddhas [as present Bodhisattvas] will attain this samādhi because they also think these four thoughts to kindle their sympathetic joy. Fourth, I too have sympathetic joy.3
The Buddha told Bhadrapāla, “In regard to the four thoughts to kindle one’s sympathetic joy, I will use a few analogies. A person walks during his 100-year lifespan without rest, and he walks faster than the wind. Can you figure out the area he has covered?”
Bhadrapāla replied, “No one can calculate this. Only the Buddha’s disciple Śāriputra and Bodhisattvas at the spiritual level of avinivartanīya can figure this out.”
The Buddha said, “Therefore, as I say to Bodhisattvas, if there are good men and good women who give away, as alms, treasures that fill up the area traversed by that person, their merit is less than that from hearing this samādhi and thinking the four thoughts to kindle sympathetic joy. This merit is a billion koṭi times more than that from giving alms. Know that the merit acquired from having sympathetic joy is great.”
The Buddha told Bhadrapāla, “Far back, incalculable asaṁkhyeya kalpas ago, in a remote place lived a Buddha called Siṁhamati, the Tathāgata, Arhat, Samyak-Saṁbuddha, Unsurpassed One, Tamer of Men, Teacher to Gods and Men, Buddha the World-Honored One. At that time the continent of Jambudvīpa was 180,000 koṭi lis in length and width. There were 6,400,000 kingdoms, prosperous and densely populated. There was a great kingdom called Bhadrakara, ruled by a Wheel-Turning King named Vaiścin. He went to that Buddha, made obeisance, and stepped back to sit on one side. That Buddha knew his intention and pronounced this samādhi sūtra to him. Having heard it, the king, with sympathetic joy, showered jewels upon that Buddha as he thought to himself: ‘I should transfer this merit to people [in worlds] in the ten directions to give them peace.’
“After Siṁhamati Buddha entered parinirvāṇa, the king Vaiścin died. He was reborn in his own family and became the crown prince called Brahmada. At that time there was a bhikṣu called Jewel, who was pronouncing this samādhi sūtra to his four groups of disciples. Brahmada heard of it, and sympathetic joy arose in him. Exuberantly he took jewels worth hundreds of koṭis of great price and showered them upon that bhikṣu, and also offered him fine clothing. Resolved to seek the Buddha Way, together with 1,000 people, Brahmada became a śramaṇa under that bhikṣu. To hear this samādhi sūtra, he and the 1,000 people served their teacher tirelessly for 8,000 years. Because of hearing this samādhi sūtra, though only once, and thinking the four thoughts that kindled his sympathetic joy, he acquired excellent knowledge. For this reason, he subsequently saw 68,000 Buddhas. From each of these Buddhas, he heard this samādhi sūtra again. Through self-realization, he has become a Buddha called Tilavida, the Samyak-Saṁbuddha, Unsurpassed One, Tamer of Men, Teacher to Gods and Humans, Buddha the World-Honored One. Those 1,000 bhikṣus have also attained samyak-saṁbodhi, and all of them are called Tilajuṣa. They have taught innumerable people to seek Buddha bodhi.”
The Buddha asked Bhadrapāla, “After hearing this samādhi sūtra, who would not have sympathetic joy? Who would rather not learn, uphold, and recite it, and explain it to others?”
The Buddha said, “Those who abide in this samādhi will quickly attain Buddhahood. The merit acquired from only hearing it is incalculable. Much greater is the merit acquired from learning and upholding it. One should seek this samādhi teaching even if it is 100 or 1,000 lis away. How can one not seek to learn it when it is close by? Those who, having heard of this samādhi, aspire to learn and uphold it, should serve their teachers for ten years, paying visits and making offerings, which they dare not use for themselves. They should follow their teachers’ teachings and always remember their kindness.”
The Buddha said, “Therefore, I tell you this. If one travels 4,000 lis to hear this samādhi sūtra, one’s merit is incalculable even if one fails to hear it. Why? Because, with such motivation to make energetic progress, one will attain Buddhahood through self-realization.”

Chapter 8
Utmost Sincerity

The Buddha said, “In the distant past, there was a Buddha called Sacanama, the Samyak-Saṁbuddha, Unsurpassed One, Teacher to Gods and Men, Buddha the World-Honored One. At that time there lived a bhikṣu named Halan. After that Buddha entered parinirvāṇa, that bhikṣu upheld this samādhi sūtra. At that time I was a king, in the kṣatriyacaste, and I heard of this samādhi sūtra in a dream. Upon waking, I immediately went to that bhikṣu and became a śramaṇa under him. For the sake of hearing this samādhi sūtra, I served that teacher for 36,000 years. However, I was unable to hear it because time and again māra matters arose.”
The Buddha told the bhikṣus, bhikṣuṇīs, upāsakas, and upāsikās: “Hence I tell you all to learn this samādhi as soon as possible, never to lose it. You should properly serve your teacher and uphold this samādhi sūtra for one kalpa, 100 kalpas, or even 100,000 kalpas, never negligent or indolent. You should stay with a beneficent teacher and never leave him. Do not begrudge food, drink, life-supporting goods, clothing, bedding, beds, or precious jewels. If you do not have any, you should beg for food and offer it to your teacher. Work tirelessly to attain this samādhi. You should even cut off your own flesh to offer to your beneficent teacher, not to mention giving precious things. Serve your beneficent teacher, like a slave serving a great family. Those who seek this samādhi should act in this way.
“Having attained this samādhi, one should abide in it and always remember the kindness of one’s teacher. This samādhi sūtra is hard to encounter. There are those who seek for 100,000 kalpas but cannot even hear the name of this samādhi. How could anyone who has learned it not progress diligently? If there are those who give, as alms, treasures filling Buddha Lands as numerous as the sands of the Ganges, they cannot be compared with one who is learning this samādhi or one who has attained it, is progressing energetically, and is teaching it to others.”
The Buddha told Bhadrapāla, “If there are those who aspire to learn this samādhi, they need to have sympathetic joy in order to succeed. Students are enabled to learn it by virtue of Buddhas’ awesome spiritual power. They should copy this samādhi sūtra on fine fabric, consecrate the copies with the Buddha Seal, and make offerings. What is the Buddha Seal? It refers to freedom from deluded states—no greed, no quest, no perception, no attachment, no wish for rebirth, no intended life form for rebirth, no grasping, no concern, no abiding, no obstruction, no bondage, no existence, no desire, no birth, no death, no destruction, and no decay. This seal is the essence and the root of bodhi. It is beyond Arhats and Pratyekabuddhas, not to mention fools. This seal is the Buddha Seal.”
The Buddha said, “As I now pronounce this samādhi, 1,800 koṭi gods, asuras, spirits, dragons, and their retinues have entered the holy stream, becoming Srotāpannas, and 800 bhikṣus and 500 bhikṣuṇīs have become Arhats. Ten thousand Bodhisattvas have attained this samādhi, realizing that dharmas have no birth. Twelve thousand Bodhisattvas have attained the spiritual level of no regress.”
The Buddha told the bhikṣus Śāriputra and Maudgalyāyana, as well as Bhadrapāla Bodhisattva and others: “I sought bodhi for uncountable kalpas, and I now have attained Buddhahood. I uphold this sūtra and entrust it to you all. Study and recite it, uphold and guard it, and do not forget or lose it. If there are those who aspire to learn it, you should teach them completely in accordance with the Dharma. You should pronounce it fully to those who wish to hear it.”
After the Buddha pronounced this sūtra, Bhadrapāla Bodhisattva and the bhikṣus Śāriputra, Maudgalyāyana, and Ānanda, as well as gods, asuras, dragons, spirits, and their retinues, greatly rejoiced. They made obeisance to the Buddha and departed.

Buddha Pronounces the Sūtra of the Pratyutpanna Buddha Sammukhāvasthita Samādhi
Translated from the digital Chinese Canon (T13n0417)

Notes

    1. Bhadrapāla Bodhisattva, the interlocutor in this sūtra, is the first of the sixteen Upright Ones in Sūtra 25. He also appears in Sūtras 18 and 19, in which his Sanskrit name is translated by meaning as Worthy Protector. (Return to text)
    2. Here, the Chinese phrase is actually “zhuqi huanxi” (助其歡喜), which means “aid them to rejoice.” This phrase is found in another version of this sūtra (T13n0418), also translated by Lokakṣema (支婁迦讖, or 支讖, 147–?). However, in the later version of this sūtra (T13n0416), translated by Jñānagupta (闍那崛多, 523–600), used instead is the phrase “suixi” (隨喜), which means “express sympathetic joy.” This is the fifth of the ten great actions taught by Samantabhadra Bodhisattva (Sūtra 21), and it appears in many other sūtras. For consistency, all cases of “aid them to rejoice” are translated as “express sympathetic joy.” (Return to text)
    3. The corresponding passage in text 416, fascicle 5, chapter 15, better explains the fourth thought: “I now share the merit acquired from my sympathetic joy with all sentient beings so that we all have sympathetic joy and will acquire this samādhi, hear much of the Dharma, and attain anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi” (T13n0416, 0894b22–24). (Return to text)

 

THE DISCOURSE OF THE TEACHING BEQUEATHED BY THE BUDDHA


THE DISCOURSE OF THE TEACHING
BEQUEATHED BY THE BUDDHA(just before His Parinibbana)

Translated into Chinese by the Indian Acarya Kumarajiva sometime prior to the year 956 Buddhist Era.[1]

I. OCCASION

WHEN LORD BUDDHA, Sage of the Sakyas, first turned the Wheel of the Dhamma, Venerable Annakondanna crossed over (the ocean of birth and death); while as a result of his last Discourse Venerable Subhadda crossed over likewise. All those who were (ready) to cross over, them he (helped) to cross over. When about to attain Final Nibbana, he was lying between the twin sala trees in the middle watch of the night. No sound disturbed the calm and silence; then, for the sake of the disciples (savaka), he spoke briefly on the essentials of Dhamma:
II. ON THE CULTIVATION OF VIRTUE IN THIS WORLD

1. Exhortation on keeping the Precepts

O bhikkhus, after my Parinibbana you should reverence and honor the Precepts of the Patimokkha. Treat them as a light which you have discovered in the dark, or as a poor man would treat a treasure found by him. You should know that they are your chief guide and there should be no difference (in your observance of them) from when I yet remained in the world. If you would maintain in purity the Precepts, you should not give yourselves over to buying, selling or barter. You should not covet fields or buildings, nor accumulate servants, attendants or animals. You should flee from all sorts of property and wealth as you would avoid a fire or a pit. You should not cut down grass or trees, neither break new soil nor plough the earth. Nor may you compound medicines, practice divination or sorcery according to the position of the stars, cast horoscopes by the waxing and waning of the moon, nor reckon days of good fortune. All these are things which are improper (for a bhikkhu).

Conduct yourselves in purity, eating only at the proper times and living your lives in purity and solitude. You should not concern yourselves with worldly affairs, nor yet circulate rumors. You should not mumble incantations, mix magic potions, nor bind yourselves in friendship to powerful persons, showing to them and the rich (special) friend-liness while treating with contempt those lacking (in worldly wealth, power and so forth). All such things are not to be done!

You should seek, with a steadfast mind, and with Right Mindfulness (samma sati), for Enlightenment. Neither conceal your faults (within), nor work wonders (without), thereby leading (yourself and) other people astray. As to the four offerings, be content with them, knowing what is sufficient. Receive them when offered but do not hoard them. This, briefly, is what is meant by observing the Precepts. These Precepts are fundamental (to a life based on Dhamma-Vinaya) and accord exactly with freedom (mokkha), and so are called the Patimokkha. By relying on them you may attain all levels of collectedness (samadhi) and likewise the knowledge of the extinction of dukkha (unsatisfactoriness). It is for this reason, bhikkhus, that you should always maintain the Precepts in purity and never break them. If you can keep these Precepts pure you possess an excellent (method for the attainment of Enlightenment), but if you do not do so, no merit of any kind will accrue to you. You ought to know for this reason that the Precepts are the chief dwelling-place of the merit which results in both body and mind (citta) being at rest.

2. Exhortation on the control of Mind and Body.

O bhikkus, if you are able already to keep within the Precepts, you must next control the five senses, not permitting the entry of the five sense desires by your unrestraint, just as a cowherd by taking and showing his stick prevents cows from entering another’s field, ripe for the harvest. In an evil-doer indulging the five senses, his five desires will not only exceed all bounds but will become uncontrollable, just as a wild horse unchecked by the bridle must soon drag the man leading it into a pit. If a man be robbed, his sorrow does not extend beyond the period of his life but the evil of that robber (sense-desires) and the depredations caused by him bring calamities extending over many lives, creating very great dukkha. You should control yourselves!

Hence, wise men control themselves and do not indulge their senses but guard them like robbers who must not be allowed freedom from restraint. If you do allow them freedom from restraint, before long you will be destroyed by Mara. The mind is the lord of the five senses and for this reason you should well control the mind. Indeed, you ought to fear indulgence of the mind’s (desires) more than poisonous snakes, savage beasts, dangerous robbers or fierce conflagrations. No simile is strong enough to illustrate (this danger). But think of a man carrying a jar of honey who, as he goes, heeds only the honey and is unaware of a deep pit (in his path)! Or think of a mad elephant unrestrained by shackles! Again, consider a monkey who after climbing into a tree, cannot, except with difficulty, be controlled! Such as these would be difficult to check; therefore hasten to control your desires and do not let them go unrestrained! Indulge the mind (with its desires) and you lose the benefit of being born a man; check it completely and there is nothing you will be unable to accomplish. That is the reason, O bhikkhus, why should strive hard to subdue your minds.

3. Exhortation on the moderate use of food.

O bhikkhus, in receiving all sorts of food and drinks, you should regard them as if taking medicine. Whether they be good or bad, do not accept or reject according to your likes and dislikes; just use them to support your bodies, thereby staying hunger and thirst. As bees while foraging among the flowers extract only the nectar, without harming their color and scent, just so, O bhikkhus, should you do (when collecting alms-food). Accept just enough of what people offer to you for the avoidance of distress. But do not ask for much and thereby spoil the goodness of their hearts, just as the wise man, having estimated the strength of his ox, does not wear out its strength by overloading.

4. Exhortation on sleeping.

O bhikkhus, by day you should practice good Dhamma and not allow yourselves to waste time. In the early evening and late at night do not cease to make an effort, while in the middle of the night you should chant the Suttas to make yourselves better informed. Do not allow yourselves to pass your lives vainly and fruitlessly on account of sleep. You should envisage the world as being consumed by a great fire and quickly determine to save yourselves from it. Do not (spend much time in) sleep! The robbers of the three afflictions forever lie in wait to kill men so that (your danger) is even greater than in a household rent by hatred. So, fearful, how can you sleep and not arouse yourselves? These afflictions are a poisonous snake asleep in your own hearts. They are like a black cobra sleeping in your room. Destroy the snake quickly with the sharp spear of keeping to Precepts! Only when that dormant snake has been driven away will you be able to rest peacefully. If you sleep, not having driven it away, you are men without shame (hiri). The clothing of shame (hiri) among all ornaments, is the very best. Shame can also be compared to an iron goad that can control all human wrong-doing; for which reason, O bhikkhus, you should always feel ashamed of unskillful actions (akusalakamma). You should not be without it even for a moment, for if you are parted from shame, all merits will be lost to you. He who has fear of blame (ottappa) has that which is good, while he who has no fear of blame (anottappa) is not different from the birds and beasts.

5. Exhortation on refraining from anger and ill will.

O bhikkhus, if there were one who came and dismembered you joint by joint, you should not hate him but rather include him in your heart (of friendliness — metta). Besides, you should guard your speech and refrain from reviling him. If you succumb to thoughts of hatred you block your own (progress in) Dhamma and lose the benefits of (accumulated) merits. Patience (khanti) is a virtue which cannot be equaled even by keeping the Precepts and (undertaking) the Austere Practices. Whosoever is able to practice patience can be truly called a great and strong man, but he who is unable to endure abuse as happily as though he were drinking ambrosia, cannot be called one attained to knowledge of Dhamma. Why is this? The harm caused by anger and resentment shatters all your goodness and so (greatly) spoils your good name that neither present nor future generations of men will wish to hear it. You should know that angry thoughts are more terrible than a great fire, so continually guard yourselves against them and do not let them gain entrance. Among the three robbers (the afflictions), none steals merit more than anger and resentment: Those householders dressed in white who have desires and practice little Dhamma, in them, having no way to control themselves, anger may still be excusable; but among those become homeless (pabbajjita) because they wish to practice Dhamma and to abandon desire, the harboring of anger and resentment is scarcely to be expected, just as one does not look for thunder or lightning from a translucent, filmy cloud.

6. Exhortation on refraining from arrogance and contempt.

O bhikkhus, rubbing your heads you should deeply consider yourselves in this way: ‘It is good that I have discarded personal adornment. I wear the russet robe of patches and carry a bowl with which to sustain life.’ When thoughts of arrogance or contempt arise, you must quickly destroy them by regarding yourselves in this way. The growth of arrogance and contempt is not proper among those wearing white and living the household life: how much less so for you, gone forth to homelessness! You should subdue your bodies, collecting food (in your bowls) for the sake of Dhamma-practice to realize Enlightenment.

7. Exhortation on flattery.

O bhikkhus, a mind inclined to flattery is incompatible with Dhamma, therefore it is right to examine and correct such a mind. You should know that flattery is nothing but deception, so that those who have entered the way of Dhamma-practice have no use for it. For this reason, be certain to examine and correct the errors of the mind, for to do so is fundamental.
III. ON THE ADVANTAGES FOR GREAT MEN GONE FORTH TO HOMELESSNESS.

1. The virtue of few wishes.

O bhikkhus, you should know that those having many desires, by reason of their desire for selfish profit, experience much dukkha. Those with few desires, neither desiring nor seeking anything, do not therefore experience such dukkha. Straight-away lessen your desires! Further, in order to obtain all kinds of merit you should practice the fewness of desires. Those who desire little do not indulge in flattery so as to away another’s mind, nor are they led by their desires. Those who practice the diminishing of desires thus achieve a mind of contentment having no cause for either grief or fear and, finding the things they receive are sufficient, never suffer from want. From this cause indeed, (comes) Nibbana. Such is the meaning of ‘having few wishes.’

2. The virtue of contentment.

O bhikkhus, if you wish to escape from all kinds of dukkha, you must see that you are contented. The virtue of contentment is the basis of abundance, happiness, peace and seclusion. Those who are contented are happy even though they have to sleep on the ground. Those who are not contented would not be so though they lived in celestial mansions. Such people feel poor even though they are rich, while those who are contented are rich even in poverty. The former are constantly led by their five desires and are greatly pitied by the contented Such is the meaning of ‘contentment’.

3. The virtue of seclusion.

O bhikkhus, seek the joy of quietness and passivity. Avoid confusion and noise and dwell alone in secluded places. Those who dwell in solitude are worshipped with reverence by Sakka and all celestials. This is why you should leave your own and other clans to live alone in quiet places, reflecting (to devdop insight) upon dukkha, its arising and its cessation. Those who rejoice in the pleasures of company must bear as well the pains of company, as when many birds flock to a great tree it may wither and collapse. Attachment to worldly things immerses one in the dukkha experienced by all men, like an old elephant bogged down in a swamp from which he cannot extricate himself. Such is the meaning of ‘secluding oneself.’

4. The virtue of energetic striving.

O bhikkhus, if you strive diligently, nothing will be difficult for you. As a little water constantly trickling can bore a hole through a rock, so must you always strive energetically. If the mind of a disciple (savaka) becomes idle and inattentive, he will resemble one who tries to make fire by friction but rests before the heat is sufficient. However much he desires fire, he cannot (make even a spark). Such is the meaning of ‘energetic striving’.

5. The virtue of attentiveness.

O bhikkhus, seek for a Noble Friend (kalyanamitta). Seek him who will best (be able to) aid you (in developing) the unexcelled and unbroken attention. If you are attentive, none of the (three) robbers, the afflictions, can enter your mind. That is why you must keep your mind in a state of constant attention, for by loss of attention you lose all merits. If your power of attention is very great, though you fall among (conditions favoring) the five robbers of sense-desire, you will not be harmed by them, just as a warrior entering a battle well covered by armor has nothing to fear. Such is the meaning of ‘unbroken attention.’

6. The virtue of collectedness (samadhi).

O bhikkhus, if you guard your mind, so guarded the mind will remain in a state of steady collectedness. If your minds are in a state of collectedness, you will be able to understand the arising and passing away of the impermanent world. For this reason you should strive constantly to practice the various stages of absorption (jhana). When one of these states of collectedness is reached, the mind no longer wanders. A disciple who practices (to attain collectedness) is just like an irrigator who properly regulates his dykes. As he guards water, even a small amount, so should you guard the water of wisdom, thereby preventing it from leaking away. Such is the meaning of ‘collectedness’.

7. The virtue of wisdom. (PRAJNA)

O bhikkhus, if you have wisdom, then do not hunger to make a display of it. Ever look within yourselves so that you do not fall into any fault. In this way you will be able to attain freedom from (the tangle of) the interior and exterior (spheres of senses and sense-objects–ayatana). If you do not accomplish this you cannot be called Dhamma practicers, nor yet are you common persons clad in white, so there will be no name to fit you! Wisdom is a firmly -bound raft which will ferry you across the ocean of birth, old age, sickness and death. Again, it is a brilliant light with which to dispel the black obscurity of ignorance. It is a good medicine for all who are ill. It is a sharp axe for cutting down the strangling fig–tree of the afflictions. That is why you should, by the hearing-, thinking- and development-wisdoms increase your benefits (from Dhamma). If you have Insight (vipassana) stemming from (development-wisdom), though your eyes are but fleshly organs you will be able to see clearly (into your own citta.) Such is the meaning of ‘wisdom’.

8. The virtue of restraint from idle talk.

O bhikkhus, if you indulge in all sorts of idle discussions then your mind will be full of chaotic thoughts, and though you have gone forth to homelessness you will be unable to attain Freedom. That is why, O bhikkhus, you should immediately cease from chaotic thoughts and idle discussions. If you want to attain the Happiness of Nibbana, you must eliminate completely the illness of idle discussion.
IV. SELF EXERTION

O bhikkhus, as regards all kinds of virtue, you should ever rid yourselves of laxity, as you would flee from a hateful robber. That Dhamma which the greatly-compassionate Lord has taught for your benefit is now concluded, but it is for you to strive diligently to practice this teaching. Whether you live in the mountains or on the great plains, whether you sojourn beneath a tree or in your own secluded dwellings, bear in mind the Dhamma you have received and let none of it be lost. You should always exert yourselves in practicing it diligently, lest you die after wasting a whole lifetime and come to regret it afterwards. I am like a good doctor who, having diagnosed the complaint, prescribes some medicine; but whether it is taken or not, does not depend on the doctor. Again, I am like a good guide who points out the best road; but if, having heard of it, (the enquirer) does not take it, the fault is not with the guide.
V. ON CLEARING UP ALL DOUBTS

O bhikkhus, if you have any doubts regarding the Four Noble Truths: of unsatis-factoriness (dukkha) and the rest, (its arising. its cessation and the Practice-path going to its cessation), you should ask about them at once. Do not harbor such doubts without seeking to resolve them.

On that occasion the Lord spoke thus three times, yet there were none who question-ed him. And why was that? Because there were none in that assembly (of bhikkhus) who harbored any doubts.

Then the venerable Anuruddha, seeing what was in the minds of those assembled, respectfully  addressed the Buddha thus: ‘Lord, the moon may grow hot and the sun may become cold, but the Four Noble Truths proclaimed by the Lord cannot be otherwise. The Truth of Dukkha taught by the Lord describes real dukkha which cannot become happiness. The accumulation of desires truly is the cause of the Arising of Dukkha; there can never be a different cause. If dukkha is destroyed (the Cessation of Dukkha), it is because the cause of dukkha has been destroyed, for if the cause is destroyed the result must also be destroyed. The Practice path going to the Cessation of Dukkha is the true path, nor can there be another. Lord, all these bhikkhus are certain and have no doubts about the Four Noble Truths.

In this assembly, those who have not yet done what should be done (i. e., attained to Enlightenment), will, on seeing the Lord attain Final Nibbana, certainly feel sorrowful. (Among them) those who have newly entered upon the Dhamma-way and who have heard what the Lord has (just said), they will all reach Enlightenment (in due course) seeing Dhamma as clearly as a flash of lightning in the dark of the night. But is there anyone who has done what should be done (being an Arahant), already having crossed over the ocean of dukkha who will think thus: “The Lord has attained Final Nibbana; why was this done so quickly?”

Although the Venerable Anuruddha had thus spoken these words, and the whole assembly had penetrated the meaning of the Four Noble Truths, still the Lord wished to strengthen all in that great assembly. With a mind of infinite compassion he spoke (again) for their benefit.

“O bhikkhus, do not feel grieved. If I were to live in the world for a whole aeon (kappa), my association with you would still come to an end, since a meeting with no parting is an impossibility. The Dhamma is now complete for each and every one, so even if I were to live longer it would be of no benefit at all. Those who were (ready) to cross over, both among the celestials and men, have all without exception attained Enlightenment, while those who have not yet completed their crossing (of the ocean of Samsara to the Further Shore or Nibbana) have already produced the necessary causes (to enable them to do so in course of time).

From now on, all my disciples must continue to practice (in this way) without ceasing, whereby the body of the Tathagata’s Dhamma will be ever lasting and indestructi-ble. But as to the world, nothing there is eternal, so that all meeting must be followed by partings. Hence, do not harbor grief, for such (impermanence) is the nature of worldly things. But do strive diligently and quickly seek for Freedom. With the light of Perfect Wisdom destroy the darkness of ignorance, for in this world is nothing strong or enduring.

Now that I am about to attain Final Nibbana, it is like being rid of a terrible sickness. This body is a thing of which we are indeed well rid, an evil thing falsely going by the name of self and sunk in the ocean of birth, disease, old age and death. Can a wise man do aught but rejoice when he is able to rid himself of it, as others might (be glad) when slaying a hateful robber?

O bhikkhus, you should always exert the mind, seeking the Way out (of the Wandering-on, or samsara). All forms in the world, without exception, whether moving or non-moving, are subject to decay and followed by destruction. All of you should stop. It is needless to speak again. Time is passing away. I wish to cross over to Freedom (from existence in this world). These are my very last instructions.”
Notes from the editor of the web edition
[1] Around 344-413 AD.

Print version published by The Buddhist Association of the United States (BAUS)

[TOP]


Buddhism Study and Practice Group (http://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/Clubs/buddhism/)

idealshanghai | Fresco aficionado envisions grottoes


PAINTER Wang Zheng has devoted half his life, around 20 years, to studying and reproducing the spectacular frescoes in the earliest major Buddhist cave complex in China, in the far west Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Wang sometimes bows and murmurs before grotto figures dating back more than 1,500 years. It has become Wang’s mission to research and spread appreciation of early religious art from Silk Road centers of civilization.

Though his work is acclaimed and he could earn large sums for both his reproductions and original art, which are considered treasures, he seldom sells his work, saying the profit motive violates Buddhist principles.  

 READ MORE at  idealshanghai | Fresco aficionado envisions grottoes.

A gift for 1 of 84,000 Dharma Doors friends and subscribers _/\_


I developed this app mainly for my 108 bows buddhist practice and meditation.
“I developed this app mainly for my 108 bows buddhist practice and meditation.”

Description

Dharma Timer Counter Lite is a very simple (yet), small (just 200KB, compared to several MB of other similar apps) and intuitive timer/counter app that is suitable for measuring time in timed activities. It rings a beautiful bell at every specified interval for the specified number of times.  I developed this app mainly for my 108 bows buddhist practice and meditation.  Currently only one bell and limited UI/features that will be definitely upgraded gradually. Practice your mind with this app and get closer to attaining more enlightened mind! One can also increase/decrease the number so it can be used as a manual counter app as well.
Developers webpage http://www.melcornsoft.com/

With Metta,

Changhui Upasika

1 of 84,000 Dharma Doors blog

about Karma,Rebirth and Right View – Bhikkhu Bodhi


“It cannot be emphasized strongly enough that for Early Buddhism an understanding and acceptance of this principal of kamma and its fruit is an essential component of right view. Right view has two aspects, the world-bound or mundane aspect, which pertains to life within the world, and the supramundane or world-transcending aspect which pertains to the path to liberation. The world-transcending right view includes an understanding of the Four Noble Truths, dependent origination, and the three marks of impermanence, suffering and nonself. For Early Buddhism this world-transcending right view cannot be taken up in isolation from mundane right view.  Rather, it presupposes and depends upon the sound support of mundane right view, which means a firm conviction in the validity of the law of kamma and its unfolding through the process of rebirths. “

 

Excerpt from In The Buddha’s Words, An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon by Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi

Noble Silence -Lama Surya Das


Noble Silence -Lama Surya Das
“Listening takes place not just through the ears, but with all the senses. Sometimes the best way to prepare ourselves to hear in a new and better way is to be still and silent. When we quiet our motor minds — and our motor mouths — we find that we are better able to open our hearts. The ancient practice of Noble Silence helps us begin the process of hearing in a new way; this is a timeless and wise practice that helps us be more sensitive and perceptive.” -Lama Surya Das

Venerable Master Jen Chun’s Teachings QUICK LINKS


“That which understands error is not itself in error”


“Doing the best we can always entails seeing where

we can do better.

This is what is meant by “always being disturbed by the Truth.” As we view the imperfections of our actions, we are allowed to see with the eyes of the Buddha:  “That which understands error is not itself in error”  So one of the merits of our training is to be aware of the places where we need to purify our heart, and if we view this with the eyes of compassion, we will also see that what we have done in the past was the best that we could have done for that time. And now in the present moment, we may be able to do a bit better by acting with greater compassion, love and wisdom.”

-Rev. Jisho Perry

The “poise of a dying man”, teachings of Master Hsu-Yun


The “poise of a dying man”

teachings of Master Hsu-Yun

“Beyond meditation practice, there is attitude. A beginner must learn to cultivate what is called, “the poise of a dying man”. What is this poise? It is the poise of knowing what is important and what is not, and of being accepting and forgiving. Anyone who has ever been at the bedside of a dying man will understand this poise. What would the dying man do if someone were to insult him? Nothing. What would the dying man do if someone were to strike him? Nothing. As he lay there, would he scheme to become famous or wealthy? No. If someone who had once offended him were to ask him for his forgiveness would he not give it? Of course he would. A dying man knows the pointlessness of enmity. Hatred is always such a wretched feeling. Who wishes to die feeling hatred in his heart? No one. The dying seek love and peace.”

Master Chinul Poem 1


Do not cling to the letter, just comprehend the meaning, referring each point to your own self, so as to merge with the original source. Then the knowledge that has no teacher will spontaneously appear, the pattern of natural reality will be perfectly clear, and you will attain the body of wisdom, attaining enlightenment without depending on anyone else.
~ Master Chinul (1158-1210)

Zen (2009) Part 1 Dogen Zenji


This is the story of Dogen Zenji who lived during the Kamakura period (750 years ago) . He trained in China in the great Ch’an monasteries to become a renowned Ch’an Buddhist monk and teacher. He subsequently returned to Japan founded the Japanese school of Zen Buddhism..

Directed by: Banmei Takahashi
Produced by and Copyright: Kadokawa Pictures

Buddhist Conviction


行善不難,難於發心。
“Practicing wholesome deeds is not difficult.
Rather, the difficulty lies in the cultivation of
a mindset to make and uphold solemn vows.”

-Ven  Xian Zhong Shi

AN 9:20


Even though generosity bears fruit, still to go in faith for refuge to the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha and determine the five moral precepts bears a greater fruit- Even though that bears fruit, to maintain kindness for the period of time that it takes to milk a cow bears a greater fruit- Even though that bears fruit, it is fruitful to maintain awareness of impermanence for only as long as a finger-snap bears greater fruit-
AN 9:20

Verses On the Faith Mind By Third Ch’an Patriarch Chien-chih Seng-ts’an


Verses On the Faith Mind

By Third Ch’an Patriarch Chien-chih Seng-ts’an

Translated by Richard B. Clarke

至道無難  The Great Way is not difficult

唯嫌揀擇  for those who have no preferences.

但莫憎愛  When love and hate are both absent

洞然明白  everything becomes clear and undisguised.

毫釐有差  Make the smallest distinction, however

天地懸隔  and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart.

欲得現前  If you wish to see the truth

莫存順逆  then hold no opinions for or against anything.

違順相爭  To set up what you like against what you dislike

是爲心病   is the disease of the mind.

不識玄旨  When the deep meaning of things is not understood

徒勞念靜  the mind’s essential peace is disturbed to no avail.

圓同太虚  The Way is perfect like vast space

無欠無餘  where nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess.

良由取捨  Indeed, it is due to our choosing to accept or reject

所以不如  that we do not see the true nature of things.

莫逐有縁  Live neither in the entanglements of outer things,

勿住空忍  nor in inner feelings of emptiness.

一種平懷  Be serene in the oneness of things

泯然自盡  and such erroneous views will disappear by themselves.

止動歸止  When you try to stop activity to achieve passivity

止更彌動  your very effort fills you with activity.

唯滯兩邊  As long as you remain in one extreme or the other

寧知一種  you will never know Oneness.

一種不通  Those who do not live in the single Way

兩處失功  fail in both activity and passivity,

遣有沒有  assertion and denial. To deny the reality of things

從空背空  to assert the emptiness of things is to miss their reality.

多言多慮  The more you talk and think about it,

轉不相應  the further astray you wander from the truth.

絶言絶慮  Stop talking and thinking,

無處不通  and there is nothing you will not be able to know.

歸根得旨  To return to the root is to find the meaning,

隨照失宗  but to pursue appearances is to miss the source.

須臾返照  At the moment of inner enlightenment

勝卻前空  there is a going beyond appearance and emptiness.

前空轉變  The changes that appear to occur in the empty world

皆由妄見  we call real only because of our ignorance.

不用求眞  Do not search for the truth;

唯須息見  only cease to cherish opinions.

二見不住  Do not remain in the dualistic state

慎莫追尋  avoid such pursuits carefully.

纔有是非  If there is even a trace of this and that, of right and wrong,

紛然失心  the Mind-essence will be lost in confusion.

二由一有  Although all dualities come from the One,

一亦莫守  do not be attached even to this One.

一心不生  When the mind exists undisturbed in the Way,

萬法無咎  nothing in the world can offend,

無咎無法  and when a thing can no longer offend, it ceases to exist in the old way.

不生不心  When no discriminating thoughts arise, the old mind ceases to exist.

能隨境滅  When thought objects vanish, the thinking-subject vanishes,

境逐能沈  as when the mind vanishes, objects vanish.

境由能境  Things are objects because of the subject (mind);

能由境能  the mind (subject) is such because of things (object).

欲知兩段  Understand the relativity of these two

元是一空  and the basic reality: the unity of emptiness.

一空同兩  In this Emptiness the two are indistinguishable

齊含萬象  and each contains in itself the whole world.

不見精麁  If you do not discriminate between coarse and fine

寧有偏黨  you will not be tempted to prejudice and opinion.

大道體寛  To live in theGreat Way

無易無難  is neither easy nor difficult,

小見狐疑  but those with limited views

轉急轉遲  and fearful and irresolute: the faster they hurry, the slower they go,

執之失度  and clinging (attachment) cannot be limited;

必入邪路  even to be attached to the idea of enlightenment is to go astray.

放之自然  Just let things be in their own way

體無去住  and there will be neither coming nor going.

任性合道  Obey the nature of things (your own nature),

逍遙絶惱  and you will walk freely and undisturbed.

繋念乖眞  When thought is in bondage the truth is hidden,

昏沈不好  for everything is murky and unclear,

不好勞神  and the burdensome practice of judging brings annoyance and weariness.

何用疏親  What benefit can be derived from distinctions and separations?

欲取一乘  If you wish to move in the One Way

勿惡六塵  do not dislike even the world of senses and ideas.

六塵不惡  Indeed, to accept them fully

還同正覺  is identical with true Enlightenment.

智者無爲  The wise man strives to no goals

愚人自縛  but the foolish man fetters himself.

法無異法  This is one Dharma, not many: distinctions arise

妄自愛著   from the clinging needs of the ignorant.

將心用心  To seek Mind with the (discriminating) mind

豈非大錯  is the greatest of all mistakes.

迷生寂亂  Rest and unrest derive from illusion;

悟無好惡  with enlightenment there is no liking and disliking.

一切二邊  All dualities come from

妄自斟酌   ignorant inference.

夢幻虚華  They are like dreams of flowers in the air:

何勞把捉  foolish to try to grasp them.

得失是非  Gain and loss, right and wrong:

一時放卻  such thoughts must finally be abolished at once.

眼若不睡  If the eye never sleeps,

諸夢自除   all dreams will naturally cease.

心若不異  If the mind makes no discriminations,

萬法一如  the ten thousand things are as they are, of single essence.

一如體玄  To understand the mystery of this One-essence

兀爾忘虚  is to be release from all entanglements.

萬法齊觀  When all things are seen equally

歸復自然  the timeless Self-essence is reached.

泯其所以  No comparisons or analogies are possible

不可方比  in this causeless, relationless state.

止動無動  Consider movement stationary and the stationary in motion,

動止無止  both movement and rest disappear.

兩既不成  When such dualities cease to exist

一何有爾  Oneness itself cannot exist.

究竟窮極  To this ultimate finality

不存軌則  no law or description applies.

契心平等  For the unified mind in accord with the Way

所作倶息  all self-centered straining ceases.

狐疑盡淨  Doubts and irresolution’s vanish

正信調直  and life in true faith is possible.

一切不留  With a single stroke we are freed from bondage;

無可記憶  nothing clings to us and we hold to nothing.

虚明自照  All is empty , clear, self-illuminating,

不勞心力  with no exertion of the mind’s power.

非思量處  Here thought, feeling, knowledge, and imagination

識情難測  are of no value.

眞如法界  In this world of Suchness

無他無自  there is neither self nor other-than-self

要急相應  To come directly into harmony with this reality

唯言不二  just simply say when doubt arises, ‘Not two.’

不二皆同  In this ‘no two’ nothing is separate,

無不包容  nothing excluded.

十方智者  No matter when or where,

皆入此宗  enlightenment means entering this truth.

宗非促延  And this truth is beyond extension or diminution in time or space;

一念萬年  in it a single thought is ten thousand years.

無在不在  Emptiness here, Emptiness there,

十方目前  but the infinite universe stands always before your eyes.

極小同大  Infinitely large and infinitely small;

忘絶境界  no difference, for definitions have vanished

極大同小

不見邊表  and no boundaries are seen.

有即是無  So too with Being

無即是有  and non-Being.

若不如此  Don’t waste time in doubts and arguments

必不相守  that have nothing to do with this.

一即一切  One thing, all things:

一切即一  move among and intermingle, without distinction.

但能如是  To live in this realization

何慮不畢  is to be without anxiety about non-perfection.

信心不二  To live in this faith is the road to non-duality,

不二信心  Because the non-dual is one with the trusting mind.

言語道斷  Words! The Way is beyond language,

非去來今  for in it there is

no yesterday

no tomorrow

no today.

Great Compassion Dharani Sutra


Great Compassion Dharani Sutra

Thus I have heard, once Sakyamuni Buddha was at Potalaka Mountain, in the treasure-adorned Way-place in Avalokitesvara’s palace, sitting on a precious Lion-Throne adorned in purity with countless multifarious Mani-jewels. Hundreds of precious streamers and banners were hanging all around.

At that time, the Tathagata, who was sitting on his throne, intending to explain a teaching of the Total-Retention Dharani, was along with innumerable Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas, whose names are: Dharani King Bodhisattva, Treasure King Bodhisattva, Bhaisajya-Raja(Medicine King) Bodhisattva, Bhaisajya-Samudgata(Medicine Superior) Bodhisattva, Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, Maha-stamaprapta(Great Strength) Bodhisattva, Avatamsaka Bodhisattva, Great Sublime Bodhisattva, Precious Deposits Bodhisattva, Virtue Store Bodhisattva, Vajragarbha Bodhisattva, Akasagarbha(Space Store) Bodhisattva, Maitreya Bodhisattva, Samantabhadra(Universal Goodness) Bodhisattva, Manjusri Bodhisattva, and so on. Such Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas are all great Dharma-Princes who had been empowered through their crowns (Abhiseka).

The Buddha was also along with innumerable great Voice-Hearers (Sravakas), all of whom were practicing the tenth stage of Arhat, headed by Maha-Kasyapa;

He was also along with innumerable gods of Brahma-Heaven, headed by Sinza-Brahma;

Also along with Him were innumerable Gods of heavens of the desire realm, headed by Gopaka-God;

Also along with Him were innumerable four-guardian-gods, headed by Dhritarastra;

Also along with Him were innumerable gods, dragons, Yakshas, Gandharvas, Asuras, Garudas, Kinnaras, Mahoragas, human beings, Amanusyas, headed by Heavenly Virtue great dragon king;

Also along with Him were innumerable goddesses of heavens of the desire realm, headed by Virginal Eye goddesses;

Also along with Him were innumerable Sunyatas(Gods of spaces), gods of rivers and oceans, gods of fountains and spring, gods of stream and pond, gods of herb, gods of forest, gods of houses, gods of water, gods of fire, gods of earth, gods of wind, gods of ground, gods of mountains, gods of rocks, gods of palaces, and so on.

They all came and gathered in the congregation.

At that time in the congregation, Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva secretly emitted his sacrosanct light, thereupon, the worlds in the ten directions, along with this three-thousand-great-thousand worlds system, were all illuminated and became golden. Heavenly palaces, palaces of dragons, and palaces of all gods were all shaken. Rivers, oceans, Iron-Ring Mountains (Cakravada-parvata), Sumeru Mountains, Earth Mountains, and black mountains were also shaken. The light of suns, moons, pearls, fire, and constellations all disappeared.

Witnessing this rare scene, Dharani King Bodhisattva was more surprised than ever before, so he arose from his seat, joined his palms and asked the Buddha with a Gatha(verse):

“Who achieved the Correct-Awakening today,
emitting such great bright light universally?
The worlds of the ten directions are all golden,
so do these three-thousand-great-thousand worlds.

Who attained the ultimate freedom today,
manifesting the rare great holy power?
Innumerable Buddha-Worlds are shaken,
so do palaces of dragons and gods.

Now the entire congregation is wondering,
not knowing whose power caused these.
Is he a Buddha, Bodhisattva, or great Voice-Hearer,
or a Brahman, demon, heavenly god, or Sakra?

We pray for the Bhagavan (World Honored One)’s Great Compassion,
to tell us the source of this great supernatural power.”

The Buddha told Dharani King Bodhisattva: “Virtuous man, you all should know that in this congregation there is a Bodhisattva-Mahasattva named Avalokitesvara, the Unrestricted One. He had achieved the Great Kindness and Great Compassion since uncountable Kalpas before, and he excels at practicing countless Dharani-Gates. In order to comfort and please all living-beings, he secretly emits such great sacrosanct power.

After the Buddha said that, Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva arose from his seat, tidied up his clothes, joined his palms towards the Buddha and said:

“Bhagavan, I have a mantra of Great-Compassionate Heart Dharani and now wish to proclaim it, for comforting and pleasing all living beings; for healing all illness; for living beings to attain additional lifespan; for living beings to gain wealth; for extinguishing all evil karma and weighty sins; for keeping away from hindrance and disasters; for producing merits of all White (pure) Dharmas; for maturing all virtuous-roots; for overcoming all fears; for fulfilling all good wishes. Bhagavan, please be merciful and allow me to speak.”

The Buddha said: “Virtuous man, you have great kindness and great compassion, in order to comfort and please all living beings, you wish to speak the holy mantra, it is the proper time now, please speak it soon, the Tathagata approves and rejoices it, and so do all Buddhas.”

Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva then said to the Buddha: “Bhagavan, I remember that countless billions of kalpas ago, a Buddha, whose name was Thousand Rays King Stillness Thus Come One, appeared in the world. Because of his mercy and mindfulness towards me and all living beings, that Buddha, the World Honored One spoke this Vast, Perfect, Unimpeded, Great Compassionate Heart Dharani, rubbed my crown with his golden hand and said: ‘Virtuous man, you should hold this heart-mantra to give great benefit and happiness to all living beings in the future evil age.’ At that time I was just at the first Bhumi(stage of Bodhisattva), right after hearing this mantra, I exceeded the eighth Bhumi. At that time, as my heart was joyful, I vowed: ‘If I will be able to give benefit and happiness to all living beings in the future, let me have one thousand hands and one thousand eyes immediately.’ Instantly after the vow, I got fully one thousand hands and one thousand eyes on my body, then, the grounds of the worlds of the ten directions quaked in six ways, thousands of Buddhas of the ten directions emitted their light to my body and illuminated boundless worlds of the ten directions. From then on, from countless Buddhas and congregations, I have repeatedly heard, accepted and held this Dharani, and the joys were also repeatedly aroused from my heart, and made me greatly enthusiastic. Therefore, I transcended imperceptible births and deaths of countless billions of kalpas. Since then, I have always been reciting and holding this mantra, and have never forgotten it. Because of holding this mantra, I was always born by miraculous creation (nirmana) from lotuses in front of Buddhas, and have never been born from any womb.”

“If there are monks(Bhikshus), nuns(Bhikshunis), laymen(Upasakas), laywomen(Upasikas), pure youth and maidens who wish to recite and hold(keep reciting) this mantra, they should first arouse heir great merciful and compassionate hearts for all living beings, and follow me in making these vows:

(* The pronunciation of “Namo” is [na:mo:] in international phonetic symbols)

Namo great compassionate Avalokitesvara, May I quickly know all Dharmas;
Namo great compassionate Avalokitesvara, May I soon obtain the Wisdom Eye;
Namo great compassionate Avalokitesvara, May I quickly ferry all living beings (to the shore of liberation);
Namo great compassionate Avalokitesvara, May I soon obtain virtuous skillful means (to enlighten various living beings);
Namo great compassionate Avalokitesvara, May I quickly board the Prajna Boat;
Namo great compassionate Avalokitesvara, May I soon transcend the ocean of suffering;
Namo great compassionate Avalokitesvara, May I quickly achieve precepts, Samadhi and the Way;
Namo great compassionate Avalokitesvara, May I soon ascend the mountain of Nirvana;
Namo great compassionate Avalokitesvara, May I quickly dwell in the house of non-action;
Namo great compassionate Avalokitesvara, May I soon unite with the Dharma-Nature Body.

If I go towards the mountain of knives, the mountain of knives of itself breaks up;
If I go towards the boiling oil, the boiling oil of itself dries up;
If I go towards the hells, the hells of themselves disappear;
If I go towards the hungry ghosts, the hungry ghosts of themselves become full.
If I go towards the Asuras, their evil thoughts of themselves are tamed.
If I go towards the animals, they themselves attain great wisdom.”

“After making these vows, recite my name(Namo Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva) with the deep-felt sincere heart, also recite single-mindedly the name of my teacher — Amitabha Tathagata(Namo Amitabha), then recite this mantra, 5 times or more in a day, to remove from the body the weighty sins of births and deaths accumulated in hundreds of thousands of billions of kalpas.”

Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva then said to the Buddha: “Bhagavan, if humans or gods recite and hold the phrases of the Great Compassion Dharani, when they are about to die, all the Buddhas of the ten directions will come to receive them with their hands, and they will be reborn in whichever Buddha-World according to their wishes.”

Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva continued to say to the Buddha: “Bhagavan, Should any living being who recites and holds the holy mantra of Great Compassion fall into the three evil paths, I vow not to achieved the Correct-Awakening.

Should any living being who recites and holds the holy mantra of Great Compassion not be reborn in any Buddha-World, I vow not to achieve the Correct-Awakening.

Should any living being who recites and holds the holy mantra of Great Compassion not obtain unlimited Samadhis and eloquence, I vow not to achieve the Correct-Awakening.

Should any living being who recites and holds the holy mantra of Great Compassion not obtain whatever he seeks in his present life, then it cannot be called the Dharani of the Great Compassionate Heart, unless it is used by those who are not virtuous or not completely sincere.

If a woman dislikes her female body and wishes to become a male, if she recites the phrases of the Great Compassion Dharani but can not change from a female to a male, I vow not to achieve the Correct-Awakening. However, if she arouses even a slightest doubt, her wish will not be satisfied.

If any living being usurps the drinks, foods, or possessions of Sanghas (group of monks), even though one thousand Buddhas appear in the world, he will not get to repent and reform. Even if he repents, his sins will not be eliminated. But now, by reciting this Great Compassion holy mantra, his sins will be eliminated. If anyone usurps, eats, or uses the drinks, foods, or possessions of Sanghas, he must repent to teachers of the ten directions to eliminate his sins. Now, when he reties this Great Compassion Dharani, the teachers of the ten directions will come to bear witness, and then all his weighty sins and hindrances will be eliminated.

All evil karma and weighty sins such as the ten evil deeds, the five rebellious sins, slandering people, slandering the Dharmas, breaking the Abstinent-precepts (*), breaking other precepts, destroying stupas (holy towers), wrecking temples, stealing properties of Sanghas, and profaning Brahma (pure) practices, can be completely eliminated (by reciting this Dharani), except this: if one has doubts about this Dharani, then even his small sins and light karma cannot be eliminated, not to mention the weighty sins. Although the weighty sins do not disappear immediately, the reciting can still be the cause of Bodhi in the future.”

(* Abstinent-precepts: The precepts of Tzie/Zhai. To observe these precepts, one must:
1. eats only vegetarian food;
2. takes only one meal before noon each day, eating after noon is prohibited;
3. also keeps the five basic precepts: no killing, no stealing, no sexual misconduct, no false speech, no consumption of alcohol.)

Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva continued to say to the Buddha:
“People and gods who recite and hold the Great Compassionate Heart Dharani will obtain fifteen kinds of good birth and will not suffer fifteen kinds of bad death. The bad deaths are:

1. They will not die of starvation or poverty;
2. They will not die from having been yoked, imprisoned, caned or otherwise beaten;
3. They will not die at the hands of hostile enemies;
4. They will not be killed in military battle;
5. They will not be killed by tigers, wolves, or other fierce beasts;
6. They will not die from the venom of poisonous snakes, black serpents, or scorpions;
7. They will not drown or be burned to death;
8. They will not be poisoned to death;
9. They will not be killed by mediumistic insects;
10. They will not die of madness or insanity;
11. They will not be killed by landslides or falling trees;
12. They will not die of nightmares sent by evil people;
13. They will not be killed by deviant spirits or evil ghosts;
14. They will not die of evil illnesses that bind the body;
15. They will not commit suicide;

Those who recite and hold the Great Compassion Holy Mantra will not suffer any of these fifteen kinds of bad death and will obtain the following fifteen kinds of good birth:

1. Their place of birth will always have a good king;
2. They will always be born in a good country;
3. They will always be born at a good time;
4. They will always meet virtuous friends;
5. The organs of their body will always be complete;
6. Their hearts of Way(Bodhi) will be pure and mature;
7. They will not violate the prohibitive precepts;
8. All their relatives will be kind and harmonious;
9. They will always have the necessary wealth and goods in abundance;
10. They will always obtain the respect and help of others;
11. Their possessions will not be plundered;
12. They will obtain everything they seek;
13. Dragons, gods, and good spirits will always protect them;
14. In the place where they are born they will see the Buddha and hear the Dharma;
15. They will awaken to the profound meaning of that Proper Dharma which they hear.

Those who recite and hold the Great Compassionate Heart Dharani will obtain these fifteen kinds of good birth. All gods and people should constantly recite and hold it without laziness.”

After saying that, Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva joined his palms and stood upright in front of the congregation, aroused his great compassionate heart for all living beings, smiled and in this way spoke the Sacrosanct Wonderful Phrases of the Vast, Perfect, Unimpeded, Great Compassionate Heart Great Dharani. The Dharani is:

—Audio of Dharani Chinese Chant  http://www.e-sangha.com/alphone/dabei_ch.mp3

— Audio of Dharani  Sanskrit  http://www.e-sangha.com/alphone/dabei_sk.mp3

Namo ratna-trayāya
Namo āriyā-valokite-śvarāya
Bodhi-sattvāya Maha-sattvāya Mahā-kārunikāya
Om sarva rabhaye sudhanadasya
Namo skritva imam
āryā-valokite-śvara ramdhava
Namo narakindi hrih Mahā-vadha-svā-me
Sarva-arthato-śubham ajeyam
Sarva-sata Namo-vasat Namo-vāka mavitāto
Tadyathā
Om avaloki-lokate-karate-e-hrih Mahā-bodhisattva
Sarva sarva
Mala mala
Mahi Mahi ridayam
Kuru kuru karmam
Dhuru dhuru
vijayate Mahā-vijayati
Dhara dhara dhrini
śvarāya cala cala
Mama vimala muktele
Ehi ehi śina śina
ārsam prasari
viśva viśvam prasaya
Hulu hulu mara
Hulu hulu hrih
Sara sara Siri siri Suru suru
Bodhiya Bodhiya Bodhaya Bodhaya
Maitreya narakindi dhrish-nina bhayamana svāhā
Siddhāya svāhā
Maha siddhāya svāhā
Siddha-yoge-śvaraya svāhā
Narakindi svāhā
Māranara svāhā
śira simha-mukhāya svāhā
Sarva mahā-asiddhaya svāhā
Cakra-asiddhāya svāhā
Padma-kastāya svāhā
Narakindi-vagalāya svaha
Mavari-śankharāya svāhā
Namo ratna-trāyāya
Namo āryā-valokite-śvaraya svāhā
Om Sidhyantu mantra padāya svāhā

When Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva finished speaking this mantra, the earth shook in six ways. The heavens rained down precious flowers, which fell in colorful profusion. All the Buddhas of the ten directions were delighted, while the heavenly demons and Exterior-paths practitioners were so frightened that their hair stood on end. Everyone in the congregation achieved different fruitions, including the fruitions of stream-enterer (srota-apanna), once-returner (sakrd-agamin), non-returner (Anagamin), and Arhat; others achieved the first Bhumi(stage of Bodhisattva), the second Bhumi, the third, fourth, fifth …… up to the tenth Bhumi. Innumerable living beings aroused the Bodhi-Heart (The resolve to save all living beings and help them to achieve the Correct Awakening).

Then the great Brahma heavenly king arose from his seat, tidied up his clothes, joined his palms respectfully, and said to Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva: “How virtuous, Mahasattva! I had attended innumerable Buddha-Congregations and heard myriads of Dharmas and Dharanis, but never before had I heard such Sacrosanct Wonderful Phrases of the Unimpeded Great Compassionate Heart’s Great Compassion Dharani. Mahasattva, please tell us the feature and characteristics of this Dharani, all of us will be pleased to know that.”

Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva told the Brahma king: “For the convenience of benefiting all living beings, you have asked me this question. Now you listen carefully, and I will tell you in brief.”

Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva said: “It is the great merciful and compassionate heart, the impartial heart, the motionless heart, the unpolluted and unattached heart, the emptiness-observing heart, the respectful heart, the humble heart, the uncluttered heart, the non-view and non-grasping heart, and the uppermost Bodhi-Heart. You should know that such hearts are the feature and characteristics of this Dharani, you should practice according to them.”

Then the great Brahma king said: “We now know the feature and characteristics of this Dharani, from now on, we will recite and hold it and will never dare to forget or loss it.”

Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva said: “If any virtuous men or virtuous women, who recite and hold this holy Dharani, can arouse the vast Bodhi-Heart that vow to ferry all living beings to the shore of liberation, keep the Abstinent-precepts(*) bodily, arouse the heart of equality towards all living beings, keep reciting this Dharani without interruption, reside in a clean room, wash themselves clean, wear clean clothes, hang up streamers and light up lamps, make offerings with fragrances, flowers, vegetable foods of hundreds of tastes, make their hearts stay still at one place, do not think about others, and recite and hold this Dharani according to the Dharma, then, Sunlight Bodhisattva, Moonlight Bodhisattva and innumerable gods and immortals will come to bear witness and enhance the efficacy of their recitation.”

“At that time, I will illuminate them with a thousand eyes, and protect and support them with a thousand hands. From then on, they will be able to master all worldly literature, and will perfectly understand all Exterior-paths’ theories and sorceries, as well as the Veda Scriptures.”

“One who recites and holds this holy mantra can heal all the 84000 kinds of diseases of the world, without exception. He also can command all ghosts and spirits, vanquish heavenly demons, and tame all Exterior-paths practitioners.”

“If one is reading Sutras or practicing Dhyana (Zen) in a mountain or a wild field, and some mountain-spirits, various ghosts, demons, monsters or Devas come to disturb and make him unable to concentrate, recite this mantra once, then all those ghosts and spirits will be tied up.”

“If one can recites this Mantra in accord with Dharma and arouse merciful and compassionate heart towards all living beings, I will then command all virtuous gods, dragon kings, and Vajra Secret-Traces Divinities to always follow and guard him, never leaving his side, guarding him as their own eyes and lives.”

Then Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva said the Gatha:

“I command the Vajra Secret-Traces Knights: Ucchusma, Kundalin, Ankusa, and the eight clans’ powerful knight Shankara,
to guard the Mantra-holders constantly;

I command Mahesvaras, Narayana, Kumbhiraba and Kapila,
to guard the Mantra-holders constantly;

I command Pajis, Sahassakkhas, perfect-virtuous chebuds and Kimnaras,
to guard the Mantra-holders constantly;

I command Sajamahoras, Kumbhandas, Katabhutanas, and Banjras,
to guard the Mantra-holders constantly;

I command Bhipagara kings, and morality Vitasaharas,
to guard the Mantra-holders constantly;

I command Brahma king Sambra, the five clans of pure-abode heavens and Yamarajas,
to guard the Mantra-holders constantly;

I command Sakra Devanam indra, the Lord of the thirty-three heavens, Sarasvatis, and Vardhanas,
to guard the Mantra-holders constantly;

I command Dhritarastra king, Haritis, goddess and great strength gods,
to guard the Mantra-holders constantly;

I command Virudhaka king, Virupaksa king and Vaisravana king,
to guard the Mantra-holders constantly;

I command the Golden Peacock King, and the twenty-eight clans of great immortals,
to guard the Mantra-holders constantly;

I command Manibhadra, and Pancika-imperator Phalava,
to guard the Mantra-holders constantly;

I command Nanda, Upandanda, and the Sagara dragon-king Ibhra,
to guard the Mantra-holders constantly;

I command the Asuras, Gandharvas, Karunas, Kimnaras, and Mahoragas,
to guard the Mantra-holders constantly;

I command the gods of water, fire, thunder, lightning, Kumbhanda king and Pisacas,
to guard the Mantra-holders constantly;

“Those virtuous gods, dragon-kings and goddess, each along with 500 retinues of great-strength Yaksas, will always follow and guard the holders of the Great Compassion Holy Mantra. If the Mantra-holder dwells and sleeps alone in an uninhabited mountain or wilderness, those virtuous gods will guard him by turns to eliminate misfortunes. If the Mantra-holder loses his way deep in the mountain, because of reciting this Mantra, the virtuous gods and dragon-kings will transform themselves into virtuous people and tell him the correct way. If the Mantra-holder lacks water or requires fire in a mountain, forest, or wilderness, the dragon-kings will protect him by miraculously creating water and fire for him.”

Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva then said a misfortune-eliminating and refreshingly cool Gatha(verse):

“When walking in wilderness, mountain or marsh,
if encountering tigers, wolves, or other fierce beasts,
or snakes, spirits, demons, monsters, ghosts,
they will be unable to harm the Mantra-holder when they hear this Mantra;

When voyaging on river or sea,
poisoned dragons, flood dragons and Makaras,
Yaksas, Rakshas, fishes, and soft-shelled turtles,
will dodge when they hear this Mantra;

If besieged by battle arrays or robbers,
or being robbed by villains,
recite the Great Compassion Dharani sincerely,
those villains will show mercy and go back;

If one is imprisoned by government official,
jailed, chained and locked,
recite the Great Compassion Dharani sincerely,
the officer will show mercy and set him free;

If entered a house of a poisonous insects raising family in a wild way,
the family purpose to venom with drinks, foods or medicines,
recite the Great Compassion Dharani sincerely,
the poison will turn to nectar;

When a woman is giving birth to a child,
evil demons comes to obstruct the birth and causing suffering and oppressive pain,
recite the Great Compassion Dharani sincerely,
the demons will disperse, leaving a safe and comfortable birth;

If evil dragons or pestilence ghosts spread poison,
people are infected by pyrexia and about to die,
recite the Great Compassion Dharani sincerely,
diseases will be healed and lives of people will be lengthen;

If evil dragons or ghosts spread the tumescent diseases,
people suffer from carbuncles, sore, abscess, ulcer and bleeding,
recite the Great Compassion Dharani sincerely,
then spit three times to the abscesses and it will be cured.

If there are muddled and wicked living beings who aroused immoral minds,
causing hatred by sending nightmares, ghosts and curses to you,
recite the Great Compassion Dharani sincerely,
then the hexes and evil spells will return to its original senders.

When Dharma is about to disappear,
the world is evil, feculent and disordered,
poeple’s sexual desire are like raging fire,
their hearts are deluded and they confuse right and wrong.
They have adulteries behind their spouses,
and think of lust days and nights ceaselessly.
If they can recite the Great Compassion Dharani sincerely,
the fire of sexual desire will quench and the evil minds will extinguish.

If I glorify the effect and power of this Mantra in detail,
even one kalpa is not enough for the glorification.”

Then Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva told the Brahmas: “Recite this Mantra 5 times, use threads of 5 colors to tie knots, then recite the Dharani 21 times, tie 21 knots, wear it on neck. This Mantra has been spoken by previous 9.9 billions Ganges-river-sands Buddhas.

Those Buddhas spoke this Mantra for the practitioners who practice the six Perfections (Paramita) but have not yet fulfilled them, to make them succeed quickly;

For those who have not yet aroused Bodhi-Heart, to make them arouse their Bodhi-Heart quickly;

For Sravakas who have not yet achieved fruitions, to make them achieve fruitions quickly;

For all gods and supernatural persons in the three-thousand-great-thousand worlds, who have not yet aroused the unsurpassed Bodhi-Heart, to make them arouse the Bodhi-Heart quickly;

For all living beings who have not yet gained the root of faith in Mahayana, with the mighty holy power of this Dharani, their seeds of Mahayana and Dharma-buds will grow quickly; with the power of my expedients, mercy and compassion, all of their needs will be supplied.

For those living beings of the three evil paths, who live in the gloomy regions of the three-thousand-great-thousand worlds, when they hear this Mantra, they will all be free from suffering;

For Bodhisattvas who have not yet achieved the first Bhumi, to make them achieve quickly, and make them achieve even up to the tenth Bhumi, and even up to the Buddhahood, with the thirty-two marks and the eighty minor marks achieved naturally.

If a Voice-Hearer (Sravaka) once hears this Dharani pass by his ears, if he practices and writes this Dharani, and if he settles down with straightforward heart in accord with Dharma, then he will naturally achieve the four Sramana-fruits even if he does not seek for the fruitions.

Suppose all the mountains, rivers, cliffs, and oceans in the three-thousand-great-thousand worlds can be boiled; the Sumeru mountains and Cakravada-parvata mountains can be shaken, and grinded to dust, all living beings of that magnitude will arouse the unsurpassed Bodhi-Hearts [by the power of this Dharani].

If anyone prays for any wish in his present life, he should keep the Abstinent-precepts(*) and keep reciting this Dharani for 21 days, then his wishes will certainly be fulfilled. From the verge of the previous birth-and-death to the verge of the next birth-and-death, all his evil karmas will be cleaned up. In the three-thousand-great-thousand worlds, all the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Brahmas, Sakra Devanam-Indra (heavenly lord), the four guardian gods, divinities, immortals, and dragon-kings, will bear witness.”

(* Abstinent-precepts: The precepts of Tzie/Zhai. To observe these precepts, one must:
1. eats only vegetarian food;
2. takes only one meal before noon each day, eating after noon is prohibited;
3. also keeps the five basic precepts: no killing, no stealing, no sexual misconduct, no false speech, no consumption of alcohol.)

“If a human or heavenly being, who recites and holds this Dharani, baths in a river or a sea, the nearby living beings wet by his bath-water will have all their weighty sins cleaned and be reborn in pure-lands of other directions. They will be born through miraculous creation from lotuses, and will not undergo birth from wombs, moistures, or eggs. How much more so, for those who recite and hold this Dharani themselves!”

“If one who recites and holds this Dharani is walking, a wind blows his hair and clothes, then the living beings blown by the wind that previously touched the Mantra-holder will have all their heavy obstructions and evil karmas cleansed, will not continue to suffer from karmas of the three evil paths, and often be born in front of Buddhas. It should be known that the Mantra-holder’s blessings, virtues, and fruit-repayments will be unimaginable.”

“If the Mantra-holder says anything, no matter good or bad, it sounds like pure Dharma-sound to all heavenly demons, Exterior-paths practitioners, gods, dragons, ghosts, and spirits, thus they will respect the Mantra-holder as if he were a Buddha.”

“As to one who recites and holds this Dharani, we should know that he is a store of Buddha-bodies, because he is cherished by 9.9 billions Ganges-river-sands Buddhas;

We should know that he is a brilliant light store, because he is illuminated by the light of all Tathagatas;

We should know that he is a store of mercies and compassions, because he constantly saves living beings with this Dharani;

We should know that he is a wonderful-Dharmas store, because this Dharani includes all Dharani-Gates;

We should know that the he is a store of Dhyana and Samadhi, because hundreds of thousands of Samadhis often appear in front of him;

We should know that the he is an Empty Spaces store, because he constantly observes living beings with wisdom of emptiness;

We should know that the he is a store of intrepidities, because he is constantly guarded by dragons, gods, and virtuous gods;

We should know that the he is a Wonderful Language store, because the Dharani-Sound come from his mouth is uninterrupted;

We should know that the he is an Eternally-Abiding store, because the three-disasters and evil-kalpas cannot harm him;

We should know that the he is a Liberation store, because heavenly demons and Exterior-paths practitioners cannot detain him;

We should know that the he is a Medicine-King store, because he constantly heals living beings with this Dharani;

We should know that the he is a supernatural power store, because he can freely travel round the Buddha-Worlds.

The glorifications for the merits and virtues of the Mantra-holder are endless.”

“Virtuous men, if one tires of the sufferings of the world and seeks for happiness of long life, he should settle down in an unoccupied and clean place, make a pure Secure Boundary, recite this Dharani towards his clothing, water, foods, fragrances, or medicines for 108 times and then use them, then he will certainly gain a long life. If he can make a Secure Boundary, accept and hold the Dharani in accord with Dharma, then all things will be achievable.”

“The method of making a Secure Boundary is:

Recite the Dharani 21 times towards a knife, and then countermark the ground with the knife to make a boundary;

or recite the Dharani 21 times towards some clean water, and then sprinkle it around as the boundary;

or recite the Dharani 21 times towards some white mustard seeds, and then scatter them around to mark a boundary,;

or make a boundary by mental visualisation;

or recite the Dharani 21 times towards some clean ashes(of Incense) and use them to mark a boundary;

or recite the Dharani 21 times towards a five-colored thread and then make a closed circle on the ground with the threads as a boundary.

All of these will do.

If one can accept and hold the Dharani in accord with the Dharma, he will achieve the fruit naturally.”

“If anyone just hears the name of this Dharani, his weighty sins of births and deaths of countless kalpas will be eliminated, how much more so, of those who recite and hold this Mantra themselves! If anyone can know and recite this holy Mantra, we should know that he has already offered and sustained innumerable Buddhas and have widely planted his virtuous roots. If he can recite and hold the Dharani in accord with Dharma to relieve all living beings from sufferings, we should know that he is the one with the great compassionate heart, and will become a Buddha soon.”

“If he recites the Dharani for all living beings that he sees, make them hear the Dharani and make it become a cause of their achievement of Bodhi, then, his merits and virtues are immeasurable, boundless, and cannot be praised completely.”

“If he can, with pure sincerity, apply his heart to keep the Abstinent-precepts, repent the previous sins on behalf of all living beings, also repent his own various sins accumulated in countless past kalpas, keep reciting this Dharani and never allow the sound of recitation to be interrupted, then he will achieve the four Sramana-fruits in his present life; if he has excellent talent for Dharma (literally: sharp root) and masters the skillful means of Wisdom-Observing, then achieving the fruits of ten Bhumis is not difficult for him, not to mention those small worldly blessings. All his wishes will be fulfilled.”

“If he wishes to command ghosts, he should find a skull in the wild, wash it clean, set up a Mandala(altar) in front of a statue of Thousand-Handed and Thousand-Eyed Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, and make offerings of multifarious fragrances, flowers, drinks, and vegetable foods. Do this day after day, then 7 days later, the ghost will appear and obey his orders.”

“If he wish to command the four guardian gods, he should recite towards a sandalwood and burn it, then he will achieve the goal – because the power of the Bodhisattva’s great compassionate vows are deep and weighty, and the power of this holy Dharani is mighty and vast.”

The Buddha told Ananda: “When there are catastrophes in a country, if the king of the country can manage state affairs according to correct laws, be liberal toward people and animals, not to do anybody an injustice, absolve people from blames, and for 7 days and 7 nights, keep both his body and his mind sincere and diligent, and in this way recite and hold this Great Compassionate Heart Dharani Holy Mantra, then all the catastrophes of his country will disappear, the five kinds of crops will be abundant and his people will live in peace and happiness.”

“If a country is being frequently invaded by enemies from other countries, people are unsafe and ministers are traitorous, pestilences are spreading everywhere, the rains and the droughts are unbalanced and unseasonable, or even the sun and the moon lost their accuracy, when such disasters come, the people should make a statue of Thousand-Handed and Thousand-Eyed Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva and set it facing the west, make offerings to it sincerely with fragrances, flowers, streamers, precious canopies, or vegetable foods and drinks of hundreds of tastes, and, for 7 days and 7 nights, if the king of the country can keep both his body and mind sincere and diligent, and in this way recite and hold the Sacrosanct Wonderful Phrases of this Dharani, then the foreign enemies will be tamed of themselves, they will return to their own countries and make no further disturbance. These countries will be in communication and will have friendly relations, the princes and officers will be loyal, the queen, the prince’s wife, and the maids will also be loyal to the king. Dragons, ghosts and spirits will protect this country, the rains will be seasonal, the fruits will be abundant, and the people will be happy.”

“If anyone in a family gets a serious evil disease, or if hundreds of monsters appear, or if ghosts, spirits, and demons deplete and demolish the family; or if some villains malign the family and plot to harm them; or if the members of the family are disharmonious, they should set up a Mandala(altar) in front of a statue of Thousand-Handed and Thousand-Eyed Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, recite the name of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva with their deep-felt sincere heart, and then recite this Dharani fully 1000 times, then all those misfortunes will disappear, the family will be peaceful forever.”

Ananda asked the Buddha: “Bhagavan, what is the name of this Mantra? How should we accept and hold it?”

The Buddha told Ananda: “This holy Mantra has many names, one of them is Vast, Great, Perfect, another is Unimpeded Great Compassion, another is Relieving Sufferings Dharani, another is Lengthening Life Dharani, another is Extinguishing Evil Destinies Dharani, another is Breaking Evil Karma Hindrances Dharani, another is Wish-Fulfilling Dharani, another is The Dharani Of The Freedom In Accord With The Heart, another is Quickly Exceeding The Upper Stages Dharani. Thus should you accept and hold it.”

Then Ananda asked the Buddha: “Bhagavan, what is the name of this Bodhisattva-Mahasattva, who is so good to teach us this Dharani?”

The Buddha said: “This Bodhisattva is called Avalokitesvara, the Unrestricted One, also called Nipping a Lariat, also called A Thousand Bright Eyes. Virtuous man, this Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva has unimaginable mighty and holy powers. Uncountable kalpas before, he had already been a Buddha named True Dharma Brightness Tathagata. Because of the power of his great compassionate vows, and in order to call upon all Bodhisattvas to comfort and please all living beings, he appears as a Bodhisattva. All of you, including the Bodhisattvas, Brahmas, Gods of the 33 heavens, dragons, and divinities, should show respect to him, do not despise him. All heavenly and human beings should constantly make offerings to him and recite his name absorbedly, then they will get infinite blessings and eliminate countless sins, and at the end of their lives, they will be reborn in the Pure Land of Amitabha Buddha.”

The Buddha told Ananda: “This holy Mantra spoken by Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva is true, real, and not false. If you wish to invite this Bodhisattva to come, recite the Mantra 21 times towards a Guggula Incense and burn it, then this Bodhisattva will come.”

“If being possessed by a soul of cat, find a dead cat’s skull, burn it to ashes, mix the ashes with clean soil, and then use them to shape a cat. In front of a statue of Thousand-Handed and Thousand-Eyed Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, recite the Dharani 108 times towards a wrought iron knife, and then cut the model into 108 pieces with the knife. Recite once, cut once, and say his name once, then the cat’s soul will leave and never return.”

“If harmed by mediumistic insects(Gu), mix Karpura(Dragon Brain Incense) with a same bulk of Guggula Incense, add 1 bowl of Well-flower-water and decoct them into 1 bowl of decoction; when done, recite the Dharani 108 times towards the decoction in front of a statue of Thousand-Handed and Thousand-Eyed Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, then take the decoction, the illness will be healed.”

(*[Note] Well-flower-water: the purest water from a well – each morning, the very first bucket of water from the well)

“If bitten by fierce snakes or scorpions, recite the Dharani 7 times towards some powder of dry gingers, apply the powder on the bite and they will be healed.”

“If someone plots to harm you because of hatred and resentment, you should find some clean soil, or flour, or wax, to shape the enemy’s body. In front of a statue of Thousand-Handed and Thousand-Eyed Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, recite the Dharani 108 times towards a wrought iron knife, then cut the model into 108 pieces with the knife. Recite once and cut once and say his name once, and then burn up all 108 pieces. After that, the enemy will be happy, will respect you and will like to befriend you for his entire life.”

“If you have the eye-diseases of dimmed vision or blindness, or if your eyes are covered by a white haze or a red film, you should find a Haritaki fruit, an Amala fruit, and a Vihetaki fruit, and grind them into powder. During the grinding, you must guard their purity: do not be seen by women who have just given birth, or by pigs or dogs, and you should keep reciting a Buddha’s name, mix the powder with white honey or human milk. The human milk must be from a mother of a boy, not from mothers of girls. When the medicine is done, in front of a statue of Thousand-Handed and Thousand-Eyed Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, recite the Dharani 1008 times towards the medicine, then apply it on the sick eyes for fully 7 days, stay in a quite room and do not be exposed to wind, then the eyes will recover, the white haze and red film will disappear, and the eyesight will be very clear.”

“If you are afflicted by recurrent fevers, recite the Dharani 21 times towards the skin of a tiger, panther, or a wolf, place the skin on your body and the fever will be healed. The skin of a lion is best.”

“If someone is bitten by a snake, get some earwax of that person, recite the Dharani 21 times towards the earwax, apply them on his sore, then it will be healed.”

“If an evil fever enters your heart, and it is so oppressive that makes you even wish to die, in this case, you should find a peach-glue as big as a normal peach, add 1 bowl of clean water and decoct them into a half bowl of decoction. When done, recite the Dharani 7 times towards the decoction, take them all, than the disease will be healed. The medicine should not be decocted by a woman.”

“If you are possessed by a ghost, recite the Dharani 21 times towards a Guggula incense and burn it to fume the nostrils, further, make 7 pills of Guggula each as big as a rabbit dung, recite the Dharani 21 times towards them and take them, then you will be cured. Be careful: do not drink alcohol, do not eat meat or the five-pungencies, and do not abuse others. If you find some Manahsila (realgar), mix it with white mustard seeds and YanSheng-salt, then recite the Dharani 21 times towards the mixture and burn it under the bed of the patient, then the possessing ghost will run away and not dare to stay.

(*[Note] The five-pungencies are: onions, leeks, garlic, chives or shallots)

“For deafness, recite the Dharani towards some sesame oil and drop the oil into ears, then the disease will be healed.”

“If someone is suffering from hemiplegias, his nose is blocked and his hands and feet cannot move because of apoplexy, you should mix some sesame oil with Green-wood-spice and decoct them, recite the Dharani 21 times towards the mixture, and rub it on the body, then the diseases will forever be healed. Another prescription: recite the Dharani 21 times towards some pure cow ghee, and rub it on the body, then the diseases will also be healed.”

“For dystocias, recite the Dharani 21 times towards sesame oil and apply on both the navel and the jade-gate of the woman who is giving birth, then there will be an easy birth.”

“If a baby dies in a pregnant woman’s womb, find one large Lerng(*) of hyssops, mix it with 2 bowls of clean water, and decoct them into 1 bowl of decoction. Recite the Dharani 21 times towards the decoction and let the woman take it, then the dead baby will come out, and the woman will not be in pain. If the placenta does not come out, let her take this medicine again and it will be fine.”

(* Lerng: a Chinese measurement)

“If you have a disease that your heart is often attacked by an unbearable pain, this is called Hidden Corpse Disease. Find a Fume-Land Incense with mature nipples, recite the Dharani 21 times towards it, chew and swallow it – no matter more or less. After some time, it will cause vomiting or diarrhoea, then the disease will be healed. Do not eat any of the five-pungencies, do not eat meat, and do not drink alcohol.”

“If burned by a fire, recite the Dharani 21 times towards some dung of black cows, apply them on the sores, the pain will be healed.”

“If one’s heart is being attacked by ascarids, recite the Dharani 21 times towards a half bowl of urine of a white horse and take it, then the disease will be healed. If the disease is serious, take more medicine up to 1 bowl, then the ascarids will come out like a linked rope.”

“For a Nail-sore, find some Ling-Sil-leaves, grind them and get the juice, recite the Dharani 21 times towards the juice, apply the juice to the sore, pull the sore out by the root and it will be healed immediately.”

“If one’s eyes were bitten by flies, find some new dung of donkey, filter it and get the liquid, recite the Dharani 21 times towards the liquid, drop it into the eyes when lying on the bed at night, then the disease will be healed.”

“For bellyaches, mix Well-flower-water with YanSheng-salt to make 21 pellets, recite the Dharani 21 times towards them, take half a bowl of the medicine, then the disease will be healed.”

“For red-eyed diseases, or neoplasms in eyes, or cataracts, find some leaves of Chinese-wolfberry (Gau-Gey), grind them and get their juice, recite the Dharani 21 times towards the juice, soak a bronze copper coin in the juice overnight, recite the Dharani towards it 7 more times, drop the juice into the eyes, then the disease will be healed.”

“If someone is afraid and not peaceful at night, and he may even be frightened when entering or leaving a house, he should make a rope with white threads, recite the Dharani 21 times towards it, tie it into 21 knots, and wear it on his neck, then the fear will disappear. Not only will his fear disappear, his sins will also be eliminated.”

“If some unexpected calamities come to your household, find a guava branch, cut it into 1008 segments, smear some ghee and honey on both ends of them, recite the Dharani once and burn one segment, burn up all 1008 segments in this way, then all calamities will disappear. This must be done in front of a Buddha.”

“If you recite the Dharani 21 times towards a white flagleaf and tie it to your right arm, you will always win others in all fighting places and debating places.”

“If you find some leaves and branches of Sami(*), cut them into 1008 segments, smear some true-cow-ghee and white-honey-cow-ghee on both ends of them, recite the Dharani once towards each segment and burn it, and burn up all 1008 segments in this way. Do this 3 times each day, 1008 times each time, for 7 days, then you, as a Mantra-master, will realize the Through-Wisdom of yourself.”

(* Sami: Chinese wolfberry / medlar)

“If you wish to tame powerful ghosts or spirits, find some Wood-Wan-Tzee, recite the Dharani 49 times towards them, smear some ghee and honey on them, and burn them up. This must be done in front of a statue of Great Compassionate Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva.”

“If you put 1 large Lerng of bezoar(Cow yellow) into a lapis-lazuli bottle, then put the bottle in front of a statue of Great Compassionate Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, recite the Dharani 108 times toward it, apply the bezoar on your body and dot it on your forehead, then all gods, dragons, ghosts, spirits, human and non-human beings will be pleased.”

(* Lerng: A Chinese measurement)

“If being chained and locked, find some dung of white pigeons, recite the Dharani 108 times towards them, smear them on your hands and rub the chains and locks, then the chains and locks will open of themselves.”

“If a husband and wife have a disharmonious relationship and their situation is like that of water and fire, find some feathers of the tail of mandarin ducks, in front of a statue of Great Compassionate Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, recite the Dharani 1008 times towards the feathers and let the couple wear them, then the couple will be delightful, and will love and respect each other unto the end of their lives.”

“If the seeds and fruits in your farm are being eaten by insects, find some clean ashes, or clean sands, or clean water, recite the Dharani 21 times towards them, sprinkle them around the farm and the seedlings, then the insects will quit. If you sprinkle some Mantra-water on the fruit trees, the insects will not dare to eat the fruits.”

The Mudras of Great Compassion Dharani

The Buddha told Ananda: ”
For richness, treasures, or various valuables and necessities, use the Wish-Fulfilling Pearl Mudra(gesture).

For seeking stable life in various unstable situations, use the Pasa(lasso / lariat) Mudra.

For various diseases in abdomen, use the Precious Bowl Mudra.

For vanquishing all demons, monsters, ghosts, and spirits, use the Precious Glave(double edge sword) Mudra.

For vanquishing all heavenly demons and deities, use the Vajra Mudra.

For taming all enemies, use the Vajra Pestle Mudra.

For eliminating all fears in any situation, use the Fearless-Giving (Abhayam-dada) Mudra.

For healing dim eyes, use the Sun-Quintessence Mani Mudra.

If one has a disease caused by the poison of heat and seeks for refreshing coolness, he should use the Moon-Quintessence Mani Mudra.

For high positions and promotions, use the Precious Bow Mudra.

For meeting all virtuous friends as soon as possible, use the Precious Arrow Mudra.

For healing various diseases on one’s body, use the Willow Branch Mudra.

For eliminating evil obstacles and misfortunes of one’s body, use the White Whisk Mudra.

For good harmony among all relatives, use the Precious Vase Mudra.

For evading all tigers, wolves, jackals, panthers, and other fierce beasts, use the Shield Mudra.

For always resting in peace and avoiding being imprisoned, use the Axe-Tomahawk Mudra.

For commanding men and women, use the Jade Bracelet Mudra.

For various merits and virtues, use the White Lotus Mudra.

For rebirth in pure lands of the ten directions, use the Blue Lotus Mudra.

For great wisdom, use the Precious Mirror Mudra.

For personally meeting all Buddhas of the ten directions, use the Purple Lotus Mudra.

For underground precious deposits, use the Precious Box Mudra.

For achieving the Way(Tao) of immortals, use the Five Colored Cloud Mudra.

For rebirth in Brahma heaven, use the Bath Bottle Mudra.

For rebirth in heavenly palaces, use the Red Lotus Mudra.

For vanquishing traitors of other places, use the Precious Halberd Mudra.

For summoning all virtuous heavenly gods, use the Precious Trumpet Shell Mudra.

For commanding all ghosts and spirits, use the Skull Staff Mudra.

For the Buddhas of the ten directions coming to receive you with their hands quickly, use the Prayer Beads Mudra.

For achieving all superior wonderful Brahma sounds, use the Precious Bell Mudra.

For the ability of eloquent, clever, and wonderful speech (mouth karma), use the Precious Seal Mudra.

To be constantly guarded by virtuous gods and dragon kings, use the Kusinagara Iron Hook Mudra.

For mercifully sheltering and protecting all living beings, use the Tin Staff Mudra.

For making all living beings always respect and love each others, use the Joining Palms Mudra.

For always being reborn beside Buddhas for all lifetimes, use the Nirmana(Miraculously Created) Buddha Mudra.

To be always reborn in the palaces of Buddhas for all lifetimes, and never be born from a womb, use the Nirmana-Palace Mudra.

For eruditeness, use the Precious Sutra Mudra.

If you wish that from your current incarnation(lifetime) to the incarnation that you are a Buddha, you will never retrogress from or lose the Bodhi-Heart, use the Non-retrogression Gold Wheel Mudra.

If you wish that the Buddhas of the ten directions will come quickly to rub your summit and award you the mark of future Buddhahood, use the Summit Nirmana Buddha Mudra.

For fruits, melons, and various crops, use the Grape Mudra.

There are thousands of such requesting Mudras, now I have just briefly said some of them.”

Sunlight Bodhisattva then spoke a great holy Mantra for those who accept and hold the Great Compassionate Heart Dharani to protect them:

“Namo Buddha Kunami, Namo Dharma Mahadi, Namo Sangha Tayeni, DhriBhuBhi Sattva Yam Namo”

“This Mantra can extinguish all sins, and can evade demons and natural disasters. If one can recite the Dharani once and bow to the Buddhas once, 3 times daily, recite the Dharani and bow to the Buddhas, then in his next lifetime, he will gain the delightful fruit-repayment that all of his facial features are handsome.”

Moonlight Bodhisattva also spoke a Dharani to protect practitioners:

“Sumdhidi Tusuza Ahjamidi Uduza SumKiza Bolaidi Yemijaza Uduza Kuladiza Kimoza Svaha”

(* in the above sentence, the ‘z’ should be pronounced as [tz])

“Recite this Mantra five times, making a Mantra-Rope with five colored threads, and wear it on where it is sore. This Mantra had been spoken by the previous 40 Ganges-river-sands Buddhas, now I also speak it, for supporting all practitioners, for eliminating all obstacles and calamities, for healing all serious diseases and relieving all sufferings, for accomplishing all virtuous Dharmas, for eliminating all fears.”

The Buddha told Ananda: “You should accept and uphold this Great Compassion Dharani with a deeply pure heart, spread it abroad widely throughout Jambudvipa and never allow it to be lost. This Dharani can greatly benefit all living beings of the Three Realms of Transmigrations, all living beings suffering from diseases can use this Dharani to heal their diseases. Even a withered tree can grow new branches, flowers and fruits when someone recites this great holy Dharani towards it. Thus, it is impossible that any diseases of sentient and conscious beings cannot be healed by this Dharani.”

“Virtuous man, the mighty and sacrosanct power of this Dharani is unimaginable, is unimaginable, and one will never be able to fully praise it. If one has not extensively planted virtuous roots since the long distant past, he is not able to hear even the name of this Dharani, much less that he could see it. All of you in this congregation — the gods, human beings, dragons, spirits, should accordingly rejoice when hearing my praise. Slandering this Dharani is equal to slandering those 9.9 billion Ganges-river-sands Buddhas.

If anyone doubts, or disbelieves this Dharani, we should know that he loses great benefits forever. For billions of kalpas, he will constantly fall into the evil categories (of hell beings, hungry ghosts, and animals) and unable to escape; he will always be unable to see the Buddhas, unable to hear the Dharmas, and unable to see the Sanghas.”

After hearing the Buddha praise this Dharani, the whole congregation — the Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas, Vajra Secret-Traces Divinities, Brahmas, Sakra, gods, the four heavenly kings, dragons, ghosts, and spirits, were all delighted, they accepted the teaching respectfully and started practicing it.

“The Sutra on Knowing the Better Way to Live Alone” A Dhamma Talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh


“The Sutra on Knowing the Better Way to Live Alone”

A Dhamma Talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh

April 5, 1998, Plum Village, France

Dear friends,

“Knowing how to live alone” here does not mean to live in solitude, separated from other people, on a mountain in a cave. “Living alone” here means living to have sovereignty of yourself, to have freedom, not to be dragged away by the past, not to be in fear of the future, not being pulled around by the circumstances of the present. We are always master of ourselves, we can grasp the situation as it is, and we are sovereign of the situation and of ourselves. There are many places in the sutras where the Buddha says that “being alone” does not mean to be separated from other people. We can be sitting in a cave, but we are not necessarily alone, because we have lost ourselves in our thinking, so we are not alone. In the Majjhima Nikáya there are at least four sutras that talk about the subject of knowing how to live alone, and in the Madhyama Agama there are also sutras that talk about the subject of living alone. Therefore, we know that the subject of living alone is a very important subject in the teachings of the Buddha. We have to know how to do this, how to live in freedom, not being imprisoned by the future and not being carried away by things in the present.

The Sutra on Knowing the Better Way to Live Alone teaches us how to live each moment of our daily life very deeply. When we can live our daily life deeply, we begin to have concentration and wisdom; we can see the true nature of life, and we arrive at a great freedom, and freedom is the essence of happiness. If we are suffering, it is because we are not free, and therefore to practice is to recover our freedom. When we have freedom, we will become solid. Freedom and solidity are the two characteristics of nirvana, so we need a program of freedom and solidity. If somebody is suffering, we know that person is not free; because they are not free, they are suffering, they are being imprisoned by the past, or they are being oppressed by the present, or they are being carried away by the future, and that is why they are suffering. The practice is to re-establish our freedom, and then we will no longer suffer, and our happiness will increase. The oldest writings on the better way to live alone, on how to live deeply in the present moment, are found in this sutra.

For example, someone hears the doctor say, “You have cancer, you may live for six months more.” That person feels completely overwhelmed. The fear, the idea that I’m going to die in six months takes away all our peace and joy. Before the doctor told us that we had cancer, we had the capacity to enjoy ourselves with our friends. However, once the doctor told us that, we lose all our capacity to sit and enjoy our tea, or enjoy our meal, or watch the moon, because we are so afraid of the moment when we will die. It takes away all our freedom. If you know that death is something that comes to everybody, you will not suffer so much. The doctor says we have six months left to live, but the doctor also will die. Maybe the doctor knows we have six months, but the doctor does not know how many months he himself has left to live. Maybe the doctor will die before us. Maybe driving home after the examination he will have an accident, and therefore the knowledge of the doctor isn’t so great. He tells us we only have six months left. We may be lucky to live six months, because the doctor may die before us. So if we look deeply we see things, which if we don’t look deeply we wouldn’t see. Looking deeply we can get back our freedom from fear, and with that freedom, with our non-fear, we may live happily those six months.

All of us are equal as far as life and death are concerned: we are all going to die. So it is very equal, it will happen to everybody. Everyone has to die, but before we die, can we live properly? I am determined to live properly until I die. That is a very awakened thing to say. If we are going to die, then we have to live the best we can, and if we can live six months in the best way we can then the quality of that six months will be as if we were living for six years, or sixty years. If our life is filled with being caught in the fetters of suffering, then our life doesn’t have the same kind of meaning as if we live in freedom. So knowing that we have to die, I am determined to live my life properly, deeply. All of us have to die, but if we are able to live with peace, joy, and freedom before we die, then we live as if we are dead already, even before we die.

First of all, the Buddha teaches us that we must struggle to get back our freedom, to be able to live the moments of our daily life deeply. In these moments of our daily life we can have peace, we can have joy, and we can heal the suffering we have in our bodies and in our minds.

Living deeply at each moment of our life helps us to be in touch with the wonderful things of life, helps us to nourish our body and our mind with these wonderful elements, and at the same time helps us to embrace and transform the suffering that we have. So to live deeply in the present moment of every day of our life is to live a life of wonder, nourishment, and healing. Living like that we can revive our freedom, and live deeply: we give rise to the truth, we have awakened understanding, and our fears, our anxieties, our sufferings, and our sadness, will evaporate, and we will become a source of joy and life to ourselves and to those around us.

According to Buddhism, that is the method of dwelling happily in the present moment. Looking carefully, we will see that this writing on knowing the better way to live alone is the oldest human writing about how to live the present moment, so it is a very important sutra. We should study it carefully, and then apply it in our lives and in the practice. We know that all the teachings related to the teachings on living in the present moment should be studied in the same way.

There was a monk whose name was Thera. His friends probably gave him the name Thera, which means “the elder.” That monk liked to live on his own. He always went off on the alms round on his own. He liked to do walking meditation on his own. He like to eat on his own, he liked to wash his clothes on his own. He really liked to do everything on his own. He seemed to like to avoid his friends in the practice as much as possible. All the monks had heard the Buddha praising the better way to live alone, but the way the Buddha used the meaning of “living alone,” he meant not to be imprisoned by the past, not to be pulled away by the future, and not to be carried away by what was happening in the present. The Buddha did not mean that living alone means to distance yourself and separate yourself from your friends in the practice. Nevertheless, this monk liked to do things on his own, eating on his own, going to the town on his own, and avoiding other people. The other monks knew that he liked to do things alone, but they felt that there was something not quite right about this way of life. They felt that he wasn’t really practicing according to the spirit of the Buddha’s teachings. So the other monks went to the Buddha and they said, “Lord Buddha, one of our fellow practitioners called Thera, the elder, likes to do everything on his own: walking meditation, eating meditation, working on his own, and we don’t know if living like that that is really truly living alone.” And Buddha said, “Where is that monk? Ask him to come here and have a cup of tea with us.” So the monks went and invited Thera to join them, and the Buddha said, “I hear you like to live alone. How do you live on your own? Please tell me.” And Thera said, “Lord Buddha, I sit in meditation alone, I eat on my own, I wash my clothes on my own, I go into the village for alms on my own.” And the Buddha said, “Oh, that is true, then you really do live alone. But maybe the way you live alone is not the best way to live alone, there is a better way to live alone.” And then the Buddha recited a gatha: “If you live without being imprisoned by the past, not being pulled away by the future, not being carried away by the forms and images of the present moment, living each moment of your life deeply, that is the true way of living alone.” When Thera heard this he knew that he had been living alone just as an outer form, and there was a deeper way to live alone.

The sutra where this story is told is called the Theranama Sutra, it is in the Samyutta Nikáya, and there is also an equivalent sutra in the Samyukta Agama, it is Number 71 in the Samyukta Agama. The essence of the sutra is a poem. The Buddha wrote poems, but the poems of the Buddha were more designed to show us how to practice. The gatha which talks about the art of living alone is called the Bhaddekaratta-gatha, Bhaddekaratta means “the best way to live alone.” Many people have mistranslated this title: One master translated it as “practicing for one night.” There’s also another master who translated this title as “being present.” The correct translation is to say “The better way to practice living alone.” This poem says:

Do not pursue the past.
Do not lose yourself in the future.
The past no longer is.
The future has not yet come.
Looking deeply at life as it is
in the very here and now,
the practitioner dwells
in stability and freedom.

All of the essence of the Buddha’s teachings lies in these words. We know that stability and freedom are the two characteristics of nirvana, and that is the aim of our practice.

The aim of our practice is that every moment of ourdaily life we can produce stability and freedom: walking, lying down, sitting, standing, we produce freedom and stability. Nirvana is something we can touch right in the present moment, not only with our mind, but also with our body. When our feet are walking in a leisurely way, solid and free, then our feet are touching nirvana. As soon as we have stability and freedom, nirvana is there. The level of freedom and stability tells us whether we have been able to touch nirvana deeply.

Do not pursue the past. There are people who are tired of the present and think that the past was more beautiful, and that life was more beautiful before. They always think the past was more beautiful. Therefore, they cannot see the happiness of the present.

Many of us are caught in this way of thinking. The past is no longer there, and we compare it with the present, and we say that the past was more beautiful than the present; but even when we had those moments in the past we didn’t really value them at the time, because in the past we were not able to live in the present moment. We were always running after the future, and now if we were taken back to the past, we would do the same. At that time life was more beautiful, the sun was brighter, the moon was brighter–those are words from a French song. There are people who pursue the past, not because they think the past was beautiful, but because the past has made them suffer, the past was a trauma, a heavy wound for them. We have suffered, we have been wounded, we have died in the past, and those heavy wounds are calling us back to the past, crying, “Come back here, come back to the past. I am the subject, you cannot escape me.” That is what the past says to us. We are like sheep running back to the past, to enclose us, to imprison us, to make us suffer. The past is also a very great prison. We hear the words of the past, and we run back to the past, we refuse to live our life in the present moment, we are always going back to the past. So the Buddha says, “Don’t pursue the past.”

These are the words of our teacher: “Don’t pursue the past.” We should write a poem, how can we write a poem so we are able to do this? Sometimes we are sitting with our friend. Our friend is sitting there, but we feel abandoned by our friend, because our friend is drowning in the past. Our friend is sitting next to us, but our friend is not with us, our friend is imprisoned by the past. Our friend is there, but our friend is not really there. We know that we are sitting there, and we feel that our friend is not sitting there with us. So we find a way to free our friend from the past, and we say to our friend: “A penny for your thoughts. What are you thinking about? Tell me. I’ll give you ten centimes if you tell me.” That person may wake up, jump up and smile and be free from the prison of the past.

If we are a monk or a nun, we should know how to do this. We should know the method of being able to release our friend in the practice who is imprisoned and drowning in the past. We have to use our love, our mindfulness, and our friendship, to help that person out of the prison of the past. If we are a monk or a nun, we should know how to use our brothers and sisters in the practice to help us get out of our prison of the past. Therefore, living in a Sangha has these kinds of benefits.

source

 

Cloud and Water/ Ch’an Poem 1 ‘Forbearance’ by Venerable Master Hsing Yun


When people slander me, what should I do? Forbearance is the path of least harm. Set a good example for my children and grandchildren; Follow the gentle, not the violent.

By Venerable Master Hsing Yun 

We should not get too upset when slandered by others. It does not hurt us too much to get the short end of the stick once in a while for when the clouds clear, the sun will shine through. We need to treat others with sincerity and honesty, thereby setting a good example for the younger gen-erations. Even further, we need to “Follow the gentle, not the violent”. We should be reasonable when someone slanders us. Once slandered it appears we are getting the short end of the stick. This is not true. In reality, if we can be patient and uncalculating, if we refrain from seeking revenge, in time people will know the truth. Then the slander not only will not harm us but will become an opportunity to gain merit. Just as the Sutra of Forty-two Sections says, “To slander others is like blowing dust into the wind; not only will it not harm others, the dust will ulti-mately fall back on ourselves. To slander others is also like spitting up into the sky, when it falls, it will fall flat in our face”. Thus, we should not be bothered by others’ idle talk and slander. Instead, we should be tolerant, patient, and forgiving. The greatest strength in this world comes not from fists nor guns but from tolerance under insult. According to Buddhist teachings, the merit gained from practicing the precepts is not as great as the merit gained from practicing tolerance. So you can see here the strength of tolerance. In our practice the first thing we need to learn is tolerance. We have to be tolerant in our speech and should not yell at others for no apparent reason. We have to be tolerant in our bodies and should not show anger on our face. We have to be tolerant in our minds and be truly forgiving of the bad deeds that others have done to us. If we can do this, we set a good and invaluable example to the younger generations. There is a story in the Sutra of the One Hundred Parables. One day, a father sent his son to the market to buy some food and drinks to serve his guests. When his son did not return for a long time, the father was getting worried and went out to look for him. He found his son standing on the street staring at a stranger. The father was puzzled and asked him why he stared so. The son told his father that since the stranger would not step aside to let him pass, both of them decided to stare at each other to see who would give up first. The father was very mad and told his son to run home with the groceries and he would take his place and see who would win. Does not giving a single step mean victory? Does this make us truly happy? If we want to set a good example to the younger generations, we should be tolerant, patient, and forgiving. Our children will benefit from it tremendously.

 

Source: Cloud and Water

An Interpretation of Ch’an Poems

By Venerable Master Hsing Yun

Translated by

FoGuangShanInternationalTranslationCenter

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May all beings benefit

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