Category Archives: Pure Land

They are to be called The Dharma Jewel Platform Sutra


“They are to be called The Dharma Jewel Platform Sutra. Protect and transmit them in order to take humankind across. If you speak according to them, you will be speaking the Orthodox Dharma. I will explain the Dharma to you, but I will not transmit the robe, because your roots of faith are pure and ripe. You certainly have no doubts and are worthy of the great Work. According to the meaning of the transmission verse of the First Patriarch Bodhidharma, the robe should not be transmitted.”

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Avalokiteshvara’s Methods and Vows//from Surangama Sutra // Meditation on the organ of hearing// Avalokiteshvara’s Methods


“As the Buddha now asks about the best means of perfection,
my method which consists in regulating the organ of
hearing so as to quiet the mind for its entry into the stream of
meditation leading to the state of Samàdhi and attainment of
Enlightenment is the best.
.World Honoured One, that Buddha praised my excellent
method of perfection and gave me, in the presence of
the assembly, the-name of Avalokiteshvara. Because of my
all-embracing (absolute function of) hearing, my name is
known everywhere…..”

Avalokiteshvara’s Methods and Vows//from Surangama Sutra // 
Meditation on the organ of hearing// Avalokiteshvara’s Methods

Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva
and Vows//from Surangama Sutra
Thereupon Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva rose from his seat,
prostrated himself with his head at the feet of the Buddha
and declared: .I still remember that long before numbers of
aeons countless as the sand grains in the Ganges, a Buddha
called Avalokiteshvara appeared in the world. When I was
with Him, I developed the Bodhi Mind and, for my entry into
Samàdhi, I was instructed by Him to practise meditation by
means of the organ of hearing.
.At first by directing the organ of hearing into the
stream of meditation, this organ was detached from its object,
and by wiping out (the concept of) both sound and
stream-entry, both disturbance and stillness became clearly
non-existent. Thus advancing step by step both hearing and
its object ceased completely, but I did not stop where they
ended. When the awareness of this state and this state itself
were realized as non-existent, both subject and object
merged into the void, the awareness of which became all embracing.
With further elimination of the void and its object
both creation and annihilation vanished giving way to the
state of Nirvàna which then manifested.
.Suddenly I leaped over both the mundane and
supramundane, thereby realizing an all-embracing brightness
pervading the ten directions, and acquired two unsurpassed
(merits). The first was in accord with the fundamental
Profound Enlightened Mind of all the Buddhas high up
in the ten directions and possessed the same merciful
power as the Tathàgata. The second was in sympathy with
all living beings in the six realms of existence here below in
the ten directions and shared with them the same plea for
compassion.
.World Honoured One, as I (followed and) made offerings
to the Tathàgata Avalokiteshvara, He taught me to use
my illusory hearing and sublimate it to realize the Diamond
(Vajra) Samàdhi which gave me the same power of mercy of
all Buddhas and enabled me to transform myself into thirtytwo
bodily forms for the. purpose of visiting all countries in
saüsàra (to convert and liberate living beings).
.World Honoured One, if there are Bodhisattvas who
practise Samàdhi to attain the transcendental (Mean), when
there is a chance for them to realize absolute Wisdom, I will
appear as a Buddha to teach them the Dharma to liberate
them.
.If there are solitary students seeking (only) self enlightenment,
who practise the stillness of Nirvana, when
there is a chance for them to realize it, I will appear as a
teacher of self-enlightenment to teach them the Dharma to
liberate them.
.If there are students of the Four Noble Truths who,
after realizing the unreality of suffering and its accumulation,
tread the Path leading to the extinction of passions, when
there is a chance for them to achieve this, I will appear as a
hearer (sràvaka) to teach them the Dharma to liberate them.
.If there are living beings who realize (the harmfulness
of) desire in the mind and abstain from all worldly cravings to
achieve purity of body, I will appear as Brahmà to teach
them the Dharma to liberate them.
.If there are living beings who desire to be lords of
devas to rule over the realms of the gods, I will appear as
Sakra to teach them the Dharma so that they reach their
goals.
.If there are living beings who wish to roam freely in the
ten directions, I will appear as Isvaradeva to teach them the
Dharma to that they reach their goals.
.If there are living beings who wish to fly freely in empty
space, I will appear as Mahesvara to teach them the Dharma
so that they reach their goals.
.If there are living beings who wish to be lords of ghosts
and spirits to protect their countries, I will appear as a great
warrior to teach them the Dharma so that they reach their
goals.
.If there are living beings who wish to rule over the
world to protect all its inhabitants, I will appear as a deva king
of the four quarters to teach them the Dharma so that they
reach their goals.
.If there are living beings who wish to be reborn in the
palace of devas to command ghosts and spirits, I will appear
as a son of the deva king of the four quarters to teach them
the Dharma so that they reach their goals.
.If there are living beings who wish to be kings of
human beings, I will appear as a king to teach them the
Dharma so that they reach their goals..
.If there are living beings who wish to be heads of clans
to enjoy the respects of their clansmen, I will appear as a respectable
elder (gçhapati) to teach them the Dharma so that
they reach their goals.
.If there are living beings who enjoy discussing wellknown
sayings and practise pure living, I will appear as a respectable
scholar to teach them the Dharma so that they
reach their goals.
.If there are living beings who wish to govern cities and
towns, I will appear as a magistrate to teach them the
Dharma so that they reach their goals.
.If there are living beings who delight in practising mysticism
for self-welfare, I will appear as a Brahmin to teach
them the Dharma so that they reach their goals.
.If there are men who are keen on study and learning
and leave home to practise the rules of morality and discipline,
I will appear as a bhikùu to teach them the Dharma so
that they reach their goals.
.If there are women who are eager to study and learn
and leave home to observe the precepts, I will appear as a
bhikùuõã to teach them the Dharma so that they reach their
goals.
.If there are men who observe the five precepts, I will
appear as a upàsaka to teach them the Dharma so that they
reach their goals.
.If there are women who observe the five precepts, I
will appear as a upàsikà to teach them the Dharma so that
they reach their goals.
.If there are women who are keen to fulfil their home
duties thereby setting a good example to other families and
the whole country, I will appear as a queen, a princess or a
noble lady to teach them the Dharma so that they reach their
goals.
.If there are young men who are chaste, I will appear as
a celibate youth to teach them the Dharma so that they reach
their goals.
.If there are young women who are keen to avoid carnality
in order to preserve their virginity, I will appear as a
maiden to teach them the Dharma so that they reach their
goals.
.If there are gods who wish to be freed from bondage
in their realms, I will appear as a deva to teach them the
Dharma so that they reach their goals.
.If there are dragons (nàgas) who wish to be freed from
bondage in their realms, I will appear, as a nàga to teach
them the Dharma so that they reach their goals.
.If there are yakùas who wish to be freed from bondage
in their realms, I will appear as a yakùa to teach them the
Dharma so that they reach their goals.
.If there are gandharvas who wish to be freed from
bondage in their realms, I will appear as a gandharva to teach
them the Dharma so that they reach their goals.
.If there are asuras who wish to be freed from bondage
in their realms, I will appear as an asura to teach them the
Dharma so that they reach their goals.
.If there are garuóas who wish to be freed from bondage
in their realms, I will appear as a garuóa to teach them
the Dharma so that they reach their goals.
.If there are kinnaras who wish to be freed from bondage
in their realms, I will appear as a kinnara to teach them
the Dharma so that they reach their goals.
.If there are mahoragas who wish to be freed from
bondage in their realms, I will appear as a mahoraga to teach
them the Dharma so that they reach their goals.
.If there are living beings who wish to be reborn as
human beings, I will appear in human form to teach them the
Dharma so that they reach their goals.
.If there are non-human beings with or without forms
and either thoughtful or thoughtless, who wish to be freed
from bondage in their realms, I will appear as one of them to
teach them the Dharma so that they reach their goals.
.These are my thirty-two transformation-bodies in
response to (the needs of) all countries in saüsàra,
achieved by means of the uncreated sovereign power of
Samàdhi realized in my practice of sublimating the faculty
of hearing.
.World Honoured One, I also use this uncreated sovereign
power of Diamond Samàdhi, derived from sublimating
hearing, to share with all living beings in the six realms in the
ten directions the same plea for compassion, and to bestow
upon them fourteen kinds of fearlessness which emanate
from my body and mind.
1. .Since I myself do not meditate on sound but on the
meditator, I cause all suffering beings to look into the sound
of their voices in order to obtain liberation.155
2. .By returning (discriminative) intellect to its (absolute)
source, I cause them to avoid being burned when they
find themselves in a great fire.
3. .By returning hearing to its source, I cause them to
avoid drowning when they are adrift on the sea.
4. .By stopping wrong thinking and thereby cleansing
their minds of harmfulness, I lead them to safety when they
wander in the realm of evil ghosts.
5. .By sublimating their (wrong) hearing to restore its
155. This is a very profound meditation which readers should not let pass without careful study if they
wish to know why Avalokite÷vara is so popular in Far Eastern countries where he is the merciful
patron saint. By discarding the sound to look into the meditator himself, that is into the nature of
hearing, he disengages himself from both organs and sense data and thereby realizes his allembracing
Buddha nature which contains all living beings. By developing their pure faith in him
and by calling his name, or concentrating on him, they achieve singleness of mind that mingles with
his Bodhi substance and become one with him; hence their liberation from sufferings which do not
exist in the absolute state.

absolute condition, thereby purifying all six organs and perfecting
their functions, I cause them, when in danger, to be
immune from sharp weapons which become blunt and useless
like water that cannot be cut and daylight that cannot be
blown away, because their (underlying) nature does not
change.
6. .By perfecting the sublimation of their hearing, its
bright light pervades the whole Dharma realm to destroy the
darkness (of ignorance) thereby dazzling evil beings such as
yakùa, rakùa, kuübhàõóa, pisàcã, påtana, etc., who cannot
see them when meeting them.
7. .When hearing is reversed so that sound vanishes
completely, all illusory objects of sense disappear so that
(practisers) are freed from fetters which can no longer restrain
them.
8: .The elimination of sound to perfect hearing results
in universal compassion so that they can pass through
regions infested with robbers and bandits who cannot plunder
them.
9. .The sublimation of hearing disengages them from
the objects of sense and makes them immune from (attractive)
forms, thereby enabling lustful beings to get rid of desires
and cravings.
10. .The sublimation of sound eliminates all sense
data and results in the perfect mingling of each organ with
its objects and the total eradication of subject and object,
thereby enabling all vindictive beings to bury anger and
hate.
11. .After the elimination of sense data and the return to
the bright (Reality), both inner body and mind and outer phenomena
become crystal dear and free from all hindrances, so
that dull and ignorant unbelievers (icchantika) can get rid of
the darkness of ignorance.
12. .When their bodies are in harmony with the nature
of hearing, they can, from their immutable state of enlightenment
(bodhimaõóala), re-enter the world (to liberate others)
without harming the worldly, and can go anywhere to make
offerings to Buddhas countless as dust, serving every Tathà-
gata in the capacity of a son of the King of the Law and
having the power to give male heirs with blessed virtues and
wisdom to childless people who want boys.
13. .The perfecting of the six organs unifies their divided
functions so that they become all-embracing, thus revealing
the Great Mirror (Wisdom) and immaterial Tathàgata
womb compatible with all Dharma doors taught by Buddhas
as uncountable as dust. They can bestow upright, blessed,
gracious, and respect-inspiring girls on childless parents who
want daughters.
14. .In this great chiliocosm which contains a hundred
lacs of suns and moons, there are now Bodhisattvas countless
as sand grains in sixty-two156 Ganges rivers. They practise
the Dharma to set a good example to all living beings by
befriending, teaching and converting them; in their wisdom
their expedient methods differ. Because I used one penetrat-
156. The digit 6 stands for the sixth consciousness, or mad mind, which creates the duality of ego and
dharma, symbolized by the digit 2. The duty of every Bodhisattva is to liberate living beings
deceived by the illusions thus created.
ing organ which led to my realization through the faculty of
hearing, my body and mind embrace the whole Dharmarealm
in which I teach all living beings to concentrate their
minds on calling my name. The merits that follow are the
same as those derived from calling on the names of all these
Bodhisattvas. World Honoured One, my single name does
not differ from those uncountable ones, because of my practice
and training which led to my true enlightenment. These
are the fourteen fearless (powers) which I bestow upon living
beings.
.World Honoured One, because of my Perfect Understanding
which led to my attainment of the Supreme Path, I
acquired four inconceivable absolute virtues.
1. .When I first realized the hearing mind which was
most profound, the Essence of Mind (i.e. the Tathàgata store)
disengaged itself from hearing and could no longer be divided
by seeing, hearing, feeling and knowing, and so became
one pure and clean all-pervading precious Bodhi. This is why
I can take on different wonderful forms and master a countless
number of esoteric mantras. I can appear with one,
three, five, seven, nine, eleven and up to 108, 1,000, 10,000
and 84,000 sovereign (cakra) faces; with two, four, six, eight,
ten, twelve, fourteen, sixteen, eighteen, twenty, twenty-four
and up to 108, 1,000, 10,000 and 84,000 arms making various
gestures (mudràs); and with two, three, four, nine up to
108, 1,000, 10,000 and 84,000 clean and pure precious
eyes, either merciful or wrathful, and in a state either of still
imperturbability (dhyàna-samàdhi) or of absolute wisdom
(praj¤à) to save and protect living beings so that they can
enjoy great freedom.
2. .Because of my meditation by means of the (organ
of) hearing, which resulted in my disengagement from the six
sense data, like a sound going through a wall without hindrance,
I can, with each appearance and with the aid of each
mantra, bestow fearlessness upon (suffering) beings in countries
as countless as dust in the ten directions in which I am
regarded as the Giver of Dauntlessness.
3. .Because of the perfection which I won by sublimating
the appropriate organ, living beings in countries which I
visit (lay down their desires and attachments and) offer their
bodies and treasures to implore my compassion.
4. .As 1 have realized the Buddha mind and attained
Ultimate (Reality) I can make offerings to the Tathàgatas in
ten directions and satisfy living beings in the six worlds who
seek (virtuous) wives, (good) sons, samàdhi, long life and
even parinirvàõa.
.As the Buddha now asks about the best means of perfection,
my method which consists in regulating the organ of
hearing so as to quiet the mind for its entry into the stream of
meditation leading to the state of Samàdhi and attainment of
Enlightenment is the best.
.World Honoured One, that Buddha praised my excellent
method of perfection and gave me, in the presence of
the assembly, the-name of Avalokiteshvara. Because of my
all-embracing (absolute function of) hearing, my name is
known everywhere..
Thereupon, the Buddha, from His lion-seat, sent out
from the five members of His body, rays of light which reached
and shone on the heads of the Tathàgatas and Bodhisattvas
countless as dust in the ten directions. In return countless
Tathàgatas sent back rays of light which shone on the heads of
the Buddha, great Bodhisattvas and Arhats in the assembly,
causing the groves and streams to intone the Dharma and uncountable
rays of light to interlace in precious nets, a spectacle
never seen before. As, a result, all (the Bodhisattvas and
Arhats in the assembly) realized the Diamond Samàdhi. At the
same time showers of green, yellow, red and white lotus blossoms
turned the whole of space into a seven coloured expanse
and caused mountains, rivers and the great earth to disappear
and all the countless other realms to merge into one universe
filled with songs and recitations.157
Thereupon, the Tathàgata said to Ma¤jusrã: .Son of the
Dharma king, these twenty-five Bodhisattvas and Arhats
who no longer need to study and learn, have related the expedient
methods used by them at the start of their practice
for their realization of Bodhi. In reality each of these methods
does not differ from, and is neither superior nor inferior to the
others. Tell me which one of them is suitable to ânanda so
that he can awaken to it and which one is easy of achievement,
for the benefit of living beings who, after my nirvàõa,
wish to practise with the Bodhisattva vehicle in their search
for Supreme Bodhi..
157. This reveals the blissful realm of Avalokiteshvara.s reward-body (sambhogakàya) wherein all
dualities and contraries are replaced by a uniform state of Sublime Majesty.

“If the fearful mind does not come easily, the sincere mind cannot spring forth easily”


Recitation according to the Buddhas’ Intentions

As was said earlier, in those countries which follow Mahayana Buddhism, Pure Land practitioners are in the majority. Not only do many monks and laymen practice Buddha Recitation, even followers of various cults invoke the name of the Lord of the Western Paradise. Nevertheless, though many recite the Buddha’s name, very few truly understand the goal of recitation. Thus, their recitation is not in accordance with the true intention of the Buddhas.

There are those who, visiting Buddhist temples and monasteries and seeing people engaged in Buddhas Recitation, also join in, without a specific goal. This action, while garnering merits and virtues for the future, is not in accordance with the Buddhas’ true intention.

There are those who practice Buddha Recitation seeking escape from danger and calamities as well as health, happiness and tranquillity for their families and ever-growing success in their careers and business dealings. Such goals, although worthy, are not consonant with the Buddhas’ true intention.

There are those who, faced with hardships and the frustration of their wishes, become despondent. They recite Amitabha Buddha’s name, praying that they will be spared such adversity in their present and future lives, that they will be endowed with beauty and honor, and that everything will turn to their advantage and accord with their wishes. Such goals are of course worthy, but they are not consonant with the Buddhas’ true intention.

There are those who realize that life on earth does not bring any lasting happiness; even the noble, rich powerful and influential are beset by worry and suffering. They hope that through the merits and virtues of Buddha Recitation, they will be reborn in the celestial realms, endowed with longevity and leisure, joy and freedom. Such a goal, although worthy, is not consonant with the Buddhas’ true intention. There are those who, having committed many transgressions, think that they cannot easily be saved in this life. They therefore recite the Buddha’s name, praying that in their next life they will be reborn as a male, leave home to be a high-ranking monk, and become awakened to the Way. Such a goal, while exemplary, is still lacking in wisdom and faith, and is not consonant with the Buddhas’ true intention.

What, then, is the true intention of the Buddhas?

Buddha Sakyamuni clearly recognized that all conditioned dharmas are impermanent, and that all sentient beings have always possessed in full the virtues and wisdom of the Tathagatas (Buddhas). However, because of delusion about their Original Nature, they create evil karma and afflictions and revolve forever in the cycle of Birth and Death. Even if they were to be reborn in the Heavens, once their merits were exhausted, they would descend into the lower realms. For this reason, the real intention of Sakyamuni Buddha is that through the Pure Land method, sentient beings may realize an early escape from the sufferings of Birth and Death.

Throughout countless eons, all Buddhas have accumulated merits and wisdom. Anyone who recites their names will engender immeasurable virtues. Moreover, Buddha Amitabha has made this Vow: Any sentient being who singlemindedly recites His name and seeks rebirth in His Land will, at the final moment, be welcomed and guided to the Pure land, and attain non-retrogression.[7]To exchange the immeasurable virtues accumulated through Buddha Recitation for the small merits and blessings of the realm of gods and men — forfeiting liberation and rebirth in the Pure Land — would be no different from an innocent child bartering an invaluable diamond for a piece of candy. That would be a great waste indeed!

Moreover, the power of Amitabha Buddha’s Vows is so immense that no matter how heavy our karma may be, by reciting His name in all earnestness, we can, in this very lifetime, achieve rebirth in the Pure Land. To seek rebirth, for instance, as an enlightened, high-ranking monk is to lack wisdom and faith. It cannot ensure rebirth in the Pure Land in this very life or attainment of Bodhisattvahood at the stage of non-retrogression. Therefore, the real intention of the Buddhas is for sentient beings to practice Pure Land so that they can be liberated from Birth and Death — and this liberation is to be achieved in one lifetime.

But why do we need to escape the cycle of Birth and Death? It is because, in the wasteland of Birth and Death, we truly undergo immense pain and suffering. If students of Buddhism do not sincerely meditate on this truth of suffering, they cannot achieve results despite all their scholarship, as they do not experience fear and seek liberation. The sutras say:

If the fearful mind does not come easily, the sincere mind cannot spring forth easily.

This is the reason why Sakyamuni Buddha, when preaching the Four Noble Truths to the five monks led by Kaundinya, taught them first the Truth of Suffering. According to this truth, if we meditate on the suffering of the human condition, we will have a clearer idea as to why we must swiftly escape the cycle of Birth and Death.

From the book:

Buddhism of Wisdom & Faith: Pure Land Principles and Practice

Dharma Master Thich Thien Tam
Translated and edited by the Van Hien Study Group
Sutra Translation Committee of the United States and Canada  

Pure Land Links English and Chinese


Larger Amitābha Sutra (English)

Translation by Hisao Inagaki:

http://buddhistfaith.tripod.com/purelandscriptures/id2.html

Translation by F. Max Mueller:

http://web.mit.edu/~stclair/www/larger.html

Shorter Amitābha Sutra (English)

Translation from Chinese into English by J.C. Cleary

http://www.buddhistische-gesellschaft-berlin.de/downloads/amidabhasutra.pdf

The Sutra on the Visualization of the Buddha of Infinite Lifespan (English)

Translation by J. Takakusu; edited by Richard St. Clair:

http://web.mit.edu/stclair/www/meditationsutra.html

Translation by Charles Patton:

http://www2.fodian.net/old/English/comtemplationT0365-e.pdf

Translation by Hisao Inagaki:

http://www.fodian.net/English/Contemplation_Sutra.htm

Larger Amitābha Sutra (Chinese)

佛說大乘無量壽莊嚴清淨平等覺經會集本,民國夏蓮居居士會集

http://zh.wikisource.org/wiki/%E7%84%A1%E9%87%8F%E5%A3%BD%E7%B6%93

Shorter Amitābha Sutra (Chinese)

佛說阿彌陀經,姚秦三藏鳩摩羅什譯

http://zh.wikisource.org/wiki/%E9%98%BF%E5%BD%8C%E9%99%80%E7%B6%93

The Sutra on the Visualization of the Buddha of Infinite Lifespan (Chinese)

佛說觀無量壽佛經,宋西域三藏畺良耶舍譯

http://zh.wikisource.org/wiki/%E8%A7%80%E7%84%A1%E9%87%8F%E5%A3%BD%E4%BD%9B%E7%B6%93

http://book.bfnn.org/books/0031.htm

Selected Mahayana Buddhist Sutras (in both Chinese and English)

佛教經典

http://www4.bayarea.net/~mtlee/

Shurangama Sutra (Chinese and English)

楞嚴經 – 大佛頂首楞嚴經 – 大勢至菩薩念佛圓通章

– 唐天竺沙門般剌密帝譯 – 

Complete Shurangama Sutra in Chinese On-line (大佛頂首楞嚴經)

http://www.ucchusma.idv.tw/vajra/f1.htm#a01

Full English Text (Text only)

English translation by Dharma Realm Buddhist Association:

http://www.cttbusa.org/shurangama/shurangama_contents.asp

English translation by Charles Luk (mantra omitted):

http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/surangama.pdf

Full English Text with translated English Commentaries by Master Hsuan Hua:

http://online.sfsu.edu/~rone/Buddhism/Shurangama/Shurangama.htm

Liao-Fan’s Four Lessons for Changing Destiny (English)

By Liao-Fan Yuan

Liao-Fan Yuan originally wrote Liao-Fan’s Four Lessons in the sixteenth century in China. The book was intended to teach his son, Tian-Chi Yuan, how to recognize the true face of destiny, tell good from bad, correct one’s faults and practice kind deeds. It also provided living proof of the rewards and outcomes of people who practiced kind deeds and cultivated virtue and humility. Relating from his own experience at changing destiny, Mr. Yuan himself was a living embodiment of his teachings.

http://www.buddhistelibrary.org/library/view.php?adpath=46

http://www.amtb-m.org.my/english/aboutbudd/liaofan/original.htm

Pureland Learning College (Chinese)

澳洲净宗学院

Online talks and archives/collection of Master Chin Kung’s sharing
on Pureland Buddhism (Chinese)

http://new.amtb-aus.org/

24-Hr Telecast of Teachings on Buddhism and Confucianism (Chinese)

儒释道网路电视台

http://www.amtb.tw/tvchannel/play-1-revised.htm

Amitabha Pureland (English)

Introduction to Pureland Buddhism & Daily Quotes

http://www.amtbweb.org/tchem001.htm
http://www.amtbweb.org/tchquote.php

Animation Videos: Legend of Buddha Amitābha (English version)

on Google videos:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6701505242574583381

on YouTube Videos (4 Parts)

Part 1:

(Part 2-4, please click the “Video Responses” by YouTube member “terrycomic”)

10 Doubts about Pureland (English version)

http://www.purelandbuddhism.com/10Doubts.pdf

Pure Land, Pure Mind (English) 

by Master Chu-Hung
Translated by J.C. Cleary
Edited by Van Hien Study Group

http://www.geocities.com/amitabha48vows/chuhung1.htm

Buddhism of Wisdom & Faith (English)
Pure Land Principles and Practice

by Dharma Master Thich Thien Tam
Translated and edited by the Van Hien Study Group
Sutra Translation Committee of the United States and Canada

http://www.ymba.org/BWF/bwf0.htm

Mind-Seal of the Buddha (English)
Patriarch Ou-i’s Commentary on the Amitabha Sutra

Translated by J.C. Cleary
Foreword, Notes and Glossary by Van Hien Study Group

http://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/Clubs/buddhism/mindseal/content.html

www.sinc.sunysb.edu

Pure Land of the Patriarchs – (English)
Excerpts From Master Han-Shan Te-Ch’ing’s Dream Roamings

Translated by Dharma Master Lok To

http://www.ymba.org/pdf/HanShanPDF.pdf

Basic Concepts in Buddhism (English)

(karma, death and rebirth, etc.)

http://www.viewonbuddhism.org/

Five Sūtras of the Pure Land School (淨土五經) include (English)

(1) the Sūtra of Amitābha Buddha (Text 366),
(2) the Sūtra of Infinite Life Buddha (Text 360),
(3) the Sūtra of Visualization of Infinite Life Buddha (Text 365),
(4) the Actions and Vows of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva (Fascicle 40 of the 40-fascicle Mahāvaipulya Sūtra of Buddha Adornment (Text 293),
(5) Great Might Arrived Bodhisattva’s Thinking-of-Buddhas as the Perfect Passage (a subsection in the Śūraṅgama Sūtra (Text 945).

http://www.sutrasmantras.info/sutra0.html

* * *

佛典妙供首頁

http://www.sutrapearls.org/

菩提树下 – 情回中国

http://club.backchina.com/main/forumdisplay.php?fid=29

國外空間總列表

http://www.buddhist.idv.tw/J02.htm

一 花 一 世 界 一 佛 一 如 来 – 卍 红太阳 卍

http://blog.163.com/jxfy/

一心念佛(净土 佛号 圣号 佛七)mp3下载

http://www.goodweb.cn/music4.htm

求佛,佛歌大全,佛教网站,

http://namofo.cn/

佛教日历

http://foli.goodweb.cn/

佛說無量壽經親聞記(上)

http://book.bfnn.org/books2/1192.htm

佛說無量壽經親聞記(下)

http://book.bfnn.org/books2/1193.htm

* * *

Some Pure Land videos and links:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6701505242574583381

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESp5Mt7pidQ&feature=channel
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESp5Mt7pidQ&feature=channel

http://purelandlotus.blogspot.com/
http://buddhistfaith.tripod.com/purelandscriptures/id2.html
http://web.mit.edu/~stclair/www/larger.html
http://www.buddhistische-gesellschaft-berlin.de/downloads/amidabhasutra.pdf
http://www.geocities.com/amitabha48vows/bwf0.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amit%C4%81bha
http://www4.bayarea.net/~mtlee/
http://www.amtb-aus.org/
http://www.amtb-m.org.my/
http://www.amtb.cn/
http://www.amtb.org.tw/
http://www.fa-in.org/film/jk/
http://www.dba-newsletter.org/index.htm
http://buddhaamitabha.blogspot.com/

Source : “Like”on Facebook “Buddha Amitabha ( Amitayus / Amituofo / 阿彌陀佛 ) & Western Paradise Pure Land”

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.

SHARPENING MANJUSHRI’S SWORD The Jhanas in Theravadan Buddhist Meditation by Leigh Brasington


SHARPENING MANJUSHRI’S SWORD The Jhanas in Theravadan Buddhist Meditation by Leigh Brasington

All of us are familiar with the eightfold path — the Buddha’s prescription for attaining enlightenment. We have some idea what is meant by right speech, right action, right livelihood and so forth. And we know that these are very important. However, the one step in the path that is often short-changed is the eighth step: “Right Concentration.” This paper will seek to explain what right concentration is, how to practice it, and the role it plays in the road to enlightenment. Right Concentration, (Samma Samadhi) is explicitly defined in the Mahasatipatthana Sutta (Digha Nikaya #22) and in other suttas (for example, Saccavibhanga Sutta – Majjhima Nikaya #141 andMagga-vibhanga Sutta Samyutta Nikaya XLV.8) as Jhanic meditation: And what, monks, is right concentration? There is the case where a monk — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful (mental) qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & happiness born of seclusion, accompanied byinitial & sustained attention [to the object of meditation]. With the stilling of initial & sustained attention, he enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & happiness born of concentration, unification of awareness free from initial attention & sustained attention — internal tranquility. With the fading of rapture, he remains in equanimity, mindful & clearly aware, and physically sensitive of pleasure. He enters & remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, ‘Equanimous& mindful, he has a pleasurable abiding.’ With the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — he enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. This, monks, is called right concentration. Thus the Jhanas are at the very heart of the Buddha’s teaching as presented in these suttas. [You can see the corresponding Pali in the above quote by placing your mouse cursor on an English word and waiting a second.] Before he became the Buddha, at the beginning of his spiritual quest, Siddhattha Gotma studied with two teachers. The first teacher taught him the seventh Jhanas (and we assume the first 6 as well); the other teacher taught him the eighth Jhana. Both teachers told him they had taught him all there was to learn. But Siddhattha still didn’t know what to do about dukkha (unsatisfactoriness, suffering), so he left each of these teachers and wound up doing six years of austerity practices. Those too did not provide the answer to his question and he abandoned those for what has come to be known as the Middle Way. The suttas indicate that on the night of his enlightenment, he sat down under the Bohdi Tree and began his meditation by practicing the Jhanas (e.g. see the Mahasaccaka Sutta – Majjhima Nikaya #36). When his mind was “concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of imperfection, malleable, wieldy, steady and attained to imperturbability” he direct it to the “true knowledges” that gave rise to his breakthru in consciousness that we call Enlightenment. So we see that the Jhanas are not only at the heart of his teaching, but also were at the heart of his own practice. WHAT THEY ARE The Pali word Jhana is best translated as “meditative absorption state.” It is the same as the Sanskrit Dhyana, which derives from Dhayati, meaning to think or meditate. You know what an “absorption state” is — it’s when you get so involved in a TV show or video game or mystery novel that you are surprised when the phone rings and brings you back to reality. The Jhanas are eight altered states of consciousness which can arise during periods of strong concentration. The Jhanas are naturally occurring states of mind, but learning how to enter them at will and how to stay in them takes practice.

HOW TO ENTER THE JHANAS

There is very little actual instruction on how to “do” Jhana practice in the suttas. One probable reason for this is that the Jhanas were a well-known practice among serious spiritual seekers 2500 years ago. Just like today, when giving someone directions to your house, you don’t include information on how to start the car, shift gears, etc., so it wasn’t considered necessary to explain how to enter the Jhanas. Another probable reason is that the Jhanas are best learned in a one-on-one setting with a teacher — they do not lend themselves to what we call today “book learning.” Let us examine each Jhana and how one goes about “doing” them. Access Concentration You must have a certain amount of concentration for the first Jhana to arise. This is called access concentration. Access concentration has sila (morality) as a prerequisite. The description of the first Jhana starts “Secluded from sensuality, secluded from unwholesome states of mind…”. If you are not leading a morally upright life, you cannot expect to sit down on a little pillow and find yourself “secluded from sensuality, secluded from unwholesome states of mind.” If there is not sufficient sila, there is too much to desire, too much to hate or fear, too much to worry about, etc. We can also deduce that access concentration requires that you be in a physical posture that is both comfortable and alert; otherwise, you will be in a painful posture which will lead to aversion, or you will be too sleepy to meditate. Access concentration can be induced in a number of different ways. There are some forty different methods of meditation mentioned in the suttas, and about thirty of these are suitable for gaining entry to the first Jhana. As described in the suttas, the first Jhana has four factors, and the first two are Vittaka and Vichara. These two words often get translated as something like “thinking and pondering.” They do have these meanings in some contexts, but not in the context of the Jhanas. Here they are best translated as “initial and sustained attention to the object of meditation.” You keep putting your attention on the meditation object until you are concentrated enough that you can effortlessly leave it on the meditation object. For example, if you have chosen Anapanasati (mindfulness of breathing) as the meditation method, you keep bringing your attention to the breath until you can keep your attention on the breath. How do you know access concentration has been established? The mind is fully with the object of meditation and, if there are any thoughts, they are wispy and in the background; they do not draw you away from the meditation object. There may also be other signs — which vary for each method. For mindfulness of breathing, the breath becomes very fine, almost undetectable when you have established access concentration.

First Jhana

Once access concentration has been established, you now induce the next factor of the first Jhana. This third factor is called piti and is variously translated as delight, euphoria, rapture and ecstasy. By shifting your attention from the meditation object to a pleasant sensation, particularly a pleasant physical sensation, and doing nothing more than not becoming distracted from the pleasant sensation, you will “automatically” enter the first Jhana. The experience is that the pleasant sensation grows in intensity until it explodes into an unmistakable state of ecstasy. This is piti, which is primarily a physical experience. Physical pleasure this intense is accompanied by emotional pleasure, and this emotional pleasure is sukha (joy, happiness), which is the fourth factor of the first Jhana. The commentaries add a fifth factor to the first Jhana — ekaggata (one-pointedness of mind). Although this factor is occasionally mentioned in the suttas, it only appears in what are considered “late” or “conglomerate” suttas. The understanding of what constitutes the first jhana has definitely undergone an evolution since the days the Buddha walked the earth. The early suttas clearly state that “unification of mind” arrives with the second jhana — leaving the first jhana as a less stable, less absorbed state than is found in the later commentaries. As far as I have been able to determine, based on my own experience, the entry into the first Jhana from a physiological perspective proceeds something like this: 1. You quiet your mind with the initial and sustained attention to the meditation object. I suspect that brain wave activity shows a noticeable decrease during access concentration. 2. By shifting your attention to a pleasant sensation, you set up a positive reinforcement feedback loop within your quiet mind. For example, one of the most useful pleasant sensations to focus on is a smile. The act of smiling generates endorphins, which make you feel good, which makes you smile more, which generates more endorphins, etc. 3. The final and most difficult part of entering the first Jhana is to not do anything but observe the pleasure. Any attempt to increase the pleasure, even any thoughts of wanting to increase the pleasure, interrupt the feedback loop and drop you into a less quiet state of mind. But by doing nothing but focusing intently on the pleasure, you are propelled into an unmistakably altered state of consciousness. For more detailed discussion of entering the first jhana, see my paper Instruction for Entering Jhana.

Second Jhana

The second Jhana also has four factors. The initial (vitakka) and sustained attention (vicara) to the meditation object cease and are replaced by unification of mind (ekodi-bhavam) and inner tranquility (ajjhattam sampasadanam). The rapture (piti) and happiness (sukha) remain but are now more mature and calmer that what is found in the first jhana. They are said to now be born of concentration (from the first jhana) rather than born of seclusion (from the access concentration). You shift from the first to the second Jhana by shifting your attention from the physical pleasure to the emotional pleasure — from the piti to the sukha. This has the effect of pushing the physical pleasure into the background and also of greatly calming the mind. The first Jhana is a very intense, agitated state; the second Jhana is much more soothing. The emotional state of joy and happiness (sukha) is now in the foreground. The commentaries speak of three factors for the second Jhana: piti, sukha and ekaggata (the one-pointedness of mind). It is true that the suttas mention piti, sukha and ekodi-bhavam (unification of mind – not ekaggata), but they also mention the arising of ajjhattam sampasadanam (the inner tranquility). These latter two replace the immature vitakka and vicara of the first Jhana generating a calmer, more stable second Jhana.

Third Jhana

The descriptions of the third Jhana mention a number of factors: equanimity, mindfulness, clear awareness, and pleasure. The piti fades away upon entry to the third Jhana; the sukha remains as pleasure, although the experience is more one of contentment than pleasure. The unification of mind and inner tranquility evolve into clear awareness and equanimity & mindfulness. You shift from the second to the third by entirely letting go of the physical pleasure and changing the emotional pleasure from joy to contentment, almost like turning down the volume control on your emotional pleasure. The second Jhana has an upwelling quality to it as the joy seems to flow through you; the third Jhana is much more of a motionless, quiet contentment. The commentaries mention only two factors for the third jhana: sukha and ekaggata. Apparently, equanimity and pleasure are subsumed into the sukha, and mindfulness and clear awareness make up theekaggata. It seems a stretch to me.

Fourth Jhana

The transition to the fourth Jhana from the third takes a bit more effort and bit more letting go than any of the previous transitions. The contentment of the third Jhana is still a positive state of mind. This contentment is refined into a neutral equanimous, quiet, stillness. There is no positive or negative feeling in either mind or body. There is just an all-pervading, deep calmness, with of course, the unified awareness. The commentaries speak of two factors for the fourth Jhana: equanimity and one-pointedness. This is accurate — the experience is of a deep, neutral calmness (which can certainly be called equanimity) by an unwavering mind. The agitation of the first Jhana has been refined first into a mind unified on happiness, then on still contentment and finally on neutral calmness. The first four Jhanas are called the fine-material Jhanas. Intense pleasure, joy, contentment and stillness are all states we are familiar with in our normal, everyday lives. But the quality and intensity of these factors as experienced in the Jhanas is more sublime than we normally experience, thus they are called the fine-material Jhanas. follow link for the next four http://www.leighb.com/jhana2a.htm

CONCLUSION

The effects of this multi-millennium old debate still affect us today, not only in not knowing what the original suttas looked like, but also in understanding the role of the Jhanas. The Jhanas are sometimes considered a dangerous practice because they are not an insight practice. The primary factor of the first Jhana is piti, and piti is mentioned as a corruption of insight in the commentaries (see, for example, the Visuddhimagga). This has been taken to mean that piti is bad, when all that is meant is that piti should not be mistaken for a non-mundane state. Theravadan Buddhism in the West has primarily come down from the Mahasi Sayadaw tradition in Burma and this tradition is a “dry insight” (non-Jhanic) tradition. Thus the Jhanas are seldom mentioned, let alone taught, in Western Theravadan Buddhist teaching. The Jhanas are also difficult to teach. Not everyone has a temperament suited to concentration practice. Even for those who find concentration easy, the Jhanas require a long silent retreat setting for learning. Far from being “secluded from unwholesome states of mind,” people who wish to learn the Jhanas are immediately thrust INTO the state of desiring something. Finally, as mentioned above, the Jhanas do not lend themselves to “book learning”; you really need one-on-one, immediate feedback from a teacher in order to aim your mind in the correct direction. The Jhanas are natural states on mind, but the lives we lead here in the 21st century are so filled that it is difficult to find the quiet, natural mind. The Jhanas are states of concentration. How to do them was common knowledge at the time of the Buddha. He practiced them, and it is clear from the suttas that they comprise right concentration. We are left with the task of fitting the Jhanas into our present spiritual practices. Perhaps between the extremes of ignoring them completely and practicing them to excess, lies the middle way of using them as a tool to sharpen the mind for insight practice.

Buddhist Nun Arrested After Handing Out Prayer Beads on Canal Street | Tricycle


Buddhist Nun Arrested After Handing Out Prayer Beads on Canal Street | Tricycle.

‎”Li was issued a desk appearance ticket and ordered to appear in Midtown Community Court on July 7. If convicted, she could face up to three months in jail and a $3,000 fine.
Her attorney, Robert Brown, said he agreed to take Li’s case pro bono after hearing her story.”

Update:
“I am told that the temple Baojing Li is raising money for is the Pu Xian Temple. If you would like to support Baojing Li’s work and make a donation, checks payable to the Atlanta Pu Xian Buddhist Association, Inc, can be sent to 3140 Shallowford Pl, Atlanta, GA 30341. Their phone number is 678-436-3607.”-Tricycle

Update 2:
“I am also told her name isn’t Baojing Li! Her name is Venerable Hong Yuan.”-Tricycle

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Only One Heart -Master Hsu Yun


Only One Heart -Master Hsu Yun

Gaze into the Emptiness, the illusory changings of this world.
Enter the Emptiness. Others have. It’s not so hard.
Is there any place that’s unreachable when you make the effort?
Don’t be left behind because you’ve confused yourself over this.

Here! Let me rap you on the head with my stick!
Shut up, foolish face! Stop talking a minute!
Don’t be so quick to argue!
The mystery is so exquisite! It can’t be discussed!

Yes, I recite the Buddha’s name… or is the Buddha reciting mine?
What’s the recitation for anyway?
There’s only One Heart and It’s in the Pure Land.
The Buddha is my own True Nature.

The Buddha and me! We’re one, not two. So are you!
You’re chanting to this? You are this!
Come, hold on to this reality! Don’t be swept away into illusion.
History is an endless lie.

Let today be the day that the clouds and fog lift.
Don’t let a wisp of them remain.
Let your body live here, but keep your spirit evanescent.
See that when it’s free,
It can’t be bogged down into those old familiar ruts

The King of Prayers


The King of Prayers


O lions amongst men,

Buddhas past, present, and future,

To as many of you as exist in the ten directions

I bow down with my body, speech, and mind.

 

On waves of strength of this king

Of prayers for exalted sublime ways,

With bodies as numerous as atoms of the world

I bow down to the buddhas pervading space.

 

On every atom is found a buddha

Sitting amongst countless buddha sons,

I look with eyes of faith to the victorious ones

Thus filling the entire dharmadhatu.

 

Of these with endless oceans of excellence

Endowed with an ocean of wondrous speech

I sing praises of the greatness of all buddhas,

A eulogy to those gone to bliss.

 

Garlands of flowers I offer them,

And beautiful sounds, supreme perfumes,

Butter lamps and sacred incense,

I offer to all the victorious ones.

 

Excellent food, supreme fragrances,

And a mound of mystic substances high as Mount Meru

I arrange in a special formation

And offer to those who have conquered themselves.

 

And all peerless offerings I hold up

In admiration of those gone to bliss;

With the strength of faith in sublime ways

I prostrate and make offerings to the conquerors.

 

Long overpowered by attachment, aversion, and ignorance

Countless evils I have committed

With acts of body, speech, and mind.

Each and every one of these I now confess.

 

In the perfections of the buddhas and bodhisattvas,

The arhats, training and beyond,

And in the latent goodness of every living being,

I lift up my heart and rejoice.

 

O lights into the ten directions,

Buddhas who have found the passionless stage of enlightenment,

To all of you I direct this request:

Turn the incomparable wheel of Dharma.

 

O masters wishing to show parinirvana,

Stay with us and teach, I pray,

For as many eons as there are specks of dust,

In order to bring goodness and joy to all beings.

 

May any small merits that I may have amassed

By thus prostrating, making offerings, confessing, rejoicing,

And asking the buddhas to remain and teach the Dharma,

Be dedicated now to supreme and perfect enlightenment.

 

May my offerings be received by all past buddhas

And by all those now abiding in the ten directions,

And may all the buddhas who have not yet come

Quickly perfect their minds and reach buddhahood, the state of supreme full awakening.

 

May all the buddha-realms of the ten directions

Remain forever vast and completely pure,

May the world be completely filled with buddhas who have attained illumination under sacred trees,

And may they all be surrounded by bodhisattvas.

 

May all living beings in the ten directions

Always abide in health and joy.

May they live in accord with the way of Dharma

And may their every wish become fulfilled.

 

By my living in the ways of enlightenment

May I remember my past lives in all my reincarnations,

And in all cycles of death, migration, and rebirth

May a sensitivity for truth be ever strong in me.

 

By my following in the footsteps of the buddhas

May I utterly perfect the sublime ways of the bodhisattvas,

And may I practice the faultless, undegenerating, stainless,

And pure ways of self-control.

 

May I master all languages that exist, including those of

The gods, yakshas, spirits, and varieties of men,

As well as all forms of communication of living beings,

That I may be able to show the Dharma in every way.

 

Striving thus and in the transcending perfections

May I never forget the bodhi mind,

And may I totally cleanse from within my mindstream

All negativities and mental veils.

 

May I gain freedom from karma, delusion, and karmic maras

To be able to live in the world unaffected by its stains

Like an unstained lotus grows in the mud,

And like the sun and moon shine without obstruction in the sky.

 

For as long as there are buddha-fields and directions

May I strive to quell the misery of the lower realms,

May I place all beings only in happiness

And bring them all only happiness and joy.

 

May I strive to complete the ways of enlightenment

And to abide in ways harmonious with the world;

May I expose to others the ways most sublime

And myself abide in them throughout all future eons.

 

May my ways and the ways of a bodhisattva

Always go together hand in hand.

In body, speech, and mind

May I attune to their sublime ways.

 

May I never be separated from the good friends

Who reveal the path of the sublime ways

And who wish only to benefit me;

May I never disappoint them for even a moment.

 

May I constantly envision the perfect buddhas,

The protectors who are surrounded by bodhisattvas,

And in the future may I never weary

Of devoting myself to them with all my strength.

 

May I forever uphold the holy Dharma of the buddhas

And illumine the sublime way of enlightenment;

May I practice throughout all future ages

The ways of deeds of the sublime path.

 

Circling in the various realms of existence

May I amass inexhaustible goodness and wisdom,

And may I become an unending treasure of qualities

Such as methods, wisdom, samadhi, and the experience of a bodhisattva.

 

In every atom are buddha-fields numberless as atoms,

Each field is filled with buddhas beyond conception,

And each buddha is surrounded by myriad bodhisattvas:

To all these dwellers in sublime ways I turn my attention.

 

Thus, in all atoms within the directions

Abide within the space of a single hair

An ocean of buddhas within an ocean of buddha-fields

Performing enlightened activities for an ocean of eons.

 

Each buddha with his perfect speech releases

An ocean of sounds with every word he says

To satisfy the infinitely diverse tendencies of beings:

Thus does the speech of a buddha constantly flow.

 

All these conquerors past, present, and future

Continually turn the methods of Dharma wheels;

With all the powers of my mind I listen

For the inexhaustible sound of their words.

 

All future eons that could possibly be,

Manifest within me in a single instant;

And I myself in a fraction of a moment

Enter into all these eons of the three times.

 

All past, present, and future lions among men

I envision with the instantaneous wisdom

And by the power of the bodhisattvas’ examples

I focus upon the objects of their experience.

 

I manifest buddha-fields past, present, and future

Upon one single atom of existence,

And then I transform every single atom

Of existence into a buddha-field.

 

By this, when the future lights of the worlds

Eventually gain bodhi, turn the Dharma wheels,

And reveal the passing to nirvana’s supreme peace,

May I take rebirth in their very presence.

 

Then may I attain the ten powers:

The power of instant magical emanation,

The power which is a vehicle with every door,

The power of excellent activity,

The power of all-pervading love,

The power of constantly positive energy,

The power of passionless wisdom,

The powers of knowledge, method, and samadhi,

And the power of enlightenment itself.

 

May I purify the power of karma,

May I crush the powers of delusion,

May I render powerless the powerful maras,

And may I perfect the powers of sublime ways.

 

May I purify an ocean of realms,

May I liberate an ocean of sentient beings,

May I see an ocean of truths,

And may I realize an ocean of wisdom.

 

May I perform an ocean of perfect deeds,

May I perfect an ocean of prayers,

May I revere an ocean of buddhas,

And may I practice untiringly for an ocean of eons.

 

Through my practice of the sublime bodhisattva ways

May I gain the enlightenment of buddhahood

And then fulfill the enlightened and sublime aspiration

Of the buddhas past, present, and future.

 

In order to match the ways of the sage

Called Samantabhadra, the always-sublime one,

Chief amongst the awakened ones’ sons,

I now dedicate all virtues that I possess.

 

Just as the sublime sage Samantabhadra

Dedicated all pure practices of body, speech, and mind

To the attainment of a pure state and pure realms,

So do I now dedicate the fruit of all my efforts.

 

In order to engage in all sublime virtues

I offer the prayer of Manjushri;

In the future may I never become faint

In striving to perfect the exalted bodhisattvas’ way.

 

May my deeds never reach a limit,

May my qualities of excellence become boundless,

And by abiding in immeasurable activity

May I find buddhahood, the state of limitless manifestation.

 

Limitless is the extent of space,

Limitless is the number of sentient beings,

And limitless is the karma and delusions of beings

Such are the limits of my aspirations.

 

One may offer supreme ornaments of the buddha-fields

Of the ten directions to the conquerors,

And also offer the highest joys of men and gods

For eons numerous as atoms of the world.

 

But to read or hear the King of Prayers

With eyes looking toward supreme illumination

And faith shining in one’s heart for even an instant

Gives birth to a far more superior merit.

 

Should anyone recite this aspiration of sublime ways

They will pass beyond all states of sorrow,

Rise above all inferior beings, and gain

A vision of Amitabha, Buddha of Infinite Light.

 

Even in this very lifetime

All sublime joys will be theirs;

The experiences of the all-sublime Samantabhadra,

Without obstructions, will quickly be theirs.

 

Merely by giving voice to these aspirations

Of the sublime ways of a bodhisattva,

The effects can only be known by an omniscient buddha.

Therefore, doubt not that it leads to enlightenment.

 

In order to follow the excellent examples set

By the wisdom of the bodhisattva Manjushri

And the always-sublime Samantabhadra,

All virtues I dedicate to their peerless ideals.

 

All conquerors passed into the three times

Have praised as supreme this peerless dedication.

Therefore, I also surrender all roots of my activities

To the sublime goals of a bodhisattva.

 

When the moment of my death arrives,

May I remain free from the spiritual obscurations;

May I perceive the face of Amitabha

And transmigrate to Sukhavati, the pure land of joy.

 

Having arrived there, may I fulfill

All aims of this prayer of aspirations

And benefit the countless living beings

Residing throughout the ten directions.

 

In the joyous mandala of Amitabha Buddha

May I be reborn from a beautiful lotus,

And may I there have the pleasure of gaining

A pure prophecy from Amitabha himself.

 

Having won this word of prophecy,

By the power of mind may I fill all directions

With many millions of mystical emanations

And bring limitless benefits to the world.

 

If by reciting this prayer of the sublime ways

I have amassed a tiny fragment of goodness,

May it work immediately to fulfill

All Dharmic hopes of living beings.

 

 

Colophon: This is the complete Great King of Prayers, The Prayer of Ways Sublime.

Translated by Glenn H. Mullin with Thepo Tulku.

Medicine Buddha and Healing Prayer


I LIVE IN THIS WORLD

by Jason Espada

I live in this world
of joy, and sorrow
of comfort and ease,
and of struggle, and pain
of friendship, and community
and of loneliness and isolation
I live in this world of riches and poverty
of abundance and hunger
I live in this world where there is health
and illness
Where some people can only try to care for themselves,
while others are at the point where more and more they have thinking about
and caring for others as the aim of their life
Whatever sources of blessings there are in this world,
O, bless them all
There are people serving others in this world –
there are people taking joy in that
I live in this world
where many are in need of a protector,
where many are in need of an advocate
where many people do not have even a basic education
Today, in this world, there are many who are kept back from doing good
things because of some illness
Today there are many who are broken-hearted
Today there are many who have been hurt in relationships
There are many who have bad memories
There are many who have had their families broken
There are many who are grieving
Every day in this world there are people experiencing pain:
children, teenagers, adults, the middle-aged, the elderly;
those who are alone, those with problems of the mind
I live in this world where many people suffer from depression,
where many people are blocked by depression
I live in this world where many people don’t love themselves,
they don’t cherish their lives,
where people hate themselves,
and where people despair,
even to the point of wanting to end their own lives…
I live in this world where many people are in need of some form of human
contact,
I live in this world where many people are experiencing
the absence of love
and we can do something
I live in this world where many people use drugs,
or drink, or food, or sex, to self-medicate, to escape
where many are without peace,
without control, without any freedom of mind
The root of all these sufferings is self-grasping ignorance
and the afflictive emotions
Right now, there are people being trapped by their addictions, overwhelmed
by their delusions, lost
I live in this world where some people are in danger of falling,
where some are in danger of slipping – and the result can be severe for
them…
There are many people in need of strength,
light, and peace,
wisdom,
purity, ethics
transformation, release
I live in this world where we have all done wrong,
some worse than others
some, terrible things
out of ignorance, affliction,
or fear, desperation, despair;
out of weakness and limitation –
not seeing any other way
not being able to reach any other
I live in this world where people suffer because of regret
I live in this world where people experience misfortune, accidents…
I live in this world where many people are lonely, or numb,
self-absorbed, superficial, or greedy, distracted, afraid, or sad,
where there are those who are feeling ugly, or feeling hopeless
or who are caught in self-pity
I live in this world where selves arise again and again that are fragmented,
isolated
Where many people are experiencing stress
I live in this world where most people
are without any sense at all of the sacred dimension in life
I live in this world where the deluded the band together
and increase ignorance and suffering
I live in this world where, even though there are those with the motivation to
learn
many people are misled by false teachers,
themselves ignorant
In these times, especially,
wrong views are supported, in hundreds of ways,
and wisdom is not;
greed is encouraged, and non-attachment and generosity is not
aggression is supported, and peace,
sanity, respect, kindness, and being helpful is not
I live in this world where there are many people’s
experience is only that of a lower-realm being
(the hell realm, the hungry ghost realm, the animal realm)
I live in this world where there are people who don’t experience even a
moment of peace;
where there are those who don’t have any joy in their lives at all,
who don’t have any happiness,
not even a little bit
Every day in this world there are people with no perspective on their life,
coarse, dissatisfied, lacking in gratitude, indulgent
I live in this world where people don’t think about death
or haven’t integrated the truth of impermanence
Every day there are people wasting time, not seeing what they have, not
taking advantage of all the opportunities they have while
they still can
I live in this world where he vast majority of people are completely without
any Dharma
(Dharma: Buddhist teaching, or religious teaching; the result of Buddhist
practice or religious practice; and true medicine for the ills of the world)
I live in this world where few people have received instructions in
meditation, and, of these few, most are still unclear about the essential points
I live in this world, where, though we may do some good,
though we may improve our lives,
those who have listened to essential teachings, and understood,
many times don’t practice
and, of those who do practice, often they are not able
to overcome the obstacles to meditation,
and practice in a way that they progress…
I live in this world where even those people who have received, and
practiced, and accomplished a great deal of Dharma still suffer
they still fall into experiences that are like the lower realms
and I live in this world where some of the people who have become stable in
realization don’t share the Dharma as much as they could
I live in this world where though we can help others
too often we don’t
where though can remove others suffering and give them happiness, too
often we don’t
I live in this world
where people don’t live in the present
Where people don’t know their own worth, or the worth of others,
where people don’t know their own potential
– by Jason Espada

SUTRA OF THE MEDICINE BUDDHA   PDF

Tayata Om Bekanze

Bekanze Maha BeKanze

Radza Samudgate Soha

Lessons On Justice As Is Reflected In Osama bin Laden’s Death


As Buddhists our task is to use the common sense and moral values we believe in to confront injustice and evil. Today’s lesson is that we live in the real world. In the service of freedom and liberty and of peace and justice, let us dampen our pride, anger and hatred we may feel toward this enemy, and, yes, maybe our lack of compassion, and seek a path of wisdom. In doing so, we may reflect Siddhartha’s heritage, in which remaining mindful of the lessons of our causal Universe is the price of liberty. In all things let us act in hope and compassion and not in hatred, so that we continue to live in a land where justice and mercy depend ultimately not upon law, but upon the deeper source of justice and mercy in the values that are nurtured when we our awakened to the interconnectiveness of all phenomena, and that the difference between us is but an illusion.” –Ven. David Xi-Ken Astor 曦 肯

READ MORE HERE Lessons On Justice As Is Reflected In Osama bin Laden’s Death


Mother’s Day Poem


A Parent’s Last Wishes.
My dear children,
You should try to care for me and try to be sympathetic of me when the day you see me old and weak!

“If I am messy with my meals, if I am sloppy with my clothes, please be patient” – You must know that I spent so much time to teach you those little things when you were a toddler.

“If I say the same thing again and again, please do not let it bother you! But just listen!” – When you were young, you begged me to tell you the same story a thousand times but I always pleased you.

“If when I am no longer be able to bath myself! Don’t be grouchy” – Just know that I fabricated so many tricks to entice you to take a bath when you did not want it.”

“When I am slow on learning new things, don’t be critical of me but give me time to learn.” – I taught you so many things from eating your meals, getting dressed, conducting yourself, facing challenges in life.

“If I have trouble hearing you or trouble talking, just give me time to think, don’t get angry or upset!” – Nothing is more important to me than being next to you and talking to you.

“If I do not have an appetite for food, don’t force me!” – I know when I am hungry and what I can eat. When my poor legs are tired of my body, then help me to walk the same way I helped you learned to take your very first steps in life.

“That is…I do not want to live anymore! That I want to die! Don’t be angry with me” – Perhaps, some day you will understand, at some point in our life, we actually do not live anymore! Our life is a mere existence. Someday, you will understand, even though your life will never be in complete satisfaction, I still want to give you to the best of everything; I want everything to be perfect when you grow up.

“You do not need to feel sad, despaired, or helpless to see me in my old age!” All you need to do is to sit next to me, try to appreciate all the wonderful things I did for you when you were born. Help me to walk again. Help me to see the end of my life that is full of love and patience from you. The most important thing for me is to thank you and that you show me “your smile and endless love.”
(On Mother’s Day – HC)
Author HC unknown — the above letter was written in Vietnamese by HC on Mother’s Day. Translated into English on January 4, 2011 by Jim Tam Huynh of www.VietPhilly.org.
Last Updated (Wednesday, 12 January 2011 03:14)

BUDDHIST REPENTENCE is NOT like Judeo/Christian Guilt/Confession


WHAT IS GUILT?

The use of guilt here is not referring to the mere fact of being guilty of something, but it refers toseeing or projecting one’s mistakes, while not knowing what to do about them or refusing to correct them.
In this definition, guilt is a negative, paralysing emotion, based on non-acceptance of oneself or the situation, and it leads to depression and frustration rather than change or improvement.
Guilt is usually a negative focus upon oneself: “I am an evil person. I can’t bear myself. I am unworthy.” While this response may appear in a religious guise, it often turns out to be a form of self-deprecating laziness. This can even lead to self-hatred, and certainly contributes to lack of self-confidence. Instead of recognising that ones actions are incorrect, one gets the feeling as if one is unworthy, as if “I” is intrinsically bad.
In Buddhism such type of guilt is categorised as a disturbing attitude: one doesn’t see the situation clearly and may well be a tricky form of self-centredness.

A personal opinion: within the Western mind, I believe that guilt has such a prominent place because of the Judeo/Christian background of our culture. The concept of being born onto the earth with an “original sin” – for which we personally are not even responsible – easily puts a feeling of guilt in our minds (I am bad, even without doing anything wrong). Furthermore, the presentations in several Christian traditions can give one the impression that one should feel guilty and ashamed even for simply having fun. I believe that this type of guilt is a learned, socially imposed emotion; for example, Tibetans do not even have a word for it! If that is correct, it is not even a basic human emotion, but a culturally  imposed type of mental frustration; which means that we can relatively easy overcome it by un-learning this artificial emotion.

REPENTENCE


Although guilt is not seen as a very positive emotion, repentence is seen as very important factor to improve our ways of thinking and behaving. The positive/transforming aspect of guilt can be that we admit our mistakes, ponder over them and motivate ourselves to not repeat negative actions – repentence.

For all the evil deeds I have done in the past,
Created by my body, speech and mind,
From beginningless greed, hatred and delusion,
I now know shame and repent them all.

Traditional Repentance Verse from 

“The Practices & Vows of Samantabadra Bodhisattva”

(Avatamsaka Sutra, Chapter 40)

“The above is perhaps the simplest but most widely practised verse of repentance. The practice of Buddhist repentance is not so much the asking for divine forgiveness. It is the clear recognition of our unskilful actions done intentionally or unmindfully through our body, speech and mind, which are the results of our lack of compassion and wisdom, originating from our attachment, aversion and delusion. After recognising our misgivings, we make resolutions to be as mindful as we can, so as to never repeat them under any circumstances. In this sense, repentance is about forgiving oneself through expressing regret and turning over a new leaf, absolving oneself of unhealthy guilt while renewing determination to further avoid evil, do good and purify the mind with greater diligence.

Traditionally, the practice of repentance is done through chanting relevant sutra verses and bowing before a Buddha image, which represents the presence of the Buddha bearing witness to our sincerity. However, if one has done wrong to someone who is contactable, one should apologise to him or her personally, or the practice of repentance before the Buddha would be rendered a hollow practice lacking in sincerity. Even if the other party is unlikely to forgive us, we should do our part in seeking forgiveness – this is also the practice of humility. Actual remedial action of making up for any physical or psychological damage caused to others is also important – or repentance would literally be merely saying “sorry”.

Repentance should ideally be practised at the end of each day, as we try to recall best we can, any misgivings we have done in the day. For repentance to be more effective, misdeeds should be recalled as specifically as possible, instead of vaguely generalising. Doing this practice daily reduces our repetitive mistakes as it increases our mindfulness the next day. Repentance should also be practised immediately in the moment, without procrastination, when we realise we have just made a mistake. If one’s pride is too strong, one should still make a point to repent later, as soon as possible.

The stronger our sincerity is, the more powerful our repentance becomes. While repentance does not erases our negative karma, it can dissolve its future effects, much like the addition of abundant pure water onto salt, which dissolves the otherwise unbearable saltiness we have to taste. Interestingly, repentance practised well can become meritorious, as it prevents the creation of fresh negative karma which can lead to future suffering, while offering peace of mind to better learn, practise and share the Dharma, thus clearing much of the path to the attainment of Enlightenment.”
Shen Shi’an

“If guilt means extending worry about what you have done, then it does not help. Buddhism stresses not guilt but contrition followed by developing an intention of restraint in the future. Simply put, you decide that you have done something wrong and then promise not to do it again. Sometimes, some tangible restituition is possible; for example, you can pay for damages or return stolen property. But often, the action is over and done with. For instance, if you buy something that does not work, you can return it to the store. But, if you misuse time itself, no matter how much you may regret doing so, you cannot return it.
All that is left is an intelligent decision to face what has been done and make a commitment to break the cycle. In meditation, contemplate: “This action was motivated by desire (or hatred) and ignorance; it was wrong, and I do not want to do it again in the future. May I not do it again in the future! I will make sure not to do it again in the future.” It’s a great relief to feel: “Ten years ago I quarreled with so-and-so. It seemed to be the only thing I could do at the time, but with what I know now, I would not do the same today. I will try never to do that again!”
From A Truthful Heart: Buddhist Practices for Connecting with Others by Jeffrey Hopkins

SOURCE

Why We Chant by Zen Master Seung Sahn


Why We Chant

– by Zen Master Seung Sahn,excerpted from Dropping Ashes on the Buddha

One Sunday evening, after a Dharma talk at the International Zen Center of New York, a student asked Seung Sahn Soen-sa, “Why do you chant? Isn’t sitting Zen enough?” Soen-sa said, “This is a very important matter. We bow together, chant together, eat together, sit together, and do many other things together here at the Zen Center. Why do we practice together? “Everybody has different karma. So all people have different situations, different conditions, and different opinions. One person is a monk, another is a student, another works in a factory; one person always keeps a clear mind, another is often troubled or dissatisfied; one person likes the women’s movement, another doesn’t. But everybody thinks, ‘My opinion is correct!’ Even Zen Masters are like this. Ten Zen Masters will have ten different ways of teaching, and each Zen Master will think that his way is the best. Americans have an American opinion; Orientals have an Oriental opinion. Different opinions result in different actions, which make different karma. So when you hold on to your own opinions, it is very difficult to control your karma, and your life will remain difficult. Your wrong opinions continue, so your bad karma continues. But at our Zen Centers, we live together and practice together, and all of us abide by the Temple Rules. People come to us with many strong likes and dislikes, and gradually cut them all off. Everybody bows together 108 times at five-thirty in the morning, everybody sits together, everybody eats together, everybody works together. Sometimes you don’t feel like bowing; but this is a temple rule so you bow. Sometimes you don’t want to chant, to sleep; but you chant. Sometimes you are tired and don’t want to but you know that if you don’t come to sitting, people will wonder why; so you sit. “When we eat, we eat in ritual style, with four bowls; and after we finish eating, we wash out the bowls with tea, using our index finger to clean them. The first few times we ate this way, nobody liked it.

One person from the Cambridge Zen Center came to me very upset. ‘I can’t stand this way of eating! The tea gets full of garbage! I can’t drink it!’ I said to him, ‘Do you know the Heart Sutra?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Doesn’t it say that things are neither tainted nor pure?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Then why can’t you drink the tea?’ ‘Because it’s filthy” ” (Laughter from the audience.) “‘Why is it filthy? These crumbs are from the food that you already ate. If you think the tea is dirty, it is dirty. If you think it is clean, it is clean.’ He said, ‘You’re right. I will drink the tea.”‘ (Laughter.) “

So we live together and act together. Acting together means cutting off my opinions, cutting off my condition, cutting off my situation. Then we become empty mind. We return to white paper. Then our true opinion, our true condition, our true situation will appear. When we bow together and chant together and eat together, our minds become one mind. It is like on the sea. When the wind comes, there are many waves. When the wind dies down, the waves become smaller. When the wind stops, the water becomes a mirror, in which everything is reflected-mountains, trees, clouds. Our mind is the same. When we have many desires and many opinions, there are many big waves. But after we sit Zen and act together for some time, our opinions and desires disappear. The waves become smaller and smaller. Then our mind is like a clear mirror, and everything we see or hear or smell or taste or touch or think is the truth. Then it is very easy to understand other people’s minds. Their minds are reflected in my mind. “So chanting is very important. At first you won’t understand. But after you chant regularly, you will understand.  ‘Ah, chanting-very good feeling!’ It is the same with bowing 108 times. At first people don’t like this. Why do we bow? We are not bowing to Buddha, we are bowing to ourselves. Small I is bowing to Big I. Then Small I disappears and becomes Big I This is true bowing. So come practice with us. You will soon understand.” The student bowed and said, “Thank you very much.”

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Bodhisattvas……….


PressTV – 130 Libyan soldiers executed for mutiny.

Scores of Libyan soldiers have been executed for refusing to open fire on pro-democracy protesters, International Federation for Human Rights (IFHR) says.

Libyan army soldiers and other protesters standing on an army van chant slogans in Tobruk, Feb 23.

 

 

 

130 Libyan soldiers executed for mutiny

Scores of Libyan soldiers have been executed for refusing to open fire on pro-democracy protesters, International Federation for Human Rights (IFHR) says.

An amateur video shows the bodies of some 130 slain soldiers with their hands tied behind their backs. The mutinous soldiers were shot dead in al-Baida near the eastern city of Benghazi.

This comes amid more reports of defiance among army ranks and soldiers who have refused to obey orders by embattled Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi to shoot peaceful protesters.

The IFHR said the brutal crackdown on protesters in Libya is “crime against humanity has to be referred to the International Court of Justice,” dpa reported on Wednesday.

Medical sources told the rights group that they have seen scenes of carnage in Benghazi, where hospitals remain packed with dead bodies and people injured in attacks by Gaddafi loyalists.

Meanwhile, hundreds of dead protesters have been buried in mass graves at a beach in the capital Tripoli, reports said.

At least 1,000 people have reportedly lost their lives in the security forces’ crackdown on civilians since last week, while Gaddafi has vowed not to bow to popular calls to end his four-decade rule, and threatened to crush the pro-democracy protesters.

Security forces used heavy machine guns on Wednesday to stop crowds of protesters. However, more cities, including Tajuraa, Zwaara, Azzawiya, Benghazi, Derna and Tobruk, are falling out of the control of government forces.

Libya has tightened its clampdown by launching a door-to-door search for opposition protesters, reports say.

MA/MRS/MGH

 

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Guan Shi Yin Pusa / Avalokiteshvara


Guan Shi Yin Pusa / Avalokiteshvara

Guan Shi Yin Pusa / Avalokiteshvara

About Guan Shi Yin Pusa

Chants

The Origin of Kuan Yin:

There are many legends about the origin of Kuan Yin, but this in one of the most popular.

In 7th century China, a king had three daughters, the youngest named Miao-Shan. At the time of Miao-Shan’s birth, the earth trembled and a wonderful fragrance and flower blossoms sprang up around the land. Many of the local people said they saw the signs of a holy incarnation on her body.

While the king and queen were amazed by this blessing. Unfortunately, they were corrupt and saw little value in a child who appeared pure and kind. When Miao-Shan got older, the king wanted to find a husband for her. She told her father she would only marry if by so doing she would be able to help alleviate the suffering of all mankind.

The king became enraged when he heard of her devotion to helping others, and forced her to slave away at menial tasks. Her mother, the queen, and her two sisters admonished her, all to no avail.

In desperation, the king decided to let her pursue her religious calling at a monastery, but ordered the nuns there to treat her so badly she would change her mind. She was forced to collect wood and water, and tend a garden for the kitchen. They thought this would be impossible, since the land around the monastery was barren. To everyone’s amazement, the garden flourished, even in winter, and a spring welled up out of nowhere next to the kitchen.

When the king heard about these miracles, he decided that he was going to kill Miao-Shan. After all, the nuns who were supposed to have tormented her. But as his henchmen arrived at the monastery, a spirit came out of a fog of clouds and carried her away to safety on a remote island. She lived there on her own for many years, pursuing a life of of religious dedication.

Several years later, her father became seriously ill. He was unable to sleep or eat; his doctors believed he would certainly die soon. As he was about to pass, a monk came to visit the king. The monk told the king he could cure the monarch, but he would have to grind up the arms and eyes of one free from hatred to make the medicine. The king thought this was impossible, but the monk assured him that there was a Bodhisattva living in the king’s domain who would gladly surrender those items if asked.

The king sent an envoy to find this unknown bodhisattva. When the envoy made the request, Miao-Shan gladly cut out her eyes and severed her arms. The envoy returned and the monk made the medicine. The king instantly recovered. When the king thanked the monk; he chastised the king by saying, “You should thank the one who gave her eyes and arms.” Suddenly, the monk disappeared. The king believed this was divine intervention and after ordering a coach prepared headed off with his family to find and thank the unknown bodhisattva.

When the royal family arrived they realized it is was their daughter, Miao-Shan, who had made the sacrifice. Miao-Shan spoke up, “Mindful of my father’s love, I have repaid him with my eyes and arms.” With eyes full of tears and hearts full of shame, the family gathered to hug Miao-Shan. As they did so auspicious clouds formed around Miao-Shan. The earth trembled, flowers rained down, and a holy manifestation of the Thousand Eyes and Thousand Arms appeared hovering in the air.

And then, the bodhisattva was gone. To honor Miao-Shan the royal family built a shrine on the spot, which is known as Fragrant Mountain.

_____________________________________________________________________

he correct way to pray

For the sake of explaining the true spirit of prayer, a typical prayer follows:

Om Mani Pay may Hom Sri
(Om Mani Padme hum Hrih(in written form))
I take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha
Homage to Lord Avalokitesvara of Great compassion.
Namo Arya Avalokitesvara
I request the Compassionate One, please listen to me,
Please guide myself, mothers and fathers.
In all 6 realms to be freed swiftly from the great ocean of samsara
I request that the vast and profound awakening mind may grow.
With the tear of your great compassion, please purify all evil karma and delusions.
Please lead all sentient beings with your hand of compassion to the Land of Amitabha.
Please, Amitabha and Avalokitesvara.
May all of you be my virtuous friends in all my lives.
Show us well the path and quickly place us in Buddha’s state.
( personal requests are then added humbly)

From this prayer, it is evident that prayer has a higher ideal that what people think. The main priority is to pray that may all (including ourselves) be free from all sufferings and one day attain Buddhahood. Buddhism teaches that all beings with life have this potential to be a Buddha, but like a jewel locked in a safe, this potential is like an unsprouted seed. Thus is the difference between the Buddhas and sentient beings like us is like a fruit and a seed. Once we generate compassion, it develops this potential, in this way everyone has a Guan Yin in himself\herself. Thus we pray to develop compassion and wisdom not just for the fulfillment of mundane wishes.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Guan yin is often shown with a thousand hands and although this is biologically impossible, it symbolises the uinversal compassion for all beings (ie,a helping hand for every one). Of course if there were more than 1000 people in help it would be ridiculous to think that Guan Yin would have a lack of arms to help others. Many numbers are used metaphorically in Buddhism, this is an important point we must keep in mind. In Tibetan Buddhism, Guan Yin is also portrayed as a male deity ( there is a female form of him known as Tara) with 4 arms. These four arms represent the 4 vows of the Bodhisattva way. These 4 vows are as follows:

1) Living beings are infinite, I vow to save them all.
2) Sorrows and defilments are infinite and I vow to break them all.
3) The Dharma doors are infinite and I vow to learn them all.
4) Buddhahood is the Highest without compare and I vow to achieve it.

_________________________________________________________________________________

GUAN YIN AND AMITABHA BUDDHA

GUAN YIN AND THE THOUSAND ARMS
One Buddhist legend presents Guan Yim as vowing to never rest until she had freed all sentient beings from samsara, reincarnation. Despite strenuous effort, she realized that still many unhappy beings were yet to be saved. After struggling to comprehend the needs of so many, her head split into eleven pieces. Amitabha Buddha, seeing her plight, gave her eleven heads with which to hear the cries of the suffering. Upon hearing these cries and comprehending them, Guan Yim attempted to reach out to all those who needed aid, but found that her two arms shattered into pieces. Once more, Amitabha came to her aid and appointed her a thousand arms with which to aid the many.

Many Himalayan versions of the tale include eight arms with which Avalokitesvara skilfully upholds the Dharma, each possessing its own particular implement, while more Chinese-specific versions give varying accounts of this number.

Like Avalokitesvara, Guan Yim is also depicted with a thousand arms and varying numbers of eyes, hands and heads, sometimes with an eye in the palm of each hand, and is commonly called “the thousand-arms, thousand-eyes” bodhisattva. In this form she represents the omnipresent mother, looking in all directions simultaneously, sensing the afflictions of humanity and extending her many arms to alleviate them with infinite expressions of her mercy, while the thousand eyes help her see anyone who may be in need.

________________________________________________________________________

AVALOKITESHVARA OM MANI PADME HUM

Seven Syllable Guan Shi Yin Pusa Chant


Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha/ Di Zhang Wang Pusa


All about Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha/ Di Zhang Wang Pusa

Di Zhang Wang Pusa

Images

Chant

Pdf Sutra

Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva vowed that as long as there was still one suffering soul in hell, he would not attain buddhahood. Since there are always many souls in hell, Ksitigarbha has a lot of work to do! However, because of his great compassion, the bodhisattva still vowed to save them all. He does not want to see people being punished in hell and then committing still more crimes in their next lives. In addition to suffering souls in hell, the bodhisattva also helps living beings in other realms: humans, celestial beings, asuras, hungry ghosts, and animals and insects. He hopes that by teaching all these creatures, he will be able to stop them from committing more crimes, and thus help them to end their constant suffering.

The standing posture of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is particularly popular in Japan where he is known as Jizo Bosatsu. It represents the readiness of Jizo to respond immediately to the calls of help made by those who have faith in his saving powers. He is usually portrayed holding a lotus flower in his left hand and forming a gesture of courage with his right hand. Other well-known images show his left hand holding a precious jewel while the right hand either forms a gesture of granting wishes or holds a Buddhist staff. In these cases, the jewel symbolizes the treasure of another world. He is ever ready to force open the gates of Hell with the staff and to dispel the darkness of the infernal realm with his luminous gem. In addition, another popular depiction of him is in this standing with his left hand holding an alms bowl against his navel, while his right hand forms the mudra (hand-sign) of “giving consolation and peace to all living beings”.

Ksitigabha Bodhisattva

Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is one of the four principal bodhisattvas in Oriental Mahayana Buddhism. The others are Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, Manjusri Bodhisattva, and Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva. He is also known as Earth Store Bodhisattva or Ti Tsang Bodhisattva in China, Ksitigarbha in Sanskrit, and Jizo Bosatsu in Japan.

Ksitigarbha is an extremely popular Bodhisattva among the Chinese and Japanese Buddhists. ‘Ti Tsang’, meaning ‘Earth-Store’ is a direct translation of the Bodhisattva’s name KSITIGARBHA in Sanskrit. Among the countless Bodhisattvas in the universe, he and three others have firmly captured the hearts of the Mahayanists. In Japan, Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, known as Jizo, or Ojizo-sama as he is respectfully known, is one of the most loved of all Japanese divinities. His statues are a common sight, especially by roadsides and in graveyards. Traditionally, he is seen as the guardian of children, particularly children who died before their parents. Since the 1980s, the tendency developed in which he was worshipped as the guardian of the souls of mizuko, the souls of stillborn, miscarried or aborted fetuses.

In some areas, the admixture of traditional religions has led to Ksitigarbha being also regarded as a Taoist deity. For example, in Taiwan, followers of Buddhism, Taoism or folk religion can be found venerating Ksitigarbha, where he is often appealed to for protection against earthquakes. There, and in Hong Kong and among Overseas Chinese communities, his images are usually found in the memorial halls of Buddhist and Taoist temples.

In one of his incarnation, Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva was the ruler of a small kingdom. He and the king of a neighboring realm were good friends, as well as good and righteous kings. However, some of their citizens still committed all kinds of crimes. So one day, these two kings got together and decided to help their people. One vowed to attain buddhahood as soon as possible so that he could save these poor people. The other king vowed to save these poor people first, and then he would be willing to attain buddhahood only after all his people had done so. The latter king was the one we know today as Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva.

There are two places seen as the Pure Lands of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva. The one in India is called as Kharadiya Mountain which is situated near the ancient city of Gaya, ninety-six kilometers southwest of modern Patna. The other one is at Chiuhua Mountain, one of the four most famous mountains in China. It is situated in Anhui Province of eastern China. It is one of the four great Buddhist mountains of China and at one time housed more than 300 temples. Today, 95 of these are open to the public. The mountain is a popular destination for pilgrims offering dedications to Ksitigabha.

The Buddha once gave a lecture about Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva on this mountain. Just before he began to speak, all sorts of astounding things happened – clouds made fantastic formations around the mountain, and the people in the audience saw themselves decorated with flowers, jewels, and other ornaments. The radiance of the jewels shone in every direction to the Pure Lands of other buddhas. Then, the Buddha told the people why all this was happening.

A Korean monk named Chin Chao-chueh once lived there with his white dog. It is said that during the day Chin gave lectures on Buddhism to his disciples and lay followers, but at night he also taught ghosts and suffering souls in hell. Therefore, people believed that Chin was a transformation of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, and they built a temple on the mountain to commemorate him after he died. Chiuhua Mountain thus became this bodhisattva’s Pure Land in China.

Whenever you have the urge to pray to Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva for any help, focus at his picture intently for a few seconds as you silently recite, “NAMO TI TSANG WANG PUSA, NAMO TI TSANG WANG PUSA” before closing your eyes to visualise him. He is very responsive to sincere prayers of faith and he may yet grant you your wish, if it is not too unselfish or unreasonable. All may pray to him with this simple invocation and, who knows, your past karmic links with him may yet make you into another ardent Ksitigarbha devotee again in this lifetime.

English sub titles


Attending to the Dharma to Enter the Path -Ven. Yin-Shun ( How to HEAR/Listen to the Dharma)


Attending to the Dharma to Enter the Path

Ven. Master Yin-Shun

 

( How to HEAR/Listen to the Dharma)

After taking refuge, one should hear more of the true Dharma, for only by doing so can one enter into the Buddhist way. Some people think: “The Buddha Dharma should be practiced. What is the use of hearing the Dharma? In the assembly of Surangama, the honorable Ananda was always hearing, yet was unable to attain enlightenment, and he was incapable of avoiding Matangi’s enticement.” They do not know that the honorable Ananda’s problem was with “always hearing” was actually not a problem of hearing the Dharma. All the scriptures say that that if one wants to learn and practice th Buddha Dharma, hearing the Dharma is a must. If one does not hear any of it, how can one learn about emancipation from birth and death , about the most blissful land and Amitabha Buddha, about the way to self-realization, about the true Dharma of Buddhism? If one does not listen to or hear anything, one will not even know about taking refuge in the Three Treasures!

click here to read pages 29-46 /Attending to the Dharma to Enter the Path

Chapter 2 form The Way to Buddhahood by Ven. Master Yin-shun



Let Us Part Ways- Original Letter to Elder Master Yin Kuang


Letter 8

~Let Us Part Ways~

(Original Letter to Elder Master Yin Kuang)

It took some ten years of Buddha Recitation for me to know something of its

wonderful meaning. I venture to think that the Pure Land method, as taught in such

writings as your Pure Land letters, is, in general, an expedient for ordinary people

of limited capacities. However, if people like ourselves, who are fully literate and accustomed

to exercising our minds, follow this method, we certainly cannot be reborn

in the Pure Land! According to my limited understanding, those who recite the Buddha’s

name seeking rebirth in the Pure Land should first understand “who is reciting

the Buddha’s name,” because only when we discover the real Master will Buddha

Recitation have meaning and rebirth be assured. This does not apply only to Buddha

Recitation. Anyone who recites sutras or recites mantras should also follow this path.

Nowadays, those who teach Buddha Recitation say that we should recite in a

mature way with an utterly focussed, “as if dead” mind in order to achieve rebirth

in the Pure Land. Do they not realize that if we are not clear as to “who is reciting

the Buddha’s name,” we cannot recite in a mature way with an “as if dead” mind?

Even if we were to recite one hundred thousand times each day, such recitation

would have no relationship to the issue of Birth and Death.

Some people even add that “ancient Masters generally concentrate on oral

recitation rather than meditation on the Buddha’s name.” I, on the contrary, would

say: “ the ancients practiced oral recitation only after they had achieved success in

meditation – those of limited capacities should not try to emulate them.” It is really

too bad that, these days, nine out of ten practitioners fail to understand this point.

I always do my utmost to caution people about this, but some laymen even think

that I have wrong views. Understanding the subtle meaning of the Dharma has sunk

to such depths that we can only lament and deplore the situation!

I am baring my heart to you today, and would beg you, Master, to certify my

understanding and expand on this truth. This is for the benefit of everyone, and

certainly not this writer alone.

Answer:

I cannot exhaust my praise nor commend you and your friends enough for the

thoughts behind your letter! You have very good intentions, wishing everyone to see

his Original Nature so as to achieve rebirth in the upper lotus grades. The Meditation

Sutra teaches:

Recite the Mahayana sutras, understand the Supreme Meaning, develop the

Bodhi Mind, counsel and exhort others to cultivate.

This must certainly be your intention.

Nevertheless, the Dharma should be adapted to the level of the listener. If

through failure to examine his level, you administer the wrong remedy, you will be

no different from an incompetent physician who kills his patients with the wrong

medicine. You should know that although the two Dharma methods, Pure Land

and Zen, have the same root and the same source, their methods of cultivation are

different.

The main tenet of Zen is to see one’s Original Nature, while the teachings of

Pure Land are Faith, Vows and Reciting the Buddha’s name to achieve rebirth in

the Pure Land. If most people today were of high capacities, your words would indeed

be extremely beneficial. However, on close examination, those of high capacities

are few and far between, while those of moderate and low capacities form the vast

majority. This being the case, failing to teach people to develop Faith and Vows

seeking rebirth in the Pure Land, while advising them to meditate on the Buddha’s

name [as a koan] is utterly detrimental.

This is because, while awakening to the Way through meditation on the

Buddha’s name would be a fortunate development, an utterly sincere Vow for

rebirth in the Pure Land would still be necessary.

Meanwhile, if meditation is unsuccessful and the mind constantly grasps at

the koan “who is reciting the Buddha’s name,” correspondence between the

practitioner and the Buddha will be extremely difficult to realize and the benefit of

the “welcoming and escorting” Vow will be lost.

Those who really know “who is reciting the Buddha’s name” are precisely those

who have already awakened and clearly seen their True Nature. Nowadays, how

many practitioners can meditate to the point of awakening to the Way (Great

Awakening)?

However, let us not speak about others. Even you and your friends have not

reached that level. How do I know? It is because if you had, you would never have

dared to make such statements as these in your letter: “the Pure Land method is an

expedient for ordinary people of limited capacities …; not knowing who is reciting

the Buddha’s name is not reciting in a mature way with an as-if-dead mind …;

reciting a hundred thousand times a day has no relationship to the issue of Birth

and Death …; the ancients practiced oral recitation only after they had achieved

success in meditation – those of limited capacities should not try to emulate them …”

In truth, while your intention is to benefit yourself and others equally, through

your words you have not only erred yourself, you have led others astray as well.

From now on, please desist from such talk. Otherwise, you will slam the door on and

bury the all-embracing method of the Buddhas to rescue sentient beings everywhere

– preventing this method from being known far and wide. Such a transgression is

tantamount to vilifying the Buddhas, the Dharma and the Sangha. You should be

careful indeed!

Since your understanding of the Dharma is not skillfully adapted to people’s

capacities, in that you attempt to bring a high-level Dharma to everyone, it is, in

the end, a one-sided (biased) attachment – and a great mistake! Not realizing this,

you think that you have correctly understood the subtle meaning of the Dharma

and therefore seek my certification. This monk, although lowly and not erudite,

would not dare to commend, acquiesce in and support such a request, which would

cause all of us to fall into the error of vilifying the Three Treasures!

If you do not believe the words of this old monk, let us part ways once and for all.

I would not dare try forcing others to abandon their own ideas and understanding

to follow my lowly thoughts. It is only because of your letter that I have reluctantly

offered some frank though limited views.\

I hope that you will reflect deeply on this letter.

When the teachings ‘click’ -Sogyal Rinpoche


When the teachings “click” for you somewhere deep in your heart and mind, then you really have the View. Whatever difficulties you face, you will find you have some kind of serenity, stability, and understanding, and an internal mechanism- you could call it an “ inner transformer”- that works for you, to protect you from falling prey to wrong views. In that View, you will have discovered a “wisdom guide’ of your own, always at hand to advise you, support you, and remind you of the truth. Confusion will still arise, that’s only normal, but with a crucial difference: No longer will you focus on it in a blinded and obsessive way, but you will look on it with humor, perspective, and compassion.
~ Sogyal Rinpoche

The Way Of Faith ~ by Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai


The Way Of Faith ~ by Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai

Those who take refuge in the three treasures, the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, are called the disciples of Buddha. The disciples of Buddha observe the four parts of mind-control—the precepts, faith, offering and wisdom.
The disciples of Buddha practise the five precepts: not to kill, not to steel, not to commit adultery, not to lie, and not to take intoxicants of any kind.
The disciples of Buddha have faith in the Buddha’s perfect wisdom. They try to keep away from greediness and selfishness and to practice offering. They understand the law of cause and effect, keeping in mind the transiency of life and conform to the norm of wisdom.

A tree leaning toward the east will naturally fall eastward and so those who listen to the Buddha’s teaching and maintain faith in it will surely be born in the Buddha’s Pure Land.
It had rightly been said that those who believe in the three treasures of the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha are called the disciples of Buddha.

The Buddha is the one who attained perfect Enlightenment and used his attainment to emancipate and bless all mankind. The Dharma is the truth, the spirit of Enlightenment and the teaching that explains it. The Sangha is the perfect brotherhood of believers in the Buddha and Dharma.
We speak of Buddhahood, the Dharma and the Brotherhood as though they are three different things, but they are really one. Buddha is manifested in His Dharma and is realized by the Brotherhood. Therefore, to believe in the Dharma and to cherish the Brotherhood is to have faith in the Buddha, and to have faith in the Buddha means to believe in the Dharma and to cherish the Brotherhood.
Therefore, people are emancipated and enlightened simply by having faith in the Buddha. Buddha is the perfectly Enlightened One and He loves everyone as though each were His only child. So if anyone regards Buddha as his own parent, he identifies himself with Buddha and attains Enlightenment.
Those who thus regard Buddha will be supported by His wisdom and perfumed by His grace.

Nothing in the world brings greater benefit than to believe in Buddha. Just hearing Buddha’s name, believing and being pleased even for a moment, is incomparably rewarding.
Therefore, one must please oneself by seeking the teaching of Buddha in spite of the conflagration that fills all the world.

It will be hard to meet a teacher who can explain the Dharma; it will be harder to meet a Buddha; but it will be hardest to believe in His teachings.
But now that you have met the Buddha, who is hard to meet, and have had it explained to you what is hard to hear, you ought to rejoice and believe and have faith in Buddha.
On the long journey of human life, faith is the best of companions; it is the best refreshment on the journey and it is the greatest possession.

Click here for a free copy of The Teachings of Buddha by Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai

Bodhidharma and Hui Neng


Bodhidharma was a great master from suthern India. He first arrived in China by sea in the Song Dynasty. Later, in the Liang Dyansaty, he crossed the Yangtze River and arived in Loyang, the capital of Bei Wei Dyansty. He went to the Shao Lin Monastery in Songshan. There is a lengend that he meditated and contemplated in front of a wall there for nine years. As a result, he became known as the “Brahmana (Holy One) who gazes at the wall.”

He taught the Mahayana way of meditation and did not emphasis on the studies of doctrines and sutras. He did not show much interest in Buddhist rituals or ceremonies. His emphasis was to practice meditation. His teachings were based on the Lankavatara Sutra, which emphasises on the “Direct exploration of the human mind, penetration of the truth and attainment of Buddhahood.”

However , this method is very deep and profound. It is not easy to practice. Only a few people, such as Venerable Hui Ke, managed to learn the method from him.

In the Tang Dynasty, Bodhidharma’s method of meditation had passed down to its fifth generation. It was mastered by Venerable Hong Ren of the Dong Shan Monastery in Huangmei. By that time, the meditatin method was reasonably well develooped.

Chan Master Hui Neng

Lu Hui Neng from Lingnan came to the Dong Shan Monastery. There he worked and practiced at the same time. He was illiterate and had not studied the doctrines. However, he practised meditation and contemplated whole heartedly. During one examination, he created the following poem:

There is no true Bodhi tree,

Nor is there a true mirror stand

Since all is empty in nature,

Where is there for dust to land?

This poem gained the praise of Venerable Hong Ren. He felt that Hui Neng has mastered the principle of Bodhidharma’s teaching. After Hui Neng returned to the south, he resided at the Nab Hua Monastery in Caoxi Shan and propagated the meditation method of Bodhidharma and the method of “Sudden Enlightenment”. From then on, the School of Chan became popular. It became the most powerful and most influential school in Chinese Buddhism. Hui Neng gained the title of the Sixth Patriarch. He is regarded as a great Master who exerted the most significant influence on Chinese Buddhism and culture.

Source: From Selected Translations of Miao Yun Part 4 ( Revised Edition) Venerable Yin-shun
see Hwa Tsang Buddhist Monastery for more information on Miao Yun publications.

Karma


“ How people treat me is their Karma, how I respond is mine.” –truthful Buddhist quote

photo: WN / Yeshe Choesang A Tibetan monk with his national flag sit with mouths covered to symbolize Chinese silencing in Dharamshala, India

What is Karma?

The Pali term Karma literally means action or doing. Any kind of intentional action whether mental, verbal, or physical, is regarded as Karma. It covers all that is included in the phrase “thought, word and deed”. Generally speaking, all good and bad action constitutes Karma. In its ultimate sense Karma means all moral and immoral volition. Involuntary, unintentional or unconscious actions, though technically deeds, do not constitute Karma, because volition, the most important factor in determining Karma, is absent.

The Buddha says:

“I declare, O Bhikkhus, that volition is Karma. Having willed one acts by body, speech, and thought.” (Anguttara Nikaya)

Every volitional action of individuals, save those of Buddhas and Arahants, is called Karma. The exception made in their case is because they are delivered from both good and evil; they have eradicated ignorance and craving, the roots of Karma.

“Destroyed are their germinal seeds (Khina bija); selfish desires no longer grow,” states the Ratana Sutta of Sutta nipata.

This does not mean that the Buddha and Arahantas are passive. They are tirelessly active in working for the real well being and happiness of all. Their deeds ordinarily accepted as good or moral, lack creative power as regards themselves. Understanding things as they truly are, they have finally shattered their cosmic fetters – the chain of cause and effect.

Karma does not necessarily mean past actions. It embraces both past and present deeds. Hence in one sense, we are the result of what we were; we will be the result of what we are. In another sense, it should be added, we are not totally the result of what we were; we will not absolutely be the result of what we are. The present is no doubt the offspring of the past and is the present of the future, but the present is not always a true index of either the past or the future; so complex is the working of Karma.

It is this doctrine of Karma that the mother teaches her child when she says “Be good and you will be happy and we will love you; but if you are bad, you will be unhappy and we will not love you.” In short, Karma is the law of cause and effect in the ethical realm.


Words from Ven. Ji Xing


Words from Ven. Ji Xing on Anger

Posted on January 19, 2010 written by bychancebuddhism
Ven. Ji-Xing
Venerable Ji-Xing

When I last saw the Venerable Ji Xing speak (in 2009), he uttered a well-known quotation that caught my attention. It is simple; “Don’t let someone you hate ‘rent a room’ for free in your mind!” When you let that occur, someone can ‘remote control you’ from wherever they happen to be.

The Venerable also told an interesting story about a blustery person who came to visit him to seek advice, who quickly became angry with the questions he asked. To this the Venerable replied, “A child in primary school knows how to be happy . . . “. At this, the person visiting him became even angrier, until they finally understood.

In short, be free of hatred and anger, as they part of the root of all suffering. In one final comment one the subject, he had everyone in the room do a simple exercise; “Look to your right, and pat the person next to you. Tell them, it is okay, you should not suffer anymore. Then look to your left, and do the same thing. Finally, take both your hands and pat yourself on your shoulders, ‘It is okay, you should not suffer anymore’.”

Planting Flowers on a Rock


Planting Flowers on a Rock

Dharma Discourse by John Daido Loori Roshi True Dharma Eye, Case 232

Originally posted by my most beloved, T. Mujin _/\_

The Commentary

Keeping silent and refraining from discussing the Way is a truly extraordinary practice. This is hearing what is impossible to hear, encountering what is impossible to encounter. Yet, even if all contrivances are cut off, there is still the pit of liberation called “dharma attachment.” Even if we try to establish classes or stages, we should understand that fundamentally there are no boundaries or edges to be found. Yaoshan understands that the ineffable truth that Shitou is pointing to is not to be discerned by conscious cognition of sound and form, nor is it to be found by going beyond sound and form. This being the case, you tell me, where is it to be found? If you wish to understand these great adepts, you must first see into the place where “even a needle cannot enter” and then realize the place that’s “just like planting flowers on a rock.” Without relying on seeing and hearing, and without trying to know objects, we should observe and realize that which is underneath it all.

The Capping Verse

Cease from following after sound and form,

refrain from going beyond sound and form.

The spring breeze unknowingly rousts out the hibernating tree frogs—

cherry blossoms, wordlessly, open a path.

One day, Yaoshan was sitting on a rock when Shitou asked him, “What are you doing here?” and Yaoshan said, “I’m not doing a thing.” Shitou said, “Then you’re just sitting leisurely.” Yaoshan responded, “If I was sitting leisurely, I’d be doing something.” “You say you’re not doing anything, what is it that you’re not doing?” Shitou insisted. Yaoshan said, “A thousand sages don’t know.” Shitou then praised Yaoshan with a verse:

Long abiding together,

Not knowing its name.

Just going on practicing like this.

Since ancient times, the sages don’t know.

Will searching everywhere now make it known?

But that was not the end of the story, for out of this dialogue evolved the koan that we are dealing with here. Yaoshan was an eighth century Chinese master who succeeded Shitou, the author of the Identity of Relative and Absolute. In this dialogue, Shitou is testing Yaoshan by saying, “Words and actions have nothing to do with the truth.” The commentary picks up on this line with: “Keeping silent and refraining from discussing the Way is a truly extraordinary practice. This is hearing what is impossible to hear, encountering what is impossible to encounter.”

A few years ago, I was deeply struck by this practice of keeping silent and refraining from discussing the Way when I visited the Abbey of Gethsemani, the Trappist community where Thomas Merton lived and practiced. The vow of silence is very much present at Gethsemani. I went there as part of a group of fifty monastics from various traditions who were getting together as part of an interreligious encounter. And although we did not speak to the monks of the Abbey, I got a sense of the incredible power of their practice, simply as I passed them silently in the hall.

I must admit that I had gone to this conference prepared to be bored senseless, but instead what happened was that I had my heart ripped open by the participants: Buddhist, Christian, Theravadin, Chan Buddhist, Zen Buddhist, Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Protestant. It was clear to me that all of them had spent years in deep study and practice. It was evident in the way they spoke, the way they interacted with one another, and it was especially evident in the questions they asked of themselves and each other—questions that really needed to be asked. I was especially impressed by a Tibetan Buddhist nun who has launched a battle to start a women’s lineage. It doesn’t exist. It hasn’t existed for hundreds of years, but she is determined to make it happen. She also told me that twenty years earlier she’d made a vow when she put on her robes that she would never take them off to get a job, to support herself; that if the dharma didn’t take care of her, then she would just starve to death or rot wherever she was. And she’s kept that vow for all these years. She practices constantly.

Some of the hard questions we asked each other about spiritual practice in the 21st century were things like, What good is a monastery? What good is a monastic? What good is a practitioner? What do they do? What’s their role or responsibility in society? Indeed, the question we should ask ourselves is, What should Zen Mountain Monastery be doing in relationship to society? How should we address war, peace, the environment, poverty, media violence, personal and structural violence, suffering, alienation, greed, and consumerism?

One of the monks I met had been ordained for thirty years, but before that he’d gotten a degree in law. He said when he first arrived, the abbot of his monastery looked at his application, looked at him and said, “Now, what would a monk want with a law degree?” But as it turns out, they’ve used his skills numerous times. One of the things he did was defend our friend, Joan Chittister, who was called to an inquisition in Rome. I don’t know what the charges were, but evidently she’s very liberal and Rome nailed her, so this lawyer monk was called to defend her. They won.

Later, that very same lawyer spoke up during a discussion about the causes of structural violence and how institutions help to create it. He said, “It’s not about greed, it’s not about consumerism. It’s about patriarchy.” Suddenly, all these quiet nuns were up and talking. It was a very lively discussion. Later, I did worry that once this encounter got published as a book half of my friends were going to end up excommunicated. I’m not sure how they handled that.

So, on one hand, we have “keeping silent and refraining from discussing the Way is truly an extraordinary practice. This is hearing what is impossible to hear, encountering what’s impossible to encounter.” If our minds are filled with noise, how will we be able to hear what is impossible to hear? Obviously, we won’t. The definition of the term “mystical” says: “Having a spiritual meaning that is neither apparent to the senses nor obvious to the intellect. It is direct subjective communication with ultimate reality.” It’s the kind of communication that we can’t process intellectually. We can’t see it, hear it, smell it, taste it, touch it, or think it. It is very subtle and slippery, impossible to nail down or explain. Yet we’re somehow aware of its presence, and it has a real impact on us. And in order to perceive it, we need to make room for it. We need to be quiet, open, and receptive. That’s the only way we’ll ever access the mystery of this human life.

“Yet, if even all contrivances are cut off, there is still the pit of liberation called ‘dharma attachment.’” That’s the other extreme—complete renunciation, cutting ourselves off from the world, from communication, from any kind of activity. This is what Yunmen called one of the two sicknesses of our practice. Needless to say, in order to function in the world we have to get ourselves out of the pit of liberation. As I have said countless times, it’s not enough to get to the top of the mountain. You have to keep going down the other side and back into the marketplace, where your life takes place.

“Even if we try to establish classes or stages, we should understand that fundamentally there are no boundaries or edges to be found.” There’s the rub. We love to establish classes or stages, but the fact is that there are none. But then people ask, why do we have a hierarchy? Why do we have seniority and the different colored robes and the ten stages of practice and on and on? Call it upaya, skillful means. But ultimately, there is no distinction between buddhas and ordinary beings, between a rank beginner and the person who’s completed her training. In terms of the precepts, the tenth grave precept explicitly says that to even give rise to the thought that there’s a distinction between buddhas and ordinary beings violates the precept.

The commentary continues: “Yaoshan understands that the ineffable truth that Shitou is pointing to is not to be discerned by conscious cognition of sound and form, nor is it to be found by going beyond sound and form.” That’s what we try to do, we try to grasp the teachings with our minds. In the realm of the mystery, there is neither inside nor outside. There’s no way to approach the truth, to grasp it or understand it. It exists thus! But if it’s not discerned by conscious cognition of sound and form and it is not found by going beyond sound and form, then where is it to be found? How is it to be found?

Master Dogen says, “Seeing forms with the whole body and mind, hearing sounds with the whole body and mind, one understands them intimately.” When we practice this wholehearted way of attending and experiencing as we move through our daily lives—when we make direct contact with reality—we go beyond an ordinary way of seeing, of being, and touch the sacred dimension of our lives. At the turn of the nineteenth century, Evelyn Underhill wrote in her book Mysticism:

Contemplation is the mystic’s medium. It is an extreme form of that withdrawal of attention from the external world and total dedication of the mind which also, in various degrees and ways, conditions the creative activity of musician, painter and poet: releasing the faculty by which he can apprehend the good and beautiful and enter into communion with the real.

“Entering into communion with the real” does not mean entering some kind of esoteric state of mind. It is your mind, right here, right now. To contemplate is to use your ability to see directly, intimately, and to express through the creative process and your life what you see—not what you think you see, but what actually is.

Open Up the Darkness


Open Up the Darkness

To Ch’in Kuang-liang, Layman Jen-nan of Wu-chiang

The saying goes, “Open up the darkness, and release the karmic bonds.”
If you understand, then the darkness is the light, and the karmic bonds are nothing but liberation.
If you do not understand, then constantly gather in the mind and recite the buddha-name. After a long time you will become quiet and steady, and you will spontaneously be able to generate wisdom.

-Master Chu-hung