Most worldly people are deluded by wine, sex, money, and anger. Cultivators want to abstain from wine, sex, wealth, and anger. Wine is a poisonous drug that burns the intestines. Sex is a sharp knife that cuts to the bone. Anger is a ferocious tiger coming down the mountain. Money is the root of disasters.
Before I studied Buddhism, I was caught up in wine, sex, money, and anger. No matter what it was, I would be looking for money. I also smoked, drank, and had other bad habits. When money came, I was as happy as could be and would feast on fish and meat. When I had no money, I would lose my temper. With money, I had three eyes. Without money, I would be in a black mood.
The greatly kind and compassionate Guanshiyin Bodhisattva teaches and rescues all people with whom he has affinities. In 1985 someone brought back some Buddhist books from the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas for me, including
News of True Cultivators, Instructional Talks of the Venerable Master Hua, and the
Earth Store Sutra. After reading them, I began bowing to the Buddhas, reciting Sutras, and repenting of my past mistakes. I deeply reformed of my bad habits. Since I didn’t look, my mouth didn’t water. Since I didn’t listen, my mind wasn’t afflicted. I truly recited the Buddha’s name without interruption.
One time, a letter came from the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association saying,
“The Venerable Master Hua eats one meal per day. He doesn’t eat foods seasoned with oil or salt, but takes only tofu and noodles boiled in plain water. He has been doing this every day for several decades, enduring suffering on behalf of the people of the world...” That letter afforded me a very profound teaching. I began to understand the Buddhadharma and was unconsciously influenced to change the inner world of my mind. I resolved to take refuge with the Triple Jewel, to benefit myself as well as others, to rescue myself as well as others.
For all the evil deeds I did in the past,
Based on beginningless greed, anger, and delusion,
And created by body, speech, and mind,
I now repent of them all.
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When I am reciting the Great Compassion Mantra or the Earth Store Sutra from memory, sometimes I even forget about eating. One night in 1987, I had a dream: The surface of the entire planet was covered with pine trees that reached up into the clouds. I seemed to have grown wings and was also flying upwards in the western direction, towards the Land of Ultimate Bliss. Suddenly, a large hand grabbed my right foot and pulled me from the sky back to a piece of land that was only a hundred square meters in area. All around, there were regular pine trees both tall and short. In the northwestern corner, I saw a long-bearded old man holding a whisk and sitting in meditation reciting the Buddha’s name. In the next moment, in the southeastern direction, I saw Guanshiyin Bodhisattva holding a vase of pure water and a willow branch and floating down from space to land on the southeastern corner. Guanshiyin Bodhisattva told me that the old man who was reciting the Buddha’s name was Namo Earth Store King Bodhisattva. It was an inconceivable dream.
My wife and I cultivate together. Every day we recite the Great Compassion Mantra and the Earth Store Sutra, recite Namo Earth Store King Bodhisattva 1000 times, and bow to Namo Guanshiyin Bodhisattva 108 times. When we bow, we contemplate that the Lotus Pool Assembly of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas is right before us. From now on, we will study the Buddhadharma even more vigorously. We will diligently cultivate precepts, samadhi, and wisdom; put to rest greed, anger, and delusion; get rid of all false thoughts; and practice more good deeds to benefit all sentient beings.
In order to cause living beings to escape,
He universally benefits them, exhausting the boundaries of
For a long time he toils, yet his mind is without repulsion,
To the extent that he also calmly endures the hells.
His blessings and wisdom are limitless and totally perfected.
The roots and desires of living beings are all known to him,
As well as all of their karma and actions,
He speaks the Dharma for them as they like it.
Chapter on The Merit and Virtue from First Bringing Forth the Mind, the
Flower Adornment Sutra