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Venerable Master Hua’s Talks on Dharma Volume Nine

化老和尚开示 Lectures by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua



Bodhisattva Guanshiyin Is Wonderful Past Gratitude

观世音菩萨神通智慧方便,一切一切的, 都是不可思议的。
Guanshiyin Bodhisattva's spiritual powers, wisdom, expedient means, and everything about her is incredible.



The “Guanyin Praise” gives a general description of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva. How does it go?


Bodhisattva Guanshiyin is wonderful      past gratitude. Pure and clear are her adornments, Gained through practice ages long.


This describes the inconceivability of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva's spiritual powers, wisdom, expedient means, and everything about her. There is no way to completely express such an incredible state. Her pure, adorned features were gained through many eons of cultivation, not just one life. She has been cultivating blessings and wisdom in life after life,  for many great eons. That's why she has such pure, adorned features and such a perfect appearance.

朵朵红莲安足下,弯弯秋月锁眉头   Sea-vast a red lotus flower Fragrant rests beneath her foot. Bay-curve of an autumn moon Is in the crescent of her brows.
观世音菩萨在他脚下有朵朵红莲花,他站在红莲花的上边,非常地妙好。弯弯秋月,观世音菩萨那个眉毛弯弯的,像秋天那月牙似地锁眉头。这个相貌生得非常地妙好,非常地圆满。   Guanshiyin Bodhisattva has red lotus flowers beneath her feet. She stands upon red lotuses, extremely wonderful and fine. Her curved brow resembles the crescent moon. His appearance is extremely fine and perfect.
 瓶中甘露常遍洒   Everywhere and constantly, Sweet dew sprinkles from her vase.
观世音菩萨手里拿着那个净水瓶,他这个瓶里边所装的是甘露水。这甘露水向我们每一个人的头上一洒,我们每个人就得到清凉,灾消病散;病也没有了,灾难也消了,罪也灭了,福就会生出来。怎么叫遍洒呢?遍洒是普遍地,任何人有什么灾难,他都可以去救。   In her hand, Guanshiyin Bodhisattva holds a pure vase filled with sweet dew, which she sprinkles upon our heads, refreshing us and wiping out our disasters and offenses. Our sicknesses disappear, disasters and offenses are wiped out, and blessings are produced. The sprinkling is all-pervasive. She can rescue any person who is in trouble.
手内杨枝不计秋   In her hand, the willow branch, Through the countless autumns.
观音菩萨手里有个杨枝,他用杨枝沾着甘露水这么一洒,这个地方就清净了;什么魔障也没有了,什么麻烦也没有了,一切一切都清净了。只要观世音菩萨来用杨枝沾着甘露水一洒,这个地方就平安无事了。说那杨枝不计秋,就是不知道多少年了。   Among the hands of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, there is a willow branch hand. When she dips the willow branch in sweet dew water and then sprinkles the water, the place is immediately purified. All demonic obstacles and all troubles are gone, and everything is pure and clear. Wherever Guanshiyin Bodhisattva sprinkles sweet dew, that place will be peaceful and untroubled. The willow branch has been there for countless autumns, for who knows how many years.
千处祈求千处应   Prayers depart a thousand hearts; In a thousand hearts she answers.
这观世音菩萨不是一个地方求,他来救一个地方;你就千处、万处、百千万处,有多少人求他,他都遂心满愿,来帮忙这么多的众生,令你离苦得乐。   Guanshiyin Bodhisattva doesn't rescue only one person who is praying to her in one place. However many people pray to him, be it a thousand, ten thousand, or a hundred million, she will answer their prayers. She will rescue that many beings from their woes and bring them happiness.
苦海常作度人舟   Sailing the sea of suffering, Crossing people over.
我们这个世界就好像一个苦海一样,观世音菩萨在这个茫茫的苦海里边,常常地作度人的这么一条船的样子。   Our world is like a sea of suffering. In this boundless sea of suffering, Guanshiyin Bodhisattva constantly acts as a ferry to take people across.
观音菩萨这种的神通妙用、相好庄严,讲是讲不完的。不过我们人知道他一个大概,对观音菩萨有少的认识,以后好多接近观音菩萨,多向观音菩萨来学习——学习观音菩萨这种的慈悲,这种的普门示现来教化众生。   One could never finish speaking of the wonderful functioning of Guanyin Bodhisattva's spiritual powers and of her adorned features. However, now at least we have a general idea and know a little bit about Guanyin Bodhisattva, so in the future we will be able to draw near to and learn from Guanyin Bodhisattva. We should emulate Guanyin Bodhisattva's kindness and compassion in manifesting universal doors to teach and transform living beings.




我讲到这个地方,想起一个公案来,给大家讲一讲。这公案本来以前也讲过,但是有的人还没有听过,不妨给这没有听过的人再讲一讲。     At this point, I will tell everyone a true story that has come to my mind. I've told this story before, but since some people haven't heard it before, I will retell it for their sakes.
以前在中国的上虞县有一个商人,就是做生意的,这个商人什么生意他都做,但是他信观世音菩萨,很诚心地念观世音菩萨,拜观世音菩萨,又念诵这〈观世音菩萨普门品〉。    有一天晚间,这个商人就作一个梦,梦见观世音菩萨来了。观世音菩萨就告诉他,说:“你呀;将要有一个灾难哪。我现在告诉你几句偈颂;你记得,以后就会应验。”这个偈颂怎么说呢?就说:   Once there was a merchant from Shangyu county of China. This merchant, who engaged in all kinds of trade, believed in Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, recited Guanshiyin Bodhi­sattva's name very sincerely, bowed in homage to Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, and recited Guanshiyin Bodhisattva's Universal Door Chapter. One night, Guanshiyin Bodhisattva came to him in a dream and said, "A disaster is about to befall you. Remember this verse that I'm going to tell you now, for it will come true in the future." The verse went:
 逢桥莫停舟,遇油即抹    头;                 
  When you come to a bridge, don't stop the boat. When you see oil, smear some on your head. One peck of grain yields three pints of rice: Flies will cluster on the tip of the brush.
说了这四句,观音菩萨就不见了。那么这商人把这四句也就记得明明白白,很清楚。   After saying these lines, Guanshiyin Bodhisattva vanished. The merchant remembered the four lines very clearly.
 有一天,他就装上很多的货物,很多的东西到船上,从这个城市到那一个城市去卖。这个船在江里开着,就遇到大雨了。这时正遇到一座大桥,好像屋仑桥(奥克兰大桥)那样一座大桥。这个摆船的就要把船停到这个桥底下来避雨,不要教雨把东西都打湿了,可是这个商人一想:哦!说‘逢桥莫停舟’,现在在这个桥底下,不要停这个舟啊!赶快叫这个摆船的,说:“快开船,这个地方不能停。”那么就把船开走。过这个桥之后,啊!这个桥就坍塌了,就坏了。如果他在桥下停船的时候,那连人带东西统统都会打到长江里去,就人连东西都会没有了。他说:“观音菩萨真灵!这回我没有在这个桥底下停舟,躲过这一个大难。”   One day, he loaded his boat with many goods, intending to travel from city to city to sell them. As the boat went down the river, it began to rain heavily. Just then the boat was approaching a large bridge, similar in size to the Oakland Bridge. The oarsman planned to stop the boat under the bridge to wait out the rain, so the goods would not get soaked. The merchant thought, "Oh! The Bodhisattva said, 'When you come to a bridge, don't stop the boat.' So we'd better not stop the boat under this bridge!" Then he quickly told the oarsman, "Keep on rowing. We can't stop here." After they moved the boat out from under the bridge, the bridge collapsed. If it had collapsed when they were still under it, then both they and the goods would have tumbled into the Yangzte River and that would have been the end of them. The merchant said, "Guanyin Bodhisattva is truly efficacious! Since I didn't stop the boat under the bridge, I missed being caught in that disaster."
他回到家里更拜谢观音菩萨。正在拜佛,在佛前点的油灯就跌到地上,把这个油都洒地道上了。啊!他想:“逢油即抹头”他现在是有油了。”所以他把这个油往自己头上都抹上了;抹上油了,等晚间休息睡觉,睡到半夜的时候,啊!他闻见有一股血腥的气─人有血腥气的;闻见有这么一股血腥气,他醒来一看,啊!他太太的头被人给割下来了他自己太太被杀了,所以流出很多血,把床都染红了。那么在半夜他赶快去到他太太的父母家里去报告,说:“今天晚间不知怎么,你的女儿死了。不知被谁杀的?”   When he got home, he bowed in gratitude to Guanyin Bodhisattva. As he was bowing, one of the oil lamps on the altar fell down, spilling the oil all over the ground. "Ah!" thought the merchant, "The verse said, 'When you see oil, smear some on your head.' This must be the oil." So he smeared some of the oil on his head. At night, he went to bed and fell asleep. He woke up at midnight and smelled the rank odor of blood. Becoming wide awake, he took a look—oh! Someone had cut off his wife's head. His wife had been murdered, and all the blood had stained the bedsheets red. At midnight the man rushed over to the home of his wife's parents and reported what had happened. He told them, "I don't know how it happened, but your daughter died tonight. I don't know who killed her."
他这岳父、岳母去一看,说:“这谁杀的?一定是你谋财害命。你信佛,你太太不信佛,你们两个人一定是意见不合,你不欢喜她了,藉这个题目把她杀死了。你这么样子来报告我。”于是乎就告到县政府去。   His parents-in-law went to take a look and said, "Who killed her? You must have come up with this plot to kill her and take her money. You're a Buddhist but your wife wasn't, so you two must have had a difference of opinions. You were upset with her, so you used that pretext to murder her, and then you came and told us." So saying, they reported him to the authorities.
到了县政府,这个县官审问,也审问不出所以然来,于是乎就要判这个商人谋杀的罪名成立。正在拿着笔要判这个罪,啊!这很多的苍蝇就来了,苍蝇落到这个笔头上,这商人就说: “哦!真奇怪啊!这真太奇怪了!这‘苍蝇捧笔头’。”   The county magistrate inquired into the case but could not figure out what had happened, so he decided to pronounce the merchant guilty of murder. As he picked up the brush to write the verdict, a swarm of flies suddenly converged on the tip of his brush, covering the brushtip completely. The merchant said, "Oh! How strange! This is really very peculiar: 'Flies will cluster on the tip of the brush.'"
那个县官就问他:“你说什么奇怪、奇怪的?”   "What are you talking about? What's so strange and peculiar?" the magistrate asked.
他说:“我是信观音菩萨的。我在家里作个梦。观音菩萨告诉我四句话,现在这三句都应验了,所以我认为奇怪。”   "I believe in Guanyin Bodhisattva. Guanyin Bodhisattva came to me in a dream and told me four lines of verse, three of which have come true. That's why I think it's very strange," replied the merchant.
这个县官说:“这三句是什么呢?”   "How did those three lines go?" asked the magistrate.
他说:“菩萨告诉我‘逢桥莫停舟’。我去做生意,这个船到那桥底下,正赶上下雨。这个摆船的要停,我没叫他停,结果把船开过去那桥,那桥就坍塌了,坏了;如果我在那儿停舟的话,这个船就被那个桥给砸烂了,连人也都没有了,这是一样。他又叫我‘遇油即抹头’;遇到这个油,就自己抹这个头。我在家里拜佛,佛前的油灯跌到地下,油都洒到地下了,我就把这个油往自己的头上抹了。等晚间睡到半夜的时候,我自己太太就被人给杀了。   The merchant replied, "The Bodhisattva told me, 'When you encounter a bridge, don't stop the boat.' When I was going to sell my goods, my boat passed under a bridge just as it started to rain. The oarsman wanted to stop, but I told him not to stop there. Right after the boat passed under the bridge, the bridge collapsed. If I had stopped the boat there, it would have been smashed to pieces by the bridge and we would have lost our lives. That's one line. Guanyin Bodhi­sattva also said, 'When you see oil, smear some on your head.' When I was bowing to the Buddhas at home, one of the oil lamps on the altar fell to the ground, spilling the oil. I rubbed some of that oil on my head. That night I slept until midnight, when I woke up and found my own wife murdered.
菩隡又说:‘斗谷三升米,苍蝇捧笔头。’这‘斗谷三升米’,我现在不知怎么样?可是现在你这个县官想要判我罪名,这个苍蝇来捧笔头来了。这‘苍蝇捧笔头’,岂不是也应验了呢?   "The Bodhisattva also said, 'One peck of grain and three pints of rice: Flies will cluster on the tip of the brush.' I don't know what 'one peck of grain yields three pints of rice' means, but just now when you were going to write out the verdict, all those flies swarmed onto your brush tip. So the line, 'Flies will cluster on the tip of the brush' also came true."
这个县官一听,哦!有这么个事情?现在这三样都应验了,就剩一样,这“斗谷三升米”,就和参谋研究来,研究去,说这一定有一个或者姓米的,或者姓康的,就找这样一个人,所以就叫密探去到这乡下一调查,果然有个康七。因为斗谷有三升米,这岂不就是有七升糠,所以就叫康七。   Hearing this, the magistrate thought, "Oh! So that's what's going on. Three lines have come true already, and there's only one left: 'One peck of grain yields three pints of rice.'" He looked into the case with his advisors and deduced that the murderer's surname must be either Mi ("rice") or Kang ("chaff"). A private detective was sent to the village to search for such a person, and indeed, there was a man named Kang Chi. If a peck of grain contains three pints of rice, then there must be seven pints of chaff. And so his name was Kang Chi ("chaff seven").
把这个人拿来一问。原来这个人和做生意这个人的太太,有一种不可告人的事情。他们两个人准备把这个商人杀了,他们好就同住。结果康七这天晚间杀人,他用手一摸,这个商人的头发上有油。他说这有油的头发一定是女人的;一定是女人头发才擦油的,男人不会擦油的,所以把旁边那个没有油的那个脑袋就砍下来了。结果这个县官一问,问明白了,就把康七定罪了。   When the man was brought in for questioning, it turned out he and the merchant's wife had been doing unspeakable things. The two of them had planned to kill the merchant so that they could live together. That night when Kang Chi went to commit the murder, he had felt the oil on the merchant's hair with his hand. He reasoned that the oily hair must belong to the woman—only a woman would grease her hair, not a man—so he beheaded the other person, the one who didn't have greasy hair. After the county magistrate had questioned him and gotten all the facts straight, he sentenced Kang Chi.
由此之后,做生意这个人一看:“哦!这世界上的事情,因果很厉害的!”于是乎以后也就出家修道,把这个世间一切一切都放下了。由这一点看来,这观音菩萨,你只要对他有诚心,他就会有感应的。你有什么灾难,他会帮忙的。   After that incident, the merchant reflected, "Ah! The causes and effects that govern the affairs of the world are really devastating." He then renounced the householder's life to cultivate the Way, relinquishing all worldly things. From this story, we can see that as long as one sincerely believes in Guanyin Bodhisattva, the Bodhisattva will respond. Whenever a disaster happens to you, he will come to your rescue.

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