Continued from issue # 40
winds and silent waters
In the Land of Ultimate Bliss, the blowing breezes and the still waters proclaim the Dharma of the Mahayana, the Great Vehicle. White swans, peacocks, kalavinkas, and other birds don't screech and chatter, but assemble to preach the Dharma with elegance and grace.
In your practice, it is most important to have the right faith, right conduct, which has left deviant faith and conduct far behind. To have minor spiritual powers enabling you to see spirits and strange creatures is of no great use.
Recollect all the Buddhas of the ten directions, all the Dharmas in the ten directions, and all of the Saints in the ten directions until you attain the splendid state of entry into the Buddha Recitation Samadhi. At that time you hear every sound sing "Amitabha."
Be vigorous and perfect the three levels of no-retreat :
1) Non-retreating thought. One does not retreat from the decision to bring forth the Bodhi heart and practice the Bodhisattva Way.
2) Non-retreating position. One does not retreat from right, orthodox, thought nor from the position one has already attained.
3) Non-retreating conduct. One does not retreat, but vigorously goes forward, cultivating the six perfections and the ten thousand conducts.
Cultivation of both dhyana meditation and the Pure Land lead to quick certification of Buddhahood and to ascension through the nine grades of lotus.
Buddha is our compassionate father and if we merely recite his name he will help
us eradicate our karmic obstacles so that we may be reborn in the West, bad
karma and all. When we are reunited
with our father, our own flesh and blood, our happiness will be unspeakably
(Kuo Ti remained silent for a moment then knelt and said, "If it causes someone to become enlightened, fine." Then a Bhiksuni said, "Of course, we hope there will be no earthquake." The Master continued:)
In 1968, rumors were circulating that San Francisco was going to have an earthquake, and many wealthy families moved away. But at that time I stated emphatically that an earthquake was impossible. "As long as I am in San Francisco," I said, "I'll not permit the earth to quake." Now, I will instruct you all to be extremely sincere in your recitation during this session. Pray for peace and safety from disasters. Your cooperation and true sincerity can effect a response. Nothing in this world is fixed, everything undergoes change, disasters can become auspicious events, and difficulties can turn to good fortune.
Someone suggested that the extremely cold weather we are now having is a harbinger of the coming earthquake, but it's more likely the case that the cold has frozen San Francisco solid and made it earthquake-proof.
You might say, "But when the karmic obstacles of living beings are too heavy, the karmic results cannot be avoided. Perhaps this time the earthquake is inevitable."
I don't think it's inevitable. Even though the karma may already be determined, with the aid of the power of samadhi, the fiery sea may become cool. You should know that nothing in this world is inalterably fixed--everything changes. For example, our karmic obstacles are basically much too heavy to allow us the privilege of rebirth in the Western Paradise, but if we recite the Buddha's name sincerely, we can be reborn there. On the other hand, if those entitled to rebirth there do not recite the Buddha's name, they won't be able to go. Nothing is fixed.
You have already endured three days of bitterness and now you should again bring forth the great Bodhi heart. Don't fear suffering, don't fear difficulty, and don't fear heat or cold. Advance with vigor to the Land of Ultimate Bliss!
Another thing. The newly arrived layman said today that he had nearly put a stop to his thoughts. This is a very rare occurrence and he is sure to obtain advantage. If a newcomer can put an end to his thoughts, how much the more so should all of you old laymen and Sangha members be able to stop your false thinking. Take careful note of this phrase, "Setting aside the conditions of defilement is just the condition for Buddhahood."
--to be continued
(The Chinese text for the preceding Dharma Talk is found on the following page.)
The foregoing talk was given by Dhyana Master Hsuan Hua during the 1972 Winter Cultivation Session at Gold Mountain Dhyana Monastery. All of the instructional talks given by the Master during the three week session will appear in future issues of Vajra Bodhi Sea. The talks were transcribed and edited by Upasika Pong Kuo Wu and translated by Bhiksunis Heng Yin and Heng Ch'ih.
We were delighted to receive your program for this summer as well as several copies of the Vajra Bodhi Sea. It is with great pleasure that we would gladly join your sessions, listen to your explanations of the sutras and join you in meditations. Unfortunately there is the whole continent of America that separates us, as well as part of the European Continent and the Atlantic Ocean. Yet as we meet for meditations, our thoughts will meet in the sunyata. It was also with great interest that we studied your monthly. To my opinion it would be good to add regularly explanation of main buddhist expressions so that people, who are not so well yet acquainted with it, might step by step catch the atmosphere. Yet we are glad to see that the missionary work started 15 centuries ago by Shen Hui is being carried on the American Continent.
Thank you for thinking of us living in the heart of Europe.
Sincerely yours in Dharma