(Continued from issue #41)
December 10, 1972
Green, yellow, red and white wonderful lotus flowers
Bloom and shine from California out across the land;
As we recite the Buddha's name with true sincerity
The Buddha guides us on to Bodhisattvahood.
Seven days and we are crowned with predictions of Buddhahood,
And a hundred kalpas' karmic obstructions completely melt away.
I earnestly wish you worthy ones will work even harder yet
To make the Western Land your own home of Ultimate Bliss.
The lotus flowers in the Land of Ultimate Bliss emit multicolored rays of light, blue, yellow, red, and white, and everyone who recites the Buddha's name has made a lotus appear. Those whose hearts are expansive bring forth large flowers, and those with narrow hearts bring forth small ones. The flowers vary in size according to the measure of our hearts and each emits wonderful vari-colored lights. There are so many of us were reciting the Buddha's name that the Buddha hall is filled with wonderful boundless light as dazzling as that emitted by the seven precious gems, and this very hall has been transformed into the Land of Ultimate Bliss. The light shines not only across California, but all over America as well.
We recite the Buddha's name, the vast name which marks his infinite virtues, not only for our own benefit, but with the hope that the entire world may be at peace and realize a genuine and eternal harmony free from disaster and free from war. As a result, although our only activity is recitation of the Buddha's name, we simultaneously infuse our hearts with compassion and practice the Bodhisattva Way.
True sincerity will surely cause Amitabha to guide us to rebirth, to rub our crowns, and to transmit predictions of future Buddhahood to us, thereby allowing one hundred aeons of karmic obstacles to melt away.
At this point someone would like to ask, "I have recited the Buddha's name a good many times, why haven't my karmic obstacles been melted away? Why haven't I become enlightened?"
Do you know how many karmic obstacles you have?
How can karmic obstacles created over a thousand, thousand, a million kalpas be eradicated overnight? Don't let up. Continue to be extremely sincere and gradually they will melt, as ice melts into water under the sun.
"The sun shines on the North Pole," you would reply, "but that ice never melts."
The North Pole represents people without sincere hearts, people whose karmic obstacles are too heavy.
I sincerely hope that all of you worthy ones will work with vigor and truly practice the three levels of non-retreat. Combine your efforts and cause the sound of the Buddha's name to fill the universe, frightening all the heavenly demons into beating a hasty retreat. Then you will obtain a response from the Buddha which will wipe away all sickness, demons, and afflictions. In this way, clear, pure, and at ease, you return to your own Land of Ultimate Bliss. Don't be a wayward child, wandering east and west, forgetful of your own home.
"I haven't forgotten my home," you say, "it's at such a number on such a street."
But that turbid worldly home of yours is not eternal; it will one day fall to ruin. Your genuine eternal home is the Land of Ultimate Bliss.
It's not easy to give instructional talks. They often only serve to encourage your false thinking. Right now a number of people indulge themselves in the following false thought: "Does the Master think I am sincere or not?"
In reply I'll say, "It would be better to ask yourself whether or not you are sincere. Why ask the Master?" As I have told you frankly many times before, I can pick up your false thinking on my "radar screen" any time, and it comes across quite clearly. I know every move you make just as if you were on television. For example, when Kuo Su first came here he had a lot of false thinking, and was afraid to get near me fearing I would detect his thoughts. So I sent him to the kitchen to cook. Such is the cause, such is the effect.
I think you have all read the "Prison Net for Heavenly Demons", which appeared in the first four issues of Vajra Bodhi Sea. Now I'll tell you some news, which you'll find hard to believe. I have a bhiksu disciple in Hong Kong who, when he first began to practice, was always distracted. I named him Heng Ting, which means "always concentrated," and advised him to cultivate Dhyana samadhi, which he did, as he is very obedient. Gradually he obtained the power of Dhyana samadhi, and within two years he had memorized the Surangama Sutra text and in another three years the Lotus Sutra text.
After about twelve years of cultivation, he knew that in less than a month he could become enlightened, but within the short space of that month he caught a strange disease. Knowing that there were three demon kings disturbing him, he called me long distance and asked me to return to Hong Kong. But I thought, "Why waste the several hundred dollars on a plane ticket when we can just seek for a cure for him here in the Buddha-hall and transfer the merit to him. Sure enough, soon his strange illness was gone and in our Demon Prison Net there are now three Hong Kong demons. It doesn't matter to me whether or not you believe this. I'm just telling you about it.
Now you should put away your false thoughts. Recite the Buddha's name with one heart and be intent on attaining the Buddha Recitation Samadhi. If you encounter a state and understand it, it is sufficient that you know it yourself. If you don't understand it, you may ask me about it in the afternoon between the hours of two and five. I won't answer at other times because I am extremely busy. Doing what? Busy watching all of you on television. It's quite interesting. I'm also making sure that there will be no earthquake on the fourth of January 1973.
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 Fong Kuo Wu and translated by Bhiksunis Heng Yin and Heng Ch'ih.
The new International Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts will open on October 14th, 1973. See article on page 26 in this issue of Vajra Bodhi Sea.