DHARMA TALKS DELIVERED BY THE VENERABLE MASTER HSUAN HUA DURING A SEVEN-DAY KUAN YIN RECITATION SESSION
Continued from issue #56
by Bhiksuni Heng Yin
You have already suffered for one day. If you think it's suffering, it's suffering. If you think it isn't suffering, then it isn't. Reciting Kuan Yin Bodhisattva's name is not really suffering, for it plants many good roots and the seed of Bodhi.
You should not only not think of it as suffering, but you should be very happy. Why? Because in a hundred thousand ten thousand aeons, it is difficult to encounter this Dharma door. How many times have you gone around on the wheel of rebirth, spinning in the six paths, and never encountered this Dharma door? Confused, we have passed through aeons as many as the number of dust motes in the Ganges River. Now, having met the Buddhadharma, we should be happy.
The power of the function of reciting Kuan Shih Yin Bodhisattva's name is inconceivable. If someone has a demonic obstruction and recites Kuan Yin Bodhisattva's name, the demons will run away. If someone seeks anything at all and continually recites Kuan Yin Bodhisattva's name, he will succeed. In the Universal Door Chapter of the Lotus Sutra it is said that those who have a lot of desire and constantly recite Kuan Shih Yin Bodhisattva's name will be able to separate from their desire.
Desire is greed-greed for wealth, sex, fame, food, or sleep. Whether or not greed is good is a matter you must decide. If you think it is good and I tell you it is not, you will want to argue with me and will thereby waste a lot of energy. In the end, you'll still think greed is good. There is no way that I can convince you it is not good. If you think it is not good, and if you want to put it down, you have already found a way. What is the way? Recite "Namo Kuan Shih Yin Bodhisattva," and you'll be able to put down your thoughts of greed and desire, your defiled thoughts, and your ignorant thoughts. 'Recite Kuan Shih Yin Bodhisattva's name and you will be able to break through ignorance and realize genuine wisdom. If you would prefer wisdom to your present state, you should recite "Namo Kuan Shih Yin Bodhisattva" and bow to Kuan Shih Yin Bodhisattva. Constantly reciting, "Namo Kuan Shih Yin Bodhisattva," your thoughts of greed and desire will gradually melt away and you won't even know how it happened.
Right now you have many greedy thoughts, but you are not aware of them. In the same way, you won't be aware of them as they lessen. Although you won't be aware of them, the lack of greed is actual proof of the efficacy of recitation. Rid of greed and desire, your thoughts of hate will also disappear. It is said, "If someone has much hatred and continually recites "Namo Kuan Shih Yin Bodhisattva," thoughts of hate will disappear.
Just recite. You don't have to pay a fee to do it, and you don't have to do any work. Just repeat, "Namo Kuan' Shih Yin Bodhisattva," very, very respectfully with all your attention focused on it. You will feel as if Kuan Shih Yin Bodhisattva is right on top of your head, on your right and on your left, in front of you and behind you. Kuan Yin will give you a prediction of Buddhahood and manifest before you saying, "Good woman, good man, your thoughts of greed and hatred are gone. You've brought forth the Bodhi-Mind, and in the future you'll certainly obtain the Bodhi-Way." If you truly concentrate and are mindful, Kuan Yin will come to you and say this.
Everybody has a temper. If you're not mad at this person, then you are mad at that situation. Anger can upset you to the point that you can't even eat or sleep. This is just punishing yourself. You recite Kuan Yin and yet think you suffer, whereas people who suffer from anger don't feel like they are suffering. Getting angry is much more suffering than reciting.
If you recite Kuan Shih Yin Bodhisattva's name, all you have to lose is your stupidity. Stupidity is taking what is right as wrong and what is wrong as right, taking the deviant as proper and the proper as deviant. This happens because you don't understand, because you are too stupid. Stupidity obstructs wisdom, and anger obstructs compassion. In one thought of stupidity, prajna is cut off. In one thought of wisdom, prajna manifests. If we want to have wisdom we should not be stupid. What is stupidity? It is just whatever you don't understand.
"What don't I understand?" you may ask.
How should I know what you don't understand? Ask yourself. If you don't know I will give you a little news. You don't understand how to cultivate. You don't understand how to let go of your hate and greed. You don't understand how to let go of your stupidity. Right? If you really understood, you would have let it go long ago. You wouldn't have had to wait to recite "Kuan Shih Yin Bodhisattva" in order to let it go, I think that you probably agree with what I have said.
Further, you don't understand what ghosts are. Many people say that there are no ghosts. Some religions spray poisons in people's minds, doctrines which seem to be reputable but which in fact are not. They say there are no ghosts. They are able to poison people's minds with these ideas, because many people are taken in by the persuasiveness of their arguments. And so most people don't understand about ghosts.
We don't even need to speak of ghosts, they don't even know about animals. How did they get here anyway? How did animals get to be animals? They don't know that either.
But let's not even consider animals, after all, they are only animals. But they don't even know how they got to be people. They don't know where people come from or where they are going. They don't know about ghosts, they don't know about animals, they know nothing about people and even less about asuras and gods.
"Oh, yes," they argue, "I know about heaven. Heaven is up there and God is in it."
Have you ever been there? If so, what did you see? If not, what proof do you have that there are heavenly gardens and God up there?
Do you know about Sound Hearers or the Conditionally Enlightened Ones? Do you know about the Bodhisattvas? How much the less do you know the Buddha. Is that anything but stupidity?
"Dharma Master," you ask, "do you know about them?" Don't ask me. I'm me and you are you. Why should you care about what I know? Isn't that really just going too far?
"Well," you say, "you brought it up."
Yes, but you don't have to listen.
If you're stupid, does that mean you will be stupid till the end of time? Must you hold on to your stupidity like it was a treasure? I believe that no matter how stupid someone is, if he realized what he was doing he no longer would hold on to his stupidity like a treasure, but would want to get rid of it. So, those who want to cut off relations with stupidity, anger, and greed now have the opportunity to do so.
Now, your good roots are deep and thick. They were in the past, they are now, and they will be in the future, when they will certainly mature. Having met the Wonderful Dharma, recite Kuan Shih Yin Bodhisattva's name. In this way your wisdom will open and your stupidity will disappear.
Kuan Shih Yin Bodhisattva will help increase our wisdom, our compassion, and our heart of Bodhi.
Not only that, but through our recitation of the name of Kuan Shih Yin Bodhisattva, the people in the four directions can benefit from his kindness and wisdom. When people recite Kuan Shih Yin Bodhisattva, know that for a space of forty yojanas, 5200 miles, there will be peace and no calamities. I don't want to keep this treasure to myself and so now I wish to transmit it to all who have gathered here to recite.
To be continued
AVAILABLE FROM THE SINO-AMERICAN BUDDHIST ASSOCIATION
Pure Land and Ch'an Dharma Talks. Practical, no-nonsense instruction for those who wish to practice Buddhist recitation and/or Ch'an (Zen) meditation. Instructional talks by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua given during recitation and meditation sessions at Gold Mountain Monastery in San Francisco, paperbound, 72 pp. $3.00.
The Sixth Patriarch's Dharma Platform Sutra. The founding text of Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism, consisting of the teachings and autobiography of the Venerable Master Hui Neng, the greatest of the Chinese Ch'an masters. With illuminating, contemporary commentary by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua. Hardbound, 380 pp. $15.00.
THE AVATAMSAKA ASSEMBLY
The Venerable Abbot of Gold Mountain delivers formal lectures on the Sutras at least seven, and frequently more, times each week. There are Sutra lectures following one-half hour of recitation every evening at 7:00, and on Saturdays and Sundays at 12:30. The Venerable Master has lectured on the major Mahayana scriptures and a host of shorter sutras. How he is explaining the "king," in a Dharma assembly which is now in its third year.