Translated by Bhiksuni Heng Yin
Revised by Bhiksuni Heng Ch'ih
Edited by Bhiksu Heng Kuan

Continued from issue #58


"In this region the true substance of the teaching is purely found within sound. Return the hearing to hear the self-nature and the nature realizes the supreme Way." This is the Dharma-door which Kuan Yin Bodhisattva cultivated, the Dharma-door of returning the hearing to hear the self-nature.

Do not seek outside. Most living beings listen outwardly to the sounds around them and are unable to return the hearing within. Now we cultivate to return the hearing, and not seek outside. So it is said, "Return the hearing to hear the self-nature and the nature realizes the supreme path." Kuan Yin Bodhisattva certified to perfect penetration of the ear organ by entering the stream and forgetting the place of entry." Entering the stream and forgetting the place of entry" refers to entering the Dharma nature stream of the sage.  This involves moving against the stream of common people, which consists of the flow of sense impressions.

      Entering the Dharma nature stream of the sage is called "entering the stream." Going against the stream of the common person, which consists of the six sense objects, is what is meant by "forgetting the place." This is entering the stream and forgetting the place. "Forgetting the place" also means coming from nowhere and going nowhere. In your cultivation you should imitate Kuan Yin Bodhisattva. Imitating Kuan Yin Bodhisattva is to enter the stream and forget the place.

Now as we recite Kuan Yin Bodhisattva, our mouths recite, clearly and distinctly "Kuan Shih Yin Bodhisattva". In our hearts we think very clearly and distinctly of Kuan Yin Bodhisattva, and our ears hear very clearly. If your mouth recites, your heart recollects, and your ears listen with careful attention, you will be unable to have false thinking. When you don't have false thinking you will not feel tired, you will not feel weary.

      During the past two days, I've heard the sound of your recitation of Kuan Yin Bodhisattva. You are reciting but you are not as sincere as you were the first two days. How so? I've listened to each of you recite, and you sound like you are about ready to doze off, weak and tired. This means that you are being turned by states. Turned by what states? Turned by the state of fatigue. You feel, "I have recited one day, two days, three days, four days, recited so many days and I think it is unbearable suffering. I've suffered for three days, suffered for four days. It's a lot of suffering." Your sound says you are tired.

When you recite, you shouldn't do it too loudly or too softly. If it's too loud, you waste a lot of energy; if it is too soft, it's very easy to nod off and go to sleep. Another problem arises when it's as if you are reciting but you aren't. You don't even hear yourself clearly. Why not? There are two reasons. First, you're doing a lot of false thinking and so you don't know whether or not you're reciting Kuan Yin Bodhisattva's name or not. What false thinking? You know that yourself. I don't need to tell you in detail. Second, you want to sleep. When you sleep, when you nod off, you plunge into one of the eight great following afflictions.

There are three days left, and in these three days everyone should obtain the aid of Kuan Yin Bodhisattva. To do 50, you must recite sincerely.

You can't be sloppy about it, and you can't be lax or lazy. In cultivation, the harder you work, the more response you will obtain. If you are sincere, there will be a response and the more true-hearted you are, the more of a response you will obtain. You must have a true heart and a true will. True, not false. You must have nothing false, nothing phony. Use a true heart to recite, and recite to the level where the wind blows with the sound of Kuan Yin Bodhisattva, the rainfalls with the sound of Kuan Yin Bodhisattva too.  The wind blowing, the grasses waving, and even the door when it rattles—what are they doing? They are saying, "Kuan Yin Bodhisattva." The pigeons walking around, "Teng, teng, teng!" What are they doing? They're reciting, "Kuan Yin Bodhisattva." If you can, at all times, in all places, and in all states of mind, hear the sound of the recitation of Kuan Yin Bodhisattva, then you will have attained the Kuan Yin Recitation Samadhi. You won't know whether or not you've eaten. You won't know whether or not you're wearing clothes. You won't think of anything at all, and you won't know anything at all. Your true heart will then manifest, and your nature will realize the supreme Way.

Now we are reciting Kuan Yin Bodhisattva together in this hall. Those who are reciting in accord with Dharma will be able to attain a response.  Those who are not reciting in accord with Dharma, in accord with the rules of cultivation, may recite for any length of time, but it will be useless.

What is meant by reciting in accord with Dharma? It's what I just said. Your mouth recites clearly, clearly and distinctly. Your mind thinks of it clearly and distinctly. Your ears listen clearly and distinctly. No other false thoughts are entertained. Your sound is neither loud nor soft. Then you are reciting in accord with Dharma. If you recite in accord with Dharma, your heart will be clear and pure, and not a single thought will be produced. When one thought is not produced, you'll be able to see your original self-nature.  If you produce a thought, a cloud appears in empty space covering the sun. And so it is said,

            When the six roots suddenly move

There is a covering of clouds.

When one thought is not produced,

The complete substance manifests.

When the six roots move, there is suddenly a covering of clouds. The six roots are the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind. When the eyes see forms, they follow the forms and run off after them. When the ears hear sounds and are unable to return the hearing to the self-nature, they run outside after them. When your eyes see something, you should return the light and reverse the illumination. When your ears hear something, you should return he hearing to hear the self-nature. When your nose smells, you should know where the objects of smell come from. When your tongue tastes, you should know where the tastes come from and how they arise. You should return the light, reverse the illumination, return the hearing to the self-nature, and seek it within yourself. Ask yourself, "Why does my body crave touch and smoothness? Why? What's the reason for this?" If you don't understand, ask. Ask your self-nature.

Your mind conceptualizes dharmas and runs off after ideas. Use the wisdom sword of your enlightenment to cut through them. If, at the gates of the six organs, you can apply effort, then the gates of the six sense organs will emit light, and the earth will shake. This light will illuminate the peak of existence, and below will illuminate the unspaced hells. What is meant by the peak of existence? It refers to the Heaven of Neither Perception nor Non-Perception. And so you illumine the heavens, and illumine the avici hells.  If you can cultivate to this level, you won't have wasted your time. So when working, don't start getting lazy after only a little time has passed. The harder you work, the harder you should want to work and the more vigorous you should be. You should work every day. This is not just something you can accomplish in a single day and night.

The Kuan Yin session is just a battle. We are battling with karmic obstacles, which have come with us from limitless kalpas in the past. We don't know how many karmic obstacles we have. They goad us saying, "Don't cultivate! Don't recite Kuan Yin Bodhisattva's name. Come on, rest a little bit, sleep a little more. Sleep is a real tangible comfort!" If you go through so much bitterness to recite Kuan Yin Bodhisattva's name, your karmic obstacles will have a meeting with you. You will have to object to them because they will tell you not to cultivate. You will have to say, "You don't want me to cultivate? Fine, I'll cultivate even harder! I will work a little harder just to show you. You don't want me to cultivate, but I'm telling you I'm going to cultivate."

There was once a gluttonous old cultivator who had quite a bit of skill. One day he had a false thought. He said, "Vegetable dumplings are really good to eat. I must eat a meal of vegetable dumplings and then my stomach will be satisfied;" so he made some. What did he do? He had a good method. He chopped up the vegetables and he used rice husks to make the wrappers for the dumplings. He wrapped them up and cooked them. When they were ready he said to himself, "Okay, come on and eat these vegetable dumplings. Come here, come on over there," the old cultivator said to himself, "Come arid eat." And he ate them. And ugh! The more he ate of the chaff-skin dumplings the worse they were. But he said, "Ugh! They're terrible, but I have to eat them. Even if I don't want to, I have to eat them. I must eat them. I wanted them and now I've got them. I'm not going to be polite about this. There they are vegetable dumplings! Go on! Eat them!" He ate them and then he never wanted to eat vegetable dumplings again. He realized that basically, originally, the vegetable dumplings were just like that. And he never wanted to eat them again. This is called  "curing your own sicknesses." But not only did he not like these vegetable dumplings, I don't think anybody would have wanted to eat such vegetable dumplings. This is also called the skill of being able to discipline yourself. Cultivation has to be that way. Whatever false thought you may have, you should not follow it.  If you want to follow your false thinking you should find a way to cure it. Be like the old cultivator, who, for some unknown reason, got greedy for vegetable dumplings and used husks to make the wrappers. He cured himself of his own false thinking.

You say, "He was really stupid." 

      Of course he wasn't as smart as you are. If he had been as smart as you, he wouldn't have eaten those vegetable dumplings. But although the old cultivator was very stupid, he still knew how to cultivate. Consequently, he realized his Way karma and became greatly enlightened. On the other hand, you're so intelligent, but you still haven't got enlightened. You're still a common ordinary person and you haven't obtained the sagely fruit. Stupidity may be true intelligence and intelligent people can sometimes be really stupid.

You say, "What is stupidity and what is intelligence? What is wisdom?"

      Stupidity is just stupidity and wisdom is just wisdom. Wisdom is just stupidity. Stupidity is also just wisdom.

      You say, "This is entirely too illogical. It's not in accord with either philosophy or psychology. This is a dharma I most certainly do not believe."

Of course you don't believe it. If you believed this dharma, you would be able to be perfectly fused without obstruction. If you don't believe in this dharma, you must study it. All dharmas must be studied. If you believed in this dharma, you wouldn't have to study any dharma at all because they would all be yours. But you don't recognize this dharma, and so now all I can do is recite the names for you and let you listen to them. I don't care whether you disagree or agree with them. In the future when you become enlightened you'll know that it is truly that way--no problem. Now, you have a whole lot of problems and I can't solve them. When the time comes when you have no problems, you will need me even less to solve them. Is this right or not? Okay, now we'll do the Great Transference of Merit and work hard at our cultivation.                                               To be continued


Previously there was a lay woman who had a son who was a businessman and lived in Yunnan China and often went to Nepal on business trips. At that time transportation was not as convenient so he rode a horse, donkey or mule and each trip was difficult. His mother had heard that in Nepal there were sariras and told her son to go to Nepal and bring back one. Her son agreed. When he got to Nepal, the businessman was so absorbed in business he forgot the sariras. When he got back his mother asked if he had brought one back and he had to admit that he was so caught up in business that he forgot, but promised to do so next time. Shortly after he had to go to Nepal again. She said, "This time bring one back so I can make offerings to it."

"I definitely will," he said, but he forgot again, because the trip was so hard and it took all his brains to manage his business. When he got back she asked for the sarira. "I didn't bring it," he said. "Wait till next time."

The next time he prepared to go his mother took a knife and pointed it at her heart, saying to her son, "If you don't bring back a sarira this time, I am going to cut out my own heart with this knife. I'm going to kill myself so you better take note."

      Seeing this, he figured he would certainly remember no matter what, but in fact he did forget about it again. When he got back home, he was about five or six miles from home when he remembered and dared not go closer but paced back and forth. "If I go home like this my mother is going to kill herself." But he couldn't not go home. He was utterly without recourse, when there in the road he saw a tiny little dog which was dead, and his cheating heart took over. "Dogs have dog teeth. I'll take the smallest tooth from this dog!" He took a brick and knocked out the tooth and polished it till it was round. Then he went home. His mother asked for the sarira and he said, "I got a big one, a nice one," and gave her the dog's tooth. She was terribly happy.  After making offerings to it for more than a year, what do you suppose happened? Every time she bowed, it emitted light. She bowed and bowed and soon it always emitted light. When she was about to die she was not sick and knew when she was going off to rebirth. It is obvious to see from this that the doctrine that all is from the mind is true. She would have given up her life for the sarira, and this displays the utmost sincerity. Although it was only a dog's tooth, it could emit light. Why do I tell you of this? Each of you, no matter what dharma door you cultivate, must be utterly sincere and true hearted in your cultivation and then you will have a response.

from the Venerable Master hub's lectures on the Avatamsaka Sutra November, 1975.