Delivered by the 
Venerable Master Hsuan Hua 
during a seven day Kuan Yin Recitation Session

Translated by Bhiksuni Heng Yin
Revised by Bhiksuni Heng Ch’ih
Edited by Bhiksu Heng Kuan
Transcribed by Upasika Kuo Chwan Baur

Continued from issue 65

Reciting Kuan Yin Bodhisattva's name is a Dharma-door which is perfectly fused without obstruction. If you can recite Kuan Yin Bodhisattva's name, you will enlarge your Bodhi-heart. In the future you can be reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss. Some people say, "Kuan Yin Bodhisattva is just you, yourself." Other people say, "Kuan Yin Bodhisattva is simply Kuan Yin Bodhisattva. There is a Bodhisattva with that name." If you recognize that you, yourself are Kuan Yin Bodhisattva, then your attachment to self has not been emptied. If you recognize that outwardly there is a Kuan Yin Bodhisattva, then your attachment to dharmas has not been emptied. Since you have an attachment to self and an attachment to dharmas, then "people" have not been emptied and dharmas have not been emptied. When people and dharmas have not been emptied, your recitation plants good roots and develops your Bodhi-heart, but it is still not genuine recitation of Kuan Yin Bodhisattva. With true recitation of Kuan Yin Bodhisattva, inside you view no self and outside you view no Bodhisattva; there's no self, and there's no Bodhisattva. You say, "If there's no Bodhisattva then how can I recite the Bodhisattva's name?" There doesn't necessarily have to be a Bodhisattva in order for you to recite a Bodhisattva's name. If you can arrive at the state where you recite and yet do not recite, then you can recite Kuan Yin Bodhisattva's name without even realizing that you are reciting Kuan Yin Bodhisattva's name. And when you are not reciting Kuan Yin Bodhisattva's name you don't realize it, but you are reciting the name. When you don't recite Kuan Yin Bodhisattva's name, it recites itself. You may want to stop, but you can't. It's like flowing water; you can't stop it even if you want to. So, you recite, and yet do not recite; you do not recite, and yet you recite. This is genuine recitation of Kuan Yin Bodhisattva's name. By not reciting and yet reciting, you get rid of the attachment to self. By reciting and yet not reciting, you get rid of the attachment to dharmas. Thus, people are empty, and dharmas are also empty. People empty, dharmas empty. When you get to this state, then you are truly, genuinely reciting Kuan Yin Bodhisattva. You are not saying, "I, myself, recite Kuan Yin Bodhisattva." Where is this "self"? Didn't I say to you a few days ago, "If you search over your entire body you won't find a single thing that is "I". Why do you insist on having an "I", a self? If you have an "I", you have a lot of trouble, a lot of problems. Without a self, an "I", there's no trouble. Pigeons think about eating all day long because they can't put down the self, the "I." If they had put down the self, the "I", then why would they run around looking for food? Have you put it down? Not necessarily. If you wait a while, it will return. Why will it return? Because the self hasn't really been renounced. If you put down the self, the "I," then it's all the same thing whether you eat or not.

In reciting Kuan Yin Bodhisattva, you recite to "people empty and dharmas empty" and, at that point, you fuse into a unity with the whole universe. And so you can say it is great, since there's nothing greater than it. Or, you can say it is tiny, since there is nothing smaller than it. This is the genuine state of reciting Kuan Yin Bodhisattva. What can't we put down? We can't put down the false. What can we not pick up? We can not pick up what is true. What is false? Your body, which is a combination of the four elements, is false. People say, "My body is what is real at present. How can you say it's false?" On the other hand, what is true? Your inherent Buddha nature is true, but people say, "The Buddha nature is just something you talk about. How can you say it's true? If it's true, then I should be able to see it. Why can't I see my Buddha nature? You say that my body is false, but everyday I can see it, at any time. How can you say it is false?" I'll tell you something very straightforwardly now. Your body is a false combination of the four elements. What are the four elements? Earth, water, fire, and air. Our bodies have flesh, muscles, and bones. These are the solid parts, and are composed of the element earth. The temperature of our bodies is the element of fire. Our breath is the element air. The sweat on our bodies and all the liquids that flow out of it belong to the element water. When it's time for you to die, the four elements all go back to where they came from. The water goes back to the water, the fire returns to the fire, the air returns to the air, and the solid earth parts return to the earth. They all return to where they came from, but your Buddha nature has no "where" that it goes back to. So it says, "The Buddha nature is true. "Our body is just like a house:

Our human body is like a house.

The mouth is the door, and the eyes are like windows.

The four limbs are like the pillars;

The hair is like the thatch on top.

In the morning and evening keep it in good repair.

Don't wait until it falls apart,

And then run around and busily try to fix it.

Our bodies are like houses. You can only say that the house is "my house. "You can't say that the house is "me." For example, if you visit a house and someone asks you, "Whose house is it? Do you rent it or do you own it?" even if you own the house, you can't say, "The house is me." if you said that the house is you, would you be smart or stupid? You can only say that the house is "mine." Our bodies are the same way. You can only say that the body is "mine," it's your body. You can't say that the body is "me." So this is a point that you should understand clearly. If you understand this clearly, then you won't simply do the bidding of your house. We shouldn't freeze our bodies to death, or starve them to death. If we can keep our bodies, our houses, from falling apart, then that is sufficient. What is it we should be doing? We should be cultivating the Way. This is the number one most important thing. Secondly, we should be establishing merit, establishing virtue, and establishing writings. These are the three important responsibilities in human life. Establishing merit. How does one do this? For example, if there is something you can do which will benefit everyone, your accomplishment of this task will accrue merit for you. When this extends even to giving up your own money to do good things without any hope of gaining any recompense, then you have a virtuous nature. Establishing writings means that your words are so valuable that they cause everyone in the world who hears your words or reads your writings to wake up. Once they wake up they won't be able to do muddled things. For people in the world, establishing writings is very important. You can't live as if drunk and die in a dream, thinking "If I have wine today, tonight I'll get drunk," paying no attention to whether or not it will be right or wrong tomorrow." "Today I have wine, and I'll drink till I get drunk and don't know anything at all; let tomorrow take care of itself. This is a mistaken way of thinking. People in the world must be of benefit to other people. One must benefit oneself and benefit others to practice the Bodhisattva path. This is our responsibility as people. Therefore, in his life every person should go down a road that is meaningful and not walk a road, which has no meaning. This is also to say that we should walk down the brightly-lit road, and not go down the dark and twisted path. The brightly lit, proper path means following the regulations, doing things in accord with the rules. The black road, the dark road means not following the rules. Not following the rules means doing anything at all with a total lack of concern for the consequences, such as committing arson and theft or using drugs. All those improper things are the black, twisted path. Students of the Buddhadharma must recognize these two roads clearly; one is proper and one is deviant. Be careful not to have stupid thoughts about doing deviant actions. To go down the proper path you have to follow the rules, so many people think, "I'd like to go down that wrong path." It's blissful for a while--there are no hindrances, nothing to tie you down, and you don't have to follow the rules, but in the future it will be extremely painful. For people who go down the right road, although for a while it's a bit difficult and not quite so blissful, in the future there will be eternal happiness. Just as I have said, if you want to undergo suffering, then during this week you can have seven days of suffering. This is going down the proper road. In the future you will obtain the brightness of your self-nature and be without suffering. If, on the other hand, you don't go down the proper road in these seven days, perhaps you will take some drugs, drink some wine, or casually waste your precious time. This is all considered to be going down the improper path. Although for a while you may feel very free and independent, you won't be able to end your suffering and stupidity. You won't be able to leave your ignorance behind. If you recite Kuan Yin Bodhisattva's name, and continue reciting until you recite even when not reciting and are as if not reciting when you recite, then your recitation accomplishes the samadhi of reciting Kuan Yin's name. This samadhi is the attainment of genuine concentration. It is the absence of stupidity and the birth of wisdom. Now as we recite Kuan Yin Bodhisattva we are travelling down the great, bright, upright path. We are running down the great, bright, upright path. All day we circumambulate the Buddha, and for every step we take a large, brilliant lotus flower blossoms forth. As you sit there you are sitting on the lotus blossom which you have created from your recitation of Kuan Yin Bodhisattva's name. When you walk around you are walking on the lotus blossom too. However, do not get arrogant and think, "I am a Bodhisattva," because the time has not come yet. Slowly, slowly. Yesterday I said that there were three days left, and that within these three days everyone should recite Kuan Yin Bodhisattva until light comes forth to illumine you. If you have good experiences, don't be overly happy about them. If you don't have those experiences, don't worry about it. The only thing to worry about is that you won't believe in this Dharma-door. If you have a heart of faith, Kuan Yin Bodhisattva will always be right above you, right in front of you, right behind you, as well as on your left and on your right, helping you. And the day will certainly come when you will personally see Kuan Yin Bodhisattva's original face. All you have to do is cultivate, make vigorous progress, and not be lazy, and you will obtain a response. Time is very precious. There are two days left and we must certainly have some accomplishment in these two days. Then we will not have wasted our time. This is my hope for all of you, and: I believe that each one of you also has this hope; that is why you have come to attend this Kuan Yin session. You may not know what benefits or how much advantage you have gained from this session. After this your thinking will be altered, your behavior will be different from it was before. You will use genuine wisdom in whatever you do, and you won't be able to do muddled things ever again. This is the very least advantage you will obtain. You will not have any more upside-down, dream-like fantasies and thoughts. You will leave behind upside-down dream thinking, and in the future you will be able to obtain Ultimate Nirvana.