* * * * * * *
麼？南無、南無、南無什麼呢？阿彌陀、阿彌陀，阿彌陀又是什麼呢？是 Buddha。佛是 Buddha。這是做什麼呢？
There's a way to determine if you
are reciting with a true heart. If you are sincere, the mosquitoes will
not bite you. If you are insincere, the mosquitoes will bite you. If
you recite with a true heart, you won't be bothered by the rain. No
matter how it pours, it won't dampen the mind which recites the
Buddha's name. Recite until the wind blows, but doesn't touch you; the
rain pours, but doesn't fall on you.
If your only thoughts are to chant
the Buddha's name, then it won't rain. The weather will be fine, that's
certain. The mosquitoes won't bite you and the rain won't fall. These
are some responses that come from sincere recitation of the Buddha's
name. If you are simply pretending, then it will rain, the mosquitoes
will bite, and you'll be miserable sitting there. If you recite well,
however, even when the mosquitoes bite you'll pay no attention to them,
and so it will be as if they hadn't bitten.
You should think, “I will endure
the pain of being bitten. My only thought is to recite the Buddha's
name. If the mosquitoes bite, I won't even know it.” If you don't feel
the bugs bite and if you don't know it's raining, that's being
true-hearted. If your heart is sincere you will certainly have a
special response. You may see Amitabha Buddha coming to rub you on the
crown of your head or you may see him bathing you in light. Amitabha
Buddha may appear and cover you with his sash. These are all responses:
His hand rubs my head,
His sash covers me...
Amitabha Buddha may respond in
So if you don't fear that the
mosquitoes will bite, if you are unmoved by the rain, and if you're not
afraid to walk the rugged path back and forth, then your heart is true.
If your heart is true, even when mosquitoes bite, you won't feel it.
That's why I say they won't bite. They won't bite because you won't
know that you have been bitten! If, as soon as a bug flies near you,
you think, “Oh no! Here comes a mosquito!” and try to brush it away,
then you've forgotten about reciting.
This is not a joke. It's a very
serious matter. When Guo Yu said to me today that a mosquito had bitten
him, I said, “You haven't been mindful and that's why the mosquito bit
you.” The mosquitoes are just acting on the principle that
Everything's a test
To see what you will do;
If you don't recognize what's before your eyes,
You have to start anew!
If you can't even deal with the
demonic obstacle of a mosquito, then you've really chanted the Buddha‘s
name in vain.
That's all for today. I hope you
all sleep well, and that the mosquitoes don't bite. If you recite as if
you were asleep, then if the mosquitoes bite, you won't know it. When
you're asleep you don't feel them bite; if you recite well, it's the
* * * * * * * * *
Monday, August 18, 1975
Today is the first full day of the Buddha Recitation Session. Those who
have chanted the Buddha's name before know of its advantages. Those who
have never recited before will not know what we are doing. “Namo, namo,
“Well, what is Amitabha anyway?”
“But what are we doing? We recite
while we walk, recite while we stand, recite while we sit, and even
when we lie down to sleep our minds are still reciting. What use is it?”
I will tell you:
To bow in worship before the
Eradicates offenses like the Ganges sands.
If you just bow once before the
Buddhas, you eradicate as much bad karma as there are grains of sand in
the River Ganges.
You say, “As grains of sand in the
River Ganges? Well, I've sung the Buddha's name so many times,
certainly my offense-karma has been completely wiped away.”
You should be aware that from
limitless eons ago, from the time when you first became a human being
until the present, your incarnations are uncountable. You yourself may
not even believe that you have past, present, and future lives. In each
life you were confused, muddled, and unclear, and therefore, at
present, you don't know how much bad karma you have amassed as a human
being. There is reason to fear that the bad deeds you have committed in
one single life exceed the number of sand grains in the Ganges.
Although reciting the Buddha's name will eradicate offense-karma like
the Ganges' sands, you don't know how much of it exists. Fortunately,
our bad deeds have no material form. If they did, each individual's
karma would completely fill empty space. That's the extent of your
offenses! But, because karma has no material form, empty space has yet
to be filled. So it says,
To bow in worship before the
Eradicates offenses like the Ganges' sands;
To give a single penny
Increases your blessings without limit.
In supporting the Bodhimanda,
those with money give money. Those with strength give strength. Whether
you give money or strength, the merit and virtue are the same, and they
help you to plant good roots.
To recite the Buddha's name but
once eradicates the grave offenses committed during ninety million eons
of birth and death. In America, where the Buddhadharma is new, you now
have the rare good fortune to encounter this method. What's more,
you've met with a Good Advisor, one who can teach you the method of
Buddha Recitation. No one should casually waste this precious time. Be
very conscientious, work hard at your recitation, and you will not have
attended this session in vain.
Here we are bivouacked
out-of-doors under the open sky, camping in the wilds and reciting the
Buddha's name. There's nothing to shelter us from the rain. When it's
not raining we recite while walking on a circular track. This is truly
an excellent method! We have not come to this pure mountain land for
sport or recreation. We're not here to play ball or set off rockets,
but to recite the Buddha's name. This is truly a subtle, wonderful, and
inconceivable environment. There are no sounds at all. It's not like
San Francisco with its cars, buses, trolleys, and planes going,
“vroooom! vroooom!”—all making a tremendous din. It's very peaceful
here, and perfect for Buddha Recitation. So all of you take care not to
waste this precious time.
Deep in the mountains the air is
fresh and there is not the slightest trace of pollution. The evil world
of the five turbidities--the turbidity of the eon, the turbidity of
views, the turbidity of living beings, the turbidity of afflictions,
and the turbidity of the lifespan—exists in places crowded with people.
This wilderness, by contrast, is the clear, pure Land of Ultimate
Bliss. If you can cultivate in the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss, the
power of the response of the Way will be completely different from that
of the noisy bustle of the city. Here, it is easy to enter samadhi, to
gain concentration, to obtain the Buddha Recitation samadhi.
To be continued