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The Medicine-Ruling Spirit named Chandana Forest obtained the liberation door of using light to gather in all living beings, and of causing those who see him not to do so in vain. The Medicine-Ruling Spirit named Radiance of Leaving Dust obtained the liberation door of using pure expedient means to extinguish all living beings' afflictions. The Medicine-Ruling Spirit named Universal Renown obtained the liberation door of using great renown to expand the ocean of boundless good roots.
The next Medicine-Ruling Spirit is
named Chandana Forest. Chandana is a type of incense. When one piece of the incense is lit, its fragrance pervades forty
li (about thirteen miles).
Medicine [Chinese herbal medicine] can be classified as cold, hot, warm, and neutral in nature. People who suffer from fever ("hot illness") should take medicine of a cooling nature. Those with "cold" illnesses should take medicine containing heat to counteract the coldness. Warm means the medicine is neither cold nor hot. Some illnesses should be treated with warm and gentle medicines. Neutral medicines are medicines that are not very strong or intense. An example is licorice root, which goes well with all other medicines and can neutralize any kind of poison because of its moderate and harmonious nature. Therefore, it is known as the Minister of State [among Chinese medicines].
Chuan jun can break through barriers and locks, like a valiant general. For example, if a sick person is constipated, eating some
chuan jun will quickly bring about a bowel movement. Thus this medicine is considered a military general. The medicine
xi jiao (rhinoceros horn) relieves heat in the heart. Since there are so many kinds of medicine, people cannot be careless or casual about them. That's why there is a spirit in charge of medicine. Each type of medicine can cure specific ailments.
This Medicine-Ruling Spirit obtained the liberation door of using light to gather in all living beings. He understood the state of the Buddha in which the Buddha uses light to gather in and transform beings,
causing those who see it not to do so in vain. Living beings who see the light will all benefit and gain advantages. In other words, they will all be gathered in and transformed. That's the liberation door that this Medicine-Ruling Spirit obtained.
The next Medicine-Ruling Spirit is
named Radiance of Leaving Dust. Leaving the dust, he attains purity and thus has light. Therefore he has the name "Radiance of Leaving Dust." He
obtained the liberation door of using pure expedient means, expedient Dharma doors of purity,
to extinguish all living beings' obstacles of
afflictions. He breaks through their stupidity and affliction, causing them to obtain purity and light. That's the door to liberation that he obtained.
The next Medicine-Ruling Spirit is
named Universal Renown. His name is known everywhere. Among Medicine-Ruling Spirits, he is the most famous. Not only is he the most famous, but his reputation is known everywhere. His medicines have an efficacy that can cure all living beings' ailments and cause them to produce all kinds of good roots. He
obtained the liberation door, the state of the Buddha,
of using his great renown. Upon hearing his name, living beings bring forth the resolve for Bodhi. Having brought forth the Bodhi resolve, they
expand the ocean of boundless good roots. That's the liberation door that this Medicine-Ruling Spirit obtained.
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Now we are holding a Buddha Recitation Session. For seven days, we gather together to recite "Namo Amitabha Buddha." This is a rare opportunity. Those who believe in the Buddha should take time out of their busy schedule to come join the recitation. When you recite the Buddha's name on your own, sometimes you have to pause in your recitation and you can't keep it going. When everyone recites together, the recitation can continue without interruption. There is a verse that goes,
"If you recite the Buddha's name, reciting without cease,
The mouth recites "Amita" and makes things of a piece.
Scattered thoughts do not arise; samadhi you attain.
For rebirth in the Pure Land, your hope is not in vain.
If all day you detest the suffering Saha 's pain,
Cut off the red dust thoughts within your mind.
Make rebirth in Ultimate Bliss your mind's essential aim.
Put down impure reflections, and pure thoughts you will find.
Your mouth recites "Namo Amitabha Buddha" and you enter the Buddha Recitation Samadhi. Your hope of being reborn in the Pure Land will certainly be realized. If all day long you feel that
the Saha world is full of suffering and vexation, you will let go of everything in this mundane "red dust" world. You make the vow to seek rebirth in the Land of Ultimate Bliss the top priority. When you cast aside defiled thoughts, then you perfect pure mindfulness.
During these seven days, we must be determined to attain the Buddha Recitation Samadhi, for then we will not have wasted our efforts. The more suffering it is, the more you must recite. The more difficult it is, the more you have to recite. Don't be afraid of suffering or difficulty. Don't think so highly of your stinking skinbag. You sit for awhile, and your back starts to ache. You walk a little, and your feet hurt. After reciting for a long time, your throat gets dry and your voice grows hoarse. You decide you can't take it anymore. Who is it that can't take it? Why do you place so much importance on your stinking skinbag? We should forget our bodies for the Dharma! For the sake of the Buddhadharma, we should not place so much importance on our false shell of a body. You may cherish and pamper your body right now, taking care not to let it get sick, get cold, get hungry, or get thirsty. You help it and protect it and lavish lots of attention upon it. But after you have done this for a long time, it will no longer help you out. Bit by bit, it will quit on you. The eyes will quit on you, and then you won't be able to see clearly. The ears will quit and grow deaf, saying, "You've used us for such a long time; now it's time to give us our freedom." Your arms and legs will become feeble and unable to move, also resigning from their jobs. At that time, no matter how much importance you place on your body, it won't take orders from you anymore.
Now when you are still healthy, it's the perfect time to recite the Buddha's name. You can still "borrow what's false to cultivate what's true." Each of you should pay attention to this. You should not say, "Last year I attended the recitation but didn't get anything out of it, so I don't feel like attending this year." That's the wrong way to look at it. If you didn't gain any advantages last year, you should work even harder this year and be determined to gain some benefit. In cultivation, you should vigorously go forward rather than retreat. It shouldn't be that, "When you have studied Buddhism for one year, the Buddha is right in front of you. When you studied Buddhism for ten years, the Buddha is far away on the horizon." You ought to be more vigorous and more sincere with each passing day. Only then will you have some accomplishment.
I have another piece of good news to tell everyone. We have two Bhikshus who are doing a "three steps one bow" pilgrimage to Seattle in order to pray for world peace. Now there will not be any great disasters in the world. There might be some minor mishaps, but nothing to worry about. These two Bhikshus have reversed the tides of destiny, making it so that there are much fewer people dying in the world than there should have been. Everyone at Gold Mountain Monastery should be aware of this, especially since two weeks ago, we all made a vow that wherever the bowing monks were, it could rain there either the day before or the day after they were there, but not rain while they were there. Or, it could rain at night, but not during the daytime, or else it would make it very miserable for them. These conditions have already been fulfilled. After we made that vow, there was no more rain, but only a little fog. Fog is not much of a problem, but it would be better if the fog vanished as well. That would make it easier for them to carry out their vow.
All of you should think it over: Despite all the suffering that they have to go through, they still go ahead and apply effort in cultivation. How does our recitation of the Buddha's name indoors compare to that? It can't be considered suffering by any means. Therefore, we ought to recite diligently so we can attain the Buddha Recitation Samadhi.
After the lecture is over, we will do the Great Transference of Merit. Each one of you should bring forth a true, sincere, and resolute heart to transfer the merit. Don't let the time pass by in vain.
To be continued