piece of candy（一塊糖）。她一吃人的飲食，在火上煮的有油鹽的東西，就不會飛了。所以這黃精也是寶。
My hair be came white. I didn't eat he shou wu it turned again.（我的頭髮曾經變白過。我沒有吃何首烏，它也黑了，所以我這個不是何首烏，是自首烏。）You work hard translating like this.
Hope everybody works hard on大迴向。（你這麼樣努力地翻譯，希望大家也一樣地努力來做大迴向。）
Wednesday, August 20, 1975 (evening)
All of you participating in this session should earnestly recite the Buddha's name so that other people will not have to suffer just because of you. If you don't recite sincerely, it will rain, and those who are sincere will be forced to suffer because of you. If the majority of people are sincere, of course it won't rain. There's no question about it. When it rains, the paths are hard to walk, especially at night. It hasn't rained now for three days, and that is a great response, but there are still four days left. We'll have to wait and see what happens. Everyone should be mindful; be extremely earnest and sincere as you chant. Don't be lazy and sneak off to rest, and don't neglect to join the recitation. You've come from such a long distance; to be careless and flippant at this point would make the experience meaningless. So it doesn't matter who you are, all participants in the Dharma assembly must endure the bitterness and recite the Buddha's name. Be patient, no matter what happens, and continue to recite sincerely.
You shouldn't sing too loudly or too softly. When it's time to recite, don't sing like someone asleep and then suddenly wake up and energetically babble to your friends. Don't be like that. You should put all of your energy into reciting the Buddha's name and visualizing mitabha Buddha. Then you may obtain a response or observe an auspicious sign. For instance, you may see Amitabha Buddha come to rub you on the crown of your head; he may draw near and cover you with his sash; you may see Amitabha Buddha emitting light. These are all auspicious signs. You may also smell a very strong and fragrant incense, and extraordinary scent, or you may see lotuses. At night you might dream of reciting the Buddha's name or other various portents. If you obtain such a response, it proves that Amitabha Buddha has come to watch over you, to take care of you.
There are other types of favorable signs. Tomorrow, if anyone has experienced such a sign or evoked a response, they can tell everyone about it. I want to know about it. We've managed to move heaven and earth and stop the rain, so you can expect more portents. No matter who you are, if you see Guanyin Bodhisattva or Amitabha Buddha, tell us about it. Guo Tong, have you seen any Bodhisattva or Buddha during this recitation session? If you have had any such experience, you can tell everyone. Little Guo Fang, you can speak up, too, if you have had some special state. Anyone can speak up. Young and old can relate what they've seen and heard because everything we do here is open and democratic. Everyone can know everything that's going on.
Don't assume that the Dharma-door of Buddha Recitation is a trivial matter. All the Buddhas of the ten directions were born from this practice. At present, Guanyin Bodhisattva, Great Strength Bodhisattva, Manjushri Bodhisattva, and Universal Worthy Bodhisattva all continuously recite the Buddha's name. There was once a Dhyana Master called Yong Ming Shou. He started out as a cultivator of Dhyana meditation and later he became enlightened. After his enlightenment he understood that the Dharma-door of Buddha Recitation was most wonderful and so he began to chant the Buddha's name. Everytime he recited "Namo Amitabha Buddha," a ray of light flashed out of his mouth. What's more, this was no ordinary light. Within the light was a transformation body of Amitabha Buddha! So it is said,
One thought of Amitabha,
One thought is the Buddha;
Every thought of Amitabha,
Every thought is the Buddha.
Shakyamuni Buddha taught this Dharma-door without having been requested to do so, because its wonders are manifold, ineffable, and uncountable. The Sutras say, "Of all the living beings in the Dharma-ending Age, if a billion cultivate, rare will it be for even one to obtain the Way. They shall be taken across only by relying on Buddha Recitation." However, if you recite the Buddha's name, you can end birth and death, and be released from the spinning wheel of rebirth. That is why we call it the most wonderful of Dharma-doors. You shouldn't mistake what is right in front of your eyes. Don't let it slip through your fingers. Don't go to the mountain of jewels and return empty-handed. You see, the recitation session itself is a mountain of treasures. When you come to the mountain, you should take some treasures back with you. What do we consider to be gems and treasures? There are many kinds of them. Gold is a treasure, silver is a treasure, lapis lazuli is a gem, mother-of-pearl is a gem, red pearls are gems, carnelian is a gem. Ginseng is a treasure! So are
he shou wu (Polygonum multiflorum Thunb.) and huang jing, but you may or may not be able to get them.
How does ginseng become a treasure? If it weighs nine ounces, it's called ginseng. If it weighs eleven ounces, it's called a "gem." Look carefully, because there's a lot of ginseng in these mountains. Whoever finds a root weighing eleven ounces will live without disasters, without sickness, and have a lifespan as long as that of the gods. As for
he shou wu 何首烏 ("Mr. He's Hair Blackener") a one thousand year-old piece is considered a gem. Many Westerners have white hair, and the moment they are born they look like old men and women with frosty temples. But there is hope for all of you. Eat a little he shou wu and your hair will turn black and so will your beard. Therefore, we consider it a treasure.
Huang jing 黄精 (Solomon's Seal) was eaten by cultivators of old who lived deep in the mountains. Because they were far away from civilization and had no car, plane, motorcycle, or other means to get to town to buy rice or other staples to eat, they subsisted on whatever herbs they could find growing in the mountains. It is a very nutritious herb that can prolong your life. In the
Ben Cao, a book on Chinese herbs, it says that if you eat
huang jing, you can fly. The Ben Cao Bei Yao (Treatise on Herbal Medicine) tells of a young woman—like Guo Fang—who ran away from home after she had been scolded by her stepmother. She ran into the mountains where there was no food for her to eat, no oil, no salt, nothing. She survived by eating
huang jing and before long she was able to fly through the air. People saw her flying around in space and coaxed her down with some food to eat—a piece of candy—but once she ate their cooked food, with its oil and salt, she lost her power of flight. Thus, we consider
huang jing a treasure.
The layman who is sponsoring this Buddha Recitation Session—I can't pronounce his name—has given everyone this opportunity to gather here to recite the Buddha's name. This layman plants and studies Chinese herbs. So all of you who've come to participate in the Recitation Session will obtain his treasures.
I was told that the kitchen served ginseng tea today. Did you drink any? If you did, then when you recite you should have even more energy. You'll have no excuse to doze off. In just a minute we are going to do the Great Transference of Merit Ceremony and you can strike up your spirits and sing so loud that each sound of the Buddha's name pierces the heavens and plows into the earth. I want you to sing so that the gods in the heavens will hear our sound and join in! The creatures in the hells will hear us recite the Buddha's name with such ringing clarity that they will all bring forth the thought of enlightenment. That will be a great response!
[Explaining to translator] Huang jing is a medicinal herb that immortals eat. It can prolong your life, and people who eat it can fly. People who are cultivating immortality eat it. They have to steam it and sun it nine times. They steam it until it is cooked, then dry it in the sun, then steam it again. After doing this nine times, they eat it.
Translation is really a troublesome affair, isn't it? Just when it's your turn to translate, I talk about so many things which are unfamiliar to you.
Well, I wasn't thinking. If I had thought about it first, I wouldn't have talked about this.
Translator: [in Chinese] If I had thought about it, I wouldn't be translating.
Venerable Master: Well, if you don't translate, we'll just get Guo Fang to do it. She's very intelligent.
My hair once turned white. I didn't eat any he shou wu but it still turned black again. I didn't use Mr. He's Hair Blackener, I used my own hair blackener.
You have been working so hard translating; I hope everyone will work just as hard when we do the Great Transference of Merit.
Guo Fang, don't go to sleep! That goes for Guo Tong, too!
To be continued