Today I will explain a little bit about the words "Bodhisattva Who Contemplates the Sounds of the World" (Guanshiyin Bodhisattva).
What is contemplation? It refers to a contemplative wisdom, the wisdom that is able to contemplate. The sounds of the world are the state that is contemplated. The wisdom that is able to contemplate is used to contemplate the state that is contemplated-all the states within this world, all the sounds. The sounds include sounds of suffering, sounds of happiness, wholesome sounds, evil sounds, good sounds, bad sounds. Guanshiyin Bodhisattva observes all the various sounds of the world. He fulfills all wishes. No matter what living beings seek from Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, he will grant their wishes for sure.
The Chinese character shi (世) for "world" also refers to "period of time," as in the three periodsods of time-past, present, and future. Guanshiyin Bodhisattva contemplates the past causes and conditions, present causes and conditions, and future causes and conditions of all living beings. Looking at the causes and conditions in the three periods of time for each living being, Guanshiyin Bodhisattva employs whatever method is suitable for saving and teaching that living being. He uses the spiritual penetrations he has accomplished through cultivation to rescue living beings. Thus, he is called the One Who Contemplates the Sounds of the World.
Pusa is a partial transliteration of the Sanskrit word "Bodhisattva" in Chinese. The meaning is translated thus: "Bodhi" means enlightenment and "sattva" means sentient being, so it means "one who enlightens sentient beings," and also "an enlightened one among sentient beings." What is meant by "sentient being"? It refers to any living thing endowed with awareness, sentience, breath, and blood. Guanshiyin Bodhisattva used to be the same as all of us, but because he cultivated without fear of suffering or hardship and became enlightened, he is an enlightened one among sentient beings. Moreover, he uses the wisdom of his enlightenment to further enlighten all of us living beings.
Such a one is called a Bodhisattva. Bodhisattvas have another name: They are called living beings with a great resolve for the Way. They have the greatest resolve for the Way. Living beings with a great resolve for the Way are called Bodhisattvas. Guanshiyin Bodhisattva is a living being of this type.
Before they become Buddhas, all Bodhisattvas are also called living beings, but they are enlightened living beings, not confused living beings. When confused living beings encounter any kind of state, they cling to it and fail to awaken. No matter what affair they come across, they cannot see through it and put it down. Guanshiyin Bodhisattva is able to see through and put down all matters. He is not attached to anything, and so he is enlightened. Not only is he himself enlightened, he can also enlighten all other unenlightened living beings. Therefore, he is called Guanshiyin Bodhisattva. That's a general explanation of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva.
There is a verse in praise of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva that gives a general description of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva. How does it go?
Guanshiyin Bodhisattva is wonderful beyond description. His pure adornments were gained through many kalpas of cultivation. That describes the inconceivability of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva's spiritual powers, wisdom, expedient means, and everything about him. There is no way to completely speak about such an inconceivable state. One could never finish describing it. His pure, adorned features were gained through many kalpas of cultivation, not just one life. He cultivated blessings and wisdom in life after life. Many great
kalpas ago, he was already cultivating blessings and wisdom. That's why he has such pure and adorned features. His appearance is full and perfect.
Red lotus flowers rest beneath her feet. The crescent of an autumn moon is in the curve of her brows. Guanshiyin Bodhisattva has red lotus flowers beneath her feet. He stands upon red lotus flowers, extremely wonderful and fine. The curved brows of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva resemble the crescent moon. His experience is extremely fine and perfect.
Sweet dew from his vase constantly sprinkles everywhere. In his hand, Guanshiyin Bodhisattva holds a pure vase filled with sweet dew. When he sprinkles the sweet dew upon our heads, it refreshes each of us and wipes out our disasters and offenses. Our sicknesses disappear, disasters and offenses are wiped out, and blessings are produced. "Sprinkles everywhere" means the sprinkling is all-pervasive. He can rescue any person who is in calamity.
In his hand, he holds a willow branch through countless autumns. Among the hands of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, there is a willow branch hand. He dips the willow branch in sweet dew water and then sprinkles the water, and the place is immediately purified. All demonic obstacles and all troubles are gone, and everything is pure and clear. As long as Guanshiyin Bodhisattva dips the willow branch in sweet dew and then sprinkles it, that place will be peaceful and without incident. The willow branch has been there for countless autumns, for who knows how many years.
Prayers depart a thousand hearts; in a thousand hearts he answers. Guanshiyin Bodhisattva doesn't only rescue one person in one place when that person prays to him. However many people pray to him, be it a thousand, ten thousand, or a hundred million, he will grant their wishes. He will come and help that many living beings to leave suffering and find happiness.
He constantly sails the sea of suffering, crossing people over. Our world is like a sea of suffering. In this boundless sea of suffer ing, Guanshiyin Bodhisattva constantly serves as a ferry to take people across.
One could never finish speaking of the wonderful functioning of Guanyin Bodhisattva's spiritual powers and his adorned features. However, now at least we have a general idea and know a little bit about Guanyin Bodhisattva, so in the future we will be able to draw near to Guanyin Bodhisattva and learn from Guanyin Bodhisattva. We should emulate Guanyin Bodhisattva's kindness and compas sion in manifesting universal doors to teach and transform living beings.
At this point, I will tell everyone a true story that has come to my mind. I told this story before, but there are some people who haven't heard it, so I will retell it for those who haven't heard it before.
To be continued