Shramanera Guo'an (Chinese translation by Bhikshuni Heng Yin):
Venerable Master, Dharma Masters, Buddhist friends, Amitabha. My name is Guo'an. This evening I'm going to relate to you what I learned from the Dharani Sutra and how I applied it to solicit a response from Guanyin Bodhisattva to help me cure my back and leg injury. Just a few months ago I suffered excruciating pain in my back and legs. The body is comprised of 127 bones, and one of my bones went out of alignment. When it went out of alignment it touched the biggest nerve in the body which runs down the leg right to the toes. Nothing can be more painful than when your bones touch the nerve.
Basically what I did was send an invitation card to Guanyin Bodhisattva. According to the Sutra, Guanyin Bodhisattva guarantees that he will respond if we do as the Sutra says. I had a slipped disc and it touched the nerves. For those who don't know what is a slipped disc, I have a friend who had a slipped disc and couldn't walk for about four months. Some people who have a slipped disc will be out of action for six months if they merely pick up a gardening tool.
A doctor in this Wayplace told me that I would probably be suffering from pain for at least a month. Basically, when you stand you feel pain, when you walk you feel pain, and when you sit down to eat your meals you feel pain. I was limping and had to limp everyday to the dining hall for my meals. Recovery is actually a very slow process. The only way to speed up the recovery is to have acupuncture treatments. I used to laugh at people who inserted needles into people's heads until I had a slipped disc and then had to beg the acupuncturist: "I used to laugh at people like you but now I'm begging you to poke me."
I had to be treated with fifteen to twenty needles on alternate days, which was in itself a painful experience. So when the needle is being inserted, I told myself, "Hey, you deserve it. This is paying back debts. This is all karma."
So much for being too opinionated. You have to pay back debts for being sarcastic. The only position from which I could feel relief from pain was lying down. But by the tenth day, I also felt pain while lying down and was unable to sleep throughout the night. I thought I would not be able to walk to the dining hall anymore. But I always remember a passage in the Dharani Sutra which reads: "The Buddha told Ananda, 'The spiritual mantra of the Bodhisattva Who Observes the Sounds of the World is true, real, and actual. If you wish to invite the Bodhisattva, you should recite the mantra 21 times over kukura incense, and the Bodhisattva will come and visit.'"
So I recited the Great Compassion Mantra twenty-one times and, with faith that Guanyin Bodhisattva was before me, I pleaded him to please help stop the pain. I remembered to make some vows because in time of hardship, vows are good aiding causes to help overcome difficulties.
I had a rather amusing wish. I said, "Actually I wanted to go and attend the morning and evening recitation the following night. But now here I am and I feel more pain, so if Guanyin Bodhisattva can help me." Five minutes later, my whole body jerked as if someone tugged my leg, or as if someone gave a good friendly pat, or a forceful pat on the back as I was lying down on one side. I wondered to myself, "Hey, what's that? There isn't anyone else around and I'm the only one in the room." My whole body was in sudden shock. So I thought, "Hey, this could be a response."
I stood up and then walked without feeling any pain. I recovered 95%. Since then I have not limped anymore. I never imagined there could be such an instantaneous response. In this case, I must say, "I owe you one, Guanyin Bodhisattva."
About 95% of the pain was gone after only about ten minutes, compared to [the doctor's prediction of] at least a month. But did I owe Guanyin Bodhisattva just this one time? Thinking back, I have in fact owed Guanyin Bodhisattva numerous times. It's just that I didn't recognize it. Face to face with Guanyin Bodhisattva's response and not recognizing it. It took me this one time to reflect and realize that I probably would not be here speaking if not for the silent aid of Guanyin Bodhisattva, the one who observes the sounds of the world. Amitabha.
Upasika Guoting Lu:
Venerable Master and all good and wise advisors: I'm Guoting Lu from San Jose (California). Although I'm very tired today, I'm filled with Dharma bliss at the conclusion of the session. I took refuge with the Venerable Master in 1990, but I'm very ashamed to say that this is my first Guanyin Session. Last year I came for the Ten Thousand Buddhas Repentance and was filled with Dharma bliss. This year I have the opportunity to attend the Guanyin Session. However, it's been a year since I came here last. So everytime I come to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas I'm a bit anxious because I feel I have some obstructions that might cause me to do something wrong. I felt some pressure and I was a bit nervous, so I tried to prepare myself for going hungry since the tradition here is taking one meal a day.
In the past I've taken the eight precepts only for one day. This year, during the transmission of the eight precepts I thought, "Why not try it for seven days?" Originally I was worried that I wouldn't be able to make it. I would eat more at lunchtime so I wouldn't go hungry in the evening. But after several days, now at lunchtime I'm even afraid to eat too much. So I have overcome this obstacle and my body adjusted on its own.
To be continued