|Having welled forth out
of the earth, all the Bodhisattvas went to the Wonderful Stupa of Seven
Treasures in empty space, where the Thus Come One Many Jewels and
Shakyamuni Buddha were. Arriving there, they turned toward the two
World Honored Ones and bowed with their heads at those Buddhas’ feet.
They went on to the places of all the Buddhas on lion thrones beneath
jeweled trees, circumambulated them three times to the right, put their
palms together respectfully, and praised them with various Bodhisattva
praises. Then they withdrew to one side and gazed joyfully at the two
World Honored Ones.
Having welled forth out of the earth, all the
uncountable Great Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas, emerged from the ground and
went to the Wonderful Stupa of Seven Treasures in empty space, where
the Thus Come One Many Jewels was. Each Bodhisattva went up into space
to the place where the stupa made of seven treasures was. They went to
see Many Jewels Thus Come One and Shakyamuni Buddha. Arriving there,
after they got to that place, they turned toward the two World Honored
Ones, Many Jewels and Shakyamuni, and bowed with their heads at those
Buddhas’ feet. They made full prostrations with their five limbs on the
ground. They were single-mindedly respectful, and they placed their
palms together. They went on to the places of all the Buddhas on lion
thrones beneath jeweled trees. They went to the Buddhas who were seated
on lion seats underneath jeweled trees and who had come from the ten
directions. Each of those Buddhas who had come from the ten directions
was on a lion throne, and the Bodhisattvas went to where they were and
bowed to them. They made obeisance to them and circumambulated them
three times to the right. Walking to the right around them thrice was a
gesture of particular respect. They put their palms together
respectfully. Placing their palms together represents purity of body
karma. Their body karma was also pure, and they praised them with
various Bodhisattva praises. They sang praises that Bodhisattvas use to
mutually laud one another, as well as praises to Buddhas, such as the
one that begins “Amitabha’s body is the color of gold.” We, too, sing
praises every day, such as the praise to Shakyamuni Buddha:
In the heavens above, and in all that is
below, Nothing compares
to the Buddha. Throughout the worlds of the ten directions, He is
beyond compare. Of all I have seen in the world, There is nothing at
all like the Buddha. We also recite the praise to Amitabha
Buddha:Amitabha’s body is the color of gold; The splendor of his
hallmarks has no peer. The light of his brows shines round a hundred
worlds; Wide as the seas are his eyes pure and clear. Shining in his
brilliance by transformation.
Are countless Bodhisattvas and infinite Buddhas.
His forty-eight vows
will be our liberation;In nine lotus stages we reach the farthest
shore. Those are praises to the Buddhas. Since we sing them every
day, we should know when we sing them that we are using praises to laud
the Buddhas. Don’t sing them through, and then when you’re done wonder
what you’ve been doing. Don’t let it be that you know only how to sing
but don’t know the meaning behind what you are singing day after day,
thinking, “Oh, this is really good to listen to,” and not having any
idea why you are singing.
Many who study Buddhism favor certain people who
lead the ceremony and
sing particularly well. Some leaders of ceremonies recite so
beautifully that the women who hear them become confused by it. They
pursue the leader so they can listen to him recite the Sutras. Some who
can do the “Ceremony for Those with Flaming Mouths” recite, “nan wa dz
la nan cha ya hung,” and those listening are moved: “Oh, he recites
well.” But they don’t know what he is saying. If you ask them, “What is
he reciting?” they reply, “How should I know?” They just listen to the
sound of the recitation, and if it is sung well, they become confused.
Many, many people are like that. That’s what’s meant by being
superstitious. In China there’s a saying about the people who are doing
the “Ceremony for Those with Flaming Mouths” that refers to what they
are really chanting: wa dz la, na chyan ya hung, kan kan ji dyan jung.
They say, “It’s not early. Watch the time. Recite faster!” Originally,
the line should be: na cha ya hung.
But they say na chyan (take the money) ya hung.
Now that I’ve taught
you this, you can all recite this way when you do the “Ceremony for
Those with Flaming Mouths,” especially here in America where the
language is English, not Chinese. Everyone will be awed and say, “Oh,
they’re reciting mantras!”
Then they, these Bodhisattvas, withdrew to one
side after they had made
obeisance and sung their praises to all the Buddhas. They gazed
joyfully at the two World Honored Ones. The Bodhisattvas were happy.
They liked to look at Shakyamuni Buddha and the Thus Come One Many
Jewels. You see, Bodhisattvas also have attachments: They like to see
the Buddhas. There is a certain amount of attachment at whatever level
you have reached. Getting rid of those attachments is what is meant by
“You should produce that thought which dwells nowhere.”
Someone is having a false thought: “Who does the
‘Ceremony for Those
with Flaming Mouths’ that way?” I’ll tell you: Me!
Someone else is thinking, “You talked about men
who felt that women
were giving them trouble, and so they ran off to the mountains. What
about women? When they run off to the mountains, who is giving them
trouble?” Do you need to ask? Men, of course! You should be able to
figure that one out for yourself.
To be continued