Layperson: One Dharma Master told his disciples not to recite the Shurangama Mantra or the Great Compassion Mantra because heavenly demons and heretics are frightened by them. This goes against compassion. He taught his devotees not to use or read any sutras, but just concentrate on reciting Amitabha Buddha’s name.
Venerable Master: Why did the Buddha speak on the Shurangama Mantra and Great Compassion Mantra? If he thought people who recite mantras were uncompassionate, then the Buddha should not have spoken the Shurangama Mantra and Great Compassion Mantra for it would reduce his disciples’ compassion.
Layperson: Is Gaowang Guanshiyin Sutra a fake sutra? Should Buddhists recite it?
VM: Is criticizing people a sutra? Why are you criticizing?
Layperson: Is the Western Land of Ultimate Bliss the world where we live? Or is there another space that exists?
VM: Look for yourself if you wish to know.
Layperson: How do we eliminate our desires for fame and fortune?
VM: It ends after death.
Layperson: How do we become enlightened and become Buddhas?
VM: You will not have this thought again when you’re falling into the hells.
Layperson: Are Fundamental Wisdom and Later Acquired Wisdom reached at the same time? Or does one first reach Fundamental Wisdom then Later Acquired Wisdom?
VM: I’m an outsider who doesn’t know how to respond to this question. If someone were an insider, he wouldn’t ask this question.
Layperson: Could we invite the Master to come frequently to Taiwan for the propagation of the Dharma? Taiwan has too many demons and ghosts.
VM: I want to come often to the Republic of China, not Taiwan.
Layperson: I don’t dare to go get my birth time, which was mistakenly left with some cult. Will the Dharma Master please tell me if this will affect my body and mind?
VM: If your mind is proper, then there is no evil. If your mind is evil, then every place is a place of heterodox cults.
Layperson: Someone asked this question in Tai-chung too. Our family originally worshipped a Sea Goddess, but since studying Buddhism, we’ve been bowing to the Buddhas. But the Sea Goddess is very compassionate; could we make offerings to her along with the three sages?
VM: You may make offerings to all heavenly gods. Buddhas don’t fight.
Layperson: The Venerable Master said that if we were to recite Guanshiyin Bodhisattva’s name, the Great Compassion Mantra, and the Shurangama Mantra, we will reach some kind of achievement three years later. We recite the Great Compassion Mantra 108 times; how many times should we recite the Shurangma Mantra a day?
VM: 1800 times.
Layperson: Can laypeople recite the Shurangama Mantra? Some say this mantra can only be recited before 7 a.m. Can we recite it after 7 a.m.?
VM: I’m not sure what time is it in the United States when it’s 7 a.m. here, but what to do since 7 o’clock is different for the United States and here?
Layperson: This disciple said that when he is reciting Guanyin Bodhisattva’s name during morning ceremonies at the temple, his body will naturally sway back and forth going left and right or front and back. Why is this? Could he meditate at home like this?
VM: Swaying is a danger sign of being possessed by a flying spirit, and then perhaps mouthing the Dharma and Sutras.
Layperson: Every time he goes to the Buddhist Academy, he yawns. What should he do?
VM: Just don’t do it!
Layperson: How do we cultivate so that we may become liberated from birth and death?
VM: Eat, dress and sleep.
Layperson: Two people asked about Dharma Master Qinghai in the Republic of China. Is her transmission of the practice of mind’s impression correct? Could one become a Buddha in this life?
VM: Many people have been confused because of their greed. She could not confuse them if they were not greedy. Tell her to try and confuse me. I am not greedy, not for anything. So there’s nothing you can do if you want my business. Your products will not sell.
Layperson: Last question, please teach us what “enlightening to the Buddhas’ knowledge and views” means?
VM: “Enlightening to the Buddhas’ knowledge and views” means one understands how Buddhahood is realized! One has the wisdom of Buddhas! There’s nothing mysterious about this. Learn the Four Boundless Qualities of the Buddhas — kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity – and you will have enlightened to the Buddhas’ knowledge and views.
Layperson: Someone is wondering why they have been possessed by devils and ghosts for 15 or 16 years though they believe in the Buddha.
VM: That is a sickness due to demonic obstacles. You are not genuine in worshipping the Buddhas and have made mistakes in terms of cause and effect, hence you face the consequences. Even if you believe in the Buddhas, you still have to face the consequences of making mistakes in terms of cause and effect. The demons have come to teach you a lesson.
Disciple: There are probably six or seven more questions related to Dharma Master Qinghai. Earlier, some devotees said they earnestly hoped you would clarify this during this Dharma Assembly because this Dharma Master has accepted lots of disciples and they wish to prevent people from taking the wrong path.
VM: It’s explained very well in Refuge with the Triple Jewel: “I would rather surrender my life than to ever take refuge with heavenly demons who are at ease and others.” These are demons who have come to deceive people. If you believe this type of person, you are most stupid and ignorant. You want to dig your way into the hells.
Layperson: The Master said that everyone should fulfill his responsibilities. Now that we have become the Master’s disciples, we should fulfill our responsibilities as disciples. Will the Master live up to a master’s responsibilities and come rescue us when we disciples face hardship?
VM: If you live up to your responsibilities as a disciple, I will live up to the responsibilities of a master. But how can I live up to a master’s responsibilities when you don’t live up to a disciple’s responsibilities? Good night, everybody!