一個改變命運的日子來臨，另一位職業是保險經紀人的佛友，在121區 Ang Mo Kio街的電梯裡巧遇一位手拿著雜誌的女士。我的朋友想借這本雜誌，但被告知她可以去親近一對修行的夫婦，而他們正巧也住在同一區；這一對夫婦在每星期六及日的早上，都在他們家中帶領一小團人共修大悲懺。
This is a true story told by my Dharma friend, Kelly Chai:
In 1995 when I was 35 years old, I thought that my mother, who had passed away 8 years ago after having taken her own life, was suffering somewhere, and I had this urge to do something for her. At that time I did not know anything about Buddhism but I went to search for Buddhist cassettes and the moment I heard the Tibetan musical version of the
Heart Sutra, the Great Compassion Mantra and Om Mani Padme Hum, I felt very pleased.
I started to switch to a vegetarian diet, and every night I recited Om Mani Padme Hum and the Great Compassion Mantra 108 times, and the
Heart Sutra five or six times for almost three consecutive months in hopes of helping my mother. Then one night, while reciting the
Heart Sutra, I fell asleep. The following night, my nightmare began. After work, when I reached home around 8:00 p.m., I could smell a foul odor in my house and in the middle of the night, I started to hear a sound.
It sounded like the footsteps of a “creature” with many legs, and the image of a spider came into my mind. I could not see what it was and could only hear its movement. When the sound prolonged into the night, my curiosity turned into fear. I lived alone with my twelve-year-old son, yet he could not hear anything at all.
From then on, night after night, it haunted me and I was so frightened that I put the rosary around my neck for protection and kept reciting the names of Guan Shi Yin & Earth Store Bodhisvattas in a rambling, incoherent way. Then I decided to stop the chanting. I had sleepless nights and palpitations. The rosary was given to me when I took refuge with a Dharma Master in a temple recommended by my friend some time ago, even though at that time, I did not really know the true meaning of taking refuge, nor understand much about Buddhism. (I was later told that I was not supposed to put the rosary around my neck).
Hearing my experience, my friend asked me to return the rosary to the Dharma Master, who later cleansed it with water after chanting something and gave it back to me. I recalled that the Dharma Master told me that I might had entered the third dimension door but did not understand what he meant.
That night when I reached home, as I opened the door, to my horror, I saw a dark cloudy form hanging from the ceiling. It was a big dark brown mass with the head of a bat with two pointed ears and red eyes. It was staring at me but to my surprise I did not feel frightened because now I could see it. I ignored it and sat on the sofa watching the television beneath this “creature”.
Finally, it dawned upon me that all this while, it was this ‘thing’ that was responsible for the sound I was hearing. Then slowly, my fear started to subside as I already knew who “it” was. I went to sleep thinking that the sound would stop and everything would go back to normal, but I was wrong because it persisted and lasted for about two years.
One fateful day, another Buddhist friend who is an insurance agent happened to meet a lady, who was holding a magazine in a lift in Block 121 Ang Mo Kio Avenue. My friend wanted to borrow it but was told that she could approach a couple who were cultivating in a house within that block. This couple was conducting The Great Compassion Repentance ceremony every Saturday and Sunday morning in their home with a small group of cultivators.
My friend contacted me, so I took her recommendation to join the ceremony. The couple was very helpful and kind. I learned how to recite the Great Compassion Mantra correctly and participated in the weekly Repentance ceremonies without fail for a few months.
Then one night I had a dream. In it, I was in a cave with my son. There was a pond and in the center of it stood a tall statue. Even though it was a cave, the area surrounding the pond was very bright. I felt a sense of joy and splashed my face with water from the pond. I looked around and a sense of peace and calm filled my whole being. It was an exhilarating experience.
When I awoke the next day, I forgot all about the dream. Incidentally, from that day onwards, the “being” disappeared from my home and out of my life.
Two years later, I made a trip to a temple in Haytai (Thailand). My young son was playing in the compound of the temple which has many small caves. I entered one of them and at that moment, saw a white statue of Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva. Suddenly, the memory of the dream I had two years ago surfaced. The image was vivid as the scene was exactly the same. I finally realized who the embodiment of that statue in my dream was.
With tears of joy and gratitude, I bowed to this Great Compassionate Bodhisattva who had come to my rescue. Shamefully, I also realized what this phrase meant: “Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva is right in front of you and yet you cannot recognize her”. How ignorant I had been.
There are many lessons I have learnt from this empowering experience:
1) The inconceivable response from Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva, who helps us without our knowledge, whether we ask or not, and who will come to our rescue in our time of need and moment of danger if we sincerely repent of our offenses.
2) It takes wisdom to recognize Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva, who is omnipresent, waiting to lead sincere cultivators out of danger and into enlightenment.
3) The importance of proper and right practice and the inconceivable response of joining in the Repentance ceremony.
4) Last but not least, it is the power of the spiritual energy contained within a Sanskrit symbol on the front page and the Sutra text contained within a humble magazine,
Vajra Bodhi Sea, that attracted my friend’s attention in the lift, enabling both ladies to meet each other and later, helping me to the couple’s home…and ultimately to Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva.
Herein I am also grateful and thankful to my two lady friends and the couple who diligently led the Repentance ceremonies and who eventually gathered a group of sincere cultivators to set up the Buddhist Books Distribution Centre (BBDC) in Singapore, providing us an opportunity to meet with the teachings of Venerable Master Hua, and to listen to Dharma talks from visiting Dharma Masters from Dharma Realm Buddhist Association.
It was a miracle when BBDC later organized a trip in year 2000 to The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, where I had the opportunity to take the Five Precepts and participate in the ceremony for Precepts for the Deceased. I represented my father while my son represented my mother. Before my trip, I had been concerned about what pants to wear, as I always wore jeans. Once again, help came when my friend’s mother suddenly gave me six pairs of different-colored pants which were very loose and comfortable and enabled me to bow without difficulty throughout the ceremony.
At long last, I was able to do the right thing for my deceased parents. Receiving the precepts on their behalf is, I believe, the greatest gift - a filial one, that I can offer them in their after lives. See, Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva finally fulfilled my wish!
I am forever grateful to the Triple Jewel and hope to be able to repay the kindness of the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Venerable Master Hua. Namo Guan Shi Yin Pu Sa