比丘尼恆教講於2011年10月11日星期二晚 萬佛城大殿 A talk given by Bhikshuni Heng Jiao on October 11 (Tuesday), 2011 at Buddha Hall of CTTB
According to Mahayana Buddhism, Guan Yin Bodhisattva is the Bodhisattva who represents the perfection of transformation body for his kindness and compassion. As the Flower Adornment Sutra descries, “From the South, there is a mountain called Potalaka. There is a bodhisattva named Gwan Shi Yin Self-Mastery.”MountPotalaka is located in the south ofIndia. Faith in Guan Yin Bodhisattva began inIndia and later spread to the east likeJapan, Korean, the west toIndia andTibet, the south toSri Lanka and south East Asia, the north toMongolia. Pu Tou Mountain is the Chinese transliteration of Potalaka, and is recognized as one ofChina’s four most popular Buddhist sacred locations. Nowadays, Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva has come to Western countries like Europe andAmerica, and recently is even recognized and worshipped in Africa andAustralia. In addition to Theravada Buddhism, Guan Yin Bodhisattva even is very prominent in Mahayana Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism.
Gwan Shi Yin Bodhisattva’s dharma body appears in the ten dharma realms. Gwan Shi Yin Bodhisattva has vast efficacious responses and manifests in accord with the causes and conditions of living beings. The Universal Door Chapter, describes Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva’s thirty-two transformation bodies, which appear in response to the needs of living beings. He appears as a Buddha, Pratyeka Buddha, Sound-hearer, Brahma Heaven King, Shakra, the God of Comfort, the God of Great Comfort, mighty General of the Gods, God Vaisravana, minor king, elder, minister of state, Brahman, Bhikshu, Bhikshuni, layman, laywoman, lad or maiden, God, Dragon, Yaksha, Gandharva, Asura, Garuda, Kinnara, Mahoraga, human, nonhuman, Vajra-wielding Spirit. Among many other statues in Buddhism, Gwan Yin Bodhisattva has the most number of images which depictg him. It is possible that a variety of Guan Yin Bodhisattva manifestations for speaking dharma to various individuals in accord with their potentials is found throughoutAsia.
The most common of these have been Guan Yin in white, Guan Yin with thousands of hands and eyes, Guan Yin of self-mastery, Guan Yin with Sudhana and Dragon Girl, Guan Yin holding a fish basket, etc. In the Entering the Dharma Realm Chapter of the Flower Adornment Sutra, Sudhana obtains enlightenment after he learns from fifty three good knowing advisors. Guan Yin Bodhisattva is the twenty-seventh advisor whom Sudhana has learned from. Guan Yin Bodhisattva speaks the great compassion dharma to Sudhana. Meanwhile, another dragon girl also becomes a Buddha during the Dharma Flower assembly. He manifests as a maiden, and together with Sudhana, becomes an attendant of Guan Yin Bodhisattva. The two of them, along with Guan Yin Bodhisattva, create blessings for and bring happiness to living beings. They become the two helpers of Guan Yin’s rescuing living beings upon hearing their suffering.
Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s dharma body appears throughout the Ten Dharma Realms. Among Bodhisattvas, he is most popular and recognized in the Saha World. In Buddhist temples, whether emphasizing exoteric dharmas, esoteric dharmas, Chan School, Teaching School, and especially the Pure Land School, Guan Yin methods are practiced. The classicChanSchool, for example, the Heart Sutra of Guan Yin Bodhisattva, as well as Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s method of Perfect Penetration of Ear Organ found in the Twenty-Five Sages of the Shuragama Sutra. The Great Compassion Mantra and the Forty-two Hands and Eyes are important in theSecretSchool, and the Sutra of Visualizing the Buddha of Limitless Lifespan is also studied and practiced in thePureLandSchool.
According to the “Biography of Master Xuanzang”, Master Xuan Zang prayed and received many responses from Guan yin Bodhisattva. Whenever Master Xuan Zang encountered evil ghosts or difficulties and dangers along his journey toIndiato obtain the Buddhist canon, he always recited the “Prajnaparamita Sutra” and recited Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s name. He brought back with him to Chang’an China six hundred and fifty seven sutras and shastras. He commented that he basically relied on the “Heart Sutra” and the power of Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s compassion. Our Venerable Master also recited the Great Compassion Mantra and practiced the Forty-two Hands and Eyes to settle the heave and the earth. In addition, at every dharma assembly aimed at protecting the country and quelling disasters, Guan yin Bodhisattva’s method are the key and Guan Yin Bodhisattva is the host. Not only can Guan Yin Bodhisattva rescue living beings from difficulty and suffering but also he can imediately respond to emergencies.
除了修道人和皇親顯要以外，觀音菩薩更是許多平民老百姓所依歸的對象。前一陣子瑜伽鎮的葛瑞絲 哈德森博物館展出一系列本地的歷史文物。萬佛聖城也是其中一部分。我本來以為萬佛城是唯一代表當地佛教的團體。去了才知道，觀音菩薩比我們都早到了瑜伽鎮。因為在博物館內看到一尊銅製的觀世音菩薩像。讀了說明後，才知道這尊觀音像是屬於這個葛瑞絲 哈德森家族所雇用的一位王姓長工的。當年王姓家族從中國離鄉背井，飄洋過海就帶著這尊觀音菩薩。推算一下這歷史背景，應該是在一八六零年多，也是在加州淘金熱後，當時有大量中國人來淘金做礦工。可見得觀音菩薩對一般老百姓的重要性。
In addition to cultivators, kings and officials, many common people also rely on Guan Yin Bodhisattva. Last month, theGraceHudsonMuseumin Ukiah showed a series of local historical artifacts. CTTB also was included in the exhibit. Originally, I thought CTTB was the only Buddhist group in this town. After I went to the Museum, I discovered that Guan Yin Bodhisattva has arrived in Ukiah much earlier. In the exhibit was a display of Guanyin Bodhisattva. Reading the description, I learned that this Guan Yin statue was owned by the Wong family who worked for Grace Hudson’s family. When the Wongs left their hometown inChinaand crossed the sea, they carried this Guan Yin Bodhisattva statue with them on their long journey. This event took place in the 1860s. That was the time of the gold rush, when a large number of Chinese people came far away fromChinaand worked in the gold mines. This is one aspect to show the importance of Guan Yin Bodhisattva in the minds of common people.
The Twenty Five Sages Speak of Enlightenment Chapter of the Shuragama Sutra, investigates which of those twenty-five methods of practice will most efficaciously lead beings of this world to practice in accord with the Vehicle of the Bodhisattvas and to follow the path to supreme enlightenment. Which of those methods will lead them most easily to success? It recommends the practice perfected by Guan Yin Bodhisattva through the faculty of hearing as the easiest way to reach enlightenment. Although Guan Yin Bodhisattva dwells in Samadhi, he is still able to hear the sounds of suffering and leave the suffering behind. Compared to the other five faculties, the hearing faculty is the most effective. It is like a person who fell asleep but still can hear the sounds of striking the bell or drum.
Several years ago, there was a course called “Hospice” in DRBU. It’s a program designed to provide a caring environment for meeting the physical and emotional needs of the terminally ill. There were several doctors and nurses and other volunteers who took turns to take care of the patients who have terminal illnesses. In the final class, a volunteer shared her personal story. She felt eternal gratitude to this program for saving her life. She joined this volunteer team in order to express her gratitude. She was once diagnosed as comatose. Not too long after being in a coma, her husband got a new girl friend and two went together to check on her. She told us that she still could hear their conversation, and she was very sad and wanted to give up her life. Not until she heard her seven-year-old son, who spoke close to her ear, and said, “Mom! You are the dearest person whom I love in this world!” It was then that she gained the will to stay alive. Finally, she was able to awaken from the coma and recovered completely. Previously, another Dharma Master also spoke on the importance the hearing faculty in reciting Buddha’s Name for people who are passing away. It is the application of the nature of hearing related to our ear faculty that assists us to be reborn in a wholesome realm.
This past Chinese New Year, I was inTaipeibranch, and the first day of Chinese New Year, an old lay member’s son came to join us. It turns out that old layman suddenly fell ill, and his family sent him to the emergency hospital. This son is the youngest one, so his other older brothers took care of almost everything. So, he really couldn’t do much to help. So, he came to the Tapipei Branch to pray to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for blessings on his father’s behalf. He asked us to turn on the microphone for him to use. At that time dharma masters there were a little puzzled, and asked why he wanted to use the mike. He replied that the amplification from the microphone would ensure that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas would hear his prayer. In fact, Bodhisattvas responded his request very well; his father was discharged the next day. I don’t know if the response really resulted from using the microphone, but I think his sincerity is the key. Because according to the level of one’s sincerity the Buddhas will respond.
那怎樣才能和觀音菩薩相通呢? 有一天我正好在找一位法師，這位法師正在做拍手運動，而且離我大概有五十公尺遠，我叫她幾次她都沒聽到，我就想我要怎樣讓她知道我在找她呢? 我就想了一下，那我也拍手好了，結果我拍了幾下她就好像有反應，我就繼續拍，拍到她轉過頭四處看看。 這時她就看到我了。所以我們持念觀音菩薩聖號也就是這樣。我們要和觀音菩薩相應，就是一心稱念觀音菩薩的聖號。
So how can we connect with Guan Yin Bodhisattva? One day I happened to be looking for a Dharma Master, and she was doing a clapping hands exercise. She was about fifty meters away from me; I called her several times, but she did not hear me. I was thinking how to make her to be aware of me? I thought for a moment, and then I decided to clap my hands, too. After I clapped for a few seconds, she seemed to hear me. And after a few minutes, she turned to look around, and then she saw me. So, upholding Guan yin Bodhisattva’s name is similar. If we want to connect with Guan Yin Bodhisattva, then it is said in the Sutra that we have to uphold his name single mindedly.
Gwan Shr Yin Bodhisattva is complete in both compassion and wisdom. His merititorious virtue and wisdom were achieved through the cultivation of kindness and compassion shown equally to all. As the Buddha says in the first part of the Viranga Sutra Spoken by the Buddha) [= the Chapter on Entering the Dharma Realm (Gandavyuha) of the Avatamsaka Sutra], “Good man, I have already accomplished the Dharma door of great compassion of the Viranga Samadhi. Good man, this Dharma door of great compassion of the Viranga Samadhi is the meritorious virtue and wisdom of all Bodhisattvas which a Bodhisattva cultivates.”
Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s thousand eyes have the light of contemplating wisdom; his thousand hands have the power to protect and assist. His thousand eyes represent the profound prajna wisdom. He illuminated the five skandhas and saw that they are all empty, and saw that there is nothing permanent—there is no self in this world. Therefore, he can cross beyond all suffering and difficulty. As ordinary people, we are still attached to the five skandhas, so we don’t understand that they are actually empty and thereby unreal. So, when we begin to react to objects, we will discriminate self and others. Only if one can attain the mark of no others and no self can one be able to take other’s suffering as one’s own. His thousand hands represent compassion, as part of practice on the Bodhisattva’s path. The Universal Door Chapter also mentions how Guan Yin Bodhisattva can bestow courage and dispel all fears. He gives fourteen kinds of fearlessness to help living beings avoid falling into the evil destinies, eradicating their karmic obstacles, bringing forth their compassion, and directing them to be born in the Land of Ultimate Bliss.
The “Sutra of the Buddha of Limitless Lifespan” identifies Guan Yin Bodhisattva and Great Strength Bodhisattva as Amita Buddha’s assistants in edifying all beings. Also, the tenth visualization of the “Visualization of Seeing the Real Body of Guan Yin,” explains that if a cultivator who attains the upper grade of lotus while he is passing away, he will see Amita Buddha, Guan Yin Bodhisattva, and Great Strength Bodhisattva appearing before him. Guan Yin Bodhisattva will hold a Golden Dais and stretch out a hand to receive him. Moreover, not only does Guan Yin Bodhisattva assist Amita Buddha to help living beings to be born in the Pure land, but also will be a Buddha who hosts theLandofUltimate Blissafter Amita Buddha entering Nirvana.
This Guan Yin session is the third one and the last one of this year. Hope everyone cherishes this rare opportunity: not only to help our own dharma body, but also to benefit of all living beings.