Universal Door Chapter Lecture 1 — the Many Faces of Compassion

Lectured by Rev. Heng Sure on April 2, 2021

(Reverend Heng Sure is playing the banjo) Good morning everybody! Good afternoon. Good evening. My name is Reverend Heng Sure. Today, we are going to launch a brand new lecture series focusing on Guan Yin Bodhisattva, the compassion being who regards the cries of the world and the Universal Door 普門品 of Guan Yin Bodhisattva, Chapter in the Lotus Sutra.  So, if that’s what you come to hear, you’re at the right place. Let us begin by putting our palms together.  I have a bell.  I’m going to make three half bows.  Say:

Namo Miau Jue Hui Shang Fo Pusa (3x) 




Namo Wan Fo Tang Shang Shang Xuan Xia Hua Lao He Shang (3x) 




I wanted to point out that if you wanted to hear a translation of this lecture in Chinese, there’s a way to do that.  Right there on your Control Panel, on the right hand corner, there’s a little button.  You can pick what language you want to listen to this lecture in.  Furthermore, if you want to hear a Vietnamese translation or if you have an elder at home who doesn’t really get along so well with Zoom or the computer, but would like to hear this lecture in Vietnamese, please help them by clicking on the link in the Chat Box.  Go to the Chat Box and you can find the link for listening to a Vietnamese translation. 如果大家想聽中文的話,就是普通話翻譯,有辦法,那個Zoom軟體右邊下邊有一個按鈕,你按了那個鈕你就可以選擇你想听的語文;還有越南話的翻譯,要看Chatbox那裡都會有一個Link就可以了. Alright, thank you to the volunteers who made it possible for folks to hear this lecture in the various languages.  Now, I’m going to take us directly into a slide show.  Today, we’re not going to enter into the 普門品, the Universal Gateway Chapter, Universal Door Chapter of the Lotus Sutra.  We’re going to talk about Guan Yin, Guan Shi Yin Pusa, Guan Yin Bodhisattva.  Here’s a slideshow that will help us kind of get oriented who is Guan Yin.  Anybody recognize this gate…this Hall?  It’s not a gate, that’s a Hall. This is the Buddha Hall of City of Ten Thousand Buddhas where because of Coronavirus, many of us have not been there over a year.  Folks, with enough blessings to live there full time, are there, can see this every day. 

Topic of this lecture: The Many Faces of Compassion 慈悲的不同面觀. The source of my knowledge about Guan Yin Bodhisattva is Master Hsuan Hua.  

In the Tang Dynasty, if you pass through 敦煌, the oasis on the Silk Road, way, way, way out in the West, amid the desert,甘肅, you would’ve gone to the library where the monks who lived there full time as opposed to the monks who were passing through on their camels, on their horses either going West to Rome or Persia or heading East to 長安 in China, if you’d gone into the library where the monks kept their books, you would have seen this hanging on the wall—this is a wall hanging. If you were a college student in the 60s and 70s, you had posters on your wall right? Well, the librarian at 敦煌 had this on his or her wall. How about that? 

Who is it? It’s 觀音菩薩 with a thousand hands, a thousand eyes, forty-two hands and eyes, beams of light radiating from her head and flames of her aura radiating for our body. How about that? That’s a woven wall hanging from the Tang Dynasty! If you go to a place called Montserrat Abbey above Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, and go into the the worship hall at Montserrat, a Benedictine Trappist Abbey Monastery, you see this figure: a wooden carving with a baby on her lap also carved out of wood, distinctly female holding a pearl or a ball in her hand, the child also has a ball, a pearl. And there’s actually a hole in the top that a flower can be put in, but it’s all gilded in gold and you say, “Wow, Guan Yin Bodhisattva! That’s amazing! Looks compassionate!” But it’s interestingly not what the Spanish Catholics call this image, they call her the Black Madonna, the Blessed Virgin Mother Mary. The many different faces of compassion. This is interesting! Who is it really? Is it the Blessed Virgin of Roman Catholicism? Is it Guan Yin Bodhisattva of Mahayana Buddhism? Interesting! 

Look at this lovely icon of mother and child. Interesting! Here’s a stained glass window, contemporary icon at Berkeley Buddhist monastery’s Buddha hall.

When the sun shines through, it is glorious! This is Guan Yin Bodhisattva carved on a pumpkin. Jack-o-lantern Guan Yin. Just beautiful! This has got to be a prize winning Jack-o-lantern and we know the artist. 

In the past, 在過去, 正法明如來發慈悲心 ….雖然已經證得究竟解脫, 他還捨不得眾生, 所以化菩薩身, 乘願再來尋聲救苦而顯現為:   誰?  大慈大悲觀世音菩薩。

In ages past, the Buddha Light of Proper Dharma, because of great compassion, and although s/he had already realized ultimate liberation from suffering, still cared enough for living beings, so that he made appear a Bodhisattva’s body and based on vows to listen to the voices of suffering returned as Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva. 

Ok. Stop right here. Let’s take a look. Let’s digest that.

I think the key line is: a Buddha who had already stripped away all the ignorance covering his or her nature, already realized ultimate liberation from suffering, decided not to stay in ultimate Mahaparinirvana, but used spiritual skill and made a Bodhisattva’s body appear because Buddhas can do that. And took on an identity and took on a function. And said “I’m going to come back and help to rescue living beings.” And the quality of that body and that identity was the ability to hear the sounds, to be able to listen to the voices of suffering and joy and return as the Awakened Being who Hears the Sounds of the World.

OK? So far so good?

Now the method that this Buddha transformed as Bodhisattva, the method she/he used was a sacred name, call the name, recite the name of Guan Yin Bodhisattva and from troubles you’ll be free. That’s the method, that’s how it works. So the name takes on a lot of importance. Doesn’t it? 

Look at that name. Guan Yin Pusa 觀音菩薩的名號. What is  Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s name in Sanskrit? Avalokiteshvara. What is Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s name in Tibetan? Chenrezig. What is Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s name in Korean? My pronunciation is horrible, Kuan Yin. How about in Vietnamese? Quán Thế Âm Bồ Tát. What about Cantonese? Gun Yam; What about Taiwanese? My pronunciation in Taiwanese, right? Kuan-im. What about Japanese? Kanseon, Kanseon Bosatsu, so desu ne. What about English? Well, probably Guan Yin, but maybe something like, the Awakened Being who Hears the Sounds of the Cries of the World, something like that.

Look at that. Interesting, right? Guan Yin’s name in Sanskrit Avalokiteshvara, Chenrezig, Quán Thế Âm, Gun Yam, Kanseon/Canon, Korean, Kuan Yin, English, Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva. Many, many names of Guan Yin, but look we have seven different languages, all of whom, all of which are reaching out for the Awakened Being of Great Compassion.

Guess what? 還有, there’s Guan Yin Pusa 觀音菩薩, there is Guan Shi Yin 觀世音 and also the shortened version, Guan Yin 觀音; there’s also 觀音娘娘, 觀音佛母; some people would say that’s a mistake, inaccurate and other people 觀音媽. So look at all these different names. How interesting!

Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva, Guan Yin, Guan Yin the Maiden, Guan Yin the Mother of All Buddhas, Holy Mother Guan Yin, so people have been needing, needing Guan Yin, wanting to have this being, “hear my cries,” and so we have to reach out to her and we’ve used a bunch of different names.

Guess what? There is more. There is the great, 就說阿彌陀佛的大弟子, right? The great disciple, the foremost disciple of the Buddha Amitabha, it’s 觀音菩薩. There is Guan Yin Bodhisattva with a thousand hands and a thousand eyes. There is Guan Yin Bodhisattva who bestows children and child to couples. All as one, that has a very special function much earned for, hard to reach this out, Guan Yin hears my sound, hears my calls, there is Avalokitesvara and also, Avalokita, right? All these different names, all these different identities, my goodness, people need Guan Yin, right? Amitabha’s disciple, Thousand-hand Guan Yin, Bestower of Children Guan Yin, She Who Contemplates At Ease, wow. Oh no, another, there is another list, you bet, 白衣大士, 魚籃觀音, 施無畏菩薩, 綠度母白度母, 聖母瑪利亞, 是不是佛教的一個神,不一定,我們不拒絕啦。So, who else, we have, White-robed Guan Yin, Fish-basket Guan Yin, Bestower of Courage, Green Tara, White Tara and controversially, The Blessed Virgin Mary, certainly we are not rejector, but we are not cooperator either, so how interesting, look at all these identities of Guan Yin, people reach out for these being we want Guan Yin. Pictures of a Catholic Saint, pictures of a Buddhist Saint, but more, more than a saint, right? How interesting, across over, right? Important to say here, probably say right at the start, we are not competing to see who owned Guan Yin first, that’s not what this is about, right? This is not hoping that the Catholic will give up the blessed virgins to the buddhists, not that. The fact we both have the systems of faiths that benefit living beings we both reach for this compassionate figure, when we need someone to listen to us.

Guess what? There is more. There is the Great Disciple, the Foremost Disciple of the Buddha Amitabha. That’s Guan Yin Pusa. There’s Guan Yin Bodhisattva with Thousand Hands and Thousand Eyes. There’s Guan Yin Bodhisattva who bestows children to unchilded couples, a very special function, very yearned for. My heart reaches out, Guan Yin Bodhisattva hears my calls. There is Avalokitesvara, and also Avalokita. All these different names, all these different identities. People need Guan Yin.

Amitabha’s disciples, Thousand-hand Guan Yin, Bestower of Children, She Who contemplate At Ease.

There is another list. 白衣大士, 魚籃觀音,施無畏菩薩,綠度母,白度母,聖母瑪利亞,是不是佛教的神?不一定,我們不拒絕。

Who else? We have White-robed Guan Yin, Fish-basket Guan Yin, Bestower of Courage, Green Tara, White Tara, and controversial, the Blessed Virgin Mary. We certainly won’t reject her, but we won’t cooperate her either. So how interesting! Look at all these identities! People reach out for this being, we want Guan Yin.

Pictures of the Catholic Saint, pictures of a Buddhist Saint. But more, more than a saint. How interesting! Crossover.

Important to say here, probably say it right at the start, we are not competing to see who owned Guan Yin first. That’s not what this is about. It is not hoping that the Catholic will give up the Blessed Virgin to the Buddhist, not that. In fact, we both have systems of faith that benefit living beings. We both reached for this compassionate figure when we need someone to listen to us.


The Compassionate Awakened One who Hears the Sounds of All Beings in the World.

Namo Guan Shi Yin Pusa 南無觀世音菩薩. Probably how the West will pick it up, because of why? Because we all can say this. Westerners can go, “Namo Guan Shi Yin.” We got Guan, Guan. ‘Guan’ we don’t really have as a sound; ‘Shi’ is like ‘sure thing’; ‘Yin’ is like ‘in and out’; ‘Pu sa’ ok. We can say these words. It is better than Avalokitesvara although those are sounds we can make, that’s too foreign. And the Awakened Beings Who can Hear Compassionate Awakened One can Hear the Sound. Too long. You got to have a name that you can come up with in a pinch, in a hurry, when needed, when panicking, when all hope is gone—Guan Yin Pusa. Namo Guan Shi Yin. Maybe the ‘Namo’ part we don’t remember, but “Guan Yin” we can do. 

Ok now, take a look at this list here. 

This is a list of places in the Mahayana 汉传 tradition, Chinese tradition of Buddhism, where Guan Yin Bodhisattva appears, where we meet Guan Yin in the sutras. 我们在哪一些大乘经典现認識观世音菩萨? 法华经普门品,陀罗尼经,楞严经,耳根圆通法门,华嚴经,善财童子会,地藏经,般若心经. 

Where in Mahayana sutras do we meet Guan Yin Bodhisattva? In the Lotus Sutra: Universal Door chapter – we’re going to be looking into that – starting now. The Dharani Sutra, Shurangama Sutra with the Returning the hearing to listening to the Nature. Avatamsaka Sutra, Good Wealth Sudhana the Bodhisattva, encounters Guan Yin as one of his fifty-two teachers. Earth Store Bodhisattva, next to the last chapter, has a meeting with Guan Yin. Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra when Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva was practicing profound prajna paramita, looked down from on high, saw all dharmas, they were empty. 

How else do we access Guan Yin Bodhisattva? We got the name; we know where Guan Yin appears; we know that Guan Yin was a Buddha in the past; how did this Buddha transform into a Bodhisattva, hope to help? What was Guan Yin’s method now? The method that she gave was not just one. There were many; there were multiple methods. The first one on the screen says 寻声救苦 – Pursuing sounds or voices she rescues us from suffering. Guan Yin saves us from seven kinds of difficulties; liberates us from three kinds of poisons; fulfills two different wishes. Takes us; rescues us from fourteen kinds of fear; and explains nineteen different specific Buddha dharmas. Where is this? This is from the Chapter of the Lotus sutra that we’re going to be looking into right away. This is all from the 法华经普门品 from the Universal Door Chapter of Lotus.

Furthermore, Guan Yin appears in 32 different bodies. That’s remarkable! Take a look. Guan Yin Bodhisattva hears our cries, hears our sounds, not just the sad ones also the happy ones. She hears them, she contemplates and perceives our need for help, to saves us from seven troubles, purges three poisons, fulfills two wishes for boys or girls, ends fourteen kinds of fears, speaks Dharma in nineteen ways, and miraculously makes appear thirty-two transformation bodies, 化身 response bodies. This is how Guan Yin Bodhisattva in the Lotus Sutra, Universal Door Chapter, all of these methods appear in the 普門品 that we are going to study. 

Look at that, I mean, what are you doing with your Friday afternoon, with your Saturday morning, what have you got on your plate today? What Guan Yin Bodhisattva gave herself some work to do? Said, “yeah, I’ll find a way. I’ll find a way to help.” These are where people suffer and I can find a way to end those sufferings. Here’s how. 

You are looking at Doug Powers there in the foreground, who has the story about the rescue that Guan Yin Bodhisattva can do. Doug, against advice, nobody has ever stopped Doug from an adventure. Doug was on an adventure, he was in Terengganu, East Malaysia, East coast of Western Malaysia and he wanted to go K2, the mountain, and climb it; he wanted to get up to Nepal and climb K2. Against advice, he got up there and he fell off K2 or was pushed off, not clear. Landed on the rock ledge, didn’t fall into a crevasse and vanished, but he landed on a rock ledge, broke many bones in his body and spent the next couple days conversing with Guan Yin Bodhisattva who kept him alive.

His consciousness left his body, he was looking back at his broken body on this rock ledge snowstorm on K2 and remarkably, as the Royal Nepali Air Force helicopter lifted him off the ridge and got him back on a plane to the Stanford hospital where the doctors repaired his bones, Doug’s faith in Guan Yin Bodhisattva reached a place that has never wavered. So personal stories of rescue from Guan Yin. Some of these individuals in the photo people will recognize like Nipun, for example, Nipun Mehta, David Rounds and other friends. 

So Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s practices, these ways to access Guan Yin are called Dharma Methods of Great Compassion, 大悲法門,觀世音菩薩的大悲法門,尋聲救苦,有求必應,持名念聖號,誦持大悲咒,禮拜大悲懺,耳根圓通法門,修持四十二手眼,頌持普門品. 

So Guan Yin Bodhisattva said, “Here are ways to access this…what I’m hoping to offer you, you have to ask for it, but if you do, here’s how I want to help you: recite Guan Yin’s many names, pick a language; recite the Great Compassion Mantra; bow the Great Compassion Repentance Ceremony; return the hearing to listen to the nature; cultivate the 42 Hands and Eyes; recite the Universal Door Chapter of the Lotus Sutra. Look at all these different methods. So we heard about the ways in the 普門品 within one chapter that Guan Yin Bodhisattva saves from troubles, grants wishes, banishes fear, etc, but outside of the 普門品, outside of the Universal Door Chapter, there are other methods as well—recite Guan Yin’s name, Namo Guan Shi Yin Pusa; probably the most common, the most widely used;  the mantra, “Na Mwo He La Da Nwo Dwo La Ye Ye,” right, the Great Compassion Mantra; the 大悲懺 Da Bei Chan, bow everyday at City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. Many people, many individuals do it themselves at home in their own personal space. You don’t need a big Buddha Hall to bow the Great Compassion Repentance; you can do it right wherever you are. The method beloved by Chan practitioners, meditationers, meditation practitioners worldwide is this marvelous method; Manjushri Bodhisattva identifies this method as the most useful for beings in this age—using the ear. Use your ability to listen with your ear. Turn it around to listen to your own nature, and in the Shurangama Sutra, it’s step by step, he explains it. Then there’s this esoteric method called the 四十二手眼, the 42 Hands and Eyes, which is connected to the Great Compassion Mantra. And there is reciting Sutras 普門品 memorizing. 

Great Compassion’s Practices 

Reciting Guan Yin’s names

Reciting the  Great Compassion Mantra

Bowing the Great Compassion Repentance

Returning the hearing to listen to the nature

Cultivating the 42 Hands and Eyes

Reciting the Universal Door Chapter from memory

Recite the name and mantra of Amitabba.

Recite the name and mantra of Amitabha Buddha will also connect you with Guan Yin, or

Om Mani Palme Hum, Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s six-syllable mantra, that will do it too.

Look at all those different ways of accessing Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s compassion. Okay, how universal Guan Yin Pu Sa 是多麼遠,多麼普遍? How far does Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s compassion go? Well, Burma, Myanmar, 普陀山 in the East China Sea, Saigon, Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, and Burlingame, California, and your heart, that’s how far. So let’s do that one, Guan Yin’s Bodhisattva Universality (PowerPoint slide): Santa Barbara, that’s different; it’s not what it said in Chinese. 

Traveling in 1983 to Pagan, Burma, certainly without any question thoroughly, thoroughly Theravada, Pali-based Buddhist place, amid the many 1100 stupas in Pagan, we found the Ananda pagoda, the Ananda stupa, there was an image of Guan Yin Bodhisattva, and we thought, “Wow, Guan Yin really gets around.” To have Guan Yin Bodhisattva turns up in Burma, in Myanmar. Potola mountain people know their stories there, I’ll save them for now.

Question here: 如何才能證得同體大悲? 首先要認識身體四大成分,地大,水大,火大,風大. How does one realize something called “same body, great compassion or identity in physical makeup, great compassion?” First, we have to acknowledge the four elements of the body: earth, water, fire, wind or air. “Same-body Great Compassion” is a name, very useful, this is worth knowing.  

“Same-body, Great Compassion”, another way to say it is, “identity in substance”, “physical identity.” Every body, everyone’s body, the body that we all, each of us, possess can be analyzed back into four elements, solid parts, liquid parts, moisture, warmth, and spaces, air: earth, water, fire, air, four elements, everyone who’s ever been born, your great great great great great grandmother and mine and your great great great great great grandchild, in the future, will also be made of these four elements. The white-sulfur-crested cockatoo outside my window at this moment has earth, air, fire, and water in her makeup and the brush-turkey who’s walking along honking also, all creatures from earthworms to whales to eagles share earth, air, fire, and water, the same, isn’t that true? 

So here’s the earth element, the same in all living beings, here’s the earth element, the what? the water, the liquid parts, nobody has a different makeup, all the same, what else? The warmth, we call it centigrade, we call it Fahrenheit, the fire, the same in every living being; and the space, the hair pores, the hollowness of the bones, the same in every living being, air element in the lungs, in the molecules, most molecules are space, so how interesting. Since it’s all the same, a question arises: What is really different? What is really different? You could say the inner part, the part that isn’t made up of earth, air, fire, and water, the soul, the nature, the Holy Ghost, what do we call it?

Now the 這個是大家要聽聽看. Recall the strength of Guan Yin, I have a couple stories here, and one of the best, one of the best ways that Guan Yin Bodhisattva appears to us is through when we practice those methods that we’ve been just looking at. So I was a college professor, graduate class at UC Berkeley’s seminary, North Campus called Graduate Theological Union, GTU. 

This is a seminary that connects to UC Berkeley. And in my Buddhist Christian dialogue class, here was a Catholic nun. She was Vietnamese. Her name was Sister Mary Pham, and she told a story. We introduced ourselves in the class and everybody talked about their spiritual journey. 

She said, well, you’re probably all wondering why as a Vietnamese person I’m a Catholic nun, she said. Well, I was raised Buddhist like everyone in Vietnam. And she said, my mother was really really devout. She was a faithful Buddhist. She connected to Guan Yin Bodhisattva, oh, Quan The Am Bo Tat. And when the Republic of Vietnam lost to the North in 1975, when America retreated, many of us wanted to leave, and that was hard to do. There was a way, however, and the method was there were boats and if you could collect a certain amount of gold because the money wasn’t worth anything, paper money, but the gold, the gold was still valuable. If you collected enough gold and you knew where to go and you knew somebody who had a boat, you could show up and negotiate a place on the boat for a certain amount of gold. Well, I was the youngest. I actually had a sister who was just a little older, but I was the more mature one. And we had two brothers above us. So I was, out of four kids, I was the youngest. 

And my mother sets her heart to getting us all out of Vietnam. And so she scraped together enough gold and started with her oldest son, and she found a boat leaving. She learned how to do it. She packed my oldest brother some food and an image of Guan Yin and recitation beads, took him down to the dock at night, and the boat that was designed to hold a hundred and fifty people had three hundred people on it. And it was so low in the water and the Captain was torn because he knew he might sink, but he couldn’t resist collecting more gold so he kept packing people on. 

My mother had to decide: risk it or not. So she thought Guan Yin would protect him and she put my brother on the boat, gave the Captain the gold and went home and started to pray. And she prayed Namo Quan The Am Bo Tat, Namo Quan The Am Bo Tat. 寻声救苦 Namo Guan Shi Yin Pusa Namo 救苦救难 Guan Shi Yin Pusa. I return my life to the Awakened Being who Hears the Sounds of the World and Saves us from Suffering and Disaster and Trouble. 

She recited, said Sister Mary, oh she recited and she recited. She bowed and she recited and she was so sincere and of course, we didn’t hear anything. My mother didn’t take that as a defeat. She continued to recite. She recited, she recited for seven months that way. And we got a letter from a camp in the Philippines saying, “Mom, I’m safe. I’m going to be picked up by the United Nations and sent overseas. I can go to Canada or Australia or to the U.S. Where should I go?” 

Oh, my mother was so happy; she cried and cried. She said Guan Yin Bodhisattva is so compassionate, right? And then guess what? She started on my second brother, she gets the gold. So Sister Mary said that’s why I believe in Guan Yin. And she said there’s more and more like everybody’s at the edge of their seats now hearing these stories. She said my uncle was sick. My uncle was a farmer. He lived out in a village outside of Saigon. And oh, was it dangerous because the fighting was still going on. 

And she said my mother resolved that she was going to get medicine out to her brother, my uncle. And everyone said don’t be foolish, how can you possibly get out and back safely? My mother said, I believe in Quan The Am Bo Tat. Yeah, but you’re putting your life on the line. So, because we had to – there was nobody to take care of her daughter, she took her two daughters with her – me and my sister. And we went out on a bus and we could hear shells exploding, machine guns going off on all sides, but the bus made it to the village. And we went running from the bus stop into where my uncle’s home was and he wasn’t there. 

There was no one home. And so as we were looking high and low for my uncle, we heard coming down the street sound of machine guns. We heard the – there were active soldiers, military combatants coming down the street. So my mother lifted a rug off the floor and opened a trap door that was on the floor. Took me and my sister, stuffed us down there. There was just enough room for the two of us. She put the trap door back. She covered it with a rug and sat down in full lotus on top of the floor and was reciting Namo Quan The Am Bo Tat 救苦救難觀世音菩薩. I return my life and find refuge in the Awakened Being with Great Compassion who Saves us from Suffering and Difficulties. She recited and she was just over our heads. We could hear and feel our mother’s sincerity. 

And just as the sounds of the active military combat came over our heads, we heard a male voice, commanding male voice saying, “keep moving, don’t stop, move on down, keep going. This commanding male voice sounded like a military captain or someone in charge. Keep moving, don’t stop.” And sure enough, the machine guns and the explosions passed by and left the village. And when it was quiet, my mother yanked the rug up and lifted the trapdoor and pulled us out and hugged us and said, “Now, do you believe how compassionate Guan Yin is?”

We’re in the classroom listening to Sister Mary tell the story about Guan Yin’s rescues. She said, “that’s why I believe in Guan Yin Bodhisattva.” But, but your brother made it out. She said, “Oh no, no, five years ago, we had a family reunion. My mother, my father, my sister and both brothers, we’re all in L.A. safe. Her faith got us all out, safely.” She said, “Yeah.” And then we said, “But Sister Mary, why are you a Catholic nun?” She said, “it’s because I believe in Guan Yin Bodhisattva.” What?! Okay. Deep faith. Namo Guan Shi Yin Pusa. Alright, so how about that?

Here is Shrfu, Master Hsuan Hua, rescuing pigeons in Gold Mountain Monastery. Pigeons that, after Liberating Life, wouldn’t fly away. Shrfu, in his compassion said, “we have to extend that compassion to all beings.” 

This is a picture that was painted from a photograph. Someone said this was a photograph taken outside an F-86 Fighter Jet above Taiwan. An American fighter pilot based in Taiwan in the 1970s, looked out his window, this fighter jet, during a storm saw this image. Some people go, “absolutely, I believe it.” Others go, “hmm, maybe.” Does that stretch the bounds of your credulity? Well, take a look at that. This was taken out of 普陀山, Mount Portala, traditionally said to be Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s home in the South China Sea. Two islands: 普陀 and 珞珈. And somebody turned the camera on a very interesting set of clouds at sunset. What about that? What do you make of that? Is that just an ordinary sunset? Or is that something different? Some people instantly believed. Others just, hmm, much more to learn. 

Guan Yin Bodhisattva at the Atkins Library in Kansas City, the Atkins Museum.

Guan Yin Bodhisattva with a mustache. Various incarnations of Guan Yin have been male, but is she male, is she female, is she beyond gender? Some said that in India, Guan Yin was a male; she came to China she became female. This is Guan Yin Bodhisattva right here below me, Gold Coast Dharma Realm. 

Guan Yin Bodhisattva with a fish basket. It’s a great story. Traditional story. 

Guan Yin Bodhisattva with a white robe. Much beloved. 

This is photoshop Guan Yin. White Tara. Photoshop Guan Yin. Green Tara. 

This is Tibetan version, Chenrezig. Green Tara. White Tara. 

Native American Guan Yin. 

So what do we make of all this? 

I think it’s that humanity needs this compassionate being. Whether it’s the Blessed Virgin, whether it’s Guan Yin Bodhisattva, however we conceive of her, we reach for someone gentle, someone strong, someone who can hear us and who responds — Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva. 

And as our series continues, we’re going to be turning to a text called The Universal Door Chapter 普门品 from the Lotus Sutra, Chapter 25. And in that Chapter, it tells the details of this Awakened Being. And in that Chapter, it tells the details of this Awakened Being. 

Guan Yin Bodhisattva also appears in songs, in literature, in theater. Guan Yin Bodhisattva appears when needed in whatever form we need. We’re going to discover in the universal door, the 普門品 that when Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s ability includes appearing in different forms so as needed. Guan Yin Bodhisattva can appear to help us crossover from whatever ails us. 

So, the question from Anhui 安徽 is: why did Sister Mary become a catholic nun when she was devoted to Guan Yin? We asked her the same question. I told the story and I left it deliberately open like that because it didn’t make sense to us either, but she said and clearly there was more into the story. It may have been that, she has been promised by her mother at a certain age to a local catholic church or she volunteered at a catholic church and wound up, you know , taking the rope? It wasn’t clear, but there was more to the story than we knew and it seemed funny to us too. Why did you become a catholic nun? “Because I loved Guan Yin Bodhisattva so much”. 聽不懂,don’t know, don’t know the answer, seemed like a mystery too, but we don’t want to fight if she could serve Guan Yin in clothes of the Catholic nun, so be it. There’s no fundamental fight between the religions. 

More to come stay tuned, thank you for joining. Please get your vaccine shot when chance comes up, don’t wait, thousand people a day are still dying, and that’s inconceivable to us now, but it’s happening. 

So, let’s transfer the merit to all beings who can hear the sound of our chanting. I have a sickened ailing cockatoo, two of them in fact, here, beautiful large white birds who contracted a disease, taking their lives. Hope that they can be reborn successfully safely in Amitabha’s Pure Land. Alright, here we go.

Please make that wish to transfer merit.

Om namo bhagavate bhaisajyaguru

Vaidurayaprabharajaya tathagataya

Arhate samyaksambuddhaya tadyatha: om

Bhaisajye bhaisajye bhaisajya samudgate svaha om


Thanks for joining everyone. Look forward to seeing you next week. Stay tuned and turn your hearts to Guan Yin Bodhisattva. Amituofo. Namo Guan Shi Yin Pusa. See you all next week. 

Contributors of this transcribing this lecture:

Annie Tran, Yan Ming, Bernie Moloney, Vera Cristofani, Thuy Bui, Susan Chai, Bach Nguyen, Peggy Yeh, Hong Anh Nguyen, Xuanlan Pang, L. Lau

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