Universal Door Chapter Lecture 8 – helping in the midst of seven difficulties (Part 4)

Lectured by Rev. Heng Sure on May 14, 2021

(Dharma Master Heng Sure opens up playing and singing, Namo Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva)

Namo Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva

Namo Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva

Namo Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva

Namo Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva

Guan Yin Bodhisattva

Guan Yin Bodhisattva

Guan Yin Bodhisattva

Guan Yin Bodhisattva

Guan Yin Bodhisattva

Guan Yin Bodhisattva

Guan Yin Bodhisattva

Guan Yin Bodhisattva

Guan Yin Bodhisattva

Guan Yin Bodhisattva

Namo Guan Shi Yin Pusa

Good early morning to everybody over here on this side of the planet. Good afternoon to everyone else who’s over yonder. Good evening, those of you in Europe and friends where the sun is set. Hope all is well. My name is Reverend Heng Sure. It is Saturday the 15th of May here in Queensland, Australia. And it is probably Friday the 14th of May if you’re over in California and other parts of the world. 非常歡迎大家 Fēicháng huānyíng dàjiā, 早安  Zǎo ān, 很早 Hěn zǎo. It’s very early here in Taiwan, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, wherever you’re listening from and we’re about to launch into a discussion of the Universal Gateway Chapter of the Lotus Flower Sutra, the Dharma Flower.

So, in order to get us going today, I have a handbell here, I’m going to ring my bell three times and from where I’m sitting I’m going to make three half bows and I’m going to ask Bui Thuy  who wants to volunteer to do our Dharma Request to request the Dharma. So here’s the bell;  let’s do three half bows. (Dharma Master Heng Sure rings the bell three times)

And here’s the text; let’s bring this up. And click one time. 

Alright. Thuy Bui, if would you like to make the Dharma Request? Please do it now.

Thuy Bui says: Amituofo. Good morning, Dharma Master Heng Sure! Dharma Masters and friends, Aunty and I work from Vietnam and today we make our Dharma Request.

 恭     請   大  德   僧    聽,

Gōng qǐng dà  dé  sēng tīng,

 為   此 法 會 及 一 切     眾       生.

wèi  cǐ   fǎ huì jí  yī  qiè zhòng shēng. 

  請     轉     妙   法 輪   教   導  我   們,

qǐng zhuǎn miào fǎ lún jiào dǎo wǒ men, 

如 何  了     生     脫  死 離 苦  得樂,

rú  hé liǎo shēng tuō   sǐ  lí   kǔ dé lè, 

速    證    無    生。

sù zhèng wú shēng.

Will the Sanga with great virtue,

Out of compassion,

For the sake of this assembly

And all living beings,

Please turn the wonderful Dharma-wheel,

To teach us how to leave suffering,

And attain bliss,

And end birth and death and

Quickly realize Non-birth.

[Rev. Heng Sure]

Namo Tassa Bhagavato, Arahato, Samma Sambuddhassa

[Thuy Bui]

Namo Tassa Bhagavato, Arahato, Samma Sambuddhassa

[Rev. Heng Sure]

Homage to the Blessed, Noble, and Perfectly Enlightened one

[Thuy Bui]

Homage to the Blessed, Noble, and Perfectly Enlightened one

[Rev. Heng Sure]

南  無  薩  怛    他

Na mo Sa Dan Tuo 

蘇   伽   多  耶

Su Qie Duo Ye 

阿 喇 訶 帝

E  La He Di 

 三     藐    三  菩  陀   寫

San Miao San Pu Tuo Xie

[Thuy Bui]

南  無  薩  怛    他

Na mo Sa Dan Tuo 

蘇   伽   多  耶

Su Qie Duo Ye 

阿 喇 訶 帝

E  La He Di 

 三     藐    三  菩  陀   寫

San Miao San Pu Tuo Xie

[Rev. Heng Sure]

          開    經  偈 

          Kāi  jīng jì

  無   上      甚    深    微    妙  法

Wú shàng shèn shēn wéi miào fǎ 

  百  千    萬  劫  難   遭    遇

 bǎi qiān wàn jié nàn  zāo  yù

我   今  見    聞  得  受    持   

Wǒ jīn jiàn wén dé shòu chí 

 願    解   如  來   真    實  義

yuàn jiě   rú   lái  zhēn shí  yì

       Verse for Opening a Sutra

Supreme and wondrous Dharma, subtle and profound,

Rarely is encountered throughout billions of eons.

But now we see it, hear it and accept it reverently;

May we truly understand the Buddha’s actual meaning.

好 (Hǎo),Okay, thanks very much [Thuy Bui] all the way from Hanoi, Vietnam, which is wonderful to be able to bring the globe together from North Vietnam to Southeastern Queensland to Northern California to Poland, all around the planet.

Here’s the Chinese:

善男子,若有無量百千萬億眾生受諸苦惱,聞是觀世音菩薩,一心稱名,觀世音菩薩,Ruò you wú liang bai qian wàn yi zhong sheng shòu zhu ku nao

即時觀其音聲,皆得解脫 (Jíshí guān qí yīn shēng, jiē dé jiětuō)

If there are living beings who experience all kinds of troubles and the Chinese goes “一心” — “one heart one mind devotedly,” translates “single-mindedly,” translates “with all their hearts call (her) name,” translates “一心稱名” (Yīxīn chēng míng). What happens? 即時觀其音聲,皆得解脫 (Jíshí guān qí yīn shēng, jiē dé jiětuō), she will hear your cries right then and she will set you free. In other words, Guan Yin Bodhisattva is who you turn to on the spot when you’re in trouble. That’s how it works. This is the engine, the drives, the whole chapter and all these stories. Today, we have a story from the Liang 梁 (Liáng) dynasty, which is a long time ago and we have a story from 1977, which is not so long ago so time collapses when we’re talking about Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva.

So what does it mean here? Let’s dive down into this sentence: it’s 一心稱名 (Yīxīn chēng míng). That’s the power center right there: one mind, one heart recite her name. Call her name. I thought we should practice EVEN IF it’s once a week like during these lectures when folks get encouraged and get poked and get prodded and get reminded and get teased into reciting Guan Yin’s name. Once a week is better than never, right? And once a week becomes try it out in a quiet moment, try it out in the car at the traffic light and try it out when you’re trying to be patient—somebody’s testing your patience, maybe it’s your kids, maybe it’s your neighbors, maybe it’s your mother—testing your patience and right then you go, what do you do? You go:


Namo Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva

Namo Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva

Namo Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva

Namo Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva

Namo Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva

Guan Yin Bodhisattva

Guan Yin Bodhisattva

Guan Yin Bodhisattva

Guan Yin Bodhisattva

Guan Yin Bodhisattva

Guan Yin Bodhisattva

Guan Yin Bodhisattva

Guan Yin Bodhisattva

Guan Yin Bodhisattva

Guan Yin Bodhisattva

Something like that. If that’s one way you’d like to do, good; it works, but it doesn’t have to be. You can do it in all kinds of ways. You can recite Guan Yin’s name in Vietnamese. She speaks Vietnamese. You can recite Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s name in French and Guan Yin une se parler de français.  The point is to have that available to you on the spot. So, when you need it, when you need it, you can reach for GuanYin’s name, and all that goodness is there, all those hands, right? 

Now, let’s look at our text today. Here is our Sutra. Last week, we heard a story from the Song dynasty about 永明延壽 Yǒngmíng Yánshòu, Ming! Ming Dynasty, the Great Chan Master 永明延壽 Yǒngmíng Yánshòu. His response when he had been unjustly accused of a crime of corruption and theft and it was totally, totally a setup; it was just somebody else’s jealousy. And when the Great Master was put in jail, and then brought out to the executioner, all he did was recite. And the executioner who turned out to be a kind-hearted person, at least a person with a conscience, noticed that this official, this lofty paragon, this elder in the community was unafraid, but was only reciting. He swung his sword, and there was a voice that said, “Stop!” He went to the authorities and told them and they said that this has been a setup; we knew it all along. Don’t chop his head off. And 永明延壽 Yǒngmíng Yánshòu at that point, having been given a reprieve, guess what he thought about? He thought about becoming a monk and devoting his whole life to Guan Yin. So, yeah. 

That was last week. So,  this week, what do we have? Right here, this whole page. I’m going to read this entire episode in Chinese first.

People want to follow along with me. I’m going to put my palms together. These are the Buddha’s words in the Lotus Sutra. Here we go:


Ruò sān qiān dà qiān guó dù  mǎn zhōng yuàn zéi


yǒu yī shāng zhǔ  jiāng zhū shāng rēn  jī chí zhòng bǎo  jīng guò xiăn lù  


qí zhōng yī rén zuò shì chàng yán  


zhū shàn nán zǐ  wù dé kǒng bù


rǔ děng yīng dāng  yī xīn chēng guàn shì yīn pú sà míng hào


shì pú sà néng yi wú wèi shī yú zhòng shēng


rǔ děng ruò chēng míng zhě yú cǐ yuàn zéi  dāng dé jiě tuō


zhòng shāng rén wén  jù  fā shēng yán ná mó guān shì yīn pú sà chēng qí míng gù   jí dé jiě tuō


wú jìn yì   guān shì yīn pú sà mó hē sà wēi shén zhī lì   wéi wéi rú shì

Ready for the English:

Suppose vicious thieves in legions that

could fill a three-fold, great thousand-world system 

infested a perilous road along which 

a merchant chief guides a trader’s caravan

laden with precious jewels.

If one man among them proclaims: “Good Men, do not be afraid! With all your hearts invoke the name of Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva, the Enlightened One Who Gives Courage to All Beings! If we beseech this Bodhisattva, we will surely escape these thieves.”

Upon hearing this exhortation, if all the traders in unison cry out, ‘Namo Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva!’

By virtue of calling out Guan Shi Yin’s name, they will immediately go free.

Infinite Resolve! How imposing is the awesome spiritual power of the Great Bodhisattva Who Listens to the Sounds of All the World!

Okay, there’s our text. What a beautiful text! This is still part of the Lotus Sutra chapter that reads like an adventure story, right? This reads like a novel. It’s so real, and it gives us a hypothetical situation where merchants, business people, travelers, peddlers are on the road, out on the road. When we think of the Silk Road, we think of caravans, camels, ships of the desert, camels.

Feed them a little water and they can go a long way. They can take the heat. Ah, well in  DunHuang (敦煌),   beyond Gangsu (甘肅), out in  Xingjiang (新疆). In DunHuang, there’s one of the exhibits that shows you what it’s like to ride a camel, and I guess that might even be camels to ride on,  but they show you the motion of riding on a camel. Camels have this very funny gait traveling over the sand for long distances, in the middle of the heat. And it’s like a rocking chair, only that it’s a couple of dimensions. It’s not just back and forth. It’s down and back and forth and down, riding on a camel. There’s even rhythms in the music of the area. That is the camel walk rhythm, and whatever the string instrument they’re playing, maybe it’s the.. what is it? Could it be the sarod,  maybe the zither?  It’s a rhythm that imitates the walk of the camel.  So, that’s one kind of travelers’ reality, peddler. 

When I get on airplanes, and I haven’t, thank goodness! forever since the virus. The last airplane I was on brought me here to Brisbane and didn’t have to get on another one. I’m not a fan of airplanes anymore. It’s been.. I had my share. When you’re sitting in an airport waiting room and you’re looking around, and steady constant number of the folks sitting in those plastic chairs are business people. People who leave their home and go out for extended times to do what?  To bring their goods to other people from far away who will look at those goods and go, ‘Oh, I’ll give you money, you give me your goods and we do business; we buy and sell merchants,’ right? And people who run the marketplace, but it’s not a marketplace where you come,  it’s a travelers marketplace because why? Stuff from faraway looks better than the stuff close at hand. 

So you pay money for the stuff that comes from far away. It’s called what? Rare. Rare goods. Valuables. 稀有難得之獲—Stuff that’s hard to come by. We want that. That’s how the marketplace works, and human nature. It’s the way we are. So the people in between who travel, what else thrives because of this habit in people? Hotels, inns. Innkeepers make their living on money paid to them by merchants who need a room for the night. They’re going to travel on and do their lonely job. Bringing stuff over there, bringing stuff back. And the money in between. So lots of airport bars keep their seats warmed by men and women whom mostly men I think,— certainly in the old days,are on the road bringing their samples, bringing their wares with  the hope that someone will want them. That’s the merchant’s life.

I’ve been traveling on a single airline for so long as a monk. Monks are kind of companions to those merchants. What are we bringing? We’re bringing Dharma! Something from very close at hand, something from inside your heart, but what do they say? 遠來的和尚能講經 — the monk who comes from afar really knows how to speak the Dharma. Same thing, same principle, which is: things that are uncommon seem more valuable because they’re rare. Monks are often in those waiting rooms because I traveled a lot to speak the Dharma. So, I got to go into a lounge because of the airlines that I patronized. Sitting in the lounge, you see the merchants with their laptops, crack open their laptops, catch the call, and say, “Buy! Sell. Buy. Sell.” “I promise—.” “Well, they didn’t deliver.” “Well, it’s coming. Soon. Soon, we’ll have it soon.” That’s the life. 

It just occurred to me that while I never wanted to be a merchant buying and selling; it’s interesting that traditionally on pretty much every camel train, every caravan going across the deserts on the Silk Route, you would find monks and nuns— mostly monks— who were travelers. So monks are the companions of those merchants often, often.

So here’s our hypothetical story: suppose there was a merchant chief who’s taking a caravan and, oh, they’ve got stuff worth stealing, they’ve got precious jewels and they’re heading that long, perilous road because where there’s the yang, there’s also the yin. Where there’s the form, there’s also the shadow. What is the shadow? Shadow is, uh! there is valuable goods covering the road, there are thieves who want to take those goods away and steal them and make them their own. Their only strength is the strength of their arm and the sharpness of their blades. So, oh boy, talk about a cottage industry, generating supporting disciplines. Where there are merchants,  there are thieves; where there’s a marketplace, there are pickpockets, right? Yeah, there are bandits so, wow, you see the traders caravan and there in the shadows are the bandits. And this merchant chief has a good reputation. He’s one upon whom others can rely. 

So what does he say? He says, “good man, here’s my power weapon, this is my super weapon,” he says, “勿得恐怖 (wù dé kǒng bù),  汝等應當一心稱觀世音菩薩名號 (rǔ děng yīng dāng  yī xīn chēng guàn shì yīn pú sà míng hào).” He says: “don’t be afraid, with all your hearts invoke the name, Guan Yin Bodhisattva.” Then he says something different here:

“是菩薩能以無畏施於眾生,shì pú sà néng yi wú wèi shī yú zhòng shēng

This Bodhisattva can give courage to living beings.” 

Isn’t that interesting? This is the first time in the 普門品 Pǔ mén pǐn that Guan Yin Bodhisattva has been given this name of the Bestower of Courage. A Bodhisattva who gives fearlessness, who takes your fear away. Ah, that’s good! A Bodhisattva who 施無畏菩薩 (shī wú wèi pú sà) , a Bodhisattva who gives courage. So this is one of Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s identities.

Buddhism is neat. The  Buddhadharma understands where we live, understands how people work. And one of the things that people do, one of the things that we do is we get afraid. We think of all the words in the English language, all the words in Chinese, all the words in French, Vietnamese, Polish that are dedicated to fear and overcoming fear. 

Wow, this is really part of humanity is the reality that we have anxiety—all along the spectrum of kinds of fear to terror —and along with that comes paralysis, trembling. Fear gets into our bodies; it’s so our minds are prey to fear. So knowing that, Buddhism, the faith that people want talks directly to that fear and finds a way to remove it. 

Can you imagine the Prince Siddhartha going over the fence, going over the palace wall, and subjecting himself to every, every kind of danger in the woods, in the bush, in the forest, in the mountains? Oh, my goodness, there was everything that could hurt his body from eating it by tigers, to sticking it with poisonous thorns, to drowning it in rainstorms, thunderstorms, right, to starving it if he couldn’t find food. There was no security whatsoever. And in the face right looking directly at that fear, the Prince was able to find the courage that allowed him to cultivate for six years until he woke up. That’s scary. There’s no guarantee, there’s no security when you’re out from under your palace walls, whatever kinds of security you have. My goodness!

I listened to a podcast that brings me news a couple of times a week, and one of their sponsors is security safe, it’s a website that you in half an hour they promise that you can set up your own sensors and they send you a free security camera. And that security camera has a titanium gate that shuts down so you know it’s not spying on you. Your security camera is a danger to you cause it’ll be spying on you letting other people seeing your house. Oh, we were safe until we put the security camera in.  Now everyone can see inside. Oh no, the thing that was keeping us safe is now in danger. We are concerned in a dangerous world. That’s just the way it is.  So this service that was advertised in the podcast, tying itself in a knot trying to keep people safe.  Oh my goodness. That’s where we are. 

Guan Yin Bodhisattva goes directly to the thing that feels the fear, which is our minds and tells us not to be afraid. Don’t be afraid.  Just recite Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s name and she will allow you to escape those things. How about that? That’s a useful religion. Alright? We’ll call it religion for the purposes of this conversation. That’s helpful when your faith allows you to go directly to the source of fear And can deal with it right there, you got a good system. So, Guan Yin Bodhisattva, one of her basic identities is Awaken Being Who Bestows Courage.  She gives you courage.  How do you do it?  


Namo Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva  

Namo Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva  

You recite. You have to do your part. You have to call on Guan Yin.  If you do, it will work. Right? There are ..this is interesting. Now, the 普門品 Pǔ mén pǐn here gives us the story of merchants, right? These are business men and women. Business people who have to hit the road to do business. To earn a living.  Well, the road is dangerous.  There are thieves out there. What do we have above? We have rakshasas . We have yakshas . Well, if you put your body out there where the rakshasas  and yakshas live, you’re endangered. Aren’t you? 

How interesting! As I read this, I thought, where did I hear that before?  Concern for those folks, that part of human society that hits the road in order to do business to make a living, I thought, I heard of that…  where’s that? Oh yeah, my goodness!  It was the Avatamsaka Sutra.  Look at this.  大方廣佛華嚴經 (Dà Fāng Guǎng Fó Huá Yán Jīng), the Chapter called, the 入法界品  Rù Fǎ Jiè Pǐn, Chapter 39.  We have Sudana Pilgrim who meets a ship captain whose name is Vaira.  The City is called Pavilion. The 22nd Gathering. The 22nd teacher.  

He says, “Good Man, I reside here. I make reflections. I formulate these intentions and I benefit living beings. Good Man, I know in the sea, the continents of jewels, the places, the varieties, the origin of jewels, I know how to purify them, drill them, extract them, work on them. I know what they do, how they function, their states, their lights. Further, I know where the dragon’s palaces are. I know where the yakshas palaces are. I know where the bhutas’ palaces are and I’m good at avoiding them so elude their troubles.” What’s more, says Ship Captain Vaira, “I’m good at knowing where the water is deep, where the water is shallow, where the whirlpools are, how the waves roll, favorable, and unfavorable colors—all those differences. Furthermore, I can tell you by the sun, moon, star, constellation, orbit, degrees, where the nights will come, where the sun will rise, afternoons. I can tell you whether the ship is seaworthy, slow or fast. Is it made of steel or wood, solid, fragile, rough or smooth, water or fraud, narrow, where the wind is supposing or favorable, everything that keeps you safe and keeps you out of danger, none of these do I not understand. When it’s good to go, I go. Where it’s not suitable to navigate, I stay in port. You know, from having done this so much, I help people. Good man, with a sturdy boat, I take merchants in a course, it is peaceful and secure.  

“Furthermore,” says Sudana’s advisor, “I speak the dharma to make them happy. I guide them to the continents of jewels, give them rare treasures, make them fulfilled and content. We would come back to Jambudvipa.”  

“Good man,” says Ship Captain Vaira to Sudana of the Pilgrim, “in coming to and from on this big ship, I have never lost a single loss, not a bit of damage has occurred. If living beings get to see my person or hear my dharma, I will take away forever their fear of the sea, of birth and death. I will allow them to lose forever their fear of the sea of birth and death. And they will enter the ocean of Omniscience. They will dry up the sea of love and desire. Shine light on the sea of the three periods of times with wisdom. Triumph living beings’ sufferings. Purified their minds. They can swiftly purify the sea of lands, travel everywhere to the seas of the ten directions. They know the seas of living beings. They understand the sea of beings, practices and accord with the sea of the living beings’ minds.”  

Oh yeah, so I thought, right, I heard that before. Here is someone else taking merchants out and keeping them safe through faith in a true 善知識 (Shàn Zhī Shì) a Big Good and Wise Advisor, spiritual friend. That is wonderful! How wonderful is that! 

So, what is this? This is Buddhadharma. The Buddha was in the world. The Buddha was talking to people who are in need of help; they need protection. They’re putting themselves in danger in order to make a living because remember in the Ten Stage Chapter —what were they talking about? They were talking about one of the greatest fears. There are five-fold fears and the greatest one, the first one is not having a living. Not being able to provide for family, for self, for elders, for parents, for children. That’s a fear that motivates people to the place where they’re willing to go out and face danger in order to make a living. Buddha says, “Right, we are actually all on dangerous roads trying to make our days meaningful.”  So, the Buddha goes where we are. Take us to that safe place.           

And Guan Yin Bodhisattva put this tool in our hands, faith in Guan Yin. 一心稱名 (Yī Xīn Chēng Míng).

The Avatamsaka didn’t specify Guan Yin. It was instead Ship Captain, but that familiarity with the state of living beings and being willing to go right to our hearts, to that place where fear rises, say, “no need. No need. Here’s what you do. Trust in me Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva, Ship Captain Vaira, and I will get you there and back safely with pockets full of  jewels. You can go and make a lot of money.” 

Now, look at this.  If you go out and the trouble rises, what do you do?  So, Ship Captain Vaira was Avatamsaka time, which was a timeless time. 

Here’s the Liang dynasty. The trouble with the rakshasas. 

In the Liang Dynasty, there was a monk. His name was Dao Rong. And he was there in Jang Ling walking on the roads. And, while he was entering the city, he saw an altar, he saw a little temple. And there were believers outside the temple who were about to kill animals for a sacrifice to their 邪神 (Xié Shén) crooked spirit, to their local god, they said. They were about to kill a lot of living beings. Then, after they killed those living beings, they were going to offer the blood and whatever the hearts, the livers to the gods on the altar. 

So the Dharma Master saw this and thought, oh man. He said, this is ah, seeing these people with their useless even harmful belief. He said, “that’s not gonna help them at all.  In fact, it’s going to harm them and never end, how much more is it going to harm the sad living beings who were going to be sacrificed.”  

So what did he do? He said they’re wasting their money. So, he couldn’t help, but feel pity for these living beings. Now, what did he do? The Dharma Master got into action. He went and destroyed the altar of this false god. Sound familiar.

So, he upset the altar. He destroyed the temple of this cricket deviant god.  Oh man.  Pretty courageous and I guess, people in the town didn’t dare strike him down because he was a monk. He was a holy man, but there were others who were not afraid. 

當日夜晚睡夢之中(Dāngrì yèwǎn shuìmèng zhī zhōng) He was asleep at night and suddenly realized that there were fearsome ghosts. Ghosts soldiers who surrounded him in a circle where he slept. And, among them, there was a 目光如炬 (Mù Guāng Rú Jù), a ghost general of the ghost army whose eyes shone like spotlights, like a car’s headlights and stomped one foot down on the bed of the Dharma Master and cursed him in a loud voice. 

It’s interesting that these stories make the Chinese put in the mouth of the ghosts very coarse.  This is very rude, coarse, ungrammatical Chinese. 好個和尚,竟敢亂拆我的廟,

He said, “what kind of a crappy monk are you to destroy my temple? I’m going to mess you up,” essentially 今天就要你好看  “I’m gonna make you ugly,” he said. “I’m going to mess you up.”  Having said so, he ordered his smaller ghost army infantry “來呀 come on,” he said. “Let’s take this guy and horribly beat him. Let’s mess him up. We’re going to give it to you now.”  He said, 絕不善罷甘休. This is really coarse Chinese. You’ll regret today you crossed me and destroyed my temple, says the god, the real crooked god, who was being offered the animals that were killed. Oh my goodness. 

一眾鬼兵正要上前 Right at the moment when all those ghost warriors were about to leap onto the Dharma Master and give him a ruddy good beating, he right at that point, the Dharma Master didn’t move, he didn’t tremble, he wasn’t afraid, he didn’t move, he closed his eyes and silently in his heart recited Na mo Guan Shi Yin Pusa. 

After that recitation was done, suddenly, in space came down a celestial general whose body was 10 feet tall 威風凜凜 who was fierce and imposing a god of a general of the heavens manifested in space 手執一把金光閃閃的降魔杵 in his hand, he held a golden flashing demon-suppressing pestle and the pestle smashed down on the host of ghost soldier and 鬼將軍招架不住 and the ghost general had was completely powerless to withstand the mighty blows of the golden flashing vajra pestle so he grabbed up all of his ghost army and fled, ran away with his tail between his legs. 道融法師因此毫髮無傷 the Dharma Master Dao Rong was not harmed in the least. So he was not harmed in the least. Now, as this story was told, even though he escapes any harm after overturning the altar of the false, crooked Gods, still he required the help of the protection of Bodhisattvas, Bodhisattvas’ aide.

So, the Dharma Master had sufficient Samadhi to in the face of the attack by the ghosts right at the important point, as he was about to be overwhelmed by these terrifying spiritual baddies, he remembered to recite the name of Guan Yin Bodhisattva. So, 由此可見,平時虔心持誦,日久功深,而能做到“造次必於是,顛沛必於是”的境界. Even though the Dharma Master was counting on the help of Guan Yin Bodhisattva to save him in the nick of time, still he recited the name of Guan Yin most often, usually recited the name of Guan Yin Bodhisattva. So, in the time of need, Guan Yin came to his aid. It’s that same old story: don’t wait until the well is dry, don’t wait until you’re out of water before you dig your well. You want to dig your well when you are still lubricated and hydrated so there’s plenty of water at all time. If you wait until you’re thirsty before you dig your well, you might discover it takes a long time to dig a well and you could die of thirst. Don’t wait until the ghost army is about to stop you before you think to recite Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s name. You want to recite ordinarily then when the time comes, you can get a response from Guan Yin Bodhisattva. Because why? Because you remembered to recite her name. 

Now, I have actually another story. I mentioned that we had a story from 1976. This Guan Yin’s response story comes from Los Angeles and two monks who did a bowing pilgrimage; I was one of those monks.

I know there are friends translating for me now, so I thought I would put this up, this is actually from Highway Dharma Letters. It’s one of the first couple entries because myself and Heng Chau were in Lincoln Heights, which is just a little bit north of Watts. We just left South Pasadena. We’re not quite to Chinatown and this is a letter that I wrote to Master Hua.

We came out onto Wilshire Boulevard and we ended near the end of Lincoln Heights 10:15 in the morning. The business traffic was at its peak; people were still trying to get to work and there was the traffic buzzing by on the left side—four lanes city streets. I had my glasses off so that I wouldn’t be distracted by the things left and right and I’m bowing every three steps along the sidewalk. It’s busy, busy downtown streets and I couldn’t see clearly what were the faces or the situations on the roads, I just kept bowing and Heng Chau was behind me and he told me what he saw.

He said, at the intersection up ahead that we were bowing towards, there were five older men at a taco stand on the corner. One of them, he described as a demon. He was ugly; he had a body shaped like a pear kind of fat, round in the middle and pointed the top, sort of and the reason why, I mean, a lot of us look like that, right, it’s not uncommon, but this one, this guy came to our attention because he was excited about us. He was jumping around and pointing and he had reached over to an oil drum and taken the metal band that tightens the lid on the oil drum and turned it into a whip. He straightened it out, he was slapping it on the sidewalk and it was a jagged metal that he was whipping around like a bullwhip and he slid the trash can in front of us, so that we couldn’t bow on the sidewalk and he started to pound the trash can with his whip, making a noise and denting the side of the can and it was pretty scary according to Heng Chau. I heard there was a noise, I didn’t see what was going on and he was trying to provoke the other four into a similar rage, just getting ready to lay into to the two bowing monks and Heng Chau was impressed that this was a genuine big league demon and there was no way to go up and talk to him and say: “Oh, by the way, we’re on a peace pilgrimage.” So bowing along, I could feel the tension, but then I didn’t. There was some sense of something in the air that was good and powerful, stronger than the nasty and calming. It was invisible, but real. It felt like a sense of light on the whole intersection touching everyone, us, these men who were threatening us, the traffic, school kids, the passersby.

Heng Chau says we bowed into the middle of this group at the taco stand, the light was red, we had to wait at the intersection and he says, the leader went out like a light being turned off— he lost his anger and he became quiet, kind of like a child. The metal whip just dropped to the ground. People at the taco stand sat motionless at their tables. I bowed around the garbage can, under their feet and then the light turned green and walked across the street to count the bows and bow on the other side and this young man, very clean, very respectable, stepped out of his door and said: “Oh, could you tell me about your religion? Very impressed by what you’re doing.” Heng Chau spoke with him briefly and told him what we’re doing and I can’t tell you what was leading us through the streets of LA, but it certainly felt like I was getting a response to what I had in my mind, which was Namo Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva, Namo Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva.

The Sutra says, 

If there’s a living being who has a thought of hostility towards the Bodhisattva, Bodhisattva also views him as kind eyes. To the very end, he has not the slightest anger. 

That’s the Ten Transferences Chapter. Now, is that me? No.

I’m not a Bodhisattva and if I could have seen what was waiting for me at the crosswalk, at the taco stand, I might have been not only angry, but terrified, right, both a blend of anger and fear, but I had my glasses off and so I could feel, however. I could feel the tension and hear the noise. In my mind, I had Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s name and that was enough, I guess, to keep me from false thinking. Keep me from fear.  

Anyway, just to say, the Bodhisattva Who Bestows Courage and Fearlessness works right there. So, any situation that we have that is terrifying, frightening if we can remember to 一心稱名, recite the name of Guan Yin Bodhisattva, somehow bit by bit that fear just vanishes, goes away and it’s replaced by goodness, not only for us, but for everybody. Then the light turns green and we cross over and somebody says: “Hey, tell me about what you’re doing.”

(Dharma Master Heng Sure plays the Medicine Buddha Mantra on the banjo)

So one thing we could do right now, there’s awful resurgence of Coronavirus in Asia, Southeast Asia, Taiwan has cases, let’s put our hearts into another kind of good vibration, which is Medicine Buddha’s mantra to transfer the merit, listening to Guan Yin Bodhisattva ‘s stories for one more week.

Next week, we get to find out about greed, hatred and delusion—the three poisons—that Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s name dispels and how to recover from that poison. 

Here we go.  Let’s recite.

Om namo bhagavate bhaisajyaguru

Vaidurayaprabharajaya tathagataya

Arhate samyaksambuddhaya tadyatha: om

Bhaisajye bhaisajye bhaisajya samudgate svaha om (3x)

Thanks for joining everyone. Tomorrow I’ll be explaining the eight stage, the critical stage of the Ten Stages Chapter, 12:30 pm here in Australia time, 7:30pm on Saturday night and find me on YouTube DharmaRealmLive.


Look forward to exploring the Flower Garland, the Avatamsaka Sutra, with all of you. Thanks for joining and keep reciting Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s name. Delighted to be able to share this with everyone. See you all next week. Amituofo, stay well, stay healthy. Bye bye.

Contributors of this transcribing this lecture:

Vera Cristofani, T. Hue, Yan Ming, Lin Lau, Wenbo Yin, Peggy Yeh, Justin Lee, Annie Tran, Hong Anh Nguyen , Bach_Nguyen, Lucky Lee 

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