Why are we holding a session to recite the name of Earth Treasury Bodhisattva? It's because there are too many disasters in the world now. We want to ask Earth Treasury Bodhisattva, based on the power of his past vows, to dispel all the calamities.
What Earth Treasury Bodhisattva values most is the practice of filiality, because he was filial and compliant to his parents in life after life. But it wasn't easy─he perfected this practice by undergoing many ordeals and hardships. When his parents did not believe in the Triple Jewel, he would respect and comply with their wishes, while using various skillful and expedient Dharma-doors to lead them to have faith in the Triple Jewel. Everywhere he goes, he practices the Bodhisattva path but never gets attached to appearances. That is, he doesn't get attached to the merit of his deeds. He doesn't praise his own virtuous conduct. Even when he saves living beings, he says that the living beings saved themselves; he doesn't want living beings to thank him or bow to him.
Among the ranks of Bodhisattvas, he doesn't feel that he is more eminent than the other Bodhisattvas. He doesn't entertain the idea that his vows are bigger, or that his kindness and compassion are vaster, or that his spiritual powers are greater. No matter what he says or does, he doesn't make a big deal out of it, because he feels he is just carrying out his duty. He doesn't dwell on his own merit. For that reason, all living beings are moved to praise him, and the Buddha himself lauds him. The Buddha does not casually praise a person; he only praises those who are worthy of it. Since Earth Treasury Bodhisattva does not dwell on or advertise his own merit and virtue, he can obtain a response in the Way. Such a response comes naturally; he doesn't use any special method to obtain it. In our own cultivation, we should imitate the spirit of Earth Treasury Bodhisattva and his boundless vow:
As long as the hells are not empty,I vow not to become a Buddha.Only when all living beings have been saved will I accomplish Bodhi.
Every year, we hold the session for the sake of dispelling the poisons in space and in the world. The atmosphere is now very polluted, and there is a poisonous energy brewing in the universe which can't be dispelled. We can only sincerely ask the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to shine their light and cause the invisible but lethal toxic energy to disappear. Therefore all the activities at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas have a direct impact on the state of peace or danger in the world. If the people in this Bodhimanda are not sincere, the world will be in even greater danger!
Mankind has committed too many offenses, and does not have the power to evade the retribution. Today, on the birthday of Earth Treasury Bodhisattva, everyone is reciting the name of Earth Treasury Bodhisattva in unison, hoping the Bodhisattva will be compassionate and cause the world to be peaceful. The possibility of such a response depends on our sincerity. One person's strength is not enough; the entire assembly's strength is required. It is said, “The unity of purpose is like a strong fortress.” With united strength and wisdom, let us pray for world peace together.
Nowadays, people all have the feeling that the world is not at peace, and is in fact in imminent peril. Therefore, all the temples are praying for world peace now. It was the Buddhist Lecture Hall and Gold Mountain Monastery that started it, and then the temples in Hong Kong and Taiwan followed suit. This confirms that the world is on the brink of disaster, and we must pray for peace. The Bodhimanda that is truly praying for world peace is the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. That's because whenever we hold any Dharma event, we don't hope that a great Dharma-protector will come and give us a large donation. Every year when the time comes, we just organize the Dharma event without making a lot of commotion. We conduct the affair as usual, whether or not there is a sponsor, because we see it as our obligation and don't expect any reward for doing it. Our only hope is that the Buddha's light will aid us and purge the world of poisonous energy. We hope Guanyin Bodhisattva will anoint our crowns with sweet dew, dispel the disasters and illnesses of living beings, and cancel their sins and increase their blessings. We also hope Earth Treasury Bodhisattva, with the great strength of his vows, will enable living beings to leave suffering and attain bliss, and eradicate all calamity and peril. Reciting the names of Guanyin Bodhisattva and Earth Treasury Bodhisattva is a way to disinfect the world without the use of pesticides or chemical sprays. Rather, sweet dew and Dharma-water are used to dispel the poisonous energy in the world. For each bit that is dispelled, the world obtains a bit of peace. When all the poisonous energy has been purged from the world, living beings will be blessed and mankind will be lucky indeed!
A talk given on September 4, 1982 during an Earth Treasury Recitation Session at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas