Despite the hot weather, people have not been put
off and have rushed here to attend the session, undaunted by the long
journey and arduous climb. Ultimately, what advantages does this have?
One cannot speak of true advantages. Just as someone will know the
warmth or coolness of a glass of water only after drinking from it,
true-hearted people will naturally understand the wonder in this.
How can one obtain the advantages? There's no way aside from what I just
said─you must recite the Bodhisattva's name with a true heart. A true
heart is just a concentrated mind. It is said, "When one is
concentrated, it is efficacious. When one is scattered, there is
nothing." If you can be single-minded, you will obtain a spontaneous
response in the Way. The power of the response in the Way is
inconceivable. However, you must apply the effort yourself; no one can
do it for you, and even less can you attain it by chance.
Consider the example of “talking
about food and counting others' wealth.” If someone talks about how
nutritious the food is, but doesn't eat it, then even if it really is
nutritious, how can the person get the nutrition? It is said:
All day long you count the money of others,But you don't own half a cent yourself.If you don't cultivate the Dharma,You make the same mistake.
It is also the same when we
recite the Bodhisattva's name. If we just know and talk about the merit
and virtue of reciting the Bodhisattva's name, it doesn't count. We have
to truly recite until we are single-minded and unconfused, and even
further, until the sounds of the water and wind in our ears are just the
recitation of the Bodhisattva's vast name. It is said,
Sentient creatures and insentient things,All proclaim the wonderful Dharma of the Mahayana.
If you have not reached that level of being single-minded and
unconfused, then everything will be jumbled together. When the wind
blows, you just hear a whooshing sound; when the water flows, you just
hear the roaring sound. You cannot perceive the wonder in it. So we
should honestly recite and not let any idle thoughts mingle in our
recitation. Only then can we derive the benefits of the Dharma.
This time when we hold the
session, we should pay attention to the rules for the session. As it is
said, without a compass and a ruler, you can't draw circles and squares.
The traditional rule of this temple is to avoid causing a disturbance,
so that you won't hinder others from cultivating.
During these seven days, we will also recite the Great Compassion
Mantra. The merit and virtue of the Great Compassion Mantra is
inconceivable. Without considerable good roots, it's not easy to even
hear the three words “Great Compassion Mantra.” Now everyone can not
only hear the name, but also uphold and recite it. That proves that you
all have tremendous good roots, which you planted when there were
Buddhas in the world. Since you have such great good roots, you should
not casually let this life go to waste.
I remember that when the temple
held the first sessions, eight or nine out of ten laypeople didn't know
how to recite the Great Compassion Mantra. And now, eight or more out of
ten laypeople can recite it. That shows the progress made by the laity.
Now I'll tell a story which proves the merit and virtue of the Great
In Manchuria, there was once a
wealthy man who owned a great deal of land. One autumn, he accompanied
four or five large cargo trucks carrying full loads of sorghum to be
sold in the city. Since the city was over a hundred and fifty li from the village, he started out at a little past one o'clock in the
morning. Unfortunately, he ran into some bandits on the road. Seeing
them up ahead, the rich man started reciting the Great Compassion
Mantra. Strangely enough, the gang of bandits were just like blind men
and didn't notice his trucks at all. Thus, they passed safely through
the difficulty. That's one of the efficacious responses of the Great
Compassion Mantra that I have personally heard about.
In the Great Compassion Mind Dharani Sutra,
it says, “Those who recite the Great Compassion Mantra can dispel all
disasters. They will not be burned by fire or drowned by water.” So I
urge the laypeople who can already recite it to do so at least three
times a day. Those who cannot recite it should learn quickly. The merit
and virtue of the Great Compassion Mantra can not only make thieves and
robbers go away, it can also dispel the myriad illnesses, and resolve
all demonic troubles. So we should sincerely recite it.
On this starting day of the session, there is a very optimistic spirit
in the Dharma Assembly, and everyone is taking it very seriously. I hope
everyone will make a determined effort, and strive to be ever more
A talk given on the afternoon of June 13, 1958, at
Western Bliss Garden Monastery in Hong Kong