E-mail: bdea@buddhanet.

Web site: www.buddhanet.net
Buddha Dharma Education Association Inc.
Popular Deities
in Chinese Buddhism (Illustrated)
!n carly 1979 thc author cncountcrcd an unusual spiritual cxpcri
cncc which changcd his lilc and put him onto thc 8uddhist path.
For wccks hc had lcrvcntly praycd to thc 8lcsscd \irgin Mary
and to Sai 8aba lor a miraculous curc as his youngcr brothcr
was strickcn with canccr and slowly withcring away. Hcavcn
rcspondcd to his crics and Kuan Yin P’usa camc into his lilc
most uncxpcctcdly. Kuan Yin not only promiscd that his brothcr
would livc but would also bc blcsscd with a son thc lollowing
ycar… and it was so! Tc author was also askcd to cstablish a
placc ol worship so that many othcrs could also cnjoy Hcr blcss
ings in thc luturc. Tus, thc Kuan Yin Contcmplativc Òrdcr was
loundcd in thc samc ycar and Kuan Yin has indccd givcn Hcr
blcssings to a grcat numbcr ol pcoplc who wcnt thcrc to worship
Òvcr thc ycars thc Kuan Yin Contcmplativc Òrdcr (KYCÒ)
had bccn blcsscd with thc visits ol numcrous worldrcnowncd
8uddhist Ðharma Mastcrs who gavc tcachings thcrc. !t was
thcn that thc author rcaliscd that many who callcd thcmsclvcs
8uddhists had only a vcry vaguc idca ol what 8uddhism is.
Tis lcd him to producc this book with thc sinccrc objcctivc
ol inducing such pcoplc to spcnd morc timc in Ðharma study.
Vith a comprchcnsivc dcscription ol cach ol thc 8uddhas and
8odhisattvas ol thc popular Chincsc Panthcon, thc inclusion
ol thc many colourlul illustrations and thc basic tcachings ol
thc 8uddha which all 8uddhists should know, it is hopcd that
this uniquc book will makc Ðharmarcading plcasurablc. For
thc sakc ol avoiding unduc publicity hc has choscn to usc his
8uddhist namc as thc author ol this book.
Jopu/ar 9eities
[hinese Juddhism
[uan ¸ing
[uan Tin [ontemp/ati+e Order
To my father and mother
— the kindest persons that I ha+e e+er kno.n.
Tis clcmcntary book on Chincsc 8uddhism and its morc popu
larly worshippcd Ðcitics, has bccn writtcn lor thc bcncnt ol
Buddhists amongst thc Chincsc community. ! rclcr to thcm as
Buddhists in italics bccausc thcy do not havc a clcar idca ol thcir
laith. Tcir spiritual practiccs havc bccn rcduccd to mcrc supcr
stitious bclicls and blind laith duc to lack ol doctrinal knowlcdgc
and opportunitics to mcct with Ðharma tcachcrs.
!t is amazing to nnd 8uddhists who do not know what thcir
rcligion stands lor. Somc do not cvcn know who thc 8uddha is
or whcthcr Hc is thc samc 8uddha who was born in !ndia, or
what is mcant by “Rclugctaking”. Just by oßcring inccnsc to thc
Hcavcnly Gods and to thc Anccstral Tablcts docs not qualily
thcm to bc 8uddhists as it is not a 8uddhist practicc at all. !n or
dcr lor thcm to nnd comlort and mcaning in thcir rcligious pur
suits thcy must, nrst ol all, havc a clcar idca ol what 8uddhism
is and what constitutcs its practicc. !t is also important that thcy
arc ablc to distinguish thc dißcrcnccs bctwccn 8uddhas, 8odhi
sattvas and Gods, othcrwisc thc tcrm ‘dcity’ would havc to bc
uscd to dcscribc thcm. Tis cxplains why thc titlc ol this book has
bccn changcd lrom “Tc 8uddhas and 8odhisattvas ol Chincsc
8uddhism” to thc “Popular Ðcitics ol Chincsc 8uddhism”.
Tc picturc ol thc popular Chincsc Panthcon ol Ðcitics gavc mc
thc inspiration to writc a book which oßcrs thc opportunity to
vi vii
givc an cxplanation on thc mcanings and dißcrcnccs bctwccn
thc various classcs ol divinc bcings that cxist in 8uddhism. !
havc thc choscn thc samc picturc lor thc covcr dcsign with thc
hopc that its lamilarity with thc avcragc 8uddhist will inducc
thcm to rcad it so as to gain a basic knowlcdgc ol thcir rcligion.
Apart lrom giving a gcncral outlinc ol 8uddhism and its cntry
into China, ! havc also attcmptcd to providc bricl accounts on
thc important doctrincs that thc 8uddha has taught, praycrs that
onc may rccitc to thc 8uddhas and 8odhisattvas, how to bccomc
a 8uddhist, and a numbcr ol intcrcsting articlcs that arc rclatcd
to Chincsc 8uddhism.
Tis is indccd a book ol lovc — lovc lor thc Grcatly Compas
sionatc Kuan Shih Yin who camc so suddcnly into my lilc in
1979 and bringing so much mcaning to it. !t is also writtcn lor
thc bcncnt and sustcnancc ol our insignincant Kuan Yin Con
tcmplativc Òrdcr which has bccn blcsscd with thc visits ol so
many wondcrlul Ðharma tcachcrs and lricnds. Finally, my vcry
gratclul thanks to my brothcr Nclson Vong, who is my spiritual
bcnclactor, and my wilc lor hcr grcat paticncc with mc during
my nightly strugglcs to bring lorth this book.
KuaN M:Nc
vi vii
Prclacc .......................................................................................................................................................... iv
An !ntroduction to 8uddhism ......................................................................................... 11
Jart I — 9eities of [hinese Juddhism
Cnav+vv I
A Typical Chincsc Monastcry ......................................................................................... 21
Cnav+vv II
Chincsc 8uddhist !magcs ................................................................................................... 24
Cnav+vv III
Tc Chincsc 8uddhist Panthcon .................................................................................. 27
Ðcscription ol Tc Chincsc Panthcon .................................................................. 27
Cnav+vv IV
Chincsc 8uddhists Fcstivc Ðays .................................................................................. 31
Cnav+vv V
Tc 8uddha ........................................................................................................................................... 33
Vho is Tc 8uddha: ................................................................................................................. 33
Tc Grcat ¡nlightcnmcnt ..................................................................................................... 36
Tc Grcat Ðcccasc ....................................................................................................................... 40
Praycrs to thc 8uddha Sakyamuni ............................................................................. 43
Cnav+vv VI
Amitabha 8uddha — “Namo ÒMiTo Fwo” ............................................ 46
Vho is Amitabha: ....................................................................................................................... 46
Mcthod ol PraycrRccitation ........................................................................................... 48
Purc Land 8uddhism ................................................................................................................ 50
Ðcscription ol thc Purc Land .......................................................................................... 52
Amitabha 8uddha’s Fcstivc Ðay ................................................................................... 58
TaShihChi P’usa ....................................................................................................................... 60
viii ix
Cnav+vv VII
Yao Shih Fwo — 8haisajyaguru 8uddha .......................................................... 63
Cnav+vv VIII
Kuan Shih Yin P’usa — Avalokitcsvara 8odhisattva ......................... 71
Tc Miao Shan Lcgcnd .......................................................................................................... 88
Miao Shan Kuan Forms ........................................................................................................ 91
Kuan Yin Fcstivals ....................................................................................................................... 92
Tc Hcart Sutra ............................................................................................................................... 95
Tc Ðharani ol Grcat Compassion .......................................................................... 97
Tc Mantra ol Avalokitcsvara ..................................................................................... 100
A Praycr to Kuan Shih Yin P’usa ............................................................................ 102
Cnav+vv IX
VcnShuShihLi P’usa — Manjusri 8odhisattva ............................. 106
Manjusri in China ..................................................................................................................... 110
Cnav+vv X
Pu Hsicn P’usa — Samantabhadra 8odhisattva .................................... 115
Cnav+vv XI
Ti Tsang P’usa — Ksitigarbha 8odhisattva ............................................... 122
Ðcscription ol Ti Tsang P’usa .................................................................................... 124
Cnav+vv XII
MiLoFwo — Maitrcya 8uddha .......................................................................... 132
Cnav+vv XIII
Kuan Ti — Tc Protcctor ol 8uddhism ......................................................... 139
Cnav+vv XIV
VciTo P’usa .................................................................................................................................... 149
Cnav+vv XV
TaMo 8odhidharma
Partiarch ol Zcn 8uddhism ........................................................................................... 152
viii ix
Cnav+vv XVI
\ajrayana — Tibctan 8uddhism .............................................................................. 158
Guru Padmasambhava ......................................................................................................... 159
Jart II — Juddhist Teachings
Cnav+vv XVII
Vhat Tc 8uddha Taught ............................................................................................... 165
Tc Four Noblc Truths ........................................................................................................ 165
Tc Noblc ¡ightlold Path ................................................................................................. 169
Tc Law ol thc Twclvc Causcs ................................................................................... 171
Tc Six Rcalms ol ¡xistcncc ......................................................................................... 175
Karma — Tc Law ol Causc and ¡ßcct ......................................................... 178
Tc Six Paramitas ...................................................................................................................... 182
Tc Ðiscoursc on Loving Kindncss ...................................................................... 183
Cnav+vv XVIII
8ccoming a 8uddhist ............................................................................................................ 185
Tc 8uddha ....................................................................................................................................... 187
Tc Ðharma ...................................................................................................................................... 189
Tc Sangha ........................................................................................................................................ 189
Tc Vays ol Practicc .............................................................................................................. 190
Cnav+vv XIX
Famous Chincsc Sutras ....................................................................................................... 194
Tc Sutra ol FortyTwo Scctions .............................................................................. 194
Tc Karma Sutra ........................................................................................................................ 209
Tc Ðiamond Sutra
( Tc \ajracchcdikaPrajnaParamita Sutra) ................................................ 215
Cnav+vv XX
Tc Ðhammapada ..................................................................................................................... 235
Cnav+vv XXI
Tc Twclvc Principlcs ol 8uddhism ..................................................................... 250
x ..
Kvx Lox Si Tv:viv ......................................................................................................................... 20
8obnibn~v:~ ...................................................................................................................................... 23
18 Lon~xs ................................................................................................................................................. 30
Tnv 8ubbn~ ........................................................................................................................................... 35
Tnv 8ubbn~ ........................................................................................................................................... 38
A:i:~nn~ 8ubbn~ ......................................................................................................................... 49
Ku~x Snin Yix P’us~ .................................................................................................................... 55
T~ Snin Cni P’us~ ........................................................................................................................... 56
Puvv L~xb ............................................................................................................................................... 59
Y~o Snin Fwo — 8n~is~,v~cuvu 8ubbn~ ............................................................ 65
8n~is~,v~cuvu — Tinv:~x Ðvvic:iox ...................................................................... 69
Ku~x Snix Yix P’us~ — Av~ioxi:vsv~v~ 8obnis~::v~ ......................... 73
CnivxSnouCnivxYvx — Ku~x Snin Yix P’us~ ......................................... 78
Cnvxvizic — FouvAv:vb Av~ioxi:vsv~v~ ...................................................... 82
Mi~o Sn~x Ku~x Yix .................................................................................................................. 93
Ku~x Snix Yix P’us~ .................................................................................................................. 105
VviSnuSniLi P’us~ — M~x,usvi .......................................................................... 107
VvxSnuP’us~ ................................................................................................................................ 113
S~:~x:~nn~bv~ 8obnis~::v~ ...................................................................................... 117
Pu Hsivx P’us~ ................................................................................................................................. 119
Pu Hsivx P’us~ ................................................................................................................................. 121
Ti Ts~xc P’us~ — Ksi:ic~vnn~ 8obnis~::v~ ................................................ 125
Ti Ts~xc P’us~ .................................................................................................................................. 129
MiLoFwo — M~i:vvv~ 8ubbn~ ............................................................................. 135
M~i:vvv~ 8ubbn~ ....................................................................................................................... 137
Ku~x Ti .................................................................................................................................................... 142
Vvi To ....................................................................................................................................................... 150
Ax !:~cv ov VviTo .................................................................................................................. 151
T~:o — 8obnibn~v:~ .......................................................................................................... 155
Guvu P~b:~s~:nn~v~ ............................................................................................................ 162
Tnv Vnvvi ov Livv — 12 c~usvs ov Ðvvvxbvx: Òvicix~:iox .... 174
Tnv Vnvvi ov Livv ..................................................................................................................... 179
Pv~cv :o ~ii nvixcs — Ku~x Snin Yix P’us~ ................................................. 254
x ..
,n Introduction to Juddhism
8uddhism is a univcrsal rcligion, onc which has brought pcacc
ol mind, happincss and harmony to millions ol pcoplc in its long
history ol morc than 2,500 ycars. !t is suitablc lor anyonc who
has a mind to pcrccivc thc Truth and who wishcs to livc his lilc
mcaninglully lor thc bcncnt ol othcrs as it tcachcs onc to havc a
rcalistic vicw ol both lilc and thc world. !t has no placc howcvcr,
lor thosc who arc sclnsh and narrowmindcd.
8uddhism docs not cncouragc blind laith nor indulgc in lright
cning and agonising pcoplc with imaginary lcars and lcclings
ol guilt in ordcr to convcrt thcm. !t is a practical rcligion which
cncouragcs its lollowcrs to rcason and qucry, cvcn thc tcachings
ol thc 8uddha. To livc thc lilc ol a 8uddhist, onc must bc rcady
to lollow thc way ol lilc that thc 8uddha has taught and this
rcquircs grcat disciplinc, dctcrmination and scllcßort. Right
practicc ol thc rcligion lcads to pcacc, tranquillity, happincss,
wisdom and pcrlcct lrccdom. For thcsc and many othcr rcasons,
8uddhism has satisncd thc spiritual nccds ol morc than onc
third ol mankind.
8uddhism is a way ol lilc. !t is also a rcligion ol rcason and dis
ciplinary mcditational practiccs lcading to thc purincation ol thc
mind and Ðclivcrancc, thc lull libcration lrom thc cyclc ol birth,
.a .¸
old agc, discascs and dcath. !n its long history, 8uddhism has not
shcd a singlc drop ol blood in pcrsuading pcoplc to walk its gcn
tlc path. !t is a rcligion that rcquircs all its lollowcrs to practisc
loving kindncss and compassion towards all scnticnt bcings.
Sakyamuni 8uddha was dccply conccrncd with sußcring in lilc
and lor somc lortynvc ycars altcr his ¡nlightcnmcnt, taught
ways and mcans to ovcrcomc and transccnd it. Tc 8uddha’s
thcmc is thcrclorc onc ol libcration lrom all sußcring and
Tc 8uddha cstablishcd thc Noblc Òrdcr ol thc Sangha, thc
community ol monks, morc than 2500 ycars ago. Altcr His
dcath (Parinirvana), His Tcachings (Ðharma) bccamc thc solc
guidc and sourcc ol inspiration to thc Sangha. Howcvcr, thc vast
tcachings togcthcr with thcir prolundity brought about dißcrcnt
undcrstanding and intcrprctations so that two main schools ol
thought camc into bcing.
At thc sccond 8uddhist Council in \aisali, hcld somc 100
ycars altcr thc dcath ol thc 8uddha, thc two grcat traditions
ol thc Hinayana and Mahayana wcrc lormally cstablishcd. Tc
Hinayanists (Tcravadins) lollow thc Pali Canon whilc thc
Mahayanists took to hcart thc scripturcs that wcrc writtcn in
Tis chart givcs a bricl summary ol thc two grcat schools ol
8uddhism: Hinayana and Mahayana.
.a .¸
8vivv His:ovv ov :nv
Ðvvviov:vx: ov 8ubbnis:
Te _choo/s of Juddhism
SaxvaxuN: Buoona
Tnv S~xcn~
Ui:i:~:v Go~i
Ui:i:~:v Go~i
e Pali Canon
Sanskrit and Translations in
Chinese & Tibetan
Pure Land, Ch’an and other
Chinese, Japanese & Tibetan
From !ndia 8uddhism gradually sprcad out all ovcr thc Asian
contincnt with thc Tcravada bcing widcly acccptcd in Sri
Lanka, 8urma, Tailand, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia whilc
China, Mongolia, Japan, Tibct, Ncpal, Sikkim and 8hutan
acccptcd thc Mahayana School ol thought.
.¡ .¸
Tc two grcat traditions sharc thc samc basic tcachings ol thc
8uddha but thcir intcrprctations ol thc idcals and practiccs arc
not quitc thc samc. Tc Tcravada, oltcn rclcrrcd to as thc Hi
nayana, locuscs on thc attainmcnt ol thc Arhat lcvcl ol rcalisa
tion whilc thc Mahayana, bcing much morc progrcssivc, libcral
and opcnmindcd, strivcs not lor scll libcration but to scrvc
mankind activcly through thc attainmcnt ol 8odhisattvahood.
Tc Mahayana rccogniscs thc wcakncss ol human bcings and
oßcrs hclp in salvation through thc scrviccs ol thc 8odhisattvas.
Tis grcat conccrn and attitudc carns it thc titlc “Mahayana” or
“Grcat \chiclc” as it sccks to bcncnt all bcings by awakcning thcir
cnlightcnmcnt thought which lcads thcm to practisc thc 8odhi
sattva path. !t is opcn to all who wish to practisc it, whcthcr
monk or laity, and thcrclorc has won thc hcarts ol countlcss
pcoplc, cspccially thc Chincsc. As thc Mahayana sprcads across
thc land, it absorbcd thc dißcrcnt culturcs and indigcnous bc
licls, thus allowing thc Grcat \chiclc to translorm thc wisdom
ol 8uddhahood to dißcrcnt pcoplc in a varicty ol ways. Tus wc
nnd that thcrc arc morc schools ol Mahayana 8uddhism which
arc but dißcrcnt paths ol practicc lcading to thc samc goal.
Hinayana 8uddhism is not a mctaphysical doctrinc but a philo
sophical onc. !t docs not spcculatc on thc origin ol thc world nor
thc cxistcncc ol God and ncithcr docs it acccpt thc divinity ol
thc 8uddha. Tc 8uddha, himscll is rcgardcd as a man, a grcat
tcachcr, but not a God or Ðcity. Tc strcss is on scllrcliancc and
it lollows thcrclorc that onc should not cxpcct miraculous hclp
lrom any dcity in hcavcn at all. Ònc should rathcr rcly on onc’s
own cßorts and conduct to achicvc onc’s goals.
.¡ .¸
!n Hinayana, thc main aim ol thc strcnuous rcligious disci
plincs is to dcvclop oncscll into a spiritual bcing ol thc highcst
lcvcl, that ol an Avna+, a ‘worthy onc’ or a ‘pcrlcctcd bcing’,
who is ablc to bring to an cnd, thc rcpcatcd rounds ol rcbirths
in thc sußcring worlds known as Samsara. Vithin Samsara
arc six dißcrcnt kinds ol cxistcnccs: that ol thc Ðcvas (gods),
Asuras (dcmigods), Humans, Animals, Prctas (ghosts) and
Hcllbcings. ¡ach bcing in thcsc worlds or rcalms arc subjcct
to thc pains ol birth, discasc, old agc and dcath which will bc
discusscd in dctails latcr on.
Mahayana 8uddhism is Ðcvotional 8uddhism which rcquircs
its adhcrcnts to put lull laith in thc 8uddhas and 8odhisattvas
who posscss thc innnitc powcr to savc all bcings. !t is thc path
ol compassion and it rcjccts thc idca ol pursuit ol Nirvana as a
lonc qucst which is considcrcd scllccntrcd and sclnsh. !t also
tcachcs thc conccpt ol thc 8odhisattva who is lully conccrncd
in thc salvation ol all living bcings. 8odhisattvahood, thcrc
lorc, is thc goal ol thc Mahayana which rcquircs a rcsolvc to
win lull cnlightcnmcnt lor thc bcncnt ol all that livcs, and
thcrcaltcr, until 8uddhahood, passcs countlcss lilctimcs in thc
practicc ol thc Six Pcrlcctions (Paramitas) ol Giving, Moral
ity, Paticncc, Pcrscvcrancc, Mcditation and Visdom. Trough
thc practicc ol Giving, Morality and Paticncc, vast mcrits arc
gaincd, through thc practicc ol Mcditation and Visdom, tran
sccndcntal Knowlcdgc is attaincd, and in ordcr to bc succcss
lul in thcsc practiccs thc Pcrlcction ol Pcrscvcrancc must bc
.6 .,
Vhat thcn is a 8odhisattva:
Boon:sa++va is a Sanskrit tcrm with Boon: mcaning Visdom
or ¡nlightcnmcnt, and sa++va, which mcans ¡sscncc or 8cing.
A 8odhisattva is thus a Visdombcing or an Aspiring 8uddha
who is dctcrmincd to attain 8uddhahood.
Vhcn cnlightcncd, hc rcnounccs Nirvana and gocs on living
Samsaric cxistcnccs lor thc sakc ol othcrs, pcrlccts himscll dur
ing an incalculablc pcriod ol timc and nnally rcaliscs Nirvana
and bccomcs a Fully ¡nlightcncd 8uddha, a Samyaksambuddha.
His main attributcs arc lovc, compassion, sclßcssncss and wis
dom and his capacity lor scrvicc to othcrs is unlimitcd. Tc \ows
that hc aspircs to lulnll arc:
“Jo.e+er innumerab/e sentient beings are, I +o. to sa+e them.
Jo.e+er inexhaustib/e the def/ements are, I +o. to extinguish them.
Jo.e+er immeasurab/e the 9harmas are, I +o. to master them.
Jo.e+er diqcu/t 8n/ightenment is, I +o. to attain it!”
Tcsc grcat \ows thus commit thc 8odhisattva to lcad all bcings
to libcration and to rcmain in this world till thc cnd, cvcn lor thc
sakc ol a singlc bcing. Tcy arc known as thc 8odhisattva \ows
which all Mahayanists should practisc.
A 8odhisattva is usually prcscntcd as thc pcrsonincation ol a
particular trait ol thc 8uddha, and as thcrc arc numcrous such
.6 .,
traits, so also arc thcrc dißcrcnt 8odhisattvas. A transccndcnt
8odhisattva who cnjoys thc most dcvotion and popularity as
hclpcr to libcration is Avaiox:+vsvava (Kuan Shih Yin), who
is thc compassionatc aspcct ol thc 8uddha. Hc and othcr popu
lar Cclcstial 8odhisattvas dcscribcd in this book will hclp to
rcmovc incorrcct idcas and spcculativc doubts lrom thc minds ol
thosc who havc littlc or no knowlcdgc ol thc 8odhisattvas ol thc
Mahayana tcachings.
Vhilc thc Hinayana Arhat accumulatcs mcritorious karma lor
his own salvation through lollowing and practising thc tcach
ings ol thc 8uddha, hc also scrvcs othcrs though his capacity to
do so is limitcd. Tc Mahayana 8odhisattva, on thc othcr hand,
rclcntlcssly carrics out his mission ol univcrsal salvation, translcr
ring his vast mcrits to thc lcss lortunatc oncs so that thcy too
may cnjoy thc lruits ol such mcrits. Tus thc 8odhisattva !dcal
brings about much hopc lor thc downtroddcn and providcs a
noblc goal to thosc who arc scriously on thc 8uddha’s path. Tc
Arhat idcal may not sound as noblc as that ol thc 8odhisattva
but it docs not ncccssarily mcan that thc Mahayana is in any way
supcrior to thc Hinayana practicc. 8oth arc idcal paths that lcad
to cnlightcnmcnt and thosc who arc aspiring to bccomc Arhats
arc not ncccssarily sclnsh sincc Arhatship cannot bc attaincd il
thcrc is cvcn thc slightcst tingc ol sclnshncss lclt in his bcing. A
truc 8uddhist will not indulgc in glorilying his path ol practicc,
hc should rcalisc that without thc Hinayana thcrc can bc no
Mahayana path. Vhat is morc important is that thcy both sharc
thc samc lundamcntal tcachings such as:
.· .µ
1. Sakyamuni 8uddha as thc Òriginal 8uddha.
2. Tcrc is no suprcmc dcity who crcatcd thc world and
govcrncd it.
3. Tc Four Noblc Truths.
4. Tc Noblc ¡ightlold Path.
5. Tc Truth ol Ðcpcndcnt Òrigination (Patticasamupada).
6. Tc conccpts on !mpcrmancncc (Anicca), Sußcring
(Ðukkha) and Nonscll (Anatta).
7. Tc Trcc Trainings (Trisiksa) ol Morality (sila),
Mcditation (samadhi) and Visdom (prajna).
8oth Schools ol 8uddhism cntcrcd China a lcw hundrcd ycars
altcr thc 8uddha’s dcath but thc Mahayana took nrm roots in thc
hcarts ol thc Chincsc as can bc sccn by thc numbcr ol Mahayana
Sccts that cvcntually dcvclopcd.
[hinese Juddhism
Historical rccord has it that two 8uddhist missionarics lrom
!ndia, on thc 30th day ol thc 12th month, in thc ycar 68 ao,
arrivcd at thc court ol ¡mpcror Ming (rulcd 58–75 ao) ol thc
Han Ðynasty. Tcy cnjoycd impcrial lavours and staycd on to
translatc various 8uddhists Tcxts, onc ol which, Tc Sutra in
Fortytwo Scctions, cnjoycd widc popularity which continucs to
bc so cvcn today. 8uddhism soon took roots in thc Chincsc soil
covcring thc cntirc country with monastcrics which wclcomc all
who lclt a call to cntcr a monastic lilc. Tcsc monastcrics sub
sistcd on a common lund sustaincd by gilts lrom thc charitablc.
Tcy bccamc a rclugc lor thc unhappy, thc unwantcd and thosc
who havc noblc intcntions.
.· .µ
Vhat gavc thc carly 8uddhists thcir popularity can bc attributcd
mainly to thc doctrincs ol thc common brothcrhood ol mcn and
thc Law ol Causc and ¡ßcct. Tis taught that cvcry good act
such as worship, charity, rcading and printing scripturcs, wish
ing lor thc good ol othcrs and othcr good dccds would inlallibly
causc good rcsults. Tc rcwards ol thcir laith in thc compassion
and saving powcrs ol thc 8uddhas and 8odhisattvas and othcr
Mahayana tcachings casily attractcd a grcat lollowing. Morc
ovcr, onc could bc a good 8uddhist without actually cntcring thc
Òrdcr, as was impossiblc according to thc Hinayana. Anothcr
vcry important lactor which hclpcd to sprcad and populariscd
Mahayana 8uddhism was its nonrcjcction ol thc pcoplcs’ cthnic
laiths so that thcir gods and spirits wcrc absorbcd into its vast
panthcon. Tcrc was no rcal harm in worshipping such dcitics so
long as it was rccogniscd that cnglightcnmcnt could bc won only
by lollowing thc way ol thc 8uddha and not gaincd through
godly worship. Tc Chincsc could thus continuc to turn to thcir
gods lor worldly boons such as succcss in lovc aßairs, busincss,
gaining wcalth, rccovcring ol illncss and cvcn rcqucsting lor
cxtcnsion ol lilc. Tis may sccm a supcrstitious practicc but do
not pcoplc ol othcr laiths also pray to thcir gods lor such hclp:
Chincsc 8uddhism has thcrclorc, its own uniquc ßavour and
bcauty sincc it has, to a ccrtain cxtcnt, bccn inßucnccd by Tao
ist thoughts. Tus thc Chincsc Panthcon camc into bcing. Tc
solc intcntion ol producing this book is to providc usclul inlor
mation to thc uninlormcd 8uddhists who worship such ngurcs
in thc tcmplcs. !t also scrvcs to cxplain to non8uddhists that
8uddhists oltcn rcspcct and honour gods and dcitics but do not
takc rclugc in thcm.
ac a.
As a rcsult ol thc sccds sown by thc !ndian missionarics,
8uddhism soon ßowcrcd into a numbcr ol distinctivc schools
which wcrc thc products ol thc Chincsc mind. ¡ach ol thcsc
schools dcvclopcd its own mcthod ol practicc basing on a par
ticular tcxt and appcaling to dißcrcnt scts ol pcoplc. Tc most
outstanding schools amongst thcm bcing thc T’icntai, Hua
Ycn, Ch’an and Purc Land. Tc Purc Land School with its casy
mcthod ol practicc that lcads to salvation, togcthcr with such
a lovablc dcity as thc Grcatly Compassionatc Kuan Shih Yin
P’usa casily won thc largcst numbcr ol adhcrcnts to makc it thc
principal school ol 8uddhism among thc Chincsc. Kuan Yin is
so popular that Shc is cvcn worshippcd in Taoist tcmplcs as thc
Goddcss ol Mcrcy.
Kvx Iox S: Tvxviv
ac a.
Cnav+vv I
, Typica/ [hinese ¸onastery
Tc Chincsc 8uddhist monastcry or tcmplc is lashioncd altcr
thc palaccs and bcars vcry littlc rcscmblancc to that ol tcmplcs in
!ndia or any othcr 8uddhist countrics. Gcncrally thcrc arc thrcc
groups ol buildings scparatcd by courtyards. Tc monastcry, likc
othcr Chincsc structurcs, normally laccs south.
¡ntcring thc lront hall, onc is conlrontcd by lour hugc imagcs,
usually madc ol wood, two on cach sidc. Tcsc arc thc Four
Hcavcnly Kings or Ðcvas, thc Guardians ol thc lour Ðircctions,
and thc hall is namcd altcr thcm as thc ‘S: T:vN WaNc T:vN’.
!n this hall too, onc is grcctcd at thc cntrancc, by thc lovablc and
kindly 8uddhatobc, Maitrcya 8uddha, known to thc Chincsc
as thc ‘Laughing 8uddha’ or ‘Tapao MiLciFwo’, who has a lat
paunch, looking joyously towards thc cntrancc. Ðircctly bchind
MiLciFwo, oltcn scparatcd by a wall, is thc grcat Ðcva Vci
to, thc Protcctor ol 8uddhist tcmplcs and Faith. Hc is dcpictcd
clad in lull armour and holding cithcr a gnarlcd staß or a sccptrc
shapcd wcapon ol assault rcsting on thc ground. VciTo, who is
a gcncral undcr thc Four Hcavcnly Kings, is also accordcd thc
titlc ol ‘Protcctor ol 8uddhist 8ooks’. Hc is always lacing thc
Grcat Hall known as thc ‘ Ta-HuNc-Pau-T:vN’ which is scpa
ratcd lrom thc lront hall by a wall or a courtyard.
!n thc Grcat Hall thc main altar is lound along with thc imagcs
ol Sakyamuni 8uddha and his two lorcmost disciplcs Maha
aa a¸
kasyapa and Ananda, or othcr 8uddhas ol thc past cras. Tc
arrangcmcnt and choicc ol pcrsonagcs in this altar varics lrom
tcmplc to tcmplc. Most ol thc timc Sakyamuni 8uddha is dc
pictcd in thc attitudc ol contcmplation with his disciplcs ßank
ing him. Tcmplcs dcdicatcd to Amitabha 8uddha havc his imagc
at thc ccntrc, Sakyamuni 8uddha and 8ahaisajyaguru, bcttcr
known to thc Chincsc as ‘YaoShihFwo’, cach accompanicd by
two disciplcs. To thc right and lclt ol thc main altar onc usually
nnds thc two Grcat 8odhisattvas, Manjusri (VcnShuShih
Li) and Samantabhadra (PuHsicn). Tc placcmcnts ol pcrson
agcs arc not rcally nxcd so that onc may oltcn nnd Sakyamuni
8uddha bcing ßankcd by Amitabha (ÒMi TwoFwo) and Yao
ShinFwo (Mcdicinc 8uddha), thc two grcat 8uddhas ol past
cras. At othcr timcs a singlc 8uddha is sccn scatcd bctwccn his
two 8odhisattvas, Sakyamuni (Shih JiaMoNiFwo) bctwccn
Manjusri and Samantabhadra or Amitabha 8uddha with Avalo
kitcsvara (Kuan Yin) and Mahasthamaprata (TaShihChih).
Tcmplcs dcdicatcd to Kuan Shih Yin P’usa will havc hcr ßankcd
by VcnshuShihLi and P’uHsicn.
Òn thc cast and wcst sidcs ol thc walls ol this Grcat Hall arc
oltcn arrangcd thc ngurcs ol thc ¡ightccn Arhats (Lohans)
who arc rcprcscntcd as posscssing various kinds ol supcrnatural
powcr. Along thc north wall arc oltcn lound thc imagcs ol Jan
tcng Fwo or Ðipankara, thc ancicnt 8uddha who prcdictcd
Sakyamuni’s 8uddhahood, and thc popular 8odhisattvas such
as Kuan Yin, Vcnshu, PuHsicn and Titsang (Ksitigarbha),
or othcr 8odhisattvas. \cry oltcn, imagcs ol Kuan Ti, thc Pro
tcctor ol 8uddhism, can also bc lound in this hall. !t is hcrc at
aa a¸
thc TaHungPauTicn that dcvout 8uddhists oßcr thcir praycrs
and oßcrings ol ßowcrs, lruits and othcr gilts which arc placcd
on thc tablc in lront ol thc main altar. \cry oltcn, bchind thc
ccntral imagcs ol this hall and lacing northwards, is placcd thc
imagcs ol Kuan Yin P’usa.
Tc third, or 8ack Hall, at thc back is usually dividcd into scvcral
smallcr halls (Ticn) or rooms. Tc ccntral hall is gcncrally thc al
tar ol a 8uddha or a 8odhisattva, thc right housing thc luncrary
tablct ol thc tcmplc loundcr, whilc thc lclt may bc thc Tcaching
or Mcditation Hall. Òn thc sidc or bchind thcsc main buildings
arc thc living quartcrs, thc dining arca and thc kitchcn.
a¡ a¸
Cnav+vv II
[hinese Juddhist Images
Much abusc or unkind rcmarks havc bccn hcapcd upon Chincsc
8uddhists accusing thcm as bcing idolators bccausc ol thcir usc
ol imagcs in thcir tcmplcs. Accusations ol such naturc only rc
vcal thc ignorancc ol thosc who madc thcm as thc principlc ol
thc usc ol imagcs in placcs ol worship should bc vicwcd as sym
bolical and not idol worship. !t should bc strcsscd that all thc
imagcs that arc lound in thc tcmplcs or homc shrincs only scrvc
as rcmindcrs ol thcir rcspcctivc qualitics. For cxamplc, whcn a
8uddhist knccls down bclorc thc imagc ol thc 8uddha, hc docs
not worship thc holy imagc but brings to mind thc grcat com
passion ol thc ¡nlightcncd Ònc who has taught him thc way to
!dolatory is not what 8uddhists practisc and only thc unkind
pcrson will choosc to dcridc thc usc ol holy imagcs in thc tcm
plcs. Hc should havc thc wisdom to rcalisc that no rcligion in
thc world can do away with symbolism, whcthcr thcy bc human
or othcrwisc, lor without symbolism, idcntincation would bc
quitc impossiblc. Tc world, in lact, cannot cxist without sym
bolism and it can salcly bc said that only civilisations as old and
advanccd in culturc as China arc ablc to bring lorth symbolic
imagcs such as thosc produccd by thc Chincsc pcoplc. Tc im
agcs uscd in thc Chincsc tcmplcs arc thcrclorc usclul aids to
gcncrating laith and dcvotion in thc minds ol thc bclicvcrs and
arc objccts worthy ol rcvcrcncc.
a¡ a¸
Upon cntcring thc lront hall ol thc tcmplc, onc is mct with thc
idca ol ‘protcction’ lrom thc cclcstial bcings and as onc stands
bclorc thc 8uddha’s imagc, onc is rcmindcd ol Sakyamuni’s com
passion, bcncvolcncc and wisdom. Looking at thc 8odhisattvas’
imagcs hc sccs thcir particular attributcs so that Kuan Yin’s im
agc instantly rcminds him ol hcr innnitc mcrcy, compassion and
othcr gcntlc qualitics. Many a troublcd mind havc lound solacc
and comlort upon looking at thc swcct imagc ol Kuan Yin. ¡vcn
thc animals which arc portraycd with thc dcitics havc thcir own
symbolic mcanings. Tus Fu Hsicn’s grcat whitc clcphant indi
catcs purity, caution, strcngth, gcntlcncss and a wcighty dignity
whilc thc lion ol Vcnshu rcprcscnts honour, boldncss, bravcry
and a lrcsh, cagcr and advancing spirit as wcll as thc wild and
almost untamcablc spirit ol thc unruly mind which onc must
cvcntually subduc in ordcr to gain wisdom and cnlightcnmcnt.
!n thc Arhat’s imagcs onc sccs thosc who havc pcrlcctcd thcm
sclvcs by ridding thcir worldly passions and carncd thc lrccdom
lrom samsaric sußcrings. Such is thc symbolism ol thc Chincsc
8uddhist imagcs which onc should know ol instcad ol jumping
into wrong conclusions, which arc thc causcs ol illwill. Tcrc
lorc whcn a 8uddhist bows bclorc a holy imagc and makcs his
oßcrings, onc should know that this is but an act ol rcspcct and
vcncration to thc 8uddhas and 8odhisattvas.
Tnv Cnixvsv 8ubbnis: P~x:nvox
Cnav+vv III
Te [hinese Juddhist Jantheon
Tc 8uddhist Panthcon has a vast numbcr ol Ðcitics in thc
sccmingly cndlcss variation ol lorms so that it is quitc impossiblc
to portray thcm in any onc illustration. Most ol thcsc Ðcitics lall
into thc catcgory ol 8uddhas, 8odhisattvas, Arahants and othcr
Hcavcnly 8cings. Tc illustration ol thc Chincsc Panthcon only
dcpicts thc most popular Ðcitics whom thc Chincsc adorc and
thcrc is anothcr popular illustration which includcs thc ¡ightccn
Lohans that can bc lound in many tcmplcs and homcs ol thc
9escription of the [hinese Jantheon
Tc Trinity ol thc 8uddhas on thc top row ol thc illustration
consists ol thc historical SaxvaxuN: Buoona who is scatcd
in thc ccntrc and is attcndcd by his two lorcmost disciplcs. Tc
oldcr monk standing on his lclt is Manaxasvava, who latcr bc
camc thc First Patriarch ol 8uddhism altcr thc 8uddha’s dcath.
Tc young monk on his right is ANaNoa, his pcrsonal attcndant,
who was wcll known lor his grcat mcmory powcr and ability to
rcpcat accuratcly all thc tcachings that had bccn spokcn by thc
8uddha. Hc latcr bccamc thc Sccond Patriarch ol 8uddhism.
a· aµ
Tc two most adorcd 8uddhas ol thc distant past, whosc cxist
cncc wcrc rcvcalcd to us by Sakyamuni 8uddha himscll, arc
shown scatcd by his sidcs. Ax:+anna Buoona, Tc 8uddha
ol 8oundlcss Light and Limitlcss Lilc, thc Crcator ol thc Vcst
crn Paradisc (Sukhavati) whcrc all Purc Land 8uddhists hopc
to takc rcbirth into, sits on thc right hand sidc ol Sakyamuni
8uddha. Bna:sajva-Guvu, thc Hcaling 8uddha, thc Crcator
ol thc ¡astcrn Paradisc, also known as thc Mcdicinc 8uddha
bccausc ol his hcaling powcrs, is scatcd on thc lclt.
Just bclow thc 8uddhas arc thc Trcc Grcat 8odhisattvas. A
8odhisattva or P’usa, in Chincsc, is an ¡nlightcncd 8cing who
lorsakcs Nirvana and acccpts rcbirth into thc sußcring worlds
ol Samsara lor thc sakc ol rclicving thc pains ol scnticnt bcings
and lcading thcm to thc path ol cnlightcnmcnt. Tc six sam
saric rcalms or worlds arc thosc bclonging to thc gods, asuras,
humans, animals, ghosts and hcllbcings.
KuaN Sn:N Y:N P’usa or Avalokitcsvara 8odhisattva can bc
sccn scatcd just bclow Sakyamuni 8uddha and is ßankcd by hcr
two lamous disciplcs ‘GoiovN You+n’ and ‘ ]aov G:vi’. 8cing
thc pcrsonincation ol Compassion, Kuan Yin is casily thc most
popular ol all thc Ðcitics ol thc cntirc panthcon.
WvN-Snu P’usa or Manjusri 8odhisattva, thc cmbodimcnt
ol Visdom, is thc ngurc scatcd upon thc lion which rcprcscnts
thc ‘wild mind’ which mcditation translorms. Pu Hs:vN P’usa
or Samantabhadra 8odhisattva, thc pcrsonincation ol Pcrlcct
Activity and Happincss, is dcpictcd as scatcd upon thc whitc
a· aµ
clcphant. Shc also rcprcscnts activc lovc, virtuc, diligcnt training
and paticncc.
T:-TsaNc WaNc P’usa or Ksitigarbha, thc cmbodimcnt ol
8cncvolcncc, thc only 8odhisattva dcpictcd in a monk’s attirc,
is scatcd just bclow Kuan Yin P’usa. His two disciplcs, a lathcr
and son combination, arc MuNc KuNc and monk Tao M:Nc.
M:-Io Iwo or Maitrcya 8uddha, or thc 8uddhatocomc and
oltcn rclcrrcd to as thc Laughing 8uddha, sits bclow Titsang
P’usa. Hc is ßankcd by KuaN T:, thc Protcctor ol thc 8uddhist
rcligion, on his right, and Wv:-To, thc Protcctor ol 8uddhist
Ðharma, on his lclt.
Tc rcst ol thc magninccnt ngurcs, all clad in complctc armour,
arc thc lamous S:-Ta-T:vN-WaNc, or thc Four Grcat Kings ol
Ðcvas. Tcsc Four Guardian Kings ol thc lour dircctions rcp
rcscnt thc protcction ol thc 8uddhas and thc Patriarchs and arc
activcly involvcd with thc aßairs ol thc world. Mo-I: Cn:Nc,
thc Guardian ol thc ¡ast, holds a magical mandolin or p’ipa,
whilc Mo-I: Ha:, thc Guardian ol thc Vcst, has with him thc
magic dragon. Òn thc othcr sidc, Mo-I: Snou, thc Guardian ol
thc North, is sccn holding an umbrclla, at thc clcvation ol which
darkncss cnvclopcs thc world or a violcnt and thundcrous storm
commcnccs. Mo-I: HuNc, thc Guardian ol thc South, who
posscsscs a black countcnancc and lcrocious cxprcssion, has in
his hand a prccious sword.
¸c ¸.
Tc I:cn+vvN Avna+s (LoHans), not dcpictcd in this illus
tration but oltcn appcaring in othcr vcrsions ol thc Chincsc
8uddhist Panthcon, arc usually rcprcscntcd as posscssing vari
ous kinds ol supcrnatural powcr, symboliscd cithcr by objccts
hcld in thcir hands or by wild animals crouching submissivcly
bcsidc thcm. Tcsc arc pcrlcctcd bcings who havc listcncd and
practiscd thc tcachings ol thc 8uddha. !n Chincsc 8uddhism
thcrc arc a numbcr ol lamous groups ol Arhants ol which this
group ol cightccn is thc most popular.
IN +nv Gvva+ Haii +nv I:cn+vvN IonaNs avv vouNo N:Nv oN
vacn s:ov ov +nv waiis. Tnv anovv v:c+uvv oNiv snows vav+ ov
+nv N:Nv IonaNs oN oNv s:ov. INcvNsv avv ov+vN ovvvvvo +o
+nvx as a xavx ov vvsvvc+ vov +nv:v sv:v:+uai a++a:NxvN+s.
¸c ¸.
Cnav+vv IV
[hinese Juddhists /esti+e 9ays
Tcsc arc thc holy days that Chincsc 8uddhists cclcbratc by vis
iting tcmplcs to makc oßcrings ol praycrs, inccnsc, lruits, ßow
crs and donations. Òn such days thcy obscrvc thc moral prcccpts
vcry strictly as wcll as a lull day’s vcgctarian dict, a practicc
originally lrom China.
Tc datcs givcn arc bascd on thc Chincsc Lunar systcm so that
1.1 mcans thc ‘First day ol thc First lunar moon’ and so on.
Ða+vs Ivs+:vais
8.12 — 8uddha Sakyamuni’s ¡nlightcnmcnt Ðay.
30.12 — Avatamsaka 8odhisattva’s 8irthday.
1.1 — Maitrcya 8uddha’s 8irthday.
9.1 — Sakra Ðcvaraja’s 8irthday
8.2 — Sakyamuni’s Rcnunciation Ðay
15.2 — Sakyamuni 8uddha’s MahapariNirvana Ðay
19.2 — 8irthday ol Kuan Shih Yin P’usa.
21.2 — 8irthday ol Pu Hsicn P’usa
16.3 — 8irthday ol Cundi P’usa
¸a ¸¸
23.3 — 8irthday ol Marichi Ðcvata
4.4 — 8irthday ol Vcnshu P’usa
8.4 — 8irthday ol 8uddha Sakyamuni
15.4 — Vcsak Ðay
28.4 — 8irthday ol YaoVang P’usa (8haisajyaraja
3.6 — 8irthday ol Vcito
10.6 — 8irthday ol Guru Rinpochc (Padmasambhava)
19.6 — ¡nlightcnmcnt Ðay ol Kuan Shih Yin P’usa
13.7 — 8irthday ol TaShihChi P’usa
15.7 — Yulanpcn (Ullambana) Ccrcmony, lor lccding
hungry ghosts.
30.7 — 8irthday ol Titsang P’usa
22.8 — 8irthday ol thc ancicnt 8uddha Jantcng
(Ðipankara 8uddha)
19.9 — Kuan Shih Yin P’usa’s Rcnunciation Ðay, thc
day that marks hcr cntcring into thc nunncry.
30.9 — 8irthday ol Yaoshi Fwo (8haisajyaguru
5.10 — Annivcrsary ol thc dcath ol Tamo
17.11 — 8irthday ol Òmito Fwo (Amitabha 8uddha)
¸a ¸¸
Cnav+vv V
Te Juddha
8uddhism is a way ol lilc, a rcligion which is bascd on thc practicc
ol disciplinc according to thc tcachings ol thc 8uddha Siddharta
Gautama who is also known as thc 8uddha Sakyamuni. Tc word
“8uddha” dcrivcs lrom thc root Sanskrit word “8udh” which
mcans “to know”. !t is uscd as a titlc to dcnotc an “¡nlightcncd
8cing” — onc who has attaincd, by, his own pcrsonal cßorts and
mcrit, thc pinnaclc ol intcllcct and divinc knowlcdgc.
8uddhism is a rcligion ol pcacc and loving kindncss, in thc
namc ol which no blood was cvcr shcd in its long history, thcrc
had ncvcr bccn any association with killing and dcstruction in
its manncr ol pcrsuading pcoplc to walk its gcntlc path. !t is a
rcligion ol rcason and mcditation and its nnal goal is Ðclivcr
ancc, mcaning thc Libcration ol thc Scll lrom thc cyclc ol birth,
old agc, discasc and dcath.
7ho is Te Juddha?
Historically, this rclcrs to Siddharta Gautama who was born
in 560 nc to Quccn Mahamaya and King Suddhodanna ol thc
Sakya Kingdom in thc vicinity ol Ncpal. Tc quccn had, prior
to thc birth ol thc child, a drcam ol a bcautilul whitc clcphant
cntcring hcr womb through hcr sidc. Gautama was born in
Lumbini Park on a lullmoon day in thc month ol \csakha. A
wcck altcr his birth, his mothcr dicd and hc was brought up by
his aunt, Mahaprajapati. At a namc giving ccrcmony hc was
givcn thc namc Siddharta which mcans Ònc Vhosc Aim !s
Ancicnt Pali commcntarics rclatc a signincant incidcnt which
occurcd during thc Ploughing Ccrcmony, whcn as a young child
and lclt alonc in a tcnt undcr a roscapplc trcc, his nurscs latcr
lound thc princc to bc scatcd in a lotus posturc and having cn
tcrcd oncpointcdncss ol mind known as Samadhi.
Tc young princc grcw up in thc midst ol luxury and splcndour
and at thc agc ol 16, was marricd to his cousin, thc bcautilul
Yasodhara. For almost thirtccn ycars altcr his marriagc, hc lcd a
blisslul lilc unawarc ol thc cvcr changing naturc and mislortuncs
ol lilc outsidc thc palacc.
Vhcn hc was 29 ycars old Gautama cncountcrcd lour signincant
sights which markcd thc turning point ol his lilc. First hc saw a
wcak and lrail old man lcaning on a staß, ncxt a discascd pcrson,
thcn a corpsc and nnally, a shavcnhcadcd hcrmit in ycllow robc
moving around with a pcacclul and scrcnc countcnancc. Tc nrst
thrcc sights convincingly showcd him thc incxorablc naturc ol
lilc, and thc univcrsal ailmcnts ol humanity, thc lourth showcd
thc mcans to ovcrcomc thc ills ol lilc and to attain to calm and
pcacc. Rcalising thc worthlcssncss ol scnsual plcasurcs and thc
valuc ol rcnunciation hc dccidcd to lcavc homc in scarch ol Truth
and ¡tcrnal Pcacc.
Tnv Buoona
¸6 ¸,
!t was altcr this dccision was madc that hc hcard ol thc birth
ol his son, and rcgarding thc ncw born child as an impcdimcnt
rathcr than a blcssing, namcd him Rahula mcaning “lcttcr”. !t
was a clcar indication that his hcart was alrcady turning away
lrom houschold lilc. Òn that night, hc lclt his uncongcnial pal
acc and tradcd his princcly robcs lor thc lowly clothings ol an
ascctic. His scarch lor truth and pcacc had bcgun and it was
morc lrom sympathy with thc sußcrings ol othcrs than lrom any
pcrsonal sorrow which hc had no occasion to cxpcricncc.
His dcparturc lrom homc was not a casc ol dcscrtion ol his bc
lovcd lamily, but an unprcccdcntcd casc ol historic rcnunciation.
Hc lclt his worldly lilc not in old agc but in thc primc ol man
hood, not in povcrty but in thc midst ol plcnty.
Following thc path ol cxtrcmc asccticism, as was thc custom ol
thosc days, hc was not ablc to scck what hc sought lor until hc
gavc up thc practicc ol austcrity somc six ycars latcr.
Te Qreat 8n/ightenment
Ònc day, in thc lorcst at 8uddha Gaya, altcr a last mcal ol milk
ricc, Gautama sat down, crosscdlcggcd, on a grass mat sprcad
undcr a “8odhi” trcc, and dcclarcd, “!l ! do not succccd in this
way ol sccking thc truth by scarching within, ! will not risc
lrom this placc”. His mind soon bccamc tranquil and purincd
and hc thcn attaincd thc Samadhi that hc had cxpcricnccd in
his youth.
¸6 ¸,
Ðuring mcditativc tranccs in that night’s thrcc watchcs hc
gaincd thc knowlcdgc ol all his past livcs, acquircd thc “supcr
human divinc cyc” by which hc cnvisagcd thc passing away
and rcbirth ol all living bcings ol all timcs. !t was likc that ol
thc wholc univcrsc appcaring bclorc him as a mirror. Hc saw
that good karma brings about a happy rcbirth and cvil karma
lcads to a miscrablc ncxt lilc. Tcn, at thc third watch (2.00 am
— 6.00 am), hc rcachcd thc highcst statc in which thc “outßows”
ol his lilc i.c., his ignorancc and cravings, wcrc nnally qucllcd.
!t was thcn that hc pcrccivcd thc Four Noblc Truths ol thc way
ol ¡nlightcnmcnt, noting, “Tis is Sußcring, this is thc Causc
ol Sußcring, this is thc Ccssation ol Sußcring, and this is thc
Path lcading to thc Ccssation ol Sußcring”. Tus ignorancc
was dispcllcd and wisdom arosc. 8cing cnlightcncd, hc rcal
iscd, “Rcbirth is cndcd, lulnllcd thc Holy Lilc, donc what was
to bc donc, thcrc is no morc this statc again”. Tcrcaltcr hc was
known as 8uddha Gautama, onc ol thc long linc ol 8uddhas
that alrcady had appcarcd in thc past and will appcar in thc
Tus at thc agc ol 35, Gautama, undcr thc lull moon in thc
month ol \csakha (April — May), about thc ycar 525 nc at a
placc callcd 8uddha Gaya, attaincd thc Suprcmc ¡nlightcnmcnt
and 8uddhism was born to thc world. Tc 8uddha thcn spcnt
scvcn wccks contcmplating on thc Truth that hc had rcaliscd,
particularly thc morc dimcult oncs on causal rclations or thc
Truth ol Ðcpcndcnt Òrigination.
Tnv Buoona
!nitially thc 8uddha was hcsistant to rcach out to tcach thc
Truth bccausc hc lclt that thc world bcing caught up in thc pas
sion and darkncss ol Samsara will nnd it dimcult to acccpt thc
truth ol his tcachings. Howcvcr, duc to his grcat compassion and
his rcalisation that man cxists at dißcrcnt lcvcls ol spiritual dc
vclopmcnt hc dccidcd to rcach out and sct in motion, thc Vhccl
ol Truth, which is dcpictcd by thc ‘mudra’ or handsigns ol thc
nngcrs as shown in thc illustration.
Tc 8uddha spcnt his rcmaining lorty nvc ycars travclling all
ovcr !ndia, tcaching thc Ðharma and living in thc manncr ol a
bcgging monk. Hc lormcd thc nrst monastic Òrdcr in thc world
which is known as thc Sangha and his most notablc disciplcs in
cludcd Sariputra, Mahakasyapa, Mogallana, Subuti and his pcr
sonal attcndant and cousin, Ananda. His lollowcrs wcrc pcoplc
lrom all walks ol lilc which includcd kings, princcs, ministcrs,
ascctics, brahmins and commoncrs. Hc taught thcm according
to thcir ability to lcarn, with parablcs and through qucstions
and answcrs applying all suitablc mcans to aid thcm to spiritual
growth. Hc did not dcmand blind laith, but adoptcd thc unusual
“comc and cxpcricncc lor yourscll ” attitudc which won thc hcarts
ol thousands. His was thc path ol scllrcliancc which rcquircd
unswcrving pcrsonal cßort.
Tc 8uddha also convcrtcd his lathcr, his lamily, and a largc
numbcr ol thc Sakyan pcoplc. At thc urging ol his closc disciplc
Ananda, hc lormcd thc nrst Òrdcr ol Nuns and his lostcr mothcr,
Quccn Mahaprajapati, and a largc numbcr ol hcr lricnds bccamc
thc nrst mcmbcrs ol thc Òrdcr.
¡c ¡.
Te Qreat 9ecease
Ðuring thc carly part ol his ministry, thc 8uddha livcd as a trav
clling monk and did not havc any nxcd abodc. !t was towards
thc last twcnty ycars or so that hc chosc to rcsidc at Savatthi, in
thc Jctavana Grovc which was donatcd to him and his monks by
thc vcry rich houscholdcr Anathapindika.
At thc agc ol cighty hc travcllcd northwards lrom Rajagriha
to \csali whcrc hc bccamc scriously ill. Upon rccovcring thc
8uddha procccdcd to a small town callcd Pava whcrc hc staycd
in thc grovc ol Cunda, thc smith, who upon hcaring ol his
arrival, oßcrcd him and his lollowcrs a mcal. Tis was to bc thc
last mcal that hc atc lor onc ol thc dishcs diligcntly prcparcd
by Cunda and which thc 8uddha latcr spccincally instructcd
was lor himscll to cat only, causcd him to sußcr sharp dyscntcry
pains. Tc 8uddha latcr assurcd Cunda through Ananda that
his pains wcrc not any lault ol his and that it was a mcritorious
act to oßcr thc 8uddha his last mcal.
Tc 8uddha borc it calmly and, dcspitc his illncss, sct lorth lor
Kushinagara whcrc hc laid down bctwccn two Sala trccs with
his hcad pointing to thc north. Tc 8uddha was dcscribcd in thc
Scripturcs to havc “laid himscll down on his right sidc, with onc
lcg rcsting on thc othcr, mindlul and scllposscsscd”. Tc Sala
trccs thcn burst into bloom out ol scason and lragrancc nllcd thc
air in homagc ol thc 8uddha.
¡c ¡.
At this momcnt his lormcr attcndant, thc vcncrablc Upavana,
camc lorward to lan thc 8uddha but was askcd to stcp asidc.
Ananda thcn askcd thc 8uddha why hc had turncd down thc
monk’s scrvicc and thc 8uddha rcplicd that Ðcvas had asscm
blcd in grcat numbcrs to scc thc Tathagata and thcy wcrc rathcr
displcascd that thcir vicw was conccalcd by Upavana.
Sakyamuni 8uddha thcn told Ananda that altcr his dcath laith
lul lollowcrs should rcvcrc lour placcs which havc bccn madc
sacrcd by his association:
1. Tc placc ol his birth (Lumbini).
2. Tc placc whcrc hc attaincd ¡nlightcnmcnt (8uddha Gaya).
3. Tc placc whcrc hc prcachcd his nrst scrmon (Sarnath).
4. Tc placc whcrc hc attaincd Parinirvana (Kusinagara).
Tc 8uddha lurthcr addcd that thosc who should dic whilc mak
ing such a pilgrimagc would bc rcborn in a hcavcnly statc.
Tc dying 8uddha thcn askcd thc monks around him thrcc timcs
whcthcr thcrc wcrc any rcmaining qucstions or doubts about his
tcachings, but all kcpt silcnt. Turning to Ananda hc said, “Vhat
! havc taught and laid down, Ananda, as Ðharma and \inaya,
this will bc your Mastcr whcn ! am gonc.” Tcn turning to thc
asscmbly ol monks hc madc this nnal pronounccmcnt:
“...transient are a// conditioned things. Try to accomp/ish
your aim .ith di/igence”.
Tcn hc cntcrcd succcssivc stagcs ol dccpcr and dccpcr mcdita
tion lrom which hc passcd into parinirvana. Tus cndcd thc lilc
ol 8uddha who is known to thc world as Sakyamuni 8uddha,
thc Sagc ol thc Sakya Clan, thc Historic 8uddha who loundcd
8uddhism that gavc mankind thc way to suprcmc Ðclivcrancc.
!t was thc lullmoon day ol thc month ol \csakha.
His body was thcn crcmatcd and thc rclics dividcd into cight
portions and scnt to thc various kingdoms whcrc thcy wcrc cn
shrincd in Stupas.
Jrayers to the Juddha _akyamuni
Ðaily cvcry 8uddhist should pay homagc to thc 8uddha by rc
citing any ol thcsc praycrs:
“Na Mo BvN Snv Sn:v ]va Mo N: Iwo”
which mcans ‘Hail Òur Òriginal Tcachcr Sakyamuni 8uddha’.
“Naxo Tassa Bnacava+o Avana+o Saxxasax-Buoonasa”
which mcans ‘Homagc to thc Grcat Compassionatc Complctcly
¡nlightcncd Ònc’.
As thc 8uddha is cndowcd with numcrous qualitics, various
cpithcts havc bccn bcstowcd upon Him. Hc is thcrclorc also ad
drcsscd as:
¡¡ ¡¸
]:Na — Conqucror
Ta+naca+a — Ònc gonc to ‘suchncss’
Suca+a — Vcllgonc Ònc
BnacawaN — 8lcsscd Ònc
Avna+ — Capablc Ònc
A+uiva — Matchlcss Ònc
Saxvaxsaxnuoona — Pcrlcct 8uddha
8uddhists arc also rcquircd to Takc Rclugc in thc Trcc Jcwcls
cach day as a committmcnt to practising thc 8uddha’s tcaching
lor thc bcncnt ol all scnticnt bcings. Tc Trcc Jcwcls consist ol
thc 8uddha, thc Ðharma and thc Sangha and thc 8uddha’s way
ol lilc rcquircs onc to livc wholcsomcly by adhcring to thc Noblc
¡ightlold Path. Tosc who do so will succcsslully avoid thcsc
tcn nonvirtuous actions:
Killing, stcaling, scxual misconduct, lying, slandcring,
malicious spccch, idlc spccch, covctousncss, malcvolcncc
and crroncous vicws.
Tc most holy day lor all 8uddhists is thc cclcbration ol Wvsax
or 8uddha Ðay which gcncrally lalls in thc month ol May. Tis
is a thricc blcsscd day which cclcbratcs thc thrcc major cvcnts:
thc 8irth, ¡nlightcnmcnt and thc Passingaway ol Gautama
thc 8uddha. Òn this day Chincsc 8uddhists makc thcir way to
thc tcmplcs to pay homagc to thc 8uddha and to rcamrm thcir
laith in thc 8uddha Ðharma. !t is truly a rcligious day and many
pcoplc will spcnd it in mcditation or praycrrccitation lor thc wcll
¡¡ ¡¸
bcing ol othcrs. Prcccpts arc adhcrcd to vcry strictly and only
vcgctarian lood will bc catcn. Òn this day too lovingkindncss is
practiscd in various manncrs as many pcoplc will sct lrcc birds
and animals as a symbolic act ol libcration, ol giving lrccdom
to thosc who arc in captivity, whilc othcrs choosc to givc alms
to thc poor, makc donations to tcmplcs and institutions or visit
thc unlortunatc oncs who arc at thc Òld Folks Homcs, Òrphan
agcs or similar Ccntrcs, bringing with thcm gilts ol cvcry kind.
Vcsak brings to mind, thc Grcat Compassion ol thc 8uddha
which should movc us to bc morc dctcrmincd to lcad noblc livcs,
to dcvclop our minds, to practisc lovingkindncss and compas
sion so as to bring pcacc and harmony to all mankind.
¡6 ¡,
Cnav+vv VI
,mitabha Juddha “¸amo O-¸i-To /.o”
Tus thc Sakyamuni 8uddha dcscribcd thc 8uddha Amitabha
to Ananda:
“Tc Light that issucs lrom Amitabha 8uddha is thc most bril
liant, and nonc is comparablc to him. !n adoration wc call him:
‘Tc 8uddha ol !nnnitc Light,
Tc 8uddha ol !mmcasurablc Light,
Tc 8uddha ol 8oundlcss Light,
Tc 8uddha ol !ncxprcssiblc Light,
and thc 8uddha whosc Light surpasscs thc Sun
and thc Moon’.
Vhocvcr is blcsscd with thc Light will cnjoy a calm and
pcacclul lilc which is lrcc ol dcspair and will obtain cnlightcn
mcnt at thc cnd ol his lilc on carth.
Tc Light ol Amitabha is lull ol splcndour and pcrvadcs thc
cntirc univcrsc. Not only do ! adorc His Light, ! also adorc Him,
il anyonc, on rccciving thc grcat blcssings ol His Light, adorcs
Him inccssantly day and night with laith and sinccrity in his
hcart, hc will surc takc rcbirth into His paradisc callcd thc Purc
Land…. ¡vcn though ! adorc thc magninccncc ol Amitabha day
and night, it is impossiblc lor mc to dcscribc Him wcll.”
7ho is ,mitabha?
According to Mahayana 8uddhist sutras hc was a king in thc
rcmotc pcriod ol timc. Rcnouncing his kingdom, hc bccamc a
¡6 ¡,
monk and was namcd Ðharmakara, which mcans ‘Trcasury ol
Ðharma’. !nspircd by thc tcaching ol thc thcn 8uddha ol that
timc, Lokcsvaraja 8uddha, who taught him thc way to suprcmc
cnlightcnmcnt many acons ago, hc madc lorty cight grcat vows
lor thc saving ol thc scnticnt bcings. Tc ¡ightccnth \ow, which
is thc basis ol thc Purc Land, ran likc this: ‘!l upon thc attain
mcnt ol 8uddhahood all scnticnt bcings in thc tcn quartcrs who
aspirc in sinccrity and laith to bc rcborn in my land, rccitc my
namc up to tcn timcs and lail to bc born thcrc, thcn may ! not
attain thc Pcrlcct ¡nlightcnmcnt…’.
Sincc thcn, thc 8odhisattva Ðharmakara, altcr nvc acons ol
scllcultivation, nnally attaincd thc Suprcmc ¡nlightcnmcnt
and bccamc thc 8uddha Amitabha. Tis mcans that his grand
and innnitcly compassionatc vow is now a rcality, thc paradisc
known as Purc Land or Sukhavati has bccn cstablishcd, sußcr
ing bcings must and will bc dclivcrcd il only thcy will havc thc
lull laith to call upon his namc.
Calling thc 8uddha’s namc with lull laith is known to thc
Chincsc as ‘ N:vN-Iwo’ mcaning ‘Praycrrccitation’. Tc Japan
csc tcrm lor this practicc is known as ‘Ncmbutsu’. !n this practicc
thrcc important qualitics must bc prcscnt in thc mind: Sinccrity,
Faith and Aspiration to bc rcborn in thc Purc Land. Tc simplc
praycr or lormula that onc nccds to rcpcat is:
“Naxo O-M:-To Iwo”
Ònc may rcpcat it in Sanskrit ‘Namo Amitabha 8uddha’ which
litcrally mcans ‘Homagc to thc Amitabha 8uddha’ or ‘! scck rcl
ugc in thc Amitabha 8uddha’.
¸ethod of Jrayer-_ecitation
Vhilc practising ‘nicnlwo’ it is important to adopt a corrcct sit
ting posturc, a conccntratcd mind which is laithnllcd and a nrm
dcsirc to bc rcborn in thc Purc Land ol Amitabha. Ònc must
also bc awarc that salvation is not aßcctcd solcly by Amitabha’s
powcrs but mainly by onc’s own constant cßort in thc practicc. !t
is prclcrablc to havc an imagc ol thc 8uddha in lront so that thc
cycs can look at it during thc rccitation. And whilc thc mouth
rccitcs thc 8uddha’s namc, thc cars listcn attcntivcly to thc six
syllablcs “Na-Mo-O-M:-To-Iwo” so that thc mind is in lull
conccntration and not allowcd to movc about lrccly.
8cginncrs will nnd that thcy arc laccd with a scattcrcd mind
which makc thcm rcstlcss, lccl hcavy or cvcn lrustratcd. Tis
outcomc is quitc normal so that thcy should not givc up thc
practicc casily but instcad rccognisc thc lact that thcir minds
havc bccn lacking in conccntration and disciplinc. Tcy should
also apprcciatc having lound a practicc which will hclp thcm
to gct rid ol thcir unruly minds and acccpt thc grcat challcngc
to succccd instcad ol bcing discouragcd. Vith paticncc, thcy
should try hardcr and continuc thc rccitation with rcncwcd vig
our. Altcr somc timc thc rcsult ol thcir cßorts will bc lclt as thc
quictmind ariscs and thcn ‘nicnlwo’ will hcncclorth bc quitc
casy to practisc.
Tc morc advanccd oncs may practisc rcciting thc 8uddha’s
namc whilc mcditating on thc mcntal imagc ol Him or Tc
Purc Land sccnc which shows Amitabha 8uddha bcing ßankcd
by His lorcmost disciplcs Kuan Shih Yin P’usa and TaShihChi
Ax:+anna Buoona
¸c ¸.
P’usa and surroundcd by thc asscmbly ol Ðivinitics. Constant
practisc will cvcntually lcad onc to arrivc at a stagc ol pcrlcct
conccntration so that thc 8uddha is in his mouth as hc rccitcs
His namc, in his cars as hc listcns to thc rccitation, and in his
mind as hc visualiscs Him.
Jure ¿and Juddhism
Purc Land 8uddhism known as thc Lotus School ol 8uddhism
or Cn’:Nc Tu, is, in short, thc 8uddhism ol Faith and Ðcvotion
mcant lor thosc lacking in wisdom to comprchcnd thc prolound
tcachings ol thc 8uddha Sakyamuni, and thcrclorc having to rc
sort to thc usc ol Faith in thc saving powcr ol Amitabha 8uddha.
!t is thcrclorc callcd thc ‘casy path’ sincc thc way to attain rc
birth in thc Purc Land is by way ol a simplc laith and a simplc
invocation. Tc Purc Land is also callcd thc Vcstcrn Paradisc
sincc it is locatcd in thc lar distant Vcstcrn Quartcrs ol thc
Univcrsc. !t should bc trcatcd as a stcpping stonc to Nirvana and
thcrclorc bcings who takc rcbirth thcrc arc not to bc considcrcd
as cnlightcncd bcings.
Purc Land 8uddhism is Mahayana 8uddhism as it tcachcs thc
univcrsality ol salvation. !ts particular duty is to givc hclp to
common bcings so that ¡nlightcnmcnt is not lcss acccssiblc to
thcm cvcn though thcy arc not intclligcnt cnough to undcrstand
thc Ðharma. Tc 8uddha’s compassion is innnitc and hc cxists
to savc all bcings in thc univcrsc whcthcr thcy arc wisc or stu
pid bccausc thc 8uddhanaturc is cqually prcscnt in all ol thcm.
Ch’ing Tu thus bccamc thc most acccptablc lorm ol 8uddhism
¸c ¸.
in China as thc largcr part ol its populacc do not bclong to thc
scholarly class. !t should not bc lookcd upon as a lowly mcthod
ol practicc lor whcthcr onc chooscs to practisc thc casy way ol
laith or thc dimcult way ol wisdom, thc ultimatc goal is thc
samc — just as onc can climb up a mountain top lrom thc north,
south, cast or wcst sidc.
Tnv Puvv IaNo Ov Ax:+anna Buoona (Suxnava+:)
Tc abovc illustration is lrom an old Tibctan Tcxt which dcpicts
thc granducr ol Sukhavati or thc Vcstcrn Paradisc ol Amitabha
8uddha. !t is a paradisc which is rich and prospcrous, comlort
ablc, lcrtilc, dclightlul and crowdcd with 8odhisattvas, Ðcvas
and mcn. !n this 8uddhancld thcrc arc no hcll, no animals, no
ghosts or cvil spirits, no Asuras and nonc ol thc inauspicious placcs
ol rcbirth. !t is cmpty ol sußcring ol any kind. !n this Purc !and
swcct lragrancc nlls thc air and it is rich in a grcat varicty ol ßow
crs and lruits, various plumcd birds with cxotic swcct voiccs sing
vcrscs ol thc Ðharma and bcjcwclcd trccs ol many colours can bc
lound cvcrywhcrc. Amitabha 8uddha can bc sccn at thc ccntrc ol
thc picturc surroundcd by thc happy bcings ol thc rcalm.
¸a ¸¸
9escription of the Jure ¿and
Tc lull dcscription ol thc Purc Land can bc rcad lrom thc
Sutras rclatcd to Amitabha 8uddha c.g., Sukhavativyuha Sutra
or thc Amitayus Sutra. Amitayus is thc othcr namc lor Amita
bha 8uddha mcaning 8oundlcss or !nnnitc Lilc bccausc his lilc
span (ayuh) is innnitc (amita).
8ricßy it is a paradisc in thc Vcst which is cxquisitcly adorncd
with gold and silvcr and all kinds ol prccious gcms. Tcrc arc in
dcscribably bcautilul lakcs with goldcn sand that arc surroundcd
by plcasant banks lincd with jcwcllcd trccs and covcrcd with
hcavcnly lotus ßowcrs which arc grown in crystal purc watcr. !t
is nllcd with wondrous sounds and sights and lragrant ßowcrs
rain down thrcc timcs a day. Tc ßowing watcrs ol thc rivcrs
hum thc sounds ol thc holy dharma, cvcn thc mclodics lrom thc
songs ol plumcd birds arc nllcd with harmonious notcs which
inducc thosc who hcar thcm to rcmcmbcr thc prccious 8uddha,
Ðharma and Sangha. Hcrc too thc words ol Amitabha 8uddha
tcaching lovc, mcrcy, compassion, joy, sympathy, cquanimity
and so lorth can bc hcard. ¡vcrything in this paradisc is radi
ant, pcacclul and bcautilul. No dcnlcmcnt can bc lound as no
cvil birth is possiblc, and cvcn thc vcry namc hcll is unhcard ol.
!t is populatcd by 8odhisattvas, Ðcitics and othcr hcavcnly bc
ings and thc pious oncs who bcing rcborn thcrc, arc dcstincd to
attain Nirvana.
!n thc Purc Land, Amitabha 8uddha is assistcd by two principal
attcndants namcly, Kuan Shih Yin P’usa and Ta Shih Chi P’usa,
who will dcsccnd to carth to lcad thc laithlul and dcvotcd to thc
¸a ¸¸
paradisc at thcir hour ol dcath. 8uddhist tcmplcs dcdicatcd to
Amitabha 8uddha always havc thc imagcs ol thcsc Trcc Grcat
Sagcs so that thosc who vcncratc Amitabha 8uddha alrcady hon
our Kuan Shih Yin P’usa and Ta Shih Chi P’usa. !n thc samc
way, Kuan Yin dcvotccs arc alrcady thc dcvotccs ol thc 8uddha
and thcrclorc qualily to takc rcbirth in thc Purc Land.
Altcr taking rcbirth in this paradisc onc must not lorgct his
othcr lcllow bcings who arc still dccply submcrgcd in thc mirc
ol painlul cxistcncc. Tis thought will hclp to gcncratc thc dc
sirc to takc rcbirth again on this carth so as to dclivcr thcm lrom
thcir grcat sußcrings. Tis thcn, is thc arising ol thc 8odhisattva
naturc which is born out ol compassion and lovingkindncss,
and a ncw bodhisattva is born. Purc Land is thcrclorc thc land
whcrc bcings can dcvclop thcir bodhisattva spirit and havc thc
opportunity to appcar bclorc thc 8uddha to dcclarc thcir carncst
wish to strivc lor 8uddhahood so that thcy arc ablc to savc scn
ticnt bcings. Hcrc too thc 8odhisattva \ows can bc takcn and
Amitabha 8uddha can thcn givc his blcssings and prophcsiscs
thcir luturc succcss in thc carccr ol a budding bodhisattva.
Tc worship ol Amitabha 8uddha originatcd in !ndia but took
nrm roots in China. !ts tcachings appcalcd cspccially to thosc
who arc not attractcd by scriptural studics, ritualistic or mcdi
tativc practiccs but posscssing grcat laith, cncrgy and dcvotion,
prclcr to rcly on Amitabha 8uddha to savc thcm. Purc Land
8uddhism soon sprcad lrom China to its ncighbouring countrics
likc \ictnam, Korca and Japan. Japan can bc considcrcd to bc thc
main arca ol Purc Land practicc today as morc than twothirds
ol its population arc said to bc Purc Land practitioncrs.
!n thc lourth ccntury ao, a monk lrom Ccntral Asia arrivcd at
Loyang, thcn thc capital ol China, and cngagcd in widcsprcad
cvangclism on this casy and convcnicnt path ol salvation which
stirrcd thc intcrcsts ol many. His work was latcr continucd by
his lamous disciplc TaoAn (ao 314–385) with just as much
vigour who thcn passcd on thc rcsponsibility to his own disciplc,
a lormcr Taoist, Hui Yuan (ao 334–416), who latcr lound thc
Purc Land School bcttcr known thcn as thc Lotus School.
!t must bc strcsscd again that rcbirth in thc Purc Land docs
not constitutc thc attainmcnt ol Nirvana, as it is but onc ol thc
countlcss hcavcnly rcalms in thc 8uddhist Cosmology.
Howcvcr thcrc is a grcat dißcrcncc bctwccn thc Purc Land ol
Amitabha and thc various hcavcnly statcs in that bcings born
thcrc arc lrcc lrom thc tcmptations ol scnsuous dclights and that
thcy will bc blcsscd with thc most cxccllcnt conditions to prac
tisc thc Ðharma, as havc bccn dcscribcd carlicr, that will lcad to
Vith thc practicc ol mcditation on thc cvil conscqucnccs ol
Samsara, onc will put morc cßort in his practicc ol NicnFwo
and apprcciatc thc grcat opportunity ol bcing a human bcing
and having lound thc mcans ol rcnouncing Samsara.
Purc Land 8uddhism also has various mcditational practiccs lor
thosc who arc wcll on thc path. Hcrc arc thc nvc popular prac
ticcs which anyonc may practisc to achicvc rcbirth into thc Purc
KuaN Sn:n Y:N P’usa
Ta Sn:n Cn: P’usa
1. Tc mcditation on Lovc which lcads onc to pondcr and
ycarn lor thc wcal and wcllarc ol all bcings, including
thc happincss and salcty ol onc’s own cncmics.
2. Tc mcditation on Pity which causcs onc to think ol all
thc sußcrings ol scnticnt bcings so as to arousc a dccp
compassion lor thcm in onc’s own mind.
3. Tc mcditation on Joy in which onc dwclls on thc
prospcrity ol othcrs and rcjoiccs in thcir happincss.
4. Tc mcditation on !mpurity in which onc rcaliscs thc
cvil conscqucnccs ol dcnlcd thoughts and thc cßccts ol
unwholcsomc acts.
5. Tc mcditation on Scrcnity which lcads onc to risc
abovc thc grips ol thc mcntal poisons ol grccd, angcr
and dclusion, so that all unwholcsomc acts arc
discardcd and onc is ablc to subduc dcsircs thcrcby
attaining calmncss and tranquillity ol mind.
Tcrc arc many othcr mcthods ol mcditating on Amitabha
8uddha which arc morc prolound but may not bc suitablc lor
bcginncrs ol thc path. Howcvcr, onc should not bc ovcr anxious
to practisc thcm all or wish to dctcrminc which is thc most cl
lcctivc practicc. All arc in lact suitablc and bcncncial as long as
laith and dcvotion arc prcscnt in thc minds ol thc practitioncrs.
For thc prcscnt, it is bcst that rccitation on Amitabha’s namc bc
vigorously practiscd until thc dccp and incxprcssiblc inncr cx
pcricncc has bccn lclt.
,mitabha Juddha’s /esti+e 9ay
Tc birthday ol Amitabha 8uddha is cclcbratcd by his dcvotccs
on thc 17th day ol thc 11th lunar month. Òn this day many Purc
Land 8uddhists spcnd thc cntirc day in ‘nicnlwo’, sutrarcading,
and contcmplating on thc vows ol Amitabha 8uddha. !n thc
abscncc ol tcmplcs dcdicatcd to him most pcoplc will makc thcir
ways to Kuan Yin Tcmplcs to oßcr praycrs and donations, somc
will sct lrcc animals and birds whilc othcrs visit orphanagcs or
old lolks homcs. Òn this day too many will obscrvc thc prcccpts
and rclrain lrom cating mcat.
Tc picturc ol Purc Land (Sukhavati) givcs onc an imprcssion ol
thc grandcur ol thc paradisc whcrc onc is ablc to cnjoy thc sights
ol Amitabha and his two principal assistants, TaShihChi P’usa
and Kuan Shih Yin P’usa, known to all as thc “Trcc Sagcs”
(SanShcng). Surrounding thcm arc othcr hcavcnly bcings
cach ol whom stands upon a lotus ßowcr. !n lront ol Amitabha
8uddha arc sccn numcrous lotus ßowcrs which arc awaiting bc
ings to bc rcborn lrom thcm as thcrc arc no womb born crcaturcs
in thc Purc Land. Tc lull dcscription on this paradisc can bc
rcad lrom cxisting scripturcs such as thc Amitabha Sutra which
is casily availablc to thosc who sinccrcly scck lor thcm. As onc
practiscs his daily ‘nicnlwo’ this picturc could bc placcd bclorc
him as an aid to visualisation or to kccp thc mind conccntratcd
instcad ol bcing distractcd by ncarby surrounding objccts.
Many pcoplc nnd it dimcult to nnd notcs on TaShihChi P’usa
(Mahasthamaprata 8odhisattva) although shc is onc ol thc two
Puvv IaNo
6c 6.
grcat disciplcs ol Amitabha 8uddha. Unlikc Kuan Shih Yin
who is widcly worshippcd and has countlcss tcmplcs and shrincs
in hcr namc, TaShihChi is hardly vcncratcd by thc common
pcoplc and lor this rcason, thc ncxt chaptcr is dcdicatcd to hcr
cvcn though shc docs not appcar in thc panthcon.
Ta-_hih-[hi J’usa
TaShihChi P’usa is onc ol thc two main 8odhisattvas ol Purc
Land 8uddhism. Hcr Sanskrit namc is Manas+naxavva+a
which mcans ‘onc who has attaincd grcat strcngth’ and is thcrc
lorc oltcn callcd thc 8odhisattva ol Univcrsal Strcngth. Shc is an
attributc ol Amitabha 8uddha, rcprcscnting his Visdom just as
Kuan Shih Yin is his compassionatc aspcct. Shc carncd hcr rank
ol 8odhisattvahood in thc distant past through thc practicc ol
rcciting thc namc ol thc 8uddha ol that pcriod ol timc. Vhcn
Amitabha bccamc a 8uddha, shc and Kuan Shih Yin bccamc his
disciplcs and thus wcrc rcsponsiblc in wclcoming thc laithlul ol
thc 8uddha to his Purc Land at thc timc ol thcir dcath.
Tc Shurangama Sutra statcs that in timc to comc “whcn
Amitabha 8uddha rctircs as thc tcaching host ol thc Purc Land,
Kuan Shih Yin will takc ovcr thc rcsponsibility. Vhcn it is timc
lor Kuan Shih Yin to rctirc as Lord ol thc Purc Land, Ta Shih
Chi P’usa will bc hcr succcssor….”
Ta Shih Chi P’usa is said to bc so powcrlul that whcncvcr shc
raiscs hcr hand or movcs any part ol hcr body, thc carth will
6c 6.
quakc and trcmblc. Although shc is a vcry popular 8odhisattva
to thc Chincsc, shc has not lound as many dcvotccs as Kuan
Shih Yin and it is cxtrcmcly dimcult to nnd a tcmplc dcdicatcd
solcly in hcr honour. Shc is normally worshippcd in thc Triad
with Amitabha 8uddha and Kuan Shih Yin 8odhisattva and
picturcs ol thcm togcthcr arc commonly lound in homcs ol thc
Purc Land 8uddhists. Tosc who wish to lorm a karmic link
with hcr should daily spcnd a lcw minutcs contcmplating on hcr
and rcqucst lor “wisdom and strcngth in cultivation” or mind
lully holding hcr namc through thc rccitation ol:
“Naxo Ta-Sn:n-Cn: P’usa”
Rccitation should bc donc with nrm laith, dcvotion and singlc
mindcdncss so that all kinds ol distracting thoughts arc qucllcd.
!t is also vcry important that virtuous conduct bc maintaincd so
that onc must not indulgc in killing or harming othcrs, stcaling,
living immorally, lying, spcaking harshly, or taking intoxicants ol
any kind that dcludc thc mind. To rcach this grcat 8odhisattva
onc has to bc purc both in mind and spirit. Practising mind
lulncss on Ta Shih Chi P’usa is thc samc as adoring Amitabha
8uddha and qualincs onc to takc rcbirth in thc Purc Land altcr
this carthly lilc.
Tc succcss in attaining 8odhisattvahood is dcpcndcnt upon thc
lulnlmcnt ol thc vast and noblc vows sct by thc aspiring bodhi
sattva. Tc Tcn Grcat \ows ol Ta Shih Chi P’usa, also known
as thc Univcrsal Vorthy 8odhisattva, which all Purc Land
8uddhists should know arc:
6a 6¸
1. To worship and rcspcct all 8uddhas.
2. To praisc thc TusComcÒnc (Tc 8uddha)
3. To cultivatc thc giving ol oßcring.
4. To rcpcnt and rclorm all karmic laults.
5. To compliantly rcjoicc in mcrit and virtuc.
6. To rcqucst thc turning ol thc Ðharma Vhccl.
7. To rcqucst that thc 8uddhas dwcll in thc world.
8. To always lollow thc 8uddhas in study.
9. To lorcvcr accord with living bcings.
10. To univcrsally translcr all mcrit and virtuc.
8csidcs having lulnllcd thcsc grcat vows, Ta Shih Chi has also
succcsslully practiscd thc Four Grcat \ows ol:
Saving thc limitlcss living bcings.
Cutting oß all cvil passions.
Studying thc immcasurablc Ðharma Ðoors.
Rcalising thc suprcmc 8uddha Vay.
Unlikc Kuan Shih Yin P’usa whosc rolc is to grant hclp and to
succor bcings in miscry, Ta Shih Chih P’usa rcndcrs hcr hclp to
a dißcrcnt catcgory ol pcoplc, thosc who arc bcnt on putting to
practisc thc 8uddha’s way ol lilc and striving to attain pcrlcction.
Tus thc numbcr ol bcings who choosc to bccomc hcr dcvotccs
arc lcw in numbcr as cultivators ol thc path arc scarcc indccd. !t
is said that this grcat P’usa has a Gold Pavilion or lotus platlorm
which shc will lcnd to thosc who hold hcr namc so that thcy can
ridc upon it to thc Purc Land. !l you arc onc who is scriously
striving lor cnlightcnmcnt, thcn you should not hcsitatc to rccitc
thc namc ol this grcat 8odhisattva constantly.
6a 6¸
Cnav+vv VII
Tao _hih /.o
Jhaisajyaguru Juddha
Yao Shih Fwo, onc ol thc thrcc lorcmost 8uddhas ol thc
Chincsc Panthcon, is a 8uddha ol thc past cra. 8cttcr known
to thc pcoplc as thc 8uddha ol Mcdicinc or thc Mastcr ol
Hcaling, hc is dcar to thc hcarts ol many, lor thcy havc indccd
rcccivcd his blcssings in thc lorms ol miraculous curcs lrom all
kinds ol illncss. Tc 8uddha’s cmcacy in prcvcnting calamitics
and granting prospcrity bcsidcs curing illncss has attractcd a
stcady numbcr ol bclicvcrs and dcvotccs sincc thc timc ol thc
¡astcrn Chin Ðynasty (ao 317–420) to thc prcscnt day. Tc
Sutra ol thc 8uddha ol Mcdicinc (8haisajyaraja Sutra) was also
translatcd into Chincsc at that pcriod ol timc which providcd a
lull account on thc pccrlcss 8uddha, his Paradisc and his Twclvc
Grcat \ows. Howcvcr thc latcr translation madc by Tripitaka
Mastcr Hsuan Tsang, thc lamous monk ol thc Tang Ðynasty,
known as Tc Sutra ol thc Mastcr ol Hcaling (8haisajyaguru
\aiduryaPrabhasa Tathagata), is thc morc popular Sutra which
is widcly rcad by most pcoplc today.
Tc titlc ‘Mastcr ol Hcaling’, is a litcral translation ol his Sanskrit
namc ‘8haisajyaguru’, thc 8uddha who lavours worshippcrs with
rclicl lrom thc troublcs ol thc world. Apart lrom curing illncss,
warding such calamitics as laminc, drought and plaguc, granting
longcvity and assisting thc dcad, Yao Shih Fwo is known to havc
dispcnscd all kinds ol mundanc bcncnts to thosc who pray to him.

Ðcspitc his grcat popularity, tcmplcs dcdicatcd to him arc vcry
scarcc so that thosc who wish to worship him may do so at tcm
plcs whcrc his imagcs can bc lound. Hc is oltcn lound in a triad
with Sakyamuni 8uddha and Amitabha 8uddha, and his sym
bols arc cithcr thc mcdicinc bowl or thc pagoda. Vhcn dcpictcd
alonc, hc holds his symbol with his lclt hand and hc is normally
attcndcd to by his promincnt disciplcs, thc Grcat 8odhisattvas
‘Radiancc ol thc Sun’ and thc ‘Radiancc ol thc Moon’.
!n thc Sutra ol thc Mastcr ol Hcaling Sakyamuni 8uddha dc
scribcd Yao Shih Fwo to Manjusri 8odhisattva thus:
“¡astward lrom hcrc, bcyond 8uddhaland about tcn timcs as
numcrous as thc sands ol thc Ganga, thcrc is a world callcd ‘Tc
Purc Crystal Rcalm’, thc Paradisc ol Yao Shih. !ts 8uddha has
a lcw titlcs, such as Tc Mastcr ol Hcaling, Azurc Radiancc
Tathagata, Tc Arhat ol Pcrlcct Knowlcdgc, thc Pcrlcct Mind
and Ðccd, Tc Vcll Ðcpartcd Sugata, Tc Knowcr ol thc Vorld,
Tc Pccrlcss Noblcman, Tc Man Vho 8rings Tc Passion ol
Mcn Undcr Control, thc Tcachcr ol Ðcvas and Mcn….”
Vhilc still a bodhisattva, hc madc Twclvc Grcat \ows to lrcc
living bcings lrom thc bondagc ol karma. Hc vowcd to guard
thcir progrcss towards cnlightcnmcnt, to hclp thcm kccp thcir
prcccpts, to lrcc thcm lrom thc snarcs ol wrong rcligious prac
ticcs and lalsc doctrincs, to providc lood and drink lor thc hun
gry, to rcstorc thc bodics ol thc dclormcd, to rcscuc thosc lacing
cxccution and to lcad thcm to a happy and tranquil lilc. Tc
lull tcxt ol thc Twclvc \ows cannot bc givcn lully hcrc but thc

Yao Sn:n Iwo — Bna:sajvacuvu Buoona
66 6,
Scvcnth \ow, which spccincally plcdgcs to rclicvc man ol physi
cal illncss and to dispcl his spiritual conlusion, carncd him thc
titlc ol ‘Physician ol Soul’, runs likc this:
“! vow that, altcr my rcincarnation and having attaincd Pcr
lcct ¡nlightcnmcnt, thosc who arc tormcntcd by discascs, who
havc nobody to whom thcy can scck lor hclp, without a rclugc,
without a doctor, without mcdicinc, without rclativcs, without a
homc, thcsc poor and miscrablcs bcings shall all ol thcm bc lrcc
lrom discascs and pains, and shall cnjoy pcrlcct hcalth ol body
and mind, oncc my namc rcachcs thcir cars. Tcy shall havc
lamilics, lricnds and propcrtics aplcnty, and shall all bc brought
to thc suprcmc ¡nlightcnmcnt ol 8uddha.”
Trough thc pcrlcction ol thcsc Grcat \ows, thc bodhisattva has
attaincd 8uddhahood and thus bccamc known as Yao Shih Fwo,
thc 8uddha who is ablc to bcstow all kinds ol bcncnts to thosc
who havc laith in him.
!n thc samc Sutra thc 8uddha Sakyamuni also rcvcalcd to
Manjusri that:
“A woman may sußcr lrom grcat pain whilc giving birth. !l shc
can wholchcartcdly worship thc 8uddha ol Mcdicinc and to
invokc thc namc Tathagata, worship Him, and makc oßcrings
to Him, all pain will vanish, thc ncwly born will havc a sound
and hcalthy body, whocvcr sccs him will rcjoicc at his bcing so
clcvcr, so strong and hcalthy, and no dcmon comcs to rob him
ol his vitality.”
66 6,
!t is bccausc ol past good roots in your prcvious livcs that you arc
now rcading about this grcat 8uddha. !t mcans that you havc thc
rarc opportunity to cultivatc and to gcncratc good karma lor thc
luturc. To do so you nccd only to chcrish thc namc ol this Vorld
honourcd Mastcr ol Hcaling wholchcartcdly and without a doubt.
Ðaily you should contcmplatc on his vows or his lorm, rccitc his
namc and makc oßcrings to him with what you can. Trough this
dcvotion you will casily lcarn to practisc compassion and loving
kindncss to thosc who arc unlortunatc, ill, lost, hungry or arc in
pain and distrcss. !t will also lcad you pray and wish happincss on
all scnticnt bcings. Tc praycr which comcs out lrom your hcart
that is ladcncd with lcclings ol conccrn lor othcrs’ wcllbcing is ol
coursc thc bcst that you can oßcr to thc 8uddha, but hcrc is thc
univcrsal praycr which is on thc lips ol many:
“Naxo Hs:ao-Tsa: YvN Snou Yao Sn:n Iwo”
Tosc who wish may also rccitc this Sanskrit praisc:
“Naxo Bnacava+v Bna:sjvacuvu Buoona Ya”
!n thc Sutra ol thc Mastcr ol Hcaling thc 8uddha also rcvcalcd
to Manjusri thc grcat dharani (mystical lormula) which onc
should rccitc lor thc purposc ol dclivcring bcings lrom thcir dis
cascs and miscrics:
“Naxo Bancava+v Bnasajvacuvu-Va:ouvva-Pvanna-Rajava.
Ta+naca+ava Avna+v Saxvaxsax-Buoonava Taova+na
Ox Bnasajvv Bna:sajvv-nna:sajva-Saxuoca+v Svana”
Rcgarding thc cmcacy ol this grcat praycr thc 8uddha said:
6· 6µ
“Manjusri, il you scc a pious man or woman who sußcrs lrom
a discasc, you shall do thc lollowing wholchcartcdly lor thcsc
pcoplc: lct thcm kccp clcan by taking lrcqucnt baths and rinsc
thcir mouths, givc thcm lood, mcdicinc and clcan watcr, and rc
citc thc Ðharani lor a hundrcd and cight timcs, thcn all discascs
will disappcar cntircly. !l onc should havc a particular wish, hc
should conccntratc and rccitc thc magical lormula. Tcn hc will
lulnll all hc wishcs, hc will bc without discasc, and will livc
longcr. Altcr his dcath, hc will bc born in paradisc without hav
ing to rcturn to this world, and will in thc cnd attain pcrlcct
Vhilc rcciting thc abovc dharani or thc 8uddha’s namc, onc
should contcmplatc on thc 8uddha’s imagc and thcn onc may
arrivc at thc statc ol thc 8uddharccitation samadhi whcn onc
is rcciting and yct not rcciting, not rcciting and yct rcciting. For
thosc who do not havc an imagc ol thc 8uddha, cithcr ol thc two
picturcs on Yao Shih Fwo should scrvc thc purposc. Tc samc
is truc ol all thc illustrations ol thc 8uddhas and 8odhisattvas
providcd in this book, thcy arc all suitablc objccts ol mcditation
or contcmplation.
Hcrc is a simplc mcthod ol practicc which may bc ol somc hclp
to thosc who havc no idca ol how to pray and thcrclorc arc
not likcly to havc a 8uddha imagc. Vorship can bc practiscd
anywhcrc but a quict and clcan room is thc most suitablc. Placc
bclorc you thc imagc or picturc ol thc 8uddha that you would
likc to worship. Gazc at thc picturc lor a minutc or two to calm
your mind and gcncrating thc dcsirc to worship. Lightly closc
6· 6µ
Bna:sajvacuvu — T:nv+aN Ðvv:c+:oN
,c ,.
your cycs and imaginc that thc 8uddha has manilcstcd bclorc
you. Makc thrcc bows as a gcsturc ol rcvcrcncc. Makc known
thc purposc or motivation ol your worship i.c., praying lor long
lilc lor onc’s parcnts or thc wcllbcing ol ccrtain lricnds. Soltly
or mcntally rccitc his namc — in thc casc ol this 8uddha:
“Naxo Hs:ao-Tsa: YvN Snou Yao Sn:n Iwo…”
or onc may choosc to rccitc thc grcat dharani lrom 9 up to 108´
timcs with utmost sinccrity and rcvcrcncc. !t may takc a grcat
dcal ol cßort at thc bcginning ol thc practicc to hold thc praycr
with lull conccntration, but altcr somc timc, with pcrscvcrancc,
thc rcsult ol oncpointcdncss will bc lclt. !n thc midst ol praycrs
onc should nrst imaginc that thc 8uddha is happy with onc’s
cßort, thcn hc givcs his blcssings by radiating purc light onto
oncscll. Tc 8uddha’s light nlls up thc cntirc body with its radi
ancc purilying onc’s dcnlcmcnts or illncss. Ònc should gcncratc a
vcry happy lccling lor this blcssing and bc movcd to practisc such
virtucs as lovingkindncss and compassion towards all othcr scn
ticnt bcings so that, without hcsitation, onc immcdiatcly translcrs
all such blcssings rcccivcd to thcm. Tis is donc by imagining that
thc radiancc ol onc’s own body is absorbcd by all bcings in thc
univcrsc which will hclp purily thcir bad karma and causc thcm
to bc happy in thc luturc. !n casc onc is praying lor thc 8uddha’s
blcssings lor a lricnd, onc should thcn imaginc that hc is sitting
in lront ol oncscll so that all thc light that is radiatcd lrom thc
8uddha will ßow into his body thus bcncnting him solcly. Altcr
thc praycrs onc should sit lor a short whilc to lccl thc calm and
blisslul lcclings that onc has built up and thcn sinccrcly pray that
all bcings too will bc blcsscd with such happincss.
,c ,.
Cnav+vv VIII
[uan _hih Tin J’usa
,+a/okites+ara Jodhisatt+a
“Namo TaChiTaPci Kuan Shih Yin P’usa”. Tis is thc praycr
which is rccitcd by all Kuan Yin dcvotccs daily to pay homagc
and to appcal to thc Grcat Lord, Avaiox:+vsvava 8odhisattva,
who is thc compassionatc aspcct ol all thc 8uddhas ol thc thrcc
acons. Litcrally translatcd it mcans “Namo To Tc Grcatly
Compassionatc Kuan Shih Yin 8odhisattva”. To rccitc this
praycr is to scck thc blcssings ol Kuan Yin and at thc samc timc
to dcvclop onc’s own compassionatc naturc. Tosc who rccitc thc
grcat praycr with a sinccrc hcart will surcly nnd it quitc casy to
practisc grcat kindncss and grcat sympathy towards othcrs, lor
Kuan Yin’s compassion will thcn ßow through thcm and causc
thcm to walk thc Path ol Mcrcy. !t is also thc Path towards
8uddhahood lor thc mcrit and virtuc ol rcciting thc namc ol thc
grcat P’usa is immcasurablc.
Tis grcat Compassionatc Lord is known by various othcr namcs
such as:
“Tc 8odhisattva Rcgardcr ol thc Sound ol thc Vorld:”
“Tc Lord ol Compassionatc Glanccs.”
“Tc Lord Vho Sccs thc Vorld with Pity.”
“Tc Lord ol Vhat is sccn, ol thc \isiblc Vorld.”
and a host ol othcr namcs. Hc is indccd thc Lord who rcgards
with compassion, all bcings sußcring lrom thc cvils ol cxistcncc
within thc Six Rcalms.
KuaN Sn:N Y:N is thc dircct translation ol thc Sanskrit namc ol
Avalokitcsvara which has thc lollowing mcaning:
KuaN — ‘contcmplatc’ or ‘looks on’
Sn:n — thc world or thc rcgion ol sußcrcrs’
Y:N — ‘all thc sounds ol thc world,’ i.c., thc cry
ing sounds ol bcings, vcrbal or mcntal, all
acknowlcdging miscry and sccking salvation
which touch thc hcart ol thc Lord who pitics.
Kuan Shih Yin is thcrclorc thc 8odhisattva ol grcat compassion,
mcrcy and lovc who has won thc hcarts ol countlcss pcoplc. 8y
virtuc ol his innnitc powcr, hc is capablc ol rcgarding thc crics
ol thc pcoplc whcthcr thcsc rcprcscnt cithcr dcsirc or sußcr
ing, dclivcring thcm through thc wisdom ol skillul mcans, and
appcaring in thc lorm suitablc to thosc to bc savcd. Tis noblc
Lord is thus thc ‘saviour’ who may assumc thc lorm ol a 8uddha,
8odhisattva, god or any othcr lorms, cithcr malc or lcmalc, in
ordcr to lulnll his task ol mcrcy.
!n most ol thc 8uddhist lands, thc malc lorm is prcdominant
but in China, Kuan Shih Yin manilcsts in various lcmalc lorms
such as:
“Vhitcrobcd Kuan Yin”
“Childgiving Kuan Yin”
“Calmsca Kuan Yin”
KuaN Sn:N Y:N P’usa — Avaiox:+vsvava Boon:sa++va
,¡ ,¸
Tc rcasons lor thcsc lcmalc cmanations arc bccausc ol thc thcn
Conlucianist inßucncc on thc attitudc, customs and social sys
tcms which discouragcd thc lcmalc population lrom sccking
comlort and solacc lrom malc dcitics cspccially in thcir rcqucsts
lor oßspring.
Kuan Yin, in lact, manilcstcd into 33 lorms with which to rcach
thc pcoplc and thc most popular oncs bcing:
Kuan Yin ol Complctc Light
Ðragonhcad Kuan Yin
Kuan Yin Vho \icws Vatcrlalls
Childgiving Kuan Yin
Kuan Yin ol thc Fish 8askct
Kuan Yin ol thc Rock Cavc
Kuan Yin ol Univcrsal Compassion
Kuan Yin Holding a Lotus
!t should also bc mcntioncd that cvcn bclorc 8uddhism was
introduccd into China, thc womcn lolk thcrc wcrc alrcady wor
shipping scvcral lcmalc Taoist Ðcitics, in thc lorms ol ‘Niang
Niang’ sccking thcir blcssings lor salcty, happincss, childrcn,
mcrcy, compassion and salvation. Tus whcn Kuan Shih Yin
rcspondcd to thc urgcnt and distrcsslul calls ol thc Chincsc pco
plc in thc lcmalc lorms, thcy wcrc also givcn thc ‘NiangNiang’
titlcs so that Kuan Shih Yin P’usa which is thc propcr 8uddhist
tcrm, bccamc known as Kuan Yin Niang Niang or Tc Goddcss
ol Mcrcy. !n this way, Avalokitcsvara bccamc thc most popular
,¡ ,¸
dcity in all ol China, worshippcd by both thc 8uddhists and
thc Taoists as wcll as thosc who arc without a propcr laith but
nccdcd a compassionatc dcity to turn to.
Kuan Yin’s manilcstations or translormation bodics can bc said
to bc numbcrlcss and thc most widcly worshippcd lorm today
is that ol thc Vhitcrobcd Kuan Yin. For this rcason, most
ol thc Kuan Yin imagcs that arc sccn in tcmplcs and at homc
altars arc rclatcd to this lorm. Sincc this is thc most bclovcd ol
all thc lorms, onc should takc a closcr look at it to discovcr its
cndcaring lcaturcs which havc capturcd thc hcarts ol countlcss
Kuan Yin imagcs arc cithcr in a scatcd or standing posturc cach
having its signincant mcanings. Most pcoplc tcnd to prclcr thc
scatcd lorm as it givcs both a scrcnc and dignincd lccling, thc
vcry picturc ol cnlightcnmcnt. Tc standing ngurc rcprcscnts
compassion in action. Vhat docs it indicatc: !t rcally indicatcs
that Kuan Yin’s compassion and saving powcr arc availablc to
anyonc who sccks thcm, that Kuan Yin is cvcr rcady to rcach
and hclp all bcings by oßcring thcm assistancc, lovc and protcc
tion. Tis posturc also symboliscs thc ctcrnal activity ol bring
ing cnlightcnmcnt to all who wish it. Kuan Yin is also dcpictcd
as holding a vasc which contains ‘Amrita’, thc dcw ol compas
sion, which can purily thc dcnlcmcnts ol our body, spccch and
mind, as wcll as having all kinds ol curativc powcrs. Tc lacc ol
Kuan Yin imagcs is always gcntlc, calm and cnduringly swcct,
an cxprcssion which rcßccts innnitc wisdom, scrcnity, lovc and
compassion. !t has thc pcculiar quality ol calming thosc who
,6 ,,
arc angry or arc in dcspair, comlorting thosc who arc sorrow
lul, and bringing lorth lcclings ol lovc, dcvotion and contcnt
mcnt to hcr laithlul. How docs onc bccomc hcr laithlul: Not
by blind laith or through worship which is tingcd with sclnsh
intcntions but through thc practicc ol such virtucs as kindlincss,
gcntlcncss, lovc, mcrcy, compassion, charity, morality, paticncc,
pcrscvcrancc, contcmplation or acts that will bring bcncnts to
othcrs, onc bccomcs a truc disciplc ol Kuan Shih Yin. Anothcr
lcaturc that should bc notcd is thc cycs which arc always dcpict
cd as ‘hallopcncd and hallcloscd’ which indicatcs a pcrlcct
harmony ol outcr and inncr lilc as hall ol thc vision is conccrn
ing thc outcr world, whilc thc othcr hall is dircctcd intcrnally
lor propcr scllrcßcction. Tus it can bc said that Kuan Yin is
cvcr mindlul ol thc cxtcrnal world and all our intcrnal thoughts
and inclinations.
As mcntioncd carlicr, Kuan Yin lorms arc many, in lact thcy
arc said to bc countlcss, and cach ol thcsc lorms has its own
signincant and symbolic mcaning. Tosc who arc ncw to
Mahayana 8uddhism should not bc startlcd by thc various lorms
ol thc 8uddhas and 8odhisattvas, cspccially by thc numbcr ol
arms that thcy arc oltcn dcpictcd with. Ònc ol Kuan Yin’s
most lamous and compassionatc lorms is that ol thc ‘thousand
armthousand cycs’ which is known in Chincsc as ‘Chicnshou
chicnycn Kuan Shih Yin P’usa. !n this lorm, Kuan Yin has
clcvcn hcads and a thousand hands, with cxtra cycs on thc
palms ol cach hand. Lcgcnd has it that hc was contcmplating
thc task ol working lor thc salcty and happincss ol all scnticnt
bcings whcn his hcad split into a thousand picccs upon rcalising
,6 ,,
thc cnormity ol such an undcrtaking. Amitabha, thc 8uddha
ol Limitlcss Light, his Spiritual Fathcr, quickly camc to thc
rcscuc and rcstorcd Kuan Yin to lilc and also gavc him this
lorm. Tc thousand cycs symbolisc thc allsccing naturc ol
Kuan Yin’s compassion whilc thc thousand arms rcprcscnt thc
cvcrprcscnt and allcompassing naturc ol his hclp. All Kuan
Yin imagcs, malc or lcmalc, with onc or multiplc hcads, two
or multiplc arms, gcntlc or ncrcc lacial cxprcssions, havc thcir
own symbolic and rcligious mcanings and thcrclorc should not
bc lookcd upon as pcculiar and uninviting. Howcvcr, all Kuan
Yin imagcs always lcaturc a loving, kind and compassionatc
cxprcssion and cvcn a statuc with clcvcn hcads and a thousand
arms docs not losc thc harmony ol thc wholc body but radiatcs
!n thc Lotus Sutra, an cntirc chaptcr is dcvotcd to Kuan Yin in
which thc 8uddha dcscribcs thc 8odhisattva as onc who has hcr
lacc turncd in cvcry dircction in ordcr to scc all things and to
savc all bcings and that thcrc is no lorm or shapc that Kuan Yin
will not assumc to prcach thc Ðharma to scnticnt bcings:
“!n somc worlds… thc 8odhisattva Mahasattva Avalokitcsvara
prcachcs thc law to crcaturcs in thc shapc ol a 8uddha, in othcrs
shc docs so in thc shapc ol a 8odhisattva. To somc bcings shc
shows thc law in thc shapc ol a Pratyckabuddha, to othcrs shc
docs so in thc shapc ol a disciplc… to thosc who arc to bc con
vcrtcd by assuming 8rahman, shc prcachcs in thc shapc ol a
8rahman, to thosc who arc to bc convcrtcd by \ajrapani, shc
prcachcs in thc shapc ol \ajrapani.”

Cn:vN-Snou-Cn:vN-YvN — KuaN Sn:n Y:N P’usa

Many othcr Kuan Yin translormations arc dcscribcd lully in
thc various Mahayana Sutras and thc undcrlying conccpt lor all
arc basically thc samc — an cxprcssion ol thc limitlcss compas
sion ol this grcat bodhisattva. Ònc ol thc most important lorms
which all Kuan Yin dcvotccs should rccognisc and rcvcrc is that
ol thc Fourarm Avalokitcsvara, worshippcd by all Tibctans as
CnvNv:z:c, thc Holdcr ol thc Vhitc Lotus. !t is in thc malc
lorm which has two hands in thc prayinggcsturc known as thc
‘namaskaramudra’ whilc thc othcr two hands hold his symbols,
thc Crystal Rosary and thc Lotus Flowcr. Hc is thc cmana
tion and thcrclorc thc spiritual son ol Amitabha 8uddha, who
blcsscd him and whcrcupon thc 8odhisattva brought lorth thc
lamous praycr, known as thc Mani Mantra:
“Ox MaN: Paoxv Hux”
Tis Mantra ol Univcrsal Protcction is rccitcd ccasclcssly by
millions ol Kuan Yin adhcrcnts in countrics whcrc Mahayana
8uddhism is practiscd. !t is a vcry powcrlul mantra whosc
cmcacy havc hclpcd countlcss numbcr ol pcoplc in cvcry way.
Anothcr grcat compassionatc lorm is that ol thc ‘Allsidcd Ònc’,
thc ¡lcvcnlaccd Kuan Yin. Tis is an csotcric lorm which is
widcly popular in Tibct and its ncighbouring countrics whcrc
\ajrayana, thc third vchiclc ol 8uddhism, is practiscd. Scvcral
lamous tcmplcs in Japan havc this imagc but it is a rarity in
Chincsc tcmplcs. Hcrc is thc lcgcnd:
“Avalokitcsvara, thc AllPitying Ònc dcsccndcd into hcll, con
vcrtcd thc wickcd and libcratcd thcm to Sukhavati, thc Vcstcrn
·c ·.
Paradisc ol his spiritual lathcr, Amitabha. No sooncr had hc
cmpticd thc hcll ol its inhabitants, within thc ncxt instant othcr
bcings wcrc rcborn thcrc to nll up thcir placcs. Òut ol dcspair
and gricl in discovcring thc cxtcnt ol wickcdncss in thc world
and thc uttcr hclplcssncss ol saving all mankind, thc 8odhi
sattva’s hcad split into tcn picccs.
Amitabha 8uddha quickly camc to thc rcscuc ol his bclovcd
disciplc and causcd cach ol thc picccs to bccomc a hcad, placcd
thcm in thrcc ticrs ol thrcc, with thc tcnth hcad on top and his
own imagc abovc thcm all.”
Tus thc Grcat Compassionatc Ònc was cndowcd with twcnty
two cycs instcad ol two, to scc all sußcring, and clcvcn brains in
stcad ol onc, to conccntratc on thc bcst mcans ol saving mankind.
As mcntioncd carlicr, Kuan Yin is always acccptcd by thc avcragc
Chincsc to bc a lcmalc 8odhisattva duc to hcr various manilcs
tations and lcgcnd in China. To rclcr to hcr as a malc dcity will
surcly causc many a brow to wrinklc up and pairs ol conluscd
cycs staring at you lor thc prolanity uttcrcd. Tis is bccausc thc
grcat majority ol hcr dcvotccs and laithluls arc lacking in doctri
nal knowlcdgc and it is lor this particular rcason that this book
has bccn prcparcd. To thcm Kuan Yin is a grcat 8cing who can
bc countcd upon lor hclp undcr any circumstanccs lor shc has
indccd hclpcd countlcss othcrs, so that just to havc laith in this
Goddcss ol Mcrcy is good cnough and that thc complicatcd doc
trincs ol thc 8uddhas should bc lclt to thc monks and nuns who
will bc thcrc to guidc thcm whcncvcr thc nccd ariscs. Tis may
·c ·.
bc a commcndablc show ol laith but it bcncnts only a limitcd
numbcr ol pcoplc who havc thc good karma to dcvclop it. !t will
not hclp to instruct thc youngcr gcncration to dcvclop an intcr
cst in 8uddhism or to practisc it. Vhat is morc important is that
cvcry 8uddhist should havc a lair knowlcdgc ol who thc 8uddha
is, and what arc his important tcachings so that 8uddhism can
bc practiscd mcaninglully and objcctivcly. Tis will also hclp to
do away with supcrstition and wrong practicc and at thc samc
timc providc intclligcnt answcrs to thc qucstions that arc poscd
by thosc ol othcr laiths.
8ut lct us gct back to thc subjcct on this grcat 8odhisattva whosc
sphcrc ol inßucncc is much grcatcr than thc 8uddha lor shc has
morc tcmplcs built in hcr namc than all thc 8uddhas and 8odhi
sattvas ol thc 8uddhist Panthcon. Hcr mcrit is incalculablc, likc
drops ol rain lalling continuously lor a ycar. Shc is callcd thc
Grcatly Compassionatc Ònc bccausc ol hcr vow ol ‘saving all
living bcings and thcrclorc committing hcrscll to bcing thc last
pcrson in thc univcrsc to attain 8uddhahood!’
!n thc Lotus Sutra thc 8uddha said that anyonc who calls upon
Kuan Yin will bc dclivcrcd instantly lrom all thcir sußcrings.
8y virtuc ol hcr supcrnatural powcr, shc is ablc to savc all living
bcings lrom all kinds ol dangcr, givc thcm what thcy want, and
prcach thc Ðharma lrccly by appcaring in whatcvcr lorm that
suits thc naturc ol thc laithlul.
To call lor Kuan Yin’s hclp onc nccds only to humbly rccitc hcr
namc continuously with:
CnvNv:z:c — Iouv-Avxvo Avaiox:+vsvava
“Naxo Ta-Pv: KuaN Sn:n Y:N P’usa”
(Namo to thc Grcatly Compassionatc Kuan Shih Yin P’usa)
or, onc may rccitc hcr mantra ol Univcrsal Protcction:
“Ox MaN: Paoxv Hux”
Tc powcr ol thc lunction ol rcciting any ol thc abovc praycrs is
inconccivablc. !l somconc has gravc problcms or cvcn dcmonic
obstructions and rccitcs Kuan Yin P’usa’s namc or thc Mani
Mantra, thc problcms will disappcar or thc dcmon will run away.
Tcrc arc many pcoplc who arc sußcring lrom having a lot ol dc
sircs which arc thcir causcs ol unhappincss, dcsircs such as grccd
lor wcalth, social status, lamc, scx, lood and othcr mundanc
things, thcsc pcoplc should try to rccitc constantly thc namc ol
Kuan Yin and thcir usclcss dcsircs will mclt away.
Ðcsirc ariscs out ol thoughts. Many pcoplc arc not awarc ol
thcir thoughts cvcn though thcy arc vcry harmlul to thcm and
to othcrs. Tcir minds arc not rcally clcar so that cvcn thoughts
ol grccd, angcr, lust, and ignorancc arc lclt unchcckcd and in
timc cvil dccds will bc committcd. Tosc who wish to rid thcir
mind ol grccd and dcsirc should constantly rccitc, “Namo TaPci
Kuan Shih Yin P’usa”, with thc dccpcst rcspcct and all thcir at
tcntion locuscd on it. !n timc thc cmcacy ol this rccitation will
bc lclt and all kinds ol dcnlcd thoughts will soon disappcar. To
lully undcrstand what is mcant by this dcscription ol thc powcr
ol holding Kuan Yin’s namc, onc should givc it a try — ‘cxpcri
cncc is always thc bcst tcachcr’.
·¡ ·¸
Kuan Yin’s rcsponsc can bc instant or slightly dclaycd, it all
dcpcnds on onc’s karmic inßucncc at that momcnt ol praycr
and thc intcnsity ol laith in thc calling. Miraclcs ol Kuan Yin
answcring thc lcrvcnt praycrs ol thosc who callcd upon hcr
namc arc countlcss. Tcy can casily nll up thc cntirc volumc ol
thc 8ritannica ¡ncyclopcdia lor almost cvcry dcvout dcvotcc
will havc a talc or two to tcll. Hcrc is a truc account ol a rcccnt
happcning, a miraclc which has translormcd thc lilc ol a lady
who was not cvcn a dcvotcc, and this is what shc has writtcn:
“Tc Fatt Vah Aum Tcmplc in Chcras was cclcbrating ‘Scclu
Tan’, and a group ol us wcnt thcrc during our lunch brcak, to tastc
thc vcgctarian lood scrvcd thcrc. !t was rcputcd to bc thc tasticst in
town. Òn arrival, cach ol us, lollowing thc custom ol thc tcmplc,
bought a bundlc ol josssticks lor oßcring to thc dcitics. Not
bcing a 8uddhist ! had no idca whcrc thc josssticks or inccnsc
wcrc to bc oßcrcd, so ! lollowcd thc actions ol othcr worshippcrs,
! lit thc inccnsc and wcnt round thc hall placing a stick in cach
inccnsc urn that is placcd in lront ol thc dcitics. Having donc that,
! lound that ! still had quitc a lcw sticks lclt. ! lookcd around and
lound that othcrs wcrc making thcir way to an adjourning hall.
Tcrc wcrc morc altars and inccnsc urns into which ! continucd
to placc a joss stick in cach ol thcm. Altcr placing my last stick ol
inccnsc ! rcaliscd that thcrc was still onc morc altar lclt and it had
bclorc it oßcrings ol lood, ßowcrs, candlcs and lruits. Tis thcn
must bc thc altar ol thc ‘Scclu’ whom thc tcmplc was honouring
that day. ! lclt tcrribly sorry that ! had no morc inccnsc to makc
my oßcring to this dcity, so ! knclt down to apologisc. ! thcn
rccogniscd that it was thc statuc ol KuaN Y:N.
·¡ ·¸
Suddcnly ! lclt a cool brcczc on my lacc and, at thc samc timc,
a ‘thought’ crosscd my mind that ! would bc having a baby altcr
which ! should scrvc Kuan Yin. Tis ‘thought’ sccmcd rathcr
ridiculous as ! alrcady havc two sons, agcd nvc and two, and !
ccrtainly havc no intcntion whatsocvcr to havc anothcr child. As
lor scrving Kuan Yin, thc thought was so lorcign that ! did not
know what it mcant. Anyway, this strangc cxpcricncc was soon
Tc lollowing ycar ! conccivcd. At thc cighth month ol my
prcgnancy my gynaccologist inlormcd mc that my baby was in
a brccch position. Hc thcn tricd to shilt thc position ol thc baby
but was unsucccsslul. Tat night ! bcgan to blccd and it got
worsc thc ncxt day. !t was thcn that ! rccallcd thc incidcnt at thc
! had a strong dcsirc to go back to thc tcmplc to ask Kuan Yin
lor hclp but my husband could not bring mc thcrc duc to busi
ncss commitmcnts. Howcvcr hc did promisc to takc mc thcrc
thc ncxt day.
Tat night, ! wcnt into labour. At thc hospital thc watcr bag
burst and soon thc baby’s lcgs wcrc out. Tc lcw attcnding doc
tors tricd to dclivcr thc baby and, altcr a lcw attcmpts, dccidcd
to scck thc hclp ol thc oßduty consultant. ! was lrightcncd out
ol my wits and having no onc to turn to, ! burst into a praycr to
Kuan Yin, plcading lor hclp! Just that ‘instant’ thought ol pray
ing to hcr and thcsc spontancous words that camc out ol my
hcart… and thcn, thc most wondrous thing happcncd!
·6 ·,
! suddcnly saw a ‘ngurcinwhitc’ slowly ßoating down thc long
corridor towards mc. Although thcrc was a wall scparating thc
dclivcry room and thc corridor, Kuan Yin ßowcd through it. As
soon as shc rcachcd my room, ! hcard a doctor saying that ! had
dclivcrcd thc baby. Rclicl and dccp lcclings ol joy raccd through
my mind, Kuan Yin had givcn hcr blcssings and ! was cxtrcmcly
gratclul and happy. Howcvcr, thc gratclul lcclings wcrc quickly
lorgottcn as soon as ! was back to normalcy and rcturncd to
thc working lilc ol a nursc. ! gucss this is quitc natural to thosc
who arc not too spirituallymindcd. Vith thc hustlc and bustlc
ol cvcryday living and othcr wordly distractions, Kuan Yin was
oncc morc lar lrom my mind.
A ycar ago, 1983, lricnds brought mc to a privatc shrinc in Pctal
ing Jaya to attcnd thc Kuan Yin Fcstival. ! was rathcr surpriscd
at thc sctup thcrc lor it was not a rcgular tcmplc, but ! lound thc
atmosphcrc rathcr plcasant. My sccond visit thcrc was during
thc lollowing Kuan Yin Fcstival altcr which ! lclt drawn towards
thc placc, Kuan Yin worship had bccomc a mcaninglul part ol
my lilc. An uncxplainablc rcstlcss lccling would arisc and cach
timc it would bc qucllcd through praying to Kuan Yin at that
placc which is known as Tc Kuan Yin Contcmplativc Òrdcr or
KYCÒ lor short. As a working mothcr ol thrcc childrcn it was
not casy to nnd timc to attcnd thc twicc wcckly praycr gathcr
ing which ! havc grown to lovc and cach timc ! misscd worship,
! lclt tcrribly guilty about it. !n ordcr to pacily thc guiltlccling
cach timc that ! could not attcnd worship, ! would cxplain mcn
tally to Kuan Yin that my childrcn must comc nrst and that il
Shc rcally wantcd mc to bc consistcnt in my spiritual practicc,
·6 ·,
Shc must hclp mc to ovcrcomc scvcral obstaclcs. Somchow situ
ations bcgan to right thcmsclvcs and ! was ablc to worship Kuan
Yin with thc lcast ol obstaclcs.
Hcrc is an incidcnt which ! would likc to sharc it with othcrs. Òn
thc nrst day ol January 1985 (Tucsday) ! participatcd in thc Ncw
Ycar Praycr lor Vorld Pcacc during which Tc Grcat Compas
sionatc Ðharani was rccitcd 54 timcs amongst othcr Kuan Yin
praycrs. Ðuring thc chanting ! happcncd to gazc at thc Kuan
Yin imagc at thc altar and ! noticcd a strangc sight! Tc lacc ol
Kuan Yin suddcnly changcd into a blank, likc a mirror, and thcn
an imagc slowly lormcd in it! A hairy lacc appcarcd in it, darkish
looking which ! thought was that ol a monkcy. Tis startlcd mc
and ! closcd my cycs lor lcar ol sccing anything uncarthly. Vhcn
! had somcwhat rcgaincd my conndcncc ! lookcd at thc Kuan Yin
lacc again. Tis timc ! saw thc imagc ol a kindly old man with a
vcry whitc bcard. !t appcarcd lor only a short whilc altcr which
cvcrything was back to normal. !t was a strangc but wondcrlul in
cidcnt which ! can still rcmcmbcr vividly in my mind. At thc cnd
ol thc praycrs, ! had yct anothcr rcmarkablc vision. As ! was about
to gct up to lcavc, ! distinctly hcard a voicc instructing mc to knccl
down ‘lor Kuan Yin was still prcscnt’. My hcad was madc to turn
towards thc lcadcr ol thc praycr group who was at that timc talking
to a lcw pcrsons whilc scatcd bclorc thc altar. ! obcycd thc inncr
voicc’s instruction and upon doing so, ! saw whitc light cmitting
lrom him. Vhat was morc amazing was that thcrc was a kind ol
cncrgyncld which produccd somc kind ol lorcc which ! could lccl
cvcn though ! was somc lour or nvc lcct lrom him. Timc sccmcd
to bc suspcndcd and ! had no idca ol how long it lastcd”.
·· ·µ
Tc abovc account has bccn includcd in this chaptcr not lor thc
purposc ol propagating KYCÒ but, to cncouragc thosc who arc
sccking Kuan Yin’s hclp to do so with nrm laith.
Te ¸iao _han ¿egend
Tc lcgcnd ol Kuan Yin’s cmanation as Princcss Miao Shan
has caught thc hcarts ol all thc Chincsc pcoplc. To thcm it is
common knowlcdgc that Kuan Yin is thc cnlightcncd lorm ol
thcir bclovcd princcss and thcrclorc Kuan Yin, thcir Goddcss ol
Mcrcy, cannot bc a malc God or Ðcity. Tis, in lact, is thc nxcd
vicw ol thc Taoists and thosc who arc not so wcllinlormcd ol
8uddhism. Vho can rcally blamc thcm lor holding such a vicw
whcn thc cpisodc ol such a swcct princcss turning into a God
dcss happcncd only slightly morc than two thousand ycars ago
in a country whosc history is wcll rcmcmbcrcd right down to
nvc thousand ycars:
Towards thc cnd ol thc Chou Ðynasty (around 3rd Ccntury nc),
in thc kingdom ol Hsing Lin, thcrc livcd a king callcd Miao
Chung. Hc had thrcc daughtcrs and thcy wcrc Miao Ching,
Miao Yin and Miao Shan. 8clorc thc birth ol thc third girl,
Quccn Po Ta had a strangc drcam in which shc saw a hcavcnly
pcarl translorming into a ncry sun which thcn tumblcd down
and scttlcd at hcr lcct. Vhcn told ol it, thc king, in his wisdom,
considcrcd thc sccing ol such a cclcstial sign to bc an cxccl
lcnt omcn and hc lookcd lorward to having a malc hcir to his
·· ·µ
thronc. Howcvcr, to his grcat disappointmcnt, a girl was born
to him. Tis was on thc 19th day ol thc 2nd moon and shc was
namcd Miao Shan.
Miao Shan grcw up to bc a rcligious and virtuous girl unaßcctcd
by thc attractions ol worldly mattcrs. Vhat shc ycarncd lor was
to havc a quict rctrcat in thc mountains whcrc shc could practisc
thc pcrlcctions ol hcr virtucs. Shc longcd to bc ablc to bring rc
licl to all thc miscrablc bcings on carth.
Vhcn his daughtcrs wcrc ol marriagcablc agc, thc King lound
suitablc husbands lor thcm. Vhilc hcr sistcrs acccptcd thcir
marriagcs, Miao Shan stcadlastly rcluscd to marry and inlu
riatcd thc lathcr by choosing to rctirc to a nunncry callcd thc
Vhitc Sparrow.
Tc lathcr madc scvcral attcmpts to makc tcmplclilc unbcar
ablc to his lragilc daughtcr so as to pursuadc hcr to rcturn to hcr
palacc. Howcvcr, all his attcmpts lailcd lor a littlc sußcring was
not going to dctcr onc whosc mind was sct on cultivating thc
8uddha’s path. !n his angcr, thc King ordcrcd that thc nunncry
bc sct on nrc lor such an unnlial daughtcr dcscrvcd to bc put to
dcath. Howcvcr, thc nrc was instantly put out by an inundating
showcr which savcd thc livcs ol thc princcss and thc lcw hun
drcd nuns. Tc cnragcd King thcn dccrccd that Miao Shan bc
cxccutcd but thc cxccutioncr’s sword, upon contacting thc prin
ccss’s ncck, brokc into smithcrccns! Tis so angcrcd thc King that
hc ncxt ordcrcd that his unnlial daughtcr bc stranglcd to dcath
with a silkcn cord. As shc was bcing stranglcd, thc tutclary god
µc µ.
appcarcd in thc lorm ol a grcat tigcr, dispcrscd thc crowd, and
carricd thc inaniminatc body into thc lorcst.
Miao Shan’s spirit dcsccndcd into hcll, but hcr swcctncss and
thc purity ol hcr praycrs soon convcrtcd it lrom a placc ol grcat
sußcring to a paradisc. Tis alarmcd thc Rcgistrar ol thc Liv
ing and thc Ðcad who thcn hastily pctitioncd Ycn Lo, thc King
ol thc Undcrworld, to ordcr hcr rcmoval dcclaring, ‘Sincc it has
bccn dccrccd that, in justicc, thcrc must bc a hcavcn and a hcll,
il Princcss Miao Shan’s soul is not scnt back to thc uppcr world,
thcrc will bc no hcll lclt, but only a hcavcn’.
Hcr soul was thcn quickly transportcd back to hcr body which
was lying undcr a pinc trcc. Upon rcturning to lilc, 8uddha
Amitabha appcarcd, and dircctcd thc princcss to continuc hcr
practicc ol thc pcrlcctions in a cavc callcd Hsuan Ai, in thc
island ol Puto.
For ninc ycars shc dcvotcd hcrscll to pcrlorming acts ol mcrits
and mcditational practiccs and attaincd 8uddhahood. !t was in
Puto !sland that shc acquircd hcr two acolytcs Hoan Shcntsai
and Lungnu, bcttcr known to all as Goldcn Youth and Jadc
!n thc mcantimc, King Miao Chung, who had displcasurcd thc
Jadc ¡mpcror, Suprcmc Rulcr ol Hcavcn, by his hcinous crimcs
ol burning a nunncry which ncarly causcd thc loss ol so many
livcs and thc killing ol so virtuous a maidcn as Miao Shan, that
hc rcccivcd thc punishmcnt ol an incurablc discasc, thc only
µc µ.
curc bcing an ointmcnt madc lrom thc hands and cycs ol a ‘Pu
T’icn Jcn’, or ‘Ònc Vho !s Ncvcr Angry’.
Awarc ol hcr lathcr’s plight duc to hcr acquircd spiritual powcrs
and out ol compassion, Miao Shan lrccly dcspatchcd thc hcal
ing parts ol hcr body, which cßcctcd thc rccovcry. !n gratitudc
thc King thcn scnt a dclcgation with his ministcr to thank thc
kind donor only to nnd, to his grcat shock, that thosc prccious
gilts camc lrom nonc othcr than thc daughtcr that hc had killcd.
Hc was so ovcrcomc with rcmorsc that hc rcnounccd his thronc
and acccptcd thc 8uddhist laith. Tus cndcd thc lcgcnd ol thc
‘unnlial’ daughtcr who bccamc thc saviour to hcr lathcr, and to
all mankind.
¸iao _han [uan /orms
Miao Shan Kuan Yin is oltcn rcprcscntcd as scatcd, hcr hands in
thc gcsturc ol mcditation, holding a ßaming pcarl, or with thc
hands in thc praying gcsturc. Many lamous paintings dcpict hcr
as scatcd on a rock ncar running watcr, or on an island in thc sca.
Òthcr picturcs prcscnt hcr having a scroll ol praycrs which rcp
rcscnts thc Hcart Sutra or a willow sprig with which to sprinklc
divinc ncctar (Amritha) which has thc quality ol rcmoving sul
lcring, clcansing cvil karma and lcnghtcning lilc. Òthcr picturcs
also show hcr carrying a rosary ol pcarls in hcr hand or it may bc
hcld in thc bcak ol a hcavcnly bird. Shc is gcncrally drcsscd in
a whitc robc and is rcprcscntcd, standing upon a cloud, a lotus
ßowcr, or cvcn a lotus pctal on thc sca. Anothcr popular picturc
shows hcr with hcr acolytcs, Shcntsai with thc praying gcsturc
and Lungnu holding thc ßaming pcarl.
Ðuc to thc lcgcnd ol Miao Shan, Pu’to island has bccomc thc
most sacrcd placc ol pilgrimagc lor Kuan Yin dcvotccs. From
it wc arc also ablc to lcarn ol how thc othcr two grcat 8odhi
sattvas Vcnshu and PuHsicn, camc to bc ßanking Kuan Yin
as dcpictcd in thc Panthcon ol Ðcitics. Vcnshu P’usa, bcttcr
known to othcr 8uddhists as Manjusri 8odhisattva, ‘thc Ridcr
ol thc Grccn Lion, thc Complctcly 8cautilul, thc \cry \irtu
ous P’usa, is nonc othcr than Miao Ching whilc Pu’ Hsicn, thc
Ridcr ol thc Vhitc ¡lcphant, thc \cry \irtuous and Complctcly
Rcsplcndcnt P’usa, is thc othcr sistcr Miao Yin’.
[uan Tin /esti+a/s
Trcc days a ycar dcvout Kuan Yin dcvotccs cclcbratc thc thrcc
lcstivals which arc attributcd to thc lilc ol Princcss Miao Shan,
thc Chincsc cmanation ol Kuan Yin. Tis lcgcnd ol thc swcct and
virtuous Miao Shan has so captivatcd thc hcarts ol thc Chincsc
pcoplc that shc outshincs all othcr dcitics in thc land, bc thcy ol
8uddhist, Taoist or any othcr origins. Shc is adorcd as thc God
dcss ol Mcrcy and in all thc othcr lcmalc Kuan Yin manilcstations
as dcscribcd carlicr. Tc thrcc auspicious days arc:
2nd Moon 19th Ðay — which marks thc Ðay Shc was 8orn.
6th Moon 19th Ðay — which marks thc Ðay Shc ¡ntcrcd
thc Nunncry.
M:ao SnaN KuaN Y:N
µ¡ µ¸
9th Moon 19th Ðay — which marks thc Ðay Shc Attaincd
Òn thcsc days, dcvotccs and thosc who havc rcccivcd lavours
lrom Kuan Yin ßock to thc various tcmplcs to makc oßcrings,
sct birds and animals lrcc, obscrvc a lull day vcgctarian dict,
pcrlorm all kinds ol charitablc acts, visit old lolks homcs or
orphanagcs bcaring gilts and good wishcs, and obscrvc thc Fivc,
¡ight or Tcn Prcccpts vcry scriously. Gcncrally thc Fivc Prcccpts
arc obscrvcd and thcy consist ol:
Not killing or harming living bcings.
Not taking what is not givcn.
Not indulging in scxual activitics.
Not indulging in lalsc spccch.
Not consuming intoxicants ol any kind.
Tc cntirc day is spcnt in quictudc, contcmplating on thc Grcat
\ows ol Kuan Yin to savc all scnticnt bcings and to lorsakc thc
bliss ol Nirvana, or on thc grcat virtuous qualitics ol this grcat
Mothcr ol Mcrcy such as lovingkindncss, compassion and wis
dom. Tc morc cncrgctic oncs may indulgc in a lull day’s prac
ticc ol praycrrccitation, Sutrarcading lollowcd by mcditation
on thc happincss ol othcrs and thcn translcr all mcrits accumu
latcd to all scnticnt bcings.
Tis docs not mcan that Kuan Yin lollowcrs practisc virtuous
dccds on thcsc and othcr lcstivc days only. To thosc who arc
µ¡ µ¸
wcll on thc Kuan Yin Path, practicc is a momcnttomomcnt
aßair lrom thc day that thcy havc acccptcd Kuan Yin into thcir
hcarts till thc day cnlightcnmcnt is won. Howcvcr, bcginncrs
ol thc path arc adviscd to practisc as bcst as thcy can, aiming
lor gradual progrcss and rclraining lrom ovcrcommittmcnt, to
spiritual dcvclopmcnt unlcss thcy havc cxpcricnccd tcachcrs to
guidc thcm. Ðcvotion and laith in Kuan Yin cannot bc acquircd
hurricdly but can bc won ovcr a pcriod ol timc.
Tis chaptcr on Kuan Shih Yin P’usa can hardly bc complctcd
without thc inclusion ol thc Hcart Sutra and thc Ðharani ol
Grcat Compassion, both ol which arc daily rccitcd by thosc
who arc committcd to thc Kuan Yin Path ol Grcat Visdom and
Te Jeart _utra
(Tnv PvajNa Pavax:+a Hv:oava Su+va)
Vhcn thc 8odhisattva Avalokitcsvara was practising thc pro
lound Prajna Paramita, hc illuminatcd thc nvc aggrcgatcs, and
saw in thcir own bcing to bc cmpty.
“Sariputra, lorm is hcrc cmptincss, ¡mptincss is lorm, lorm is
no othcr than cmptincss, cmptincss is no othcr than lorm. Tat
which is lorm is cmptincss, that which is cmptincss is lorm.
Tc samc is truc ol lcclings, pcrccption, mcntal lormations and
µ6 µ,
Sariputra, all things arc markcd with cmptincss: thcy arc not
born or dcstroycd, thcy arc not purc or impurc, nor do thcy wax
or wanc.
Tcrclorc, Sariputra, in cmptincss, thcrc is no lorm, no lccling, no
pcrccption, no mcntal lormation, no consciousncss, no cyc, car,
nosc, tonguc, body, mind, no lorm, sound, smcll, tastc, touch, or
objccts, no cycclcmcnt, and so lorth up to mindconsciousncss
Tcrc is no knowlcdgc, no ignorancc, no cxtinction ol know
lcdgc, no cxtinction ol ignorancc and so lorth up to no old agc
and dcath, no cxtinction ol old agc and dcath, thcrc is no sul
lcring, no causc, no cnd, no path, thcrc is no knowlcdgc, and no
Tcrclorc, Sariputra, bccausc nothing is attaincd, thc 8odhi
sattva who rclics on Prajna Paramita has his mind lrcc lrom
obstaclcs. Vith thc mind lrcc lrom obstaclcs, Hc ovcrcomcs lcar
and gocs bcyond pcrvcrtcd vicws, and attains to Nirvana!
All thc 8uddhas ol thc thrcc pcriods ol timc, through rcli
ancc on thc Prajna Paramita, attain to thc Pcrlcct and Highcst
Tcrclorc, onc should know that Prajna Paramita as thc grcat
supcrnatural Mantra, thc grcat bright, unsurpasscd and un
cquallcd Mantra which can truly and without lail wipc out all
µ6 µ,
Tis Mantra is proclaimcd in thc Prajna Paramita. !t runs thus:
‘Ga+v, ca+v, vavaca+v, vavasaxca+v, Boon: Svana:’”
Te 9harani of Qreat [ompassion
!t is statcd in thc Ðharani Sutra that “Tosc who rccitc and hold
thc Spiritual Mantra ol Grcat Compassion will not sußcr any
kind ol bad dcath and will obtain good rcbirth.” Hcrc is thc
mantra in Chincsc which is known to all Kuan Yin dcvotccs
as thc ‘ Ta Pv: ]ou’. Tc cmcacy ol this Grcat Compassionatc
Mantra has bccn provcn countlcss timcs. Ask anyonc who has
practiscd this mantra and thcy will havc lots to tcll you about thc
wondcrs ol this praycr. Vith somc cßort anyonc can rccitc it lor
thc sakc ol bcncntting othcrs.
Tc Ta Pci Jou bcgins with onc rcciting thrcc timcs, this opcning
vcrsc ol adoration:
“Naxo Cn:vN Snou Cn:vN YvN
KuaN Sn:n Y:N P’usa
KuaN Ta YvN MavN Wu A:
Ta Pv: S:N Tov Ion N:”
lollowcd by thc rcciting ol Kuan Yin’s namc thricc:
“Naxo Ta Pv: KuaN Sn:n Y:N P’usa”
µ· µµ
altcr which thc Ðharani is rccitcd:
Na Mo Ha Ia ÐaN Na Ðwo Ia Yv Yv
Na Mo Ov I: Yv
Pon Iu ]vv Ð: Snau Bwo Ia Yv
Pu T: Sa Two Pon Yv
Mon Ho Sa Ðwo Pon Yv
Mon Ho ]va Iu N: ]:a Yv
AN. Sa PaN Ia Ia Yv
Swo Ða Nwo Ða Svv
Na Mo Sv: ]: I: Tov Iv MuNc Ov I: Yv
Pon Iu ]: Ð: Snv Iwo Ia IvNc Ton Po
Na Mo Nwo Ia ]:N Cnv
Sn: I: Mwo Ho PaN Ðwo Sa Mv
Sa Pon Ov Two Ðwo Snu PvvN Ov Snv YuN
Sa Pon Sa Ðwo Na Mo Po Sa Ðwo
Na Mo Po Cnvv Mwo Ia Tv Ðou
ÐaN ]v Two AN Ov Po Iu Sv:
Iu ]va Ð: ]va Iu Ð:
Y: Sv: I: Mwo Ho Pu T: Sa Two
Sa Po Sa Po Mwo Ia Mwo Ia
Mow Sv: Mwo Sv: I: Tov YuN
]vu Iu ]vu Iu ]vv MuNc
Ðu Iu Ðu Iu Ia Svv Yv Ð:
Mwo Ho Ia Svv Yv Ð:
Two Ia Two Ia Ð: I: N: Snv Iwo Ia Yv
]vv Ia ]vv Ia Mwo Mwo Ia Mwo Ia
Mu Ð: I: Y: Sv: Y: Sv: Snv Nwo Snv Nwo
µ· µµ
An Ia SnvN Iwo Ia Svv I:
Ia Sna Ia SnvN Iwo Ia Svv Yv
Hu Iu Hu Iu Mwo Ia
Hu Iu Hu Iu Sv: I:
Svv Ia Svv Ia Sv: I: Sv: I:
Su Iu Su Iu
Pu T: Yv Pu T: Yv
Pu Two Yv Pu Two Yv
M: Ð: I: Yv Nwo Ia ]:N Cnv
Ð: I: Svv N: Nwo
Pov Yv Mwo Nwo Swo Po Ho
Sv: Two Yv Swo Po Ho
Mwo Ho Sv: Two Yv Swo Po Ho
Sv: Two Y: Y: Snv PaN Ia Yv Swo Po Ho
Nwo Ia ]:N Cnv Swo Po Ho
Mwo Ia Nwo Ia Swo Po Ho
Sv: Ia SvN Ov Mo ]:a Yv Swo Po Ho
Sa Po Mwo Ho Ov Sv: Two Yv Swo Po Ho
]vv ]: Ia Ov Sv: Two Yv Swo Po Ho
Bwo Two Mwo ]vv Sv: Two Yv Swo Po Ho
Nwo Ia ]:N Cnv PaN ]:a Ia Yv Swo Po Ho
Mwo Po I: SnvNc ]vv Ia Yv Sa Po Ho
Na Mwo Ha Ia ÐaN Na Ðwo Ia Yv Yv
Na Mwo Ov I: Yv
Pon Iu ]vv Ð: Snau Bwo Ia Yv Swo Po Ho
AN Sv: ÐvaN Ðu MaN Ðwo Ia Ba Two Yv Swo Po Ho….”
.cc .c.
Tc abovc sounds arc quitc mcaninglcss as thcy arc but transla
tions lrom thc original Sanskrit praycr. !t must bc mcntioncd
that in mantra rccitation thc mcaning ol it is not rcally that im
portant as thc sound ol cach ol thc syllablcs. For thc bcncnt ol
thosc who arc rcally kccn to nnd out thc litcral mcaning ol this
praycr, hcrc is thc Sanskrit praycr and its ¡nglish translation:
Te ¸antra of ,+a/okites+ara
1. Naxo Ra+Na+vavava
! takc rclugc in thc Triplc Gcm
2. Naxo Avvavaiox:+vsnvavava
! takc rclugc in thc Lordsccr
3. Boon:sa++vava Manasa++vava ManaxavuN:xava
!n thc ¡nlightcncd 8cing, in thc Grcat 8cing, in thc Grcat
Compassionatc Ònc
4. Ox Savva Annavan SuNaonasva
Òm, in thc lcarlcss onc
5. Naxo Suxv+vvxaxa Avvavaiox:+vsnvavacavnna
May ! cntcr into thc hcart ol thc Lord Sccr
6. Naxo N:iaxaN+na S:v: Manannaovasnvaxv
! takc rclugc in Him with thc bluc ncck, grcat abodc ol kindncss
7. Savvav+nasunnax Ajvvax Savvasa++vaNaxavavca
Mcaning thc lullncss ol undcrstanding ol all ways, which is
purc, making all scnticnt bcings victorious and purilying all
thc rcalms ol cxistcncc.
.cc .c.
8. Taova+na Ox Avaioxviox:+v Kaia+v
!n whom who is thus. Òm, thc Sccr, transccnding thc world.
9. Hav: Mananoon:sa++va Savva Savva Maia Maia
Òh Hari Grcat 8cing ol Light! All, All, Garland, Garland
10. Mas: Mananvoavax Kuvu Kuvu Kavxax
Corc ol thc world! Makc Succcss! Succcss!
11. Kuvu Kuvu V:java+: Manav:java+:
Triumphant succcss! Grcat Triumphant succcss!
12. Ðnavaonava Ðnav:N Suvava
Stand by, stand by nrm, Ò !ndra!
13. Cnaia Cnaia Maxa Bnvaxava Mux+:v
Shakc! Shakc! Libcratc mc lrom my mcntal disturbancc!
14. In: In: Cn:Noa Cn:Noa Havsnax Pvacnai:
Comc! Comc! Listcn! Listcn! Tc joy that ariscs!
15. Basna Basnax Pvvsava Huiu Huiu Maia
Spcak! Spcak! Givc thc sigh! (Hulu Hulu Mala arc words
ol invocation)
16. Huiu Huiu H:io Sava Sava S:v: S:v: Suvu Suvu
(Magical sounds ol invocation)
17. Boon:va Boon:va Boonava Boonava
Awakc! Awakc! 8c awakcncd! 8c awakcncd!
18. Ma:+vvva N:iaxaN+na Ðnavsn:N:Na
Ò lricndly! Tc onc with thc bluc ncck, Vorthy ol bcing sccn!
19. Pavaxaxa Svana S:oonava Svana Mana S:oonava Svana
To thc lcarlcss, svaha! To thc Powcrlul svaha! To thc Grcat
Powcrlul, svaha!
.ca .c¸
20. S:oonavocvsnvavava Svana N:iaxaN+na Svana
To thc powcrlul Lord ol Union, svaha! To thc onc with
thc bluc ncck, svaha!
21. VavanaNaNava Svana. S:xnasn:vaxuxnava Svana
To Ònc who looks likc a wild boar, svaha! To Him with
thc lion’s lacc, svaha!
22. Savvaxanas:oonava Svana. Cnaxvas:oonava Svana
To Him who holds all grcat powcrs, svaha! To Him who
holds thc powcr ol thc circlc, svaha!
23. Paoxanas+va Svana. N:iaxaN+nav:xavava Svana
To thc Holdcr ol thc Lotus, svaha! To thc Crcator with
thc bluc ncck, svaha!
24. Manas:snaNxavava Svana
To thc Grcat Sccr and 8cnclactor, svaha!
25. Naxo Ra+Na+vavava
! takc rclugc in thc Triplc Gcm
26. Naxo Avvavaiox:+vsnvavava Svana
! takc rclugc in thc Noblc LordSccr, svaha
27. Ox S:oonvaN+u MaN+vavaoava Svana Ox:
May thc succcss ol this Mantra bc achicvcd!
, Jrayer to [uan _hih Tin J’usa
Hcrc is a praycr which many Kuan Yin dcvotccs will apprcci
atc. !t should bc rcad paragraph by paragraph mcntally and thcn
contcmplatcd upon:
.ca .c¸
“Naxo Ta-Pv: KuaN Sn:n Y:N P’usa”
Òut ol thc grcat compassion ol thc 8uddha Amitabha, lrom his
purc Ðharma 8ody, you appcar in a laultlcss and crystal purc
body ol whitc light.
Ðuc to this glorious birth, thc worlds ol bcings bcncnttcd. Vith
compassionatc cycs you look on all scnticnt bcings, to rcndcr
thcm hclp, givc thcm hopc and savc thcm lrom damnation. You
gavc to thc world thc Grcat Path ol Compassion which is, in
actuality, thc Path to Libcration.
Sincc thcn countlcss grcat oncs who pursucd this wondcrlul Path
havc bccn savcd lrom thc rounds ol birth and rcbirth. Tis grcat
Path is bclorc mc right now and ! am indccd thc lortunatc onc.
! wish to show my gratitudc and pray that ! too may succcsslully
trcad your Path so as to illuminatc my mind ol dclusion.
To you, Kuan Shih Yin, Grcat 8odhisattva, ! prostratc. ! shall
always hold dcar your namc and rccitc your grcat mantra ol sal
vation: ‘Ox MaN: Paoxv Hux’.
! pray that thcrc will bc pcacc and harmony in my country and
in all thc world. ! pray that cvil may bc ovcrcomc by good, lor
thc happincss ol thosc who arc in cvcry statc ol sußcring, and lor
thc cnding ol all disastcrs in thc world.
Plcasc acccpt my oßcrings ol inccnsc, ßowcrs, lruits, praycrs and
thc mcrits ol thc rccitations ol thc Grcat Compassionatc Ðharani
(Ta Pci Jou) and thc Hcart Sutra as a mark ol my lovc and grati
tudc lor your Grcat Compassion lor having shown mc thc way:
‘Hoxacv To You, O Gvva+ Mvvc:vui ONv. Hoxacv To
SaxvaxuN: Buoona, Ax:+anna Buoona ANo Aii Tnv
Buoonas Ov Tnv TvN Ð:vvc+:oNs.
Hoxacv To UN:vvvsai Wov+nv Ta-Sn:n-cn: P’usa,
Hoxacv To Tnv Gvva+ ANo V:v+uous Pu Hs:vN P’usa,
Hoxacv To Tnv Hoiv ANo W:sv WvN-Snu P’usa,
Hoxacv To Tnv Coxvass:oNa+v T:-TsaNc WaNc P’usa
ANo Aii Tnv Boon:sa++vas Ov Tnv TvN Ð:vvc+:oNs.
Trough thcsc Grcat \ictorious Òncs, thc Path to Nirvana is
known which puts an cnd to all Samsaric sußcrings. Òut ol lovc
and gratitudc and wisdom, ! shall hcncclorth takc rclugc in thc
Trcc Jcwcls, rcalisc and conlcss my laults, practisc thc Prcccpts,
obscrvc thc 8odhisattva \ows and pcrlcct thc Six Paramitas.
! pray lor your blcssings to cnsurc that ! shall always bc on your
Grcat Path ol Compassion in this and cvcry lilctimc until
8uddhahood has bccn won.
May all scnticnt bcings bc blcsscd by your saving powcrs and bc
happy lor all ctcrnity. Kindly hclp thcir sccd ol ¡nlightcnmcnt
to bud and blossom so that its bcauty may nll thc univcrsc. !
prostratc to you, Kuan Shih Yin P’usa.
KuaN Sn:N Y:N P’usa
Cnav+vv IX
7en-_hu-_hih-¿i J’usa
¸anjusri Jodhisatt+a
Manjusri, thc pcrsonincation ol Transccndcntal Visdom, is thc
nrst 8odhisattva mcntioncd in 8uddhist scripturcs, and onc ol
thc two most promincnt and important 8odhisattvas ol Maha
yana 8uddhism. His wisdom is pcrlcct and is symboliscd by thc
sword, hc holds in his right hand signilying his intcllcct which
picrccs thc dccpcst rcccsscs ol 8uddhist thought and cutting
doubts which cannot othcrwisc bc solvcd. His namc lrcqucntly
appcars in various sutras and in thc Lotus Sutra, or Tc Lotus ol
thc Good Law, it was mcntioncd that hc had traincd and disci
plincd many bodhisattvas.
!n thc Mahayana, Visdom and Compassion arc rcgardcd as
cqually important, but with grcatcr cmphasis on Visdom. Man
jusri, thc Lord ol Visdom and Knowlcdgc, is thcrclorc con
sidcrcd as thc lorcmost 8odhisattva in carly Mahayana. Latcr
Mahayana laid grcatcr strcss on thc practisc ol Compassion so
that Avalokitcsvara, thc Lord ol Compassion (Karuna), who is
known to thc Chincsc as Kuan Shih Yin P’usa, soon cmcrgcd as
thc suprcmc 8odhisattva.
Manjusri, mcaning ‘Gcntlc Glory’ or ‘Swcct Splcndour’, is oltcn
rcgardcd as thc ‘princc royal’ ol thc 8uddha’s rcalm. Hc is also
Wv:-Snu-Sn:-I: P’usa — MaNjusv:
.c· .cµ
addrcsscd as ‘Manjugosha’ with ‘Manju’ mcaning ‘solt’ indicat
ing that his continuum has bccomc soltcncd by his wisdom
which cuts through distrcsscausing hindranccs to libcration
lrom cyclic libcration (Samsara), and thc nonamictivc obstruc
tions to innnitc knowlcdgc or Òmniscicncc. ‘Gosha’ mcans
‘chanting’ or ‘intonation’ rclcrring to his posscssing a 8uddha’s
pcrlcct vocalisation abilitics.
According to Chincsc 8uddhism, hc was inlormcd by Sakya
muni 8uddha that it was his duty and rcsponsibility to scck thc
instruction and salvation ol thc Chincsc pcoplc by making his
abodc at thc Vutai Shan in thc Shansi provincc, and thcrc to
causc thc Vhccl ol Ðharma to turn inccssantly.
Manjusri’s popularity in thc northcrn 8uddhist countrics
strctchcs lrom Ncpal, Sikkim, Tibct, China, Mongolia, Korca
to Japan. Millions ol Chincsc 8uddhists daily rccitc “Namo
VcnshuShihLi P’usa” to scck his blcssings. Hc is thc most
popular 8odhisattva among thc 8uddhists ol Tibct and Ncpal
whcrc cvcn young childrcn constantly rcpcat his mantra, ‘Òm
arapachanadhih’ which is a praycr lor dcvcloping wisdom.
Holy books compilcd by lamas oltcn bcgin with thc mantra
‘Namo Guru Manjugoshaya’ as a mark ol rcspcct to Manjusri lor
hc is indccd ‘thc lamp ol wisdom and supcrnatural powcr’ who
is thc dcstroycr ol lalschood and ignorancc lrom thc minds ol all
Tc illustration ol Manjusri is an usclul aid to thosc who would
likc to visualisc him during thcir praycrs or mcditational prac
.c· .cµ
ticcs. Tcy should nrst ol all conjurc in thcir minds a shining
bluc sky. From it a youthlul princc ol about sixtccn ycars old
with ßowing hair, appcars and is sccn scatcd on a palc bluc lotus
with a body madc ol goldcn light. Hc is smiling gcntly and on
his lorchcad is a wrcath ol bluc lotuscs surroundcd by a crown
ol nvc jcwcls. Aksobya, a mcditational 8uddha, is sccn scatcd
on top ol his hcad. His right hand brandishcs a doublccdgcd
sword with a vajrahandlc, thc point ol which is wrcathcd in
ßamcs. His lclt hand has a book, his sccond symbol, which hc
prcsscs closc to his hcart. Tis is thc Trcatisc on thc Pcrlcction
ol Visdom known to all as thc Prajnaparamita. Hc wcars silk ol
nvc colours ol a grcat bcing and thc six ornamcnts ol thc 8odhi
sattva. Surrounding him is a grcat aura ol light which is radiatcd
lrom his grcat purc body, a vcry spccial kind ol light that can
purily thc minds ol thosc who arc sccking wisdom….
Tus is Manjugosha sccn, thc ‘Gcntlc \oiccd Lord’ who is rclat
cd to crcativc communication. His wisdom is nothing lcss than
Prajna, pcrlcct wisdom, which is symboliscd by thc volumc ol
thc Prajnaparamita.
Lcgcnds ol Manjusri abound, cach with its own bcautilul
signincancc so that only thosc who havc grcat laith and amn
ity with him will bc ablc to rcalisc thcir inncr rcvclations. A
popular lcgcnd has it that Manjusri oncc lclt Mount Panca
sirsha (Vutai Mountain in China) to visit thc shrinc ol thc
Primordial 8uddha which was locatcd on a high mountain and
acccssiblc only by way ol Lakc Kalihrada. Howcvcr, thc lakc
was inlcstcd with all kinds ol watcrmonstcrs and spirits so that
..c ...
hc had no choicc but to ‘opcn, with his sword, scvcral val
lcys on thc southcrn sidc ol thc lakc, thus draining thc watcrs
and drying up thc land at thc bottom’. Tis dricd land is now
whcrc Ncpal stands which accounts lor thc grcat popularity ol
Manjusri thcrc. Tc Ncpalcsc also considcrcd him to bc thcir
lathcr ol civilization as wcll as thc loundcr ol 8uddhism in
thcir country.
!n Tibct Manjusri vcncration matchcs that ol Avalokitcsvara
so that “ÒmarapachanaÐhih” is rccitcd as lrcqucntly by thc
populacc as “Òm Mani Padmc Hum”. Many grcat lamas arc in
lact manilcstations ol Manjusri and thc most rcvcrcd and wcll
known amongst thcm is nonc othcr than His Holincss Sakya
Trizin, thc Hcad ol thc Sakya Lincagc ol Tibctan 8uddhism or
¸anjusri in [hina
Tc Chincsc rcgard Manjusri as thcir Cclcstial Architcct who
is bclicvcd to havc inspircd, with his divinc intclligcncc, thosc
who arc activc in thc propagation ol thc Ðharma. Hc is known
as Vcnshushili P’usa or ‘Vcnshu P’usa’ in short. Vith his
Sword ol Visdom, hc dissipatcs thc darkncss among mcn. His
othcr symbol, thc 8ook ol Transccndcntal Visdom is oltcn dc
pictcd as a long and narrow volumc, hcld togcthcr by thcir covcrs
and bound by a piccc ol cloth string. At timcs, it is just rcprc
scntcd by a scroll which contains thc tcachings.
..c ...
Hc is adorcd as thc Mastcr ol Visdom and Knowlcdgc and is
morc commonly sccn to bc scatcd in mcditation on a goldcn
mancd lion which is also callcd thc Lion Tronc. Somctimcs thc
goldcnmancd lion is rcplaccd by a grccn lion which symboliscs
thc wild mind which can only bc translormcd by mcditation.
Tc practicc ol mcditation is thcrclorc mandatory lor all who arc
kccn to havc a calm and subducd mind, and Vcnshu P’usa is
thc Ðcity who can hclp thcm to ovcrcomc all thcir obstaclcs ol
Ðharma practicc.
Vcnshu P’usa’s abodc at thc Vutai Mountain in Northcrn
China is thc most important placc ol pilgrimagc lor his lollowcrs
and lor all othcr cncrgctic 8uddhists as it is bclicvcd to bc whcrc
many 8odhisattvas gathcr. Tc Chincsc pcoplc also addrcss
him as thc ‘¡nlightcncr ol thc world’ as his task is known to bc
to drivc away lalschood and ignorancc lrom thc minds ol mcn.
Although thc asccnt to thc Vutai Shan is stccp and dimcult, yct
countlcss dcvotccs havc rcachcd its top. Tc lurc ol making this
dimcult pilgrimagc is mainly duc to dcvotion and also to ascrtain
thc claims madc by thosc who havc bccn thcrc that upon rcach
ing thc mountain top tcmplc ol Vcnshu, onc ‘lccls a grcat scnsc
ol tranquillity ol thc mind which cannot bc dcscribcd in words’.
Tcrc havc also bccn lrcqucnt claims by thc morc lortunatc oncs
that thcy had witncsscd a strangc and spcctacular sight, that ol
an unbclicvablc display ol hcavcnly lights that appcarcd at ccr
tain nights likc ‘rows ol wcll lit lantcrns ßoating across thc vast
sky…’. Ðisbclicvcrs may takc this claim lightly and trcat it as a
kind ol hallucination sußcrcd by thc dcvotccs’ minds as a rcsult ol
thc strcnous climb, thc hcight ol thc mountain, or cvcn thc dccp
laith in thc 8odhisattva. Howcvcr thcy should bcar in mind that
thosc who makc this arduous trips arc gcncrally not mcrc sight
sccrs but scckcrs ol wisdom who arc kccn mcditators and thcrc
lorc posscssing calm and not casily cxcitablc minds that arc likcly
to bc aßcctcd by thc alorcmcntioncd lactors.
Tcmplcs dcdicatcd to Vcnshu P’usa arc a rarity but a statuc
honouring this 8odhisattva can bc lound in most Chincsc
tcmplcs. Gcncrally Vcnshu cithcr appcars in a triad with thc
8uddha Sakyamuni and Pu H’sicn P’usa or, with Kuan Shih Yin
P’usa and Pu H’sicn P’usa, as shown in thc Panthcon ol Ðcitics.
Tcsc Trcc Grcat 8odhisattvas, whcn appcaring in a Trinity,
arc in thcir lcmininc lorms showing Vcnshu riding thc Grccn
Lion and Pu H’sicn astridc thc Vhitc ¡lcphant. Vcnshu, as
usual, rcprcscnts thc 8uddha’s Visdom aspcct, Pu H’sicn, thc
Pcrlcct Activity ol Lovc, and Kuan Yin, thc Pcrlcct Compassion
— thcsc thrcc aspccts whcn combincd togcthcr makc up thc
8uddha’s pcrlcction. !n thc Miao Shan lcgcnd, thc Grccn Lion
ol Vcnshu was dcscribcd to bc thc translormation ol thc God
ol Firc and thc Vhitc ¡lcphant bcing thc Spirit ol thc Vatcr:
two cvil spirits who capturcd thc parcnts ol thc Princcss whcn
thcy sct out to visit Hsiang Shan whcrc Miao Shan was thcn
rcsiding, but wcrc latcr subducd by hcavcnly lorccs. Upon Miao
Shan’s canonization into a 8odhisattva and carning thc titlc as
‘Tc \cry Compassionatc Saviour ol thc Amictcd, Miraculous
and Hclplul Protcctrcss ol Mortals’, hcr two cldcr sistcrs too
carncd grcat spiritual clcvations. Miao Ching bccamc Vcnshu
P’usa and bcars thc titlc ol ‘Tc \cry \irtuous P’usa, thc Com
plctcly 8cautilul, Ridcr ol thc Grccn Lion’.
..¡ ..¸
Manjusri 8odhisattva has many othcr lorms which cannot bc
lully dcscribcd in a book ol this sizc. Sumcc it to say that, likc
Avalokitcsvara, hc too assumcs numcrous lorms — ncrcc or gcn
tlc, onc or multiplc hcads, two or scvcral hands and lcgs, body
colour ol ycllow, whitc or cvcn black, all ol which havc thcir
rcspcctivc symbolic mcanings. ¡ach ol thcsc lorms arc but a
Visdom aspcct ol thc 8uddha and onc ol thcm should appcal to
you as your objcct ol worship. Tosc who arc ncw to 8uddhism
arc adviscd to acccpt thc lorms as dcpictcd in this chaptcr and to
avoid thc csotcric or tantric lorms lor thc timc bcing. Vith nrm
laith why not placc your hands togcthcr and oßcr a praycr to this
wondcrlul 8odhisattva and cxpcricncc his calming inßucncc:
Hc may yct impart somc wisdom to you to hclp you in your un
dcrstanding ol thc Ðharma which will lcad you to ctcrnal bliss.
Vcnshu P’usa’s lcstivc day lalls on thc 4th day ol thc 4th moon.
!t is not usually cclcbratcd by many as thosc who arc on thc
Visdom path arc not too many in numbcr, but studcnts ol Zcn
8uddhism will most ccrtainly trcat this as a vcry spccial day ol
thc ycar.
..¡ ..¸
Cnav+vv X
Ju Jsien J’usa
_amantabhadra Jodhisatt+a
Samantabhadra or Univcrsal \irtuc is known to thc Chincsc as
Pu Hsicn and Fugcn, to thc Japancsc. Shc is thc pcrsonincation
ol lovc, sacrcd activity, virtuc, diligcnt training and paticncc. !n
thc Chincsc Panthcon shc is sccn in thc triad with Kuan Shih
Yin (Compassion) and VcnShu (Visdom) as thc Trcc Prccious
8odhisattvas whosc qualitics makc up thc 8uddha’s ¡sscncc. !n
many Japancsc and Chincsc tcmplcs shc is also lound in thc Trin
ity with Sakyamuni 8uddha and VcnShu Pusa (Manjusri).
!magcrics ol Pu Hsicn usually show hcr scatcd on a whitc clc
phant in various ways and holding a lotus ßowcr or a scroll or
book. Tc clcphant, normally in a standing posturc, may bc
crouching and may cithcr havc thrcc hcads or onc hcad with six
Pu Hsicn P’usa is wcll known lor hcr limitlcss oßcrings to thc
8uddhas as wcll as hcr Tcn Grcat \ows which arc dircctcd to
wards bcncntting scnticnt bcings. Tcy arc:
1. To worship thc 8uddhas
2. To praisc thc Tathagatas.
3. To makc oßcrings to all thc 8uddhas.
4. To conlcss past sins and to rclorm.
5. To rcjoicc in thc virtucs and happincss ol othcrs.
6. To rcqucst 8uddha to prcach thc Law.
7. To rcqucst 8uddha to stay in thc world.
8. To study thc Ðharma in ordcr to tcach it.
9. To bcncnt all scnticnt bcings.
10. To translcr all mcrit and virtuc to othcrs.
Pu Hsicn’s sacrcd abodc in China is in thc NgoMci mountain
ol thc SzuChuan provincc.
!n Japan shc is oltcn worshippcd by hcr dcvotccs lor prospcrity
as wcll as longcvity and thcrc arc somc who also rcvcrc hcr as thc
divinc patron in thcir mcditational practiccs.
!n thc Sutra ol Mcditation on thc 8odhisattva Univcrsal \irtuc
(Pu Hsicn P’usa) thc 8uddha lavishcd grcat praiscs on hcr and
rcvcalcd that shc was born in thc ¡astcrn Purc Vondcr Land.
Mcditators who practisc this mcditation will gcncratc grcat
mcrits which will lrcc thcmsclvcs lrom all kinds ol hindranccs
as wcll as allowing thcm to scc hcr cxccllcnt lorms. Tc 8uddha
lurthcr gavc a vivid dcscription ol hcr as lollows:
“Tc 8odhisattva Univcrsal \irtuc is boundlcss in thc sizc ol hcr
body, boundlcss in thc sound ol hcr voicc, and boundlcss in thc
lorm ol hcr imagc. Ðcsiring to comc to this world, shc makcs
usc ol hcr divinc transccndcnt powcrs and shrinks hcr staturc to
thc sizc ol a human bcing…. Shc appcars translormcd as mount
cd on a grcat whitc clcphant which has six tasks (rcprcscnting
SaxaN+annaova Boon:sa++va
thc purity ol thc six scnscs). Undcr thc lcgs ol thc clcphant lotus
ßowcrs grow… thc whitcncss ol thc clcphant is ol thc most bril
liant ol all shadcs ol whitc which is so purc that cvcn crystal and
thc Himalaya Mountains cannot comparc with it!”
Tc Lotus Sutra has donc much to attract grcat numbcrs ol
lcmalc dcvotccs lor Pu Hsicn P’usa as thcy arc promiscd that
thcy too could attain 8uddhahood which is dcscribcd in dctail
in thc 10th Chaptcr ol thc Sutra. !n Chaptcr 28 Pu Hsicn P’usa
also madc this promisc to thc 8uddha:
“!n thc lattcr nvc hundrcd ycars ol thc corrupt and cvil agc,
whocvcr rcccivcs and kccps this sutra ! will guard and protcct,
climinatc thc anxicty ol lccling away, and givc casc ol mind….
Vhcrcvcr such a onc walks or stands, rcading and rcciting this
sutra, ! will at oncc mount thc sixtuskcd whitc clcphant king
and with a host ol grcat bodhisattvas go to that placc and, show
ing myscll, will scrvc and protcct (him) comlorting his mind,
also thcrcby scrving thc LawFlowcr Sutra…. Morcovcr ! will
givc thcm dharanis, and obtaining thcsc dharanis, no human
or nonhuman bcings can injurc thcm, nor any woman bcguilc
Still lurthcr on, onc hcars thc 8uddha cxtolling Pu Hsicn with
this promisc:
“…!, by my supcrnatural powcr, will guard and protcct thosc
who arc ablc to rcccivc and kccp thc namc ol thc 8odhisattva
Univcrsal \irtuc.”
Pu Hs:vN P’usa
Pu Hsicn P’usa is not gcncrally worshippcd by thc ‘avcragc’
8uddhists as tcmplcs dcdicatcd to hcr arc vcry scarcc. How
cvcr, thosc who would likc to lorm a karmic link with this grcat
8odhisattva may do so in most ol thc Kuan Yin tcmplcs whcrc
hcr imagcs can bc lound and onc ol thc most popular praycrs to
rccitc to hcr is:
“Naxo Ta HuNc Pu Hs:vN P’usa”
Likc all othcr grcat 8odhisattvas shc is ablc to grant thosc who
havc nrm laith in hcr, all kinds ol lavours that thcy arc sccking.
Tosc who cultivatc hcr dharma will cnjoy a longcr lilcspan and
thcy will most ccrtainly not lall into thc thrcc cvil paths (animal,
ghost and hcll rcalms) in thcir luturc lilctimcs. Morcovcr, thcy
will bc protcctcd by Pu Hsicn P’usa lrom thc dangcrs ol ßood,
nrc, war and poisonous lood, and thcy will bc rcwardcd with
position and abundant wcalth. Many a childlcss couplc havc
also bccn known to bc blcsscd with childrcn who arc bright and
hcalthy altcr praying to hcr and, most important ol all, shc is
ablc to impart grcat wisdom which will bc thc grcatcst hclp to
any cultivator who sccks thc Vay. Tc lcstivc day ol this grcat
8odhisattva lalls on thc 21st day ol thc 2nd moon and it is a
grcat day lor us to bring hcr to our hcart.
Pu Hs:vN P’usa
.aa .a¸
Cnav+vv XI
Ti Tsang J’ usa
[sitigarbha Jodhisatt+a
Ti Tsang P’usa is an cxtrcmcly popular 8odhisattva among
thc Chincsc and Japancsc 8uddhists. ‘Ti Tsang’, mcaning
‘¡arthStorc’ is a dircct translation ol thc 8odhisattva’s namc
Ks:+:cavnna in Sanskrit. Among thc countlcss 8odhisattvas
in thc univcrsc, hc and thrcc othcrs havc nrmly capturcd thc
hcarts ol thc Mahayanists. Tcsc lour main P’usas arc dcpictcd
in thc Chincsc 8uddhist Panthcon and thcy rcprcscnt lour basic
grcat qualitics:
KuaN Sn:N Y:N as Grcat Compassion
WvN Snu as Grcat Visdom
Pu Hs:vN as Grcat Lovc and Pcrlcct Activity
T: TsaNc as Grcat \ow to hclp and to dclivcr all bcings.
His grcatcst compassionatc \ow bcing: “!l ! do not go to thc hcll
to hclp thc sußcring souls thcrc, who clsc will go: …il thc hclls
arc not cmpty ! will not bccomc a 8uddha. Ònly whcn all living
bcings havc bccn savcd, will ! attain to 8odhi”.
Tc Sutra ol thc Pas+ Vows Ov Tnv Iav+n S+ovv Boon:-
sa++va, onc ol thc most popular Chincsc 8uddhist Sutras, tclls
ol thc grcat nlial picty which thc 8odhisattva practiscd that lcd
to his illimitablc vows to savc all living bcings. Tis Sutra was
spokcn by thc 8uddha towards thc cnd ol his lilc to thc bcings
.aa .a¸
ol thc Trayastrimsa Hcavcn as a mark ol gratitudc and rcmcm
brancc lor his bclovcd mothcr.
!n this Sutra thc 8uddha rcvcalcd that in thc distant past acons,
Ti Tsang P’usa, thcn a 8rahman maidcn by thc namc ol ‘Sacrcd
Girl’, was dccply troublcd whcn hcr mothcr dicd as shc had
oltcn bccn slandcrous towards thc Trcc Jcwcls — thc 8uddha,
Ðharma and Sangha.
To savc hcr lrom thc grcat torturcs ol hcll, thc young girl sold
whatcvcr shc had and uscd thc moncy to buy oßcrings which shc
oßcrcd daily to thc 8uddha ol hcr timc, known as Tc 8uddha
ol Flowcr ol Mcditation and ¡nlightcnmcnt. Shc madc lcrvcnt
praycrs that hcr mothcr bc sparcd ol thc pains ol hcll and rc
qucstcd thc 8uddha lor hclp.
Ònc day at thc tcmplc, whilc shc was thus plcading lor hclp, shc
hcard thc voicc ol thc 8uddha advising hcr to go homc immcdi
atcly and thcrc to sit down and practisc mcditation on His namc
il shc wantcd to know whcrc thc spirit ol hcr mothcr was. Shc
did as shc was told and whilc doing so, hcr soul was transportcd
to thc Hcll Rcalm whcrc shc mct a hcllguardian who inlormcd
hcr that through hcr lcrvcnt praycrs and pious oßcrings, hcr
mothcr had accumulatcd much mcrits and thcrclorc hcr soul
had alrcady bccn rclcascd lrom hcll and asccndcd to hcavcn. Shc
was grcatly rclicvcd and should havc bccn cxtrcmcly happy, but
thc sights ol thc grcat sußcrings in Hcll that shc had witncsscd
so touchcd hcr tcndcr hcart that shc madc an immcdiatc vow: “!
shall cxcrcisc my vcry bcst to rclicvc bcings ol thcir sußcrings
lorcvcr in my luturc livcs ol kalpas to comc.”
Tc young maidcn has sincc thcn bccamc an accomplishcd
8odhisattva through hcr grcat acts ol mcrits and is now known
as Ti Tsang P’usa.
Ti Tsang P’usa has oltcn bccn mistakcncd by uninlormcd
8uddhists to bc Mogallana who was a disciplc ol Sakyamuni
8uddha, bccausc hc too had a similar cxpcricncc ol dcsccnding
to thc Hcll Rcalm to scck and savc his mothcr. Tc storics may
sound similar but thcy happcncd at dißcrcnt timcs and adoptcd
quitc dißcrcnt mcthods to savc thcir mothcrs.
Many othcrs also tcnd to rclatc Ti Tsang as thc Hsuan Tsang,
thc lamous Tripitaka mastcr ol thc Tang Ðynasty who madc thc
harzadous journcy to thc Vcst to scck thc 8uddhist scripturcs.
Tis is mainly duc to thc Sangha robc and thc nvclcal crown
which both arc sccn to wcar.
As thc “Rcgcnt ol Hcll” Ti Tsang P’usa is again takcn by many
to bc “YcnLoVang” or Yama, thc “ÒvcrLord ol Hcll”. !t must
bc mcntioncd that Ti Tsang is a 8odhisattva and not a mcrc
King ol thc Filth Hcll. Hc docs not judgc thc souls ol thc dcad
but sccks to savc thcm lrom thc punishmcnt inßictcd on thcm
by thc Kings ol Hcll.
9escription of Ti Tsang J’ usa
Ti Tsang may bc rcprcscntcd sitting or standing. Hc always has
a kind and bcncvolcnt look and carrying cithcr, or both, his
T: TsaNc P’usa — Ks:+:cavnna Boon:sa++va
.a6 .a,
symbols ol thc Cintamani or “Vishlulnlling Jcwcl” and thc
“RingcdStaß”, which is also callcd thc Khakkhara. Tis ringcd
staß is oltcn carricd by 8uddhist monks in thcir travcls so that
thc sounds causcd by thc jingling rings can warn small animals
and insccts ol thcir approach lcst thcy bc trod upon and killcd.
!t is also somctimcs callcd thc alarmstaß.
!n thc abovc much trcasurcd picturc ol Ti Tsang P’usa, which
is lound in many 8uddhist homcs and tcmplcs, hc is sccn scatcd
upon a lotus thronc. His hands holds thc prccious ßaming pcarl
which has vast magical powcrs bcyond dcscription. Hc wcars
thc robc ol a Northcrn 8uddhist monk and on his hcad is thc
“nvclcavc crown, whcrc thc rcprcscntation ol a Ðhyani8uddha
can bc sccn on cach ol thc lcavcs.”
Vhcncvcr you havc thc urgc to pray to this 8odhisattva lor any
hclp, look at this picturc intcntly lor a lcw scconds as you silcntly
rccitc, “Naxo T: TsaNc WaNc P’usa, Naxo T: TsaNc WaNc
P’usa…,’ bclorc closing your cycs to visualisc him. Ti Tsang
P’usa is vcry rcsponsivc to sinccrc praycrs ol laith and hc may
yct grant you your wish, il it is not too unsclnsh or unrcason
ablc. All may pray to him with this simplc invocation and, who
knows, your past karmic links with him may yct makc you into
anothcr ardcnt Ti Tsang dcvotcc again in this lilctimc.
Tc standing posturc ol Ti Tsang is particularly popular in Japan
whcrc hc is known as Jizo 8osatsu. !t rcprcscnts thc rcadincss ol
Jizo to rcspond immcdiatcly to thc calls ol hclp madc by thosc
who havc laith in his saving powcrs. Standing upon a lotus, hc
.a6 .a,
holds his prccious ßaming jcwcl with his lclt hand whilc thc
ringcd staß is hcld with thc right, cvcr rcady to lorcc opcn thc
gatcs ol Hcll with thc staß and to dispcl thc darkncss ol thc in
lcrnal rcalm with his luminous gcm.
Ti Tsang is at timcs dcpictcd accompanicd by a dog which also
has a signincant mcaning. Òn thc dcath ol his mothcr, thc 8odhi
sattva, known as “Sacrcd Girl”, hastcncd into thc undcrworld with
thc vicw ol comlorting hcr and to scck lor lavourablc trcatmcnt.
Howcvcr hc could not nnd hcr whcrcabouts but latcr discovcrcd
that shc had alrcady takcn rcbirth as a lcmalc dog. Upon his rc
turn to carth Ti Tsang soon traccd and adoptcd thc animal which
hcncclorth bccamc his closc companion on his pilgrimagcs.
Anothcr popular dcpiction ol him is in this standing or ‘activity
lorm’ which has his lclt hand holding an alms bowl against his
navcl, whilc his right hand lorms thc mudra (handsign) ol “giv
ing consolation and pcacc to all living bcings”.
Ti Tsang P’usa has many cmanations and hc has manilcstcd in
countlcss lorms to savc bcings at dißcrcnt timcs and placcs. !n
thc Chincsc 8uddhist Panthcon his is thc only ngurc in thc
lorm ol a monk. Tis is to indicatc that Mahayana 8uddhism is
suitablc lor both thc monks and thc laity.
Ti Tsang’s compassion is not practiscd cxclusivcly lor thc bcncnt
ol thc bcings ol thc hcll rcalm, hc also givcs blcssings to thosc
ol thc world who scck his hclp and hc is a comlortcr ol thc poor,
opprcsscd, sick, hungry, and thosc who arc troublcd by spirits
and nightmarcs. Tosc who havc nrm laith in him can casily
rcccivc his protcction. Vith laith onc nccd to rccitc any ol thcsc
simplc praycrs:
“Naxo T: TsaNc WaNc P’usa” or
“Naxo Ks:+:cavnna Boon:sa++va Ya”.
!magcs ol thc 8uddhas and 8odhisattvas arc rccogniscd by thc
symbols that thcy arc associatcd with. ¡ach ol thcsc symbols
havc signincant mcanings which most pcoplc arc unawarc ol.
Tc Khakkhara, or Ringcd Staß, which Ti Tsang holds is not
only mcant to warn small and crawling crcaturcs ol his approach
so as to avoid stcpping on thcm but also to inlorm pcoplc ol his
prcscncc through thc jingling causcd by thc rings. Òltcn a trav
clling monk on a pilgrimagc has to stop at homcs to scck alms
and sincc hc docs not wish to spcak unncccssarily, hc usually an
nounccs his arrival by shaking his sounding staß.
Tc Khakkhara is oltcn a woodcn staß cappcd with mctal loops
or crotchcts and rings which arc cithcr lour, six or twclvc in
numbcr. Tc Fourringcd staß is carricd by a monk who has
pcrccivcd thc Four Noblc Truths ol Sußcring, thc Causc ol Sul
lcring, thc Ccssation ol Sußcring, and thc Path lcading to thc
Ccssation ol Sußcring. Tc Sixringcd staß bclongs to a 8odhi
sattva who is constantly practising thc Six Paramitas, whilc thc
Twclvcdringcd staß is hcld by a Pratycka 8uddha who has rcal
iscd thc Twclvclold Links ol Causation.
As a rcsult ol Ti Tsang P’usa having madc this promisc to
Sakyamuni 8uddha: “! will lulnl your instructions to continuc
T: TsaNc P’usa
.¸c .¸.
to rclicvc bcings lrom thcir statcs ol sußcring and lcad thcm
to Salvation. ! shall strivc to work hard until thc ncxt 8uddha,
Maitrcya 8uddha, comcs to thc world.” Hc is also adorcd as thc
“Mastcr ol thc Six Vorlds ol Ðcsirc,” thus thcrc arc dcpictions
ol him bcing surroundcd by a 8odhisattva, an Asura, a Man, an
Animal (horsc or ox), a Prcta, and a Ðcmon holding a pitchlork,
which symboliscs thc six dißcrcnt lorms hc assumcs in thc six
rcalms to savc thc bcings thcrc.
!n thc closing chaptcr ol thc Ti Tsang Sutra, Sakyamuni 8uddha
gavc this advicc lor thc bcncnt ol all human bcings:
“Listcn to mc carclully and ! shall tcll you in dctail. !l virtuous
oncs ol thc luturc scc thc Ksitigarbha 8odhisattva’s imagc, hcar
thc Ksitigarbha Sutra, chant this Sutra, makc oßcrings to Ksiti
grabha, pay homagc to him, thcy will rcccivc thcsc bcncnts:
1. Tcy will bc protcctcd by dcvas and dragons.
2. Tcir ability to do good will bc incrcascd.
3. Òpportunitics lor doing good will incrcasc.
4. Tcy will strivc to attain 8uddhahood.
5. Tcy will cnjoy sumcicncy ol lood and clothing.
6. Tcy will bc lrcc lrom discascs.
7. Floods and nrc will not aßcct thcm.
8. Robbcrs will not troublc thcm.
9. Tcy will bc rcspcctcd and admircd by pcoplc.
10. Spirits and dcvas will protcct and assist thcm.
11. Fcmalcs shall bc rcborn as malcs.
12. Tc lcmalcs will bccomc daughtcrs ol noblc & cxaltcd lamilics.
.¸c .¸.
13. Tcy will bc rcborn with good complcxion.
14. Tcy will bc rcborn in thc hcavcns lor many livcs.
15. Tcy will bc rcborn as kings or rulcrs ol countrics.
16. Tcy will havc wisdom to rccollcct thcir past livcs.
17. Tcy will bc succcsslul in all thcir aspirations.
18. Tcy will cnjoy happy lamily rclationships.
19. Ðisastcrs will not aßcct thcm.
20. Tcir bad karma will bc rcmovcd.
21. Vhcrcvcr thcy go, thcy arc salc.
22. Tcy shall always havc pcacclul drcams.
23. Tcir dcccascd rclativcs shall bc lrcc lrom sußcrings.
24. Tcy will bc rcborn with happincss.
25. Tcy will bc praiscd by divinc bcings.
26. Tcy will bc intclligcnt and skillul.
27. Tcy will havc compassion lor othcrs.
28. Tcy will nnally attain 8uddhahood.
Tc birthday ol Ti Tsang P’usa lalls on thc 30th day ol thc 7th
moon ol thc lunar calcndar which coincidcs with thc vcry day
whcn thc gatcs ol Hcll closcs to mark thc cnd ol thc Fcstival
ol thc Hungry Ghosts. All ovcr thc world 8uddhist Tcmplcs
oßcr praycrs to Ti Tsang P’usa during this ycarly Fcstival lor thc
bcncnt ol thc dcad.
Ti Tsang’s popularity among thc Chincsc and Japancsc 8uddhists
is sccond only to Kuan Shih Yin P’usa as hc takcs upon himscll
thc lcarlul and distastclul task ol bringing rclicl and consolation
to sußcring bcings ol hcll.
.¸a .¸¸
Cnav+vv XII
¸aitreya Juddha
Maitrcya, “Tc Fricndly and 8cncvolcnt Ònc” or “Ònc Vho
Posscsscs Lovingkindncss” is widcly adorcd by thc Chincsc
8uddhists lor his willingncss to grant hclp to thosc who dircct
thcir minds towards him. Hc is also known as Ajita, ‘thc Un
conqucrcd’ and ranks cqual with thc othcr grcat 8odhisattvas
such as Avalokitcsvara, Manjusri, Samanthabadra, Mahastham
aprata and Ksitigarbha. As thc ncxt 8uddhatobc hc alonc cn
joys thc distinction ol bcing thc only 8odhisattva rccogniscd
and popularly acccptcd by both Mahayanist and Tcravadin
Maitrcya has takcn numcrous incarnations in thc various 8uddhist
countrics and China has had quitc a lair sharc ol thcm. Histori
cally, thc most important amongst thcm, is said to bc that as thc
son ol a King ol \aranisc in Ccntral Asia. Rccord has it that hc
was born with thc lull thirtytwo marks ol a supcrior bcing who
subscqucntly bccamc a disciplc ol Sakyamuni 8uddha and was
onc ol thc main intcrlocutors in thc Mahayana Sutras whcrc hc
convcrscd with somc ol thc grcat disciplcs ol thc 8uddha.
Although hc is, strictly spcaking, still a 8odhisattva ol thc nincth
stagc, thc tcnth bcing that ol a lully ¡nlightcncd 8uddha, hc is
.¸a .¸¸
oltcn worshippcd as a 8uddha in anticipation ol his bccoming
thc ncxt 8lcsscd Ònc in thc luturc. 8oth as 8odhisattva and
8uddha hc now rcsidcs in thc Tusita Hcavcn, thc Hcavcnly
Rcalm ol thc Ðcvas, whcrc all thc 8uddhastobc will always
rcsidc, pcnding thcir appcarancc as 8uddha on carth to savc
mankind and thcrcby travcrsing thc tcnth and nnal stagc or
‘8humi’, to attain Suprcmc 8uddhahood lor thc sakc ol bcncnt
ting all scnticnt bcings.
8cing compassionatc, Maitrcya always grants hclp willingly to
thosc who pray to him with laith and thc simplc praycr to rccitc
“Naxo M:-Io Iwo”
Tc manncr ol praying to Maitrcya is similar to thosc mcthods
as dcscribcd in thc Chaptcrs on Kuan Shih Yin and Amitabha
8uddha. Firm laith, purity ol intcntion and cßort will bc thc
main lactors ol succcss ol thcir praycrs. Among thc many rca
sons lor worshipping Maitrcya or MiLo Fwo arc thcsc two
most outstanding aspccts:
1. To takc rcbirth in Tusita Hcavcn, a kind ol Purc Land, so as
to rcccivc thc tcaching ol thc Ðharma.
2. To gain sumcicnt mcrits so as to obtain a rcbirth during His
appcarancc on carth, to hcar His tcachings and bc savcd by
Gcncrally thc Chincsc worship him lor wcalth and happincss
and thcrc arc thosc who cvcn bclicvcd strongly that hc is ablc to
bcqucath thcm with childrcn as onc ol his most popular lorms
is that with nvc childrcn surrounding him. Howcvcr thc imagcs
ol him that arc lound in thc tcmplcs normally dcpict a lat gcnial
laughing ngurc with a mountainous bclly, in a sitting posturc,
and having a largc bag bcsidc him.
8ccausc ol this appcarancc, many pcoplc choosc to call him ‘Tc
Laughing 8uddha’. Such a dcpiction by his Chincsc dcvotcc is a
lar cry lrom what othcr 8uddhists ol othcr lands imagincd him
to bc, but this docs not mcan that thc Chincsc do not rcvcrc
him as much as othcrs do. Tis portraiturc ol him camc about
as a rcsult ol onc ol his mcmorablc cmanations in China during
thc cnd ol thc Tang pcriod and thc bcginning ol thc VuTai
Ðynasty (907–1060). Tcrc was a lcarncd monk whom cvcry
onc addrcsscd as Pu Tai, mcaning ‘Cloth 8ag’, as hc was always
sccn carrying a largc hcmp bag whcrcvcr hc wcnt. Hc was a na
tivc ol thc Chckiang Provincc who wcnt about propagating thc
8uddhadharma. No onc rcally kncw his truc namc although
hc had callcd himscll ‘Chi Tzc’, and bccausc ol his bag, thc pco
plc prclcrrcd to rclcr to him as ‘thc monk with thc sack’. Hcrc
hc appcarcd as onc who is cxtrcmcly kind, jovial and hclplul
and although hc had no homc or tcmplc which hc could call his
own, hc is always in a chccrlul mood. Hc wandcrcd about hcrc
and thcrc to bcg lor lood, giving advicc and tcaching to thosc
who carc to hcar him, or hc could bc sccn collccting all kinds
ol things which hc would put into his bag. To thc worldly oncs
this act may bc rcckoncd as an act ol grccd but it rcally mcant
M:-Io-Iwo — Ma:+vvva Buoona
that hc was cvcr sccking to hclp dclivcr bcings into his Purc
As thc pcoplc got to know him bcttcr thcy soon discovcrcd that
hc was also cxtrcmcly good at rcading thcir lortunc and prc
dicting thc wcathcr. ¡vcn by his daily actions thcy wcrc ablc to
gucss thc outcomc ol thc wcathcr conditions lor whcncvcr hc
was sccn hurrying around in wct sandals, rain was surc to lollow,
and whcncvcr hc was sccn wcaring shocs and rclaxing hcrc and
thcrc, bright and sunny days would prcvail. Hc also had many
othcr pcculiaritics somc ol which borc similaritics with thosc ol
anothcr lamous monk Cn: KuNc ol thc Sung Ðynasty. Pu Tai
was oltcn sccn to bc slccping vcry comlortably on thc snow dur
ing thc cold wintcrs and at thc samc timc rcsistcd taking a bath
during thc hot summcrs. Hc dicd in a sitting posturc at thc cor
ridor ol a tcmplc and lclt bchind a vcrsc which said:
“Maitrcya is a rcal Maitrcya, who manilcsts
uncountablc translormcd bodics.
Constantly hc manilcsts bclorc living bcings
who arc not ablc to rccognisc thcm.”
Trough this vcrsc, pcoplc latcr bcgan to acccpt him as an incar
nation ol thc Maitrcya 8uddha which also cxplains thc acccptcd
appcarancc ol thc currcnt day’s dcpiction ol him.
!n his many othcr rccordcd incarnations in China, hc lrcqucntly
appcarcd as grcat and lcarncd pcrsons whosc livcs havc bccn rc
cordcd in many books. Tc lollowcrs ol thc Ticn Tao Movcmcnt,
Ma:+vvva Buoona
.¸· .¸µ
an cncrgctic rcligious Òrdcr which cmbraccs all thc thrcc grcat
Chincsc rcligions ol Conlucianism, Taoism and 8uddhism,
claimcd that Maitrcya madc his appcarancc in China as thcir
grcat tcachcr at thc bcginning ol this ccntury. Howcvcr all thcsc
arc but thc minor translormcd bodics ol thc Grcat 8cing whosc
rcal csscncc is now rcsiding in thc Tcmplc ol thc Palacc ol thc
Scvcn Jcwcls ol thc Tusita Hcavcn. 8uddhists arc morc con
ccrncd with his nnal incarnation whcn hc asccnds to thc statc ol
a Fully ¡nlightcncd 8uddha to savc countlcss bcings lrom thc
world. !n thc mcantimc onc should dircct his cncrgy to dcvclop
a strong amnity with Maitrcya 8uddha by rcciting his namc
daily and living in a virtuous manncr.
Maitrcya 8uddha’s birthday is cclcbratcd on thc 1st day ol thc 1st
moon ol thc Lunar calcndar which coincidcs with thc Chincsc
Ncw Ycar Ðay, a day ol joy in which all lamilics traditionally
kccp purc and holy by avoiding thc cating ol any mcat.
.¸· .¸µ
Cnav+vv XIII
[uan Ti
The Jrotector of Juddhism
!n thc ycar 162 a.o. during thc pcriod ol thc warring statcs ol
thc Trcc Kingdoms, a child was born to a humblc lamily in
Shansi who grcw up to bccomc China’s most illustrious and out
standing son, a grcat hcro, and was latcr dcincd to bccomc onc ol
thc most popular Gods ol thc Chincsc pcoplc. His admircrs and
dcvotccs rangcd lrom ¡mpcrors to thc common pcoplc and his
popularity ncvcr wancd ovcr thc long pcriod ol timc. Tousands
ol tcmplcs and shrincs havc bccn crcctcd in his honour and can
bc sccn in all parts ol thc country. His imagcs and portraits
adorn homc shrincs or walls ol countlcss homcs whcthcr thcy bc
Taoist, Conlucianist or 8uddhist.
!n a country strilcd with wars and rcbcllions throughout its his
tory ol thc various Ðynastics, grcat hcrocs havc cmcrgcd and
distinguishcd thcmsclvcs in cvcry way to dcscrvc vcncration and
rcmcmbcrancc but nonc has cvcr cquallcd Kuan Ti to gain clcva
tion into thc ranks ol Gods or cnjoy worship by dißcrcnt classcs
ol pcoplc as thcir patron saints. To thc Taoists and othcrs, Kuan
Ti was thcir God ol Var, whilc thc 8uddhists conlcr upon him
thc grcat honour as thcir Protcctor.
8orn as Kuan Yu hc lcd a simplc lilc and madc his living as a
young man by sclling bcancurd which providcd thc cxcusc lor
thc bcancurd scllcrs to rcspcct him as thcir patron saint today.
.¡c .¡.
Hc also dcvotcd much timc to scrious studics and on onc occa
sion, displaycd his cxccllcnt mcmory powcr by rcciting word lor
word, thc cntirc volumc ol thc Classics altcr rcading it but oncc.
Kuan Yu’s othcr namc is YunChang.
Trough his grcat lovc lor justicc and lairplay, Kuan Yu soon
got himscll into dccp troublc whcn hc slaycd thc liccntious and
corrupt magistratc who lorccd a poor girl to bccomc his concu
binc. Tis madc him into a criminal and Kuan Yu had to ßcc lor
his lilc into thc mountains. As hc was trying to cross ovcr to thc
ncighbouring provincc hc chanccd to stop by a strcam to havc a
wash, whcn to his surprisc hc noticcd a grcat changc to his ap
pcarancc! His lacial complcxion had changcd lrom whitc to a
rcddish tint which savcd him thc troublc to disguisc himscll so
that hc was ablc to walk through thc scntrics who wcrc guarding
thc mountain pass without thc lcast ol problcm.
Upon rcaching ChuChou ol thc Szcchuan Provincc hc soon
bclricndcd two othcrs who sharcd his noblc idcals and virtucs
and thcy cndcd up as “sworn brothcrs” in a ccrcmony which has
bccn rccordcd in thc history as thc “8rothcrhood at thc Pcach
Òrchard”. Changlci, a butchcr, bccamc thc youngcst brothcr.
Hc was a man ol ncry tcmpcr who had an unyiclding scnsc ol
justicc and was wcll known lor his immcnsc appctitc both lor
lood and advcnturc. Hc also had a black lacc which was lull ol
whiskcrs and togcthcr with his lormidablc lramc ol somc scvcn
lcct high, vcry lcw would darc cross his path. His grcat lovc and
loyalty to Kuan Yu has won him a placc ol honour so that hc is
always sccn standing bchind Kuan Ti in all dcpictions. Liu Pci,
thc cldcr brothcr who camc lrom a distinguishcd but impov
.¡c .¡.
crishcd lamily with !mpcrial linkagc, was known to bc a man
ol honour. Hc was latcr to distinguish himscll by lounding thc
Latcr Han Ðynasty. Kuan Yu, a powcrlul ngurc ol morc than
cight lcct tall, posscsscd an cnigmatic pcrsonality and intcgrity
which won him rcspcct ol all whom hc mct.
Togcthcr thcsc thrcc ncwly sworn brothcrs sct out and bccamc
involvcd in military pursuits, Kuan Ti oncc scrving undcr thc
cralty and lamous Ts’ao Ts’ao. Tcy displaycd grcat military
prowcss and lought many battlcs which can bc rcad in lull dctails
in thc lamous novcls ol “Tc Romancc ol thc Trcc Kingdoms”.
Kuan Yu provcd himscll worthy ol thc honour and aßcction ol
thosc who lought with him lor hc was bravc and gcncrous and
was ncvcr known to turn asidc lrom dangcr. Hc also provcd his
ndclity on thc occasion whcn hc was takcn prisoncr togcthcr
with thc wilc and concubincs ol Liu Pci, and having bccn allo
catcd a common slccping quartcrs with thc ladics, hc prcscrvcd
thcir rcputation and his own trustworthincss by sitting all night
through, outsidc thcir door, rcading a book undcr thc bright
light ol a candlc. Tcrc is also anothcr vcrsion ol this account
which statcd that hc stood through thc night at thc door ol thc
ladics’ room with a lightcd lantcrn in his hand.
!n thc rccordcd history ol his lilc Kuan Yu had many occasions
to display his nobility, uprightncss, intcgrity, loyalty and bravcry.
Hc livcd at a timc ol grcat distrcss and chaos whcn thc virtuc
ol thc Han Ðynasty, sct up in 202 8.C., bcgan to dcclinc and
uprising, warring, dissatislactions and rcbcllions wcrc rampant.
Tcmptations ol acquiring wcalth, lamc and powcr did not dctcr
KuaN T:
him lrom rcmaining laithlul to thc oath that hc had takcn with
his brothcrs at thc pcach orchard: “…to bc loyal to cach othcr in
lilc and unitcd in dcath…” And ol his ability to bcar pain un
ßinchingly, thcrc was an occasion whcn hc was woundcd by a
poisoncd arrow which rcquircd thc arrow and thc poison to bc
rcmovcd. Hc calmly submittcd himscll to thc tcrriblc ordcal and
allowcd his arm to bc cut opcncd and scratchcd to thc bonc by
his physician whilc hc conccntratcd his attcntion on a gamc ol
chcss, without showing thc lcast sign ol pain.
!n thc ycar 219 a.o. hc was capturcd by Sun Chuan and put to
dcath. !t was rccordcd that on thc night ol his dcath, his spirit
appcarcd to a 8uddhist monk, to scck lor instruction on thc
8uddha’s tcachings.
According to thc 8uddhist account, Kuan Yu manilcstcd him
scll bclorc thc Tripitaka Mastcr Chi Tsai, thc loundcr ol Ticn
Tai 8uddhism, with a rctinuc ol spiritual bcings. Tc Mastcr
was thcn in dccp mcditation at thc Yu Chicn Mountain whcn
hc was distractcd by Kuan Yu’s prcscncc. Altcr rccciving thc
tcachings Kuan Yu rcqucstcd lor thc Fivc Prcccpts and bccamc a
8uddhist practitioncr. Hc thcn vowcd that hc would hcncclorth
bc a guardian lor thc 8uddhadharma and thus, lor morc than
a thousand ycars, Kuan Ti has bccn worshippcd as a Guardian
or Ðharma Protcctor in thc 8uddhist tcmplcs. Tc Purc Land
8uddhists also rcspcctcd him as thc Scntincl to thc Vcstcrn
Paradisc ol Amitabha 8uddha. For thcsc rcasons Kuan Ti has
carncd a placc in thc Chincsc Panthcon ol Ðcitics, his statucs
arc normally lound in thc nrst hall ol most tcmplcs and inccnsc
should bc oßcrcd to him as a mark ol rcspcct.
.¡¡ .¡¸
Tc honours and tributcs that thc succccding ¡mpcrors ol thc
various Ðynastics conlcrrcd upon him markcd him as thc grcat
cst military hcro that cvcr livcd. Kuan Yu carncd thc rank ol
‘ T:’ mcaning “God” or “¡mpcror” and has cvcr sincc rcccivcd
worship as Kuan Ti or Vu Ti. Hcrc arc thc othcr main awards
which hc had subscqucntly carncd, clcvating him to thc ranks ol
Ðukc, Princc and thcn ¡mpcror:
1. !n 1120 thc Sung ¡mpcror cnnoblcd him as thc “Faithlul and
Loyal Ðukc”. ¡ight ycars latcr hc again conlcrrcd him an
othcr titlc, that ol “Tc Magninccnt Princc and Pacincator”.
2. !n 1330 ¡mpcror Vcn ol thc Yuan Ðynasty honourcd him
with thc titlc ol “Varrior Princc and Civilizcr”.
3. !n 1594 ¡mpcror Van Li ol thc Ming Ðynasty conlcrrcd on
him thc titlc ol “Faithlul and Loyal Grcat Ti, Supportcr ol
Hcavcn and Protcctor ol thc Kingdom”. !n his honour thou
sands ol tcmplcs wcrc built across thc land so that pcoplc
could honour and worship him, thus making him onc ol thc
most popular Gods ol China.
4. !n 1813 thc Ching ¡mpcror addcd thc appcllation “Military
¡mpcror” and Kuan Ti was rcgardcd as thc Patron ol thc
Manchu Ðynasty.
5. !n 1856 during thc battlc bctwccn thc !mpcrialists and thc
rcbcls, Kuan Ti was said to havc appcarcd in thc hcavcns which
hclpcd to turn thc tidc ol thc battlc in thc ¡mpcror’s lavour.
Altcr thc victory, ¡mpcror Hscin Fcng quickly clcvatcd him
.¡¡ .¡¸
to thc position ol rcvcrcncc similar to that ol Conlucius, thc
grcat Sagc ol China.
All thcsc awards havc hclpcd thc pcoplc to rcmcmbcr and wor
ship Kuan Ti not only as a God ol Var but also as thcir God ol
Chivalry and Prospcrity. Hc is also rcgardcd as thc Guardian ol
thc 8ravc, Loyal and Rightcous, and so on. Howcvcr it must bc
mcntioncd hcrc that thc manncr ol worship ol Kuan Ti at his
tcmplcs arc not ncccssarily a 8uddhist practicc, although hc has
carncd a placc into thc Chincsc Panthcon. 8uddhism may acccpt
and cvcn cncouragcs its lollowcrs to rcvcrc thc Gods lor thcir
virtucs or pray to thcm lor somc protcction or worldly boons, but
thcy must always bc awarc that ¡nlightcnmcnt cannot bc won
by such practiccs and that thcir rclugc should bc sought in thc
Trcc Jcwcls only.
As a 8uddhist dcity, Kuan Ti stands alonc but as a Taoist dcity
hc is usually accompanicd by two othcr companions. A young
looking man is always protraycd bcsidc him holding his scal
whilc Chang Fci can bc sccn with his halbcrd which according
to tradition, thc cdgc ol it lacing towards thc dircction ol thc
suspcctcd dangcr lrom cvil inßucncc. For this rcason hc is oltcn
dcpictcd as standing bchind Kuan Ti’s right so that his halbcrd
may lacc thc othcr dircction, il so rcquircd.
Kuan Ti’s annivcrsarics lall on thc 13th day ol thc 2nd moon
and thc 13th day ol thc 5th moon in Malaysia and Singaporc
whilc Hong Kong cclcbratcs it on thc 24th day ol thc 6th moon.
!t is also customary lor thc Chincsc to makc thcir way to Kuan
Ti tcmplcs at thc start ol thc Chincsc Ncw Ycar to oßcr praycrs
.¡6 .¡,
ol gratitudc lor lavours rcndcrcd and to scck his continucd pro
tcction lor thc coming ycar.
9ynasties of [hina
Mythical 2697–2206 nc Lcgcndary
2205–1766 nc
1783–1122 nc
Vith thc Chou, known as “San
Tai” or “Trcc Ðynastics”.
Chou 1122—222 nc
Tc classic pcriod, Ch’un Ch’iu
pcriod 722–481, Chan Kuo
pcriod 403–221.
Ch’in 221—206 nc China rcunincd.
Han 206 ncao 219 “¡astcrn Han” (lrom ao 25)
Vci 220–264
Tc “Trcc Kingdoms” (Vci,
Vu and Shu) lrom ao 200
Ch’in 265–419
¡astcrn Ch’in lrom 317.
8arbarian kingdoms in North
China 304–439.
Nov+n a Sou+n
Sung 420–478 Vith thc Vu and
Ch’i 479–501 ¡astcrn Chin, known
Liang 502–556 as thc “Six Ðynastics”
Ch’cn 557–588 ol southcrn culturc.
Sui 589–617 China rcunincd.
T’ang 618–906 Pcriod ol Spiritual Ðcvclopmcnt.
.¡6 .¡,
Wu Ta:
Liang 907 — 922 Known as “Vu Tai’,
T’ang 923 — 935 or “Fivc Ðynastics”
Chin 936 — 946 to distinguish thcm
Han 947 — 950 lrom othcr dynastics
Chou 951 — 959 similarly namcd.
Sung 960–1280
“Southcrn Sung” lrom 1127 with
Northcrn China undcr Manchus
and Mongols.
Yuan 1280–1368 Mongolian rulc.
Ming 1368–1643 Chincsc rulc rcstorcd.
Chicn Vcn
Ching Tai
Ticn Shun
.¡· .¡µ
Ch’ing 1644–1911 Manchurian rulc.
Chicn Lung
Chia Ch’ing
ol China
ol China
.¡· .¡µ
Cnav+vv XIV
7ei-To J’ usa
VciTo is an important Ðcva or God in thc Chincsc Panthcon as
his imagc is always prcscnt in all tcmplcs as thc ‘¡ntry Guardian’.
Hc is thc GcncralinChicl ol thc thirtytwo hcavcnly gcncrals
who comc undcr thc Four Hcavcnly Kings and has carncd such
titlcs as thc ‘Protcctor ol thc 8uddhist Faith’, thc ‘Protcctor ol
Monastcrics’ and thc ‘Protcctor ol Ðharma 8ooks’. !n all tcmplcs
whcrc his imagc is lound, hc is always placcd with his back to
thc statuc ol Maitrcya 8uddha (MiLo Fwo) so that hc laccs thc
Main or Grand Hall known as thc ‘Tai Hung Pao Ticn’ whcrc
thc main imagcs ol thc tcmplc arc installcd.
According to thc tcaching, VciTo was a son ol a hcavcnly king
who was so virtuous that whcn Sakyamuni 8uddha was cntcring
Nirvana, hc instructcd thc princc to guard thc 8uddhadharma.
Tus it bccamc his duty to protcct thc mcmbcrs ol thc Sangha
whcncvcr thcy arc disturbcd in thcir cultivation by thc rctinuc
ol Mara, thc Tcmptcr. And whcncvcr a conßict ariscs among
rcligious Òrdcrs, Gcncral Vcito will dischargc his duty to hclp
bring about a pcacclul scttlcmcnt. His Sanskrit namc is Skanda.
Quitc oltcn his imagcs arc also lound in small shrincs locatcd
at turning points ol roads so as to aßord protcction against cvil.
!t is vcry casy lor pcoplc to bc imprcsscd with his looks which
has a military bcaring. Hc is always portraycd as a young and
Wv: To
good looking man clad in lull armour and hcadgcar ol a gcn
cral, standing and lcaning upon an imprcssivc looking sword or
gnarlcd staß with both hands, or hc could bc holding a sccptrc
shapcd dclcnsivc wcapon.
Just as Maitrcya, who as a 8odhisattva, has carncd thc mark ol
rcspcct ol a 8uddha, VciTo, though only a Ðcva or God, is
vcry oltcn addrcsscd as a 8odhisattva or ‘VciTo P’usa’. Tis is
attributcd to thc prcdiction
that hc will in thc luturc
bccomc thc 8uddha Rucika
or ‘LouChi Fwo’, thc last
ol thc thousand 8uddhas
in our world pcriod.
Sincc \ajrapani, a vcry
popular Tibctan 8uddhist
8odhisattva who is thc
God ol Rain, and also
known as thc Tundcrbolt
8carcr, also sharcs this
prcdiction, onc thus nnds
VciTo bcing rclcrrcd to as
him. Howcvcr hc has not
gaincd sumcicnt lollowcrs
to bccomc a major Ðcity
in 8uddhism. His birthday
lalls on thc 3rd day ol thc
6th month which is hardly
cclcbratcd in a grand scalc. AN Ixacv ov Wv:-To
.¸a .¸¸
Cnav+vv XV
Ta-¸o Jodhidharma
Jartiarch of _en Juddhism
Ch’an 8uddhism, anothcr major school ol Chincsc Mahayana
8uddhism, camc about as a rcsult ol thc historical visit to China
by thc grcat !ndian sagc, 8odhidharma, who arrivcd at Can
ton in 520 ao. Chan is thc Chincsc cquivalcnt lor thc Sanskrit
word ‘Ðhyana’, mcaning mcditation. Ch’an 8uddhism thcrclorc
rcquircs its adhcrcnts to practisc strict and dccp mcditational
practiccs which cut oß intcllcctualism. Tis somctimcs lcads onc
to bclicvc that it is quitc similar to Purc Land practicc which
also docs away with intcllcctual knowlcdgc and tcachcs its lol
lowcrs to put thcir lull laith in thc 8uddha Amitabha lor salva
tion, although it is not, lor Ch’an 8uddhism is no ‘casypath’. !t
rcquircs scll powcr or cßort to rcach salvation and docs not rcly
on any 8uddha lor hclp to attain lull cnlightcnmcnt. Howcvcr,
both schools bccamc just as popular to thc Chincsc and thcn to
thc Japancsc by thc twclvcth ccntury. !n Japan it is known as
Zcn 8uddhism and thc two major schools arising lrom it bcing
that ol Rinzai (LinChi) and Soto (Tsaotung) which dißcr only
in thcir mcthods ol approach towards cnlightcnmcnt.
8odhidharma (ao 470–543) thc 28th Patriarch ol 8uddhism was
also thc 1st Patriarch ol thc Ch’an 8uddhism, thc school which
hc loundcd in China. His tcaching was handcd on in succcssion
.¸a .¸¸
by what is known as ‘mindtransmission’ to a numbcr ol Patri
archs, thc most lamous ol whom was Huincng (ao 637–713),
thc Sixth Patriarch.
Upon his arrival to China, 8odhidharma was summoncd to
court by ¡mpcror Vuti ol thc Liang Ðynasty, who was an
ardcnt 8uddhist and pridcd himscll on his grcat support lor thc
8uddhist rcligion. Proud ol his knowlcdgc in 8uddhism and thc
contributions hc had madc towards thc Sangha, hc askcd thc
sagc ‘how much mcrit hc had gaincd’.
“No mcrit whatsocvcr” was thc shocking rcply ol 8odhidharma.
Tc ¡mpcror had oltcn hcard tcachings lrom wcllknown
mastcrs who said, “Ðo good, and you will rcccivc good, do bad
and you will rcccivc bad. Tc Law ol Karma is unchangcablc,
cßccts lollow causcs as shadows lollow ngurcs” but now this sagc
dcclarcd that hc had carncd no mcrit at all. Tc ¡mpcror was
thoroughly pcrplcxcd.
Vhy did 8odhidharma rcply thc way hc did: Pcrhaps hc was
trying to say, in a lcw words, that il onc docs good with thc dcsirc
to gain mcrit lor oncscll, that is no longcr a 8uddhist practicc.
!t will mcan that onc is not rcally practising thc Ðharma but
morc towards satislying onc’s own cgo, or promoting onc’s own
wcllarc, or cvcn lor thc sakc ol bcing rccogniscd and apprcciatcd.
!n this casc how could thcrc bc any mcrit in such acts at all: And,
bcing a Zcn mastcr, words wcrc not to bc wastcd, so hc answcrcd,
“No mcrit whatsocvcr.”
Tc ¡mpcror, takcn aback, thcn askcd thc ncxt qucstion, “Vhat
thcn, is thc csscncc ol 8uddhism:”
8odhidharma’s immcdiatcd rcply was, “\ast cmptincss and no
csscncc at all!” Tis stunncd thc ¡mpcror as hc could not grasp
thc dccp mcaning ol ‘no csscncc at all’ in thc 8uddha’s tcach
ing. Òthcr mastcrs had takcn grcat pains to cxplain that thc cs
scncc was containcd in thc doctrincs such as ‘Causc and ¡ßcct,
thc Four Noblc Truths,thc 8odhisattva !dcals, ctc’, but this so
callcd grcat patriarch ol 8uddhism had just dcclarcd that thcrc
was ‘no csscncc at all’.
Tc ¡mpcror thcn put his nnal qucstion, “Sincc you say that
in 8uddhism all things havc no csscncc, who thcn is spcaking
bclorc mc now:” 8odhidharma rcplicd “! do not know.” Tc
¡mpcror was takcn aback, lor hc could not undcrstand what
8odhidharma mcant.
Tc thoroughly conluscd ¡mpcror thcn dismisscd thc sagc lrom
thc court and thus, China had its nrst tastc ol Ch’an tcaching.
Tcrcaltcr, 8odhidharma, lclt to himscll, rcßcctcd, ‘Sincc a
lcarncd and grcat scholar such as thc ¡mpcror was not ablc to
undcrstand what ! am trying to impart pcrhaps thc conditions
arc not ripc cnough lor mc to tcach yct….’ Hc thcn rctircd to a
cavc in thc lamous Shao Lin Tcmplc whcrc hc sat in dccp con
tcmplation, lacing a wall, lor somc ninc ycars, waiting lor thc
timc whcn his tcachings could bc undcrstood and acccptcd by
thc pcoplc.
Taxo — Boon:onavxa
.¸6 .¸,
8odhidharma camc to China to givc his spccial tcaching which
can bc said to bc containcd in this vcrsc:
“A spccial transmission outsidc thc Scripturcs,
No dcpcndcncc upon words or lcttcrs,
Ðircct pointing to thc mind ol man,
Sccing into onc’s own naturc.”
8odhidharma thcn livcd in China lor somc nlty ycars, tcaching
whcn thc occasion arosc and using thc Lankavatara scripturc
in his tcachings. Hc was succccdcd by Hui K’c (ao 486–593)
as thc sccond patriarch whilc Scng T’san (dicd 606), TaoHsin
(580–651), Hung Jcn (602–675) and Hui Ncng (638–713), bc
camc thc third, lourth, nlth and sixth patriarch rcspcctivcly. !t
was Hui Ncng, thc illitcratc woodcuttcr, who cvcntually madc
Ch’an ßourish in China as ncvcr bclorc.
!t may bc intcrcsting to rcmark hcrc that altcr 8odhidharma’s
dcparturc, ¡mpcror Vu discusscd thc incidcnt with his spir
itual tcachcr, Mastcr Chih, who askcd him, “Ðocs your majcsty
know who this man is:… Tis is thc Mahasattva Avalokitcsvara
transmitting thc 8uddha Mind Scal….”
Tis madc thc ¡mpcror nllcd with rcgrct lor having scnt him
out ol thc court. Ycars latcr, upon lcarning ol thc dcath ol thc
sagc, hc mourncd dccply and thcn wrotc an inscription to pay
his tributc to thc grcat Patriarch which rcad:
.¸6 .¸,
“Alas! ! saw him without sccing him,
! mct him without mccting him,
! cncountcrcd him without cncountcring him,
Now as bclorc ! rcgrct this dccply!”
8odhidharma has a largc lollowing ol dcvotcd lollowcrs and his
lcstivc day lalls on thc 5th day ol thc 10th lunar month ol thc
ycar. Hc is oltcn dcpictcd as a travclling monk, or in a mcditativc
posturc, or standing on top ol a rccd which carricd him across
a rivcr, a lcat which lcd pcoplc to havc laith in his powcr as an
Arhant or Lohan, thc Chincsc tcrm lor an !mmortal. According
to thc Chincsc tradition, 8odhidharma is onc ol thc lamous 18
immortals who has a grcat amnity with mankind. Tis group
ol Lohans arc gcncrally lound in many tcmplcs and thcy arc
rcprcscntcd as posscssing various kinds ol supcrnatural powcr,
symboliscd cithcr by thc wild animals crouching submissivcly
bcsidc thcm and/or thc spccial objccts that arc associatcd with
thcm. Although thc Lohans arc a stcp bclow thc rank ol a
8odhisattva, thcy arc ¡nlightcncd 8cings who dcscrvc our
rcvcrcncc. 8odhidharma or Ta Mo is vcncratcd lor bcing thc
loundcr ol thc Grcat Contcmplativc School ol Ch’an or Zcn by
thc 8uddhists, and othcrs, lor his protcctivc powcrs or as thc
grcat Sagc ol Shaolin Tcmplc.
.¸· .¸µ
Cnav+vv XVI
Tibetan Juddhism
Tc third vchiclc ol 8uddhism is \ajrayana, oltcn known as Lama
ism, which originatcd in Tibct in thc cighth ccntury and gradually
sprcad to its ncighbouring countrics. \ajrayana is part ol Maha
yana 8uddhism, an oßshoot, dcvclopcd out ol Mahayana philoso
phy which is also rcgardcd as Tantric or ¡sotcric 8uddhism. To
practisc it, onc must havc thc skillul guidancc ol an accomplishcd
Lama bccausc its cmphasis is mainly on ritualistic ccrcmonial ac
tions and practiccs which involvc thc body, spccch and mind, thc
body bcing valucd as thc propcr vchiclc lor salvation.
Tis bricl account is mcant as a gcncral introduction to thc Tird
\chiclc or ‘Yana’, which, togcthcr with thc Hinayana and thc
Mahayana, makc up thc Trcc Yanas ol 8uddhism. 8cginncrs
to 8uddhism arc adviscd to havc a thorough knowlcdgc on thc
tcachings ol thc 8uddha as containcd in thc Hinayana bclorc
moving into Mahayana practiccs. Ònly whcn thcir lounda
tions arc strong cnough and thcy havc gaincd sumcicnt wisdom
should thcy considcr cntcring thc \ajrayana. !t may bc a vchiclc
that promiscs cnlightcnmcnt within a singlclilctimc and many
arc thcrclorc likcly to bc attractcd to it. Howcvcr, it must bc
strcsscd that thc slow and gradual paths ol thc Hinayana and
thc Mahayana should bc prclcrrcd as thcy, havc lcsscr pitlalls
and arc thcrclorc much morc suitablc lor thc avcragc pcrson.
.¸· .¸µ
Tc training in \ajrayana must always bc carricd out undcr thc
dircction ol a tcachcr sincc it cntails a varicty ol complicatcd
ritual practiccs. Sincc such practiccs arc ncvcr writtcn in lull, it
is not advisablc lor anyonc to practisc thcm by rclying mainly on
writtcn tcxts. \ajrayana tcachcs that cvcry 8uddha or 8odhi
sattva is associatcd with a particular mantra or mudra, which
whcn rccitcd or pcrlormcd corrcctly, can link onc with thc dcity
in qucstion and partakc its transccndcntal powcrs. ‘A mantra
consists ol a numbcr ol syllablcs which whcn translatcd litcrally,
may bc quitc mcaninglcss but it can bc cxtrcmcly cßcctivc whcn
pronounccd by onc who has undcrgonc thc propcr training and
disciplinc and is lamiliar with its opcrations. A mantra, whcn
uttcrcd corrcctly, can havc thc powcr to drivc oß cvil spirits
or thwart thc actions ol black magic scnt by cncmics. !t must
bc warncd that mantras should not bc lcarncd lrom books or
lrccly uscd. Howcvcr thcrc arc a numbcr ol univcrsal mantras
which may bc rccitcd by anyonc and Avalokitcsvara’s mantra,
“Ox MaN: Paoxv Hux”, is onc ol thcm. Tis grcat mantra ol
compassion, whcn rccitcd by onc who is purc in mind, can bring
about bcncncial cßccts to oncscll and othcrs.
Quru Jadmasambha+a
Tc loundcr ol Tibctan 8uddhism or Lamaism is Guru Padma
sambhava, oltcn cndcaringly addrcsscd by his dcvotccs as ‘Guru
Rinpochc’ or thc ‘Prccious Guru’. Hc is undoubtcdly a histori
cal ngurc but sincc his lilc is so cntwincd with many lantastic
lcgcnds which displaycd supcrnatural powcrs, modcrn mcn, savc
.6c .6.
Tibctans, arc likcly to nnd it dimcult to bclicvc. Howcvcr, two
basic tcstamcnts which provcd his cxistcncc arc:
1. Tc lamous Samyc Monastcry which was built undcr his
2. \ajrayana or Tibctan 8uddhism with all its body ol tcaching,
lcarning and rcalisations which arc so rich and prolound that
it is still convcrting and lilting thc spiritual livcs ol not only
Tibctans but pcoplc all ovcr thc world.
Tc Prccious Guru has so carncd thc lovc and vcncration ol thc
Tibctans that thcy callcd him thc ‘csscncc ol all thc 8uddhas ol
thc past, prcscnt and luturc, thc Mantraholdcr’, and a host ol
honorinc titlcs. His miraculous birth on thc pollcn bcd ol a lotus
causcd by thc ray ol light cmanating lrom thc 8uddha Amita
bha has causcd \ajrayanists to call him thc ‘Lotusborn Guru’.
History and lcgcnd has it that hc was discovcrcd and adoptcd
by thc King ol Uddiyana ol northwcst !ndia. Vhcn hc was old
cnough, thc king rctircd and handcd his thronc ovcr to him. 8ut
Padmasambhava had no dcsirc to bc a king, and likc Gautama
8uddha somc twclvc ccnturics carlicr, thc lotusborn youth
tradcd his princcly robcs lor an ascctic’s rags. Hc conccntratcd
lully on Tantric 8uddhism, mastcring all thc sccrct doctrincs
and mystcrious powcrs associatcd with that aspcct.
So bcgins thc lcgcnd ol Padmasambhava, thc Grcat Tantric
Mastcr, thc cmincnt !ndian Guru who sprcad thc tcachings ol
thc 8uddha in thc Himalayan lands rilc with worship ol spirits
.6c .6.
and dcmons which rcquircd sacrinccs ol animals and human
bcings and othcr disgusting practiccs. History has it that whcn
Santaraksita, thc lamcd Abbot ol Nalanda Monastcry, was
invitcd by King TrisonÐctsun to tcach thc Ðoctrinc to thc
Tibctans, hc mct considcrablc opposition lrom thc spirits and
pricsts ol thc local laith, thc primitivc 8on cult. !n angcr, thc
8on spirits causcd grcat dcstructions through ßood and laminc
across thc land so that Santaraksita had no choicc but to ask thc
king to scnd lor Guru Padmasambhava, who was thcn rcsiding
in Ncpal, to takc ovcr thc task ol convcrsion ol thcsc vcry stub
born and powcrlul opposing lorccs. Tus thc grcat guru arrivcd
in Tibct in thc ycar 747.
!n Tibct Padmasambhava livcd up to his lamc as a dcmon
tamcr, subduing thc dcnant spirits and sparing only thosc who
acccptcd thc 8uddhist laith and agrccd to bccomc its dclcndcrs.
As a rcward, hc includcd thcm into thc Mahayana Panthcon so
that thcy would bc propcrly worshippcd. 8lcnding nativc bclicls
with ccrtain clcmcnts ol Tantrism, hc dcvclopcd a ncw kind ol
8uddhism which is known to thc world as Lamaism. Padmasam
bhava thus bccamc thc Prccious Guru ol all thc lamas and is
rcgardcd as highly as thc 8uddha himscll. Tc Nimmapa or
‘RcdHat’ scct rcgards him as thcir loundcr and worships him
in various lorms, both gcntlc and ncrcc, cxprcssivc ol his dil
lcrcnt moods at dißcrcnt timcs. Trough his cßorts thc lamous
Samyc Monastcry ncar Lhasa was built and it bccamc thc ccntrc
ol 8uddhist studics in Tibct. Santaraksita was appointcd as its
nrst abbot.
Guvu Paoxasaxnnava
!n all, Padmasambhava staycd lor cightccn ycars in Tibct, bc
twccn 747 a.o. to 765 a.o., although somc sourccs claimcd that
hc was thcrc lor nlty ycars. Hc thcn disappcarcd mystcriously
causing scvcral spcculations as to his whcrcabouts. Tosc ol thc
Nimma Lincagc bclicvc that to this day, Guru Padmasambhava
still comc to visit and blcss his dcvotccs on thc 10th day ol cvcry
lunar month.
Tc Lotusborn Guru is thc cmbodimcnt ol thc cntirc lincagc ol
Tcaching, both cxotcric and csotcric, which has bccn transmit
tcd by words, mudras and tclcpathy through 2,500 ycars. Hc is
oltcn dcpictcd scatcd on a rcd lotus thronc upon a whitc moon
mat with lcgs lockcd in a vajra position. Hc wcars thc thrcc royal
robcs ol thc Trcc Yanas — Hinayana, Mahayana and \ajrayana.
His right hand carrics thc goldcn \ajra (diamondcuttcr) whilc
his lclt, lying on his lap, thc Patra or ‘bcgging bowl which is
nllcd with thc Ncctar ol !mmortality. Clampcd to his lclt sidc
is his spccial symbol, thc Khatvarga, a thrccprongcd ßaming
staß which has thrcc human hcads attachcd to it, symbolic ol
impcrmanancc and othcr dccpcr mcanings. Tc \ajra, pcculiar
to \ajrayana, is uscd by Guru Rinpochc to cast spclls or cxorcisc
dcvils. Òn his hcad is a lotus cap adorncd with sun and moon
and surmountcd by a lcathcr lrom a vulturc’s wing. Tis mastcr
ol all yogas oltcn wcars a strangc smilc, compassionatc but with
a hint ol wrathlulncss. !l you arc rcady to acccpt him as your
guru somc day, hc may takc your mundanc cgo and hang it on
his ßaming staß. !n rcturn hc will givc you all thc knowlcdgc ol
thc univcrsc and givc you a drink ol thc Ncctar to makc you lor
gct pain and dissatislaction lorcvcr, his \ajra wisdom will also
.6¡ .6¸
protcct and guidc you so that you will ncvcr know lcar again.
Sincc hc is thc guru who is powcrlul cnough to brcak thc dark
spcll which has kcpt you in thc slccp ol ignorancc sincc count
lcss lilctimcs, why not scck his blcssings lor thc awakcning: You
can casily dcvclop a karmic link with him with thc daily rccita
tion ol this mantra:
“Ox An Hux Vajva Guvu Paoxa S:oon: Hux”.
Tc purposc ol including this chaptcr in thc book is to prcparc
thc minds ol thosc who arc lortunatc cnough to comc across \a
jrayana tcachings in thc ncar luturc \ajrayana, or MiTsung Jiao,
is not ncw to thc Chincsc lor its tcachings havc bccn in China
lor almost a thousand ycars and bccausc ol its csotcric naturc ol
practicc vcry lcw pcoplc wcrc ablc to comc across it. Howcvcr,
this sccms to bc thc pcriod ol thc \ajrayana tcachings as a grcat
numbcr ol cncrgctic and highly qualincd Lamas arc currcntly
ccasclcssly sprcading thc Ðharma across thc world.
.6¡ .6¸
Cnav+vv XVII
7hat The Juddha Taught
Ðharma is thc word 8uddhists usc, in gcncral, to dcscribc thc
tcachings ol thc 8uddha. !t points to thc Truth and is ncithcr
an ordinary philosophy nor an ordinary systcm, it is a moral
and philosophical tcaching that can bc tcstcd and vcrincd by
pcrsonal cxpcricncc. All arc wclcomc to cxpcricncc it and thosc
who havc not can hardly call thcmsclvcs 8uddhists.
Ðharma rcalisation is cxtrcmcly important as it lcads to ultimatc
happincss. Ðharma is a Sanskrit tcrm which litcrally mcans ‘that
which holds’, so that thosc who cxcrt grcat cßort to achicvc its
rcalisation will bc lrccd lrom sußcrings, lcars, dangcrs and dclu
sion. Hcrc arc somc ol thc kcy tcachings ol thc 8uddha which
all 8uddhists must havc a clcar undcrstanding ol othcrwisc
8uddhism will not bc vcry mcaninglul to thcm and thcy may
lall prcy to supcrstitious bclicls and practiccs.
The /our ¸ob/e Truths
Altcr attaining cnlightcnmcnt, thc 8uddha madc His way to thc
Ðccr Park in !sipatana ncar 8cnarcs and thcrc Hc gavc His nrst
discoursc to His nrst nvc disciplcs which is known as “Tc Ðis
coursc ol thc Sctting in Motion ol thc Vhccl ol thc Ðoctrinc”.
.66 .6,
Hc dcclarcd that thosc who wish to lcad a purc lilc should
avoid thc two cxtrcmcs ol scllindulgcncc and scllmortincation.
Scllindulgcncc is thc constant attachmcnt to scnsual plcasurcs
which thc 8uddha dcscribcd as “low, vulgar, ignoblc, harmlul
and prontlcss”, which surcly rctards onc’s spiritual progrcss. Scll
mortincation or sclltorturc ol thc body lor thc sakc ol rcligious
bclicl, which is not usually practiscd by thc ordinary pcrson, is
“painlul, ignoblc, harmlul and prontlcss”, which wcakcns onc’s
Tc 8uddha himscll had gonc through both thcsc cxtrcmcs in
His scarch lor cnlightcnmcnt and said that “Hc (thc Tathagata)
rcalising thc crror ol both thcsc two cxtrcmcs, lollowcd a middlc
way.” Hc thcrclorc askcd His lollowcrs to takc thc Middlc Vay
which opcns thc cycs and bcstows undcrstanding, which lcads to
pcacc ol mind, to highcr wisdom, and to lull cnlightcnmcnt.
Tc 8uddha thcn cxpoundcd thc Four Noblc Truths:
1. Lilc is subjcct to all kinds ol Sußcring (Ðukkha).
2. Tis Sußcring is causcd by !gnorancc which rcsults
in Ðcsirc.
3. Tis Sußcring can bc climinatcd by thc climination
ol Ðcsirc.
4. Tc Vay to climinatc Ðcsirc and attachmcnt.
Tc 8uddha discovcrcd thcsc truths and rcvcalcd thcm to thc ig
norant world. Vc can, thcrclorc, put an cnd to sorrow by adopt
ing thc Middlc Vay which, to all 8uddhists, is thc philosophy
.66 .6,
ol lilc itscll. Tis Middlc Vay ol scllconqucst which lcads to
a complctc ccssation ol sußcring and sorrow, which is Nirvana,
thc ultimatc goal ol 8uddhists is known as thc Noblc ¡ightlold
Path, which consists ol:
1. Right Undcrstanding
2. Right Tought
3. Right Spccch
4. Right Action
5. Right Livclihood
6. Right ¡ßort
7. Right Mindlulncss
8. Right Conccntration
Undcrstanding thc mcaning ol thc Four Noblc Truths is csscn
tial to cultivation othcrwisc thc csscncc ol thc 8uddha’s tcaching
will bc lost.
Tc First Noblc Truth ol Sußcring rcvcals to us that cvcryonc
is subjcct to birth, conscqucntly dccay, thcn discasc and nnally
dcath. No onc is cxcmptcd lrom thcsc lour causcs ol sußcring.
8irth is sußcring, dccay is sußcring, discasc is sußcring, dcath is
sußcring, to bc associatcd with things or pcrsons onc dctcsts is
sußcring, to bc scparatcd lron thc plcasant is sußcring and not
to gct what onc dcsircs is also sußcring.
8uddhism may put much cmphasis on thc undcr standing ol
sußcring but it docs not lollow that it is a pcssimistic rcligion.
!t is ncithcr totally pcssimistic nor totally optimistic, it tcachcs
.6· .6µ
a truth that lics bctwccn thcm, it tcachcs onc to scc things as
thcy arc. Vhilst cmphasizing thc truth ol sußcring, thc 8uddha
shows us thc way to gct rid ol our sußcring and gain thc highcst
Tc Sccond Truth ol thc Causc ol Sußcring rcvcals to us that it is
craving which produccs rcbirth which is accompanicd by passion
atc clinging, dcsiring lor this and that in lilc. !t is thc craving lor
scnsual plcasurcs lor wcalth, lor lamc and matcrialistic posscssions
ol lilc that arc thc causcs ol thc grcat dissatislaction with lilc.
Tc Ðhammapada statcs:
‘From craving springs gricl,
lrom craving springs lcar,
For him who is wholly lrcc
lrom craving, thcrc is no
gricl, whcncc lcar:’
!t is this gross and subtlc craving that lcads to rcpcatcd births in
Samsara and that which makcs onc cling to all lorms ol lilc.
Tc Tird Noblc Truth ol thc Ccssation ol Sußcring is thc com
plctc scparation lrom, and thc dcstruction ol, this vcry craving
which is a statc ol absolutc quictudc, thc 8liss Suprcmc, Nirvana,
whcrcin all thc sußcrings in human lilc arc cxtinguishcd.
Tc Fourth Truth ol thc Path lcading to thc Ccssation ol Sußcring
is thc Noblc ¡ightlold Path, thc goldcn mcans ol thc 8uddha.
Tc Four Noblc Truths tcach us to lacc thc rcality ol human sul
lcring, which is, thc Truth ol Sußcring, to grasp its rcal causc,
.6· .6µ
which is thc Truth ol Causc, to practisc at all timcs thc 8odhi
sattva Vay, which is thc Truth ol thc Truth ol thc Causc, thcrcby
cxtinguishing all kinds ol sußcrings — thc Truth ol ¡xtinction.
For thosc who sought to bc Sravakas thc 8uddha taught thc Law
ol thc Four Noblc Truths lor thc ovcrcoming ol birth, old agc,
discasc and dcath, and nnally lcading to Nirvana. A Sravaka is
onc who listcncd to thc prcaching ol thc 8uddha and whosc goal
is to bccomc an Arahant.
For thosc who sought to bc Prctyckabuddhas, thc 8uddha
prcachcd thc Law ol thc Twclvc Causcs or Ðcpcndcnt Òrigina
tions. A Pratyckabuddha is onc who is scllcnlightcncd, and hav
ing donc so, docs not givc tcaching to othcrs.
For thc 8odhisattvas thc 8uddha prcachcd thc Six Paramitas or
Pcrlcctions, to causc thcm to attain Pcrlcct ¡nlightcnmcnt and to
attain Visdom. A 8odhisattva is onc wishing to livc lor thc bcnc
nt ol all living bcings and thcrclorc strivcs lor 8uddhahood so
that upon attainmcnt, will assist othcrs towards thc samc goal.
The ¸ob/e 8ightfo/d Jath
Tis Path that lcads to thc ccssation ol sorrow may bc cxplaincd
R:cn+ UNovvs+aNo:Nc mcans thc knowlcdgc ol thc Four Noblc
Truths so that onc is ablc to undcrstand things as thcy rcally arc.
.,c .,.
R:cn+ Tnoucn+ mcans dcvcloping thc noblc qualitics ol lovc
and thc avcrsion to causc hurt to othcrs.
R:cn+ Svvvcn is to abstain lrom lying, idlctalk, slandcr and
harsh words.
R:cn+ Ac+:oN is to abstain lrom taking lilc, taking what is not
givcn, and scxual misconduct.
R:cn+ I:vvi:nooo is to avoid any occupation that causcs harm
to othcrs such as sclling intoxicants ol any kind, arms, poison
and wcapons, butchcring, slavctramcking, hunting, nshing and
R:cn+ Ivvov+ rcquircs assiduous sclldisciplinc to attain lull
control ol thc mind so that cvil mcntal statcs arc rcjcctcd and
wholcsomc mcntal statcs dcvclopcd.
R:cn+ M:NovuiNvss mcans dcvcloping lull awarcncss ol all
actions ol thc body, spccch and mind and to allow nothing to
happcn hccdlcssly or mcchanically that may turn into an un
wholcsomc act.
R:cn+ CoNcvN+va+:oN is to attain mcntal quictudc and
thc wisdom to rcalisc thc lull signincancc ol thc Four Noblc
Hc who acccpts this noblc Path as his way ol lilc will havc his
mind lrcc lrom sclnsh dcsircs, hatrcd and cruclty and will bc
saturatcd with thc spirit ol sclßcssncss, lovingkindncss and
harmlcssncss. Hc will bc a blcssing to himscll and othcrs lor hc
will livc his lilc in pcrlcct pcacc.
.,c .,.
The ¿a. of the T.e/+e [auses
Tis Law is also known as thc Law ol Ðcpcndcnt Òrigination
or thc Vhccl ol Lilc (PaticcaSamuppada) and is a discoursc on
thc proccss ol birth and dcath, and not a philosophical thcory ol
thc cvolution ol thc world. !t dcals with thc causc ol rcbirth and
sußcring with thc vicw ol hclping mankind to gct rid ol thcir
ills ol lilc. !t is not an attcmpt to solvc thc riddlc ol an absolutc
origin ol lilc. !t mcrcly cxplains thc ‘simplc happcning ol a statc,
dcpcndcnt on its antcccdcnt statc’.
!gnorancc ol thc truth ol sußcring, its causc, its cnd, and thc way
to its cnd, is thc main causc that scts thc Vhccl ol Lilc in mo
tion. Tc 8uddha said: “!gnorancc is thc dccp dclusion whcrcin
wc hcrc so long arc circling round’.
Vhcn ignorancc is dcstroycd and turncd into wisdom, all causal
ity is shattcrcd as in thc casc ol thc 8uddhas and thc Arahants.
Tis Law was prcachcd cspccially lor thc bcncnt ol thosc who
wish to attain Pratyckabuddhahood. 8y contcmplating on it, thcy
will comc to an undcrstanding ol thc birth and dcath ol all things
which rcsults in thc arising ol thcir grcat inhcrcnt wisdom.
Tc Twclvc Causcs and thcir intcrdcpcndcnt rclationship arc as
IcNovaNcv causcs Ac+:oN (Karma)
Ac+:oN causcs CoNsc:ousNvss
CoNsc:ousNvss causcs Naxv and Iovx (!ndividuality)
Naxv and Iovx causcs thc S:x IN+vaNcvs (Six sphcrcs ol Scnsc)
Tc S:x IN+vaNcvs causcs CoN+ac+
.,a .,¸
CoN+ac+ causcs Ivvi:Nc
Ivvi:Nc causcs Cvav:Nc (Lovc)
Cvav:Nc causcs Gvasv:Nc (Attachmcnt)
Gvasv:Nc causcs Ix:s+vNcv
Ix:s+vNcv causcs B:v+n, and
B:v+n causcs Oio Acv and Ðva+n.
Tcsc Twclvc Causcs ol Ðcpcndcnt Òrigination whcn prcscntcd
in thc rcvcrsc ordcr, may pcrhaps cxplain itscll in a much clcarcr
manncr, thcrclorc:
Acv:Nc and Ðv:Nc arc causcd by B:v+n, lor without it thcrc
would bc no dcath.
Tc ncxt qucstions that lollows thcn is, “How docs 8irth
B:v+n is causcd by Ix:s+vNcv.
Ix:s+vNcv in turn is causcd by Gvasv:Nc or A++acnxvN+.
Gvasv:Nc is causcd by Cvav:Nc.
Cvav:Nc is causcd by Ivvi:Nc or SvNsa+:oN.
Ivvi:Nc is causcd by CoN+ac+.
CoN+ac+ is causcd by thc S:x IN+vaNcvs or thc Six Scnsc
Tc S:x IN+vaNcvs arc causcd by Naxv and Iovx or Mind
and 8ody.
Naxv and Iovx arc causcd by CoNsc:ousNvss.
CoNsc:ousNvss is causcd by Ac+:oN or Karma (Conditioning
Ac+:oN is causcd by IcNovaNcv.
.,a .,¸
IcNovaNcv is thcrclorc thc ultimatc link in thc chain, thc sourcc
lrom which our pain and sußcring arisc. Òncc !gnorancc is dc
stroycd by thc gaining ol Visdom and !nsight, thcn thc wholc
Ðcpcndcnt Òrigination will collapsc.
Pictorial rcprcscntation ol thcsc Twclvc Causcs and Conditions
can bcst bc sccn lrom thc Tibctan Vhccl ol Lilc. At thc rim
ol thc Vhccl arc thc twclvc symbolic illustrations, cach rcprc
scnting onc ol thc links ol thc Twclvclold Chain ol Causation
whcrcby scnticnt bcings arc cnsnarcd lilc altcr lilc. !t can bc cx
plaincd thus:
1. A Bi:No MaN as primordial IcNovaNcv.
2. A Po++vv as Ac+:v:+v which brings about Karmic
3. AN Ac+:vv MoNxvv as CoNsc:ousNvss.
4. Two MvN :N a Boa+ as Naxv and Iovx.
5. Housvs W:+n S:x W:Noows as S:x IN+vaNcvs
6. Iovv-Max:Nc as CoN+ac+
7. Avvow IN Tnv Ivv as Ivvi:Nc.
8. Ðv:Nx:Nc as Tn:vs+ or Cvav:Nc.
9. A MoNxvv Gvasv:Nc Ivu:+s as Gvasv:Nc.
10. A PvvcNaN+ WoxaN as Bvcox:Nc or Ix:s+vNcv.
11. Cn:ion:v+n As B:v+n.
12. MaN Cavvv:Nc A Covvsv rcprcscnting Ðvcav which
rcsults in Ðva+n to bc lollowcd by rounds ol birth and
dcath cndlcssly within thc Samsaric cxistcnccs.
Tnv Wnvvi ov I:vv snow:Nc +nv Twvivv causvs ov
ÐvvvNovN+ Ov:c:Na+:oN
Tis Vhccl ol Lilc is an uniquc and supcrb rcprcscntation ol
Samsara, thc world ol 8irth and Ðcath, in it all kinds ol living
bcings cxist and arc classincd into six typcs. Samsara is hcld
bctwccn thc jaws ol thc King ol Ðcmons, Mara, who attcmpts
to rulc thc mind ol mankind and holding thcm in a statc ol
Vithin thc spokcs ol thc Vhccl thc Six Rcalms or Karmic
Ðcstinations, which is known as Cyclic ¡xistcncc, can bc sccn.
Cyclic cxistcncc is bcgininglcss which mcans that cach bcing
has livcd countlcss lilctimcs and as such thcrc is no bcing who
has not bccn his mothcr or lathcr at onc cxistcncc or anothcr.
8uddhism thcrclorc tcachcs that cvcry bcing is in lact a kind
mothcr bcing who has, in thc past, shown grcat lovc, kindncss
and protcction to cach onc ol us and that wc should in turn bc
rcady to rcpay thcm with similar acts ol kindlincss. Tis is a vcry
important aspcct ol 8uddhist practicc that will hclp onc to dc
vclop compassion and thc mind ol cnlightcnmcnt.
The _ix _ea/ms of 8xistence
Tc Rcalm ol thc Ðcvas or Gods is thc happicst statc as thosc
who dwcll thcrc cnjoy continual plcasurc and scnsual dclight,
mitigatcd only by thc lact that thcy too must cvcntually dic and
pass on to thc othcr statcs oncc thcir karmic lorccs dic out. 8irth
into this rcalm is mainly duc to onc having livcd virtuously and
gcncrously towards othcrs.
.,6 .,,
Tc Rcalm ol thc Asuras is populatcd by ‘ jcalous gods’ or Ðcmi
gods’ who should bc as happy as thc Ðcvas, but thcir minds
arc cloudcd with angcr and cnvy ovcr thc bcttcr lortuncs ol thc
Ðcvas. A closc look at thc picturc will rcvcal that thcrc is a trcc
growing lrom this rcalm to that ol thc Ðcvas. Tis is a ‘wish
lulnlling trcc’ whosc lruits and ßowcrs can lulnll cvcry dcsirc
which thcy arc unablc to gct hold ol. Tis causcs thcm grcat lrus
tration, angcr and jcalousy and thcy thcrclorc constantly wagc
wars against thc gods to claim thc lruits ol thcir trcc. Howcvcr
thcy arc always dclcatcd bccausc thc gods arc lar morc powcrlul
duc to thcir karmic lcgacy. Ðcspitc bcing a hcavcnly rcalm thc
Asuras livc in grcat sußcring duc to thc dclusion ol angcr and
jcalousy. Tc sußcring is lurthcr incrcascd by thcir bcing born
with monstrous looks whilc thcir womcn arc cxquisitivcly bcau
tilul. Tis situation causcs thcir lcmalcs to ycarn lor thc lovc ol
thc handsomc gods and rcjccting thcir own advanccs. Lilc in this
rcalm is always nllcd with quarrcls, nghting and grcat violcncc.
Tc Human Rcalm is whcrc wc arc. !t is nllcd with thc ups and
downs ol lilc and wc should bc gratclul lor thcsc conditions to bc
around. Tcy bring about thc awarcncss ol thc bliss ol happincss
and thc miscry ol sußcring and thcrclorc bccomc thc vcry causcs
that lcad to spiritual practicc. !t is thcrclorc thc most lortunatc
rcalm to takc rcbirth into, thc world whcrc onc is ablc to listcn to
thc Ðharma and practisc it to attain 8uddhahood. !n thc hcav
cnly rcalm thc Gods arc lar too happily cngrosscd with thcir
plcasurcs to bothcr about lurthcr cultivation whilc thc Asuras
arc too much aßcctcd by angcr, jcalousy and dissatislactions ol
thcir cxistcncc. Tosc who arc born into thc lowcr or sußcring
.,6 .,,
rcalms arc too conccrncd with thcir pains and survival to think
about spiritual practicc or cnlightcnmcnt. Hcll bcings only await
thc cxhaustion ol thcir karma to cnd thcir indcscribablc sußcr
ings whilc thc Ghosts or Prctas arc totally distortcd by thc dccp
lrustrations to satisly thcir unsatisncd passions. Animals, whilc
sußcring lcss, arc born stupid duc to thc rcsult ol thcir willlul
ignorancc and arc thcrclorc unablc to dcrivc any bcncnt lrom
Ðharma. Tcy livc only by instinct and must lacc a daily rcality
ol scarching lor lood or matc, and killing or bc killcd.
Ònc’s lilc thus movc in cndlcss cyclcs within thcsc Six Rcalms
ol Gods, Asuras, Human 8cings, Animals, Hungry Ghosts and
Hcll 8cings so long as !gnorancc is not uprootcd and ¡nlightcn
mcnt gaincd.
!n thc ccntrc ol thc Vhccl is sccn thc Trcc Animals which rcp
rcscnt thc Trcc Poisons or Root Causcs ol an uncnlightcncd cx
istcncc. Tc Roostcr rcprcscnts passionatc dcsirc and attachmcnt,
thc Grccn Snakc rcprcscnts hatrcd, cmity and avcrsion, and thc
8oar rcprcscnts thc darkncss ol ignorancc and cgodclusion, thc
blind urgc that drivcs bcings round and round in thc uncnd
ing circlc ol births and dcaths. Tcy arc dcpictcd as biting cach
othcr’s tails, linking in such a way that thcy too lorm a circlc bc
causc Grccd, Angcr and Ðclusion condition cach othcr and arc
inscparably conncctcd. Vc must lcarn to rccognisc thcsc poisons
as thc lorccs that control our quality ol lilc and takc propcr stcps
to qucll and rcmovc thcm. How wc pcrlorm in cach lilc is dc
pcndcnt on thcsc root causcs, thc rcsult ol which is quitc clcarly
dcpictcd by thc ngurcs ol thc outcr rim ol this hub — \irtuous
living that will lcad to 8uddhahood whilc a nonvirtuous lilc
will causc onc to bc draggcd into thc hcll statc.
Tc abovc cxplanation ol thc Vhccl ol Lilc hclps us to undcr
stand clcarly that our cxistcncc and sußcrings arc thc rcsult ol thc
Twclvc Causcs and Conditions (which arc without bcginning) ol
birth, dcath and rcbirth. Anyonc wishing to bc lrccd lrom Sam
saric cxistcnccs should thcrclorc takc grcat pains to comprchcnd
it so that with thc rcalisation ol thc mislortuncs ol !gnorancc,
cßorts will bc cxpandcd to lrcc oncscll lrom thc cndlcss scrics
ol rcbirths. Tc Vay to total lrccdom is through undcrstanding
and practising thc 8uddha Ðharma and this is dcpictcd by thc
ngurcs ol thc 8uddhas outsidc thc Vhccl ol Lilc, who through
attaining ¡nlightcnmcnt havc lrccd thcmsclvcs lrom thc grips
ol Mara.
Karma — The ¿a. of [ause and 8f fect
¡vcrywhcrc wc turn in thc world miscry is all around us. Yct
havc wc cvcr stoppcd to considcr thc mcaning ol such pain
and miscry: Vhy should thcrc bc so many who arc born sick,
lamc, dclormcd, ugly, blind, dcal and mcntally dclcctivc:
Somc rcligions tcach that it is thc will ol thc Crcator who
inßicts thcsc pains on mankind bccausc ol thc sins ol thcir
lorbcars. Surcly this idca is much too primitivc lor any scrious
considcration as no CrcatorGod, who is mcrcilul and just,
would want to scnsclcssly inßict pain on thc innoccnt who arc
but his crcation!
Tnv Wnvvi ov I:vv
.·c .·.
8uddhism providcs thc answcr to this grcat mystcry ol incquali
tics and impcrlcctions ol mankind. Tc 8uddha taught that ‘all
things spring lrom a causc’ and hc clcarly laid down thc naturc
ol good and bad Karma. Rcduccd to its most clcmcntary mcan
ing, Karma is action, it rclcrs to thc lruits ol actions as wcll as
thc cßccts ol causcs and so on. !l thcrc is a causc, an cßcct is
incvitablc, whcrc thcrc is an cßcct, thcrc must bc a causc. Tus it
is quitc casy to undcrstand that ‘what happcns today is thc rcsult
ol ycstcrday and thc causc ol tomorrow’. Tis rcasoning springs
lrom what thc 8uddha has said:
“!l you wish to know thc past, thcn look at thc prcscnt
which is thc rcsult ol it.
“!l you wish to know thc luturc, thcn look at thc prcscnt
which is thc causc ol it.”
Tc abovc tcaching dcscribcs thc oncncss ol causc and cßcct and
also cxplains thc incqualitics ol birth which arc but thc cßccts ol
causcs gcncratcd in past livcs. Undcrstanding this Law will hclp
us to put to a stop all thc cvil actions ol our body, spccch and
mind — thc thrcc karmic vchiclcs. Tc thrcc cvils committcd by
thc body arc killing, stcaling and adultcry. Tc thrcc cvils ol thc
mind arc grccd, angcr and dclusion and thc cvil dccds that arc
committcd by thc mouth arc vulgar spccch, lalsc spccch, harsh
spccch and duplicity.
Trough such unwholcsomc actions ol our body spccch and
mind wc gcncratc bad Karma which, whcn it ripcns, will causc
us to lall into statcs ol miscry cithcr in this world or anothcr. !t
.·c .·.
is by not knowing this Law that wc havc bccn wandcring so long
in Samsara:
“8y Karma thc world movcs, by Karma mcn livc, and by
Karma arc bcings bound, as by its pin thc rolling chariot
whccl. 8y Karma onc attains glory and praisc, by Karma
bondagc, ruin and tyranny. Knowing that Karma bcars
lruit manilold, why say yc, ‘!n thc world no Karma is:’”
Tc 8uddha has oltcn cxplaincd thc tcrriblc latc that awaits
thosc who transgrcss thc moral laws. !l wc wish to bc lrccd lrom
thc morc cxtrcmc lorms ol sußcring in thc ncxt lilc, wc must do
our bcst to curb our scnscs, to put a rcin on thc appctitcs, to rc
strain grccd, angcr, lust, violcncc and all othcr ncgativitics. Vc
should always rcmcmbcr that cvcrything has to bc rcpaid lor in
somc way or anothcr, at onc timc or anothcr. Vc thcrclorc can
not havc thc bcst ol both worlds by indulging in all thc dclights
ol thc scnscs and passions now, and lctting thcm lcad us into un
wholcsomc ways, and also hopc to cxpcricncc happincss in thc
luturc lilc. Karma is allpcrvading, onc acts oncscll and rcaps
thc rcsult oncscll, tying oncscll and binding oncscll. Tcrc is no
cscapc lrom it. Tosc who arc ablc to pcnctratc this truth will
not lcar it but will lcarn how to makc usc ol it by living a morc
mcaninglul and lruitlul lilc. Tcn thcy will no longcr ask this
univcrsal qucstion whcncvcr thcy arc in dcspair: “Vhat havc !
donc to dcscrvc this:” Tis answcr is always, “Plcnty!”
For a morc vivid dcscription ol this Law ol Causc and ¡ßcct
rclcr to thc Kavxa Su+va which has hclpcd to cnrich thc livcs
.·a .·¸
ol many a Chincsc 8uddhist. May it also changc your vicw and
quality ol lilc.
The _ix Jaramitas
Tis doctrinc tcachcs thc practicc ol thc Pcrlcction ol thc Six
\irtucs that will lcrry onc bcyond thc sca ol immortality to
Nirvana. Tcy consist ol thc pcrlcctions ol Giving, Morality,
Paticncc, Pcrscvcrancc, Mcditation and Visdom which lcad to
G:v:Nc (ÐnaNa) includcs all lorms ol charity and thc impart
ing ol Ðharma to othcrs.
Movai:+v (S:ia) which rcquircs onc to bc cthical, to dcstroy
all cvil passions through thc kccping ol thc Prcccpts. Although
thcrc arc Tcn Grcat Prcccpts which all 8uddhists should try thcir
vcry bcst to kccp cach day, only thc nrst nvc arc bcttcr known or
kcpt by thc avcragc practitioncrs and thcy arc:
1. To abstain lrom killing.
2. To abstain lrom stcaling.
3. To abstain lrom scxual misconduct.
4. To abstain lrom lying.
5. To abstain lrom intoxicants.
6. To abstain lrom harsh spccch.
7. To abstain lrom slandcrous spccch.
8. To abstain lrom covctousncss.
9. To abstain lrom hatrcd or animosity.
10. To abstain lrom crrorncous vicws.
.·a .·¸
Pa+:vNcv (Ksan+:) which rcquircs onc to practisc lorbcarancc
to prcvcnt angcr lrom arising ovcr thc dccds donc by ignorant
PvsvvvvaNcv (V:vva) which dcvclops vigour and strcnuous cl
lort in thc practicc ol thc Ðharma.
Mvo:+a+:oN (ÐnvaNa) which rcduccs conlusion ol thc mind
and lcads to pcacc and happincss.
W:soox (PvajNa) which dcvclops thc powcr to disccrn rcality
or truth.
Tc practicc ol thcsc virtucs will hclp to rcmovc grccd and
stingincss, angcr and hatrcd, immoral living, conlusion ol thc
mind and stupidity and wrong vicws. Togcthcr with thc Noblc
¡ightlold Path, thcy tcach onc to livc and practisc thc 8uddha’s
tcachings in ordcr to rcach thc statc whcrcby all illusions arc dc
stroycd so that pcacc and happincss can bc attaincd.
The 9iscourse on ¿o+ing [indness
8uddhism lays grcat strcss on thc practicc ol lovingkindncss
(Mctta) and compassion. Tis Ðiscoursc should scrvc both as a
mark ol protcction and as a subjcct lor contcmplation. !t tcachcs
onc how to practisc thc virtucs which will bcncnt oncscll and
1. Hc who is skillcd in his good and who wishcs to attain thc
statc ol Calm should act thus:
.·¡ .·¸
Hc should bc cmcicnt, upright, yca, pcrlcctly upright,
obcdicnt, gcntlc and humblc.
2. Contcntcd, casily supportablc, with lcw dutics, ol right
livclihood, controllcd in scnscs, discrcct, not impudcnt, not
bc grccdily attachcd to lamilics.
3. Hc should not commit any slight wrong such that othcr
wisc mcn might ccnsurc him.
4. Vhatsocvcr living bcings thcrc bc, lccblc or strong, long,
stout or mcdium, small and largc, sccn or unsccn, thosc
dwclling ncar or lar, thosc who arc born and thosc who arc
to bc born — may all bcings, without cxccption, bc happy!
5. Lct nonc dcccivc anothcr nor dcspisc any pcrson whatsocvcr
in any placc. !n angcr or illwill lct him not wish any harm
to anothcr.
6. Just as a mothcr would protcct hcr only child at thc risk
ol hcr own lilc, cvcn so lct him cultivatc boundlcss hcart
towards all bcings.
7. Lct thcsc thoughts ol bondlcss lovc pcrvadc thc wholc world
— abovc, bclow and across — without any obstruction,
without any hatrcd, without any cnmity.
8. Vhcthcr hc stands, walks, sits, or lics down, as long as hc
is awakc, hc should dcvclop his mindlulncss. Tis, thcy say,
is thc Highcst Conduct hcrc.
9. Not lalling into ¡rror, virtuous and cndowcd with insight,
hc discards attachmcnt to scnscdcsircs. Òl a truth, hc docs
not comc again lor conccption in a womb.
.·¡ .·¸
Cnav+vv XVIII
Jecoming a Juddhist
Vhcn a pcrson wishcs to bccomc a 8uddhist, hc nccds only to go
to thc 8uddha, Ðharma and Sangha lor rclugc. Tis mcans that
hc will hcncclorth wholchcartcdly, acccpt thc Trcc Jcwcls as
his shcltcr and guiding idcal. Gcncrally thc simplc ccrcmony is
donc bclorc a monk or, il onc is not availablc, to do it at a shrinc
on which thcrc is a 8uddhaimagc, thc symbol ol onc’s spiritual
dircction and cvcntual rcalisation. Òßcring ßowcrs, inccnsc
and light, onc bows bclorc thc imagc, dcclarcs his intcntion,
and rcpcats thc Rclugc praycr thrcc timcs, making a bow altcr
cach rcpctition. Tc praycr may bc in Pali, Sanskrit, ¡nglish or
Chincsc, dcpcnding on thc tradition onc chooscs to lollow.
Vhcn thc Trcclold Rclugc is donc bclorc a monk, onc has to
rcqucst lor thc Trcc Rclugcs and thc Fivc Prcccpts. Tis clcarly
shows that onc bccomcs a 8uddhist altcr hc has a thorough
undcrstanding ol thc Ðharma and hc should not bc convcrtcd
by othcrs bccausc Ðharma is not a mattcr ol bclicl, it uscs no
lorcc, not cvcn pcrsuasion, to makc convcrt. Ònc will not makc
a good 8uddhist il hc is not rcady to put to practicc thc 8uddhist
way ol lilc. Ònc should thcn makc thrcc bows to thc monk and
scc in him as thc pcrsonincation ol thc 8uddha, Ðharma and
Sangha. Tc monk will thcn rccitc 3 timcs, thc salutation to thc
.·6 .·,
“Naxo Tassa Bnacava+o Avana+o Saxxasaxnuoonasa”
which mcans ‘Homagc to thc 8lcsscd Ònc, thc Vorthy Ònc,
thc Pcrlcctly ¡nlightcncd Ònc’.
Tcn hc will rccitc thc Rclugc praycr and thc aspirant should
rcpcat altcr him, cach linc that has bccn rccitcd:
“Buoonax SavaNax Gaccnax:
To thc 8uddha ! go lor Rclugc.”
“Ðnaxxax SavaNax Gaccnax:
To thc Ðharma ! go lor Rclugc.”
“SaNcnax SavaNax Gaccnax:
To thc Sangha ! go lor Rclugc.”
“Ðu+:vaxv: Buoonax SavaNax Gaccnax:
For thc sccond timc, to thc 8uddha ! go lor Rclugc.”
“Ðu+:vaxv: Ðnaxxax SavaNax Gaccnax:
For thc sccond timc, to thc Ðharma ! go lor Rclugc.”
“Ðu+:vaxv: SaNcnax SavaNax Gaccnax:
For thc sccond timc, to thc Sangha ! go lor Rclugc.”
“Ta+:vaxv: Buoonax SavaNax Gaccnax:
For thc third timc, to thc 8uddha ! go lor Rclugc.”
“Ta+:vaxv: Ðnaxxax SavaNax Gaccnax:
For thc third timc, to thc Ðharma ! go lor Rclugc.”
“Ta+:vaxv: SaNcnax SavaNax Gaccnax:
For thc third timc, to thc Sangha ! go lor Rclugc.”
.·6 .·,
Tc Rclugcs arc always rcpcatcd thricc to cnsurc that thc mind
ol thc pcrson taking thcm is lully awarc ol what has bccn said.
Tcy arc rccitcd cithcr in Pali or ¡nglish as givcn abovc, or in
Sanskrit, which is as lollows:
“Naxo Buoonava
Naxo Ðnavxava
Naxo SaNcnava”
Tcn thc monk chants thc I:vv Pvvcvv+s (Pancasila) onc by
onc which thc aspirant rcpcats altcr him. Tc Fivc Prcccpts may
bc callcd thc “Ðharma lor human bcings” as thcir practicc will
makc our world morc bcarablc to livc in and thcy arc thc basic
and minimal obscrvancc ol moral conduct by a 8uddhist. Tcy
tcach him to rclrain lrom killing, stcaling, scxual misconduct,
lying and taking intoxicants ol any kind.
GoinglorRclugc to thc Trcc Jcwcls is thcrclorc an opcn dcc
laration that wc arc 8uddhists. Tc praycr said should not bc
mcrc rccitation but should bring to our mind that thc trcasurcs
in this lilctimc consists ol thc 8uddha, Ðharma and Sangha.
Vc should undcrstand lully what wc arc dcclaring so that wc
will commit oursclvcs to thc dcclaration that wc havc madc.
The Juddha
Vhat is mcant by going lor a Rclugc to thc 8uddha: Ðo wc
know who is thc 8uddha or what is thc 8uddha: Surprisingly,
many 8uddhists in this country havc only a vaguc idca ol Him.
Many also bclicvc that thcy arc 8uddhists just bccausc thcy
.·· .·µ
think that thcir parcnts arc 8uddhists by thcir acts ol oßcring
inccnsc to thcir lamily altars which, in lact, is anccstral worship
and has nothing to do with 8uddhism. Tcrclorc it is important
that such pcoplc bc taught not only ol who or what thc 8uddha
is but what thc 8uddha is not.
Tc 8uddha is not God or a dcity whom onc should pray to lor
somc lulnllmcnt in lilc. Tc 8uddha is not an incarnation ol God
likc Jcsus Christ is to thc Christians. Hc is not a prophct nor a
mcsscngcr ol God. Tc 8uddha docs not answcr your wishcs or
bring you to hcavcn just bccausc you havc acccptcd him as your
Saviour. Hc is not thc crcator who dccidcs thc dcstinics ol your lilc
nor can hc savc you il you havc not livcd a wholcsomc lilc. How
cvcr, thc 8uddha can show thc way by mcans ol which you havc to
savc yourscll. Tis mcans that only you can savc yourscll and that
you will havc to work vcry hard at it in ordcr to savc yourscll.
So il thc 8uddha is not God, who or what is Hc: Hc is a human
bcing but a vcry spccial human bcing, onc who has gaincd what
wc call “¡nlightcnmcnt”. Hc is thc lully Awakcncd Ònc and Hc
is onc who has bccomc lrcc lrom all kinds ol worldly passions,
whosc mind is purc, whosc mind is lull ol wisdom, whosc mind
is lull ol lovc and compassion towards all scnticnt bcings, a supcr
human, thc purcst, thc noblcst and most virtuous ol bcings. All
thcsc qualitics Hc posscsscs in thc highcst possiblc dcgrcc. Tis
is but a bricl dcscription that onc can makc ol a 8uddha. Going
lor Rclugc to thc 8uddha thcrclorc mcans taking and acccpting
thc 8uddha as our idcal. Tc 8uddha was a man such as wc, so
what Hc achicvcd, wc too can achicvc. !l wc acccpt this, il wc
.·· .·µ
act upon this, il wc sinccrcly lollow thc path that has bccn trod
dcn by thc 8uddha, thcn wc arc rcally going lor Rclugc to thc
8uddha — thc First Rclugc.
The 9harma
Going lor Rclugc to thc Ðharma is to acccpt it as thc path that
lcads to ¡nlightcnmcnt. !t is also thc path ol human dcvclop
mcnt lor it is thc Tcaching about thc naturc ol lilc. !t is purc by
naturc and bright likc a light that dcstroys thc darkncss ol !gno
rancc. !t consists ol thc Truths as taught by thc 8uddha who has
discovcrcd and practiscd thcm in his lilctimc so it is thc Vay ol
cultivation. Ðharma is whatcvcr hclps us to bc wisc and compas
sionatc, whatcvcr hclps us to lcad a purc and bcncncial lilc, a lilc
ol harmlcssncss towards all othcr living bcings.
The _angha
Finally thc mcaning ol thc Rclugc in thc Sangha. Vhcn go
ing lor Rclugc to thc Sangha wc should not think ol Rclugc
going to thc community ol monks and nuns lor though somc
ol thcm arc noblc, a good numbcr arc still worldlings practicing
Ðharma. Among thc lay community too, thcrc may bc thosc
who arc Noblc. Tc noblc monks, nuns and laity togcthcr lorm
thc Noblc Òrdcr which, as it is madc up ol thosc who arc ablc
tcachcrs ol thc Ðharma, is truly a sccurc Rclugc. !n practical
tcrms thc Sangha Rclugc mcans that it is thc duty ol thosc who
arc capablc to hclp thc othcr to know morc about thc Ðharma.
Tis is what is mcant by thc Sangha Rclugc.
.µc .µ.
The 7ays of Jractice
1. For thosc who scck ¡nlightcnmcnt thcrc arc thrcc ways ol
practicc that must bc undcrstood and lollowcd. First, disciplincs
lor practical bchaviour, sccond, right conccntration, and third,
Vhat arc thc disciplincs: ¡vcry man, whcthcr hc is a commoncr
or wayscckcr, should lollow thc prcccpts lor good bchaviour.
Hc should control both his mind and body and guard thc gatcs
ol his nvc scnscs. Hc should bc alraid ol cvcn a trißing cvil and,
lrom momcnt to momcnt, should cndcavour to practisc good
Vhat is mcant by thc conccntration ol thc mind: !t mcans to gct
quickly away lrom grccdy and cvil dcsircs as thcy arisc and to
hold thc mind purc and tranquil.
Vhat thcn is wisdom: !t is thc wisdom to pcrlcctly undcrstand
and to paticntly acccpt thc Four Noblc Truths — to know thc
lact ol sußcring and its naturc, to know thc sourcc ol sußcring,
to know what constitutcs thc cnd ol sußcring, and to know thc
Noblc Path that lcads to thc cnd ol sußcring.
Tosc who carncstly lollow thcsc thrcc ways ol practicc may
rightly bc callcd thc disciplcs ol thc 8uddha.
2. !t is dimcult to advancc along thc path that lcads to ¡n
lightcnmcnt so long as onc is covctous ol comlort and luxurics
.µc .µ.
and his mind bc disturbcd by thc dcsircs ol thc scnscs. Tcrc is a
widc dißcrcncc bctwccn thc cnjoymcnt ol lilc and thc cnjoymcnt
ol thc Truc Path. !l thc mind cnjoys worldly aßairs, illusions
and sußcring will incvitably lollow, but il thc mind cnjoys thc
Truc Path, happincss, contcntmcnt and cnlightcnmcnt will just
as surcly lollow.
Tcrclorc, thosc who arc sccking ¡nlightcnmcnt should kccp
thcir minds purc and paticntly kccp and practisc thc Trcc Vays.
!l thcy kccp thc prcccpts thcy will naturally obtain conccntra
tion ol thc mind and il thcy obtain conccntration ol thc mind
it will bc just as natural lor thcm to grasp wisdom, and wisdom
will lcad thcm to ¡nlightcnmcnt.
!ndccd thcsc Trcc Vays arc thc truc path to ¡nlightcnmcnt.
8y not lollowing thcm, pcoplc havc lor a long timc accumulatcd
mcntal dclusions, which arc thc root causcs ol all sußcrings.
3. !l thc Trcc Vays ol practicc arc analyscd, thcy will rcvcal
thc ¡ightlold Path, thc Four \icwpoints to bc considcrcd, thc
Four Right Proccdurcs, thc Fivc Facultics ol Powcr to bc cm
ploycd, and thc Pcrlcction ol thc Six Paramitas.
Tc Noblc ¡ightlold Path rclcrs to right vicw, right thought,
right spccch, right action, right livclihood, right cßort, right
mindlulncss and right conccntration.
Right \icw includcs: to thoroughly undcrstand thc Four Noblc
Truths, to bclicvc in thc Law ol Causc and ¡ßcct and not to bc
dcccivcd by appcaranccs and dcsircs.
.µa .µ¸
Right Tought mcans thc rcsolution not to chcrish dcsircs, not
to bc grccdy, not to bc angry and not to do any harmlul dccd.
Right Spccch is thc avoidancc ol lying words, idlc words, abusivc
words and doublctongucs.
Right Action mcans not to dcstroy any lilc, not to stcal, or not
to commit adultcry.
Right Livclihood mcans to avoid any lilc that would bring shamc
to a man.
Right ¡ßort mcans to try to do onc’s bcst diligcntly towards thc
right dircction.
Right Mindlulncss mcans to maintain a purc and thoughtlul
Right Conccntration mcans to kccp thc mind right and tranquil
lor its conccntration, sccking to rcalisc thc mind’s own csscncc.
Tc Four \icwpoints to bc considcrcd includc: (1) To considcr
thc body as impurc, to rcmovc all attachmcnts to it. (2) To con
sidcr thc scnscs as a sourcc ol sußcring, whatcvcr thcir lcclings
ol pain or plcasurc may bc. (3) To considcr cvcrything in thc
world as bcing a conscqucncc ol causcs and conditions and that
nothing rcmains unchangcd lorcvcr.
Tc Four Right Proccdurcs arc: (1) To prcvcnt any cvil lrom
starting. (2) To rcmovc any cvil as soon as it starts. (3) To in
ducc thc doing ol good dccds. (4) To cncouragc thc growth and
continuancc ol good dccds that havc alrcady startcd. Ònc must
cndcavour to kccp thcsc lour proccdurcs.
.µa .µ¸
Tc Fivc Facultics ol Powcr arc: (1) Tc laith to bclicvc. (2) Tc
will to makc thc cndcavour, (3) Tc laculty ol rcliablc mcmory.
(4) Tc ability to conccntratc onc’s mind and (5) Tc ability to
maintain clcar wisdom. Tcsc nvc lacultics arc ncccssary powcrs
to attain ¡nlightcnmcnt.
Tc Pcrlcction ol thc Six Paramitas lor rcaching thc othcr shorc
ol ¡nlightcnmcnt arc: Tc path ol oßcring, thc path ol kccping
prcccpts, thc path ol cndurancc, thc path ol cndcavour, thc path
ol conccntration ol mind, and thc path ol wisdom. 8y lollowing
thcsc paths, onc can surcly pass lrom thc shorc ol dclusion ovcr
to thc shorc ol ¡nlightcnmcnt.
Tc practicc ol Òßcring gcts rid ol sclnshncss, thc practicc ol
thc Prcccpts kccps onc thoughtlul ol thc rights and comlorts ol
othcrs, thc practicc ol ¡ndurancc hclps onc to control a lcarlul or
angry mind, thc practicc ol ¡ndcavour hclps onc to bc diligcnt
and laithlul, thc practicc ol Conccntration hclps onc to control a
wandcring and lutilc mind, and thc practicc ol Visdom changcs
a dark and conluscd mind into a clcar and pcnctrating insight.
Òßcring and kccping Prcccpts makc thc loundation ncccssary
to build a grcat castlc on. ¡ndurancc and ¡ndcavour arc thc
walls ol thc castlc that protcct it against cncmics lrom outsidc.
Conccntration and Visdom arc thc pcrsonal armour that pro
tccts onc against thc assault ol lilc and dcath.
‘xtracted from ‘ e eaching of uddha’ published by
ukkyo endo  yokai, okyo, apan.
.µ¡ .µ¸
Cnav+vv XIX
Iamous Chinese Sutras
The _utra of /orty-T.o _ections
Tis Sutra was thc nrst omcial 8uddhist litcraturc which was
translatcd lor thc Chincsc by two carly !ndian missionarics
(Kasyapa Matanga and Gobharana) during thc rcign ol ¡mpcror
Ming ol thc Latcr Han Ðynasty. Tc translators cxtractcd all
thc passagcs lrom dißcrcnt 8uddhist Canonical books which
thcy brought along lor thcir missionary purposcs. !t was com
pilcd altcr thc lashion ol thc Conlucian Analccts to suit thc
Chincsc and thcrclorc cach scction bcgins with “Tc 8uddha
said,” which corrcsponds to thc Conlucian “Tc Mastcr said.”
Tis Sutras was thcrclorc spccially prcparcd lor thc Chincsc
8uddhists and it contains a good collcction ol moral and rcligious
sayings ol thc 8uddha. !t is still widcly rcad by thc Chincsc and
is vcry dcar to thcir hcarts.
“Vhcn thc VorldHonourcd Ònc had bccomc ¡nlightcncd, hc
rcßcctcd thus: “To bc lrcc lrom thc passions and to bc calm, this
is thc most cxccllcnt Vay.”
Hc was absorbcd in Grcat Mcditation, subducd all cvil oncs and
latcr in thc Ðccr Park causcd to rcvolvc thc Vhccl ol Ðharma,
which consistcd ol Tc Four Noblc Truths:
.µ¡ .µ¸
(1) Lilc is Sußcring.
(2) !gnorancc is thc causc ol Sußcring.
(3) Tc Ccssation ol Sußcring which is thc goal ol lilc as it
transccnds pains and plcasurc.
(4) Tc Vay to Ccssation ol Sußcring is thc Noblc ¡ightlold
Path which consists ol:
(1) Right Undcrstanding
(2) Right Tought
(3) Right Spccch
(4) Right Action
(5) Right Livclihood
(6) Right ¡ßort
(7) Right Mindlulncss
(8) Right Conccntration.
Hc convcrtcd thc nvc 8hikshus, Kaudinya and thc othcrs, in
ducing thcm to attain ¡nlightcnmcnt.
Again, thcrc wcrc othcr 8hikshus who implorcd thc 8uddha to
rcmovc thcir doubts which thcy had conccrning his doctrinc.
Tc VorldHonourcd Ònc illumincd all thcir minds through
his authoritativc tcachings. Tc 8hikshus, joining thcir hands
rcvcrcntially bowing, lollowcd his sacrcd instructions.
1. Tc 8uddha said: “Tosc who, taking lcavc ol thcir lamilics
and adopting thc homclcss lilc, undcrstand thc mind, rcach thc
sourcc, and comprchcnd thc immatcrial, arc callcd Sramanas.
Tosc who obscrvc thc two hundrcd and nlty prcccpts ol
morality, who arc purc and spotlcss in thcir bchaviours, and who
.µ6 .µ,
cxcrt thcmsclvcs lor thc attainmcnt ol thc stagcs ol progrcss, arc
callcd Arhats. Tc Arhat is ablc to ßy through spacc and assumc
dißcrcnt lorms, his lilc is ctcrnal, and thcrc arc timcs whcn hc
causcs hcavcn and carth to quakc.
8clow thcm is thc Anagamin who, at thc cnd ol a long lilc,
asccnd in spirit to thc ninctccnth hcavcn and obtains Arhat
Ncxt comc thc Skridagamin who asccnds to thc hcavcns
(altcr his dcath), comcs back to thc carth oncc morc, and thcn
attains Arhatship.
Tcn comc thc Srotaapanna who cannot bccomc Arhat until
hc has passcd scvcn morc rounds ol birth and dcath.
8y thc scvcrancc ol thc passions is mcant that likc thc limbs
scvcrcd thcy arc ncvcr again madc usc ol.”
2. Tc 8uddha Said: “Tc homclcss Sramana cuts oß thc pas
sions, lrccs himscll ol attachmcnts, undcrstands thc sourcc ol his
own mind, pcnctratcs thc dccpcst doctrinc ol 8uddha, and com
prchcnds thc Ðharma which is immatcrial. Hc has no prcjudicc
in his hcart, hc has nothing to hankcr altcr. Hc is not hampcrcd
by thc thought ol thc Vay, nor is hc cntanglcd in karma. No
prcjudicc, no compulsion, no disciplinc, no cnlightcnmcnt, and
no going up through thc gradcs, and yct in posscssion ol all hon
ours in itscll — this is what is mcant by thc Vay.”
3. Tc 8uddha said, “Tosc who shaving thcir hcads and laccs
and bccomc Sramanas and havc acccptcd thc Ðoctrinc ol thc
Vay, should surrcndcr all worldly posscssions and bc contcntcd
with whatcvcr thcy obtain by bcgging. Ònly onc mcal a day and
.µ6 .µ,
lodging undcr a trcc, hc dcsircs nothing clsc. For what makcs
onc stupid and irrational is attachmcnts and thc passions.”
4. Tc 8uddha said, “Tcrc arc tcn things considcrcd good by all
bcings, and tcn things cvil . Vhat arc thcy: Trcc ol thcm dcpcnd
upon thc body, lour upon thc mouth, and thrcc upon thc mind.
“Trcc cvil dccds dcpcnding upon thc body arc: killing, stcal
ing and unchastc dccds. Tc lour dcpcnding upon thc mouth
arc: slandcring, cursing, lying and ßattcry. Tc thrcc dcpcnding
upon thc mind arc: cnvy, angcr and loolishncss. All thcsc things
arc not in kccping with thc Holy Vay, and arc thcrclorc cvil.
Vhcn thcsc cvils arc not donc, thcy arc tcn good dccds.”
5. Tc 8uddha said: “!l a man who has committcd many a
misdcmcanor docs not rcpcnt and clcansc his hcart ol cvil, rctri
bution will comc upon his pcrson as surc as thc strcam runs into
thc occan which bccomcs cvcr dccpcr and widcr. !l a man who
has committcd a misdcmcanor comcs to thc knowlcdgc ol it, rc
lorms himscll, and practiscs goodncss, thc lorcc ol rctribution
will gradually cxhaust itscll as a discasc gradually loscs its banc
lul inßucncc whcn thc paticnt pcrspircs.”
6. Tc 8uddha said, “Vhcn an cvilman, sccing you prac
tisc goodncss, comcs and maliciously insults you, you should
paticntly cndurc it and not lccl angry with him, lor thc cvilman
is insulting himscll by trying to insult you.”
7. Tc 8uddha said, “Òncc a man camc unto mc and dc
nounccd mc on account ol my obscrving thc Vay and practic
.µ· .µµ
ing grcat lovingkindncss. 8ut ! kcpt silcnt and did not answcr
him. Tc dcnunciation ccascd. Tcn ! askcd him. ‘!l you bring a
prcscnt to your ncighbour and hc acccpts it not, docs thc prcscnt
comc back to you:’ Hc rcplicd, “!t will,” ! said, ‘You dcnouncc mc
now, but as ! acccpt it not, you must takc thc wrong dccd back
on your own pcrson. !t is likc ccho succccding sound, it is likc
shadow lollowing objcct, you ncvcr cscapc thc cßcct ol your own
cvil dccds. 8c thcrclorc mindlul, and ccasc lrom doing cvil’.”
8. Tc 8uddha said, “¡vildocrs who dcnouncc thc wisc
rcscmblc a pcrson who spits against thc sky, thc spittlc will ncvcr
rcach thc sky, but comcs down on himscll. ¡vildocrs again
rcscmblc a man who stirs thc dust against thc wind, thc dust is
ncvcr raiscd without doing him injury. Tus, thc wisc will ncvcr bc
hurt but thc cursc is surc to dcstroy thc cvildocrs thcmsclvcs.”
9. Tc 8uddha said, “!l you cndcavour to cmbracc thc Vay
through much lcarning, thc Vay will not undcrstood. !l you
obscrvc thc Vay with simplicity ol hcart, grcat indccd is this
10. Tc 8uddha said, “Tosc who rcjoicc in sccing othcrs ob
scrvc thc Vay will obtain grcat blcssing.” A Sramana askcd thc
8uddha, “Vould this blcssing bc dcstroycd:” Tc 8uddha rc
plicd, “!t is likc a lightcd torch whosc ßamc can bc distributcd to
cvcr so many othcr torchcs which pcoplc may bring along, and
thcrcwith thcy will cook lood and dispcl darkncss, whilc thc
original torch itscll rcmains burning cvcr thc samc. !t is cvcn so
with thc bliss ol thc Vay.”
.µ· .µµ
11. Tc 8uddha said, “!t is bcttcr to lccd a good man than onc
hundrcd bad mcn. !t is bcttcr to lccd onc who obscrvcs thc Fivc
Prcccpts ol thc 8uddha than to lccd onc thousand good mcn. !t
is bcttcr to lccd onc Srotaapanna (Strcamcntcrcr) than to lccd
tcn thousands ol thosc who obscrvc thc Fivc Prcccpts ol 8uddha.
!t is bcttcr to lccd onc Skridagamin than to lccd onc million
Srotaapanna. !t is bcttcr to lccd onc Anagamin than to lccd tcn
millions ol Skridagamins. !t is bcttcr to lccd onc Arhat than to
lccd onc hundrcd millions ol Anagamins. !t is bcttcr to lccd onc
Prctyckabuddha than to lccd onc billion ol Arhats. !t is bcttcr to
lccd onc ol thc 8uddha, cithcr ol thc prcscnt, or ol thc past, or
ol thc luturc, than to lccd tcn billions ol Pratyckabuddhas. !t is
bcttcr to lccd onc who is abovc knowlcdgc, oncsidcdncss, dis
ciplinc, and cnlightcnmcnt than to lccd onc hundrcd billions ol
8uddhas ol thc past, prcscnt, or luturc.
12. Tc 8uddha said, “Tcrc arc twcnty dimcult things to at
tain in this world:
(1) !t is hard lor thc poor to practicc charity.
(2) !t is hard lor thc strong and rich to obscrvc thc Vay.
(3) !t is hard to disrcgard lilc and go to ccrtain dcath.
(4) !t is only a lavourcd lcw that gct acquaintcd with a
8uddhist sutra.
(5) !t is hard to bc born in thc agc ol thc 8uddha.
(6) !t is hard to conqucr thc passions, to suprcss sclnsh dcsircs.
(7) !t is hard not to hankcr altcr that which is agrccablc.
(8) !t is hard not to gct into a passion whcn slightcd.
acc ac.
(9) !t is hard not to abusc onc’s authority.
(10) !t is hard to bc cvcnmindcd and simplc hcartcd in all
onc’s dcalings with othcrs.
(11) !t is hard to bc thorough in lcarning and cxhaustivc in
(12) !t is hard to subduc sclnsh pridc.
(13) !t is hard not to lccl contcmpt toward thc unlcarncd.
(14) !t is hard to bc onc in knowlcdgc and practicc.
(15) !t is hard not to cxprcss an opinion about othcrs.
(16) !t is by rarc opportunity that onc is introduccd to a truc
spiritual tcachcr.
(17) !t is hard to gain an insight into thc naturc ol bcing and
to practisc thc Vay.
(18) !t is hard to lollow thc way ol a saviour.
(19) !t is hard to bc always thc mastcr ol oncscll.
(20) !t is hard to undcrstand thoroughly thc Vays ol 8uddha.”
13. A monk askcd thc 8uddha, “Undcr what conditions is it
possiblc to comc to thc knowlcdgc ol thc past and to undcrstand
thc most suprcmc Vay:” Tc 8uddha answcrcd, “Tosc who arc
purc in hcart and singlc in purposc arc ablc to undcrstand thc
most suprcmc Vay. !t is likc polishing a mirror, which bccomcs
bright whcn thc dust is rcmovcd. Rcmovc your passions, and
havc no hankcring, and thc past will bc rcvcalcd to you.”
14. A monk askcd thc 8uddha, “Vhat is good, and what is
grcat:” Tc 8uddha rcplicd, “Good is to practicc thc Vay and
acc ac.
to lollow thc truth. Grcat is thc hcart that is in accord with thc
15. A monk askcd thc 8uddha, “Vhat is most powcrlul, and
what is most illuminating:” Tc 8uddha rcplicd, “Mcckncss is
most powcrlul, lor it harbours no cvil thoughts, and, morcovcr,
it is rcstlul and lull ol strcngth. As it is lrcc lrom cvils, it is surc
to bc honourcd by all.
Tc most illuminating is a mind that is thoroughly clcanscd
ol dirt, and which, rcmaining purc, rctains no blcmishcs. From
thc timc whcn thcrc was yct no hcavcn and carth till thc prcscnt
day, thcrc is nothing in thc tcn quartcrs which is not sccn, or
known, or hcard by such a mind, lor it has gaincd allknowlcdgc,
and lor that rcason it is callcd ‘illuminating’.”
16. Tc 8uddha said, “Tosc who havc passions arc ncvcr ablc to
pcrccivc thc Vay, lor it is likc stirring up clcar watcr with hands,
pcoplc may comc thcrc wishing to nnd a rcßcction ol thcir laccs,
which, howcvcr, thcy will ncvcr scc. A mind troublcd and vcxcd
with thc passions is impurc, and on that account it ncvcr sccs thc
Vay. Ò monks, do away with passions. Vhcn thc dirt ol passion
is rcmovcd thc Vay will manilcst itscll.”
17. Tc 8uddha said, “Sccing thc Vay is likc going into a
dark room with a torch, thc darkncss instantly dcparts, whilc
thc light alonc rcmains. Vhcn thc Vay is attaincd and thc
truth is sccn, ignorancc vanishcs and cnlightcnmcnt abidcs
aca ac¸
18. Tc 8uddha said, “My doctrinc is to think thc thought that
is unthinkablc, to practisc thc dccd that is nondoing, to spcak
thc spccch that is incxprcssiblc, and to bc traincd in thc disci
plinc that is bcyond disciplinc. Tosc who undcrstand this arc
ncar, thosc who arc conluscd arc lar. Tc Vay is bcyond words
and cxprcssions, is bound by nothing carthly. Losc sight ol it
to an inch, or miss it lor a momcnt, and wc arc away lrom it lor
19. Tc 8uddha said, “Look up to hcavcn and down on carth,
and thcy will rcmind you ol thcir impcrmancncy. Look about
thc world, and it will rcmind you ol its impcrmancncy. 8ut whcn
you gain spiritual cnlightcnmcnt, you shall thcn nnd wisdom.
Tc knowlcdgc thus attaincd lcads you quickly to thc Vay.”
20. Tc 8uddha said, “You should think ol thc lour clcmcnts ol
which thc body is cxposcd. ¡ach ol thcm has its own namc, and
thcrc is no such thing thcrc known as cgo. As thcrc is rcally no
cgo, it is likc unto a miragc.”
21. Tc 8uddha said, “Movcd by thcir sclnsh dcsircs, pcoplc
scck altcr lamc and glory. 8ut whcn thcy havc acquircd it, thcy
arc alrcady strickcncd in ycars. !l you hankcr altcr worldly lamc
and practisc not thc Vay, your labours arc wronglully applicd and
your cncrgy is wastcd. !t is likc unto burning an inccnsc stick.”
22. Tc 8uddha said, “Pcoplc clcavc to thcir worldly posscs
sions and sclnsh passions so blindly as to sacrincc thcir own livcs
lor thcm. Tcy arc likc a child who trics to cat a littlc honcy
aca ac¸
smcarcd on thc cdgc ol a knilc. Tc amount is by no mcans sul
ncicnt to appcasc his appctitc, but hc runs thc risk ol wounding
thc tonguc.”
23. Tc 8uddha said, “Mcn arc ticd up to thcir lamilics and
posscssions morc hclplcssly than in a prison. Tcrc is an occasion
lor thc prisoncr to bc rclcascd, but thc houscholdcrs cntcrtain no
dcsirc to bc rclicvcd lrom thc tics ol lamily. ¡vcn into thc paws
ol a tigcr will hc jump. Tosc who arc thus drowncd in thc nlth
ol passion arc callcd thc ignorant. Tosc who arc ablc to ovcr
comc it arc saintly Arhats.
24. Tc 8uddha said, “Tcrc is nothing likc lust. Lust may bc
said to bc thc most powcrlul passion. Fortunatcly, wc havc but
onc thing which is morc powcrlul. !l thc thirst lor truth wcrc
wcakcr than passion, how many ol us in thc world will bc ablc to
lollow thc way ol rightcousncss:”
25. Tc 8uddha said, “Mcn who arc addictcd to thc passions
arc likc thc torchcarricr running against thc wind, his hands
arc surc to bc burncd.”
26. Tc Lord ol Hcavcn oßcrcd a bcautilul lairy to thc 8uddha,
dcsiring to tcmpt him to thc cvil path. 8ut thc 8uddha said, “8c
gonc. Vhat usc havc ! lor thc lcathcr bag nllcd with nlth which
you brought to mc:” Tcn, thc god rcvcrcntly bowcd and askcd
thc 8uddha about thc csscncc ol thc Vay, in which having bccn
instructcd by thc 8uddha, it is said hc attaincd thc Srotaapanna
ac¡ ac¸
27. Tc 8uddha said, “Tosc who arc lollowing thc Vay should
bchavc likc a piccc ol timbcr which is drilting along a strcam. !l
thc log is ncithcr hcld by thc banks, nor scizcd by mcn, nor ob
structcd by thc gods, nor kcpt in thc whirlpool, nor itscll gocs to
dccay, ! assurc you that this log will nnally rcach thc occan. !l
monks walking on thc Vay arc ncithcr tcmptcd by thc passions,
nor lcd astray by somc cvil inßucnccs, but stcadily pursuc thcir
coursc lor Nirvana, ! assurc you that thcsc monks will nnally
attain cnlightcnmcnt.”
28. Tc 8uddha said, “Rcly not upon your own will. !t is not
trustworthy. Guard yourscll against scnsualism, lor it surcly
lcads to thc path ol cvil. Your own will bccomcs trustworthy
only whcn you havc attaincd Arhatship.”
29. Tc 8uddha said, “Ò monks, you should not scc womcn.
(!l you should havc to scc thcm), rclrain lrom talking to thcm.
(!l you should havc to talk), you should rcßcct in a right spirit:
‘! am now a homclcss mcndicant. !n thc world ol sin, ! must bc
havc myscll likc unto thc lotus ßowcr whosc purity is not dcnlcd
by thc mud. Òld oncs ! will trcat as my mothcr, cldcrly oncs as
cldcr sistcrs, youngcr oncs as youngcr sistcrs, and littlc oncs as
daughtcrs’. And in all this you should harbor no cvil thoughts,
but think ol salvation.”
30. Tc 8uddha said, “Tosc who walk thc Vay should avoid
scnsualism as thosc who carry hay would avoid coming ncar thc
ac¡ ac¸
31. Tc 8uddha said, “Tcrc was oncc a man who, bcing in dcs
pair ovcr his inability to control his passions, wishcd to mutilatc
himscll: Tc 8uddha said to him: ‘8cttcr dcstroy your own cvil
thoughts than do harm to your own pcrson. Tc mind is lord.
Vhcn thc lord himscll is claimcd thc scrvant will thcmsclvcs
bc yiclding. !l your mind is not clcanscd ol cvil passions, what
avails it to multilatc yourscll:’ Tcrcupon, thc 8uddha rccitcd
thc gatha,
“Passions grow lrom thc will,
Tc will grows lrom thought and imagination.
Vhcn both arc calmcd,
Tcrc is ncithcr scnsualism nor transmigration.”
Tc 8uddha said that this gatha was taught by Kashyapabuddha.
32. Tc 8uddha said, “From thc passions arisc worry, and lrom
worry ariscs lcar. Away with passions, and no lcar, no worry.”
33. Tc 8uddha said, “Tosc who lollow thc Vay arc likc unto
warriors who nght singlchandcd with a multitudc ol locs. Tcy
may all go out ol thc lort in lull armour, but among thcm arc
somc who arc lainthcartcd, and somc who go hallway and bcat
a rctrcat, and somc who arc killcd in thc aßray, and somc who
comc homc victorious. Ò monks, il you dcsirc to attain cnlight
cnmcnt, you should stcadily walk in your Vay, with a rcsolutc
hcart, with couragc, and should bc lcarlcss in whatcvcr cnviron
mcnt you may happcn to bc, and dcstroy cvcry cvil inßucncc that
you may comc across lor thus you shall rcach thc goal.”
ac6 ac,
34. Ònc night a monk was rcciting a sutra, bcqucathcd by
Kashyapabuddha. His tonc was so mournlul, and his voicc so
lainting, as il hc wcrc going out ol cxistcncc. Tc 8uddha askcd
him, “Vhat was your occupation bclorc you bccamc a homclcss
monk:” Tc monk rcplicd, “! was vcry lond ol playing a stringcd
instrumcnt.” Tc 8uddha said, “How did you nnd it whcn thc
strings wcrc too loosc:” “No sound is possiblc.” was thc rcply.
“How whcn thc strings wcrc too tight:”
“Tcy crack.”
“How whcn thcy wcrc ncithcr too tight nor too loosc:”
“¡vcry notc sounds in its propcr tonc.”
35. Tc 8uddha thcn said to thc monk, “Rcligious disciplinc
is also likc unto playing such a stringcd instrumcnt. Vhcn thc
mind is propcrly adjustcd and quictly applicd, thc Vay is attain
ablc, but whcn you arc too lcrvcntly bcnt on it, your body grows
tircd, and whcn your body is tircd, your spirit bccomc wcary,
whcn your spirit is wcary, your disciplinc will rclax, and with thc
rclaxation ol disciplinc thcrc lollows many an cvil. Tcrclorc, bc
calm and purc, and thc Vay will bc gaincd.”
36. Tc 8uddha said, “¡vcn il onc cscapcs lrom thc cvil crcations,
it is onc’s rarc lortunc to bc born as a human bcing. ¡vcn il onc
bc born as human, it is onc’s rarc lortunc to bc born as a man and
not a woman. ¡vcn il onc bc born a man, it is onc’s rarc lortunc
to bc pcrlcct in all thc six scnscs. ¡vcn il hc bc pcrlcct in all thc
six scnscs, it is his rarc lortunc to bc born in thc middlc kingdom.
¡vcn il hc bc born in thc middlc kingdom, it is his rarc lortunc to
bc born in thc timc ol a 8uddha. ¡vcn il hc bc born in thc timc
ac6 ac,
ol a 8uddha, it is his rarc lortunc to scc thc cnlightcncd. ¡vcn
il hc bc ablc to scc thc cnlightcncd, it is his rarc lortunc to havc
his hcart awakcncd in laith. ¡vcn il hc has laith, it is his rarc
lortunc to awakcn thc hcart ol intclligcncc. ¡vcn il hc awakcns
thc hcart ol intclligcncc, it is his rarc lortunc to rcalisc a spiritual
statc which is abovc disciplinc and attainmcnt.”
37. Tc 8uddha said, “Ò childrcn ol 8uddha! You arc away
lrom mc cvcr so many thousand milcs, but il you rcmcmbcr and
think ol my prcccpts, you shall surcly gain thc lruit ol cnlightcn
mcnt. You may, standing by my sidc, scc mc always, but il you
obscrvc not my prcccpts, you shall ncvcr gain cnlightcnmcnt.”
38. Tc 8uddha askcd anothcr monk, “How do you mcasurc thc
lcngth ol a man’s lilc:” Hc answcrcd, “8y days.” Tc 8uddha
said, “You do not undcrstand thc Vay.”
Tc 8uddha askcd anothcr monk, “How do you mcasurc thc
lcngth ol a man’s lilc:” Tc monk answcrcd, “8y thc timc that
passcs during a mcal.” Tc 8uddha said, “You do not undcrstand
thc Vay.” Tc 8uddha askcd thc third monk, “How do you
mcasurc thc lcngth ol a man’s lilc:” Tc monk answcrcd, “8y
thc brcadth.” Tc 8uddha said, “\cry wcll, you know thc Vay.”
39. Tc 8uddha said, “Tosc who study thc doctrinc ol thc
8uddhas will do wcll to bclicvc and obscrvc all that is taught by
thcm. !t is likc unto honcy, it is swcct within, it is swcct without,
it is swcct throughout, so is thc 8uddhas’ tcaching.”
40. Tc 8uddha said, “Ò monks, you must not walk on thc Vay
as thc ox is attachcd to thc whccl. His body movcs, but his hcart is
ac· acµ
not willing. 8ut whcn your hcarts arc in accord with thc Vay, thcrc
is no nccd ol troubling yoursclvcs about your outward dcmcanor.”
41. Tc 8uddha said, “Tosc who practicc thc Vay might wcll
lollow thc cxamplc ol an ox that marchcs through thc dccp mirc
carrying a hcavy load. Hc is tircd, but his stcady gazc, looking
lorward, will ncvcr rclax until hc comcs out ol thc mirc, and it is
only thcn that hc takcs a rcspitc.
Ò monks, rcmcmbcr that passions and sins arc morc than
thc nlthy mirc, and that you can cscapc miscry only by carncstly
and stcadily thinking ol thc Vay.”
42. Tc 8uddha said, “! considcr thc dignitics ol kings and
lords as a particlc ol dust that ßoats in thc sunbcam. ! considcr
thc trcasurc ol prccious mctals and stoncs as bricks and pcbblcs.
! considcr thc gaudy drcss ol silk and brocadcs as a wornout rag.
! considcr this univcrsc as small as thc holila lruit. ! considcr thc
lakc ol Anavatapa as a drop ol oil with which onc smcars thc
lcct. ! considcr thc various mcthods ol salvation taught by thc
8uddhas as a trcasurc crcatcd by thc imagination. ! considcr thc
transccndcntal doctrinc ol 8uddhism as prccious mctal or pricc
lcss labric sccn in a drcam. ! considcr thc tcaching ol 8uddhas
as a ßowcr bclorc my cycs. ! considcr thc practicc ol Ðhyana
as a pillar supporting thc Mount Sumcru. ! considcr Nirvana
as awakcning lrom a day drcam or nightmarc. ! considcr thc
strugglc bctwccn hctcrodox and orthodox as thc antics ol thc six
(mythical) dragons. ! considcr thc doctrinc ol samcncss as thc
absolutc ground ol rcality. ! considcr all thc rcligious works donc
lor univcrsal salvation as likc thc plants in thc lour scasons.”
ac· acµ
The [arma _utra
Tis Sutra has changcd thc livcs ol many who havc rcad it lor it
cxplains thc dircct rcsults ol causcs. !t is also callcd thc Goldcn
Prcccpts by Lord 8uddha and is rcproduccd hcrc in its cntircty:
“Òncc upon a gathcring attcndcd by 1,250 lollowcrs, thc vcncr
ablc Ananda, altcr circling thricc with loldcd hands around thc
8uddha and bowing with rcspcct, askcd: ‘!n thc prcscnt dark
agc whcrc thc majority ol our pcoplc arc indulgcnt in unright
cousncss, disrcspcctlul to thc Lord’s tcaching, undutilul to thcir
parcnts, immoral, miscrablc and sordid, among thcm somc arc
dcal, somc blind, somc mutc, somc idoitic, somc handicappcd
in othcr aspccts, and most pcoplc inurcd to killing, how could
wc undcrstand thc cryptic and lundamcntal principlc or causcs
that havc brought about this rcality and what conscqucnccs cach
individual is to sußcr cvcntually lor his dccds. My Lord, would
you kindly cxplain thcsc to us’:
Tc Vorldhonourcd Ònc thcn answcrcd, “Listcn carclully, !
will now cxpound thc Law ol Karma. 8ccausc ol Karmic cßccts
inhcritcd lrom prcvious livcs, somc pcoplc arc poor, somc rich,
somc happy and somc miscrablc. Tcsc arc lour rulcs inscparablc
in obtaining happincss and prospcrity lor your ncxt lilc. Tcy arc:
to bc dutilul to parcnts, to bc rcspcctlul to 8uddhas, to 8uddha’s
tcaching, and to 8uddhist monks, to abstain lrom killing and
sct lrcc scnticnt bcings, and to abstain lrom cating mcat and bc
charitablc. Tcn thc 8uddha procccdcd on thc Karmic Sutra:
“Ðcstiny is aggrcgatc karmic cßccts lrom thc past. To bclicvc in and
practisc this sutra will bring you ctcrnal prospcrity and happincss.
a.c a..
Lcarn thc Law ol Karma cxpoundcd as lollows:
‘To bc ablc to hold omcc in thc Govcrnmcnt is a rcward lor
your building 8uddha’s statucs in prcvious livcs. For building
8uddha’s statucs is likcncd to moulding yourscll, and to protcct
thc Tathagata is protccting yourscll.
To bc a public omccr cannot bc takcn lor grantcd, lor with
out practising 8uddhism it will not bclall you.
Having hclpcd in thc construction ol bridgcs and roads in
your past lilc is conducivc to your prcscnt cnjoymcnt ol various
transportation lacilitics which prcvcnt you lrom gctting loot
To donatc clothing to monks will cnsurc you to bc wcll pro
vidcd with clothing in luturc or in your ncxt lilc.
To bc lrcc lrom want in lood is thc rcsult ol your providing
lood to thc poor in your prcvious lilc.
To bc miscrly and unwilling to hclp thc nccdy givcs risc to
luturc starvation and clothlcssncss.
To havc amplc housing is a rcward lor donating lood to
monastcrics in your past lilc.
To build tcmplcs and public shcltcrs will givc you luturc
prospcrity and happincss.
To bc prctty and handsomc is thc rcward lor your rcspccting
and oßcring ßowcrs to 8uddha’s altar in thc past.
To abstain lrom cating mcat and to pray constantly to 8uddha
will assurc you to bc rcborn a vcry intclligcnt child in your ncxt
To havc a good wilc and son is rcward lor your disscminat
ing 8uddha’s tcaching in your past lilc.
a.c a..
Furnishing 8uddhist tcmplcs with hangings and tapcs
trics will cnablc you to havc a good marriagc in your ncxt
To havc good parcnts is a rcward lor your rcspccting and
hclping thosc who wcrc loncly and dcsolatc in your past lilc.
8cing a bird huntcr in your prcvious lilc has rcsultcd in your
bcing an orphan now.
To havc plcnty ol childrcn is attributablc to your sctting lrcc
birds in your prcvious lilc.
To havc dcstroycd ßowcrs habitually in your prcvious lilc has
causcd you to bc hcirlcss now.
Your longcvity is duc to your sctting lrcc scnticnt bcings in
your past lilc.
8cing shortlivcd is thc rcsult ol your committing too many
killings in your prcvious lilc.
To stcal thc wilc ol anothcr man will causc you to havc no
spousc in your ncxt rcincarnation.
To bc a widow now is duc to your disrcspccting your hus
band in your prcvious lilc.
8cing ungratclul in your prcvious lilc has causcd you to bc a
scrl at prcscnt.
To covct anothcr man’s wilc will causc you to havc no spousc
in your ncxt rcincarnation.
To distort truths habitually will causc you to sußcr blindncss
in your ncxt lilc.
To havc dry mouth is duc to your intcntionally blowing out
candlcs bclorc 8uddha’s altar in your past lilc. To vitupcratc
your parcnts will causc you to bc rcborn a dcal mutc in your ncxt
a.a a.¸
8cing a hunchback is punishmcnt lor jccring at thc 8uddha’s
lollowcrs in your prcvious lilc.
To havc committcd cvil with your hands in your past lilc is
thc causc lor your having disablcd hands now.
Your bcing lamc is imputablc to your bcing a robbcr in your
prcvious lilc.
To bc born a horsc or an ox is thc rcsult ol your dcnying your
dcbts in your prcvious lilc.
To bc rcborn a pig or dog is thc punishmcnt lor your dccciv
ing and hurting othcrs in your prcvious lilc.
Òßcring ßcsh to monks in your past lilc has givcn risc to
your constant illncss now.
To bc hcalthy is a rcward lor your oßcring drugs and mcdi
cations to savc thc sick and woundcd in your past lilc.
Rclcntlcssly pcrpctrating cvil in your prcvious lilc is thc
causc lor your prcscnt imprisonmcnt.
Plugging snakcpits and mousc holcs habitually will causc
you to starvc to dcath in your ncxt incarnation.
To intcntionally poison a rivcr or watcrsourcc will causc you
to dic ol poison in your ncxt lilc.
8cing lorlorn and lricndlcss is thc punishmcnt lor bcing un
laithlul and dcccitlul to othcrs in your past lilc.
Ðisrcspccting 8uddha’s tcaching will bring you constant
starvation in your ncxt rcbirth.
To spcw blood is thc punishmcnt lor cating mcat whilc pray
ing to 8uddha.
To havc attcndcd 8uddhist instruction with lcvity in your
prcvious lilc is thc causc lor your prcscnt dcalncss.
a.a a.¸
To bc amictcd with ulccrs is thc punishmcnt lor oßcring ßcsh
bclorc 8uddha’s altar in your past lilc.
To havc bad bodily odour is thc punishmcnt lor sclling in
ccnsc with dishoncsty in your prcvious lilc.
To hunt animals with ropc and nct will prcdcstinc your dcath
by hanging in your ncxt incarnation.
8cing unduly cnvious and jcalous in your past lilc is thc causc
lor your bcing loncly or bcing bcrclt ol spousc at prcscnt.
To bc struck by lightning or burnt by nrc will bc thc punish
mcnt lor dishoncst tradc dcalings.
8cing woundcd by bcasts or snakcs tclls you that thosc crca
turcs wcrc your cncmics in your prcvious lilc.
Vhatcvcr you do will comc back on you, so acccpt whatcvcr
justicc and rctribution that bclalls you.
8c not mistakcn that karma is lallacious. You will livc to
bcar thc conscqucnccs ol your dccds, cithcr within this lilctimc
or in your luturc lilc.
Should you doubt thc virtuc ol practising 8uddhism, could
you not scc thc happincss ol thc 8uddha’s lollowcrs.
Past karma dctcrmincs your prcscnt dcstiny.
Prcscnt karmas arc to mould your ncxt lilc.
Vhocvcr slandcrs this sutra will not bc rcborn again a human
Vhocvcr acccpts this sutra will witncss thc truth.
Vhocvcr writcs this sutra will prospcr in succcsslul livcs.
Vhocvcr carrics this sutra will bc lrcc lrom mishaps.
Vhocvcr prcachcs this sutra will bccomc a vcry intclligcnt
pcrson in succcssivc livcs.
a.¡ a.¸
Vhocvcr rccitcs this sutra will bc wcllrcspcctcd by pcoplc
in his ncxt rcincarnation.
Vhocvcr distributcs this sutra lrcc to all will bccomc a lcadcr
to humanity in his ncxt lilc.
!l karma did not producc cßcct, what promptcd VuLin, a
dutilul son, to rcscuc his mothcr undcr gravc dangcr.
Vhocvcr is laithlul to this sutra will not lail to witncss thc
ctcrnal paradisc.
Tc Law ol Karma works lorcvcr, and thc lruit ol good dccd
will comc in duc coursc.”
Having spokcn thc abovc Sutra to Ananda and thc othcr lol
lowcrs, thc Vorldhonourcd Ònc addcd, “Tcrc arc innumcr
ablc cxamplcs ol Karmic Law, but ! havc only mcntioncd in
Tcn Ananda said, “Until thc cnd ol thc prcscnt Ðark Agc, most
human bcings would havc, through succcssivc livcs accumulatcd
countlcss misdccds bccausc ol thcir ignorancc ol thc karmic con
scqucnccs, but thanks to our Lord and thc Sutra hc has so kindly
givcn us, whocvcr writcs and rcads, prints and distributcs this
Sutra, upon praying to thc 8uddha, will bc blcsscd with ctcrnal
happincss and bc admittcd to scc Amitabha 8uddha, Kuan Shih
Yin P’usa and all othcr 8uddhas in thc hcavcnly paradisc.
Altcr Ananda spokc, all 8uddha’s disciplcs and lollowcrs lclt
cstatic and cnlightcncd and, altcr bowing rcspcctlully and vow
ing to abidc by this Sutra, took thcir journcy homc.
a.¡ a.¸
The 9iamond _utra
( The 7ajracchedika-Jrajna-Jaramita _utra)
Tis is undoubtcdly onc ol thc most popular Sutras among thc
Chincsc. Almost cvcry 8uddhist has hcard ol or rcad it, though
thc numbcr ol thosc who arc ablc to comprchcnd its lull mcan
ing arc vcry small indccd. !t is bclicvcd that thc mcrit lor thosc
who assiduously study this doctrinc is immcasurablc and cvcn
without comprchcnsion ol its highcst mcaning, a mcasurclcss
cmcacy is ascribcd to rccitation ol thc words ol this Sutra in
dcvout laith. Tis cxplains lor thc grcat popularity ol thc Sutra
with thc pcoplc so that almost cvcry 8uddhist homc has a copy
ol it. Tc most lamous amongst all thc translations lrom San
skrit into Chincsc is that ol Kuxavaj:va and hcrc is its vcrsion
which was translatcd by Upasaka Lu KuanYu.
Tus havc ! hcard. Òncc upon a timc, thc 8uddha sojourncd in
thc Jctavana park ncar Sravasti with an asscmbly ol twclvc hun
drcd and nlty bhiksus.
Ònc day, at mcaltimc, thc Vorld Honourcd Ònc put on His
robc, took His bowl, and cntcrcd thc grcat town ol Sravasti to
bcg lor His lood. Altcr Hc had bcggcd lrom door to door, Hc
rcturncd to His placc. Vhcn Hc had takcn His mcal, Hc put
away His robc and bowl, washcd His lcct, arrangcd His scat and
sat down.
At thc timc, thc cldcr Subhuti who was in thc asscmbly, rosc
lrom his scat, uncovcrcd his right shouldcr, knclt upon his right
kncc, rcspcctlully joincd thc palms ol his hands and said to thc
8uddha: ‘!t is vcry rarc, Ò Vorld Honourcd Ònc! how wcll thc
a.6 a.,
Tathagata protccts and thinks ol all 8odhisattvas, how wcll Hc
instructs all thc 8odhisattvas.
“Ò Vorld Honourcd Ònc, whcn virtuous mcn or womcn dc
vclop thc suprcmccnlightcnmcnt mind, how should thcir minds
abidc and how should thcy bc subducd:”
Tc 8uddha said: ‘¡xccllcnt, cxccllcnt, Subhuti! As you say,
thc Tathagata protccts, chcrishcs and instructs 8odhisattvas so
wcll. Now listcn attcntivcly and ! will tcll you how thc minds ol
virtuous mcn and womcn, who dcvclop thc suprcmc cnlightcn
mcnt mind, should thus abidc and bc subducd’.
(Subhuti rcplicd:) ‘Òh ycs, Vorld Honourcd Ònc, ! shall bc
glad to hcar (your instruction)’.
Tc 8uddha said: ‘Subhuti, all 8odhisattvas and Maha
sattvas should subduc thcir minds as lollows: All living bcings
born lrom cggs, wombs, humidity or by translormation, with
or without lorm, cithcr thoughtlul or thoughtlcss, and ncithcr
thoughtlul nor thoughtlcss arc all lcd by mc to thc nnal nirvana
lor thc cxtinction ol rcincarnation. Although immcasurablc, un
countablc and unlimitablc numbcrs ol living bcings arc thus lcd
to (thc nnal nirvana lor) thc cxtinction ol rcincarnation, it is truc
that not a living bcing is lcd thcrc. Vhy so, Subhuti: (8ccausc) il
a 8odhisattva (still) clings to thc lalsc notion (laksana) ol an cgo,
a pcrsonality, a bcing and a lilc, hc is not (a truc) 8odhisattva.
‘Furthcrmorc, Subhuti a 8odhisattva’s mind should not abidc
anywhcrc whcn giving alms, that is to say, hc should givc with
out a mind abiding in lorm, or hc should givc without a mind
abiding in sound, or in smcll, or in tastc, or in touch or in things.
Subhuti, thus a 8odhisattva should givc alms without a mind
abiding in lalsc notions ol lorm laksana.
a.6 a.,
‘Vhy: (8ccausc) il a 8odhisattva’s mind docs not abidc in
lorms (laksanas) whcn practising charity (dana), his mcrit will
bc inconccivablc and immcasurablc. Subhuti, what do you think:
Can you think ol and mcasurc thc cxtcnt ol spacc in thc ¡ast:’
‘! cannot, Vorld Honourcd Ònc!’
‘Subhuti, can you think ol and mcasurc (all) thc cxtcnt ol
spacc in thc South, Vcst and North, as wcll as in thc intcrmcdi
atc dircctions, including thc zcnith and nadir:’
‘! cannot, Vorld Honourcd Ònc!’
‘Subhuti, (whcn) a 8odhisattva practiscs charity without a
mind abiding in lorms, his mcrit is cqually inconccivablc and
‘Subhuti, a 8odhisattva’s mind should Tnus abidc as taught.
‘Subhuti, what do you think! Can thc Tathagata bc sccn by
mcans ol His bodily lorm:’
‘No, Vorld Honourcd Ònc, thc Tathagata cannot bc sccn by
mcans ol His bodily lorm. Vhy: 8ccausc whcn thc Tathagata
spcaks ol bodily lorm, it is not (rcal) lorm’.
Tc 8uddha said to Subhuti: ‘¡vcrything with lorm is unrcal,
il all lorms arc sccn as unrcal, thc Tathagata will bc pcrccivcd’.
Subhuti said to thc 8uddha: ‘Vorld Honourcd Ònc, will
thcrc bc living bcings who can dcvclop a truc bclicl in thcsc words,
scntcnccs and chaptcrs whcn thcy arc cxpoundcd to thcm:’
Tc 8uddha said: ‘Subhuti, do not spcak likc that. !n thc
last 500 ycars, bclorc thc nnal passing ol thc Tathagata, thcrc
will bc thosc who will obscrvc thc rulcs ol morality and pcrlorm
good actions which will rcsult in blcssing. Tcsc pcoplc will bc
ablc to dcvclop a laith in thcsc scntcnccs (which thcy will con
sidcr as) cmbodying thc Truth. You should know that thcy will
a.· a.µ
not havc plantcd good roots in just onc, two, thrcc, lour, or nvc
8uddha lands. Tcy will havc plantcd thcm in countlcss thou
sands and tcns ol thousands ol 8uddha lands. Upon hcaring
thcsc scntcnccs, thcrc will arisc in thcm a singlc thought ol purc
laith. Subhuti, thc Tathagata knows and sccs all, thcsc living
bcings will thus acquirc immcasurablc mcrits. Vhy: (8ccausc)
thcy will havc wipcd out lalsc notions ol an cgo, a pcrsonality, a
bcing and a lilc, ol Ðharma and NotÐharma. Vhy: (8ccausc)
il thcir minds grasp lorm (laksana), thcy will (still) cling to thc
notion ol an cgo, a pcrsonality, a bcing and a lilc. !l thcir minds
grasp thc Ðharma, thcy will (still) cling to thc notion ol an cgo,
a pcrsonality, a bcing and a lilc. Vhy: (8ccausc) il thcir minds
grasp thc NotÐharma, thcy will (still) cling to thc notion ol an
cgo, a pcrsonality, a bcing and a lilc. Tcrclorc, onc should not
grasp and hold on to thc notion ol Ðharma as wcll as that ol Not
Ðharma. Tis is why, thc Tathagata always said: “Yc 8hiksus,
should know that thc Ðharma ! cxpound is likcncd to a ralt”
¡vcn thc Ðharma should bc cast asidc, hovc much morc so thc
‘Subhuti, what do you think: Has thc Tathagata (in lact) ob
taincd Suprcmc ¡nlightcnmcnt (Anubodhi): Ðocs thc Tathagata
(in lact) cxpound thc Ðharma:’
Subhuti rcplicd: ‘As ! undcrstand thc mcaning ol thc 8uddha’s
tcaching, thcrc is no nxcd Ðharma callcd Suprcmc ¡nlightcn
mcnt and thcrc is also no nxcd Ðharma thc Tathagata can cx
pound. Vhy: (8ccausc) thc Ðharma thc Tathagata cxpounds
cannot bc clung to and cannot bc cxprcsscd (in words), it is nci
thcr Ðharma nor NotÐharma. Vhy is this: All 8hadras and
Aryas dißcr on account ol thc ¡tcrnal Asamskrta Ðharma!
a.· a.µ
‘Subhuti’ what do you think: !l somconc nllcd thc Univcrsc
with thc scvcn trcasurcs and gavc thcm all as alms, would his
mcrit bc grcat:’
Subhuti rcplicd: ‘\cry grcat, Vorld Honourcd Ònc. Vhy:
8ccausc this mcrit is not thc naturc ol mcrit, thc Tathagata says
it is grcat’.
‘Subhuti, il on thc othcr hand, somconc rcccivcd and kcpt
cvcn a lour linc stanza ol this sutra and cxpoundcd it to othcrs,
his mcrit would surpass that (ol thc givcr ol trcasurcs). Vhy: (8c
causc), Subhuti, all 8uddha and thcir Suprcmc¡nlightcnmcnt
Ðharma originatc lrom this sutra. Subhuti thc socallcd 8uddhas
and Ðharmas arc not rcal 8uddhas and Ðharmas’.
‘Subhuti, what do you think: Can onc who has cntcrcd thc
strcam (srotaapanna) havc this thought (in his mind): ! havc
obtaincd thc lruit ol cntcring thc strcam:’
Subhuti rcplicd: ‘No, Vorld Honourcd Ònc. Vhy: 8ccausc
srotaapanna mcans ‘cntcring thc strcam’, but actually thcrc is
no cntry into cithcr lorm, sound, smcll, tastc, touch or dharma.
Tcrclorc, hc is callcd srotaapanna’.
‘Subhuti, what do you think: Can a Sakrdagamin havc this
thought (in his mind): ! havc obtaincd thc lruit ol a Sakrdagamin:’
Subhuti rcplicd: ‘No, Vorld Honourcd Ònc. Vhy: 8ccausc
Sakrdagamin mcans “oncc morc to comc”, but actually thcrc is
ncithcr coming nor going. Tcrclorc, hc is callcd a Sakrdagamin!
‘Subhuti, what do you think: Can an Anagamin havc this
thought (in his mind): ! havc obtaincd thc lruit ol an Anagamin:’
Subhuti rcplicd: ‘No, Vorld Honourcd Ònc. Vhy: 8ccausc
Anagamin mcans “nocoming” but actually thcrc is no such a
thing as nocoming. Tcrclorc, hc is callcd an Anagamin’.
aac aa.
‘Subhuti, what do you think: Can an Arhat havc this thought
(in his mind): ! havc obtaincd thc cnlightcnmcnt ol an Arhat:’
Subhuti rcplicd: ‘No, Vorld Honourcd Ònc. Vhy: 8ccausc
thcrc is no Ðharma which is callcd Arhatship. Vorld Honourcd
Ònc, il an Arhat thinks “! havc obtaincd thc cnlightcnmcnt ol an
Arhat”. hc will still grasp and hold on to thc notion ol an cgo, a
pcrsonality, a bcing and a lilc. Vorld Honourcd Ònc, thc 8uddha
has dcclarcd that ! havc obtaincd thc Passionlcss Samadhi and
that ! surpass all mcn. ! am, thcrclorc, thc highcst passionlcss
Arhat. Vorld Honourcd Ònc, ! do not think “! am a passion
lcss Arhat” lor, Vorld Honourcd Ònc, il ! had thought “! havc
attaincd Arhatship”, thc Vorld Honourcd Ònc would not havc
said: “Subhuti takcs dclight in thc calm and quict, lrcc lrom tcmp
tation and distrcss.” Tc lact that Subhuti docs not act (mcntally)
is callcd thc calm and quict in which Subhuti takcs dclight’.
Tc 8uddha said to Subbuti: ‘Vhat do you think: Ðid thc
Tathagata obtain anything lrom thc Ðharma, whcn in thc past
Hc was with Ðipankara 8uddha:’
‘No, Vorld Honourcd Ònc. Vhcn thc Tathagata was with
Ðipankara, Hc did not obtain anything lrom thc Ðharma’.
‘Subhuti, what do you think: Ðo 8odhisattvas adorn 8uddha
lands (by thcir moral actions):’
‘No. Vorld Honourcd Ònc. Vhy: 8ccausc this is not rcal
adornmcnt, it is (mcrcly) callcd thc adornmcnt ol 8uddha lands’.
‘Subhuti, this is why all 8odhisattvas and Mahasattvas should
thus dcvclop a purc and clcan mind which should not abidc in
lorm, sound, smcll, tastc, touch and dharma. Tcy should dc
vclop a mind which docs not abidc in anything.
aac aa.
‘Subhhuti, supposing a man has a body as grcat as Mount
Sumcru, what do you think: Vould such a body bc grcat:’
Subhuti rcplicd: ‘\cry grcat, Vorld Honourcd Ònc. Vhy:
8ccausc thc 8uddha says it is not thc rcal body but is (mcrcly)
callcd a grcat body’.
‘Subhuti, il thcrc wcrc as many rivcrs likc thc Gangcs as
thcrc arc grains ol sand in thc Gangcs, would thc total ol grains
ol sand in all thcsc rivcrs bc vcry grcat:’
Subhuti rcplicd: ‘\cry grcat, Vorld Honourcd Ònc! Tcsc
rivcrs would bc innumcrablc, how much morc so would bc thcir
‘Subhuti, ! now tcll you truly. !l a virtuous man or woman
nllcd a numbcr ol univcrscs, as grcat as thc numbcr ol sand
grains in all thcsc rivcrs, with thc scvcn trcasurcs, and gavc thcm
all away in alms (dana), would his or hcr mcrit bc grcat:’
Subhuti rcplicd: ‘\cry grcat, Vorld Honourcd Ònc!’
Tc 8uddha said to Subhuti: ‘!l a virtuous man or woman
rcccivcs and holds (in mind) cvcn a lourlinc stanza ol this sutra
and cxpounds it to othcrs, his or hcr mcrit will surpass that ol
thc almsgivcr. Furthcrmorc, Subhuti, whcrcsocvcr this sutra or
cvcn onc ol its lourlinc stanzas is cxpoundcd, you should know
that all dcvas, mcn and asuras should makc thcir oßcrings thcrc
as il thc placc as a 8uddha stupa or a 8uddha tcmplc. How
much morc so il somconc is ablc to rcccivc, hold (in mind), rcad
and rccitc thc wholc sutra! Subhuti, you should know that such
a pcrson will achicvc thc highcst and rarcst Ðharma. Vhcrc
socvcr this sutra may bc lound, thc 8uddha and His rcspcctcd
disciplcs will bc thcrc also’.
aaa aa¸
Subhuti thcn askcd thc 8uddha: ‘Vorld Honourcd Ònc,
what namc should bc givcn to this sutra and how should wc rc
ccivc and hold it (in mind):’
Tc 8uddha said: ‘Tis sutra should bc callcd “Tc Ðiamond
prajnaparamita” undcr which namc you should rcccivc and hold
it. Vhy: 8ccausc, Subhuti, thc Prajnaparamita as cxpoundcd
by thc 8uddha, is not Prajnaparamita but is (mcrcly) so callcd’.
‘Subhuti, what do you think: Ðocs thc Tathagata cxpound
thc Ðharma:’
Subhuti said: ‘Vorld Honourcd Ònc, thc Tathagata docs not
cxpound anything’.
‘Subhuti, what do you think: Arc thcrc many particlcs ol
dust in thc univcrsc:’
Subhuti rcplicd: ‘Many, Vorld Honourcd Ònc!’
‘Subhuti, thc Tathagata says thcsc particlcs ol dust arc not
(rcal), (but) arc (mcrcly) callcd particlcs ol dust. Tc Tathagata
says thc univcrsc is not (rcal), but it is (mcrcly) callcd thc
‘Subhuti, what do you think: Can thc Tathagata bc pcrccivcd
by mcans ol His thirtytwo physical charactcristics (laksanas):’
‘No, Vorld Honourcd Ònc. Tc Tathagata cannot bc pcrccivcd
by thcm. Vhy: 8ccausc thc Tathagata says thcy arc not rcal but
arc (mcrcly) callcd thc thirtytwo physical charactcristics’.
‘Subhuti, il on thc onc hand, a virtuous man or woman, in
giving alms (dana), sacrinccs as many livcs as thcrc arc sand
grains in thc Gangcs, and on thc othcr hand, somconc rcccivcs
and holds (in mind) cvcn a lourlinc stanza ol this sutra, and
cxpounds it to othcrs, thc mcrit rcsulting lrom thc lattcr will bc
aaa aa¸
At that timc, altcr listcning to this sutra, Subhuti had undcr
stood its prolound mcaning and was movcd to tcars. Hc said to
thc 8uddha: ‘How rarc, Ò Vorld Honourcd Ònc! Tc 8uddha
has cxpoundcd such a vcry prolound sutra. Sincc ! havc acquircd
thc wisdom cyc, ! havc not hcard ol such a sutra. Vorld Hon
ourcd Ònc, il somconc altcr listcning to this sutra bclicvcs that
his mind is clcan and purc, hc will rcalizc rcality. Vc should
know that such a pcrson will achicvc thc highcst and rarcst
mcrit. Vorld Honourcd Ònc, this Rcality is not Rcality but
thc Tathagata calls it Rcality. Vorld Honourcd Ònc, as ! now
listcn to this sutra ! havc no dimculty in bclicving, undcrstand
ing, rccciving and holding it, but in thc last cpoch, thc last nvc
hundrcd ycar pcriod il thcrc bc a man who (happcns to) listcn to
this sutra, bclicvcs, undcrstands, rcccivcs and holds it, hc will bc
most rarc. Vhy: 8ccausc hc will no longcr (think in tcrms ol)
an cgo, a pcrsonality, a bcing and a lilc. Vhy: 8ccausc thc lorms
ol an cgo, a pcrsonality, a bcing and a lilc arc not lorms. Vhy:
8ccausc whcn hc has rcjcctcd all lorms hc is callcd a 8uddha’.
Tc 8uddha said: ‘Just so! Subhuti, just so! !l on thc onc
hand, thcrc bc a man who listcns to this sutra and is not nllcd
with alarm, lcar, or drcad, you should know that such a pcrson
is most rarc. Vhy: 8ccausc, Subhuti, as thc Tathagata says, thc
nrst pcrlcction (paramita) is not so (but) is (mcrcly) callcd thc
nrst pcrlcction (paramita).
‘Subhuti, thc Tathagata spcaks ol thc Pcrlcction ol Paticncc
(ksantiparamita) which is not but is callcd thc Pcrlcction ol
Paticncc. Vhy: 8ccausc, Subhuti, in (a) past (lilc) whcn my
body was mutilatcd by Kaliraja, ! had at that timc no notion ol
an cgo, a pcrsonality a bcing and a lilc. Vhy: 8ccausc, in thc
aa¡ aa¸
past, whcn my body was dismcmbcrcd, il ! (still) hcld thc con
ccption ol an cgo, a pcrsonality, a bcing and a lilc, ! would havc
bccn stirrcd by lcclings ol angcr and hatrcd. Subhuti, ! also rc
mcmbcr that in thc past, during my lormcr nvc hundrcd livcs, !
was a Ksantyrsi and hcld no conccption ol an cgo, a pcrsonality,
a bcing and a lilc. Tcrclorc, Subhuti, 8odhisattvas should lor
sakc all conccptions ol lorm and rcsolvc to dcvclop thc Suprcmc
¡nlightcnmcnt Mind (Anuttarasamyaksamodhi). Tcir minds
should not abidc in lorm, sound, smcll, tastc, touch and dharma.
Tcir minds shoud abidc nowhcrc. !l minds abidc somcwhcrc, it
will bc in lalschood. Tis is why thc 8uddha says that 8odhi
sattvas’ minds should not abidc in lorm whcn practising charity
(dana). Subhuti, all 8odhisattvas should thus makc oßcrings lor
thc wcllarc ol all living bcings. Tc Tathagata spcaks ol lorms
which arc not lorms and ol living bcings who arc living bcings.
‘Subhuti, thc Tathagatas’ words arc truc and corrcspond to
rcality. Tcy arc ultimatc words, ncithcr dcccitlul nor hctcrodox.
Subhuti, thc Ðharma thc Tathagata has obtaincd is ncithcr rcal
nor unrcal.
‘Subhuti, il a 8odhisattva practiscs charity (dana) with a
mind abiding in things (dharma), hc is likc a man cntcring
thc darkncss whcrc hc cannot scc anything, (but) il a 8odhi
sattva practiscs dana with a mind not abiding in dharma, hc
is likc a man with opcn cycs, who can scc cvcrything in thc
‘Subhuti, in luturc agcs, il a virtuous man or woman is ablc to
rcccivc, hold (in mind), rcad and rccitc this sutra, thc Tathagata,
by mcans ol His 8uddha Visdom, will know and scc clcarly
that such a pcrson will achicvc immcasurablc and unlimitablc
aa¡ aa¸
mcrits. Subhuti, il (on thc onc hand) a virtuous man or woman
sacrinccs in thc practicc ol charity (dana), as many livcs as thc
sandgrains ol thc Gangcs in thc morning, at midday and again
in thc cvcning, and continucs so doing throughout numbcrlcss
acons, and il (on thc othcr hand) a pcrson altcr listcning to this
sutra bclicvcs in his own mind without (lurthcr) contradiction,
thc lattcr’s mcrit will surpass that ol thc lormcr. How much
morc so il this sutra is writtcn, rcccivcd, hcld, rcad, rccitcd and
cxpoundcd to othcrs!
‘Subhuti, to sum up, thc mcrits rcsulting lrom this sutra arc
inconccivablc, incstimablc and without limit. Tc Tathagata cx
pounds it to thosc initiatcd into thc Mahayana and thc Suprcmc
Yana. !l thcy arc ablc to rcccivc, hold (in mind), rcad and rccitc
it and cxpound it widcly to othcrs, thc Tathagata will know and
will scc that thcy will achicvc incxprcssiblc and inconccivablc
mcrits that arc without mcasurc or limit. Tcy will bcar (rcspon
sibility lor) thc Tathagata’s Suprcmc ¡nlightcnmcnt (Anuttara
samyaksambodhi.) Vhy: 8ccausc, Subhuti, thosc who takc dc
light in thc Hinayana and hold thc vicw ol an cgo, a pcrsonality,
a bcing and a lilc, cannot listcn to, rcccivc, hold (in mind), rcad
and rccitc this sutra and cxplain it to othcrs.
‘Subhuti, whcrcsocvcr this sutra may bc lound, all worlds ol
dcvas, mcn and asuras should makc oßcrings, lor you should know
that such a placc is just a stupa which should bc rcvcrcd, worshippcd
and circumambulatcd, with oßcrings ol ßowcrs and inccnsc.
‘Furthcrmorc, Subhuti, il a virtuous man or woman rcccivcs,
holds (in mind), rcads and rccitcs this sutra and is dcspiscd by
othcrs, this pcrson who is bound to sußcr lrom cvil dcstinics
in rctribution lor his past sins, and whosc karmic sins arc now
aa6 aa,
cradicatcd by thc othcrs’ contcmpt, will attain Suprcmc ¡nlight
cnmcnt (Anuttarasamyaksambodhi).
‘Subhuti, ! rcmcmbcr that in thc past countlcss acons bclorc
thc advcnt ol Ðipamkara 8uddha, ! mct 84,000 millions ol
8uddhas to whom ! madc oßcrings and whom ! scrvcd lault
lcssly. Now il in thc last pcriod (ol 500 ycars) in thc 8uddha
kalpa somconc is ablc to rcccivc, hold (in mind), rcad and rccitc
this sutra, his mcrits will lar cxcccd minc which rcsultcd lrom
my oßcrings madc to 8uddhas, lor minc cannot bc rcckoncd
as onc hundrcdth, onc thousandth, onc tcn thousandth or
onc hundrcd thousandth part thcrcol, in lact no computation
or comparison is possiblc. Subhuti, in thc last pcriod ol thc
8uddha kalpa, il a virtuous man or woman is ablc to rcccivc,
hold (in mind), rcad and rccitc this sutra, my lull statcmcnt ol
this pcrson’s mcrits will crcatc dcrangcmcnt, doubt and disbc
licl in thc minds ol all listcncrs. Subhuti, you should know that
as thc mcaning ol this sutra is inconccivablc, so is thc lruit ol
its rcward.’
At thc timc, Subhuti askcd thc 8uddha: ‘Vorld Honourcd Ònc,
il a virtuous man or woman is dctcrmincd to dcvclop thc Su
prcmc ¡nlightcncd Mind, how should his or hcr mind abidc and
how should it bc subducd:’
Tc 8uddha said to Subhuti: ‘A virtuous man or woman
who is dctcrmincd to dcvclop thc Suprcmc ¡nlightcncd Mind,
should thus dcvclop it: ! havc to lcad all living bcings to put a
aa6 aa,
stop to (rcincarnation) and cscapc (sußcring), and whcn thcy
havc bccn so lcd, not onc ol thcm in lact stops (rcincarnating)
or cscapcs sußcring. Vhy: 8ccausc, Subhuti, il a 8odhisattva
clings to thc notion ol an cgo, a pcrsonality, a bcing and a lilc, hc
is not a (truc) 8odhisattva. Vhy: 8ccausc, Subhuti, thcrc is not
rcally a Ðharma which can dcvclop thc Suprcmc¡nlightcnmcnt
‘Subhuti, what do you think: Vhcn thc Tathagata was with
Ðipamkara 8uddha, did Hc havc any Ðharma by mcans ol
which Hc attaincd Suprcmc ¡nlightcnmcnt (Anuttarasamyak
‘No, Vorld Honourcd Ònc. As ! undcrstand thc mcaning ol
thc 8uddha’s tcaching, whcn Hc was with Ðipamkara 8uddha,
Hc had no Ðharma by mcans ol which Hc attaincd “Suprcmc
Tc 8uddha said: ‘Just so! Subhuti, just so! Tcrc was rcally
no Ðharma by mcans ol which thc Tathagata attaincd Suprcmc
¡nlightcnmcnt. Subhuti, il thcrc had bccn, Ðipamkara 8uddha
would not havc prcdictcd: ‘!n your ncxt lilc, you will bc a 8uddha
namcd Sakyamuni’.’
‘Vhy is it: 8ccausc “Tathagata” mcans thc suchncss ol all
Ðharmas. !l somconc still says: ‘Tc Tathagata obtaincd Suprcmc
¡nlightcnmcnt,” (! tcll you, Subhuti, thcrc is no Ðharma by
mcans ol which thc 8uddha did so, (bccausc), Subhuti, that
¡nlightcnmcnt was by itscll ncithcr rcal nor unrcal. Tis is why
thc Tathagata says that all Ðharmas arc 8uddha’s Ðharmas.
Subhuti, thcsc socallcd Ðharmas arc not, but arc (cxpcdicntly),
callcd all Ðharmas. Subhuti, supposing thcrc is a man whosc
body is grcat.’
aa· aaµ
Subhuti said: ‘Vorld Honourcd Ònc, thc grcat body ol
which thc Tathagata spcaks is not grcat, but is (cxpcdicntly)
callcd a grcat body.’
‘Subhuti, in likc manncr, il a 8odhisattva says: “! should
lcad uncountablc living bcings to put a stop to (rcincarnation)
and cscapc (lrom sußcring)”, hc cannot bc callcd a 8odhisattva.
Vhy: 8ccausc thcrc is rcally no dharma callcd thc 8odhisattva
(stagc). Tcrclorc, thc 8uddha says: “Òl all dharmas, thcrc is not
a singlc onc which posscsscs an cgo, a pcrsonality, a bcing and
a lilc.” Subhuti, il a 8odhisattva says: “! should adorn 8uddha
lands”, hc cannot bc callcd a 8odhisattva. Vhy: 8ccausc whcn
thc Tathagata spcaks ol such adornmcnt it is not, but is (cxpcdi
cntly), callcd adornmcnt. Subhuti, il a 8odhisattva is thoroughly
vcrscd in (thc doctrinc ol) thc unrcality ol cgo and ol things
(dharma), thc Tathagata will call him a truc 8odhisattva.
‘Subhuti, what do you think: Ðocs thc Tathagata posscss
human cycs:’
‘Ycs, Vorld Honourcd Ònc, thc Tathagata posscsscs human
‘Subhuti, what do you think: Ðocs thc Tathagata posscss
dcva cycs:’
‘Ycs, Vorld Honourcd Ònc, thc Tathagata posscsscs dcva
‘Subhuti, Vhat do you think: Ðocs thc Tathagata posscss
wisdom cycs:’
‘Ycs, Vorld Honourcd Ònc, thc Tathagata posscss wisdom
‘Subhuti, what do you think: Ðocs thc Tathagata posscss
Ðharma cycs:’
aa· aaµ
‘Ycs, Vorld Honourcd Ònc, thc Tathagata posscss Ðharma
‘Subhuti, what do you think: docs thc Tathagata posscss
8uddha cycs:’
‘Ycs, Vorld Honourcd Ònc, thc Tathagala posscss 8uddha
‘Subhuti, what do you think: Ðocs thc Tathagata say that
thc sandgrains in thc Gangcs arc sandgrains:’
‘Ycs, Vorld Honours Ònc, thc Tathagata says thcy arc sand
‘Subhuti, what do you think: !l thcrc wcrc as many, Gangcs
rivcrs as sandgrains in thc Gangcs, and il thcrc wcrc as many
8uddha rcalms as sandgrains ol all thcsc Gangcs rivcrs, would
thcrc bc many world systcms:’
‘Many, Vorld Honourcd Ònc!’
Tc 8uddha said: ‘Tc living bcings in all thcsc world systcms
havc many dißcrcnt minds which arc all known to thc Tathagata.
Vhy: 8ccausc thc minds thc Tathagata spcaks ol arc not minds,
but arc (cxpcdicntly) callcd minds. And why: 8ccausc, Subhuti,
ncithcr thc past, thc prcscnt nor thc luturc mind can bc lound.
‘Subhuti, what do you think: !l somconc nllcd thc univcrsc
with thc scvcn trcasurcs and gavc all away in his practicc ol dana,
would this (good) causc cnablc thc givcr to gain a grcat mcrit:’
‘Ycs, Vorld Honourcd Ònc, bccausc ol this (good) causc thc
givcr would gain a grcat mcrit.’
‘Subhuti, il thc mcrit was rcal, thc Tathagata would not say it
was grcat. Hc says so bccausc thcrc is no mcrit.’
‘Subhuti, what do you think: Can thc 8uddha bc pcrccivcd
by His complctcly pcrlcct physical body (rupakaya):’
a¸c a¸.
‘No, Vorld Honourcd Ònc, thc Tathagata should not bc
so pcrccivcd. Vhy: 8ccausc thc 8uddha says thc complctcly
pcrlcct rupakaya is not, but is callcd thc complctcly pcrlcct
‘Subhuti, what do you think: Can thc Tathagata bc pcrccivcd
by His complctcly pcrlcct lorms:’
‘No, Vorld Honourcd Ònc, thc Tathagata should not bc
so pcrccivcd, bccausc thc Tathagata says thc complctcly pcrlcct
lorms arc not, but arc callcd complctcly pcrlcct lorms.’
‘Subhuti, do not say that thc Tathagata thinks: “! must cx
pound thc Ðharma”. Ðo not havc such a thought. Vhy: 8ccausc
il somconc says so, hc will rcally slandcr thc 8uddha and bc un
ablc to undcrstand my tcaching. Subhuti, whcn (thc Tathagata)
cxpounds thc Ðharma, thcrc is rcally no Ðharma to tcach: but
this is (cxpcdicntly) callcd tcaching thc Ðharma.’
Tcn thc wisc Subhuti said to thc 8uddha: ‘Vorld Honourcd
Ònc, will thcrc bc in luturc agcs living bcings who will bclicvc
this Ðharma whcn thcy hcar it:’
Tc 8uddha said: ‘Subhuti, thc living bcings (you just mcn
tioncd) arc ncithcr living nor notliving bcings. Vhy: 8ccausc,
Subhuti, thc Tathagata says thcsc living bcings arc not (rcally),
but thcy arc (cxpcdicntly), callcd living bcings.’
Subhuti said to thc 8uddha: ‘Vorld Honourcd Ònc, docs
your (own) attainmcnt ol Suprcmc ¡nlightcnmcnt (Anuttara
samyaksambodhi) mcan that you havc not gaincd anything
Tc 8uddha rcplicd: ‘Just so, Subhuti, just so, ! havc not
gaincd cvcn thc lcast Ðharma lrom Suprcmc ¡nlightcn
mcnt, and this is callcd Suprcmc ¡nlightcnmcnt. Furthcrmorc,
a¸c a¸.
Subhuti, this Ðharma is univcrsal and impartial, whcrclorc it
is callcd Suprcmc ¡nlightcnmcnt. Tc practicc ol all good vir
tucs (Ðharmas), lrcc lrom attachmcnt to an cgo, a pcrsonal
ity, a bcing and a lilc, will rcsult in thc attainmcnt ol Suprcmc
¡nlightcnmcnt. Subhuti, thc socallcd good virtucs (Ðharmas),
thc Tathagata says, arc not good, but arc (cxpcdicntly) callcd
good virtucs.
‘Subhuti, il (on thc othcr hand) a man, in his practicc ol
charity (dana) givcs away thc scvcn trcasurcs pilcd up in a hcap
as grcat as all thc Mounts Sumcru in thc Univcrsc put togcthcr,
and (on thc othcr hand) anothcr man rcccivcs, holds (in mind),
rcads and rccitcs cvcn a lourlinc stanza ol this PrajnaSutra, and
cxpounds it to othcrs, thc mcrit rcsulting lrom thc lormcr’s dana
will not bc worth onchundrcdth, oncthousandth, onctcn
thousandth and onchundrcd thousandth part ol that obtaincd
by thc lattcr, as no conccivablc comparison can bc madc bctwccn
thc two.
‘Subhuti, what do you think: You should not say thc Tatha
gata has this thought (in His mind): “! should libcratc living
bcings’.” Subhuti, you should not think so. Vhy: 8ccausc thcrc
arc rcally no living bcings whom thc Tathagata can libcratc. !l
thcrc wcrc, thc Tathagata would hold (thc conccpt ol) an cgo, a
pcrsonality, a bcing and a lilc. Subhuti, (whcn) thc Tathagata
spcaks ol an cgo, thcrc is in rcality no cgo, although common
mcn think so. Subhuti, thc Tathagata says common mcn arc not,
but arc (cxpcdicntly) callcd, common mcn.
‘Subhuti, what do you think: Can thc Tathagata bc rccog
niscd by His thirtytwo physical charactcristics:’
Subhuti rcplicd: ‘Ycs, ycs, Hc can.’
a¸a a¸¸
Tc 8uddha said: ‘Subhuti, il thc Tathagata can bc rccog
niscd by His thirtytwo physical charactcristics, a world rulcr
(cakravarti) would bc thc Tathagata.’
Subhuti said to thc 8uddha: ‘Vorld Honourcd Ònc, as ! un
dcrstand your tcaching, thc Tathagata cannot bc rccogniscd by
His thirtytwo physical charactcristics’
Tcrcupon, thc Vorld Honourcd Ònc rccitcd thc lollowing
‘Hc who sccs mc by outward appcarancc
(And) sccks mc in sound,
Trcads thc hctcrodox path
(And) cannot pcrccivc thc Tathagata.
‘Subhuti, il you havc (in your mind) this thought: “Tc Tathagata
docs not rcly on His posscssion ol charactcristics to obtain su
prcmc ¡nlightcnmcnt,’ Subhuti, banish that thought. Subhuti, il
you think it whilc dcvcloping thc Pcrlcct ¡nlightcnmcnt Mind,
you will advocatc thc annihilation ol all Ðharmas. Ðo not havc
such a thought. Vhy: 8ccausc onc who dcvclops thc Suprcmc
¡nlightcnmcnt Mind, docs not advocatc thc annihilation (ol
‘Subhuti, il (onc thc onc hand) a 8odhisattva gavc in his
practicc ol dana, all thc scvcn trcasurcs in quantitics sumcicnt
to nll worlds as many as sandgrains in thc Gangcs, and (on thc
othcr hand) anothcr man comprchcndcd that all dharmas wcrc
cgolcss and thcrcby achicvcd pcrlcction ol paticncc (ksanti), thc
lattcr’s mcrit would surpass that ol thc lormcr. Vhy: 8ccausc,
Subhuti, all 8odhisattvas do not rcccivc rcward lor thcir
a¸a a¸¸
Subhuti askcd thc 8uddha: ‘Vorld Honourcd Ònc, why do
8odhisattvas not rcccivc rcward lor thcir mcrits:’
‘Subhuti, 8odhisattvas should havc no longing and no attach
mcnt whcn thcy practisc mcritorious virtucs, thcrclorc, thcy do
not rcccivc a rcward.
‘Subhuti, il somconc says thc Tathagata comcs or gocs, sits
or lics, hc docs not undcrstand what ! mcan. Vhy: 8ccausc
thc Tathagata has ncithcr whcncc (to comc) nor whithcr (to go),
thcrclorc, Hc is callcd thc Tathagata.
‘Subhuti, what do you think: !l a virtuous man or woman
rcduccd to dust all thc worlds in thc Univcrsc, would thosc par
ticlcs ol dust bc many:’
Subhuti rcplicd: ‘Many, Vorld Honourcd Ònc. Vhy:
8ccausc il thcy rcally cxistcd, thc 8uddha would not say thcy arc
particlcs ol dust. And why: 8ccausc whcn thc 8uddha spcaks ol
particlcs ol dust, thcy arc not, but arc (cxpcdicntly) callcd, parti
clcs ol dust. Vorld Honourcd Ònc, whcn thc Tathagata spcaks
ol worlds, thcy arc not, but arc (cxpcdicntly) callcd, worlds.
Vhy: 8ccausc il thcy rcally cxist, thcy arc just agglomcrations.
Tc Tathagata spcaks ol agglomcrations which arc not, but arc
(cxpcdicntly) callcd, agglomcrations.’
‘Subhuti, that which is callcd an agglomcration cannot bc
spokcn ol, but thc vulgar man has longing lor and attachmcnt
to this thing.
‘Subhuti, what do you think: !l somconc says: “Tc 8uddha
spcaks ol thc vicw ol an cgo, a pcrsonality, a bcing and a lilc”.
Subhuti, docs that pcrson undcrstand what ! mcan:’
‘No, Vorld Honourcd Ònc, that pcrson docs not undcrstand.
Vhy: 8ccausc (whcn) thc Tathagata spcaks ol thc vicw ol an
a¸¡ a¸¸
cgo, a pcrsonality, a bcing and a lilc, it is not rcally, (but) is (cx
pcdicntly) callcd thc vicw ol an cgo, a pcrsonality a bcing and a
‘Subhuti, hc who dcvclops thc Suprcmc ¡nlightcnmcnt Mind,
should thus know, scc, bclicvc and comprchcnd (all things), hc
should not sct up thc pcrccption ol things (dharmalaksana)
in his mind. Subhuti, thc socallcd lorm ol things (dharma
laksana), thc Tathagata says is not, but is, (cxpcdicntly) callcd
thc lorm ol things.
‘Subhuti, il on thc onc hand, somconc gavc away in alms
(dana) thc scvcn trcasurcs in quantitics sumcicnt to nll all thc
worlds in uncountablc acons, and il on thc othcr hand, a virtu
ous man or woman dcvclopcd thc 8odhimind, and rcccivcd,
hcld (in mind), rcad and rccitcd cvcn a lourlinc stanza ol this
sutra and cxpoundcd it to othcrs, thc lattcr’s mcrit would surpass
that ol thc lormcr. !n what manncr should it bc taught to othcrs:
8y tcaching it without attachmcnt to lorm with thc immutabil
ity ol thc absolutc.
‘Vhy is it: 8ccausc:
All phcnomcna arc likc
A drcam, an illusion, a bubblc and a shadow,
Likc dcw and lightning.
Tus should you mcditatc upon thcm’.
Vhcn thc 8uddha had nnishcd cxpounding this sutra, thc cldcr
Subhuti, togcthcr with bhiksus, bhiksunis, upasakas, upasikas, and
all thc worlds ol dcvas, mcn and asuras who had listcncd to His
tcaching, wcrc nllcd with joy and bclicvcd, rcccivcd and obscrvcd it.
a¸¡ a¸¸
Cnav+vv XX
The 9hammapada
Tc Ðhammapada prcscrvcs thc “Vords ol thc 8uddha” lor it
carrics thc spirit ol thc Lord’s tcachings. !t is onc ol thc bcst
lovcd 8uddhist scripturcs which is rccitcd daily by millions
ol dcvotccs who chant its vcrscs in thcir nativc dialccts. Tcrc
cxist scvcral rcnditions ol thc Ðhammapada in Pali, Sanskrit,
Chincsc and Tibctan languagcs which all contain thc sayings
that Sakyamuni 8uddha had givcn during thc lortynvc ycars ol
his ministry.
Naxo Buoonava:
All that wc arc is thc rcsult ol what wc havc intcndcd, it is
loundcd on our intcntions, it is madc up ol our intcntions. !l a
man spcaks or acts with a bad intcntion, pain lollows him, as thc
whccl lollows thc loot ol thc ox that draws thc cart.
All that wc arc is thc rcsult ol what wc havc intcndcd, it is
loundcd on our intcntions, it is madc up ol our intcntions. !l a
man spcaks or acts with a purc intcntion, happincss lollows him,
likc a shadow that ncvcr lcavcs him.
‘Hc insultcd mc, hc bcat mc, hc lrustratcd mc, hc dcprivcd mc’,
— in thosc who harbour such thoughts hatrcd will ncvcr cnd.
‘Hc insultcd mc, hc bcat mc, hc lrustratcd mc, hc dcprivcd mc’,
— in thosc who do not harbour such thoughts hatrcd will cnd.
For ncvcr docs hatrcd cnd by hatrcd anywhcrc, hatrcd cnds
by lovc, this is thc ctcrnal law.
a¸6 a¸,
Hc who livcs sccking plcasurcs only, his scnscs uncontrollcd,
immodcratc in his lood, idlc and wcak, him Mara (thc tcmptcr)
will surcly ovcrthrow, as thc wind throws down a lccblc trcc.
Hc who livcs without sccking plcasurcs, his scnscs wcll con
trollcd, modcratc in his lood, laithlul and strong, him Mara will
ccrtainly not ovcrthrow any morc than thc wind throws down a
rock mountain.
As rain brcaks through an illroolcd housc, dcsirc brcaks
through an illtraincd mind.
As rain docs not brcak through a wcllroolcd housc, dcsirc
will not brcak through a wclltraincd mind.
Tc cvildocr mourns in this world and hc mourns in thc
ncxt, hc mourns in both. Hc mourns and sußcrs whcn hc sccs
thc cvil ol his own work.
Tc virtuous man dclights in this world, and hc dclights
— in thc ncxt, hc dclights and rcjoiccs whcn hc sccs thc purity ol
his own work.
Tc cvildocr sußcrs in this world and hc sußcrs in thc ncxt,
hc sußcrs in both. Hc sußcrs whcn hc thinks ol — thc cvil hc
has donc, hc sußcrs cvcn morc whcn hc has gonc in thc cvil path
(ol hcll).
Tc virtuous man is happy in this world and hc is happy in
thc ncxt, hc is happy in both. Hc is happy whcn hc thinks ol thc
good hc has donc. Hc is cvcn happicr whcn hc has gonc on thc
good path (to hcavcn).
As thc bcc gathcrs honcy and gocs without injuring thc ßow
cr or its colour or sccnt, so lct a sagc go about a villagc.
Not thc pcrvcrsitics ol othcrs, not what thcy havc donc or
lclt undonc should a sagc takc noticc ol.
a¸6 a¸,
Likc a bcautilul ßowcr, lull ol colour, but without sccnt, arc
thc lair but lruitlcss words ol him who docs not act accordingly.
Likc a bcautilul ßowcr, lull ol colour and lull ol sccnt, arc
thc purc and lruitlul words ol him who acts accordingly.
¡vcn as onc may makc many kinds ol wrcaths lrom a hcap
ol ßowcrs, so should onc born to thc mortal lot, pcrlorm good
dccds manilold.
Tc sccnt ol ßowcrs docs not travcl against thc wind, nor
that ol sandalwood, or ol Tagara and Mallika ßowcrs, but thc
lragrancc ol good pcoplc travcls cvcn against thc wind, a good
man pcrvadcs cvcry placc.
Mcan is thc sccnt that comcs lrom Tagara and Sandalwood,
thc pcrlumc ol thosc who posscss virtuc riscs up to thc god as
thc highcst.
Long is thc night to him who is awakc,
long is a lcaguc to him who is tircd,
long is thc round ol rcbirth to thc
loolish who do not know thc Truc Law.
How is thcrc laughtcr, how is thcrc joy, as this world is always
burning: Vhy do you not scck a light, yc who arc shroudcd in
Tis body is wastcd, lrail, a ncst ol discasc, this hcap ol cor
ruption brcaks to picccs, lilc indccd cnds in dcath. Tc brilliant
chariots ol kings wcar away, thc body likcwisc waxcs old, but
thc virtuc ol good pcoplc knows no agc, thus do thc good say to
thc good.
A man who has lcarnt littlc, grows old likc an ox, his ßcsh
grows but his knowlcdgc docs not grow.
a¸· a¸µ
Looking lor thc makcr ol this tabcrnaclc ! ran to no avail
through a round ol many births, and wcarisomc is birth
again and again. 8ut now, makcr ol thc tabcrnaclc, thou
hast bccn sccn, thou shalt not rcar this tabcrnaclc again. All
thy raltcrs arc brokcn, thy ridgcpolc shattcrcd, thc mind
approaching thc ¡tcrnal, has attaincd to thc ¡xtinction ol
all dcsircs.
!l a man makcs himscll as hc tcachcs othcrs to bc, thcn bcing
himscll wcll subducd, hc may subduc (othcrs), onc’s own scll is
indccd dimcult to subduc.
Scll is thc lord ol thc scll, who clsc could bc thc lord: Vith
scll subducd, a man nnds a lord dimcult to nnd.
¡vcn as a crccpcr ovcrsprcads (and drags down) a Sal trcc,
so a man’s wickcdncss, whcn it is vcry grcat, brings him to that
statc whcrc his cncmy wishcs him to bc.
Tc loolish man who scorns thc tcaching ol thc saintly, ol
thc noblc, ol thc virtuous, and lollows lalsc doctrincs, bcars lruit
to his own dcstruction, likc thc Katthaka rccd.
8y oncscll is cvil donc, by oncscll onc is dcnlcd. Purity and
impurity bclong to oncscll, no onc can purily anothcr.
Lct no onc lorgct his own good lor thc sakc ol anothcr’s,
howcvcr grcat, lct a man, altcr hc has disccrncd what this good
is, bc cvcr intcnt upon it.
8cttcr than a sovcrcignty ovcr thc carth, bcttcr than going to
hcavcn, bcttcr than lordship ovcr all thc worlds, is thc rcward ol
thc nrst stcp in holincss.
Hc whosc conqucst is not conqucrcd again, into whosc con
qucst no onc in this world cntcrs, by what track can you lcad
him, thc Awakcncd, thc allpcrcciving, thc tracklcss:
a¸· a¸µ
¡vcn thc gods cnvy thosc who arc awakcncd and mindlul,
who arc givcn to mcditation, who arc stcadlast and dclight in
thc pcacc ol rctircmcnt.
Ðimcult it is to obtain birth as a human bcing, dimcult is
thc lilc ol mortals, dimcult is thc hcaring ol thc truc Law, dil
ncult is thc risc ol thc 8uddhas.
Paticncc, longsußcring, is thc highcst lorm ol pcnancc,
Nirvana thc highcst ol all things, say thc Awakcncd, lor hc is
not an anchoritc who strikcs anothcr, hc is not an ascctic who
insults anothcr.
!l a travcllcr docs not mcct with onc who is his bcttcr or
cqual, lct him kccp nrmly to his solitary journcy, thcrc is no
companionship with thc young in wisdom.
‘Tcsc sons bclong to mc and this wcalth bclongs to mc’, with
such thoughts a lool is tormcntcd. Hc himscll docs not bclong to
himscll, how much lcss sons and wcalth:
Tc unwisc onc who knows his loolishncss is wisc at lcast so
lar, but thc unwisc onc who thinks himscll wisc, hc is callcd a
lool indccd…
!l a pcrson young in wisdom bc associatcd with a wisc man
cvcn all his lilc, hc will pcrccivc thc truth as littlc as a spoon
pcrccivcs thc tastc ol soup.
!l an intclligcnt man bc associatcd lor onc minutc only with
a wisc man, hc will soon pcrccivc thc truth, as thc tonguc pcr
ccivcs thc tastc ol soup.
Pcoplc with littlc undcrstanding arc thcir own grcatcst
cncmics, lor thcy do cvil dccds which must bcar bittcr lruits.
Tat dccd is not wcll donc ol which a man must rcpcnt, and
thc rcward ol which hc rcccivcs crying with a tcarlul lacc.
a¡c a¡.
No, that dccd is wcll donc ol which a man docs not rcpcnt
and thc rcward ol which hc rcccivcs gladly and chccrlully.
As long as thc cvil dccd donc docs not bcar lruit, thc unin
tclligcnt pcrson thinks it is likc honcy, but whcn it ripcns, thcn
hc sußcrs gricl.
!l you scc an intclligcnt man who dctccts laults and blamcs
what is blamcworthy, lollow that wisc man as though hc wcrc a
rcvcalcr ol (hiddcn) trcasurcs.
Lct him admonish, lct him tcach, lct him lorbid what is im
propcr — hc will bc bclovcd ol thc good, by thc bad hc will bc
Ðo not havc cvildocrs lor lricnds, do not havc low pcoplc
lor lricnds, havc virtuous pcoplc lor lricnds, havc lor lricnds thc
bcst ol mcn.
!rrigatcrs guidc thc watcr, ßctchcrs bcnd thc arrow, carpcn
tcrs bcnd a log ol wood, wisc pcoplc lashion thcmsclvcs.
As a solid rock is not shakcn by thc wind, wisc pcoplc laltcr
not amidst blamc and praisc.
Visc pcoplc, altcr thcy havc listcncd to thc laws, bccomc
scrcnc likc a dccp, clcar and still lakc.
Tcrc is no sußcring lor him who has nnishcd his journcy
and abandoncd gricl, who has lrccd himscll on all sidcs and
thrown oß thc lcttcrs.
Tcy dcpart with thcir thoughts wcllcollcctcd, thcy do not
dclight in an abodc, likc swans who havc lclt thcir lakc, thcy
lcavc thcir housc and homc.
Tc gods cvcn cnvy him whosc scnscs likc horscs wcll brokcn
in by thc drivcr, havc bccn subducd, who is lrcc lrom pridc and
lrcc lrom cvil propcnsitics.
a¡c a¡.
!n a hamlct or in a lorcst, on thc sca or on thc dry land, whcr
cvcr vcncrablc pcrsons (Arhats) dwcll, that placc is dclightlul.
Forcsts arc dclightlul, whcrc thc worldly nnd no dclight, thcrc
thc passionlcss will nnd dclight, lor thcy look not lor plcasurc.
¡vcn though a spccch bc composcd ol a thousand words, but
words without scnsc, onc word ol scnsc is bcttcr, which il a man
hcars hc bccomcs quict.
!l onc man conqucrs in battlc a thousand timcs a thousand
mcn, il anothcr conqucrs himscll, hc is thc grcatcst ol conqucrors.
¡vcn an cvildocr sccs happincss as long as his cvil dccd has
not ripcncd but whcn his cvil dccd has ripcncd, thcn docs thc
cvildocr scc cvil.
¡vcn a good man sccs cvil as long as his good dccd has not
ripcncd, but whcn his good dccd has ripcncd thcn docs thc good
man scc happincss.
Lct no man think lightly ol cvil, saying in his hcart, it will
not comc unto mc. ¡vcn by thc lalling ol watcrdrops a watcr
pot is nllcd, thc lool bccomcs lull ol cvil, cvcn il hc gathcrs it
littlc by littlc.
Lct no man think lightly ol good, saying in his hcart, it will
not comc unto mc. ¡vcn by thc lalling ol watcrdrops a watcr
pot is nllcd, thc stcadlast man bccomcs lull ol good, cvcn il hc
gathcrs it littlc by littlc.
Hc who has no wound on his hand may touch poison with
his hand, poison docs not aßcct onc who has no wound, how is
thcrc cvil lor onc who docs not commit cvil:
Vhosocvcr oßcnds a harmlcss, purc and innoccnt pcrson,
that cvil lalls back upon that lool, likc light dust thrown up
against thc wind.
a¡a a¡¸
Not in thc sky, not in thc midst ol thc sun, not il onc cntcrs
into thc clclts ol thc mountains, is thcrc known a spot in thc wholc
world, whcrc il a man abidc, hc might bc lrcc lrom an cvil dccd.
Not in thc sky, not in thc midst ol thc sun, not il onc cntcrs
into thc clclts ol thc mountains, is thcrc known a spot in thc wholc
world whcrc il a man abidc, dcath could not ovcrcomc him.
All mcn trcmblc at punishmcnt, all mcn lcar dcath, rcmcm
bcring that thou art likc unto thcm, do not strikc or slay.
All mcn trcmblc at punishmcnt, all mcn lovc lilc, rcmcmbcr
ing that thou arc unto thcm, do not strikc or slay.
Hc who, sccking his own happincss, docs not injurc or kill
bcings who also long lor happincss, will nnd happincss altcr
Ðo not spcak harshly to anybody, thosc who arc spokcn to
will answcr thcc in thc samc way. Angry spccch brccds troublc,
thou wilt rcccivc blows lor blows.
!l likc a shattcrcd gong, thou spcakcst not, thcn thou hast
rcachcd Nirvana, contcntion is not lound in thcc.
As a cowhcrd with his staß drivcs his cows to pasturc, so do
Òld Agc and Ðcath drivc thc lilc ol mcn.
Not to blamc, not to strikc, to livc rcstraincd undcr thc prc
ccpts to bc modcratc in cating, to slccp and sit alonc, and to
dwcll on lolty thoughts, this is thc tcaching ol thc Awakcncd.
Tcrc is no satislying lusts cvcn by a showcr ol goldpicccs,
hc who knows that lusts havc a short tastc and bring sußcring in
thcir train is wisc.
¡vcn in hcavcnly plcasurcs hc nnds no dclight, thc lollowcr
ol thc Suprcmcly ¡nlightcncd Ònc dclights only in thc dcstruc
tion ol cvcry craving.
a¡a a¡¸
Mcn drivcn by lcar go to many a rclugc, to mountains and
lorcsts, to shrincs and gravcs and sacrcd trccs.
8ut that is not a salc rclugc, that is not thc bcst rclugc, a
man is not dclivcrcd lrom all pains altcr having gonc to that
Hc who takcs rclugc with thc 8uddha, thc Ðhamma and
thc Òrdcr, hc who with clcar undcrstanding sccs thc Four Noblc
Truths, is dclivcrcd lrom all pains altcr having gonc to that
Lct us livc happily thcn, lrcc lrom ailmcnts among thc ailing.
Among mcn who arc ailing, lct us dwcll lrcc lrom ailmcnts.
Lct us livc happily thcn, lrcc lrom grccd among thc grccdy.
Among mcn who arc grccdy lct us dwcll lrcc lrom grccd.
Lct us livc happily thcn, though wc call nothing our own.
Vc shall bc likc thc bright gods, lccding on happincss.
\ictory brccds hatrcd, lor thc conqucrcd is unhappy. Hc
who has givcn up both victory and dclcats, hc, contcntcd, is
Tcrc is no nrc likc lust, thcrc is no losing throw likc hatrcd,
thcrc is no pain likc this body, thcrc is no happincss highcr than
Hungcr is thc grcatcst amiction, thc body thc chicl ol sor
row, ol onc who knows this truly, that is Nirvana, thc highcst
Hcalth is thc grcatcst blcssings, contcntcdncss thc bcst
richcs, trust is thc bcst ol rclationships, Nirvana thc highcst
Hc who has tastcd thc swcctncss ol solitudc and tranquility, is
lrcc lrom lcar and sin, whilc hc drinks in thc ncctar ol thc Law.
a¡¡ a¡¸
Tc sight ol thc noblc is good, to livc with thcm is always
blcsscdncss, il a man did not scc thc unwisc, hc would bc truly
Hc who consorts with thc immaturc in wisdom sußcrs a
long journcy, company with lools, as with as cncmy, is always
painlul, company with thc stcadlast is plcasant likc mccting
with kinslolk.
Tcrclorc onc should lollow thc wisc, thc intclligcnt, thc
lcarncd, thc much cnduring, thc dutilul, thc noblc, onc should
lollow a good and wisc man, as thc moon lollows thc paths ol
thc stars.
Hc who givcs himscll to vanity and docs not givc himscll to
mcditation, lorgctting thc rcal aim ol lilc and grasping at thc
plcasurablc, will comc to cnvy him who has cxcrtcd himscll in
Lct no man clcavc to things that arc plcasant or to thosc that
arc unplcasant. Not to scc what is plcasant is pain, and it is pain
to scc what is unplcasant.
From plcasurc comcs gricl, lrom aßcction comcs lcar, hc
who is lrcc lrom aßcction ncithcr sorrows nor lcars.
From (carthly) allcction comcs gricl, lrom allcction
comcs lcar, hc who is lrcc lrom allcction ncithcr sorrows nor
From (scnsuous) dclight comcs gricl, lrom such dclight comcs
lcar, hc who is lrcc lrom dclight ncithcr sorrows nor lcars.
From lust comcs gricl, lrom lust comcs lcar, hc who is lrcc
lrom lust ncithcr sorrows nor lcars.
From craving comcs gricl, lrom craving comcs lcar, hc who
is lrcc lrom craving ncithcr sorrows nor lcars.
a¡¡ a¡¸
Hc who posscsscs charactcr and discrimination, who is just,
spcaks thc truth, and docs what is his own busincss, him thc
world will hold dcar.
Hc in whom a dcsirc lor thc incllablc has sprung up,
whosc mind is pcrmcatcd by this dcsirc and whosc thoughts
arc not bcwildcrcd by scnsuality is said to bc ‘ bound up
Kinsmcn, lricnds and wcllwishcrs salutc a man who has
bccn long away and rcturns salc lrom alar.
!n likc manncr his good works rcccivc him, who has donc
good and has gonc lrom this world to thc othcr — as kinsmcn
rcccivc onc who is dcar to thcm on his rcturn.
Hc who holds back rising angcr likc a rolling chariot, him !
call a rcal drivcr, othcr pcoplc arc but holding thc rcins.
Lct a man ovcrcomc angcr by mildncss, lct him ovcrcomc
thc niggard by libcrty, thc liar by truth.
Tcrc is an old saying, Ò Atula, it is not only ol today: ‘Tcy
blamc him who sits silcnt, thcy blamc him who spcaks much,
thcy blamc him who says littlc’. Tcrc is no onc in thc world who
is not blamcd.
Tcrc ncvcr was, thcrc ncvcr will bc, nor is thcrc now, a man
who is always blamcd, or a man who is always praiscd.
8cwarc ol bodily angcr, and control thy body. Lcavc thc sins
ol thc body and with thy body practisc virtuc.
8cwarc ol thc angcr ol thc tonguc and control thy tonguc.
Lcavc thc sins ol thc tonguc and practisc virtuc with thc
8cwarc ol thc angcr ol thc mind and control thy mind. Lcavc
thc sins ol thc mind and practisc virtuc with thy mind.
a¡6 a¡,
Tc taint ol praycrs is nonrcpctition, thc taint ol houscs ill
rcpair, thc taint ol (bodily) bcauty is sloth, thc taint ol a watch
man, lack ol vigilancc.
Tc lault ol othcrs is casily pcrccivcd but that ol onc’s scll is
dimcult to pcrccivc, a man winnows his ncighbours’ laults likc
chaß, but hidcs his own, cvcn as a dishoncst gamblcr hidcs a los
ing throw.
!l a man looks altcr thc laults ol othcrs and is always inclincd
to takc oßcncc, his own cvil propcnsitics will grow, lar indccd is
such a man lrom thcir dcstruction.
A man is not lcarncd bccausc hc talks much, hc who is
paticnt, lrcc lrom hatrcd and lcar, hc is callcd thc lcarncd.
A man is not an cldcr bccausc his hcad is grcy, his agc may
bc ripc, but hc is callcd ‘oldinvain’.
Hc who is bcyond mcrit and dcmcrit, who livcs chastcly,
who with knowlcdgc passcs through thc world, is truly callcd a
A man is not a sagc bccausc hc obscrvcs silcncc, il hc is lool
ish and ignorant, but thc man who taking thc balancc, chooscs
thc good and rcjccts thc cvil, is a sagc and lor that vcry rcason,
hc who undcrstands both worlds is thcrclorc callcd a sagc.
Hc who docs not rousc himscll whcn it is timc to risc, who
though young and strong, is lull ol sloth, whosc will and thought arc
wcak, that lazy and idlc man will ncvcr nnd thc way to wisdom.
Trough mcditation wisdom is won, through lack ol mcdi
tation wisdom is lost, lct a man who knows this doublc path ol
pain and loss so conduct himscll that wisdom will grow.
Cut down thc wholc lorcst (ol lust), not a trcc only. Ðangcr
comcs out ol thc lorcst (ol lust), whcn you havc cut down thc
a¡6 a¡,
lorcst (ol lust) and its undcrgrowth, thcn, monks, will you bc rid
ol thc lorcst and bc lrccd.
Ðcath comcs and carrics oß that man absorbcd in his chil
drcn and ßocks, his mind distractcd, as a ßood carrics oß a
slccping villagc.
Sons arc no hclp, nor a lathcr, not rclations, thcrc is no hclp
lrom kinslolk lor onc whom Ðcath has scizcd.
!l by lcaving a small plcasurc onc sccs a grcat plcasurc, lct a
wisc man lcavc thc small plcasurc and look to thc grcat.
Hc who by causing pain to othcrs wishcs to obtain happincss
lor himscll, hc, cntanglcd in thc bonds ol hatrcd, will ncvcr bc
lrcc lrom hatrcd.
Vhat ought to bc donc is ncglcctcd, what ought not to bc
donc is donc, thc cvil proclivitics ol unruly, hccdlcss pcoplc arc
always incrcasing.
8ut thcy who, cvcr alcrt, mcditatc on thc body do not lol
low what ought not bc donc, but stcadlastly do what ought to bc
donc, thc cvil proclivitics ol watchlul and wisc pcoplc will comc
to an cnd.
Tcy who arc ashamcd ol what thcy ought not to bc ashamcd
ol, and arc not ashamcd ol what thcy ought to bc ashamcd
ol, such mcn, cmbracing lalsc doctrincs cntcr thc downward
Tcy who lcar whcn thcy ought not lcar, and lcar not whcn
thcy ought to lcar, such mcn, cmbracing lalsc doctrincs, cntcr
thc downward path.
Tcy who scc sin whcrc nonc cxists, and do not scc it whcrc
it docs cxists, such mcn, cmbracing lalsc doctrincs, cntcr thc
downward path.
a¡· a¡µ
Tcy who know what is lorbiddcn as lorbiddcn, and what is
not lorbiddcn as not lorbiddcn, such mcn, cmbracing thc truc
doctrinc, cntcr thc good path.
Paticntly shall ! cndurc abusc as thc clcphant in thc battlc cn
durcs thc arrows scnt lrom thc bow, lor thc world is illnaturcd.
Tcy lcad a tamc clcphant to battlc, thc king mounts a tamc
clcphant, thc tamcd is thc bcst among mcn, hc who paticntly
cndurcs abusc….
Mulcs arc good il tamcd, and noblc Sindhu horscs, and grcat
clcphants, but hc who tamcs himscll is bcttcr still.
!l a man bccomc lazy and a grcat catcr, il hc is slccpy and
rolls himscll round likc a grcat hog lcd on wash, that lool is born
again and again.
Tc mind ol minc wcnt lormcrly wandcring about as it likcd,
as it listcd, as it plcascd, but ! shall now control it pcrlcctly as a
ridcr controls with his hook a rutting clcphant.
!l a man docs not nnd a prudcnt companion to walk with,
not onc who is upright and stcadlast, lct him walk alonc likc
a king who has lclt his conqucrcd country — bchind, likc an
clcphant in thc lorcst.
!t is bcttcr to livc alonc, thcrc is no companionship with a
lool, lct a man walk alonc, lct him commit no sin, lct him do
with lcw wishcs, likc an clcphant in thc lorcst.
!l an occasion ariscs lricnds arc plcasant, cnjoymcnt is plcas
ant whcn onc sharcs it with anothcr, a good work is plcasant in
thc hour ol dcath, thc giving up ol all gricl is plcasant.
Tc gilt ol thc Law cxcccds all gilts, thc swcctncss ol thc
Law cxcccds all swcctncss, thc dclight in thc Law cxcccds all
dclights, thc cxtinction ol thirst ovcrcomcs all sußcring.
a¡· a¡µ
Tc nclds arc damagcd by wccds, mankind is damagcd by
lust, thcrclorc a gilt bcstowcd on thosc who arc lrcc lrom lust
brings grcat rcward.
Tc nclds arc damagcd by wccds, mankind is damagcd by
hatrcd, thcrclorc a gilt bcstowcd on thosc who do not hatc
brings grcat rcward.
Tc nclds arc damagcd by wccds, mankind is damagcd by
dclusion, thcrclorc a gilt bcstowcd on thosc who arc lrcc lrom
dclusion brings grcat rcward.
Tc nclds arc damagcd by wccds, mankind is damagcd by
craving, thcrclorc a gilt bcstowcd on thosc who arc lrcc lrom
craving, brings grcat rcward.
Rcstraint in thc cyc is good, good is rcstraint in thc car, in
thc nosc rcstraint is good, good is rcstraint in thc tonguc.
!n thc body rcstraint is good, good is rcstraint in spccch, in
thought rcstraint is good, good is rcstraint in all things. A monk
rcstraincd in all things, is lrccd lrom all sußcring.
As thc jasminc shcds its withcrcd ßowcrs, cvcn so, Ò monks,
mcn should shcd lust and hatrcd.
Tc monk who is quict in body, spccch and mind, who is
collcctcd and has rcluscd thc baits ol thc world, is truly callcd
Rousc thyscll, cxaminc thyscll by thyscll, thus scllguardcd
and mindlul, will thou, Ò monks, livc happily.
For scll is thc lord ol thc scll, scll is thc rclugc ol scll, thcrc
lorc curb thyscll as thc mcrchant curbs a good horsc.
Ix+vac+s ov +nv Ðnaxxavaoa
a¸c a¸.
Cnav+vv XXI
The T.e/+e Jrincip/es of Juddhism
(ovav+vo nv +nv Buoon:s+ Soc:v+v, IoNooN, :N +q¡¡)
1. Scllsalvation is lor any man thc immcdiatc task. !l a man lay
woundcd by a poison arrow and hc would not dclay cxtraction
by dcmanding dctails ol thc man who shot it, or thc lcngth
and makc ol thc arrow. Tcrc will bc timc lor cvcrincrcasing
undcrstanding ol thc Tcaching during thc trcading ol thc Vay.
Mcanwhilc, bcgin now by lacing lilc as it is, lcarning always by
dircct and pcrsonal cxpcricncc.
2. Tc nrst lact ol cxistcncc is thc law ol changc or impcrma
ncncc. All that cxists, lrom a molc to a mountain, lrom a thought
to an cmpirc, passcs through thc samc cyclc ol cxistcncc, namcly,
birth, growth, dccay and dcath. Lilc alonc is continuous, cvcn
sccking scllcxprcssion in ncw lorms. ‘Lilc is a bridgc, thcrclorc
build no housc on it.’ Lilc is a proccss ol ßow, and hc who clings
to any lorm, howcvcr splcndid will sußcr by rcsisting thc ßow.
3. Tc law ol changc applics cqually to thc ‘soul’. Tcrc is no
principlc in an individual which is immortal and unchanging.
Ònly thc ‘Namclcssncss’, thc ultimatc Rcality, is bcyond changc
and all lorms ol lilc, including man, arc manilcstations ol thc
Rcality. No onc owns thc lilc which ßows in him any morc than
thc clcctric light bulb owns thc currcnt that givcs it light.
a¸c a¸.
4. Tc univcrsc is thc cxprcssion ol law. All cßccts havc causcs,
and man’s soul or charactcr is thc sum total ol his prcvious
thoughts and acts. Karma, mcaning actionrcaction, govcrns all
cxistcncc, and man is thc solc crcator ol his circumstanccs and
his rcaction to thcm, his luturc condition, and his nnal dcstiny.
8y right thought and action hc can gradually purily his inncr
naturc, and so by scllrcalisation attain in timc libcration lrom
rcbirth. Tc proccss covcrs grcat pcriods ol timc, involving lilc
altcr lilc on carth, but ultimatcly cvcry lorm ol lilc will rcach
5. Lilc is onc and indivisiblc, though its cvcrchanging lorms arc
innumcrablc and pcrishablc. Tcrc is, in truth, no dcath, though
cvcry lorm must dic. From an undcrstanding ol lilc’s unity ariscs
compassion, a scnsc ol idcntity with thc lilc in othcr lorms.
Compassion is dcscribcd as thc ‘Law ol lawsctcrnal harmony’,
and hc who brcaks this harmony ol lilc will sußcr accordingly
and dclay his own ¡nlightcnmcnt.
6. Lilc bcing Ònc, thc intcrcsts ol thc parts should bc thosc ol
thc wholc. !n his ignorancc man thinks hc can succcssivcly strivc
lor his own intcrcsts, and this wrongly dircctcd cncrgy ol sclnsh
ncss produccs sußcring. Hc lcarns lrom his sußcring to rcducc
and nnally climinatc it causc. thc 8uddha taught thc Four Noblc
(a) Tc omniprcscncc ol sußcring.
(b) !ts causc, wrongly dircctcd dcsircs.
(c) !ts curc, thc rcmoval ol thc causc.
(d) Tc Noblc ¡ightlold Path ol sclldcvclopmcnt
which lcads to thc cnd ol sußcring.
a¸a a¸¸
7. Tc ¡ightlold Path consists in Right (or pcrlcct) \icws,
or prcliminary undcrstanding, Right Aims or Motivc, Right
Spccch, Right Acts, Right Livclihood, Right ¡ßort, Right
Conccntration or mind dcvclopmcnt, and, nnally, Right
Samadhi, lcading to lull ¡nlightcnmcnt. As 8uddhism is a way
ol living, not mcrcly a thcory ol lilc, thc trcading ol this Path is
csscntial to sclldclivcrancc. ‘Ccasc to do cvil, lcarn to do good,
clcansc your own hcart: this is thc Tcaching ol thc 8uddhas’.
8. Rcality is indcscribablc, and a God with attributcs is not
thc nnal Rcality. 8ut thc 8uddha, a human bcing, bccamc thc
All¡nlightcncd Ònc, and thc purposc ol lilc is thc attainmcnt
ol ¡nlightcnmcnt. Tis statc ol Consciousncss, Nirvana, thc
cxtinction ol thc limitations ol scllhood, is attainablc on carth.
All mcn and all othcr lorms ol lilc contain thc potcntiality ol
¡nlightcnmcnt, and thc proccss thcrclorc consists in bccoming
what you arc. ‘Look within: thou art 8uddha’.
9. From potcntial to actual ¡nlightcnmcnt thcrc lics thc
Middlc Vay, thc ¡ightlold Vay ‘lrom dcsirc to pcacc’, a
proccss ol sclldcvclopmcnt bctwccn thc ‘oppositcs’, avoiding all
cxtrcmcs. Tc 8uddha trod this Vay to thc cnd, and thc only
laith rcquircd in 8uddhism is thc rcasonablc bclicl that whcrc a
Guidc has troddcn it is worth our whilc to trcad. Tc Vay must
bc troddcn by thc wholc man, not mcrcly thc bcst ol him, and
hcart and mind must bc dcvclopcd cqually. Tc 8uddha was thc
AllCompassionatc as wcll as thc All¡nlightcncd Ònc.
10. 8uddhism lays grcat strcss on thc nccd ol inward conccntra
tion and mcditation, which lcads in timc to thc dcvclopmcnt ol
a¸a a¸¸
thc inncr spiritual lacultics. Tc subjcctivc lilc is as important
as thc daily round, and pcriods ol quictudc lor inncr activity arc
csscntial lor a balanccd lilc. Tc 8uddhist should at all timcs bc
‘mindlul and scllposscsscd’, rclraining lrom mcntal and cmo
tional attachmcnt to ‘thc passing show’. Tis incrcasing watchlul
attitudc to circumstanccs, which hc knows to bc his own crca
tion, hclps him to kccp his rcaction to it always undcr control.
11. Tc 8uddha said: ‘Vork out your own salvation with dili
gcncc’. 8uddhism knows no authority lor truth savc thc intui
tion ol thc individual, and that is authority lor himscll alonc.
¡ach man sußcrs thc conscqucnccs ol his own acts, and lcarns
thcrcby, whilc hclping his lcllow mcn to thc samc dclivcrancc,
nor will praycr to thc 8uddha or to any God prcvcnt an cßcct
lrom lollowing its causc. 8uddhist monks arc tcachcrs and cx
amplars, and in no scnsc intcrmcdiatcs bctwccn Rcality and thc
individual. Tc utmost tolcrancc is practiscd towards all othcr
rcligions and philosophics, lor no man has thc right to intcrlcrc
in his ncighbours’s journcy to thc Goal.
12. 8uddhism is ncithcr pcssimistic nor ‘cscapist’, nor docs it dcny
thc cxistcncc ol God or soul, though it placcs its own mcaning on
thcsc tcrms. !t is, on thc contrary, a systcm ol thought, a rcligion,
a spiritual scicncc and a way ol lilc, which is rcasonablc, practical,
and allcmbracing. For ovcr two thousand ycars it has satisncd
thc spiritual nccds ol ncarly oncthird ol mankind. !t appcals
to thc Vcst bccausc it has no dogmas, satisncs thc rcason and
thc hcart alikc, insists on scllrcliancc couplcd with tolcrancc lor
othcr points ol vicw, cmbraccs scicncc, rcligion, philosophy, psy
chology, cthics and art, and points to man alonc, as thc crcator
ol his prcscnt lilc and thc solc dcsigncr ol his dcstiny.
Jeace to a// beings
“¸ay a// beings recei+e
the b/essings of
[uan _hih Tin J’usa.”