Sie sind auf Seite 1von 259

In early 1979 the author encountered an unusual spiritual experience which changed his life and put him

onto the Buddhist path. For weeks he had fervently prayed to the Blessed Virgin ary and to !ai Ba"a for a miraculous cure as his younger "rother was stricken with cancer and slowly withering away. #eaven responded to his cries and $uan %in &'usa came into his life most unexpectedly. $uan %in not only promised that his "rother would live "ut would also "e "lessed with a son the following year( and it was so) .e author was also asked to esta"lish a place of worship so that many others could also en*oy #er "lessings in the future. .us+ the $uan %in ,ontemplative -rder was founded in the same year and $uan %in has indeed given #er "lessings to a great num"er of people who went there to worship #er. -ver the years the $uan %in ,ontemplative -rder .$%,-/ had "een "lessed with the visits of numerous world0renowned Buddhist 1harma asters who gave teachings there. It was then that the author realised that many who called themselves Buddhists had only a very vague idea of what Buddhism is. .is led him to produce this "ook with the sincere o"*ective of inducing such people to spend more time in 1harma study. 2ith a comprehensive description of each of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the popular ,hinese &antheon+ the inclusion of the many colourful illustrations and the "asic teachings of the Buddha which all Buddhists should know+ it is hoped that this uni3ue "ook will make 1harma0reading pleasura"le. For the sake of avoiding undue pu"licity he has chosen to use his Buddhist name as the author of this "ook.

.o my father and mother 4 the kindest persons that . have ever known.

.reface .is elementary "ook on ,hinese Buddhism and its more popularly worshipped 1eities+ has "een written for the "enefit of Buddhists amongst the ,hinese community. I refer to them as Buddhists in italics "ecause they do not have a clear idea of their faith. .eir spiritual practices have "een reduced to mere superstitious "eliefs and "lind faith due to lack of doctrinal knowledge and opportunities to meet with 1harma teachers. It is ama5ing to find Buddhists who do not know what their religion stands for. !ome do not even know who the Buddha is or whether #e is the same Buddha who was "orn in India+ or what is meant "y 67efuge0taking8. 9ust "y offering incense to the #eavenly :ods and to the ;ncestral <a"lets does not 3ualify them to "e Buddhists as it is not a Buddhist practice at all. In order for them to find comfort and meaning in their religious pursuits they must+ first of all+ have a clear idea of what Buddhism is and what constitutes its practice. It is also important that they are a"le to distinguish the differences "etween Buddhas+ Bodhisattvas and :ods+ otherwise the term =deity' would have to "e used to descri"e them. .is explains why the title of this "ook has "een changed from 6.e Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of ,hinese Buddhism8 to the 6&opular 1eities of ,hinese Buddhism8. .e picture of the popular ,hinese &antheon of 1eities gave me the inspiration to write a "ook which offers the opportunity to

v give an explanation on the meanings and differences "etween the various classes of divine "eings that exist in Buddhism. I have the chosen the same picture for the cover design with the hope that its familarity with the average Buddhist will induce them to read it so as to gain a "asic knowledge of their religion. ;part from giving a general outline of Buddhism and its entry into ,hina+ I have also attempted to provide "rief accounts on the important doctrines that the Buddha has taught+ prayers that one may recite to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas+ how to "ecome a Buddhist+ and a num"er of interesting articles that are related to ,hinese Buddhism. .is is indeed a "ook of love 4 love for the :reatly ,ompassionate $uan !hih %in who came so suddenly into my life in 1979 and "ringing so much meaning to it. It is also written for the "enefit and sustenance of our insignificant $uan %in ,ontemplative -rder which has "een "lessed with the visits of so many wonderful 1harma teachers and friends. Finally+ my very grateful thanks to my "rother >elson 2ong+ who is my spiritual "enefactor+ and my wife for her great patience with me during my nightly struggles to "ring forth this "ook. $... .... ...

.ontents &reface iv ;n Introduction to Buddhism 11 .art . 4 .eities of .hinese .uddhism ,...... I ; <ypical ,hinese ,...... II ,hinese Buddhist Images ?@ ,...... III .e ,hinese Buddhist &antheon ?7 1escription of .e ,hinese &antheon ?7 ,...... IV ,hinese Buddhists Festive 1ays A1 ,...... V .e Buddha AA 2ho is .e BuddhaB AA .e :reat Cnlightenment AD .e :reat 1ecease @E &rayers to the Buddha !akyamuni @A ,...... VI ;mita"ha Buddha 4 6>amo -0 i0<o Fwo8 @D 2ho is ;mita"haB @D ethod of &rayer07ecitation @F &ure Gand Buddhism HE onastery ?1

1escription of the &ure Gand H? ;mita"ha Buddha's Festive 1ay HF <a0!hih0,hi &'usa DE

,...... VII %ao !hih Fwo 4 Bhaisa*yaguru Buddha DA ,...... VIII $uan !hih %in &'usa 4 ;valokitesvara Bodhisattva 71 .e iao !han Gegend FF iao !han $uan Forms 91 $uan %in Festivals 9? .e #eart !utra 9H .e 1harani of :reat ,ompassion 97 .e antra of ;valokitesvara 1EE

; &rayer to $uan !hih %in &'usa 1E? ,...... II 2en0!hu0!hih0Gi &'usa 4 an*usri in ,hina 11E ,...... I &u #sien &'usa 4 !amanta"hadra Bodhisattva 11H ,...... II <i <sang &'usa 4 $sitigar"ha Bodhisattva 1?? 1escription of <i <sang &'usa 1?@ ,...... III i0Go0Fwo 4 ,...... IIII $uan <i 4 .e &rotector of Buddhism 1A9 ,...... IIV aitreya Buddha 1A? an*usri Bodhisattva 1ED

2ei0<o &'usa 1@9 ,...... IV <a0 o Bodhidharma &artiarch of Jen Buddhism 1H?

,...... IVI Va*rayana 4 <i"etan Buddhism 1HF :uru &admasam"hava 1H9 .art .. 4 .uddhist .eachings ,...... IVII 2hat .e Buddha <aught 1DH .e Four >o"le <ruths 1DH .e >o"le Cightfold &ath 1D9 .e Gaw of the <welve ,auses 171 .e !ix 7ealms of Cxistence 17H $arma 4 .e Gaw of ,ause and Cffect 17F .e !ix &aramitas 1F? .e 1iscourse on Goving $indness 1FA ,...... IVIII Becoming a Buddhist 1FH .e Buddha 1F7 .e 1harma 1F9 .e !angha 1F9 .e 2ays of &ractice 19E ,...... III Famous ,hinese !utras 19@ .e !utra of Forty0<wo !ections 19@ .e $arma !utra ?E9 .e 1iamond !utra . .e Va*racchedika0&ra*na0&aramita !utra/ ?1H

,...... II .e 1hammapada ?AH ,...... III .e <welve &rinciples of Buddhism ?HE

.llustrations $.. G.. !. <..... ?E B.......... ?A 1F G..... AE <.. B..... AH <.. B..... AF ;....... B..... @9 $... !... %.. &'... HH <. !... ,.. &'... HD &... G... H9 %.. !... F.. 4 B............ B..... DH B............ 4 <...... 1........ D9 $... !... %.. &'... 4 ;............. B.......... 7A ,....0!...0,....0%.. 4 $... !... %.. &'... 7F ,........ 4 F...0;.... ;............. F? ... !... $... %.. 9A $... !... %.. &'... 1EH 2..0!..0!..0G. &'... 4 2..0!..0&'... 11A !............ B.......... 117 &. #.... &'... 119 &. #.... &'... 1?1 <. <.... &'... 4 $.......... B.......... 1?H <. <.... &'... 1?9 ....... 1E7

.0G.0F.. 4

....... B..... 1AH

....... B..... 1A7 $... <. 1@? 2.. <. 1HE ;. I.... .. 2..0<. 1H1 <... 4 B.......... 1HH :... &............ 1D? <.. 2.... .. G... 4 1? ...... .. 1........ -.......... 17@ <.. 2.... .. G... 179 &.... .. ... ...... 4 $... !... %.. &'... ?H@

.n .ntroduction to .uddhism Buddhism is a universal religion+ one which has "rought peace of mind+ happiness and harmony to millions of people in its long history of more than ?+HEE years. It is suita"le for anyone who has a mind to perceive the <ruth and who wishes to live his life meaningfully for the "enefit of others as it teaches one to have a realistic view of "oth life and the world. It has no place however+ for those who are selfish and narrow0minded. Buddhism does not encourage "lind faith nor indulge in frightening and agonising people with imaginary fears and feelings of guilt in order to convert them. It is a practical religion which encourages its followers to reason and 3uery+ even the teachings of the Buddha. <o live the life of a Buddhist+ one must "e ready to follow the way of life that the Buddha has taught and this re3uires great discipline+ determination and self0effort. 7ight practice of the religion leads to peace+ tran3uillity+ happiness+ wisdom and perfect freedom. For these and many other reasons+ Buddhism has satisfied the spiritual needs of more than one third of mankind. Buddhism is a way of life. It is also a religion of reason and disciplinary meditational practices leading to the purification of the mind and 1eliverance+ the full li"eration from the cycle of "irth+

old age+ diseases and death. In its long history+ Buddhism has not shed a single drop of "lood in persuading people to walk its gentle path. It is a religion that re3uires all its followers to practise loving kindness and compassion towards all sentient "eings. !akyamuni Buddha was deeply concerned with suffering in life and for some forty0five years after his Cnlightenment+ taught ways and means to overcome and transcend it. .e Buddha's theme is therefore one of li"eration from all suffering and sorrow. .e Buddha esta"lished the >o"le -rder of the !angha+ the community of monks+ more than ?HEE years ago. ;fter #is death .&arinirvana/+ #is <eachings .1harma/ "ecame the sole guide and source of inspiration to the !angha. #owever+ the vast teachings together with their profundity "rought a"out different understanding and interpretations so that two main schools of thought came into "eing. ;t the second Buddhist ,ouncil in Vaisali+ held some 1EE years after the death of the Buddha+ the two great traditions of the #inayana and ahayana were formally esta"lished. .e #inayanists ..eravadins/ follow the &ali ,anon while the ahayanists took to heart the scriptures that were written in !anskrit. .is chart gives a "rief summary of the two great schools of BuddhismK #inayana and ahayana.

B.... #...... .. ... 1.......... .. B....... .e .chools of .uddhism !........ B..... <.. !..... <........ .#......./ ....... L....... :... ;......... L....... :... B.............. !......... .e &ali ,anon !......... !anskrit and <ranslations in ,hinese M <i"etan !...... &ure Gand+ ,h'an and other ,hinese+ 9apanese M <i"etan !chools.

From India Buddhism gradually spread out all over the ;sian continent with the .eravada "eing widely accepted in !ri Ganka+ Burma+ .ailand+ Gaos+ ,am"odia and alaysia while ,hina+ ongolia+ 9apan+ <i"et+ >epal+ !ikkim and Bhutan accepted the ahayana !chool of thought.

.e two great traditions share the same "asic teachings of the Buddha "ut their interpretations of the ideals and practices are not 3uite the same. .e .eravada+ often referred to as the #inayana+ focuses on the attainment of the ;rhat level of realisation while the ahayana+ "eing much more progressive+ li"eral and open0minded+ strives not for self li"eration "ut to serve mankind actively through the attainment of Bodhisattvahood. .e ahayana recognises the weakness of human "eings and offers help in salvation through the services of the Bodhisattvas. .is great concern and attitude earns it the title 6 ahayana8 or 6:reat Vehicle8 as it seeks to "enefit all "eings "y awakening their enlightenment thought which leads them to practise the Bodhisattva path. It is open to all who wish to practise it+ whether monk or laity+ and therefore has won the hearts of countless people+ especially the ,hinese. ;s the ahayana spreads across the land+ it a"sor"ed the different cultures and indigenous "eliefs+ thus allowing the :reat Vehicle to transform the wisdom of Buddhahood to different people in a variety of ways. .us we find that there are more schools of ahayana Buddhism which are "ut different paths of practice leading to the same goal. #inayana Buddhism is not a metaphysical doctrine "ut a philosophical one. It does not speculate on the origin of the world nor the existence of :od and neither does it accept the divinity of the Buddha. .e Buddha+ himself is regarded as a man+ a great teacher+ "ut not a :od or 1eity. .e stress is on self0reliance and it follows therefore that one should not expect miraculous help from any deity in heaven at all. -ne should rather rely on one's own efforts and conduct to achieve one's goals.

In #inayana+ the main aim of the strenuous religious disciplines is to develop oneself into a spiritual "eing of the highest level+ that of an ;....+ a =worthy one' or a =perfected "eing'+ who is a"le to "ring to an end+ the repeated rounds of re"irths in the suffering worlds known as !amsara. 2ithin !amsara are six different kinds of existencesK that of the 1evas .gods/+ ;suras .demi0gods/+ #umans+ ;nimals+ &retas .ghosts/ and #ell0"eings. Cach "eing in these worlds or realms are su"*ect to the pains of "irth+ disease+ old age and death which will "e discussed in details later on. ahayana Buddhism is 1evotional Buddhism which re3uires its adherents to put full faith in the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas who possess the infinite power to save all "eings. It is the path of compassion and it re*ects the idea of pursuit of >irvana as a lone 3uest which is considered self0centred and selfish. It also teaches the concept of the Bodhisattva who is fully concerned in the salvation of all living "eings. Bodhisattvahood+ therefore+ is the goal of the ahayana which re3uires a resolve to win full enlightenment for the "enefit of all that lives+ and thereafter+ until Buddhahood+ passes countless lifetimes in the practice of the !ix &erfections .&aramitas/ of :iving+ orality+ &atience+ &erseverance+ editation and 2isdom. .rough the practice of :iving+ orality and &atience+ vast merits are gainedN through the practice of editation and 2isdom+ transcendental $nowledge is attainedN and in order to "e successful in these practices the &erfection of &erseverance must "e accomplished.

2hat then is a BodhisattvaB B.......... is a !anskrit term with B.... meaning 2isdom or Cnlightenment+ and ......+ which means Cssence or Being. ; Bodhisattva is thus a 2isdom0"eing or an ;spiring Buddha who is determined to attain Buddhahood. 2hen enlightened+ he renounces >irvana and goes on living !amsaric existences for the sake of others+ perfects himself during an incalcula"le period of time and finally realises >irvana and "ecomes a Fully Cnlightened Buddha+ a !amyaksam"uddha. #is main attri"utes are love+ compassion+ selflessness and wisdom and his capacity for service to others is unlimited. .e Vows that he aspires to fulfill areK 6.owever innumera"le sentient "eings are+ . vow to save them. .owever inexhausti"le the defilements are+ . vow to extinguish them. .owever immeasura"le the .harmas are+ . vow to master them. .owever difficult .nlightenment is+ . vow to attain it)8 .ese great Vows thus commit the Bodhisattva to lead all "eings to li"eration and to remain in this world till the end+ even for the sake of a single "eing. .ey are known as the Bodhisattva Vows which all ahayanists should practise. ; Bodhisattva is usually presented as the personification of a particular trait of the Buddha+ and as there are numerous such

traits+ so also are there different Bodhisattvas. ; transcendent Bodhisattva who en*oys the most devotion and popularity as helper to li"eration is ;............. .$uan !hih %in/+ who is the compassionate aspect of the Buddha. #e and other popular ,elestial Bodhisattvas descri"ed in this "ook will help to remove incorrect ideas and speculative dou"ts from the minds of those who have little or no knowledge of the Bodhisattvas of the ahayana teachings. 2hile the #inayana ;rhat accumulates meritorious karma for his own salvation through following and practising the teachings of the Buddha+ he also serves others though his capacity to do so is limited. .e ahayana Bodhisattva+ on the other hand+ relentlessly carries out his mission of universal salvation+ transferring his vast merits to the less fortunate ones so that they too may en*oy the fruits of such merits. .us the Bodhisattva Ideal "rings a"out much hope for the down0trodden and provides a no"le goal to those who are seriously on the Buddha's path. .e ;rhat ideal may not sound as no"le as that of the Bodhisattva "ut it does not necessarily mean that the ahayana is in any way superior to the #inayana practice. Both are ideal paths that lead to enlightenment and those who are aspiring to "ecome ;rhats are not necessarily selfish since ;rhatship cannot "e attained if there is even the slightest tinge of selfishness left in his "eing. ; true Buddhist will not indulge in glorifying his path of practice+ he should realise that without the #inayana there can "e no ahayana path. 2hat is more important is that they "oth share the same fundamental teachings such asK0

1. !akyamuni Buddha as the -riginal Buddha. ?. .ere is no supreme deity who created the world and governed it. A. .e Four >o"le <ruths. @. .e >o"le Cightfold &ath. H. .e <ruth of 1ependent -rigination .&atticasamupada/. D. .e concepts on Impermanence .;nicca/+ !uffering .1ukkha/ and >on0self .;natta/. 7. .e .ree <rainings .<risiksa/ of orality .sila/+ editation .samadhi/ and 2isdom .pra*na/. Both !chools of Buddhism entered ,hina a few hundred years after the Buddha's death "ut the ahayana took firm roots in the hearts of the ,hinese as can "e seen "y the num"er of ahayana !ects that eventually developed. .hinese .uddhism #istorical record has it that two Buddhist missionaries from India+ on the AEth day of the 1?th month+ in the year DF ..+ arrived at the court of Cmperor ing .ruled HFO7H ../ of the #an 1ynasty. .ey en*oyed imperial favours and stayed on to translate various Buddhists <exts+ one of which+ .e !utra in Forty0two !ections+ en*oyed wide popularity which continues to "e so even today. Buddhism soon took roots in the ,hinese soil covering the entire country with monasteries which welcome all who felt a call to enter a monastic life. .ese monasteries su"sisted on a common fund sustained "y gifts from the charita"le. .ey "ecame a refuge for the unhappy+ the unwanted and those who have no"le intentions.

2hat gave the early Buddhists their popularity can "e attri"uted mainly to the doctrines of the common "rotherhood of men and the Gaw of ,ause and Cffect. .is taught that every good act such as worship+ charity+ reading and printing scriptures+ wishing for the good of others and other good deeds would infalli"ly cause good results. .e rewards of their faith in the compassion and saving powers of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and other ahayana teachings easily attracted a great following. oreover+ one could "e a good Buddhist without actually entering the -rder+ as was impossi"le according to the #inayana. ;nother very important factor which helped to spread and popularised ahayana Buddhism was its non0re*ection of the peoples' ethnic faiths so that their gods and spirits were a"sor"ed into its vast pantheon. .ere was no real harm in worshipping such deities so long as it was recognised that englightenment could "e won only "y following the way of the Buddha and not gained through godly worship. .e ,hinese could thus continue to turn to their gods for worldly "oons such as success in love affairs+ "usiness+ gaining wealth+ recovering of illness and even re3uesting for extension of life. .is may seem a superstitious practice "ut do not people of other faiths also pray to their gods for such helpB ,hinese Buddhism has therefore+ its own uni3ue flavour and "eauty since it has+ to a certain extent+ "een influenced "y <aoist thoughts. .us the ,hinese &antheon came into "eing. .e sole intention of producing this "ook is to provide useful information to the uninformed Buddhists who worship such figures in the temples. It also serves to explain to non0Buddhists that Buddhists often respect and honour gods and deities "ut do not take refuge in them.

;s a result of the seeds sown "y the Indian missionaries+ Buddhism soon flowered into a num"er of distinctive schools which were the products of the ,hinese mind. Cach of these schools developed its own method of practice "asing on a particular text and appealing to different sets of people. .e most outstanding schools amongst them "eing the <'ien0tai+ #ua %en+ ,h'an and &ure Gand. .e &ure Gand !chool with its easy method of practice that leads to salvation+ together with such a lova"le deity as the :reatly ,ompassionate $uan !hih %in &'usa easily won the largest num"er of adherents to make it the principal school of Buddhism among the ,hinese. $uan %in is so popular that !he is even worshipped in <aoist temples as the :oddess of ercy. $.. G.. !. <.....

,...... I . .ypical .hinese .onastery .e ,hinese Buddhist monastery or temple is fashioned after the palaces and "ears very little resem"lance to that of temples in India or any other Buddhist countries. :enerally there are three groups of "uildings separated "y courtyards. .e monastery+ like other ,hinese structures+ normally faces south. Cntering the front hall+ one is confronted "y four huge images+ usually made of wood+ two on each side. .ese are the Four #eavenly $ings or 1evas+ the :uardians of the four 1irections+ and the hall is named after them as the =!. <... 2... <...'. In this hall too+ one is greeted at the entrance+ "y the lova"le and kindly Buddha0to0"e+ aitreya Buddha+ known to the ,hinese as the =Gaughing Buddha' or =<a0pao i0Gei0Fwo'+ who has a fat paunch+ looking *oyously towards the entrance. 1irectly "ehind i0Gei0Fwo+ often separated "y a wall+ is the great 1eva 2eito+ the &rotector of Buddhist temples and Faith. #e is depicted clad in full armour and holding either a gnarled staff or a sceptreshaped weapon of assault resting on the ground. 2ei0<o+ who is a general under the Four #eavenly $ings+ is also accorded the title of =&rotector of Buddhist Books'. #e is always facing the :reat #all known as the =<.0#...0&..0<...' which is separated from the front hall "y a wall or a courtyard. In the :reat #all the main altar is found along with the images of !akyamuni Buddha and his two foremost disciples aha

kasyapa and ;nanda+ or other Buddhas of the past eras. .e arrangement and choice of personages in this altar varies from temple to temple. ost of the time !akyamuni Buddha is depicted in the attitude of contemplation with his disciples flanking him. <emples dedicated to ;mita"ha Buddha have his image at the centre+ !akyamuni Buddha and Bahaisa*yaguru+ "etter known to the ,hinese as =%ao0!hih0Fwo'+ each accompanied "y two disciples. <o the right and left of the main altar one usually finds the two :reat Bodhisattvas+ an*usri .2en0!hu0!hih0 Gi/ and !amanta"hadra .&u0#sien/. .e placements of personages are not really fixed so that one may often find !akyamuni Buddha "eing flanked "y ;mita"ha .-0 i <wo0Fwo/ and %ao0 !hin0Fwo . edicine Buddha/+ the two great Buddhas of past eras. ;t other times a single Buddha is seen seated "etween his two Bodhisattvas+ !akyamuni .!hih 9ia0 o0>i0Fwo/ "etween an*usri and !amanta"hadra or ;mita"ha Buddha with ;valokitesvara .$uan %in/ and ahasthamaprata .<a0!hih0,hih/. <emples dedicated to $uan !hih %in &'usa will have her flanked "y 2en0shu0!hih0Gi and &'u0#sien. -n the east and west sides of the walls of this :reat #all are often arranged the figures of the Cighteen ;rhats .Gohans/ who are represented as possessing various kinds of supernatural power. ;long the north wall are often found the images of 9anteng Fwo or 1ipankara+ the ancient Buddha who predicted !akyamuni's Buddhahood+ and the popular Bodhisattvas such as $uan %in+ 2en0shu+ &u0#sien and <i0tsang .$si0tigar"ha/+ or other Bodhisattvas. Very often+ images of $uan <i+ the &rotector of Buddhism+ can also "e found in this hall. It is here at

the <a0#ung0&au0<ien that devout Buddhists offer their prayers and offerings of flowers+ fruits and other gifts which are placed on the ta"le in front of the main altar. Very often+ "ehind the central images of this hall and facing northwards+ is placed the images of $uan %in &'usa. .e third+ or Back #all+ at the "ack is usually divided into several smaller halls .<ien/ or rooms. .e central hall is generally the altar of a Buddha or a Bodhisattva+ the right housing the funerary ta"let of the temple founder+ while the left may "e the <eaching or editation #all. -n the side or "ehind these main "uildings are the living 3uarters+ the dining area and the kitchen. B..........

,...... II .hinese .uddhist .mages uch a"use or unkind remarks have "een heaped upon ,hinese Buddhists accusing them as "eing idolators "ecause of their use of images in their temples. ;ccusations of such nature only reveal the ignorance of those who made them as the principle of the use of images in places of worship should "e viewed as sym"olical and not idol worship. It should "e stressed that all the images that are found in the temples or home shrines only serve as reminders of their respective 3ualities. For example+ when a Buddhist kneels down "efore the image of the Buddha+ he does not worship the holy image "ut "rings to mind the great compassion of the Cnlightened -ne who has taught him the way to li"eration. Idolatory is not what Buddhists practise and only the unkind person will choose to deride the use of holy images in the temples. #e should have the wisdom to realise that no religion in the world can do away with sym"olism+ whether they "e human or otherwise+ for without sym"olism+ identification would "e 3uite impossi"le. .e world+ in fact+ cannot exist without sym"olism and it can safely "e said that only civilisations as old and advanced in culture as ,hina are a"le to "ring forth sym"olic images such as those produced "y the ,hinese people. .e images used in the ,hinese temples are therefore useful aids to generating faith and devotion in the minds of the "elievers and are o"*ects worthy of reverence.

Lpon entering the front hall of the temple+ one is met with the idea of =protection' from the celestial "eings and as one stands "efore the Buddha's image+ one is reminded of !akyamuni's compassion+ "enevolence and wisdom. Gooking at the Bodhisattvas' images he sees their particular attri"utes so that $uan %in's image instantly reminds him of her infinite mercy+ compassion and other gentle 3ualities. any a trou"led mind have found solace and comfort upon looking at the sweet image of $uan %in. Cven the animals which are portrayed with the deities have their own sym"olic meanings. .us Fu #sien's great white elephant indicates purity+ caution+ strength+ gentleness and a weighty dignity while the lion of 2en0shu represents honour+ "oldness+ "ravery and a fresh+ eager and advancing spirit as well as the wild and almost untamea"le spirit of the unruly mind which one must eventually su"due in order to gain wisdom and enlightenment. In the ;rhat's images one sees those who have perfected themselves "y ridding their worldly passions and earned the freedom from samsaric sufferings. !uch is the sym"olism of the ,hinese Buddhist images which one should know of instead of *umping into wrong conclusions+ which are the causes of ill0will. .erefore when a Buddhist "ows "efore a holy image and makes his offerings+ one should know that this is "ut an act of respect and veneration to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

<.. ,...... B....... &.......

,...... III .e .hinese .uddhist .antheon .e Buddhist &antheon has a vast num"er of 1eities in the seemingly endless variation of forms so that it is 3uite impossi"le to portray them in any one illustration. ost of these 1eities fall into the category of Buddhas+ Bodhisattvas+ ;rahants and other #eavenly Beings. .e illustration of the ,hinese &antheon only depicts the most popular 1eities whom the ,hinese adore and there is another popular illustration which includes the Cighteen Gohans that can "e found in many temples and homes of the Buddhists. .escription of the .hinese .antheon .e <rinity of the Buddhas on the top row of the illustration consists of the historical !........ B..... who is seated in the centre and is attended "y his two foremost disciples. .e older monk standing on his left is ..........+ who later "ecame the First &atriarch of Buddhism after the Buddha's death. .e young monk on his right is ;.....+ his personal attendant+ who was well known for his great memory power and a"ility to repeat accurately all the teachings that had "een spoken "y the Buddha. #e later "ecame the !econd &atriarch of Buddhism.

.e two most adored Buddhas of the distant past+ whose existence were revealed to us "y !akyamuni Buddha himself+ are shown seated "y his sides. ;....... B.....+ .e Buddha of Boundless Gight and Gimitless Gife+ the ,reator of the 2estern &aradise .!ukhavati/ where all &ure Gand Buddhists hope to take re"irth into+ sits on the right hand side of !akyamuni Buddha. B........0:...+ the #ealing Buddha+ the ,reator of the Castern &aradise+ also known as the edicine Buddha "ecause of his healing powers+ is seated on the left. 9ust "elow the Buddhas are the .ree :reat Bodhisattvas. ; Bodhisattva or &'usa+ in ,hinese+ is an Cnlightened Being who forsakes >irvana and accepts re"irth into the suffering worlds of !amsara for the sake of relieving the pains of sentient "eings and leading them to the path of enlightenment. .e six samsaric realms or worlds are those "elonging to the gods+ asuras+ humans+ animals+ ghosts and hell0"eings. $... !... %.. &'... or ;valokitesvara Bodhisattva can "e seen seated *ust "elow !akyamuni Buddha and is flanked "y her two famous disciples =:..... %....' and =9... :...'. Being the personification of ,ompassion+ $uan %in is easily the most popular of all the 1eities of the entire pantheon. 2..0!.. &'... or an*usri Bodhisattva+ the em"odiment of 2isdom+ is the figure seated upon the lion which represents the =wild mind' which meditation transforms. &. #.... &'... or !amanta"hadra Bodhisattva+ the personification of &erfect ;ctivity and #appiness+ is depicted as seated upon the white

elephant. !he also represents active love+ virtue+ diligent training and patience. <.0<.... 2... &'... or $sitigar"ha+ the em"odiment of Benevolence+ the only Bodhisattva depicted in a monk's attire+ is seated *ust "elow $uan %in &'usa. #is two disciples+ a father and son com"ination+ are ... $... and monk <.. .... .0G. F.. or aitreya Buddha+ or the Buddha0to0come and often referred to as the Gaughing Buddha+ sits "elow <i0tsang &'usa. #e is flanked "y $... <.+ the &rotector of the Buddhist religion+ on his right+ and 2..0<.+ the &rotector of Buddhist 1harma+ on his left. .e rest of the magnificent figures+ all clad in complete armour+ are the famous !.0<.0<...02...+ or the Four :reat $ings of 1evas. .ese Four :uardian $ings of the four directions represent the protection of the Buddhas and the &atriarchs and are actively involved with the affairs of the world. .0G. ,....+ the :uardian of the Cast+ holds a magical mandolin or p'i0pa+ while .0G. #..+ the :uardian of the 2est+ has with him the magic dragon. -n the other side+ .0G. !...+ the :uardian of the >orth+ is seen holding an um"rella+ at the elevation of which darkness envelopes the world or a violent and thunderous storm commences. .0G. #...+ the :uardian of the !outh+ who possesses a "lack countenance and ferocious expression+ has in his hand a precious sword.

.e C....... ;..... .Go0#ans/+ not depicted in this illustration "ut often appearing in other versions of the ,hinese Buddhist &antheon+ are usually represented as possessing various kinds of supernatural power+ sym"olised either "y o"*ects held in their hands or "y wild animals crouching su"missively "eside them. .ese are perfected "eings who have listened and practised the teachings of the Buddha. In ,hinese Buddhism there are a num"er of famous groups of ;rhants of which this group of eighteen is the most popular. I. ... :.... #... ... C....... G..... ... ..... .... .. .... .... .. ... ...... <.. ..... ....... .... ..... .... .. ... .... G..... .. ... ..... I...... ... ..... ....... .. .... .. . .... .. ....... ... ..... ......... ............

,...... IV .hinese .uddhists .estive .ays .ese are the holy days that ,hinese Buddhists cele"rate "y visiting temples to make offerings of prayers+ incense+ fruits+ flowers and donations. -n such days they o"serve the moral precepts very strictly as well as a full day's vegetarian diet+ a practice originally from ,hina. .e dates given are "ased on the ,hinese Gunar system so that 1.1 means the =First day of the First lunar moon' and so on. 1.... F........ F.1? 4 Buddha !akyamuni's Cnlightenment 1ay. AE.1? 4 ;vatamsaka Bodhisattva's Birthday. 1.1 4 aitreya Buddha's Birthday.

9.1 4 !akra 1evara*a's Birthday F.? 4 !akyamuni's 7enunciation 1ay 1H.? 4 !akyamuni Buddha's ahapari0>irvana 1ay

19.? 4 Birthday of $uan !hih %in &'usa. ?1.? 4 Birthday of &u #sien &'usa 1D.A 4 Birthday of ,undi &'usa

?A.A 4 Birthday of

arichi 1evata

@.@ 4 Birthday of 2en0shu &'usa F.@ 4 Birthday of Buddha !akyamuni 1H.@ 4 2esak 1ay ?F.@ 4 Birthday of %ao02ang &'usa .Bhaisa*yara*a Bodhisattva/ A.D 4 Birthday of 2ei0to 1E.D 4 Birthday of :uru 7inpoche .&admasam"hava/ 19.D 4 Cnlightenment 1ay of $uan !hih %in &'usa 1A.7 4 Birthday of <a0!hih0,hi &'usa 1H.7 4 %u0lan0pen .Lllam"ana/ ,eremony+ for feeding hungry ghosts. AE.7 4 Birthday of <i0tsang &'usa ??.F 4 Birthday of the ancient Buddha 9an0teng .1ipankara Buddha/ 19.9 4 $uan !hih %in &'usa's 7enunciation 1ay+ the day that marks her entering into the nunnery. AE.9 4 Birthday of %ao0shi Fwo .Bhaisa*yaguru Buddha/ H.1E 4 ;nniversary of the death of <a0mo .Bodhidharma/ 17.11 4 Birthday of -0mi0to Fwo .;mita"ha Buddha/

,...... V .e .uddha Buddhism is a way of life+ a religion which is "ased on the practice of discipline according to the teachings of the Buddha !iddharta :autama who is also known as the Buddha !akyamuni. .e word 6Buddha8 derives from the root !anskrit word 6Budh8 which means 6to know8. It is used as a title to denote an 6Cnlightened Being8 4 one who has attained+ "y+ his own personal efforts and merit+ the pinnacle of intellect and divine knowledge. Buddhism is a religion of peace and loving kindness+ in the name of which no "lood was ever shed in its long history+ there had never "een any association with killing and destruction in its manner of persuading people to walk its gentle path. It is a religion of reason and meditation and its final goal is 1eliverance+ meaning the Gi"eration of the !elf from the cycle of "irth+ old age+ disease and death. .ho is .e .uddhaB #istorically+ this refers to !iddharta :autama who was "orn in HDE .. to Pueen ahamaya and $ing !uddhodanna of the !akya $ingdom in the vicinity of >epal. .e 3ueen had+ prior to the "irth of the child+ a dream of a "eautiful white elephant entering her wom" through her side. :autama was "orn in Gum"ini &ark on a full0moon day in the month of Vesakha. ;

week after his "irth+ his mother died and he was "rought up "y his aunt+ ahapra*apati. ;t a name giving ceremony he was given the name !iddharta which means -ne 2hose ;im Is ;ccomplished. ;ncient &ali commentaries relate a significant incident which occured during the &loughing ,eremony+ when as a young child and left alone in a tent under a rose0apple tree+ his nurses later found the prince to "e seated in a lotus posture and having entered one0pointedness of mind known as !amadhi. .e young prince grew up in the midst of luxury and splendour and at the age of 1D+ was married to his cousin+ the "eautiful %asodhara. For almost thirteen years after his marriage+ he led a "lissful life unaware of the ever changing nature and misfortunes of life outside the palace. 2hen he was ?9 years old :autama encountered four significant sights which marked the turning point of his life. First he saw a weak and frail old man leaning on a staff+ next a diseased person+ then a corpse and finally+ a shaven0headed hermit in yellow ro"e moving around with a peaceful and serene countenance. .e first three sights convincingly showed him the inexora"le nature of life+ and the universal ailments of humanityN the fourth showed the means to overcome the ills of life and to attain to calm and peace. 7ealising the worthlessness of sensual pleasures and the value of renunciation he decided to leave home in search of <ruth and Cternal &eace.

<.. B.....

It was after this decision was made that he heard of the "irth of his son+ and regarding the new "orn child as an impediment rather than a "lessing+ named him 7ahula meaning 6fetter8. It was a clear indication that his heart was already turning away from household life. -n that night+ he left his uncongenial palace and traded his princely ro"es for the lowly clothings of an ascetic. #is search for truth and peace had "egun and it was more from sympathy with the sufferings of others than from any personal sorrow which he had no occasion to experience. #is departure from home was not a case of desertion of his "eloved family+ "ut an unprecedented case of historic renunciation. #e left his worldly life not in old age "ut in the prime of manhood+ not in poverty "ut in the midst of plenty. Following the path of extreme asceticism+ as was the custom of those days+ he was not a"le to seek what he sought for until he gave up the practice of austerity some six years later. .e .reat .nlightenment -ne day+ in the forest at Buddha :aya+ after a last meal of milk rice+ :autama sat down+ crossed0legged+ on a grass mat spread under a 6Bodhi8 tree+ and declared+ 6If I do not succeed in this way of seeking the truth "y searching within+ I will not rise from this place8. #is mind soon "ecame tran3uil and purified and he then attained the !amadhi that he had experienced in his youth.

1uring meditative trances in that night's three watches he gained the knowledge of all his past lives+ ac3uired the 6superhuman divine eye8 "y which he envisaged the passing away and re"irth of all living "eings of all times. It was like that of the whole universe appearing "efore him as a mirror. #e saw that good karma "rings a"out a happy re"irth and evil karma leads to a misera"le next life. .en+ at the third watch .?.EE am 4 D.EE am/+ he reached the highest state in which the 6outflows8 of his life i.e.+ his ignorance and cravings+ were finally 3uelled. It was then that he perceived the Four >o"le <ruths of the way of Cnlightenment+ noting+ is !uffering+ this is the ,ause of !uffering+ this is the ,essation of !uffering+ and this is the &ath leading to the ,essation of !uffering8. .us ignorance was dispelled and wisdom arose. Being enlightened+ he realised+ 67e"irth is endedN fulfilled the #oly GifeN done what was to "e doneN there is no more this state again8. .ereafter he was known as Buddha :autama+ one of the long line of Buddhas that already had appeared in the past and will appear in the future. .us at the age of AH+ :autama+ under the full moon in the month of Vesakha .;pril 4 ay/+ a"out the year H?H .. at a place called Buddha :aya+ attained the !upreme Cnlightenment and Buddhism was "orn to the world. .e Buddha then spent seven weeks contemplating on the <ruth that he had realised+ particularly the more difficult ones on causal relations or the <ruth of 1ependent -rigination.

<.. B.....

Initially the Buddha was hesistant to reach out to teach the <ruth "ecause he felt that the world "eing caught up in the passion and darkness of !amsara will find it difficult to accept the truth of his teachings. #owever+ due to his great compassion and his realisation that man exists at different levels of spiritual development he decided to reach out and set in motion+ the 2heel of <ruth+ which is depicted "y the =mudra' or hand0signs of the fingers as shown in the illustration. .e Buddha spent his remaining forty five years travelling all over India+ teaching the 1harma and living in the manner of a "egging monk. #e formed the first monastic -rder in the world which is known as the !angha and his most nota"le disciples included !ariputra+ ahakasyapa+ ogallana+ !u"uti and his personal attendant and cousin+ ;nanda. #is followers were people from all walks of life which included kings+ princes+ ministers+ ascetics+ "rahmins and commoners. #e taught them according to their a"ility to learn+ with para"les and through 3uestions and answers applying all suita"le means to aid them to spiritual growth. #e did not demand "lind faith+ "ut adopted the unusual 6come and experience for yourself8 attitude which won the hearts of thousands. #is was the path of self0reliance which re3uired unswerving personal effort. .e Buddha also converted his father+ his family+ and a large num"er of the !akyan people. ;t the urging of his close disciple ;nanda+ he formed the first -rder of >uns and his foster mother+ Pueen ahapra*apati+ and a large num"er of her friends "ecame the first mem"ers of the -rder.

.e .reat .ecease 1uring the early part of his ministry+ the Buddha lived as a travelling monk and did not have any fixed a"ode. It was towards the last twenty years or so that he chose to reside at !avatthi+ in the 9etavana :rove which was donated to him and his monks "y the very rich householder ;nathapindika. ;t the age of eighty he travelled northwards from 7a*agriha to Vesali where he "ecame seriously ill. Lpon recovering the Buddha proceeded to a small town called &ava where he stayed in the grove of ,unda+ the smith+ who upon hearing of his arrival+ offered him and his followers a meal. .is was to "e the last meal that he ate for one of the dishes diligently prepared "y ,unda and which the Buddha later specifically instructed was for himself to eat only+ caused him to suffer sharp dysentery pains. .e Buddha later assured ,unda through ;nanda that his pains were not any fault of his and that it was a meritorious act to offer the Buddha his last meal. .e Buddha "ore it calmly and+ despite his illness+ set forth for $ushinagara where he laid down "etween two !ala trees with his head pointing to the north. .e Buddha was descri"ed in the !criptures to have 6laid himself down on his right side+ with one leg resting on the other+ mindful and self0possessed8. .e !ala trees then "urst into "loom out of season and fragrance filled the air in homage of the Buddha.

;t this moment his former attendant+ the venera"le Lpavana+ came forward to fan the Buddha "ut was asked to step aside. ;nanda then asked the Buddha why he had turned down the monk's service and the Buddha replied that 1evas had assem"led in great num"ers to see the <athagata and they were rather displeased that their view was concealed "y Lpavana. !akyamuni Buddha then told ;nanda that after his death faithful followers should revere four places which have "een made sacred "y his associationK 1. .e place of his "irth .Gum"ini/. ?. .e place where he attained Cnlightenment .Buddha :aya/. A. .e place where he preached his first sermon .!arnath/. @. .e place where he attained &arinirvana .$usinagara/. .e Buddha further added that those who should die while making such a pilgrimage would "e re"orn in a heavenly state. .e dying Buddha then asked the monks around him three times whether there were any remaining 3uestions or dou"ts a"out his teachings+ "ut all kept silent. <urning to ;nanda he said+ 62hat I have taught and laid down+ ;nanda+ as 1harma and Vinaya+ this will "e your aster when I am gone.8 .en turning to the assem"ly of monks he made this final pronouncementK 6...transient are all conditioned things. .ry to accomplish your aim with diligence8.

.en he entered successive stages of deeper and deeper meditation from which he passed into parinirvana. .us ended the life of Buddha who is known to the world as !akyamuni Buddha+ the !age of the !akya ,lan+ the #istoric Buddha who founded Buddhism that gave mankind the way to supreme 1eliverance. It was the full0moon day of the month of Vesakha. #is "ody was then cremated and the relics divided into eight portions and sent to the various kingdoms where they were enshrined in !tupas. .rayers to the .uddha .akyamuni 1aily every Buddhist should pay homage to the Buddha "y reciting any of these prayersK 6>. . B.. !.. !... 9.. . >. F..8

which means =#ail -ur -riginal <eacher !akyamuni Buddha'. 6>... <.... B........ ;...... !.......0B.......8 which means =#omage to the :reat ,ompassionate ,ompletely Cnlightened -ne'. ;s the Buddha is endowed with numerous 3ualities+ various epithets have "een "estowed upon #im. #e is therefore also addressed asK

9... 4 ,on3ueror <........ 4 -ne gone to =suchness' !..... 4 2ell0gone -ne B....... 4 Blessed -ne ;.... 4 ,apa"le -ne ;..... 4 atchless -ne

!.............. 4 &erfect Buddha Buddhists are also re3uired to <ake 7efuge in the .ree 9ewels each day as a committment to practising the Buddha's teaching for the "enefit of all sentient "eings. .e .ree 9ewels consist of the Buddha+ the 1harma and the !angha and the Buddha's way of life re3uires one to live wholesomely "y adhering to the >o"le Cightfold &ath. .ose who do so will successfully avoid these ten non0virtuous actionsK $illing+ stealing+ sexual misconduct+ lying+ slandering+ malicious speech+ idle speech+ covetousness+ malevolence and erroneous views. .e most holy day for all Buddhists is the cele"ration of 2.... or Buddha 1ay which generally falls in the month of ay. .is is a thrice "lessed day which cele"rates the three ma*or eventsK the Birth+ Cnlightenment and the &assing0away of :autama the Buddha. -n this day ,hinese Buddhists make their way to the temples to pay homage to the Buddha and to reaffirm their faith in the Buddha 1harma. It is truly a religious day and many people will spend it in meditation or prayer0recitation for the well0

"eing of others. &recepts are adhered to very strictly and only vegetarian food will "e eaten. -n this day too loving0kindness is practised in various manners as many people will set free "irds and animals as a sym"olic act of li"eration+ of giving freedom to those who are in captivity+ while others choose to give alms to the poor+ make donations to temples and institutions or visit the unfortunate ones who are at the -ld Folks #omes+ -rphanages or similar ,entres+ "ringing with them gifts of every kind. 2esak "rings to mind+ the :reat ,ompassion of the Buddha which should move us to "e more determined to lead no"le lives+ to develop our minds+ to practise loving0kindness and compassion so as to "ring peace and harmony to all mankind.

,...... VI .mita"ha .uddha 6.amo .0.i0.o .wo8 .us the !akyamuni Buddha descri"ed the Buddha ;mita"ha to ;nandaK 6.e Gight that issues from ;mita"ha Buddha is the most "rilliant+ and none is compara"le to him. In adoration we call himK =.e Buddha of Infinite Gight+ .e Buddha of Immeasura"le Gight+ .e Buddha of Boundless Gight+ .e Buddha of Inexpressi"le Gight+ and the Buddha whose Gight surpasses the !un and the oon'. 2hoever is "lessed with the Gight will en*oy a calm and peaceful life which is free of despair and will o"tain enlightenment at the end of his life on earth. .e Gight of ;mita"ha is full of splendour and pervades the entire universe. >ot only do I adore #is Gight+ I also adore #im+ if anyone+ on receiving the great "lessings of #is Gight+ adores #im incessantly day and night with faith and sincerity in his heart+ he will sure take re"irth into #is paradise called the &ure Gand(. Cven though I adore the magnificence of ;mita"ha day and night+ it is impossi"le for me to descri"e #im well.8 .ho is .mita"haB ;ccording to ahayana Buddhist sutras he was a king in the remote period of time. 7enouncing his kingdom+ he "ecame a

monk and was named 1harmakara+ which means =<reasury of 1harma'. Inspired "y the teaching of the then Buddha of that time+ Gokesvara*a Buddha+ who taught him the way to supreme enlightenment many aeons ago+ he made forty eight great vows for the saving of the sentient "eings. .e Cighteenth Vow+ which is the "asis of the &ure Gand+ ran like thisK =If upon the attainment of Buddhahood all sentient "eings in the ten 3uarters who aspire in sincerity and faith to "e re"orn in my land+ recite my name up to ten times and fail to "e "orn there+ then may I not attain the &erfect Cnlightenment('. !ince then+ the Bodhisattva 1harmakara+ after five aeons of self0cultivation+ finally attained the !upreme Cnlightenment and "ecame the Buddha ;mita"ha. .is means that his grand and infinitely compassionate vow is now a reality+ the paradise known as &ure Gand or !ukhavati has "een esta"lished+ suffering "eings must and will "e delivered if only they will have the full faith to call upon his name. ,alling the Buddha's name with full faith is known to the ,hinese as =>...0F..' meaning =&rayer0recitation'. .e 9apanese term for this practice is known as =>em"utsu'. In this practice three important 3ualities must "e present in the mindK !incerity+ Faith and ;spiration to "e re"orn in the &ure Gand. .e simple prayer or formula that one needs to repeat isK 6>... -0 .0<. F..8 -ne may repeat it in !anskrit =>amo ;mita"ha Buddha' which literally means =#omage to the ;mita"ha Buddha' or =I seek refuge in the ;mita"ha Buddha'.

.ethod of .rayer0.ecitation 2hile practising =nien0fwo' it is important to adopt a correct sitting posture+ a concentrated mind which is faith0filled and a firm desire to "e re"orn in the &ure Gand of ;mita"ha. -ne must also "e aware that salvation is not affected solely "y ;mita"ha's powers "ut mainly "y one's own constant effort in the practice. It is prefera"le to have an image of the Buddha in front so that the eyes can look at it during the recitation. ;nd while the mouth recites the Buddha's name+ the ears listen attentively to the sixsylla"les 6>.0 .0-0 .0<.0F..8 so that the mind is in full concentration and not allowed to move a"out freely. Beginners will find that they are faced with a scattered mind which make them restless+ feel heavy or even frustrated. .is outcome is 3uite normal so that they should not give up the practice easily "ut instead recognise the fact that their minds have "een lacking in concentration and discipline. .ey should also appreciate having found a practice which will help them to get rid of their unruly minds and accept the great challenge to succeed instead of "eing discouraged. 2ith patience+ they should try harder and continue the recitation with renewed vigour. ;fter some time the result of their efforts will "e felt as the 3uiet0mind arises and then =nien0fwo' will henceforth "e 3uite easy to practise. .e more advanced ones may practise reciting the Buddha's name while meditating on the mental image of #im or .e &ure Gand scene which shows ;mita"ha Buddha "eing flanked "y #is foremost disciples $uan !hih %in &'usa and <a0!hih0,hi

;....... B.....

&'usa and surrounded "y the assem"ly of 1ivinities. ,onstant practise will eventually lead one to arrive at a stage of perfect concentration so that the Buddha is in his mouth as he recites #is name+ in his ears as he listens to the recitation+ and in his mind as he visualises #im. .ure .and .uddhism &ure Gand Buddhism known as the Gotus !chool of Buddhism or ,.'... <.+ is+ in short+ the Buddhism of Faith and 1evotion meant for those lacking in wisdom to comprehend the profound teachings of the Buddha !akyamuni+ and therefore having to resort to the use of Faith in the saving power of ;mita"ha Buddha. It is therefore called the =easy path' since the way to attain re"irth in the &ure Gand is "y way of a simple faith and a simple invocation. .e &ure Gand is also called the 2estern &aradise since it is located in the far distant 2estern Puarters of the Lniverse. It should "e treated as a stepping stone to >irvana and therefore "eings who take re"irth there are not to "e considered as enlightened "eings. &ure Gand Buddhism is ahayana Buddhism as it teaches the universality of salvation. Its particular duty is to give help to common "eings so that Cnlightenment is not less accessi"le to them even though they are not intelligent enough to understand the 1harma. .e Buddha's compassion is infinite and he exists to save all "eings in the universe whether they are wise or stupid "ecause the Buddha0nature is e3ually present in all of them. ,h'ing <u thus "ecame the most accepta"le form of Buddhism

in ,hina as the larger part of its populace do not "elong to the scholarly class. It should not "e looked upon as a lowly method of practice for whether one chooses to practise the easy way of faith or the difficult way of wisdom+ the ultimate goal is the same 4 *ust as one can clim" up a mountain top from the north+ south+ east or west side. <.. &... G... -. ;....... B..... .!......../ .e a"ove illustration is from an old <i"etan <ext which depicts the granduer of !ukhavati or the 2estern &aradise of ;mita"ha Buddha. It is a paradise which is rich and prosperous+ comforta"le+ fertile+ delightful and crowded with Bodhisattvas+ 1evas and men. In this Buddha0field there are no hell+ no animals+ no ghosts or evil spirits+ no ;suras and none of the inauspicious places of re"irth. It is empty of suffering of any kind. In this &ure Iand sweet fragrance fills the air and it is rich in a great variety of flowers and fruits+ various plumed "irds with exotic sweet voices sing verses of the 1harma and "e*eweled trees of many colours can "e found everywhere. ;mita"ha Buddha can "e seen at the centre of the picture surrounded "y the happy "eings of the realm.

.escription of the .ure .and .e full description of the &ure Gand can "e read from the !utras related to ;mita"ha Buddha e.g.+ !ukhavativyuha !utra or the ;mitayus !utra. ;mitayus is the other name for ;mita"ha Buddha meaning Boundless or Infinite Gife "ecause his lifespan .ayuh/ is infinite .amita/. Briefly it is a paradise in the 2est which is ex3uisitely adorned with gold and silver and all kinds of precious gems. .ere are indescri"a"ly "eautiful lakes with golden sand that are surrounded "y pleasant "anks lined with *ewelled trees and covered with heavenly lotus flowers which are grown in crystal pure water. It is filled with wondrous sounds and sights and fragrant flowers rain down three times a day. .e flowing waters of the rivers hum the sounds of the holy dharmaN even the melodies from the songs of plumed "irds are filled with harmonious notes which induce those who hear them to remem"er the precious Buddha+ 1harma and !angha. #ere too the words of ;mita"ha Buddha teaching love+ mercy+ compassion+ *oy+ sympathy+ e3uanimity and so forth can "e heard. Cverything in this paradise is radiant+ peaceful and "eautiful. >o defilement can "e found as no evil "irth is possi"le+ and even the very name hell is unheard of. It is populated "y Bodhisattvas+ 1eities and other heavenly "eings and the pious ones who "eing re"orn there+ are destined to attain >irvana. In the &ure Gand+ ;mita"ha Buddha is assisted "y two principal attendants namely+ $uan !hih %in &'usa and <a !hih ,hi &'usa+ who will descend to earth to lead the faithful and devoted to the

paradise at their hour of death. Buddhist temples dedicated to ;mita"ha Buddha always have the images of these .ree :reat !ages so that those who venerate ;mita"ha Buddha already honour $uan !hih %in &'usa and <a !hih ,hi &'usa. In the same way+ $uan %in devotees are already the devotees of the Buddha and therefore 3ualify to take re"irth in the &ure Gand. ;fter taking re"irth in this paradise one must not forget his other fellow "eings who are still deeply su"merged in the mire of painful existence. .is thought will help to generate the desire to take re"irth again on this earth so as to deliver them from their great sufferings. .is then+ is the arising of the Bodhisattva nature which is "orn out of compassion and loving0kindness+ and a new "odhisattva is "orn. &ure Gand is therefore the land where "eings can develop their "odhisattva spirit and have the opportunity to appear "efore the Buddha to declare their earnest wish to strive for Buddhahood so that they are a"le to save sentient "eings. #ere too the Bodhisattva Vows can "e taken and ;mita"ha Buddha can then give his "lessings and prophesises their future success in the career of a "udding "odhisattva. .e worship of ;mita"ha Buddha originated in India "ut took firm roots in ,hina. Its teachings appealed especially to those who are not attracted "y scriptural studies+ ritualistic or meditative practices "ut possessing great faith+ energy and devotion+ prefer to rely on ;mita"ha Buddha to save them. &ure Gand Buddhism soon spread from ,hina to its neigh"ouring countries like Vietnam+ $orea and 9apan. 9apan can "e considered to "e the main area of &ure Gand practice today as more than two0thirds of its population are said to "e &ure Gand practitioners.

In the fourth century ..+ a monk from ,entral ;sia arrived at Goyang+ then the capital of ,hina+ and engaged in widespread evangelism on this easy and convenient path of salvation which stirred the interests of many. #is work was later continued "y his famous disciple <ao0;n ... A1@OAFH/ with *ust as much vigour who then passed on the responsi"ility to his own disciple+ a former <aoist+ #ui %uan ... AA@O@1D/+ who later found the &ure Gand !chool "etter known then as the Gotus !chool. It must "e stressed again that re"irth in the &ure Gand does not constitute the attainment of >irvana+ as it is "ut one of the countless heavenly realms in the Buddhist ,osmology. #owever there is a great difference "etween the &ure Gand of ;mita"ha and the various heavenly states in that "eings "orn there are free from the temptations of sensuous delights and that they will "e "lessed with the most excellent conditions to practise the 1harma+ as have "een descri"ed earlier+ that will lead to >irvana. 2ith the practice of meditation on the evil conse3uences of !amsara+ one will put more effort in his practice of >ien0Fwo and appreciate the great opportunity of "eing a human "eing and having found the means of renouncing !amsara. &ure Gand Buddhism also has various meditational practices for those who are well on the path. #ere are the five popular practices which anyone may practise to achieve re"irth into the &ure GandK

$... !... %.. &'...

<. !... ,.. &'...

1. .e meditation on Gove which leads one to ponder and yearn for the weal and welfare of all "eings+ including the happiness and safety of one's own enemies. ?. .e meditation on &ity which causes one to think of all the sufferings of sentient "eings so as to arouse a deep compassion for them in one's own mind. A. .e meditation on 9oy in which one dwells on the prosperity of others and re*oices in their happiness. @. .e meditation on Impurity in which one realises the evil conse3uences of defiled thoughts and the effects of unwholesome acts. H. .e meditation on !erenity which leads one to rise a"ove the grips of the mental poisons of greed+ anger and delusion+ so that all unwholesome acts are discarded and one is a"le to su"due desires there"y attaining calmness and tran3uillity of mind. .ere are many other methods of meditating on ;mita"ha Buddha which are more profound "ut may not "e suita"le for "eginners of the path. #owever+ one should not "e over anxious to practise them all or wish to determine which is the most effective practice. ;ll are in fact suita"le and "eneficial as long as faith and devotion are present in the minds of the practitioners. For the present+ it is "est that recitation on ;mita"ha's name "e vigorously practised until the deep and inexpressi"le inner experience has "een felt.

.mita"ha .uddha's .estive .ay .e "irthday of ;mita"ha Buddha is cele"rated "y his devotees on the 17th day of the 11th lunar month. -n this day many &ure Gand Buddhists spend the entire day in =nien0fwo'+ sutra0reading+ and contemplating on the vows of ;mita"ha Buddha. In the a"sence of temples dedicated to him most people will make their ways to $uan %in <emples to offer prayers and donations+ some will set free animals and "irds while others visit orphanages or old folks homes. -n this day too many will o"serve the precepts and refrain from eating meat. .e picture of &ure Gand .!ukhavati/ gives one an impression of the grandeur of the paradise where one is a"le to en*oy the sights of ;mita"ha and his two principal assistants+ <a0!hih0,hi &'usa and $uan !hih %in &'usa+ known to all as the 6.ree !ages8 .!an0!heng/. !urrounding them are other heavenly "eings each of whom stands upon a lotus flower. In front of ;mita"ha Buddha are seen numerous lotus flowers which are awaiting "eings to "e re"orn from them as there are no wom" "orn creatures in the &ure Gand. .e full description on this paradise can "e read from existing scriptures such as the ;mita"ha !utra which is easily availa"le to those who sincerely seek for them. ;s one practises his daily =nien0fwo' this picture could "e placed "efore him as an aid to visualisation or to keep the mind concentrated instead of "eing distracted "y near"y surrounding o"*ects. any people find it difficult to find notes on <a0!hih0,hi &'usa . ahasthamaprata Bodhisattva/ although she is one of the two

&... G...

great disciples of ;mita"ha Buddha. Lnlike $uan !hih %in who is widely worshipped and has countless temples and shrines in her name+ <a0!hih0,hi is hardly venerated "y the common people and for this reason+ the next chapter is dedicated to her even though she does not appear in the pantheon. .a0.hih0.hi .'usa <a0!hih0,hi &'usa is one of the two main Bodhisattvas of &ure Gand Buddhism. #er !anskrit name is .............. which means =one who has attained great strength' and is therefore often called the Bodhisattva of Lniversal !trength. !he is an attri"ute of ;mita"ha Buddha+ representing his 2isdom *ust as $uan !hih %in is his compassionate aspect. !he earned her rank of Bodhisattvahood in the distant past through the practice of reciting the name of the Buddha of that period of time. 2hen ;mita"ha "ecame a Buddha+ she and $uan !hih %in "ecame his disciples and thus were responsi"le in welcoming the faithful of the Buddha to his &ure Gand at the time of their death. .e !hurangama !utra states that in time to come 6when ;mita"ha Buddha retires as the teaching host of the &ure Gand+ $uan !hih %in will take over the responsi"ility. 2hen it is time for $uan !hih %in to retire as Gord of the &ure Gand+ <a !hih ,hi &'usa will "e her successor(.8 <a !hih ,hi &'usa is said to "e so powerful that whenever she raises her hand or moves any part of her "ody+ the earth will

3uake and trem"le. ;lthough she is a very popular Bodhisattva to the ,hinese+ she has not found as many devotees as $uan !hih %in and it is extremely difficult to find a temple dedicated solely in her honour. !he is normally worshipped in the <riad with ;mita"ha Buddha and $uan !hih %in Bodhisattva and pictures of them together are commonly found in homes of the &ure Gand Buddhists. .ose who wish to form a karmic link with her should daily spend a few minutes contemplating on her and re3uest for 6wisdom and strength in cultivation8 or mindfully holding her name through the recitation ofK 6>... <.0!...0,.. &'...8 7ecitation should "e done with firm faith+ devotion and singlemindedness so that all kinds of distracting thoughts are 3uelled. It is also very important that virtuous conduct "e maintained so that one must not indulge in killing or harming others+ stealing+ living immorally+ lying+ speaking harshly+ or taking intoxicants of any kind that delude the mind. <o reach this great Bodhisattva one has to "e pure "oth in mind and spirit. &ractising mindfulness on <a !hih ,hi &'usa is the same as adoring ;mita"ha Buddha and 3ualifies one to take re"irth in the &ure Gand after this earthly life. .e success in attaining Bodhisattvahood is dependent upon the fulfilment of the vast and no"le vows set "y the aspiring "odhisattva. .e <en :reat Vows of <a !hih ,hi &'usa+ also known as the Lniversal 2orthy Bodhisattva+ which all &ure Gand Buddhists should know areK

1. <o worship and respect all Buddhas. ?. <o praise the .us0,ome0-ne ..e Buddha/ A. <o cultivate the giving of offering. @. <o repent and reform all karmic faults. H. <o compliantly re*oice in merit and virtue. D. <o re3uest the turning of the 1harma 2heel. 7. <o re3uest that the Buddhas dwell in the world. F. <o always follow the Buddhas in study. 9. <o forever accord with living "eings. 1E. <o universally transfer all merit and virtue. Besides having fulfilled these great vows+ <a !hih ,hi has also successfully practised the Four :reat Vows ofK !aving the limitless living "eings. ,utting off all evil passions. !tudying the immeasura"le 1harma 1oors. 7ealising the supreme Buddha 2ay. Lnlike $uan !hih %in &'usa whose role is to grant help and to succor "eings in misery+ <a !hih ,hih &'usa renders her help to a different category of people+ those who are "ent on putting to practise the Buddha's way of life and striving to attain perfection. .us the num"er of "eings who choose to "ecome her devotees are few in num"er as cultivators of the path are scarce indeed. It is said that this great &'usa has a :old &avilion or lotus platform which she will lend to those who hold her name so that they can ride upon it to the &ure Gand. If you are one who is seriously striving for enlightenment+ then you should not hesitate to recite the name of this great Bodhisattva constantly.

,...... VII .ao .hih .wo .haisa*yaguru .uddha %ao !hih Fwo+ one of the three foremost Buddhas of the ,hinese &antheon+ is a Buddha of the past era. Better known to the people as the Buddha of edicine or the aster of #ealing+ he is dear to the hearts of many+ for they have indeed received his "lessings in the forms of miraculous cures from all kinds of illness. .e Buddha's efficacy in preventing calamities and granting prosperity "esides curing illness has attracted a steady num"er of "elievers and devotees since the time of the Castern ,hin 1ynasty ... A17O@?E/ to the present day. .e !utra of the Buddha of edicine .Bhaisa*yara*a !utra/ was also translated into ,hinese at that period of time which provided a full account on the peerless Buddha+ his &aradise and his <welve :reat Vows. #owever the later translation made "y <ripitaka aster #suan <sang+ the famous monk of the <ang 1ynasty+ known as .e !utra of the aster of #ealing .Bhaisa*yaguru0 Vaidurya0&ra"hasa <athagata/+ is the more popular !utra which is widely read "y most people today. .e title = aster of #ealing'+ is a literal translation of his !anskrit name =Bhaisa*yaguru'+ the Buddha who favours worshippers with relief from the trou"les of the world. ;part from curing illness+ warding such calamities as famine+ drought and plague+ granting longevity and assisting the dead+ %ao !hih Fwo is known to have dispensed all kinds of mundane "enefits to those who pray to him.

1espite his great popularity+ temples dedicated to him are very scarce so that those who wish to worship him may do so at temples where his images can "e found. #e is often found in a triad with !akyamuni Buddha and ;mita"ha Buddha+ and his sym"ols are either the medicine "owl or the pagoda. 2hen depicted alone+ he holds his sym"ol with his left hand and he is normally attended to "y his prominent disciples+ the :reat Bodhisattvas =7adiance of the !un' and the =7adiance of the oon'. In the !utra of the aster of #ealing !akyamuni Buddha descri"ed %ao !hih Fwo to an*usri Bodhisattva thusK 6Castward from here+ "eyond Buddha0land a"out ten times as numerous as the sands of the :anga+ there is a world called =.e &ure ,rystal 7ealm'+ the &aradise of %ao !hih. Its Buddha has a few titles+ such as .e aster of #ealing+ ;5ure 7adiance <athagata+ .e ;rhat of &erfect $nowledge+ the &erfect ind and 1eed+ .e 2ell 1eparted !ugata+ .e $nower of the 2orld+ .e &eerless >o"leman+ .e an 2ho Brings .e &assion of en Lnder ,ontrol+ the <eacher of 1evas and en(.8 2hile still a "odhisattva+ he made <welve :reat Vows to free living "eings from the "ondage of karma. #e vowed to guard their progress towards enlightenment+ to help them keep their precepts+ to free them from the snares of wrong religious practices and false doctrines+ to provide food and drink for the hungry+ to restore the "odies of the deformed+ to rescue those facing execution and to lead them to a happy and tran3uil life. .e full text of the <welve Vows cannot "e given fully here "ut the

%.. !... F.. 4 B............ B.....

!eventh Vow+ which specifically pledges to relieve man of physical illness and to dispel his spiritual confusion+ earned him the title of =&hysician of !oul'+ runs like thisK 6I vow that+ after my reincarnation and having attained &erfect Cnlightenment+ those who are tormented "y diseases+ who have no"ody to whom they can seek for help+ without a refuge+ without a doctor+ without medicine+ without relatives+ without a homeN these poor and misera"les "eings shall all of them "e free from diseases and pains+ and shall en*oy perfect health of "ody and mind+ once my name reaches their ears. .ey shall have families+ friends and properties a0plenty+ and shall all "e "rought to the supreme Cnlightenment of Buddha.8 .rough the perfection of these :reat Vows+ the "odhisattva has attained Buddhahood and thus "ecame known as %ao !hih Fwo+ the Buddha who is a"le to "estow all kinds of "enefits to those who have faith in him. In the same !utra the Buddha !akyamuni also revealed to an*usri thatK 6; woman may suffer from great pain while giving "irth. If she can whole0heartedly worship the Buddha of edicine and to invoke the name <athagata+ worship #im+ and make offerings to #im+ all pain will vanish+ the newly "orn will have a sound and healthy "odyN whoever sees him will re*oice at his "eing so clever+ so strong and healthyN and no demon comes to ro" him of his vitality.8

It is "ecause of past good roots in your previous lives that you are now reading a"out this great Buddha. It means that you have the rare opportunity to cultivate and to generate good karma for the future. <o do so you need only to cherish the name of this 2orldhonoured aster of #ealing whole0heartedly and without a dou"t. 1aily you should contemplate on his vows or his form+ recite his name and make offerings to him with what you can. .rough this devotion you will easily learn to practise compassion and lovingkindness to those who are unfortunate+ ill+ lost+ hungry or are in pain and distress. It will also lead you pray and wish happiness on all sentient "eings. .e prayer which comes out from your heart that is ladened with feelings of concern for others' well0"eing is of course the "est that you can offer to the Buddha+ "ut here is the universal prayer which is on the lips of manyK 6>... #....0<... %.. !... %.. !... F..8 .ose who wish may also recite this !anskrit praiseK 6>... B........ B........... B..... %.8 In the !utra of the aster of #ealing the Buddha also revealed to an*usri the great dharani .mystical formula/ which one should recite for the purpose of delivering "eings from their diseases and miseriesK 6>... B........ B...........0V.......0&.....07...... <.......... ;..... !........0B....... <....... -. B....... B........0.........0!........ !....8 7egarding the efficacy of this great prayer the Buddha saidK

6 an*usri+ if you see a pious man or woman who suffers from a disease+ you shall do the following whole0heartedly for these peopleK let them keep clean "y taking fre3uent "aths and rinse their mouths+ give them food+ medicine and clean water+ and recite the 1harani for a hundred and eight times+ then all diseases will disappear entirely. If one should have a particular wish+ he should concentrate and recite the magical formula. .en he will fulfill all he wishes+ he will "e without disease+ and will live longer. ;fter his death+ he will "e "orn in paradise without having to return to this world+ and will in the end attain perfect Cnlightenment(.8 2hile reciting the a"ove dharani or the Buddha's name+ one should contemplate on the Buddha's image and then one may arrive at the state of the Buddha0recitation samadhi when one is reciting and yet not reciting+ not reciting and yet reciting. For those who do not have an image of the Buddha+ either of the two pictures on %ao !hih Fwo should serve the purpose. .e same is true of all the illustrations of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas provided in this "ookN they are all suita"le o"*ects of meditation or contemplation. #ere is a simple method of practice which may "e of some help to those who have no idea of how to pray and therefore are not likely to have a Buddha image. 2orship can "e practised anywhere "ut a 3uiet and clean room is the most suita"le. &lace "efore you the image or picture of the Buddha that you would like to worship. :a5e at the picture for a minute or two to calm your mind and generating the desire to worship. Gightly close

B............ 4 <...... 1........

your eyes and imagine that the Buddha has manifested "efore you. ake three "ows as a gesture of reverence. ake known the purpose or motivation of your worship i.e.+ praying for long life for one's parents or the well0"eing of certain friends. !oftly or mentally recite his name 4 in the case of this BuddhaK 6>... #....0<... %.. !... %.. !... F..(8 or one may choose to recite the great dharani from 9 up to 1EFQ times with utmost sincerity and reverence. It may take a great deal of effort at the "eginning of the practice to hold the prayer with full concentration+ "ut after some time+ with perseverance+ the result of one0pointedness will "e felt. In the midst of prayers one should first imagine that the Buddha is happy with one's effort+ then he gives his "lessings "y radiating pure light onto oneself. .e Buddha's light fills up the entire "ody with its radiance purifying one's defilements or illness. -ne should generate a very happy feeling for this "lessing and "e moved to practise such virtues as loving0kindness and compassion towards all other sentient "eings so that+ without hesitation+ one immediately transfers all such "lessings received to them. .is is done "y imagining that the radiance of one's own "ody is a"sor"ed "y all "eings in the universe which will help purify their "ad karma and cause them to "e happy in the future. In case one is praying for the Buddha's "lessings for a friend+ one should then imagine that he is sitting in front of oneself so that all the light that is radiated from the Buddha will flow into his "ody thus "enefiting him solely. ;fter the prayers one should sit for a short while to feel the calm and "lissful feelings that one has "uilt up and then sincerely pray that all "eings too will "e "lessed with such happiness.

,...... VIII .uan .hih .in .'usa .valokitesvara .odhisattva 6>amo <a0,hi0<a0&ei $uan !hih %in &'usa8. .is is the prayer which is recited "y all $uan %in devotees daily to pay homage and to appeal to the :reat Gord+ ;............. Bodhisattva+ who is the compassionate aspect of all the Buddhas of the three aeons. Giterally translated it means 6>amo <o .e :reatly ,ompassionate $uan !hih %in Bodhisattva8. <o recite this prayer is to seek the "lessings of $uan %in and at the same time to develop one's own compassionate nature. .ose who recite the great prayer with a sincere heart will surely find it 3uite easy to practise great kindness and great sympathy towards others+ for $uan %in's compassion will then flow through them and cause them to walk the &ath of ercy. It is also the &ath towards Buddhahood for the merit and virtue of reciting the name of the great &'usa is immeasura"le. .is great ,ompassionate Gord is known "y various other names such asK 6.e Bodhisattva 7egarder of the !ound of the 2orldK8 6.e Gord of ,ompassionate :lances.8 6.e Gord 2ho !ees the 2orld with &ity.8 6.e Gord of 2hat is seen+ of the Visi"le 2orld.8

and a host of other names. #e is indeed the Gord who regards with compassion+ all "eings suffering from the evils of existence within the !ix 7ealms. $... !... %.. is the direct translation of the !anskrit name of ;valokitesvara which has the following meaningK $... 4 =contemplate' or =looks on' !... 4 the world or the region of sufferers' %.. 4 =all the sounds of the world+' i.e.+ the crying sounds of "eings+ ver"al or mental+ all acknowledging misery and seeking salvation which touch the heart of the Gord who pities. $uan !hih %in is therefore the Bodhisattva of great compassion+ mercy and love who has won the hearts of countless people. By virtue of his infinite power+ he is capa"le of regarding the cries of the people whether these represent either desire or suffering+ delivering them through the wisdom of skilful means+ and appearing in the form suita"le to those to "e saved. .is no"le Gord is thus the =saviour' who may assume the form of a Buddha+ Bodhisattva+ god or any other forms+ either male or female+ in order to fulfill his task of mercy. In most of the Buddhist lands+ the male form is predominant "ut in ,hina+ $uan !hih %in manifests in various female forms such asK 62hite0ro"ed $uan %in8 6,hild0giving $uan %in8 6,alm0sea $uan %in8

$... !... %.. &'... 4 ;............. B..........

.e reasons for these female emanations are "ecause of the then ,onfucianist influence on the attitude+ customs and social systems which discouraged the female population from seeking comfort and solace from male deities especially in their re3uests for off0spring. $uan %in+ in fact+ manifested into AA forms with which to reach the people and the most popular ones "eingK $uan %in of ,omplete Gight 1ragon0head $uan %in $uan %in 2ho Views 2aterfalls ,hild0giving $uan %in $uan %in of the Fish Basket $uan %in of the 7ock ,ave $uan %in of Lniversal ,ompassion $uan %in #olding a Gotus It should also "e mentioned that even "efore Buddhism was introduced into ,hina+ the women folk there were already worshipping several female <aoist 1eities+ in the forms of =>iang0 >iang' seeking their "lessings for safety+ happiness+ children+ mercy+ compassion and salvation. .us when $uan !hih %in responded to the urgent and distressful calls of the ,hinese people in the female forms+ they were also given the =>iang0>iang' titles so that $uan !hih %in &'usa which is the proper Buddhist term+ "ecame known as $uan %in >iang >iang or .e :oddess of ercy. In this way+ ;valokitesvara "ecame the most popular

deity in all of ,hina+ worshipped "y "oth the Buddhists and the <aoists as well as those who are without a proper faith "ut needed a compassionate deity to turn to. $uan %in's manifestations or transformation "odies can "e said to "e num"erless and the most widely worshipped form today is that of the 2hite0ro"ed $uan %in. For this reason+ most of the $uan %in images that are seen in temples and at home altars are related to this form. !ince this is the most "eloved of all the forms+ one should take a closer look at it to discover its endearing features which have captured the hearts of countless millions. $uan %in images are either in a seated or standing posture each having its significant meanings. ost people tend to prefer the seated form as it gives "oth a serene and dignified feeling+ the very picture of enlightenment. .e standing figure represents compassion in action. 2hat does it indicateB It really indicates that $uan %in's compassion and saving power are availa"le to anyone who seeks them+ that $uan %in is ever ready to reach and help all "eings "y offering them assistance+ love and protection. .is posture also sym"olises the eternal activity of "ringing enlightenment to all who wish it. $uan %in is also depicted as holding a vase which contains =;mrita'+ the dew of compassion+ which can purify the defilements of our "ody+ speech and mind+ as well as having all kinds of curative powers. .e face of $uan %in images is always gentle+ calm and enduringly sweet+ an expression which reflects infinite wisdom+ serenity+ love and compassion. It has the peculiar 3uality of calming those who

ed as =half0opened and half0closed' which indicates a perfect harmony of outer and inner life as half of the vision is concern ing the outer world+ while the other half is directed internally for proper self0reflection. .us it can "e said that $uan %in is ever mindful of the external world and all our internal thoughts and inclinations. are angry or are in despair+ comforting those who are sorrowful+ and "ringing forth feelings of love+ devotion and contentment to her faithful. #ow does one "ecome her faithfulB >ot "y "lind faith or through worship which is tinged with selfish intentions "ut through the practice of such virtues as kindliness+ gentleness+ love+ mercy+ compassion+ charity+ morality+ patience+ perseverance+ contemplation or acts that will "ring "enefits to others+ one "ecomes a true disciple of $uan !hih %in. ;nother feature that should "e noted is the eyes which are always depict ;s mentioned earlier+ $uan %in forms are many+ in fact they are said to "e countless+ and each of these forms has its own significant and sym"olic meaning. .ose who are new to ahayana Buddhism should not "e startled "y the various forms of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas+ especially "y the num"er of arms that they are often depicted with. -ne of $uan %in's most famous and compassionate forms is that of the =thousandarm0 thousand eyes' which is known in ,hinese as =,hien0shouchien0 yen $uan !hih %in &'usa. In this form+ $uan %in has eleven heads and a thousand hands+ with extra eyes on the palms of each hand. Gegend has it that he was contemplating the task of working for the safety and happiness of all sentient "eings when his head split into a thousand pieces upon realising

the enormity of such an undertaking. ;mita"ha+ the Buddha of Gimitless Gight+ his !piritual Father+ 3uickly came to the rescue and restored $uan %in to life and also gave him this form. .e thousand eyes sym"olise the all0seeing nature of $uan %in's compassion while the thousand arms represent the ever0present and all0compassing nature of his help. ;ll $uan %in images+ male or female+ with one or multiple heads+ two or multiple arms+ gentle or fierce facial expressions+ have their own sym"olic and religious meanings and therefore should not "e looked upon as peculiar and uninviting. #owever+ all $uan %in images always feature a loving+ kind and compassionate expression and even a statue with eleven heads and a thousand arms does not lose the harmony of the whole "ody "ut radiates peace. In the Gotus !utra+ an entire chapter is devoted to $uan %in in which the Buddha descri"es the Bodhisattva as one who has her face turned in every direction in order to see all things and to save all "eings and that there is no form or shape that $uan %in will not assume to preach the 1harma to sentient "eingsK 6In some worlds( the Bodhisattva ahasattva ;valokitesvara preaches the law to creatures in the shape of a BuddhaN in others she does so in the shape of a Bodhisattva. <o some "eings she shows the law in the shape of a &ratyeka"uddhaN to others she does so in the shape of a disciple( to those who are to "e converted "y assuming Brahman+ she preaches in the shape of a BrahmanN to those who are to "e converted "y Va*rapani+ she preaches in the shape of Va*rapani.8

,....0!...0,....0%.. 4 $... !... %.. &'...

any other $uan %in transformations are descri"ed fully in the various ahayana !utras and the underlying concept for all are "asically the same 4 an expression of the limitless compassion of this great "odhisattva. -ne of the most important forms which all $uan %in devotees should recognise and revere is that of the Four0arm ;valokitesvara+ worshipped "y all <i"etans as ,........+ the #older of the 2hite Gotus. It is in the male form which has two hands in the praying0gesture known as the =namaskara0mudra' while the other two hands hold his sym"ols+ the ,rystal 7osary and the Gotus Flower. #e is the emanation and therefore the spiritual son of ;mita"ha Buddha+ who "lessed him and whereupon the Bodhisattva "rought forth the famous prayer+ known as the ani antraK 6-. ... &.... #..8

.is antra of Lniversal &rotection is recited ceaselessly "y millions of $uan %in adherents in countries where ahayana Buddhism is practised. It is a very powerful mantra whose efficacy have helped countless num"er of people in every way. ;nother great compassionate form is that of the =;ll0sided -ne'+ the Cleven0faced $uan %in. .is is an esoteric form which is widely popular in <i"et and its neigh"ouring countries where Va*rayana+ the third vehicle of Buddhism+ is practised. !everal famous temples in 9apan have this image "ut it is a rarity in ,hinese temples. #ere is the legendK 6;valokitesvara+ the ;ll0&itying -ne descended into hell+ converted the wicked and li"erated them to !ukhavati+ the 2estern

&aradise of his spiritual father+ ;mita"ha. >o sooner had he emptied the hell of its inha"itants+ within the next instant other "eings were re"orn there to fill up their places. -ut of despair and grief in discovering the extent of wickedness in the world and the utter helplessness of saving all mankind+ the Bodhisattva's head split into ten pieces. ;mita"ha Buddha 3uickly came to the rescue of his "eloved disciple and caused each of the pieces to "ecome a head+ placed them in three tiers of three+ with the tenth head on top and his own image a"ove them all.8 .us the :reat ,ompassionate -ne was endowed with twentytwo eyes instead of two+ to see all suffering+ and eleven "rains instead of one+ to concentrate on the "est means of saving mankind. ;s mentioned earlier+ $uan %in is always accepted "y the average ,hinese to "e a female Bodhisattva due to her various manifestations and legend in ,hina. <o refer to her as a male deity will surely cause many a "row to wrinkle up and pairs of confused eyes staring at you for the profanity uttered. .is is "ecause the great ma*ority of her devotees and faithfuls are lacking in doctrinal knowledge and it is for this particular reason that this "ook has "een prepared. <o them $uan %in is a great Being who can "e counted upon for help under any circumstances for she has indeed helped countless others+ so that *ust to have faith in this :oddess of ercy is good enough and that the complicated doctrines of the Buddhas should "e left to the monks and nuns who will "e there to guide them whenever the need arises. .is may

"e a commenda"le show of faith "ut it "enefits only a limited num"er of people who have the good karma to develop it. It will not help to instruct the younger generation to develop an interest in Buddhism or to practise it. 2hat is more important is that every Buddhist should have a fair knowledge of who the Buddha is+ and what are his important teachings so that Buddhism can "e practised meaningfully and o"*ectively. .is will also help to do away with superstition and wrong practice and at the same time provide intelligent answers to the 3uestions that are posed "y those of other faiths. But let us get "ack to the su"*ect on this great Bodhisattva whose sphere of influence is much greater than the Buddha for she has more temples "uilt in her name than all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the Buddhist &antheon. #er merit is incalcula"le+ like drops of rain falling continuously for a year. !he is called the :reatly ,ompassionate -ne "ecause of her vow of =saving all living "eings and therefore committing herself to "eing the last person in the universe to attain Buddhahood)' In the Gotus !utra the Buddha said that anyone who calls upon $uan %in will "e delivered instantly from all their sufferings. By virtue of her supernatural power+ she is a"le to save all living "eings from all kinds of danger+ give them what they want+ and preach the 1harma freely "y appearing in whatever form that suits the nature of the faithful. <o call for $uan %in's help one needs only to hum"ly recite her name continuously withK

,........ 4 F...0;.... ;.............

6>... <.0&.. $... !... %.. &'...8 .>amo to the :reatly ,ompassionate $uan !hih %in &'usa/ or+ one may recite her mantra of Lniversal &rotectionK 6-. ... &.... #..8

.e power of the function of reciting any of the a"ove prayers is inconceiva"le. If someone has grave pro"lems or even demonic o"structions and recites $uan %in &'usa's name or the ani antra+ the pro"lems will disappear or the demon will run away. .ere are many people who are suffering from having a lot of desires which are their causes of unhappiness+ desires such as greed for wealth+ social status+ fame+ sex+ food and other mundane things+ these people should try to recite constantly the name of $uan %in and their useless desires will melt away. 1esire arises out of thoughts. any people are not aware of their thoughts even though they are very harmful to them and to others. .eir minds are not really clear so that even thoughts of greed+ anger+ lust+ and ignorance are left unchecked and in time evil deeds will "e committed. .ose who wish to rid their mind of greed and desire should constantly recite+ 6>amo <a0&ei $uan !hih %in &'usa8+ with the deepest respect and all their attention focused on it. In time the efficacy of this recitation will "e felt and all kinds of defiled thoughts will soon disappear. <o fully understand what is meant "y this description of the power of holding $uan %in's name+ one should give it a try 4 =experience is always the "est teacher'.

$uan %in's response can "e instant or slightly delayed+ it all depends on one's karmic influence at that moment of prayer and the intensity of faith in the calling. iracles of $uan %in answering the fervent prayers of those who called upon her name are countless. .ey can easily fill up the entire volume of the Britannica Cncyclopedia for almost every devout devotee will have a tale or two to tell. #ere is a true account of a recent happening+ a miracle which has transformed the life of a lady who was not even a devotee+ and this is what she has writtenK 6.e Fatt 2ah ;um <emple in ,heras was cele"rating =!ee0fu <an'+ and a group of us went there during our lunch "reak+ to taste the vegetarian food served there. It was reputed to "e the tastiest in town. -n arrival+ each of us+ following the custom of the temple+ "ought a "undle of *oss0sticks for offering to the deities. >ot "eing a Buddhist I had no idea where the *oss0sticks or incense were to "e offered+ so I followed the actions of other worshippersN I lit the incense and went round the hall placing a stick in each incense urn that is placed in front of the deities. #aving done that+ I found that I still had 3uite a few sticks left. I looked around and found that others were making their way to an ad*ourning hall. .ere were more altars and incense urns into which I continued to place a *oss stick in each of them. ;fter placing my last stick of incense I realised that there was still one more altar left and it had "efore it offerings of food+ flowers+ candles and fruits. .is then must "e the altar of the =!ee0fu' whom the temple was honouring that day. I felt terri"ly sorry that I had no more incense to make my offering to this deity+ so I knelt down to apologise. I then recognised that it was the statue of $... %...

!uddenly I felt a cool "ree5e on my face and+ at the same time+ a =thought' crossed my mind that I would "e having a "a"y after which I should serve $uan %in. .is =thought' seemed rather ridiculous as I already have two sons+ aged five and two+ and I certainly have no intention whatsoever to have another child. ;s for serving $uan %in+ the thought was so foreign that I did not know what it meant. ;nyway+ this strange experience was soon forgotten. .e following year I conceived. ;t the eighth month of my pregnancy my gynaecologist informed me that my "a"y was in a "reech position. #e then tried to shift the position of the "a"y "ut was unsuccessful. .at night I "egan to "leed and it got worse the next day. It was then that I recalled the incident at the temple. I had a strong desire to go "ack to the temple to ask $uan %in for help "ut my hus"and could not "ring me there due to "usiness commitments. #owever he did promise to take me there the next day. .at night+ I went into la"our. ;t the hospital the water "ag "urst and soon the "a"y's legs were out. .e few attending doctors tried to deliver the "a"y and+ after a few attempts+ decided to seek the help of the off0duty consultant. I was frightened out of my wits and having no one to turn to+ I "urst into a prayer to $uan %in+ pleading for help) 9ust that =instant' thought of praying to her and these spontaneous words that came out of my heart( and then+ the most wondrous thing happened)

I suddenly saw a =figure0in0white' slowly floating down the long corridor towards me. ;lthough there was a wall separating the delivery room and the corridor+ $uan %in flowed through it. ;s soon as she reached my room+ I heard a doctor saying that I had delivered the "a"y. 7elief and deep feelings of *oy raced through my mind+ $uan %in had given her "lessings and I was extremely grateful and happy. #owever+ the grateful feelings were 3uickly forgotten as soon as I was "ack to normalcy and returned to the working life of a nurse. I guess this is 3uite natural to those who are not too spiritually0minded. 2ith the hustle and "ustle of everyday living and other wordly distractions+ $uan %in was once more far from my mind. ; year ago+ 19FA+ friends "rought me to a private shrine in &etaling 9aya to attend the $uan %in Festival. I was rather surprised at the set0up there for it was not a regular temple+ "ut I found the atmosphere rather pleasant. y second visit there was during the following $uan %in Festival after which I felt drawn towards the place+ $uan %in worship had "ecome a meaningful part of my life. ;n unexplaina"le restless feeling would arise and each time it would "e 3uelled through praying to $uan %in at that place which is known as .e $uan %in ,ontemplative -rder or $%,- for short. ;s a working mother of three children it was not easy to find time to attend the twice weekly prayer gathering which I have grown to love and each time I missed worship+ I felt terri"ly guilty a"out it. In order to pacify the guilt0feeling each time that I could not attend worship+ I would explain mentally to $uan %in that my children must come first and that if !he really wanted me to "e consistent in my spiritual practice+

!he must help me to overcome several o"stacles. !omehow situations "egan to right themselves and I was a"le to worship $uan %in with the least of o"stacles. #ere is an incident which I would like to share it with others. -n the first day of 9anuary 19FH .<uesday/ I participated in the >ew %ear &rayer for 2orld &eace during which .e :reat ,ompassionate 1harani was recited H@ times amongst other $uan %in prayers. 1uring the chanting I happened to ga5e at the $uan %in image at the altar and I noticed a strange sight) .e face of $uan %in suddenly changed into a "lank+ like a mirror+ and then an image slowly formed in it) ; hairy face appeared in it+ darkish looking which I thought was that of a monkey. .is startled me and I closed my eyes for fear of seeing anything unearthly. 2hen I had somewhat regained my confidence I looked at the $uan %in face again. .is time I saw the image of a kindly old man with a very white "eard. It appeared for only a short while after which everything was "ack to normal. It was a strange "ut wonderful incident which I can still remem"er vividly in my mind. ;t the end of the prayers+ I had yet another remarka"le vision. ;s I was a"out to get up to leave+ I distinctly heard a voice instructing me to kneel down =for $uan %in was still present'. y head was made to turn towards the leader of the prayer group who was at that time talking to a few persons while seated "efore the altar. I o"eyed the inner voice's instruction and upon doing so+ I saw white light emitting from him. 2hat was more ama5ing was that there was a kind of energy0field which produced some kind of force which I could feel even though I was some four or five feet from him. <ime seemed to "e suspended and I had no idea of how long it lasted8.

.e a"ove account has "een included in this chapter not for the purpose of propagating $%,- "ut+ to encourage those who are seeking $uan %in's help to do so with firm faith. .e .iao .han .egend .e legend of $uan %in's emanation as &rincess iao !han has caught the hearts of all the ,hinese people. <o them it is common knowledge that $uan %in is the enlightened form of their "eloved princess and therefore $uan %in+ their :oddess of ercy+ cannot "e a male :od or 1eity. .is+ in fact+ is the fixed view of the <aoists and those who are not so well0informed of Buddhism. 2ho can really "lame them for holding such a view when the episode of such a sweet princess turning into a :oddess happened only slightly more than two thousand years ago in a country whose history is well remem"ered right down to five thousand yearsB <owards the end of the ,hou 1ynasty .around Ard ,entury ../+ in the kingdom of #sing Gin+ there lived a king called iao ,hung. #e had three daughters and they were iao ,hing+ iao %in and iao !han. Before the "irth of the third girl+ Pueen &o <a had a strange dream in which she saw a heavenly pearl transforming into a fiery sun which then tum"led down and settled at her feet. 2hen told of it+ the king+ in his wisdom+ considered the seeing of such a celestial sign to "e an excellent omen and he looked forward to having a male heir to his

throne. #owever+ to his great disappointment+ a girl was "orn to him. .is was on the 19th day of the ?nd moon and she was named iao !han. iao !han grew up to "e a religious and virtuous girl unaffected "y the attractions of worldly matters. 2hat she yearned for was to have a 3uiet retreat in the mountains where she could practise the perfections of her virtues. !he longed to "e a"le to "ring relief to all the misera"le "eings on earth. 2hen his daughters were of marriagea"le age+ the $ing found suita"le hus"ands for them. 2hile her sisters accepted their marriages+ iao !han steadfastly refused to marry and infuriated the father "y choosing to retire to a nunnery called the 2hite !parrow. .e father made several attempts to make temple0life un"eara"le to his fragile daughter so as to pursuade her to return to her palace. #owever+ all his attempts failed for a little suffering was not going to deter one whose mind was set on cultivating the Buddha's path. In his anger+ the $ing ordered that the nunnery "e set on fire for such an unfilial daughter deserved to "e put to death. #owever+ the fire was instantly put out "y an inundating shower which saved the lives of the princess and the few hundred nuns. .e enraged $ing then decreed that iao !han "e executed "ut the executioner's sword+ upon contacting the princess's neck+ "roke into smithereens) .is so angered the $ing that he next ordered that his unfilial daughter "e strangled to death with a silken cord. ;s she was "eing strangled+ the tutelary god

appeared in the form of a great tiger+ dispersed the crowd+ and carried the inaniminate "ody into the forest. iao !han's spirit descended into hell+ "ut her sweetness and the purity of her prayers soon converted it from a place of great suffering to a paradise. .is alarmed the 7egistrar of the Giving and the 1ead who then hastily petitioned %en Go+ the $ing of the Lnderworld+ to order her removal declaring+ =!ince it has "een decreed that+ in *ustice+ there must "e a heaven and a hell+ if &rincess iao !han's soul is not sent "ack to the upper world+ there will "e no hell left+ "ut only a heaven'. #er soul was then 3uickly transported "ack to her "ody which was lying under a pine tree. Lpon returning to life+ Buddha ;mita"ha appeared+ and directed the princess to continue her practice of the perfections in a cave called #suan ;i+ in the island of &u0to. For nine years she devoted herself to performing acts of merits and meditational practices and attained Buddhahood. It was in &u0to Island that she ac3uired her two acolytes #oan !hen0tsai and Gung0nu+ "etter known to all as :olden %outh and 9ade aiden. In the meantime+ $ing iao ,hung+ who had displeasured the 9ade Cmperor+ !upreme 7uler of #eaven+ "y his heinous crimes of "urning a nunnery which nearly caused the loss of so many lives and the killing of so virtuous a maiden as iao !han+ that he received the punishment of an incura"le disease+ the only

cure "eing an ointment made from the hands and eyes of a =&u <'ien 9en'+ or =-ne 2ho Is >ever ;ngry'. ;ware of her father's plight due to her ac3uired spiritual powers and out of compassion+ iao !han freely despatched the healing parts of her "ody+ which effected the recovery. In gratitude the $ing then sent a delegation with his minister to thank the kind donor only to find+ to his great shock+ that those precious gifts came from none other than the daughter that he had killed. #e was so overcome with remorse that he renounced his throne and accepted the Buddhist faith. .us ended the legend of the =unfilial' daughter who "ecame the saviour to her father+ and to all mankind. .iao .han .uan .orms iao !han $uan %in is often represented as seated+ her hands in the gesture of meditation+ holding a flaming pearl+ or with the hands in the praying gesture. any famous paintings depict her as seated on a rock near running water+ or on an island in the sea. -ther pictures present her having a scroll of prayers which represents the #eart !utra or a willow sprig with which to sprinkle divine nectar .;mritha/ which has the 3uality of removing suffering+ cleansing evil karma and lenghtening life. -ther pictures also show her carrying a rosary of pearls in her hand or it may "e held in the "eak of a heavenly "ird. !he is generally dressed in a white ro"e and is represented+ standing upon a cloud+ a lotus flower+ or even a lotus petal on the sea. ;nother popular picture

shows her with her acolytes+ !hen0tsai with the praying gesture and Gung0nu holding the flaming pearl. 1ue to the legend of iao !han+ &u'to island has "ecome the most sacred place of pilgrimage for $uan %in devotees. From it we are also a"le to learn of how the other two great Bodhisattvas 2en0shu and &u0#sien+ came to "e flanking $uan %in as depicted in the &antheon of 1eities. 2en0shu &'usa+ "etter known to other Buddhists as an*usri Bodhisattva+ =the 7ider of the :reen Gion+ the ,ompletely Beautiful+ the Very Virtuous &'usa+ is none other than iao ,hing while &u' #sien+ the 7ider of the 2hite Clephant+ the Very Virtuous and ,ompletely 7esplendent &'usa+ is the other sister iao %in'. .uan .in .estivals .ree days a year devout $uan %in devotees cele"rate the three festivals which are attri"uted to the life of &rincess iao !han+ the ,hinese emanation of $uan %in. .is legend of the sweet and virtuous iao !han has so captivated the hearts of the ,hinese people that she outshines all other deities in the land+ "e they of Buddhist+ <aoist or any other origins. !he is adored as the :oddess of ercy and in all the other female $uan %in manifestations as descri"ed earlier. .e three auspicious days areK ?nd oon 19th 1ay 4 which marks the 1ay !he was Born.

Dth oon 19th 1ay 4 which marks the 1ay !he Cntered the >unnery.

... !... $... %..

9th oon 19th 1ay 4 which marks the 1ay !he ;ttained Cnlightenment. -n these days+ devotees and those who have received favours from $uan %in flock to the various temples to make offerings+ set "irds and animals free+ o"serve a full day vegetarian diet+ perform all kinds of charita"le acts+ visit old folks homes or orphanages "earing gifts and good wishes+ and o"serve the Five+ Cight or <en &recepts very seriously. :enerally the Five &recepts are o"served and they consist ofK >ot killing or harming living "eings. >ot taking what is not given. >ot indulging in sexual activities. >ot indulging in false speech. >ot consuming intoxicants of any kind. .e entire day is spent in 3uietude+ contemplating on the :reat Vows of $uan %in to save all sentient "eings and to forsake the "liss of >irvana+ or on the great virtuous 3ualities of this great other of ercy such as loving0kindness+ compassion and wisdom. .e more energetic ones may indulge in a full day's practice of prayer0recitation+ !utra0reading followed "y meditation on the happiness of others and then transfer all merits accumulated to all sentient "eings. .is does not mean that $uan %in followers practise virtuous deeds on these and other festive days only. <o those who are

well on the $uan %in &ath+ practice is a moment0to0moment affair from the day that they have accepted $uan %in into their hearts till the day enlightenment is won. #owever+ "eginners of the path are advised to practise as "est as they can+ aiming for gradual progress and refraining from over0committment+ to spiritual development unless they have experienced teachers to guide them. 1evotion and faith in $uan %in cannot "e ac3uired hurriedly "ut can "e won over a period of time. .is chapter on $uan !hih %in &'usa can hardly "e completed without the inclusion of the #eart !utra and the 1harani of :reat ,ompassion+ "oth of which are daily recited "y those who are committed to the $uan %in &ath of :reat 2isdom and ,ompassion. .e .eart .utra .<.. &..... &....... #...... !..../ 2hen the Bodhisattva ;valokitesvara was practising the profound &ra*na &aramita+ he illuminated the five aggregates+ and saw in their own "eing to "e empty. 6!ariputra+ form is here emptiness+ Cmptiness is formN form is no other than emptiness+ emptiness is no other than form. .at which is form is emptiness+ that which is emptiness is form. .e same is true of feelings+ perception+ mental formations and consciousness.

!ariputra+ all things are marked with emptinessK they are not "orn or destroyedN they are not pure or impure+ nor do they wax or wane. .erefore+ !ariputra+ in emptiness+ there is no form+ no feeling+ no perception+ no mental formation+ no consciousnessN no eye+ ear+ nose+ tongue+ "ody+ mindN no form+ sound+ smell+ taste+ touch+ or o"*ectsN no eye0element+ and so forth up to mind0consciousness element. .ere is no knowledge+ no ignorance+ no extinction of knowledge+ no extinction of ignorance and so forth up to no old age and death+ no extinction of old age and deathN there is no suffering+ no cause+ no end+ no pathN there is no knowledge+ and no attainment. .erefore+ !ariputra+ "ecause nothing is attained+ the Bodhisattva who relies on &ra*na &aramita has his mind free from o"stacles. 2ith the mind free from o"stacles+ #e overcomes fear and goes "eyond perverted views+ and attains to >irvana) ;ll the Buddhas of the three periods of time+ through reliance on the &ra*na &aramita+ attain to the &erfect and #ighest Cnlightenment) .erefore+ one should know that &ra*na &aramita as the great supernatural antra+ the great "right+ unsurpassed and une3ualled antra which can truly and without fail wipe out all sufferings.


antra is proclaimed in the &ra*na &aramita. It runs thusK

=:...+ ....+ ........+ ...........+ B.... !.....'8 .e .harani of .reat .ompassion It is stated in the 1harani !utra that 6.ose who recite and hold the !piritual antra of :reat ,ompassion will not suffer any kind of "ad death and will o"tain good re"irth.8 #ere is the mantra in ,hinese which is known to all $uan %in devotees as the =<. &.. 9..'. .e efficacy of this :reat ,ompassionate antra has "een proven countless times. ;sk anyone who has practised this mantra and they will have lots to tell you a"out the wonders of this prayer. 2ith some effort anyone can recite it for the sake of "enefitting others. .e <a &ei 9ou "egins with one reciting three times+ this opening verse of adorationK 6>... ,.... !... ,.... %.. $... !... %.. &'... $... <. %.. ... 2. ;.

<. &.. !.. <.. G.. >.8 followed "y the reciting of $uan %in's name thriceK 6>... <. &.. $... !... %.. &'...8

after which the 1harani is recitedK >. >. . #. G. 1.. >. 1.. G. %. %. . -. G. %.

&.. G. 9.. 1. !... B.. G. %. &. <. !. <.. &.. %. .. #. !. 1.. &.. %. .. #. 9.. G. >. 9.. %. ;.. !. &.. G. F. %. !.. 1. >.. 1. !.. >. . !.. 9. G. <.. C. ... -. G. %.

&.. G. 9. 1. !.. F.. G. G... <.. &. >. !.. G. . >.. G. 9.. ,.. .. #. &.. 1.. !. .

!. &.. -. <.. 1.. !.. &... -. !.. %.. !. &.. !. 1.. >. >. . &. ,... . &. !. 1.. .. F. <. 1..

1.. 9. <.. ;. -. &. G. !.. G. 9.. 1. 9.. G. 1. %. !.. G. !. &. !. &. .. !.. .. #. &. <. !. <.. .. G. .. G.

.. !.. G. <.. %.. ...

9.. G. 9.. G. 9..

1. G. 1. G. F. !.. %. 1. .. #. F. !.. %. 1.

<.. G. <.. G. 1. G. >. !.. F.. G. %. 9.. G. 9.. G. .. .. F. .. G.

. 1. G. %. !.. %. !.. !.. >.. !.. >..

;. G. !... F.. G. !.. G. F. !.. F. !... F.. G. !.. %. #. G. #. G. .. G.

#. G. #. G. !.. G. !.. G. !.. G. !.. G. !.. G. !. G. !. G. &. <. %. &. <. %. &. <.. %. &. <.. %. . 1. G. %. >.. G. 9.. ,.. 1. G. !.. >. >.. &.. %. .. >.. !.. &. #.

!.. <.. %. !.. &. #. .. #. !.. <.. %. !.. &. #. !.. <.. %. %. !.. &.. G. %. !.. &. #. >.. G. 9.. ,.. !.. &. #. .. G. >.. G. !.. &. #. !.. G. !.. -. !. &. . 9.. %. !.. &. #.

.. #. -. !.. <.. %. !.. &. #.

9.. 9. G. -. !.. <.. %. !.. &. #. B.. <.. .. 9.. !.. <.. %. !.. &. #.

>.. G. 9.. ,.. &.. 9.. G. %. !.. &. #. .. &. G. !.... 9.. G. %. !. &. #. >. >. .. #. G. 1.. >. 1.. G. %. %. .. -. G. %.

&.. G. 9.. 1. !... B.. G. %. !.. &. #. ;. !.. 1... 1. .. 1.. G. B. <.. %. !.. &. #.(.8

.e a"ove sounds are 3uite meaningless as they are "ut translations from the original !anskrit prayer. It must "e mentioned that in mantra recitation the meaning of it is not really that important as the sound of each of the sylla"les. For the "enefit of those who are really keen to find out the literal meaning of this prayer+ here is the !anskrit prayer and its Cnglish translationK .e .antra of .valokitesvara 1. >... 7........... I take refuge in the <riple :em ?. >... ;................... I take refuge in the Gord0seer A. B............ ........... ............. In the Cnlightened Being+ in the :reat Being+ in the :reat ,ompassionate -ne @. -. !.... ;...... !......... -m+ in the fearless one H. >... !.......... ;....................... ay I enter into the heart of the Gord !eer D. >... >......... !... ............... I take refuge in #im with the "lue neck+ great a"ode of kindness 7. !.............. ;..... !................... ........ eaning the fullness of understanding of all ways+ which is pure+ making all sentient "eings victorious and purifying all the realms of existence.

F. <....... -. ;............ $..... In whom who is thus. -m+ the !eer+ transcending the world. 9. #... .............. !.... !.... ... ... -h #ari :reat Being of Gight) ;ll+ ;ll+ :arland+ :arland 1E. ... .......... $... $... $..... ,ore of the world) ake !uccess) !uccess) 11. $... $... V....... ........... <riumphant success) :reat <riumphant success) 1?. 1......... 1..... !..... !tand "y+ stand "y firm+ - Indra) 1A. ,.... ,.... ... B....... ..... !hake) !hake) Gi"erate me from my mental distur"ance) 1@. C.. C.. ,..... ,..... #...... &....... ,ome) ,ome) Gisten) Gisten) .e *oy that arises) 1H. B.... B..... &...... #... #... ... !peak) !peak) :ive the sigh) .#ulu #ulu of invocation/ 1D. #... #... #... !... !... !... !... !... !... . agical sounds of invocation/ 17. B...... B...... B...... B...... ;wake) ;wake) Be awakened) Be awakened) 1F. ....... >......... 1.......... - friendly) .e one with the "lue neck+ 2orthy of "eing seen) 19. &....... !.... !....... !.... ... !....... !.... <o the fearless+ svaha) <o the &owerful svaha) <o the :reat &owerful+ svaha) ala are words

?E. !................. !.... >......... !.... <o the powerful Gord of Lnion+ svaha) <o the one with the "lue neck+ svaha) ?1. V........... !..... !................ !.... <o -ne who looks like a wild "oar+ svaha) <o #im with the lion's face+ svaha) ??. !................ !..... ,............. !.... <o #im who holds all great powers+ svaha) <o #im who holds the power of the circle+ svaha) ?A. &.......... !..... >................. !.... <o the #older of the Gotus+ svaha) <o the ,reator with the "lue neck+ svaha) ?@. ............... !.... <o the :reat !eer and Benefactor+ svaha) ?H. >... 7........... I take refuge in the <riple :em ?D. >... ;................... !.... I take refuge in the >o"le Gord0!eer+ svaha ?7. -. !......... ........... !.... -.. ay the success of this antra "e achieved) . .rayer to .uan .hih .in .'usa #ere is a prayer which many $uan %in devotees will appreciate. It should "e read paragraph "y paragraph mentally and then contemplated uponK

6>... <.0&.. $... !... %.. &'...8 -ut of the great compassion of the Buddha ;mita"ha+ from his pure 1harma Body+ you appear in a faultless and crystal pure "ody of white light. 1ue to this glorious "irth+ the worlds of "eings "enefitted. 2ith compassionate eyes you look on all sentient "eings+ to render them help+ give them hope and save them from damnation. %ou gave to the world the :reat &ath of ,ompassion which is+ in actuality+ the &ath to Gi"eration. !ince then countless great ones who pursued this wonderful &ath have "een saved from the rounds of "irth and re"irth. .is great &ath is "efore me right now and I am indeed the fortunate one. I wish to show my gratitude and pray that I too may successfully tread your &ath so as to illuminate my mind of delusion. <o you+ $uan !hih %in+ :reat Bodhisattva+ I prostrate. I shall always hold dear your name and recite your great mantra of salvationK =-. ... &.... #..'. I pray that there will "e peace and harmony in my country and in all the world. I pray that evil may "e overcome "y good+ for the happiness of those who are in every state of suffering+ and for the ending of all disasters in the world. &lease accept my offerings of incense+ flowers+ fruits+ prayers and the merits of the recitations of the :reat ,ompassionate 1harani

.<a &ei 9ou/ and the #eart !utra as a mark of my love and gratitude for your :reat ,ompassion for having shown me the wayK =#..... <. %..+ - :.... ....... -... #..... <. !........ B.....+ ;....... B..... ;.. ;.. <.. B...... -. <.. <.. 1.......... #..... <. L........ 2..... <.0!...0... &'...+ #..... <. <.. :.... ;.. V....... &. #.... &'...+ #..... <. <.. #... ;.. 2... 2..0!.. &'...+ #..... <. <.. ,............ <.0<.... 2... &'... ;.. ;.. <.. B........... -. <.. <.. 1.......... .rough these :reat Victorious -nes+ the &ath to >irvana is known which puts an end to all !amsaric sufferings. -ut of love and gratitude and wisdom+ I shall henceforth take refuge in the .ree 9ewels+ realise and confess my faults+ practise the &recepts+ o"serve the Bodhisattva Vows and perfect the !ix &aramitas. I pray for your "lessings to ensure that I shall always "e on your :reat &ath of ,ompassion in this and every life0time until Buddhahood has "een won. ay all sentient "eings "e "lessed "y your saving powers and "e happy for all eternity. $indly help their seed of Cnlightenment to "ud and "lossom so that its "eauty may fill the universe. I prostrate to you+ $uan !hih %in &'usa.

$... !... %.. &'...

,...... II .en0.hu0.hih0.i .'usa .an*usri .odhisattva an*usri+ the personification of <ranscendental 2isdom+ is the first Bodhisattva mentioned in Buddhist scriptures+ and one of the two most prominent and important Bodhisattvas of ahayana Buddhism. #is wisdom is perfect and is sym"olised "y the sword+ he holds in his right hand signifying his intellect which pierces the deepest recesses of Buddhist thought and cutting dou"ts which cannot otherwise "e solved. #is name fre3uently appears in various sutras and in the Gotus !utra+ or .e Gotus of the :ood Gaw+ it was mentioned that he had trained and disciplined many "odhisattvas. In the ahayana+ 2isdom and ,ompassion are regarded as e3ually important+ "ut with greater emphasis on 2isdom. an*usri+ the Gord of 2isdom and $nowledge+ is therefore considered as the foremost Bodhisattva in early ahayana. Gater ahayana laid greater stress on the practise of ,ompassion so that ;valokitesvara+ the Gord of ,ompassion .$aruna/+ who is known to the ,hinese as $uan !hih %in &'usa+ soon emerged as the supreme Bodhisattva. an*usri+ meaning =:entle :lory' or =!weet !plendour'+ is often regarded as the =prince royal' of the Buddha's realm. #e is also

2..0!..0!..0G. &'... 4


addressed as = an*ugosha' with = an*u' meaning =soft' indicating that his continuum has "ecome softened "y his wisdom which cuts through distress0causing hindrances to li"eration from cyclic li"eration .!amsara/+ and the non0afflictive o"structions to infinite knowledge or -mniscience. =:osha' means =chanting' or =intonation' referring to his possessing a Buddha's perfect vocalisation a"ilities. ;ccording to ,hinese Buddhism+ he was informed "y !akyamuni Buddha that it was his duty and responsi"ility to seek the instruction and salvation of the ,hinese people "y making his a"ode at the 2u0tai !han in the !hansi province+ and there to cause the 2heel of 1harma to turn incessantly. an*usri's popularity in the northern Buddhist countries stretches from >epal+ !ikkim+ <i"et+ ,hina+ ongolia+ $orea to 9apan. illions of ,hinese Buddhists daily recite 6>amo 2en0shu0!hih0Gi &'usa8 to seek his "lessings. #e is the most popular Bodhisattva among the Buddhists of <i"et and >epal where even young children constantly repeat his mantra+ =-mara0 pa0chana0dhih' which is a prayer for developing wisdom. #oly "ooks compiled "y lamas often "egin with the mantra =>amo :uru an*ugoshaya' as a mark of respect to an*usri for he is indeed =the lamp of wisdom and supernatural power' who is the destroyer of falsehood and ignorance from the minds of all "eings. .e illustration of an*usri is an useful aid to those who would like to visualise him during their prayers or meditational prac

tices. .ey should first of all con*ure in their minds a shining "lue sky. From it a youthful prince of a"out sixteen years old with flowing hair+ appears and is seen seated on a pale "lue lotus with a "ody made of golden light. #e is smiling gently and on his forehead is a wreath of "lue lotuses surrounded "y a crown of five *ewels. ;kso"ya+ a meditational Buddha+ is seen seated on top of his head. #is right hand "randishes a dou"le0edged sword with a va*ra0handle+ the point of which is wreathed in flames. #is left hand has a "ook+ his second sym"ol+ which he presses close to his heart. .is is the <reatise on the &erfection of 2isdom known to all as the &ra*naparamita. #e wears silk of five colours of a great "eing and the six ornaments of the Bodhisattva. !urrounding him is a great aura of light which is radiated from his great pure "ody+ a very special kind of light that can purify the minds of those who are seeking wisdom(. .us is an*ugosha seen+ the =:entle Voiced Gord' who is related to creative communication. #is wisdom is nothing less than &ra*na+ perfect wisdom+ which is sym"olised "y the volume of the &ra*naparamita. Gegends of an*usri a"ound+ each with its own "eautiful significance so that only those who have great faith and affinity with him will "e a"le to realise their inner revelations. ; popular legend has it that an*usri once left ount &ancasirsha .2u0tai ountain in ,hina/ to visit the shrine of the &rimordial Buddha which was located on a high mountain and accessi"le only "y way of Gake $alihrada. #owever+ the lake was infested with all kinds of watermonsters and spirits so that

he had no choice "ut to =open+ with his sword+ several valleys on the southern side of the lake+ thus draining the waters and drying up the land at the "ottom'. .is dried land is now where >epal stands which accounts for the great popularity of an*usri there. .e >epalese also considered him to "e their father of civili5ation as well as the founder of Buddhism in their country. In <i"et an*usri veneration matches that of ;valokitesvara so that 6-m0arapachana01hih8 is recited as fre3uently "y the populace as 6-m ani &adme #um8. any great lamas are in fact manifestations of an*usri and the most revered and well known amongst them is none other than #is #oliness !akya <ri5in+ the #ead of the !akya Gineage of <i"etan Buddhism or Va*rayana. .an*usri in .hina .e ,hinese regard an*usri as their ,elestial ;rchitect who is "elieved to have inspired+ with his divine intelligence+ those who are active in the propagation of the 1harma. #e is known as 2en0shu0shi0li &'usa or =2en0shu &'usa' in short. 2ith his !word of 2isdom+ he dissipates the darkness among men. #is other sym"ol+ the Book of <ranscendental 2isdom is often depicted as a long and narrow volume+ held together "y their covers and "ound "y a piece of cloth string. ;t times+ it is *ust represented "y a scroll which contains the teachings.

#e is adored as the aster of 2isdom and $nowledge and is more commonly seen to "e seated in meditation on a goldenmaned lion which is also called the Gion .rone. !ometimes the golden0maned lion is replaced "y a green lion which sym"olises the wild mind which can only "e transformed "y meditation. .e practice of meditation is therefore mandatory for all who are keen to have a calm and su"dued mind+ and 2en0shu &'usa is the 1eity who can help them to overcome all their o"stacles of 1harma practice. 2en0shu &'usa's a"ode at the 2u0tai ountain in >orthern ,hina is the most important place of pilgrimage for his followers and for all other energetic Buddhists as it is "elieved to "e where many Bodhisattvas gather. .e ,hinese people also address him as the =Cnlightener of the world' as his task is known to "e to drive away falsehood and ignorance from the minds of men. ;lthough the ascent to the 2u0tai !han is steep and difficult+ yet countless devotees have reached its top. .e lure of making this difficult pilgrimage is mainly due to devotion and also to asertain the claims made "y those who have "een there that upon reaching the mountain top temple of 2en0shu+ one =feels a great sense of tran3uillity of the mind which cannot "e descri"ed in words'. .ere have also "een fre3uent claims "y the more fortunate ones that they had witnessed a strange and spectacular sight+ that of an un"elieva"le display of heavenly lights that appeared at certain nights like =rows of well lit lanterns floating across the vast sky('. 1is"elievers may take this claim lightly and treat it as a kind of hallucination suffered "y the devotees' minds as a result of the strenous clim"+ the height of the mountain+ or even the deep

faith in the Bodhisattva. #owever they should "ear in mind that those who make this arduous trips are generally not mere sightseers "ut seekers of wisdom who are keen meditators and therefore possessing calm and not easily excita"le minds that are likely to "e affected "y the aforementioned factors. <emples dedicated to 2en0shu &'usa are a rarity "ut a statue honouring this Bodhisattva can "e found in most ,hinese temples. :enerally 2en0shu either appears in a triad with the Buddha !akyamuni and &u #'sien &'usa or+ with $uan !hih %in &'usa and &u #'sien &'usa+ as shown in the &antheon of 1eities. .ese .ree :reat Bodhisattvas+ when appearing in a <rinity+ are in their feminine forms showing 2en0shu riding the :reen Gion and &u #'sien astride the 2hite Clephant. 2en0shu+ as usual+ represents the Buddha's 2isdom aspect+ &u #'sien+ the &erfect ;ctivity of Gove+ and $uan %in+ the &erfect ,ompassion 4 these three aspects when com"ined together make up the Buddha's perfection. In the iao !han legend+ the :reen Gion of 2en0shu was descri"ed to "e the transformation of the :od of Fire and the 2hite Clephant "eing the !pirit of the 2aterK two evil spirits who captured the parents of the &rincess when they set out to visit #siang !han where iao !han was then residing+ "ut were later su"dued "y heavenly forces. Lpon iao !han's canoni5ation into a Bodhisattva and earning the title as =.e Very ,ompassionate !aviour of the ;fflicted+ iraculous and #elpful &rotectress of ortals'+ her two elder sisters too earned great spiritual elevations. iao ,hing "ecame 2en0shu &'usa and "ears the title of =.e Very Virtuous &'usa+ the ,ompletely Beautiful+ 7ider of the :reen Gion'.


an*usri Bodhisattva has many other forms which cannot "e fully descri"ed in a "ook of this si5e. !uffice it to say that+ like ;valokitesvara+ he too assumes numerous forms 4 fierce or gentle+ one or multiple heads+ two or several hands and legs+ "ody colour of yellow+ white or even "lack+ all of which have their respective sym"olic meanings. Cach of these forms are "ut a 2isdom aspect of the Buddha and one of them should appeal to you as your o"*ect of worship. .ose who are new to Buddhism are advised to accept the forms as depicted in this chapter and to avoid the esoteric or tantric forms for the time "eing. 2ith firm faith why not place your hands together and offer a prayer to this wonderful Bodhisattva and experience his calming influenceB #e may yet impart some wisdom to you to help you in your understanding of the 1harma which will lead you to eternal "liss. 2en0shu &'usa's festive day falls on the @th day of the @th moon. It is not usually cele"rated "y many as those who are on the 2isdom path are not too many in num"er+ "ut students of Jen Buddhism will most certainly treat this as a very special day of the year.

,...... I .u .sien .'usa .amanta"hadra .odhisattva !amanta"hadra or Lniversal Virtue is known to the ,hinese as &u #sien and Fugen+ to the 9apanese. !he is the personification of love+ sacred activity+ virtue+ diligent training and patience. In the ,hinese &antheon she is seen in the triad with $uan !hih %in .,ompassion/ and 2en0!hu .2isdom/ as the .ree &recious Bodhisattvas whose 3ualities make up the Buddha's Cssence. In many 9apanese and ,hinese temples she is also found in the <rinity with !akyamuni Buddha and 2en0!hu &usa . an*usri/. Imageries of &u #sien usually show her seated on a white elephant in various ways and holding a lotus flower or a scroll or "ook. .e elephant+ normally in a standing posture+ may "e crouching and may either have three heads or one head with six tusks. &u #sien &'usa is well known for her limitless offerings to the Buddhas as well as her <en :reat Vows which are directed towards "enefitting sentient "eings. .ey areK 1. <o worship the Buddhas ?. <o praise the <athagatas. A. <o make offerings to all the Buddhas.

@. <o confess past sins and to reform. H. <o re*oice in the virtues and happiness of others. D. <o re3uest Buddha to preach the Gaw. 7. <o re3uest Buddha to stay in the world. F. <o study the 1harma in order to teach it. 9. <o "enefit all sentient "eings. 1E. <o transfer all merit and virtue to others. &u #sien's sacred a"ode in ,hina is in the >go0 ei mountain of the !5u0,huan province. In 9apan she is often worshipped "y her devotees for prosperity as well as longevity and there are some who also revere her as the divine patron in their meditational practices. In the !utra of editation on the Bodhisattva Lniversal Virtue .&u #sien &'usa/ the Buddha lavished great praises on her and revealed that she was "orn in the Castern &ure 2onder Gand. editators who practise this meditation will generate great merits which will free themselves from all kinds of hindrances as well as allowing them to see her excellent forms. .e Buddha further gave a vivid description of her as followsK 6.e Bodhisattva Lniversal Virtue is "oundless in the si5e of her "ody+ "oundless in the sound of her voice+ and "oundless in the form of her image. 1esiring to come to this world+ she makes use of her divine transcendent powers and shrinks her stature to the si5e of a human "eing(. !he appears transformed as mounted on a great white elephant which has six tasks .representing

!............ B..........

the purity of the six senses/. Lnder the legs of the elephant lotus flowers grow( the whiteness of the elephant is of the most "rilliant of all shades of white which is so pure that even crystal and the #imalaya ountains cannot compare with it)8 .e Gotus !utra has done much to attract great num"ers of female devotees for &u #sien &'usa as they are promised that they too could attain Buddhahood which is descri"ed in detail in the 1Eth ,hapter of the !utra. In ,hapter ?F &u #sien &'usa also made this promise to the BuddhaK 6In the latter five hundred years of the corrupt and evil age+ whoever receives and keeps this sutra I will guard and protect+ eliminate the anxiety of feeling away+ and give ease of mind(. 2herever such a one walks or stands+ reading and reciting this sutra+ I will at once mount the six0tusked white elephant king and with a host of great "odhisattvas go to that place and+ showing myself+ will serve and protect .him/ comforting his mind+ also there"y serving the Gaw0Flower !utra(. oreover I will give them dharanis+ and o"taining these dharanis+ no human or non0human "eings can in*ure them+ nor any woman "eguile them.8 !till further on+ one hears the Buddha extolling &u #sien with this promiseK 6(I+ "y my supernatural power+ will guard and protect those who are a"le to receive and keep the name of the Bodhisattva Lniversal Virtue.8

&. #.... &'...

&u #sien &'usa is not generally worshipped "y the =average' Buddhists as temples dedicated to her are very scarce. #owever+ those who would like to form a karmic link with this great Bodhisattva may do so in most of the $uan %in temples where her images can "e found and one of the most popular prayers to recite to her isK 6>... <. #... &. #.... &'...8 Gike all other great Bodhisattvas she is a"le to grant those who have firm faith in her+ all kinds of favours that they are seeking. .ose who cultivate her dharma will en*oy a longer life0span and they will most certainly not fall into the three evil paths .animal+ ghost and hell realms/ in their future lifetimes. oreover+ they will "e protected "y &u #sien &'usa from the dangers of flood+ fire+ war and poisonous food+ and they will "e rewarded with position and a"undant wealth. any a childless couple have also "een known to "e "lessed with children who are "right and healthy after praying to her and+ most important of all+ she is a"le to impart great wisdom which will "e the greatest help to any cultivator who seeks the 2ay. .e festive day of this great Bodhisattva falls on the ?1st day of the ?nd moon and it is a great day for us to "ring her to our heart.

&. #.... &'...

,...... II .i .sang .'usa .sitigar"ha .odhisattva <i <sang &'usa is an extremely popular Bodhisattva among the ,hinese and 9apanese Buddhists. =<i <sang'+ meaning =Carth0!tore' is a direct translation of the Bodhisattva's name $.......... in !anskrit. ;mong the countless Bodhisattvas in the universe+ he and three others have firmly captured the hearts of the ahayanists. .ese four main &'usas are depicted in the ,hinese Buddhist &antheon and they represent four "asic great 3ualitiesK $... !... %.. as :reat ,ompassion 2.. !.. as :reat 2isdom &. #.... as :reat Gove and &erfect ;ctivity <. <.... as :reat Vow to help and to deliver all "eings. #is greatest compassionate Vow "eingK 6If I do not go to the hell to help the suffering souls there+ who else will goB (if the hells are not empty I will not "ecome a Buddha. -nly when all living "eings have "een saved+ will I attain to Bodhi8. .e !utra of the &... V... -. <.. C.... !.... B..... .....+ one of the most popular ,hinese Buddhist !utras+ tells of the great filial piety which the Bodhisattva practised that led to his illimita"le vows to save all living "eings. .is !utra was spoken "y the Buddha towards the end of his life to the "eings

of the <rayastrimsa #eaven as a mark of gratitude and remem"rance for his "eloved mother. In this !utra the Buddha revealed that in the distant past aeons+ <i <sang &'usa+ then a Brahman maiden "y the name of =!acred :irl'+ was deeply trou"led when her mother died as she had often "een slanderous towards the .ree 9ewels 4 the Buddha+ 1harma and !angha. <o save her from the great tortures of hell+ the young girl sold whatever she had and used the money to "uy offerings which she offered daily to the Buddha of her time+ known as .e Buddha of Flower of editation and Cnlightenment. !he made fervent prayers that her mother "e spared of the pains of hell and re3uested the Buddha for help. -ne day at the temple+ while she was thus pleading for help+ she heard the voice of the Buddha advising her to go home immediately and there to sit down and practise meditation on #is name if she wanted to know where the spirit of her mother was. !he did as she was told and while doing so+ her soul was transported to the #ell 7ealm where she met a hell0guardian who informed her that through her fervent prayers and pious offerings+ her mother had accumulated much merits and therefore her soul had already "een released from hell and ascended to heaven. !he was greatly relieved and should have "een extremely happy+ "ut the sights of the great sufferings in #ell that she had witnessed so touched her tender heart that she made an immediate vowK 6I shall exercise my very "est to relieve "eings of their sufferings forever in my future lives of kalpas to come.8

.e young maiden has since then "ecame an accomplished Bodhisattva through her great acts of merits and is now known as <i <sang &'usa. <i <sang &'usa has often "een mistakened "y uninformed Buddhists to "e ogallana who was a disciple of !akyamuni Buddha+ "ecause he too had a similar experience of descending to the #ell 7ealm to seek and save his mother. .e stories may sound similar "ut they happened at different times and adopted 3uite different methods to save their mothers. any others also tend to relate <i <sang as the #suan <sang+ the famous <ripitaka master of the <ang 1ynasty who made the har5adous *ourney to the 2est to seek the Buddhist scriptures. .is is mainly due to the !angha ro"e and the five0leaf crown which "oth are seen to wear. ;s the 67egent of #ell8 <i <sang &'usa is again taken "y many to "e 6%en0Go02ang8 or %ama+ the 6-verGord of #ell8. It must "e mentioned that <i <sang is a Bodhisattva and not a mere $ing of the Fifth #ell. #e does not *udge the souls of the dead "ut seeks to save them from the punishment inflicted on them "y the $ings of #ell. .escription of .i .sang .'usa <i <sang may "e represented sitting or standing. #e always has a kind and "enevolent look and carrying either+ or "oth+ his

<. <.... &'... 4 $.......... B..........

sym"ols of the ,intamani or 62ish0fulfilling 9ewel8 and the 67inged0!taff8+ which is also called the $hakkhara. .is ringed staff is often carried "y Buddhist monks in their travels so that the sounds caused "y the *ingling rings can warn small animals and insects of their approach lest they "e trod upon and killed. It is also sometimes called the alarm0staff. In the a"ove much treasured picture of <i <sang &'usa+ which is found in many Buddhist homes and temples+ he is seen seated upon a lotus throne. #is hands holds the precious flaming pearl which has vast magical powers "eyond description. #e wears the ro"e of a >orthern Buddhist monk and on his head is the 6five0leave crown+ where the representation of a 1hyani0Buddha can "e seen on each of the leaves.8 2henever you have the urge to pray to this Bodhisattva for any help+ look at this picture intently for a few seconds as you silently recite+ 6>... <. <.... 2... &'...+ >... <. <.... 2... &'...(+' "efore closing your eyes to visualise him. <i <sang &'usa is very responsive to sincere prayers of faith and he may yet grant you your wish+ if it is not too unselfish or unreasona"le. ;ll may pray to him with this simple invocation and+ who knows+ your past karmic links with him may yet make you into another ardent <i <sang devotee again in this lifetime. .e standing posture of <i <sang is particularly popular in 9apan where he is known as 9i5o Bosatsu. It represents the readiness of 9i5o to respond immediately to the calls of help made "y those who have faith in his saving powers. !tanding upon a lotus+ he

holds his precious flaming *ewel with his left hand while the ringed staff is held with the right+ ever ready to force open the gates of #ell with the staff and to dispel the darkness of the infernal realm with his luminous gem. <i <sang is at times depicted accompanied "y a dog which also has a significant meaning. -n the death of his mother+ the Bodhisattva+ known as 6!acred :irl8+ hastened into the underworld with the view of comforting her and to seek for favoura"le treatment. #owever he could not find her wherea"outs "ut later discovered that she had already taken re"irth as a female dog. Lpon his return to earth <i <sang soon traced and adopted the animal which henceforth "ecame his close companion on his pilgrimages. ;nother popular depiction of him is in this standing or =activityform' which has his left hand holding an alms "owl against his navel+ while his right hand forms the mudra .hand0sign/ of 6giving consolation and peace to all living "eings8. <i <sang &'usa has many emanations and he has manifested in countless forms to save "eings at different times and places. In the ,hinese Buddhist &antheon his is the only figure in the form of a monk. .is is to indicate that ahayana Buddhism is suita"le for "oth the monks and the laity. <i <sang's compassion is not practised exclusively for the "enefit of the "eings of the hell realm+ he also gives "lessings to those of the world who seek his help and he is a comforter of the poor+ oppressed+ sick+ hungry+ and those who are trou"led "y spirits

and nightmares. .ose who have firm faith in him can easily receive his protection. 2ith faith one need to recite any of these simple prayersK 6>... <. <.... 2... &'...8 or 6>... $.......... B.......... %.8. Images of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are recognised "y the sym"ols that they are associated with. Cach of these sym"ols have significant meanings which most people are unaware of. .e $hakkhara+ or 7inged !taff+ which <i <sang holds is not only meant to warn small and crawling creatures of his approach so as to avoid stepping on them "ut also to inform people of his presence through the *ingling caused "y the rings. -ften a travelling monk on a pilgrimage has to stop at homes to seek alms and since he does not wish to speak unnecessarily+ he usually announces his arrival "y shaking his sounding staff. .e $hakkhara is often a wooden staff capped with metal loops or crotchets and rings which are either four+ six or twelve in num"er. .e Four0ringed staff is carried "y a monk who has perceived the Four >o"le <ruths of !uffering+ the ,ause of !uffering+ the ,essation of !uffering+ and the &ath leading to the ,essation of !uffering. .e !ix0ringed staff "elongs to a Bodhisattva who is constantly practising the !ix &aramitas+ while the <welved0ringed staff is held "y a &ratyeka Buddha who has realised the <welve0fold Ginks of ,ausation. ;s a result of <i <sang &'usa having made this promise to !akyamuni BuddhaK 6I will fulfil your instructions to continue

<. <.... &'...

to relieve "eings from their states of suffering and lead them to !alvation. I shall strive to work hard until the next Buddha+ aitreya Buddha+ comes to the world.8 #e is also adored as the 6 aster of the !ix 2orlds of 1esire+8 thus there are depictions of him "eing surrounded "y a Bodhisattva+ an ;sura+ a an+ an ;nimal .horse or ox/+ a &reta+ and a 1emon holding a pitchfork+ which sym"olises the six different forms he assumes in the six realms to save the "eings there. In the closing chapter of the <i <sang !utra+ !akyamuni Buddha gave this advice for the "enefit of all human "eingsK 6Gisten to me carefully and I shall tell you in detail. If virtuous ones of the future see the $sitigar"ha Bodhisattva's image+ hear the $sitigar"ha !utra+ chant this !utra+ make offerings to $sitigra"ha+ pay homage to him+ they will receive these "enefitsK 1. .ey will "e protected "y devas and dragons. ?. .eir a"ility to do good will "e increased. A. -pportunities for doing good will increase. @. .ey will strive to attain Buddhahood. H. .ey will en*oy sufficiency of food and clothing. D. .ey will "e free from diseases. 7. Floods and fire will not affect them. F. 7o""ers will not trou"le them. 9. .ey will "e respected and admired "y people. 1E. !pirits and devas will protect and assist them. 11. Females shall "e re"orn as males. 1?. .e females will "ecome daughters of no"le M exalted families.

1A. .ey will "e re"orn with good complexion. 1@. .ey will "e re"orn in the heavens for many lives. 1H. .ey will "e re"orn as kings or rulers of countries. 1D. .ey will have wisdom to recollect their past lives. 17. .ey will "e successful in all their aspirations. 1F. .ey will en*oy happy family relationships. 19. 1isasters will not affect them. ?E. .eir "ad karma will "e removed. ?1. 2herever they go+ they are safe. ??. .ey shall always have peaceful dreams. ?A. .eir deceased relatives shall "e free from sufferings. ?@. .ey will "e re"orn with happiness. ?H. .ey will "e praised "y divine "eings. ?D. .ey will "e intelligent and skilful. ?7. .ey will have compassion for others. ?F. .ey will finally attain Buddhahood. .e "irthday of <i <sang &'usa falls on the AEth day of the 7th moon of the lunar calendar which coincides with the very day when the gates of #ell closes to mark the end of the Festival of the #ungry :hosts. ;ll over the world Buddhist <emples offer prayers to <i <sang &'usa during this yearly Festival for the "enefit of the dead. <i <sang's popularity among the ,hinese and 9apanese Buddhists is second only to $uan !hih %in &'usa as he takes upon himself the fearful and distasteful task of "ringing relief and consolation to suffering "eings of hell.

,...... III .i0.o0.wo .aitreya .uddha aitreya+ 6.e Friendly and Benevolent -ne8 or 6-ne 2ho &ossesses Goving0kindness8 is widely adored "y the ,hinese Buddhists for his willingness to grant help to those who direct their minds towards him. #e is also known as ;*ita+ =the Lncon3uered' and ranks e3ual with the other great Bodhisattvas such as ;valokitesvara+ an*usri+ !amantha"adra+ ahasthamaprata and $sitigar"ha. ;s the next Buddha0to0"e he alone en*oys the distinction of "eing the only Bodhisattva recognised and popularly accepted "y "oth ahayanist and .eravadin countries. aitreya has taken numerous incarnations in the various Buddhist countries and ,hina has had 3uite a fair share of them. #istorically+ the most important amongst them+ is said to "e that as the son of a $ing of Varanise in ,entral ;sia. 7ecord has it that he was "orn with the full thirty0two marks of a superior "eing who su"se3uently "ecame a disciple of !akyamuni Buddha and was one of the main interlocutors in the ahayana !utras where he conversed with some of the great disciples of the Buddha. ;lthough he is+ strictly speaking+ still a Bodhisattva of the nineth stage+ the tenth "eing that of a fully Cnlightened Buddha+ he is

often worshipped as a Buddha in anticipation of his "ecoming the next Blessed -ne in the future. Both as Bodhisattva and Buddha he now resides in the <usita #eaven+ the #eavenly 7ealm of the 1evas+ where all the Buddhas0to0"e will always resideN pending their appearance as Buddha on earth to save mankind and there"y traversing the tenth and final stage or =Bhumi'+ to attain !upreme Buddhahood for the sake of "enefitting all sentient "eings. Being compassionate+ aitreya always grants help willingly to those who pray to him with faith and the simple prayer to recite isK 6>... .0G. F..8

.e manner of praying to aitreya is similar to those methods as descri"ed in the ,hapters on $uan !hih %in and ;mita"ha Buddha. Firm faith+ purity of intention and effort will "e the main factors of success of their prayers. ;mong the many reasons for worshipping aitreya or i0Go Fwo are these two most outstanding aspectsK 1. <o take re"irth in <usita #eaven+ a kind of &ure Gand+ so as to receive the teaching of the 1harma. ?. <o gain sufficient merits so as to o"tain a re"irth during #is appearance on earth+ to hear #is teachings and "e saved "y #im.

:enerally the ,hinese worship him for wealth and happiness and there are those who even "elieved strongly that he is a"le to "e3ueath them with children as one of his most popular forms is that with five children surrounding him. #owever the images of him that are found in the temples normally depict a fat genial laughing figure with a mountainous "elly+ in a sitting posture+ and having a large "ag "eside him. Because of this appearance+ many people choose to call him =.e Gaughing Buddha'. !uch a depiction "y his ,hinese devotee is a far cry from what other Buddhists of other lands imagined him to "e+ "ut this does not mean that the ,hinese do not revere him as much as others do. .is portraiture of him came a"out as a result of one of his memora"le emanations in ,hina during the end of the <ang period and the "eginning of the 2u0<ai 1ynasty .9E7O1EDE/. .ere was a learned monk whom everyone addressed as &u <ai+ meaning =,loth Bag'+ as he was always seen carrying a large hemp "ag wherever he went. #e was a native of the ,hekiang &rovince who went a"out propagating the Buddha0dharma. >o one really knew his true name although he had called himself =,hi <5e'+ and "ecause of his "ag+ the people preferred to refer to him as =the monk with the sack'. #ere he appeared as one who is extremely kind+ *ovial and helpful and although he had no home or temple which he could call his own+ he is always in a cheerful mood. #e wandered a"out here and there to "eg for food+ giving advice and teaching to those who care to hear him+ or he could "e seen collecting all kinds of things which he would put into his "ag. <o the worldly ones this act may "e reckoned as an act of greed "ut it really meant

.0G.0F.. 4

....... B.....

that he was ever seeking to help deliver "eings into his &ure Gand. ;s the people got to know him "etter they soon discovered that he was also extremely good at reading their fortune and predicting the weather. Cven "y his daily actions they were a"le to guess the outcome of the weather conditions for whenever he was seen hurrying around in wet sandals+ rain was sure to follow+ and whenever he was seen wearing shoes and relaxing here and there+ "right and sunny days would prevail. #e also had many other peculiarities some of which "ore similarities with those of another famous monk ,.. $... of the !ung 1ynasty. &u <ai was often seen to "e sleeping very comforta"ly on the snow during the cold winters and at the same time resisted taking a "ath during the hot summers. #e died in a sitting posture at the corridor of a temple and left "ehind a verse which saidK 6 aitreya is a real aitreya+ who manifests uncounta"le transformed "odies. ,onstantly he manifests "efore living "eings who are not a"le to recognise them.8 .rough this verse+ people later "egan to accept him as an incarnation of the aitreya Buddha which also explains the accepted appearance of the current day's depiction of him. In his many other recorded incarnations in ,hina+ he fre3uently appeared as great and learned persons whose lives have "een recorded in many "ooks. .e followers of the <ien <ao ovement+

....... B.....

an energetic religious -rder which em"races all the three great ,hinese religions of ,onfucianism+ <aoism and Buddhism+ claimed that aitreya made his appearance in ,hina as their great teacher at the "eginning of this century. #owever all these are "ut the minor transformed "odies of the :reat Being whose real essence is now residing in the <emple of the &alace of the !even 9ewels of the <usita #eaven. Buddhists are more concerned with his final incarnation when he ascends to the state of a Fully Cnlightened Buddha to save countless "eings from the world. In the meantime one should direct his energy to develop a strong affinity with aitreya Buddha "y reciting his name daily and living in a virtuous manner. aitreya Buddha's "irthday is cele"rated on the 1st day of the 1st moon of the Gunar calendar which coincides with the ,hinese >ew %ear 1ay+ a day of *oy in which all families traditionally keep pure and holy "y avoiding the eating of any meat.

,...... IIII .uan .i .he .rotector of .uddhism In the year 1D? .... during the period of the warring states of the .ree $ingdoms+ a child was "orn to a hum"le family in !hansi who grew up to "ecome ,hina's most illustrious and outstanding son+ a great hero+ and was later deified to "ecome one of the most popular :ods of the ,hinese people. #is admirers and devotees ranged from Cmperors to the common people and his popularity never waned over the long period of time. .ousands of temples and shrines have "een erected in his honour and can "e seen in all parts of the country. #is images and portraits adorn home shrines or walls of countless homes whether they "e <aoist+ ,onfucianist or Buddhist. In a country strifed with wars and re"ellions throughout its history of the various 1ynasties+ great heroes have emerged and distinguished themselves in every way to deserve veneration and remem"erance "ut none has ever e3ualled $uan <i to gain elevation into the ranks of :ods or en*oy worship "y different classes of people as their patron saints. <o the <aoists and others+ $uan <i was their :od of 2ar+ while the Buddhists confer upon him the great honour as their &rotector. Born as $uan %u he led a simple life and made his living as a young man "y selling "ean0curd which provided the excuse for the "ean0curd sellers to respect him as their patron saint today.

#e also devoted much time to serious studies and on one occasion+ displayed his excellent memory power "y reciting word for word+ the entire volume of the ,lassics after reading it "ut once. $uan %u's other name is %un0,hang. .rough his great love for *ustice and fair0play+ $uan %u soon got himself into deep trou"le when he slayed the licentious and corrupt magistrate who forced a poor girl to "ecome his concu"ine. .is made him into a criminal and $uan %u had to flee for his life into the mountains. ;s he was trying to cross over to the neigh"ouring province he chanced to stop "y a stream to have a washN when to his surprise he noticed a great change to his appearance) #is facial complexion had changed from white to a reddish tint which saved him the trou"le to disguise himself so that he was a"le to walk through the sentries who were guarding the mountain pass without the least of pro"lem. Lpon reaching ,hu0,hou of the !5echuan &rovince he soon "efriended two others who shared his no"le ideals and virtues and they ended up as 6sworn "rothers8 in a ceremony which has "een recorded in the history as the 6Brotherhood at the &each -rchard8. ,hang0fei+ a "utcher+ "ecame the youngest "rother. #e was a man of fiery temper who had an unyielding sense of *ustice and was well known for his immense appetite "oth for food and adventure. #e also had a "lack face which was full of whiskers and together with his formida"le frame of some seven feet high+ very few would dare cross his path. #is great love and loyalty to $uan %u has won him a place of honour so that he is always seen standing "ehind $uan <i in all depictions. Giu &ei+ the elder "rother who came from a distinguished "ut impov

erished family with Imperial linkage+ was known to "e a man of honour. #e was later to distinguish himself "y founding the Gater #an 1ynasty. $uan %u+ a powerful figure of more than eight feet tall+ possessed an enigmatic personality and integrity which won him respect of all whom he met. <ogether these three newly sworn "rothers set out and "ecame involved in military pursuits+ $uan <i once serving under the crafty and famous <s'ao <s'ao. .ey displayed great military prowess and fought many "attles which can "e read in full details in the famous novels of 6.e 7omance of the .ree $ingdoms8. $uan %u proved himself worthy of the honour and affection of those who fought with him for he was "rave and generous and was never known to turn aside from danger. #e also proved his fidelity on the occasion when he was taken prisoner together with the wife and concu"ines of Giu &ei+ and having "een allocated a common sleeping 3uarters with the ladies+ he preserved their reputation and his own trustworthiness "y sitting all night through+ outside their door+ reading a "ook under the "right light of a candle. .ere is also another version of this account which stated that he stood through the night at the door of the ladies' room with a lighted lantern in his hand. In the recorded history of his life $uan %u had many occasions to display his no"ility+ uprightness+ integrity+ loyalty and "ravery. #e lived at a time of great distress and chaos when the virtue of the #an 1ynasty+ set up in ?E? B.,.+ "egan to decline and uprising+ warring+ dissatisfactions and re"ellions were rampant. <emptations of ac3uiring wealth+ fame and power did not deter

$... <.

him from remaining faithful to the oath that he had taken with his "rothers at the peach orchardK 6(to "e loyal to each other in life and united in death(8 ;nd of his a"ility to "ear pain unflinchingly+ there was an occasion when he was wounded "y a poisoned arrow which re3uired the arrow and the poison to "e removed. #e calmly su"mitted himself to the terri"le ordeal and allowed his arm to "e cut opened and scratched to the "one "y his physician while he concentrated his attention on a game of chess+ without showing the least sign of pain. In the year ?19 .... he was captured "y !un ,huan and put to death. It was recorded that on the night of his death+ his spirit appeared to a Buddhist monk+ to seek for instruction on the Buddha's teachings. ;ccording to the Buddhist account+ $uan %u manifested himself "efore the <ripitaka aster ,hi <sai+ the founder of <ien <ai Buddhism+ with a retinue of spiritual "eings. .e aster was then in deep meditation at the %u ,hien ountain when he was distracted "y $uan %u's presence. ;fter receiving the teachings $uan %u re3uested for the Five &recepts and "ecame a Buddhist practitioner. #e then vowed that he would henceforth "e a guardian for the Buddha0dharma and thus+ for more than a thousand years+ $uan <i has "een worshipped as a :uardian or 1harma &rotector in the Buddhist temples. .e &ure Gand Buddhists also respected him as the !entinel to the 2estern &aradise of ;mita"ha Buddha. For these reasons $uan <i has earned a place in the ,hinese &antheon of 1eitiesN his statues are normally found in the first hall of most temples and incense should "e offered to him as a mark of respect.

.e honours and tri"utes that the succeeding Cmperors of the various 1ynasties conferred upon him marked him as the greatest military hero that ever lived. $uan %u earned the rank of =<.' meaning 6:od8 or 6Cmperor8 and has ever since received worship as $uan <i or 2u <i. #ere are the other main awards which he had su"se3uently earned+ elevating him to the ranks of 1uke+ &rince and then CmperorK 1. In 11?E the !ung Cmperor enno"led him as the 6Faithful and Goyal 1uke8. Cight years later he again conferred him another title+ that of 6.e agnificent &rince and &acificator8. ?. In 1AAE Cmperor 2en of the %uan 1ynasty honoured him with the title of 62arrior &rince and ,ivili5er8. A. In 1H9@ Cmperor 2an Gi of the ing 1ynasty conferred on him the title of 6Faithful and Goyal :reat <i+ !upporter of #eaven and &rotector of the $ingdom8. In his honour thousands of temples were "uilt across the land so that people could honour and worship him+ thus making him one of the most popular :ods of ,hina. @. In 1F1A the ,hing Cmperor added the appellation 6 ilitary Cmperor8 and $uan <i was regarded as the &atron of the anchu 1ynasty. H. In 1FHD during the "attle "etween the Imperialists and the re"els+ $uan <i was said to have appeared in the heavens which helped to turn the tide of the "attle in the Cmperor's favour. ;fter the victory+ Cmperor #sein Feng 3uickly elevated him

to the position of reverence similar to that of ,onfucius+ the great !age of ,hina. ;ll these awards have helped the people to remem"er and worship $uan <i not only as a :od of 2ar "ut also as their :od of ,hivalry and &rosperity. #e is also regarded as the :uardian of the Brave+ Goyal and 7ighteous+ and so on. #owever it must "e mentioned here that the manner of worship of $uan <i at his temples are not necessarily a Buddhist practice+ although he has earned a place into the ,hinese &antheon. Buddhism may accept and even encourages its followers to revere the :ods for their virtues or pray to them for some protection or worldly "oons+ "ut they must always "e aware that Cnlightenment cannot "e won "y such practices and that their refuge should "e sought in the .ree 9ewels only. ;s a Buddhist deity+ $uan <i stands alone "ut as a <aoist deity he is usually accompanied "y two other companions. ; young looking man is always protrayed "eside him holding his seal while ,hang Fei can "e seen with his hal"erd which according to tradition+ the edge of it facing towards the direction of the suspected danger from evil influence. For this reason he is often depicted as standing "ehind $uan <i's right so that his hal"erd may face the other direction+ if so re3uired. $uan <i's anniversaries fall on the 1Ath day of the ?nd moon and the 1Ath day of the Hth moon in alaysia and !ingapore while #ong $ong cele"rates it on the ?@th day of the Dth moon. It is also customary for the ,hinese to make their way to $uan <i temples at the start of the ,hinese >ew %ear to offer prayers

of gratitude for favours rendered and to seek his continued protection for the coming year. .ynasties of .hina ythical ?D97O??ED .. Gegendary #sia !hang .%in/ ??EHO17DD .. 17FAO11?? .. 2ith the ,hou+ known as 6!an <ai8 or 6.ree 1ynasties8. ,hou 11??4??? .. .e classic periodN ,h'un ,h'iu period 7??O@F1N ,han $uo period @EAO??1. ,h'in ??14?ED .. ,hina reunified. #an ?ED ..0.. ?19 6Castern #an8 .from .. ?H/ 2ei ??EO?D@ .e 6.ree $ingdoms8 .2ei+ 2u and !hu/ from .. ?EE

,h'in ?DHO@19 Castern ,h'in from A17. Bar"arian kingdoms in >orth ,hina AE@O@A9. >.... . !.... !ung @?EO@7F 2ith the 2u and ,h'i @79OHE1 Castern ,hin+ known Giang HE?OHHD as the 6!ix 1ynasties8 ,h'en HH7OHFF of southern culture. !ui HF9OD17 ,hina reunified. <'ang D1FO9ED &eriod of !piritual 1evelopment.

2. <.. Giang 9E7 4 9?? $nown as 62u <ai'N <'ang 9?A 4 9AH or 6Five 1ynasties8 ,hin 9AD 4 9@D to distinguish them #an 9@7 4 9HE from other dynasties ,hou 9H1 4 9H9 similarly named. !ung 9DEO1?FE 6!outhern !ung8 from 11?7 with >orthern ,hina under anchus and ongols. %uan 1?FEO1ADF ongolian rule. ing

1ADFO1D@A ,hinese rule restored. 1ADFO1A9F 1A99O1@E? 1@EAO1@?@ 1@?HO 1@?DO1@AH 1@ADO1@@9 1@HEO1@H7 1@H7O1@D@ 1@DHO1@F7 1@FFO1HEH 1HEDO1H?1 1H??O1HDD 1HD7O1H7? 1H7AO1D?E 1D?EO 1D?1O1D?7 1D?FO1D@@ #ungO2u ,hien 2en %ungOGo #ungO#si #suanO<e ,hengO<ung ,hing <ai <ien !hun ,hengO#ua #ungO,hih ,hengO<e ,hiaO,hing GungO,hing 2anOGi <aiO,hang <ienO,hi ,hungO,hen

,h'ing 1D@@O1911 anchurian rule. 1D@@O1DD1 1DD?O17?? 17?AO17AH 17ADO179H 179DO1F?1 1F?1O1FHE 1FH1O1FD1 1FD?O1F7A 1F7HO19EF 19EFO191? !hunO,hih $'angO#si %ungO,heng ,hien Gung ,hia ,h'ing <aoO$uang #sienOFeng <ungO,hih $uangO#su #suanO<ung 7epu"lic of ,hina 191?O19@9 &eople's 7epu"lic of ,hina 19@9O

,...... IIV .ei0.o .'usa 2ei0<o is an important 1eva or :od in the ,hinese &antheon as his image is always present in all temples as the =Cntry :uardian'. #e is the :eneral0in0,hief of the thirty0two heavenly generals who come under the Four #eavenly $ings and has earned such titles as the =&rotector of the Buddhist Faith'+ the =&rotector of onasteries' and the =&rotector of 1harma Books'. In all temples where his image is found+ he is always placed with his "ack to the statue of aitreya Buddha . i0Go Fwo/ so that he faces the ain or :rand #all known as the =<ai #ung &ao <ien' where the main images of the temple are installed. ;ccording to the teaching+ 2ei0<o was a son of a heavenly king who was so virtuous that when !akyamuni Buddha was entering >irvana+ he instructed the prince to guard the Buddhadharma. .us it "ecame his duty to protect the mem"ers of the !angha whenever they are distur"ed in their cultivation "y the retinue of ara+ the <empter. ;nd whenever a conflict arises among religious -rders+ :eneral 2ei0to will discharge his duty to help "ring a"out a peaceful settlement. #is !anskrit name is !kanda. Puite often his images are also found in small shrines located at turning points of roads so as to afford protection against evil. It is very easy for people to "e impressed with his looks which has a military "earing. #e is always portrayed as a young and

2.. <.

good looking man clad in full armour and headgear of a general+ standing and leaning upon an impressive looking sword or gnarled staff with "oth hands+ or he could "e holding a sceptreshaped defensive weapon. 9ust as aitreya+ who as a Bodhisattva+ has earned the mark of respect of a Buddha+ 2ei0<o+ though only a 1eva or :od+ is very often addressed as a Bodhisattva or =2ei0<o &'usa'. .is is attri"uted to the prediction that he will in the future "ecome the Buddha 7ucika or =Gou0,hi Fwo'+ the last of the thousand Buddhas in our world period. !ince Va*rapani+ a very popular <i"etan Buddhist Bodhisattva who is the :od of 7ain+ and also known as the .under"olt0 Bearer+ also shares this prediction+ one thus finds 2ei0<o "eing referred to as him. #owever he has not gained sufficient followers to "ecome a ma*or 1eity in Buddhism. #is "irthday falls on the Ard day of the Dth month which is hardly cele"rated in a grand scale. ;. I.... .. 2..0<.

,...... IV .a0.o .odhidharma .artiarch of .en .uddhism ,h'an Buddhism+ another ma*or school of ,hinese ahayana Buddhism+ came a"out as a result of the historical visit to ,hina "y the great Indian sage+ Bodhidharma+ who arrived at ,anton in H?E ... ,han is the ,hinese e3uivalent for the !anskrit word =1hyana'+ meaning meditation. ,h'an Buddhism therefore re3uires its adherents to practise strict and deep meditational practices which cut off intellectualism. .is sometimes leads one to "elieve that it is 3uite similar to &ure Gand practice which also does away with intellectual knowledge and teaches its followers to put their full faith in the Buddha ;mita"ha for salvation+ although it is not+ for ,h'an Buddhism is no =easy0path'. It re3uires self power or effort to reach salvation and does not rely on any Buddha for help to attain full enlightenment. #owever+ "oth schools "ecame *ust as popular to the ,hinese and then to the 9apanese "y the twelveth century. In 9apan it is known as Jen Buddhism and the two ma*or schools arising from it "eing that of 7in5ai .Gin0,hi/ and !oto .<sao0tung/ which differ only in their methods of approach towards enlightenment. Bodhidharma ... @7EOH@A/ the ?Fth &atriarch of Buddhism was also the 1st &atriarch of the ,h'an Buddhism+ the school which he founded in ,hina. #is teaching was handed on in succession

"y what is known as =mind0transmission' to a num"er of &atriarchs+ the most famous of whom was #ui0neng ... DA7O71A/+ the !ixth &atriarch. Lpon his arrival to ,hina+ Bodhidharma was summoned to court "y Cmperor 2u0ti of the Giang 1ynasty+ who was an ardent Buddhist and prided himself on his great support for the Buddhist religion. &roud of his knowledge in Buddhism and the contri"utions he had made towards the !angha+ he asked the sage =how much merit he had gained'. 6>o merit whatsoever8 was the shocking reply of Bodhidharma. .e Cmperor had often heard teachings from well0known masters who said+ 61o good+ and you will receive goodN do "ad and you will receive "ad. .e Gaw of $arma is unchangea"le+ effects follow causes as shadows follow figures8 "ut now this sage declared that he had earned no merit at all. .e Cmperor was thoroughly perplexed. 2hy did Bodhidharma reply the way he didB &erhaps he was trying to say+ in a few words+ that if one does good with the desire to gain merit for oneself+ that is no longer a Buddhist practice. It will mean that one is not really practising the 1harma "ut more towards satisfying one's own ego+ or promoting one's own welfare+ or even for the sake of "eing recognised and appreciated. In this case how could there "e any merit in such acts at allB ;nd+ "eing a Jen master+ words were not to "e wasted+ so he answered+ 6>o merit whatsoever.8

.e Cmperor+ taken a"ack+ then asked the next 3uestion+ 62hat then+ is the essence of BuddhismB8 Bodhidharma's immediated reply was+ 6Vast emptiness and no essence at all)8 .is stunned the Cmperor as he could not grasp the deep meaning of =no essence at all' in the Buddha's teaching. -ther masters had taken great pains to explain that the essence was contained in the doctrines such as =,ause and Cffect+ the Four >o"le <ruths+the Bodhisattva Ideals+ etc'+ "ut this socalled great patriarch of Buddhism had *ust declared that there was =no essence at all'. .e Cmperor then put his final 3uestion+ 6!ince you say that in Buddhism all things have no essence+ who then is speaking "efore me nowB8 Bodhidharma replied 6I do not know.8 .e Cmperor was taken a"ack+ for he could not understand what Bodhidharma meant. .e thoroughly confused Cmperor then dismissed the sage from the court and thus+ ,hina had its first taste of ,h'an teaching. .ereafter+ Bodhidharma+ left to himself+ reflected+ =!ince a learned and great scholar such as the Cmperor was not a"le to understand what I am trying to impart perhaps the conditions are not ripe enough for me to teach yet(.' #e then retired to a cave in the famous !hao Gin <emple where he sat in deep contemplation+ facing a wall+ for some nine years+ waiting for the time when his teachings could "e understood and accepted "y the people.

<... 4 B..........

Bodhidharma came to ,hina to give his special teaching which can "e said to "e contained in this verseK 6; special transmission outside the !cripturesN >o dependence upon words or lettersN 1irect pointing to the mind of manN !eeing into one's own nature.8 Bodhidharma then lived in ,hina for some fifty years+ teaching when the occasion arose and using the Gankavatara scripture in his teachings. #e was succeeded "y #ui $'e ... @FDOH9A/ as the second patriarch while !eng <'san .died DED/+ <ao0#sin .HFEODH1/+ #ung 9en .DE?OD7H/ and #ui >eng .DAFO71A/+ "ecame the third+ fourth+ fifth and sixth patriarch respectively. It was #ui >eng+ the illiterate woodcutter+ who eventually made ,h'an flourish in ,hina as never "efore. It may "e interesting to remark here that after Bodhidharma's departure+ Cmperor 2u discussed the incident with his spiritual teacher+ aster ,hih+ who asked himN 61oes your ma*esty know who this man isB( .is is the ahasattva ;valokitesvara transmitting the Buddha ind !eal(.8 .is made the Cmperor filled with regret for having sent him out of the court. %ears laterN upon learning of the death of the sage+ he mourned deeply and then wrote an inscription to pay his tri"ute to the great &atriarch which readK

6;las) I saw him without seeing himN I met him without meeting himN I encountered him without encountering himN >ow as "efore I regret this deeply)8 Bodhidharma has a large following of devoted followers and his festive day falls on the Hth day of the 1Eth lunar month of the year. #e is often depicted as a travelling monk+ or in a meditative posture+ or standing on top of a reed which carried him across a river+ a feat which led people to have faith in his power as an ;rhant or Gohan+ the ,hinese term for an Immortal. ;ccording to the ,hinese tradition+ Bodhidharma is one of the famous 1F immortals who has a great affinity with mankind. .is group of Gohans are generally found in many temples and they are represented as possessing various kinds of supernatural power+ sym"olised either "y the wild animals crouching su"missively "eside them andRor the special o"*ects that are associated with them. ;lthough the Gohans are a step "elow the rank of a Bodhisattva+ they are Cnlightened Beings who deserve our reverence. Bodhidharma or <a o is venerated for "eing the founder of the :reat ,ontemplative !chool of ,h'an or Jen "y the Buddhists+ and others+ for his protective powers or as the great !age of !haolin <emple.

,...... IVI .a*rayana .i"etan .uddhism .e third vehicle of Buddhism is Va*rayana+ often known as Gamaism+ which originated in <i"et in the eighth century and gradually spread to its neigh"ouring countries. Va*rayana is part of ahayana Buddhism+ an offshoot+ developed out of ahayana philosophy which is also regarded as <antric or Csoteric Buddhism. <o practise it+ one must have the skilful guidance of an accomplished Gama "ecause its emphasis is mainly on ritualistic ceremonial actions and practices which involve the "ody+ speech and mindN the "ody "eing valued as the proper vehicle for salvation. .is "rief account is meant as a general introduction to the .ird Vehicle or =%ana'+ which+ together with the #inayana and the ahayana+ make up the .ree %anas of Buddhism. Beginners to Buddhism are advised to have a thorough knowledge on the teachings of the Buddha as contained in the #inayana "efore moving into ahayana practices. -nly when their foundations are strong enough and they have gained sufficient wisdom should they consider entering the Va*rayana. It may "e a vehicle that promises enlightenment within a single0life0time and many are therefore likely to "e attracted to it. #owever+ it must "e stressed that the slow and gradual paths of the #inayana and the ahayana should "e preferred as they+ have lesser pitfalls and are therefore much more suita"le for the average person.

.e training in Va*rayana must always "e carried out under the direction of a teacher since it entails a variety of complicated ritual practices. !ince such practices are never written in full+ it is not advisa"le for anyone to practise them "y relying mainly on written texts. Va*rayana teaches that every Buddha or Bodhisattva is associated with a particular mantra or mudra+ which when recited or performed correctly+ can link one with the deity in 3uestion and partake its transcendental powers. =; mantra consists of a num"er of sylla"les which when translated literally+ may "e 3uite meaningless "ut it can "e extremely effective when pronounced "y one who has undergone the proper training and discipline and is familiar with its operations. ; mantra+ when uttered correctly+ can have the power to drive off evil spirits or thwart the actions of "lack magic sent "y enemies. It must "e warned that mantras should not "e learned from "ooks or freely used. #owever there are a num"er of universal mantras which may "e recited "y anyone and ;valokitesvara's mantra+ 6-. ... &.... #..8+ is one of them. .is great mantra of compassion+ when recited "y one who is pure in mind+ can "ring a"out "eneficial effects to oneself and others. .uru .admasam"hava .e founder of <i"etan Buddhism or Gamaism is :uru &admasam"hava+ often endearingly addressed "y his devotees as =:uru 7inpoche' or the =&recious :uru'. #e is undou"tedly a historical figure "ut since his life is so entwined with many fantastic legends which displayed supernatural powers+ modern men+ save

<i"etans+ are likely to find it difficult to "elieve. #owever+ two "asic testaments which proved his existence areK 1. .e famous !amye directions. onastery which was "uilt under his

?. Va*rayana or <i"etan Buddhism with all its "ody of teaching+ learning and realisations which are so rich and profound that it is still converting and lifting the spiritual lives of not only <i"etans "ut people all over the world. .e &recious :uru has so earned the love and veneration of the <i"etans that they called him the =essence of all the Buddhas of the past+ present and future+ the antra0holder'+ and a host of honorific titles. #is miraculous "irth on the pollen "ed of a lotus caused "y the ray of light emanating from the Buddha ;mita"ha has caused Va*rayanists to call him the =Gotus0"orn :uru'. #istory and legend has it that he was discovered and adopted "y the $ing of Lddiyana of northwest India. 2hen he was old enough+ the king retired and handed his throne over to him. But &admasam"hava had no desire to "e a king+ and like :autama Buddha some twelve centuries earlier+ the lotus0"orn youth traded his princely ro"es for an ascetic's rags. #e concentrated fully on <antric Buddhism+ mastering all the secret doctrines and mysterious powers associated with that aspect. !o "egins the legend of &admasam"hava+ the :reat <antric aster+ the eminent Indian :uru who spread the teachings of the Buddha in the #imalayan lands rife with worship of spirits

and demons which re3uired sacrifices of animals and human "eings and other disgusting practices. #istory has it that when !antaraksita+ the famed ;""ot of >alanda onastery+ was invited "y $ing <rison01etsun to teach the 1octrine to the <i"etans+ he met considera"le opposition from the spirits and priests of the local faith+ the primitive Bon cult. In anger+ the Bon spirits caused great destructions through flood and famine across the land so that !antaraksita had no choice "ut to ask the king to send for :uru &admasam"hava+ who was then residing in >epal+ to take over the task of conversion of these very stu""orn and powerful opposing forces. .us the great guru arrived in <i"et in the year 7@7. In <i"et &admasam"hava lived up to his fame as a demontamer+ su"duing the defiant spirits and sparing only those who accepted the Buddhist faith and agreed to "ecome its defenders. ;s a reward+ he included them into the ahayana &antheon so that they would "e properly worshipped. Blending native "eliefs with certain elements of <antrism+ he developed a new kind of Buddhism which is known to the world as Gamaism. &admasam"hava thus "ecame the &recious :uru of all the lamas and is regarded as highly as the Buddha himself. .e >im0ma0pa or =7ed0#at' sect regards him as their founder and worships him in various forms+ "oth gentle and fierce+ expressive of his different moods at different times. .rough his efforts the famous !amye onastery near Ghasa was "uilt and it "ecame the centre of Buddhist studies in <i"et. !antaraksita was appointed as its first a""ot.

:... &............

In all+ &admasam"hava stayed for eighteen years in <i"et+ "etween 7@7 .... to 7DH ....+ although some sources claimed that he was there for fifty years. #e then disappeared mysteriously causing several speculations as to his wherea"outs. .ose of the >im0ma Gineage "elieve that to this day+ :uru &admasam"hava still come to visit and "less his devotees on the 1Eth day of every lunar month. .e Gotus0"orn :uru is the em"odiment of the entire lineage of <eaching+ "oth exoteric and esoteric+ which has "een transmitted "y words+ mudras and telepathy through ?+HEE years. #e is often depicted seated on a red lotus throne upon a white moonmat with legs locked in a va*ra position. #e wears the three royal ro"es of the .ree %anas 4 #inayana+ ahayana and Va*rayana. #is right hand carries the golden Va*ra .diamond0cutter/ while his left+ lying on his lap+ the &atra or ="egging "owl which is filled with the >ectar of Immortality. ,lamped to his left side is his special sym"ol+ the $hatvarga+ a three0pronged flaming staff which has three human heads attached to it+ sym"olic of impermanance and other deeper meanings. .e Va*ra+ peculiar to Va*rayana+ is used "y :uru 7inpoche to cast spells or exorcise devils. -n his head is a lotus cap adorned with sun and moon and surmounted "y a feather from a vulture's wing. .is master of all yogas often wears a strange smile+ compassionate "ut with a hint of wrathfulness. If you are ready to accept him as your guru some day+ he may take your mundane ego and hang it on his flaming staff. In return he will give you all the knowledge of the universe and give you a drink of the >ectar to make you forget pain and dissatisfaction foreverN his Va*ra wisdom will also

protect and guide you so that you will never know fear again. !ince he is the guru who is powerful enough to "reak the dark spell which has kept you in the sleep of ignorance since countless lifetimes+ why not seek his "lessings for the awakeningB %ou can easily develop a karmic link with him with the daily recitation of this mantraK 6-. ;. #.. V.... :... &.... !..... #..8. .e purpose of including this chapter in the "ook is to prepare the minds of those who are fortunate enough to come across Va*rayana teachings in the near future Va*rayana+ or i0<sung 9iao+ is not new to the ,hinese for its teachings have "een in ,hina for almost a thousand years and "ecause of its esoteric nature of practice very few people were a"le to come across it. #owever+ this seems to "e the period of the Va*rayana teachings as a great num"er of energetic and highly 3ualified Gamas are currently ceaselessly spreading the 1harma across the world.

,...... IVII .hat .he .uddha .aught 1harma is the word Buddhists use+ in general+ to descri"e the teachings of the Buddha. It points to the <ruth and is neither an ordinary philosophy nor an ordinary system+ it is a moral and philosophical teaching that can "e tested and verified "y personal experience. ;ll are welcome to experience it and those who have not can hardly call themselves Buddhists. 1harma realisation is extremely important as it leads to ultimate happiness. 1harma is a !anskrit term which literally means =that which holds'+ so that those who exert great effort to achieve its realisation will "e freed from sufferings+ fears+ dangers and delusion. #ere are some of the key teachings of the Buddha which all Buddhists must have a clear understanding of otherwise Buddhism will not "e very meaningful to them and they may fall prey to superstitious "eliefs and practices. .he .our .o"le .ruths ;fter attaining enlightenment+ the Buddha made #is way to the 1eer &ark in Isipatana near Benares and there #e gave #is first discourse to #is first five disciples which is known as 6.e 1iscourse of the !etting in otion of the 2heel of the 1octrine8.

#e declared that those who wish to lead a pure life should avoid the two extremes of self0indulgence and self0mortification. !elf0indulgence is the constant attachment to sensual pleasures which the Buddha descri"ed as 6low+ vulgar+ igno"le+ harmful and profitless8+ which surely retards one's spiritual progress. !elfmortification or self0torture of the "ody for the sake of religious "elief+ which is not usually practised "y the ordinary person+ is 6painful+ igno"le+ harmful and profitless8+ which weakens one's intellect. .e Buddha himself had gone through "oth these extremes in #is search for enlightenment and said that 6#e .the <athagata/ realising the error of "oth these two extremes+ followed a middle way.8 #e therefore asked #is followers to take the iddle 2ay which opens the eyes and "estows understanding+ which leads to peace of mind+ to higher wisdom+ and to full enlightenment. .e Buddha then expounded the Four >o"le <ruthsK 1. Gife is su"*ect to all kinds of !uffering .1ukkha/. ?. .is !uffering is caused "y Ignorance which results in 1esire. A. .is !uffering can "e eliminated "y the elimination of 1esire. @. .e 2ay to eliminate 1esire and attachment. .e Buddha discovered these truths and revealed them to the ignorant world. 2e can+ therefore+ put an end to sorrow "y adopting the iddle 2ay which+ to all Buddhists+ is the philosophy

of life itself. .is iddle 2ay of self0con3uest which leads to a complete cessation of suffering and sorrow+ which is >irvana+ the ultimate goal of Buddhists is known as the >o"le Cightfold &ath+ which consists ofK 1. 7ight Lnderstanding ?. 7ight .ought A. 7ight !peech @. 7ight ;ction H. 7ight Givelihood D. 7ight Cffort 7. 7ight indfulness

F. 7ight ,oncentration Lnderstanding the meaning of the Four >o"le <ruths is essential to cultivation otherwise the essence of the Buddha's teaching will "e lost. .e First >o"le <ruth of !uffering reveals to us that everyone is su"*ect to "irth+ conse3uently decay+ then disease and finally death. >o one is exempted from these four causes of suffering. Birth is suffering+ decay is suffering+ disease is suffering+ death is suffering+ to "e associated with things or persons one detests is suffering+ to "e separated fron the pleasant is suffering and not to get what one desires is also suffering. Buddhism may put much emphasis on the under standing of suffering "ut it does not follow that it is a pessimistic religion. It is neither totally pessimistic nor totally optimistic+ it teaches

a truth that lies "etween them+ it teaches one to see things as they are. 2hilst emphasi5ing the truth of suffering+ the Buddha shows us the way to get rid of our suffering and gain the highest happiness. .e !econd <ruth of the ,ause of !uffering reveals to us that it is craving which produces re"irth which is accompanied "y passionate clinging+ desiring for this and that in life. It is the craving for sensual pleasures for wealth+ for fame and materialistic possessions of life that are the causes of the great dissatisfaction with life. .e 1hammapada statesK =From craving springs grief+ from craving springs fearN For him who is wholly free from craving+ there is no grief+ whence fearB' It is this gross and su"tle craving that leads to repeated "irths in !amsara and that which makes one cling to all forms of life. .e .ird >o"le <ruth of the ,essation of !uffering is the complete separation from+ and the destruction of+ this very craving which is a state of a"solute 3uietude+ the Bliss !upreme+ >irvana+ wherein all the sufferings in human life are extinguished. .e Fourth <ruth of the &ath leading to the ,essation of !uffering is the >o"le Cightfold &ath+ the golden means of the Buddha. .e Four >o"le <ruths teach us to face the reality of human suffering+ which is+ the <ruth of !ufferingN to grasp its real cause+

which is the <ruth of ,auseN to practise at all times the Bodhisattva 2ay+ which is the <ruth of the <ruth of the ,ause+ there"y extinguishing all kinds of sufferings 4 the <ruth of Cxtinction. For those who sought to "e !ravakas the Buddha taught the Gaw of the Four >o"le <ruths for the overcoming of "irth+ old age+ disease and death+ and finally leading to >irvana. ; !ravaka is one who listened to the preaching of the Buddha and whose goal is to "ecome an ;rahant. For those who sought to "e &retyeka"uddhas+ the Buddha preached the Gaw of the <welve ,auses or 1ependent -riginations. ; &ratyeka"uddha is one who is self0enlightened+ and having done so+ does not give teaching to others. For the Bodhisattvas the Buddha preached the !ix &aramitas or &erfections+ to cause them to attain &erfect Cnlightenment and to attain 2isdom. ; Bodhisattva is one wishing to live for the "enefit of all living "eings and therefore strives for Buddhahood so that upon attainment+ will assist others towards the same goal. .he .o"le .ightfold .ath .is &ath that leads to the cessation of sorrow may "e explained thusK 7.... L............ means the knowledge of the Four >o"le <ruths so that one is a"le to understand things as they really are.

7.... <...... means developing the no"le 3ualities of love and the aversion to cause hurt to others. 7.... !..... is to a"stain from lying+ idle0talk+ slander and harsh words. 7.... ;..... is to a"stain from taking life+ taking what is not given+ and sexual misconduct. 7.... G......... is to avoid any occupation that causes harm to others such as selling intoxicants of any kind+ arms+ poison and weapons+ "utchering+ slave0trafficking+ hunting+ fishing and money0lending. 7.... C..... re3uires assiduous self0discipline to attain full control of the mind so that evil mental states are re*ected and wholesome mental states developed. 7.... .......... means developing full awareness of all actions of the "ody+ speech and mind and to allow nothing to happen heedlessly or mechanically that may turn into an unwholesome act. 7.... ,............ is to attain mental 3uietude and the wisdom to realise the full significance of the Four >o"le <ruths. #e who accepts this no"le &ath as his way of life will have his mind free from selfish desires+ hatred and cruelty and will "e saturated with the spirit of selflessness+ loving0kindness and harmlessness. #e will "e a "lessing to himself and others for he will live his life in perfect peace.

.he .aw of the .welve .auses .is Gaw is also known as the Gaw of 1ependent -rigination or the 2heel of Gife .&aticca0!amuppada/ and is a discourse on the process of "irth and death+ and not a philosophical theory of the evolution of the world. It deals with the cause of re"irth and suffering with the view of helping mankind to get rid of their ills of life. It is not an attempt to solve the riddle of an a"solute origin of life. It merely explains the =simple happening of a state+ dependent on its antecedent state'. Ignorance of the truth of suffering+ its cause+ its end+ and the way to its end+ is the main cause that sets the 2heel of Gife in motion. .e Buddha saidK 6Ignorance is the deep delusion wherein we here so long are circling round'. 2hen ignorance is destroyed and turned into wisdom+ all causality is shattered as in the case of the Buddhas and the ;rahants. .is Gaw was preached especially for the "enefit of those who wish to attain &ratyeka"uddhahood. By contemplating on it+ they will come to an understanding of the "irth and death of all things which results in the arising of their great inherent wisdom. .e <welve ,auses and their interdependent relationship are as followsK I........ causes ;..... .$arma/ ;..... causes ,............ ,............ causes >... and F... .Individuality/ >... and F... causes the !.. C........ .!ix spheres of !ense/ .e !.. C........ causes ,......

. ,...... causes F...... F...... causes ,...... .Gove/ ,...... causes :....... .;ttachment/ :....... causes C........ C........ causes B....+ and B.... causes -.. ;.. and 1.... .ese <welve ,auses of 1ependent -rigination when presented in the reverse order+ may perhaps explain itself in a much clearer manner+ thereforeK ;..... and 1.... are caused "y B....+ for without it there would "e no death. .e next 3uestions that follows then is+ 6#ow does Birth ariseB8 B.... is caused "y C......... C........ in turn is caused "y :....... or ;.......... :....... is caused "y ,....... ,...... is caused "y F...... or !......... F...... is caused "y ,....... ,...... is caused "y the !.. C........ or the !ix !ense -rgans. .e !.. C........ are caused "y >... and F... or ind and Body. >... and F... are caused "y ,............. ,............ is caused "y ;..... or $arma .,onditioning ;ctivities/. ;..... is caused "y I.........

I........ is therefore the ultimate link in the chain+ the source from which our pain and suffering arise. -nce Ignorance is destroyed "y the gaining of 2isdom and Insight+ then the whole 1ependent -rigination will collapse. &ictorial representation of these <welve ,auses and ,onditions can "est "e seen from the <i"etan 2heel of Gife. ;t the rim of the 2heel are the twelve sym"olic illustrations+ each representing one of the links of the <welvefold ,hain of ,ausation where"y sentient "eings are ensnared life after life. It can "e explained thusK 1. ; B.... .. as primordial I.........

?. ; &..... as ;....... which "rings a"out $armic Formations. A. ;. ;..... @. <.. ..... as ,.............

.. .. . B... as >... and F....

H. #..... 2... !.. 2...... as !.. C........ D. G...0 ..... as ,...... 7. ;.... I. <.. C.. as F....... F. 1....... as <..... or ,....... 9. ; ..... :....... F..... as :........

1E. ; &....... 2.... .. B....... or C......... 11. ,......... ;s B..... 1?. .. ,....... ; ,..... representing 1.... which results in 1.... to "e followed "y rounds of "irth and death endlessly within the !amsaric existences.

.is 2heel of Gife is an uni3ue and super" representation of !amsara+ the world of Birth and 1eath+ in it all kinds of living "eings exist and are classified into six types. !amsara is held "etween the *aws of the $ing of 1emons+ ara+ who attempts to rule the mind of mankind and holding them in a state of delusion. 2ithin the spokes of the 2heel the !ix 7ealms or $armic 1estinations+ which is known as ,yclic Cxistence+ can "e seen. ,yclic existence is "eginingless which means that each "eing has lived countless lifetimes and as such there is no "eing who has not "een his mother or father at one existence or another. Buddhism therefore teaches that every "eing is in fact a kind mother "eing who has+ in the past+ shown great love+ kindness and protection to each one of us and that we should in turn "e ready to repay them with similar acts of kindliness. .is is a very important aspect of Buddhist practice that will help one to develop compassion and the mind of enlightenment. .he .ix .ealms of .xistence .e 7ealm of the 1evas or :ods is the happiest state as those who dwell there en*oy continual pleasure and sensual delight+ mitigated only "y the fact that they too must eventually die and pass on to the other states once their karmic forces die out. Birth into this realm is mainly due to one having lived virtuously and generously towards others.

.e 7ealm of the ;suras is populated "y =*ealous gods' or 1emigods' who should "e as happy as the 1evas+ "ut their minds are clouded with anger and envy over the "etter fortunes of the 1evas. ; close look at the picture will reveal that there is a tree growing from this realm to that of the 1evas. .is is a =wishfulfilling tree' whose fruits and flowers can fulfill every desire which they are una"le to get hold of. .is causes them great frustration+ anger and *ealousy and they therefore constantly wage wars against the gods to claim the fruits of their tree. #owever they are always defeated "ecause the gods are far more powerful due to their karmic legacy. 1espite "eing a heavenly realm the ;suras live in great suffering due to the delusion of anger and *ealousy. .e suffering is further increased "y their "eing "orn with monstrous looks while their women are ex3uisitively "eautiful. .is situation causes their females to yearn for the love of the handsome gods and re*ecting their own advances. Gife in this realm is always filled with 3uarrels+ fighting and great violence. .e #uman 7ealm is where we are. It is filled with the ups and downs of life and we should "e grateful for these conditions to "e around. .ey "ring a"out the awareness of the "liss of happiness and the misery of suffering and therefore "ecome the very causes that lead to spiritual practice. It is therefore the most fortunate realm to take re"irth into+ the world where one is a"le to listen to the 1harma and practise it to attain Buddhahood. In the heavenly realm the :ods are far too happily engrossed with their pleasures to "other a"out further cultivation while the ;suras are too much affected "y anger+ *ealousy and dissatisfactions of their existence. .ose who are "orn into the lower or suffering

realms are too concerned with their pains and survival to think a"out spiritual practice or enlightenment. #ell "eings only await the exhaustion of their karma to end their indescri"a"le sufferings while the :hosts or &retas are totally distorted "y the deep frustrations to satisfy their unsatisfied passions. ;nimals+ while suffering less+ are "orn stupid due to the result of their willful ignorance and are therefore una"le to derive any "enefit from 1harma. .ey live only "y instinct and must face a daily reality of searching for food or mate+ and killing or "e killed. -ne's life thus move in endless cycles within these !ix 7ealms of :ods+ ;suras+ #uman Beings+ ;nimals+ #ungry :hosts and #ell Beings so long as Ignorance is not uprooted and Cnlightenment gained. In the centre of the 2heel is seen the .ree ;nimals which represent the .ree &oisons or 7oot ,auses of an unenlightened existence. .e 7ooster represents passionate desire and attachment+ the :reen !nake represents hatred+ emity and aversion+ and the Boar represents the darkness of ignorance and ego0delusion+ the "lind urge that drives "eings round and round in the unending circle of "irths and deaths. .ey are depicted as "iting each other's tails+ linking in such a way that they too form a circle "ecause :reed+ ;nger and 1elusion condition each other and are insepara"ly connected. 2e must learn to recognise these poisons as the forces that control our 3uality of life and take proper steps to 3uell and remove them. #ow we perform in each life is dependent on these root causes+ the result of which is 3uite clearly depicted "y the figures of the outer rim of this hu" 4 Virtuous

living that will lead to Buddhahood while a non0virtuous life will cause one to "e dragged into the hell state. .e a"ove explanation of the 2heel of Gife helps us to understand clearly that our existence and sufferings are the result of the <welve ,auses and ,onditions .which are without "eginning/ of "irth+ death and re"irth. ;nyone wishing to "e freed from !amsaric existences should therefore take great pains to comprehend it so that with the realisation of the misfortunes of Ignorance+ efforts will "e expanded to free oneself from the endless series of re"irths. .e 2ay to total freedom is through understanding and practising the Buddha 1harma and this is depicted "y the figures of the Buddhas outside the 2heel of Gife+ who through attaining Cnlightenment have freed themselves from the grips of ara. $arma 4 .he .aw of .ause and .ffect Cverywhere we turn in the world misery is all around us. %et have we ever stopped to consider the meaning of such pain and miseryB 2hy should there "e so many who are "orn sick+ lame+ deformed+ ugly+ "lind+ deaf and mentally defectiveB !ome religions teach that it is the will of the ,reator who inflicts these pains on mankind "ecause of the sins of their for"ears. !urely this idea is much too primitive for any serious consideration as no ,reator0:od+ who is merciful and *ust+ would want to senselessly inflict pain on the innocent who are "ut his creation)

<.. 2.... .. G...

Buddhism provides the answer to this great mystery of ine3ualities and imperfections of mankind. .e Buddha taught that =all things spring from a cause' and he clearly laid down the nature of good and "ad $arma. 7educed to its most elementary meaning+ $arma is actionN it refers to the fruits of actions as well as the effects of causes and so on. If there is a cause+ an effect is inevita"le+ where there is an effect+ there must "e a cause. .us it is 3uite easy to understand that =what happens today is the result of yesterday and the cause of tomorrow'. .is reasoning springs from what the Buddha has saidK 6If you wish to know the past+ then look at the present which is the result of it. 6If you wish to know the future+ then look at the present which is the cause of it.8 .e a"ove teaching descri"es the oneness of cause and effect and also explains the ine3ualities of "irth which are "ut the effects of causes generated in past lives. Lnderstanding this Gaw will help us to put to a stop all the evil actions of our "ody+ speech and mind 4 the three karmic vehicles. .e three evils committed "y the "ody are killing+ stealing and adultery. .e three evils of the mind are greed+ anger and delusion and the evil deeds that are committed "y the mouth are vulgar speech+ false speech+ harsh speech and duplicity. .rough such unwholesome actions of our "ody speech and mind we generate "ad $arma which+ when it ripens+ will cause us to fall into states of misery either in this world or another. It

is "y not knowing this Gaw that we have "een wandering so long in !amsaraK 6By $arma the world moves+ "y $arma men live+ and "y $arma are "eings "ound+ as "y its pin the rolling chariot wheel. By $arma one attains glory and praise+ "y $arma "ondage+ ruin and tyranny. $nowing that $arma "ears fruit manifold+ why say ye+ =In the world no $arma isB'8 .e Buddha has often explained the terri"le fate that awaits those who transgress the moral laws. If we wish to "e freed from the more extreme forms of suffering in the next life+ we must do our "est to cur" our senses+ to put a rein on the appetites+ to restrain greed+ anger+ lust+ violence and all other negativities. 2e should always remem"er that everything has to "e repaid for in some way or another+ at one time or another. 2e therefore cannot have the "est of "oth worlds "y indulging in all the delights of the senses and passions now+ and letting them lead us into unwholesome ways+ and also hope to experience happiness in the future life. $arma is all0pervadingN one acts oneself and reaps the result oneself+ tying oneself and "inding oneself. .ere is no escape from it. .ose who are a"le to penetrate this truth will not fear it "ut will learn how to make use of it "y living a more meaningful and fruitful life. .en they will no longer ask this universal 3uestion whenever they are in despairK 62hat have I done to deserve thisB8 .is answer is always+ 6&lenty)8 For a more vivid description of this Gaw of ,ause and Cffect refer to the $.... !.... which has helped to enrich the lives

of many a ,hinese Buddhist. 3uality of life. .he .ix .aramitas

ay it also change your view and

.is doctrine teaches the practice of the &erfection of the !ix Virtues that will ferry one "eyond the sea of immortality to >irvana. .ey consist of the perfections of :iving+ orality+ &atience+ &erseverance+ editation and 2isdom which lead to Bodhisattvahood. :..... .1..../ includes all forms of charity and the imparting of 1harma to others. ....... .!.../ which re3uires one to "e ethical+ to destroy all evil passions through the keeping of the &recepts. ;lthough there are <en :reat &recepts which all Buddhists should try their very "est to keep each day+ only the first five are "etter known or kept "y the average practitioners and they areK 1. <o a"stain from killing. ?. <o a"stain from stealing. A. <o a"stain from sexual misconduct. @. <o a"stain from lying. H. <o a"stain from intoxicants. D. <o a"stain from harsh speech. 7. <o a"stain from slanderous speech. F. <o a"stain from covetousness. 9. <o a"stain from hatred or animosity. 1E. <o a"stain from errorneous views.

&....... .$...../ which re3uires one to practise for"earance to prevent anger from arising over the deeds done "y ignorant persons. &.......... .V..../ which develops vigour and strenuous effort in the practice of the 1harma. ......... .1...../ which reduces confusion of the mind and leads to peace and happiness. 2..... .&...../ which develops the power to discern reality or truth. .e practice of these virtues will help to remove greed and stinginess+ anger and hatred+ immoral living+ confusion of the mind and stupidity and wrong views. <ogether with the >o"le Cightfold &ath+ they teach one to live and practise the Buddha's teachings in order to reach the state where"y all illusions are destroyed so that peace and happiness can "e attained. .he .iscourse on .oving .indness Buddhism lays great stress on the practice of loving0kindness . etta/ and compassion. .is 1iscourse should serve "oth as a mark of protection and as a su"*ect for contemplation. It teaches one how to practise the virtues which will "enefit oneself and others. 1. #e who is skilled in his good and who wishes to attain the state of ,alm should act thusK

#e should "e efficient+ upright+ yea+ perfectly upright+ o"edient+ gentle and hum"le. ?. ,ontented+ easily supporta"le+ with few duties+ of right livelihood+ controlled in senses+ discreet+ not impudent+ not "e greedily attached to families. A. #e should not commit any slight wrong such that other wise men might censure him. @. 2hatsoever living "eings there "e+ fee"le or strong+ long+ stout or medium+ small and large+ seen or unseen+ those dwelling near or far+ those who are "orn and those who are to "e "orn 4 may all "eings+ without exception+ "e happy) H. Get none deceive another nor despise any person whatsoever in any place. In anger or ill0will let him not wish any harm to another. D. 9ust as a mother would protect her only child at the risk of her own life+ even so let him cultivate "oundless heart towards all "eings. 7. Get these thoughts of "ondless love pervade the whole world 4 a"ove+ "elow and across 4 without any o"struction+ without any hatred+ without any enmity. F. 2hether he stands+ walks+ sits+ or lies down+ as long as he is awake+ he should develop his mindfulness. .is+ they say+ is the #ighest ,onduct here. 9. >ot falling into Crror+ virtuous and endowed with insight+ he discards attachment to sense0desires. -f a truth+ he does not come again for conception in a wom".

,...... IVIII .ecoming a .uddhist 2hen a person wishes to "ecome a Buddhist+ he needs only to go to the Buddha+ 1harma and !angha for refuge. .is means that he will henceforth whole0heartedly+ accept the .ree 9ewels as his shelter and guiding ideal. :enerally the simple ceremony is done "efore a monk or+ if one is not availa"le+ to do it at a shrine on which there is a Buddha0image+ the sym"ol of one's spiritual direction and eventual realisation. -ffering flowers+ incense and light+ one "ows "efore the image+ declares his intention+ and repeats the 7efuge prayer three times+ making a "ow after each repetition. .e prayer may "e in &ali+ !anskrit+ Cnglish or ,hinese+ depending on the tradition one chooses to follow. 2hen the .reefold 7efuge is done "efore a monk+ one has to re3uest for the .ree 7efuges and the Five &recepts. .is clearly shows that one "ecomes a Buddhist after he has a thorough understanding of the 1harma and he should not "e converted "y others "ecause 1harma is not a matter of "elief+ it uses no force+ not even persuasion+ to make convert. -ne will not make a good Buddhist if he is not ready to put to practice the Buddhist way of life. -ne should then make three "ows to the monk and see in him as the personification of the Buddha+ 1harma and !angha. .e monk will then recite A times+ the salutation to the BuddhaK

6>... <.... B........ ;...... !...............8 which means =#omage to the Blessed -ne+ the 2orthy -ne+ the &erfectly Cnlightened -ne'. .en he will recite the 7efuge prayer and the aspirant should repeat after him+ each line that has "een recitedK 6B...... !...... :....... <o the Buddha I go for 7efuge.8 61...... !...... :....... <o the 1harma I go for 7efuge.8 6!...... !...... :....... <o the !angha I go for 7efuge.8 61........ B...... !...... :....... For the second time+ to the Buddha I go for 7efuge.8 61........ 1...... !...... :....... For the second time+ to the 1harma I go for 7efuge.8 61........ !...... !...... :....... For the second time+ to the !angha I go for 7efuge.8 6<........ B...... !...... :....... For the third time+ to the Buddha I go for 7efuge.8 6<........ 1...... !...... :....... For the third time+ to the 1harma I go for 7efuge.8 6<........ !...... !...... :....... For the third time+ to the !angha I go for 7efuge.8

.e 7efuges are always repeated thrice to ensure that the mind of the person taking them is fully aware of what has "een said. .ey are recited either in &ali or Cnglish as given a"ove+ or in !anskrit+ which is as followsK 6>... B....... >... 1....... >... !.......8 .en the monk chants the F... &....... .&ancasila/ one "y one which the aspirant repeats after him. .e Five &recepts may "e called the 61harma for human "eings8 as their practice will make our world more "eara"le to live in and they are the "asic and minimal o"servance of moral conduct "y a Buddhist. .ey teach him to refrain from killing+ stealing+ sexual misconduct+ lying and taking intoxicants of any kind. :oing0for07efuge to the .ree 9ewels is therefore an open declaration that we are Buddhists. .e prayer said should not "e mere recitation "ut should "ring to our mind that the treasures in this lifetime consists of the Buddha+ 1harma and !angha. 2e should understand fully what we are declaring so that we will commit ourselves to the declaration that we have made. .he .uddha 2hat is meant "y going for a 7efuge to the BuddhaB 1o we know who is the Buddha or what is the BuddhaB !urprisingly+ many Buddhists in this country have only a vague idea of #im. any also "elieve that they are Buddhists *ust "ecause they

think that their parents are Buddhists "y their acts of offering incense to their family altars which+ in fact+ is ancestral worship and has nothing to do with Buddhism. .erefore it is important that such people "e taught not only of who or what the Buddha is "ut what the Buddha is not. .e Buddha is not :od or a deity whom one should pray to for some fulfillment in life. .e Buddha is not an incarnation of :od like 9esus ,hrist is to the ,hristians. #e is not a prophet nor a messenger of :od. .e Buddha does not answer your wishes or "ring you to heaven *ust "ecause you have accepted him as your !aviour. #e is not the creator who decides the destinies of your life nor can he save you if you have not lived a wholesome life. #owever+ the Buddha can show the way "y means of which you have to save yourself. .is means that only you can save yourself and that you will have to work very hard at it in order to save yourself. !o if the Buddha is not :od+ who or what is #eB #e is a human "eing "ut a very special human "eing+ one who has gained what we call 6Cnlightenment8. #e is the fully ;wakened -ne and #e is one who has "ecome free from all kinds of worldly passionsN whose mind is pureN whose mind is full of wisdomN whose mind is full of love and compassion towards all sentient "eingsN a super human+ the purest+ the no"lest and most virtuous of "eings. ;ll these 3ualities #e possesses in the highest possi"le degree. .is is "ut a "rief description that one can make of a Buddha. :oing for 7efuge to the Buddha therefore means taking and accepting the Buddha as our ideal. .e Buddha was a man such as we+ so what #e achieved+ we too can achieve. If we accept this+ if we

act upon this+ if we sincerely follow the path that has "een trodden "y the Buddha+ then we are really going for 7efuge to the Buddha 4 the First 7efuge. .he .harma :oing for 7efuge to the 1harma is to accept it as the path that leads to Cnlightenment. It is also the path of human development for it is the <eaching a"out the nature of life. It is pure "y nature and "right like a light that destroys the darkness of Ignorance. It consists of the <ruths as taught "y the Buddha who has discovered and practised them in his lifetime so it is the 2ay of cultivation. 1harma is whatever helps us to "e wise and compassionate+ whatever helps us to lead a pure and "eneficial life+ a life of harmlessness towards all other living "eings. .he .angha Finally the meaning of the 7efuge in the !angha. 2hen going for 7efuge to the !angha we should not think of 7efugegoing to the community of monks and nuns for though some of them are no"le+ a good num"er are still worldlings practicing 1harma. ;mong the lay community too+ there may "e those who are >o"le. .e no"le monks+ nuns and laity together form the >o"le -rder which+ as it is made up of those who are a"le teachers of the 1harma+ is truly a secure 7efuge. In practical terms the !angha 7efuge means that it is the duty of those who are capa"le to help the other to know more a"out the 1harma. .is is what is meant "y the !angha 7efuge.

.he .ays of .ractice 1. For those who seek Cnlightenment there are three ways of practice that must "e understood and followed. First+ disciplines for practical "ehaviourN second+ right concentrationN and third+ wisdom. 2hat are the disciplinesB Cvery man+ whether he is a commoner or way0seeker+ should follow the precepts for good "ehaviour. #e should control "oth his mind and "ody and guard the gates of his five senses. #e should "e afraid of even a trifling evil and+ from moment to moment+ should endeavour to practise good deeds. 2hat is meant "y the concentration of the mindB It means to get 3uickly away from greedy and evil desires as they arise and to hold the mind pure and tran3uil. 2hat then is wisdomB It is the wisdom to perfectly understand and to patiently accept the Four >o"le <ruths 4 to know the fact of suffering and its natureN to know the source of sufferingN to know what constitutes the end of sufferingN and to know the >o"le &ath that leads to the end of suffering. .ose who earnestly follow these three ways of practice may rightly "e called the disciples of the Buddha. ?. It is difficult to advance along the path that leads to Cnlightenment so long as one is covetous of comfort and luxuries

and his mind "e distur"ed "y the desires of the senses. .ere is a wide difference "etween the en*oyment of life and the en*oyment of the <rue &ath. If the mind en*oys worldly affairs+ illusions and suffering will inevita"ly follow+ "ut if the mind en*oys the <rue &ath+ happiness+ contentment and enlightenment will *ust as surely follow. .erefore+ those who are seeking Cnlightenment should keep their minds pure and patiently keep and practise the .ree 2ays. If they keep the precepts they will naturally o"tain concentration of the mind and if they o"tain concentration of the mind it will "e *ust as natural for them to grasp wisdom+ and wisdom will lead them to Cnlightenment. Indeed these .ree 2ays are the true path to Cnlightenment. By not following them+ people have for a long time accumulated mental delusions+ which are the root causes of all sufferings. A. If the .ree 2ays of practice are analysed+ they will reveal the Cightfold &ath+ the Four Viewpoints to "e considered+ the Four 7ight &rocedures+ the Five Faculties of &ower to "e employed+ and the &erfection of the !ix &aramitas. .e >o"le Cightfold &ath refers to right view+ right thought+ right speech+ right action+ right livelihood+ right effort+ right mindfulness and right concentration. 7ight View includesK to thoroughly understand the Four >o"le <ruths+ to "elieve in the Gaw of ,ause and Cffect and not to "e deceived "y appearances and desires.

7ight .ought means the resolution not to cherish desires+ not to "e greedy+ not to "e angry and not to do any harmful deed. 7ight !peech is the avoidance of lying words+ idle words+ a"usive words and dou"le0tongues. 7ight ;ction means not to destroy any life+ not to steal+ or not to commit adultery. 7ight Givelihood means to avoid any life that would "ring shame to a man. 7ight Cffort means to try to do one's "est diligently towards the right direction. 7ight mind. indfulness means to maintain a pure and thoughtful

7ight ,oncentration means to keep the mind right and tran3uil for its concentration+ seeking to realise the mind's own essence. .e Four Viewpoints to "e considered includeK .1/ <o consider the "ody as impure+ to remove all attachments to it. .?/ <o consider the senses as a source of suffering+ whatever their feelings of pain or pleasure may "e. .A/ <o consider everything in the world as "eing a conse3uence of causes and conditions and that nothing remains unchanged forever. .e Four 7ight &rocedures areK .1/ <o prevent any evil from starting. .?/ <o remove any evil as soon as it starts. .A/ <o induce the doing of good deeds. .@/ <o encourage the growth and continuance of good deeds that have already started. -ne must endeavour to keep these four procedures.

.e Five Faculties of &ower areK .1/ .e faith to "elieve. .?/ .e will to make the endeavour+ .A/ .e faculty of relia"le memory. .@/ .e a"ility to concentrate one's mind and .H/ .e a"ility to maintain clear wisdom. .ese five faculties are necessary powers to attain Cnlightenment. .e &erfection of the !ix &aramitas for reaching the other shore of Cnlightenment areK .e path of offering+ the path of keeping precepts+ the path of endurance+ the path of endeavour+ the path of concentration of mind+ and the path of wisdom. By following these paths+ one can surely pass from the shore of delusion over to the shore of Cnlightenment. .e practice of -ffering gets rid of selfishnessN the practice of the &recepts keeps one thoughtful of the rights and comforts of othersN the practice of Cndurance helps one to control a fearful or angry mindN the practice of Cndeavour helps one to "e diligent and faithfulN the practice of ,oncentration helps one to control a wandering and futile mindN and the practice of 2isdom changes a dark and confused mind into a clear and penetrating insight. -ffering and keeping &recepts make the foundation necessary to "uild a great castle on. Cndurance and Cndeavour are the walls of the castle that protect it against enemies from outside. ,oncentration and 2isdom are the personal armour that protects one against the assault of life and death. =.xtracted from =.e .eaching of .uddha' pu"lished "y .ukkyo .endo . yokai+ .okyo+ .apan.

,...... III Famous ,hinese !utras .he .utra of .orty0.wo .ections .is !utra was the first official Buddhist literature which was translated for the ,hinese "y two early Indian missionaries .$asyapa atanga and :o"harana/ during the reign of Cmperor ing of the Gater #an 1ynasty. .e translators extracted all the passages from different Buddhist ,anonical "ooks which they "rought along for their missionary purposes. It was compiled after the fashion of the ,onfucian ;nalects to suit the ,hinese and therefore each section "egins with 6.e Buddha said+8 which corresponds to the ,onfucian 6.e aster said.8 .is !utras was therefore specially prepared for the ,hinese Buddhists and it contains a good collection of moral and religious sayings of the Buddha. It is still widely read "y the ,hinese and is very dear to their hearts. 62hen the 2orld0#onoured -ne had "ecome Cnlightened+ he reflected thusK 6<o "e free from the passions and to "e calm+ this is the most excellent 2ay.8 #e was a"sor"ed in :reat editation+ su"dued all evil ones and later in the 1eer &ark caused to revolve the 2heel of 1harma+ which consisted of .e Four >o"le <ruthsK

.1/ Gife is !uffering. .?/ Ignorance is the cause of !uffering. .A/ .e ,essation of !uffering which is the goal of life as it transcends pains and pleasure. .@/ .e 2ay to ,essation of !uffering is the >o"le Cightfold &ath which consists ofK .1/ 7ight Lnderstanding .?/ 7ight .ought .A/ 7ight !peech .@/ 7ight ;ction .H/ 7ight Givelihood .D/ 7ight Cffort .7/ 7ight indfulness .F/ 7ight ,oncentration. #e converted the five Bhikshus+ $audinya and the others+ inducing them to attain Cnlightenment. ;gain+ there were other Bhikshus who implored the Buddha to remove their dou"ts which they had concerning his doctrine. .e 2orld0#onoured -ne illumined all their minds through his authoritative teachings. .e Bhikshus+ *oining their hands reverentially "owing+ followed his sacred instructions. 1. .e Buddha saidK 6.ose who+ taking leave of their families and adopting the homeless life+ understand the mind+ reach the source+ and comprehend the immaterial+ are called !ramanas. .ose who o"serve the two hundred and fifty precepts of morality+ who are pure and spotless in their "ehaviours+ and who

exert themselves for the attainment of the stages of progress+ are called ;rhats. .e ;rhat is a"le to fly through space and assume different formsN his life is eternal+ and there are times when he causes heaven and earth to 3uake. Below them is the ;nagamin who+ at the end of a long life+ ascend in spirit to the nineteenth heaven and o"tains ;rhatship. >ext come the !kridagamin who ascends to the heavens .after his death/+ comes "ack to the earth once more+ and then attains ;rhatship. .en come the !rotaapanna who cannot "ecome ;rhat until he has passed seven more rounds of "irth and death. By the severance of the passions is meant that like the lim"s severed they are never again made use of.8 ?. .e Buddha !aidK 6.e homeless !ramana cuts off the passions+ frees himself of attachments+ understands the source of his own mind+ penetrates the deepest doctrine of Buddha+ and comprehends the 1harma which is immaterial. #e has no pre*udice in his heart+ he has nothing to hanker after. #e is not hampered "y the thought of the 2ay+ nor is he entangled in karma. >o pre*udice+ no compulsion+ no discipline+ no enlightenment+ and no going up through the grades+ and yet in possession of all honours in itself 4 this is what is meant "y the 2ay.8 A. .e Buddha said+ 6.ose who shaving their heads and faces and "ecome !ramanas and have accepted the 1octrine of the 2ay+ should surrender all worldly possessions and "e contented with whatever they o"tain "y "egging. -nly one meal a day and

lodging under a tree+ he desires nothing else. For what makes one stupid and irrational is attachments and the passions.8 @. .e Buddha said+ 6.ere are ten things considered good "y all "eings+ and ten things evil . 2hat are theyB .ree of them depend upon the "ody+ four upon the mouth+ and three upon the mind. 6.ree evil deeds depending upon the "ody areK killing+ stealing and unchaste deeds. .e four depending upon the mouth areK slandering+ cursing+ lying and flattery. .e three depending upon the mind areK envy+ anger and foolishness. ;ll these things are not in keeping with the #oly 2ay+ and are therefore evil. 2hen these evils are not done+ they are ten good deeds.8 H. .e Buddha saidK 6If a man who has committed many a misdemeanor does not repent and cleanse his heart of evil+ retri"ution will come upon his person as sure as the stream runs into the ocean which "ecomes ever deeper and wider. If a man who has committed a misdemeanor comes to the knowledge of it+ reforms himself+ and practises goodness+ the force of retri"ution will gradually exhaust itself as a disease gradually loses its "aneful influence when the patient perspires.8 D. .e Buddha said+ 62hen an evil0man+ seeing you practise goodness+ comes and maliciously insults you+ you should patiently endure it and not feel angry with him+ for the evil0man is insulting himself "y trying to insult you.8 7. .e Buddha said+ 6-nce a man came unto me and denounced me on account of my o"serving the 2ay and practic

ing great loving0kindness. But I kept silent and did not answer him. .e denunciation ceased. .en I asked him. =If you "ring a present to your neigh"our and he accepts it notN does the present come "ack to youB' #e replied+ 6It will+8 I said+ =%ou denounce me now+ "ut as I accept it not+ you must take the wrong deed "ack on your own person. It is like echo succeeding sound+ it is like shadow following o"*ectN you never escape the effect of your own evil deeds. Be therefore mindful+ and cease from doing evil'.8 F. .e Buddha said+ 6Cvil0doers who denounce the wise resem"le a person who spits against the skyN the spittle will never reach the sky+ "ut comes down on himself. Cvil0doers again resem"le a man who stirs the dust against the wind+ the dust is never raised without doing him in*ury. .us+ the wise will never "e hurt "ut the curse is sure to destroy the evil0doers themselves.8 9. .e Buddha said+ 6If you endeavour to em"race the 2ay through much learning+ the 2ay will not understood. If you o"serve the 2ay with simplicity of heart+ great indeed is this 2ay.8 1E. .e Buddha said+ 6.ose who re*oice in seeing others o"serve the 2ay will o"tain great "lessing.8 ; !ramana asked the Buddha+ 62ould this "lessing "e destroyedB8 .e Buddha replied+ 6It is like a lighted torch whose flame can "e distri"uted to ever so many other torches which people may "ring alongN and therewith they will cook food and dispel darkness+ while the original torch itself remains "urning ever the same. It is even so with the "liss of the 2ay.8

11. .e Buddha said+ 6It is "etter to feed a good man than one hundred "ad men. It is "etter to feed one who o"serves the Five &recepts of the Buddha than to feed one thousand good men. It is "etter to feed one !rotaapanna .!tream0enterer/ than to feed ten thousands of those who o"serve the Five &recepts of Buddha. It is "etter to feed one !kridagamin than to feed one million !rotaapanna. It is "etter to feed one ;nagamin than to feed ten millions of !kridagamins. It is "etter to feed one ;rhat than to feed one hundred millions of ;nagamins. It is "etter to feed one &retyeka"uddha than to feed one "illion of ;rhats. It is "etter to feed one of the Buddha+ either of the present+ or of the past+ or of the future+ than to feed ten "illions of &ratyeka"uddhas. It is "etter to feed one who is a"ove knowledge+ one0sidedness+ discipline+ and enlightenment than to feed one hundred "illions of Buddhas of the past+ present+ or future. 1?. .e Buddha said+ 6.ere are twenty difficult things to attain in this worldK .1/ It is hard for the poor to practice charity. .?/ It is hard for the strong and rich to o"serve the 2ay. .A/ It is hard to disregard life and go to certain death. .@/ It is only a favoured few that get ac3uainted with a Buddhist sutra. .H/ It is hard to "e "orn in the age of the Buddha. .D/ It is hard to con3uer the passions+ to supress selfish desires. .7/ It is hard not to hanker after that which is agreea"le. .F/ It is hard not to get into a passion when slighted.

.9/ It is hard not to a"use one's authority. .1E/ It is hard to "e even0minded and simple hearted in all one's dealings with others. .11/ It is hard to "e thorough in learning and exhaustive in investigation. .1?/ It is hard to su"due selfish pride. .1A/ It is hard not to feel contempt toward the unlearned. .1@/ It is hard to "e one in knowledge and practice. .1H/ It is hard not to express an opinion a"out others. .1D/ It is "y rare opportunity that one is introduced to a true spiritual teacher. .17/ It is hard to gain an insight into the nature of "eing and to practise the 2ay. .1F/ It is hard to follow the way of a saviour. .19/ It is hard to "e always the master of oneself. .?E/ It is hard to understand thoroughly the 2ays of Buddha.8 1A. ; monk asked the Buddha+ 6Lnder what conditions is it possi"le to come to the knowledge of the past and to understand the most supreme 2ayB8 .e Buddha answered+ 6.ose who are pure in heart and single in purpose are a"le to understand the most supreme 2ay. It is like polishing a mirror+ which "ecomes "right when the dust is removed. 7emove your passions+ and have no hankering+ and the past will "e revealed to you.8 1@. ; monk asked the Buddha+ 62hat is good+ and what is greatB8 .e Buddha replied+ 6:ood is to practice the 2ay and

to follow the truth. :reat is the heart that is in accord with the 2ay.8 1H. ; monk asked the Buddha+ 62hat is most powerful+ and what is most illuminatingB8 .e Buddha replied+ 6 eekness is most powerful+ for it har"ours no evil thoughts+ and+ moreover+ it is restful and full of strength. ;s it is free from evils+ it is sure to "e honoured "y all. .e most illuminating is a mind that is thoroughly cleansed of dirt+ and which+ remaining pure+ retains no "lemishes. From the time when there was yet no heaven and earth till the present day+ there is nothing in the ten 3uarters which is not seen+ or known+ or heard "y such a mind+ for it has gained all0knowledge+ and for that reason it is called =illuminating'.8 1D. .e Buddha said+ 6.ose who have passions are never a"le to perceive the 2ayN for it is like stirring up clear water with handsN people may come there wishing to find a reflection of their faces+ which+ however+ they will never see. ; mind trou"led and vexed with the passions is impure+ and on that account it never sees the 2ay. - monks+ do away with passions. 2hen the dirt of passion is removed the 2ay will manifest itself.8 17. .e Buddha said+ 6!eeing the 2ay is like going into a dark room with a torchN the darkness instantly departs+ while the light alone remains. 2hen the 2ay is attained and the truth is seen+ ignorance vanishes and enlightenment a"ides forever.8

1F. .e Buddha said+ 6 y doctrine is to think the thought that is unthinka"le+ to practise the deed that is non0doing+ to speak the speech that is inexpressi"le+ and to "e trained in the discipline that is "eyond discipline. .ose who understand this are near+ those who are confused are far. .e 2ay is "eyond words and expressions+ is "ound "y nothing earthly. Gose sight of it to an inch+ or miss it for a moment+ and we are away from it for evermore. 19. .e Buddha said+ 6Gook up to heaven and down on earth+ and they will remind you of their impermanency. Gook a"out the world+ and it will remind you of its impermanency. But when you gain spiritual enlightenment+ you shall then find wisdom. .e knowledge thus attained leads you 3uickly to the 2ay.8 ?E. .e Buddha said+ 6%ou should think of the four elements of which the "ody is exposed. Cach of them has its own name+ and there is no such thing there known as ego. ;s there is really no ego+ it is like unto a mirage.8 ?1. .e Buddha said+ 6 oved "y their selfish desires+ people seek after fame and glory. But when they have ac3uired it+ they are already strickened in years. If you hanker after worldly fame and practise not the 2ay+ your la"ours are wrongfully applied and your energy is wasted. It is like unto "urning an incense stick.8 ??. .e Buddha said+ 6&eople cleave to their worldly possessions and selfish passions so "lindly as to sacrifice their own lives for them. .ey are like a child who tries to eat a little honey

smeared on the edge of a knife. .e amount is "y no means sufficient to appease his appetite+ "ut he runs the risk of wounding the tongue.8 ?A. .e Buddha said+ 6 en are tied up to their families and possessions more helplessly than in a prison. .ere is an occasion for the prisoner to "e released+ "ut the householders entertain no desire to "e relieved from the ties of family. Cven into the paws of a tiger will he *ump. .ose who are thus drowned in the filth of passion are called the ignorant. .ose who are a"le to overcome it are saintly ;rhats. ?@. .e Buddha said+ 6.ere is nothing like lust. Gust may "e said to "e the most powerful passion. Fortunately+ we have "ut one thing which is more powerful. If the thirst for truth were weaker than passion+ how many of us in the world will "e a"le to follow the way of righteousnessB8 ?H. .e Buddha said+ 6 en who are addicted to the passions are like the torch0carrier running against the windN his hands are sure to "e "urned.8 ?D. .e Gord of #eaven offered a "eautiful fairy to the Buddha+ desiring to tempt him to the evil path. But the Buddha said+ 6Be gone. 2hat use have I for the leather "ag filled with filth which you "rought to meB8 .en+ the god reverently "owed and asked the Buddha a"out the essence of the 2ay+ in which having "een instructed "y the Buddha+ it is said he attained the !rotaapannafruit.8

?7. .e Buddha said+ 6.ose who are following the 2ay should "ehave like a piece of tim"er which is drifting along a stream. If the log is neither held "y the "anks+ nor sei5ed "y men+ nor o"structed "y the gods+ nor kept in the whirlpool+ nor itself goes to decay+ I assure you that this log will finally reach the ocean. If monks walking on the 2ay are neither tempted "y the passions+ nor led astray "y some evil influencesN "ut steadily pursue their course for >irvana+ I assure you that these monks will finally attain enlightenment.8 ?F. .e Buddha said+ 67ely not upon your own will. It is not trustworthy. :uard yourself against sensualism+ for it surely leads to the path of evil. %our own will "ecomes trustworthy only when you have attained ;rhatship.8 ?9. .e Buddha said+ 6- monks+ you should not see women. .If you should have to see them/+ refrain from talking to them. .If you should have to talk/+ you should reflect in a right spiritK =I am now a homeless mendicant. In the world of sin+ I must "ehave myself like unto the lotus flower whose purity is not defiled "y the mud. -ld ones I will treat as my mother+ elderly ones as elder sistersN younger ones as younger sistersN and little ones as daughters'. ;nd in all this you should har"or no evil thoughts+ "ut think of salvation.8 AE. .e Buddha said+ 6.ose who walk the 2ay should avoid sensualism as those who carry hay would avoid coming near the fire.8

A1. .e Buddha said+ 6.ere was once a man who+ "eing in despair over his ina"ility to control his passions+ wished to mutilate himselfK .e Buddha said to himK =Better destroy your own evil thoughts than do harm to your own person. .e mind is lord. 2hen the lord himself is claimed the servant will themselves "e yielding. If your mind is not cleansed of evil passions+ what avails it to multilate yourselfB' .ereupon+ the Buddha recited the gatha+ 6&assions grow from the will+ .e will grows from thought and imagination. 2hen "oth are calmed+ .ere is neither sensualism nor transmigration.8 .e Buddha said that this gatha was taught "y $ashyapa"uddha. A?. .e Buddha said+ 6From the passions arise worry+ and from worry arises fear. ;way with passions+ and no fear+ no worry.8 AA. .e Buddha said+ 6.ose who follow the 2ay are like unto warriors who fight single0handed with a multitude of foes. .ey may all go out of the fort in full armourN "ut among them are some who are fainthearted+ and some who go halfway and "eat a retreat+ and some who are killed in the affray+ and some who come home victorious. - monks+ if you desire to attain enlightenment+ you should steadily walk in your 2ay+ with a resolute heart+ with courage+ and should "e fearless in whatever environment you may happen to "e+ and destroy every evil influence that you may come across for thus you shall reach the goal.8

A@. -ne night a monk was reciting a sutra+ "e3ueathed "y $ashyapa"uddha. #is tone was so mournful+ and his voice so fainting+ as if he were going out of existence. .e Buddha asked him+ 62hat was your occupation "efore you "ecame a homeless monkB8 .e monk replied+ 6I was very fond of playing a stringed instrument.8 .e Buddha said+ 6#ow did you find it when the strings were too looseB8 6>o sound is possi"le.8 was the reply. 6#ow when the strings were too tightB8 6.ey crack.8 6#ow when they were neither too tight nor too looseB8 6Cvery note sounds in its proper tone.8 AH. .e Buddha then said to the monk+ 67eligious discipline is also like unto playing such a stringed instrument. 2hen the mind is properly ad*usted and 3uietly applied+ the 2ay is attaina"leN "ut when you are too fervently "ent on it+ your "ody grows tired+ and when your "ody is tired+ your spirit "ecome wearyN when your spirit is weary+ your discipline will relaxN and with the relaxation of discipline there follows many an evil. .erefore+ "e calm and pure+ and the 2ay will "e gained.8 AD. .e Buddha said+ 6Cven if one escapes from the evil creations+ it is one's rare fortune to "e "orn as a human "eing. Cven if one "e "orn as human+ it is one's rare fortune to "e "orn as a man and not a woman. Cven if one "e "orn a man+ it is one's rare fortune to "e perfect in all the six senses. Cven if he "e perfect in all the six senses+ it is his rare fortune to "e "orn in the middle kingdom. Cven if he "e "orn in the middle kingdom+ it is his rare fortune to "e "orn in the time of a Buddha. Cven if he "e "orn in the time

of a Buddha+ it is his rare fortune to see the enlightened. Cven if he "e a"le to see the enlightened+ it is his rare fortune to have his heart awakened in faith. Cven if he has faith+ it is his rare fortune to awaken the heart of intelligence. Cven if he awakens the heart of intelligence+ it is his rare fortune to realise a spiritual state which is a"ove discipline and attainment.8 A7. .e Buddha said+ 6- children of Buddha) %ou are away from me ever so many thousand miles+ "ut if you remem"er and think of my precepts+ you shall surely gain the fruit of enlightenment. %ou may+ standing "y my side+ see me always+ "ut if you o"serve not my precepts+ you shall never gain enlightenment.8 AF. .e Buddha asked another monk+ 6#ow do you measure the length of a man's lifeB8 #e answered+ 6By days.8 .e Buddha said+ 6%ou do not understand the 2ay.8 .e Buddha asked another monk+ 6#ow do you measure the length of a man's lifeB8 .e monk answered+ 6By the time that passes during a meal.8 .e Buddha said+ 6%ou do not understand the 2ay.8 .e Buddha asked the third monk+ 6#ow do you measure the length of a man's lifeB8 .e monk answered+ 6By the "readth.8 .e Buddha said+ 6Very well+ you know the 2ay.8 A9. .e Buddha said+ 6.ose who study the doctrine of the Buddhas will do well to "elieve and o"serve all that is taught "y them. It is like unto honeyN it is sweet within+ it is sweet without+ it is sweet throughoutN so is the Buddhas' teaching.8 @E. .e Buddha said+ 6- monks+ you must not walk on the 2ay as the ox is attached to the wheel. #is "ody moves+ "ut his heart is

not willing. But when your hearts are in accord with the 2ay+ there is no need of trou"ling yourselves a"out your outward demeanor.8 @1. .e Buddha said+ 6.ose who practice the 2ay might well follow the example of an ox that marches through the deep mire carrying a heavy load. #e is tired+ "ut his steady ga5e+ looking forward+ will never relax until he comes out of the mire+ and it is only then that he takes a respite. - monks+ remem"er that passions and sins are more than the filthy mire+ and that you can escape misery only "y earnestly and steadily thinking of the 2ay.8 @?. .e Buddha said+ 6I consider the dignities of kings and lords as a particle of dust that floats in the sun"eam. I consider the treasure of precious metals and stones as "ricks and pe""les. I consider the gaudy dress of silk and "rocades as a worn0out rag. I consider this universe as small as the holila fruit. I consider the lake of ;navatapa as a drop of oil with which one smears the feet. I consider the various methods of salvation taught "y the Buddhas as a treasure created "y the imagination. I consider the transcendental doctrine of Buddhism as precious metal or priceless fa"ric seen in a dream. I consider the teaching of Buddhas as a flower "efore my eyes. I consider the practice of 1hyana as a pillar supporting the ount !umeru. I consider >irvana as awakening from a day dream or nightmare. I consider the struggle "etween heterodox and orthodox as the antics of the six .mythical/ dragons. I consider the doctrine of sameness as the a"solute ground of reality. I consider all the religious works done for universal salvation as like the plants in the four seasons.8

.he .arma .utra .is !utra has changed the lives of many who have read it for it explains the direct results of causes. It is also called the :olden &recepts "y Gord Buddha and is reproduced here in its entiretyK 6-nce upon a gathering attended "y 1+?HE followers+ the venera"le ;nanda+ after circling thrice with folded hands around the Buddha and "owing with respect+ askedK =In the present dark age where the ma*ority of our people are indulgent in unrighteousness+ disrespectful to the Gord's teaching+ undutiful to their parents+ immoral+ misera"le and sordid+ among them some are deaf+ some "lind+ some mute+ some idoitic+ some handicapped in other aspects+ and most people inured to killing+ how could we understand the cryptic and fundamental principle or causes that have "rought a"out this reality and what conse3uences each individual is to suffer eventually for his deeds. y Gord+ would you kindly explain these to us'B .e 2orld0honoured -ne then answered+ 6Gisten carefully+ I will now expound the Gaw of $arma. Because of $armic effects inherited from previous lives+ some people are poor+ some rich+ some happy and some misera"le. .ese are four rules insepara"le in o"taining happiness and prosperity for your next life. .ey areK to "e dutiful to parentsN to "e respectful to Buddhas+ to Buddha's teaching+ and to Buddhist monksN to a"stain from killing and set free sentient "eingsN and to a"stain from eating meat and "e charita"le. .en the Buddha proceeded on the $armic !utraK 61estiny is aggregate karmic effects from the past. <o "elieve in and practise this sutra will "ring you eternal prosperity and happiness.

Gearn the Gaw of $arma expounded as followsK =<o "e a"le to hold office in the :overnment is a reward for your "uilding Buddha's statues in previous lives. For "uilding Buddha's statues is likened to moulding yourself+ and to protect the <athagata is protecting yourself. <o "e a pu"lic officer cannot "e taken for granted+ for without practising Buddhism it will not "efall you. #aving helped in the construction of "ridges and roads in your past life is conducive to your present en*oyment of various transportation facilities which prevent you from getting footworn. <o donate clothing to monks will ensure you to "e well provided with clothing in future or in your next life. <o "e free from want in food is the result of your providing food to the poor in your previous life. <o "e miserly and unwilling to help the needy gives rise to future starvation and clothlessness. <o have ample housing is a reward for donating food to monasteries in your past life. <o "uild temples and pu"lic shelters will give you future prosperity and happiness. <o "e pretty and handsome is the reward for your respecting and offering flowers to Buddha's altar in the past. <o a"stain from eating meat and to pray constantly to Buddha will assure you to "e re"orn a very intelligent child in your next reincarnation. <o have a good wife and son is reward for your disseminating Buddha's teaching in your past life.

Furnishing Buddhist temples with hangings and tapestries will ena"le you to have a good marriage in your next re"irth. <o have good parents is a reward for your respecting and helping those who were lonely and desolate in your past life. Being a "ird hunter in your previous life has resulted in your "eing an orphan now. <o have plenty of children is attri"uta"le to your setting free "irds in your previous life. <o have destroyed flowers ha"itually in your previous life has caused you to "e heirless now. %our longevity is due to your setting free sentient "eings in your past life. Being short0lived is the result of your committing too many killings in your previous life. <o steal the wife of another man will cause you to have no spouse in your next reincarnation. <o "e a widow now is due to your disrespecting your hus"and in your previous life. Being ungrateful in your previous life has caused you to "e a serf at present. <o covet another man's wife will cause you to have no spouse in your next reincarnation. <o distort truths ha"itually will cause you to suffer "lindness in your next life. <o have dry mouth is due to your intentionally "lowing out candles "efore Buddha's altar in your past life. <o vituperate your parents will cause you to "e re"orn a deaf mute in your next incarnation.

Being a hunch"ack is punishment for *eering at the Buddha's followers in your previous life. <o have committed evil with your hands in your past life is the cause for your having disa"led hands now. %our "eing lame is imputa"le to your "eing a ro""er in your previous life. <o "e "orn a horse or an ox is the result of your denying your de"ts in your previous life. <o "e re"orn a pig or dog is the punishment for your deceiving and hurting others in your previous life. -ffering flesh to monks in your past life has given rise to your constant illness now. <o "e healthy is a reward for your offering drugs and medications to save the sick and wounded in your past life. 7elentlessly perpetrating evil in your previous life is the cause for your present imprisonment. &lugging snake0pits and mouse holes ha"itually will cause you to starve to death in your next incarnation. <o intentionally poison a river or water0source will cause you to die of poison in your next life. Being forlorn and friendless is the punishment for "eing unfaithful and deceitful to others in your past life. 1isrespecting Buddha's teaching will "ring you constant starvation in your next re"irth. <o spew "lood is the punishment for eating meat while praying to Buddha. <o have attended Buddhist instruction with levity in your previous life is the cause for your present deafness.

<o "e afflicted with ulcers is the punishment for offering flesh "efore Buddha's altar in your past life. <o have "ad "odily odour is the punishment for selling incense with dishonesty in your previous life. <o hunt animals with rope and net will predestine your death "y hanging in your next incarnation. Being unduly envious and *ealous in your past life is the cause for your "eing lonely or "eing "ereft of spouse at present. <o "e struck "y lightning or "urnt "y fire will "e the punishment for dishonest trade dealings. Being wounded "y "easts or snakes tells you that those creatures were your enemies in your previous life. 2hatever you do will come "ack on you+ so accept whatever *ustice and retri"ution that "efalls you. Be not mistaken that karma is fallacious. %ou will live to "ear the conse3uences of your deeds+ either within this lifetime or in your future life. !hould you dou"t the virtue of practising Buddhism+ could you not see the happiness of the Buddha's followers. &ast karma determines your present destiny. &resent karmas are to mould your next life. 2hoever slanders this sutra will not "e re"orn again a human "eing. 2hoever accepts this sutra will witness the truth. 2hoever writes this sutra will prosper in successful lives. 2hoever carries this sutra will "e free from mishaps. 2hoever preaches this sutra will "ecome a very intelligent person in successive lives.

2hoever recites this sutra will "e well0respected "y people in his next reincarnation. 2hoever distri"utes this sutra free to all will "ecome a leader to humanity in his next life. If karma did not produce effect+ what prompted 2u0Gin+ a dutiful son+ to rescue his mother under grave danger. 2hoever is faithful to this sutra will not fail to witness the eternal paradise. .e Gaw of $arma works forever+ and the fruit of good deed will come in due course.8 #aving spoken the a"ove !utra to ;nanda and the other followers+ the 2orld0honoured -ne added+ 6.ere are innumera"le examples of $armic Gaw+ "ut I have only mentioned in generalisation.8 .en ;nanda said+ 6Lntil the end of the present 1ark ;ge+ most human "eings would have+ through successive lives accumulated countless misdeeds "ecause of their ignorance of the karmic conse3uences+ "ut thanks to our Gord and the !utra he has so kindly given us+ whoever writes and reads+ prints and distri"utes this !utra+ upon praying to the Buddha+ will "e "lessed with eternal happiness and "e admitted to see ;mita"ha Buddha+ $uan !hih %in &'usa and all other Buddhas in the heavenly paradise. ;fter ;nanda spoke+ all Buddha's disciples and followers felt estatic and enlightened and+ after "owing respectfully and vowing to a"ide "y this !utra+ took their *ourney home.

.he .iamond .utra . .he .a*racchedika0.ra*na0.aramita .utra/ .is is undou"tedly one of the most popular !utras among the ,hinese. ;lmost every Buddhist has heard of or read it+ though the num"er of those who are a"le to comprehend its full meaning are very small indeed. It is "elieved that the merit for those who assiduously study this doctrine is immeasura"le and even without comprehension of its highest meaning+ a measureless efficacy is ascri"ed to recitation of the words of this !utra in devout faith. .is explains for the great popularity of the !utra with the people so that almost every Buddhist home has a copy of it. .e most famous amongst all the translations from !anskrit into ,hinese is that of $......... and here is its version which was translated "y Lpasaka Gu $uan0%u. .us have I heard. -nce upon a time+ the Buddha so*ourned in the 9etavana park near !ravasti with an assem"ly of twelve hundred and fifty "hiksus. -ne day+ at mealtime+ the 2orld #onoured -ne put on #is ro"e+ took #is "owl+ and entered the great town of !ravasti to "eg for #is food. ;fter #e had "egged from door to door+ #e returned to #is place. 2hen #e had taken #is meal+ #e put away #is ro"e and "owl+ washed #is feet+ arranged #is seat and sat down. ;t the time+ the elder !u"huti who was in the assem"ly+ rose from his seat+ uncovered his right shoulder+ knelt upon his right knee+ respectfully *oined the palms of his hands and said to the BuddhaK =It is very rare+ - 2orld #onoured -ne) how well the

<athagata protects and thinks of all BodhisattvasN how well #e instructs all the Bodhisattvas. 6- 2orld #onoured -ne+ when virtuous men or women develop the supreme0enlightenment mind+ how should their minds a"ide and how should they "e su"duedB8 .e Buddha saidK =Cxcellent+ excellent+ !u"huti) ;s you say+ the <athagata protects+ cherishes and instructs Bodhisattvas so well. >ow listen attentively and I will tell you how the minds of virtuous men and women+ who develop the supreme enlightenment mind+ should thus a"ide and "e su"dued'. .!u"huti repliedK/ =-h yes+ 2orld #onoured -ne+ I shall "e glad to hear .your instruction/'. .e Buddha saidK =!u"huti+ all Bodhisattvas and ahasattvas should su"due their minds as followsK ;ll living "eings "orn from eggs+ wom"s+ humidity or "y transformation+ with or without form+ either thoughtful or thoughtless+ and neither thoughtful nor thoughtless are all led "y me to the final nirvana for the extinction of reincarnation. ;lthough immeasura"le+ uncounta"le and unlimita"le num"ers of living "eings are thus led to .the final nirvana for/ the extinction of reincarnation+ it is true that not a living "eing is led there. 2hy so+ !u"hutiB .Because/ if a Bodhisattva .still/ clings to the false notion .laksana/ of an ego+ a personality+ a "eing and a life+ he is not .a true/ Bodhisattva. =Furthermore+ !u"huti a Bodhisattva's mind should not a"ide anywhere when giving almsN that is to say+ he should give without a mind a"iding in form+ or he should give without a mind a"iding in sound+ or in smell+ or in taste+ or in touch or in things. !u"huti+ thus a Bodhisattva should give alms without a mind a"iding in false notions of form laksana.

=2hyB .Because/ if a Bodhisattva's mind does not a"ide in forms .laksanas/ when practising charity .dana/+ his merit will "e inconceiva"le and immeasura"le. !u"huti+ what do you thinkB ,an you think of and measure the extent of space in the CastB' =I cannot+ 2orld #onoured -ne)' =!u"huti+ can you think of and measure .all/ the extent of space in the !outh+ 2est and >orth+ as well as in the intermediate directions+ including the 5enith and nadirB' =I cannot+ 2orld #onoured -ne)' =!u"huti+ .when/ a Bodhisattva practises charity without a mind a"iding in forms+ his merit is e3ually inconceiva"le and immeasura"le'. =!u"huti+ a Bodhisattva's mind should <... a"ide as taught. =!u"huti+ what do you think) ,an the <athagata "e seen "y means of #is "odily formB' =>o+ 2orld #onoured -ne+ the <athagata cannot "e seen "y means of #is "odily form. 2hyB Because when the <athagata speaks of "odily form+ it is not .real/ form'. .e Buddha said to !u"hutiK =Cverything with form is unrealN if all forms are seen as unreal+ the <athagata will "e perceived'. !u"huti said to the BuddhaK =2orld #onoured -ne+ will there "e living "eings who can develop a true "elief in these words+ sentences and chapters when they are expounded to themB' .e Buddha saidK =!u"huti+ do not speak like that. In the last HEE years+ "efore the final passing of the <athagata+ there will "e those who will o"serve the rules of morality and perform good actions which will result in "lessing. .ese people will "e a"le to develop a faith in these sentences .which they will consider as/ em"odying the <ruth. %ou should know that they will

not have planted good roots in *ust one+ two+ three+ four+ or five Buddha lands. .ey will have planted them in countless thousands and tens of thousands of Buddha lands. Lpon hearing these sentences+ there will arise in them a single thought of pure faith. !u"huti+ the <athagata knows and sees allN these living "eings will thus ac3uire immeasura"le merits. 2hyB .Because/ they will have wiped out false notions of an ego+ a personality+ a "eing and a life+ of 1harma and >ot1harma. 2hyB .Because/ if their minds grasp form .laksana/+ they will .still/ cling to the notion of an ego+ a personality+ a "eing and a life. If their minds grasp the 1harma+ they will .still/ cling to the notion of an ego+ a personality+ a "eing and a life. 2hyB .Because/ if their minds grasp the >ot01harma+ they will .still/ cling to the notion of an ego+ a personality+ a "eing and a life. .erefore+ one should not grasp and hold on to the notion of 1harma as well as that of >ot0 1harma. .is is why+ the <athagata always saidK 6%e Bhiksus+ should know that the 1harma I expound is likened to a raft8 Cven the 1harma should "e cast asideN hove much more so the >ot01harmaB =!u"huti+ what do you thinkB #as the <athagata .in fact/ o"tained !upreme Cnlightenment .;nu"odhi/K 1oes the <athagata .in fact/ expound the 1harmaB' !u"huti repliedK =;s I understand the meaning of the Buddha's teaching+ there is no fixed 1harma called !upreme Cnlightenment and there is also no fixed 1harma the <athagata can expound. 2hyB .Because/ the 1harma the <athagata expounds cannot "e clung to and cannot "e expressed .in words/N it is neither 1harma nor >ot01harma. 2hy is thisB ;ll Bhadras and ;ryas differ on account of the Cternal ;samskrta 1harma)

=!u"huti' what do you thinkB If someone filled the Lniverse with the seven treasures and gave them all as alms+ would his merit "e greatB' !u"huti repliedK =Very great+ 2orld #onoured -ne. 2hyB Because this merit is not the nature of merit+ the <athagata says it is great'. =!u"huti+ if on the other hand+ someone received and kept even a four line stan5a of this sutra and expounded it to others+ his merit would surpass that .of the giver of treasures/. 2hyB .Because/+ !u"huti+ all Buddha and their !upreme0Cnlightenment0 1harma originate from this sutra. !u"huti the so0called Buddhas and 1harmas are not real Buddhas and 1harmas'. =!u"huti+ what do you thinkB ,an one who has entered the stream .srota0apanna/ have this thought .in his mind/K I have o"tained the fruit of entering the streamB' !u"huti repliedK =>o+ 2orld #onoured -ne. 2hyB Because srota0apanna means =entering the stream'+ "ut actually there is no entry into either form+ sound+ smell+ taste+ touch or dharma. .erefore+ he is called srota0apanna'. =!u"huti+ what do you thinkB ,an a !akrdagamin have this thought .in his mind/K I have o"tained the fruit of a !akrdagaminB' !u"huti repliedK =>o+ 2orld #onoured -ne. 2hyB Because !akrdagamin means 6once more to come8+ "ut actually there is neither coming nor going. .erefore+ he is called a !akrdagamin) =!u"huti+ what do you thinkB ,an an ;nagamin have this thought .in his mind/K I have o"tained the fruit of an ;nagaminB' !u"huti repliedK =>o+ 2orld #onoured -ne. 2hyB Because ;nagamin means 6no0coming8 "ut actually there is no such a thing as no0coming. .erefore+ he is called an ;nagamin'.

=!u"huti+ what do you thinkB ,an an ;rhat have this thought .in his mind/K I have o"tained the enlightenment of an ;rhatB' !u"huti repliedK =>o+ 2orld #onoured -ne. 2hyB Because there is no 1harma which is called ;rhatship. 2orld #onoured -ne+ if an ;rhat thinks 6I have o"tained the enlightenment of an ;rhat8. he will still grasp and hold on to the notion of an ego+ a personality+ a "eing and a life. 2orld #onoured -ne+ the Buddha has declared that I have o"tained the &assionless !amadhi and that I surpass all men. I am+ therefore+ the highest passionless ;rhat. 2orld #onoured -ne+ I do not think 6I am a passionless ;rhat8 for+ 2orld #onoured -ne+ if I had thought 6I have attained ;rhatship8+ the 2orld #onoured -ne would not have saidK 6!u"huti takes delight in the calm and 3uiet+ free from temptation and distress.8 .e fact that !u"huti does not act .mentally/ is called the calm and 3uiet in which !u"huti takes delight'. .e Buddha said to !u""utiK =2hat do you thinkB 1id the <athagata o"tain anything from the 1harma+ when in the past #e was with 1ipankara BuddhaB' =>o+ 2orld #onoured -ne. 2hen the <athagata was with 1ipankara+ #e did not o"tain anything from the 1harma'. =!u"huti+ what do you thinkB 1o Bodhisattvas adorn Buddha lands ."y their moral actions/B' =>o. 2orld #onoured -ne. 2hyB Because this is not real adornmentN it is .merely/ called the adornment of Buddha lands'. =!u"huti+ this is why all Bodhisattvas and ahasattvas should thus develop a pure and clean mind which should not a"ide in form+ sound+ smell+ taste+ touch and dharma. .ey should develop a mind which does not a"ide in anything.

=!u"hhuti+ supposing a man has a "ody as great as ount !umeru+ what do you thinkB 2ould such a "ody "e greatB' !u"huti repliedK =Very great+ 2orld #onoured -ne. 2hyB Because the Buddha says it is not the real "ody "ut is .merely/ called a great "ody'. =!u"huti+ if there were as many rivers like the :anges as there are grains of sand in the :anges+ would the total of grains of sand in all these rivers "e very greatB' !u"huti repliedK =Very great+ 2orld #onoured -ne) .ese rivers would "e innumera"leN how much more so would "e their sand0grains'. =!u"huti+ I now tell you truly. If a virtuous man or woman filled a num"er of universes+ as great as the num"er of sandgrains in all these rivers+ with the seven treasures+ and gave them all away in alms .dana/+ would his or her merit "e greatB' !u"huti repliedK =Very great+ 2orld #onoured -ne)' .e Buddha said to !u"hutiK =If a virtuous man or woman receives and holds .in mind/ even a four0line stan5a of this sutra and expounds it to others+ his or her merit will surpass that of the almsgiver. Furthermore+ !u"huti+ wheresoever this sutra or even one of its four0line stan5as is expounded+ you should know that all devas+ men and asuras should make their offerings there as if the place as a Buddha stupa or a Buddha temple. #ow much more so if someone is a"le to receive+ hold .in mind/+ read and recite the whole sutra) !u"huti+ you should know that such a person will achieve the highest and rarest 1harma. 2heresoever this sutra may "e found+ the Buddha and #is respected disciples will "e there also'.

!u"huti then asked the BuddhaK =2orld #onoured -ne+ what name should "e given to this sutra and how should we receive and hold it .in mind/B' .e Buddha saidK sutra should "e called 6.e 1iamond pra*na0paramita8 under which name you should receive and hold it. 2hyB Because+ !u"huti+ the &ra*na0paramita as expounded "y the Buddha+ is not &ra*na0paramita "ut is .merely/ so called'. =!u"huti+ what do you thinkB 1oes the <athagata expound the 1harmaB' !u"huti saidK =2orld #onoured -ne+ the <athagata does not expound anything'. =!u"huti+ what do you thinkB ;re there many particles of dust in the universeB' !u"huti repliedK = any+ 2orld #onoured -ne)' =!u"huti+ the <athagata says these particles of dust are not .real/+ ."ut/ are .merely/ called particles of dust. .e <athagata says the universe is not .real/+ "ut it is .merely/ called the universe'. =!u"huti+ what do you thinkB ,an the <athagata "e perceived "y means of #is thirty0two physical characteristics .laksanas/B' =>o+ 2orld #onoured -ne. .e <athagata cannot "e perceived "y them. 2hyB Because the <athagata says they are not real "ut are .merely/ called the thirty0two physical characteristics'. =!u"huti+ if on the one hand+ a virtuous man or woman+ in giving alms .dana/+ sacrifices as many lives as there are sandgrains in the :anges+ and on the other hand+ someone receives and holds .in mind/ even a four0line stan5a of this sutra+ and expounds it to others+ the merit resulting from the latter will "e greater'.

;t that time+ after listening to this sutra+ !u"huti had understood its profound meaning and was moved to tears. #e said to the BuddhaK =#ow rare+ - 2orld #onoured -ne) .e Buddha has expounded such a very profound sutra. !ince I have ac3uired the wisdom eye+ I have not heard of such a sutra. 2orld #onoured -ne+ if someone after listening to this sutra "elieves that his mind is clean and pure+ he will reali5e reality. 2e should know that such a person will achieve the highest and rarest merit. 2orld #onoured -ne+ this 7eality is not 7eality "ut the <athagata calls it 7eality. 2orld #onoured -ne+ as I now listen to this sutra I have no difficulty in "elieving+ understanding+ receiving and holding it+ "ut in the last epoch+ the last five hundred year period if there "e a man who .happens to/ listen to this sutra+ "elieves+ understands+ receives and holds it+ he will "e most rare. 2hyB Because he will no longer .think in terms of/ an ego+ a personality+ a "eing and a life. 2hyB Because the forms of an ego+ a personality+ a "eing and a life are not forms. 2hyB Because when he has re*ected all forms he is called a Buddha'. .e Buddha saidK =9ust so) !u"huti+ *ust so) If on the one hand+ there "e a man who listens to this sutra and is not filled with alarm+ fear+ or dread+ you should know that such a person is most rare. 2hyB Because+ !u"huti+ as the <athagata says+ the first perfection .paramita/ is not so ."ut/ is .merely/ called the first perfection .paramita/. =!u"huti+ the <athagata speaks of the &erfection of &atience .ksanti0paramita/ which is not "ut is called the &erfection of &atience. 2hyB Because+ !u"huti+ in .a/ past .life/ when my "ody was mutilated "y $alira*a+ I had at that time no notion of an ego+ a personality a "eing and a life. 2hyB Because+ in the

past+ when my "ody was dismem"ered+ if I .still/ held the conception of an ego+ a personality+ a "eing and a life+ I would have "een stirred "y feelings of anger and hatred. !u"huti+ I also remem"er that in the past+ during my former five hundred lives+ I was a $santyrsi and held no conception of an ego+ a personality+ a "eing and a life. .erefore+ !u"huti+ Bodhisattvas should forsake all conceptions of form and resolve to develop the !upreme Cnlightenment ind .;nuttara0samyak0samodhi/. .eir minds should not a"ide in form+ sound+ smell+ taste+ touch and dharma. .eir minds shoud a"ide nowhere. If minds a"ide somewhere+ it will "e in falsehood. .is is why the Buddha says that Bodhisattvas' minds should not a"ide in form when practising charity .dana/. !u"huti+ all Bodhisattvas should thus make offerings for the welfare of all living "eings. .e <athagata speaks of forms which are not forms and of living "eings who are living "eings. =!u"huti+ the <athagatas' words are true and correspond to reality. .ey are ultimate words+ neither deceitful nor heterodox. !u"huti+ the 1harma the <athagata has o"tained is neither real nor unreal. =!u"huti+ if a Bodhisattva practises charity .dana/ with a mind a"iding in things .dharma/+ he is like a man entering the darkness where he cannot see anythingN ."ut/ if a Bodhisattva practises dana with a mind not a"iding in dharma+ he is like a man with open eyes+ who can see everything in the sunshine. =!u"huti+ in future ages+ if a virtuous man or woman is a"le to receive+ hold .in mind/+ read and recite this sutra+ the <athagata+ "y means of #is Buddha 2isdom+ will know and see clearly that such a person will achieve immeasura"le and unlimita"le

merits. !u"huti+ if .on the one hand/ a virtuous man or woman sacrifices in the practice of charity .dana/+ as many lives as the sand0grains of the :anges in the morning+ at midday and again in the evening+ and continues so doing throughout num"erless aeonsN and if .on the other hand/ a person after listening to this sutra "elieves in his own mind without .further/ contradiction+ the latter's merit will surpass that of the former. #ow much more so if this sutra is written+ received+ held+ read+ recited and expounded to others) =!u"huti+ to sum up+ the merits resulting from this sutra are inconceiva"le+ inestima"le and without limit. .e <athagata expounds it to those initiated into the ahayana and the !upreme %ana. If they are a"le to receive+ hold .in mind/+ read and recite it and expound it widely to others+ the <athagata will know and will see that they will achieve inexpressi"le and inconceiva"le merits that are without measure or limit. .ey will "ear .responsi"ility for/ the <athagata's !upreme Cnlightenment .;nuttarasamyak0 sam"odhi./ 2hyB Because+ !u"huti+ those who take delight in the #inayana and hold the view of an ego+ a personality+ a "eing and a life+ cannot listen to+ receive+ hold .in mind/+ read and recite this sutra and explain it to others. =!u"huti+ wheresoever this sutra may "e found+ all worlds of devas+ men and asuras should make offerings+ for you should know that such a place is *ust a stupa which should "e revered+ worshipped and circumam"ulated+ with offerings of flowers and incense. =Furthermore+ !u"huti+ if a virtuous man or woman receives+ holds .in mind/+ reads and recites this sutra and is despised "y others+ this person who is "ound to suffer from evil destinies in retri"ution for his past sins+ and whose karmic sins are now

eradicated "y the others' contempt+ will attain !upreme Cnlightenment .;nuttara0samyak0sam"odhi/. =!u"huti+ I remem"er that in the past countless aeons "efore the advent of 1ipamkara Buddha+ I met F@+EEE millions of Buddhas to whom I made offerings and whom I served faultlessly. >ow if in the last period .of HEE years/ in the Buddha kalpa someone is a"le to receive+ hold .in mind/+ read and recite this sutra+ his merits will far exceed mine which resulted from my offerings made to Buddhas+ for mine cannot "e reckoned as one hundredth+ one thousandth+ one ten thousandth or one hundred thousandth part thereofN in fact no computation or comparison is possi"le. !u"huti+ in the last period of the Buddha kalpa+ if a virtuous man or woman is a"le to receive+ hold .in mind/+ read and recite this sutra+ my full statement of this person's merits will create derangement+ dou"t and dis"elief in the minds of all listeners. !u"huti+ you should know that as the meaning of this sutra is inconceiva"le+ so is the fruit of its reward.' ;t the time+ !u"huti asked the BuddhaK =2orld #onoured -ne+ if a virtuous man or woman is determined to develop the !upreme Cnlightened ind+ how should his or her mind a"ide and how should it "e su"duedB' .e Buddha said to !u"hutiK =; virtuous man or woman who is determined to develop the !upreme Cnlightened ind+ should thus develop itK I have to lead all living "eings to put a

stop to .reincarnation/ and escape .suffering/+ and when they have "een so led+ not one of them in fact stops .reincarnating/ or escapes suffering. 2hyB Because+ !u"huti+ if a Bodhisattva clings to the notion of an ego+ a personality+ a "eing and a life+ he is not a .true/ Bodhisattva. 2hyB Because+ !u"huti+ there is not really a 1harma which can develop the !upreme0Cnlightenment0 ind. =!u"huti+ what do you thinkB 2hen the <athagata was with 1ipamkara Buddha+ did #e have any 1harma "y means of which #e attained !upreme Cnlightenment .;nuttara0samyaksam"odhi/B' =>o+ 2orld #onoured -ne. ;s I understand the meaning of the Buddha's teaching+ when #e was with 1ipamkara Buddha+ #e had no 1harma "y means of which #e attained 6!upreme Cnlightenment8.' .e Buddha saidK =9ust so) !u"huti+ *ust so) .ere was really no 1harma "y means of which the <athagata attained !upreme Cnlightenment. !u"huti+ if there had "een+ 1ipamkara Buddha would not have predictedK =In your next life+ you will "e a Buddha named !akyamuni'.' =2hy is itB Because 6<athagata8 means the suchness of all 1harmas. If someone still saysK =.e <athagata o"tained !upreme Cnlightenment+8 .I tell you+ !u"huti+ there is no 1harma "y means of which the Buddha did so+ ."ecause/+ !u"huti+ that Cnlightenment was "y itself neither real nor unreal. .is is why the <athagata says that all 1harmas are Buddha's 1harmas. !u"huti+ these so0called 1harmas are not+ "ut are .expediently/+ called all 1harmas. !u"huti+ supposing there is a man whose "ody is great.'

!u"huti saidK =2orld #onoured -ne+ the great "ody of which the <athagata speaks is not great+ "ut is .expediently/ called a great "ody.' =!u"huti+ in like manner+ if a Bodhisattva saysK 6I should lead uncounta"le living "eings to put a stop to .reincarnation/ and escape .from suffering/8+ he cannot "e called a Bodhisattva. 2hyB Because there is really no dharma called the Bodhisattva .stage/. .erefore+ the Buddha saysK 6-f all dharmas+ there is not a single one which possesses an ego+ a personality+ a "eing and a life.8 !u"huti+ if a Bodhisattva saysK 6I should adorn Buddha lands8+ he cannot "e called a Bodhisattva. 2hyB Because when the <athagata speaks of such adornment it is not+ "ut is .expediently/+ called adornment. !u"huti+ if a Bodhisattva is thoroughly versed in .the doctrine of/ the unreality of ego and of things .dharma/+ the <athagata will call him a true Bodhisattva. =!u"huti+ what do you thinkB 1oes the <athagata possess human eyesB' =%es+ 2orld #onoured -ne+ the <athagata possesses human eyes'. =!u"huti+ what do you thinkB 1oes the <athagata possess deva eyesB' =%es+ 2orld #onoured -ne+ the <athagata possesses deva eyes.' =!u"huti+ 2hat do you thinkB 1oes the <athagata possess wisdom eyesB' =%es+ 2orld #onoured -ne+ the <athagata possess wisdom eyes.' =!u"huti+ what do you thinkB 1oes the <athagata possess 1harma eyesB'

=%es+ 2orld #onoured -ne+ the <athagata possess 1harma eyes.' =!u"huti+ what do you thinkB does the <athagata possess Buddha eyesB' =%es+ 2orld #onoured -ne+ the <athagala possess Buddha eyes.' =!u"huti+ what do you thinkB 1oes the <athagata say that the sand0grains in the :anges are sand0grainsB' =%es+ 2orld #onours -ne+ the <athagata says they are sandgrains.' =!u"huti+ what do you thinkB If there were as many+ :anges rivers as sand0grains in the :anges+ and if there were as many Buddha realms as sand0grains of all these :anges rivers+ would there "e many world systemsB' = any+ 2orld #onoured -ne)' .e Buddha saidK =.e living "eings in all these world systems have many different minds which are all known to the <athagata. 2hyB Because the minds the <athagata speaks of are not minds+ "ut are .expediently/ called minds. ;nd whyB Because+ !u"huti+ neither the past+ the present nor the future mind can "e found. =!u"huti+ what do you thinkB If someone filled the universe with the seven treasures and gave all away in his practice of dana+ would this .good/ cause ena"le the giver to gain a great meritB' =%es+ 2orld #onoured -ne+ "ecause of this .good/ cause the giver would gain a great merit.' =!u"huti+ if the merit was real+ the <athagata would not say it was great. #e says so "ecause there is no merit.' =!u"huti+ what do you thinkB ,an the Buddha "e perceived "y #is completely perfect physical "ody .rupa0kaya/B'

=>o+ 2orld #onoured -ne+ the <athagata should not "e so perceived. 2hyB Because the Buddha says the completely perfect rupa0kaya is not+ "ut is called the completely perfect rupa0kaya.' =!u"huti+ what do you thinkB ,an the <athagata "e perceived "y #is completely perfect formsB' =>o+ 2orld #onoured -ne+ the <athagata should not "e so perceived+ "ecause the <athagata says the completely perfect forms are not+ "ut are called completely perfect forms.' =!u"huti+ do not say that the <athagata thinksK 6I must expound the 1harma8. 1o not have such a thought. 2hyB Because if someone says so+ he will really slander the Buddha and "e una"le to understand my teaching. !u"huti+ when .the <athagata/ expounds the 1harma+ there is really no 1harma to teachK "ut this is .expediently/ called teaching the 1harma.' .en the wise !u"huti said to the BuddhaK =2orld #onoured -ne+ will there "e in future ages living "eings who will "elieve this 1harma when they hear itB' .e Buddha saidK =!u"huti+ the living "eings .you *ust mentioned/ are neither living nor not0living "eings. 2hyB Because+ !u"huti+ the <athagata says these living "eings are not .really/+ "ut they are .expediently/+ called living "eings.' !u"huti said to the BuddhaK =2orld #onoured -ne+ does your .own/ attainment of !upreme Cnlightenment .;nuttarasamyak0 sam"odhi/ mean that you have not gained anything whatsoeverB' .e Buddha repliedK =9ust so+ !u"huti+ *ust so+ I have not gained even the least 1harma from !upreme Cnlightenment+ and this is called !upreme Cnlightenment. Furthermore+

!u"huti+ this 1harma is universal and impartialN wherefore it is called !upreme Cnlightenment. .e practice of all good virtues .1harmas/+ free from attachment to an ego+ a personality+ a "eing and a life+ will result in the attainment of !upreme Cnlightenment. !u"huti+ the so0called good virtues .1harmas/+ the <athagata says+ are not good+ "ut are .expediently/ called good virtues. =!u"huti+ if .on the other hand/ a man+ in his practice of charity .dana/ gives away the seven treasures piled up in a heap as great as all the ounts !umeru in the Lniverse put together+ and .on the other hand/ another man receives+ holds .in mind/+ reads and recites even a four0line stan5a of this &ra*na0!utra+ and expounds it to others+ the merit resulting from the former's dana will not "e worth one0hundredth+ one0thousandth+ one0tenthousandth and one0hundred thousandth part of that o"tained "y the latter+ as no conceiva"le comparison can "e made "etween the two. =!u"huti+ what do you thinkB %ou should not say the <athagata has this thought .in #is mind/K 6I should li"erate living "eings'.8 !u"huti+ you should not think so. 2hyB Because there are really no living "eings whom the <athagata can li"erate. If there were+ the <athagata would hold .the concept of/ an ego+ a personality+ a "eing and a life. !u"huti+ .when/ the <athagata speaks of an ego+ there is in reality no ego+ although common men think so. !u"huti+ the <athagata says common men are not+ "ut are .expediently/ called+ common men. =!u"huti+ what do you thinkB ,an the <athagata "e recognised "y #is thirty0two physical characteristicsB' !u"huti repliedK =%es+ yes+ #e can.'

.e Buddha saidK =!u"huti+ if the <athagata can "e recognised "y #is thirty0two physical characteristics+ a world ruler .cakravarti/ would "e the <athagata.' !u"huti said to the BuddhaK =2orld #onoured -ne+ as I understand your teaching+ the <athagata cannot "e recognised "y #is thirty0two physical characteristics' .ereupon+ the 2orld #onoured -ne recited the following gathaK =#e who sees me "y outward appearance .;nd/ seeks me in sound+ <reads the heterodox path .;nd/ cannot perceive the <athagata. =!u"huti+ if you have .in your mind/ this thoughtK 6.e <athagata does not rely on #is possession of characteristics to o"tain supreme Cnlightenment+' !u"huti+ "anish that thought. !u"huti+ if you think it while developing the &erfect Cnlightenment ind+ you will advocate the annihilation of all 1harmas. 1o not have such a thought. 2hyB Because one who develops the !upreme Cnlightenment ind+ does not advocate the annihilation .of things/. =!u"huti+ if .one the one hand/ a Bodhisattva gave in his practice of dana+ all the seven treasures in 3uantities sufficient to fill worlds as many as sand0grains in the :anges+ and .on the other hand/ another man comprehended that all dharmas were egoless and there"y achieved perfection of patience .ksanti/+ the latter's merit would surpass that of the former. 2hyB Because+ !u"huti+ all Bodhisattvas do not receive reward for their merits.'

!u"huti asked the BuddhaK =2orld #onoured -ne+ why do Bodhisattvas not receive reward for their meritsB' =!u"huti+ Bodhisattvas should have no longing and no attachment when they practise meritorious virtuesN therefore+ they do not receive a reward. =!u"huti+ if someone says the <athagata comes or goes+ sits or lies+ he does not understand what I mean. 2hyB Because the <athagata has neither whence .to come/ nor whither .to go/N therefore+ #e is called the <athagata. =!u"huti+ what do you thinkB If a virtuous man or woman reduced to dust all the worlds in the Lniverse+ would those particles of dust "e manyB' !u"huti repliedK = any+ 2orld #onoured -ne. 2hyB Because if they really existed+ the Buddha would not say they are particles of dust. ;nd whyB Because when the Buddha speaks of particles of dust+ they are not+ "ut are .expediently/ called+ particles of dust. 2orld #onoured -ne+ when the <athagata speaks of worlds+ they are not+ "ut are .expediently/ called+ worlds. 2hyB Because if they really exist+ they are *ust agglomerations. .e <athagata speaks of agglomerations which are not+ "ut are .expediently/ called+ agglomerations.' =!u"huti+ that which is called an agglomeration cannot "e spoken of+ "ut the vulgar man has longing for and attachment to this thing. =!u"huti+ what do you thinkB If someone saysK 6.e Buddha speaks of the view of an ego+ a personality+ a "eing and a life8. !u"huti+ does that person understand what I meanB' =>o+ 2orld #onoured -ne+ that person does not understand. 2hyB Because .when/ the <athagata speaks of the view of an

ego+ a personality+ a "eing and a life+ it is not really+ ."ut/ is .expediently/ called the view of an ego+ a personality a "eing and a life.' =!u"huti+ he who develops the !upreme Cnlightenment ind+ should thus know+ see+ "elieve and comprehend .all things/N he should not set up the perception of things .dharma0laksana/ in his mind. !u"huti+ the so0called form of things .dharmalaksana/+ the <athagata says is not+ "ut is+ .expediently/ called the form of things. =!u"huti+ if on the one hand+ someone gave away in alms .dana/ the seven treasures in 3uantities sufficient to fill all the worlds in uncounta"le aeons+ and if on the other hand+ a virtuous man or woman developed the Bodhi0mind+ and received+ held .in mind/+ read and recited even a four0line stan5a of this sutra and expounded it to others+ the latter's merit would surpass that of the former. In what manner should it "e taught to othersB By teaching it without attachment to form with the immuta"ility of the a"solute. =2hy is itB BecauseK ;ll phenomena are like ; dream+ an illusion+ a "u""le and a shadow+ Gike dew and lightning. .us should you meditate upon them'. 2hen the Buddha had finished expounding this sutra+ the elder !u"huti+ together with "hiksus+ "hiksunis+ upasakas+ upasikas+ and all the worlds of devas+ men and asuras who had listened to #is teaching+ were filled with *oy and "elieved+ received and o"served it.

,...... II .he .hammapada .e 1hammapada preserves the 62ords of the Buddha8 for it carries the spirit of the Gord's teachings. It is one of the "est loved Buddhist scriptures which is recited daily "y millions of devotees who chant its verses in their native dialects. .ere exist several renditions of the 1hammapada in &ali+ !anskrit+ ,hinese and <i"etan languages which all contain the sayings that !akyamuni Buddha had given during the forty0five years of his ministry. >... B........ ;ll that we are is the result of what we have intended+ it is founded on our intentions+ it is made up of our intentions. If a man speaks or acts with a "ad intention+ pain follows him+ as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the cart. ;ll that we are is the result of what we have intended+ it is founded on our intentions+ it is made up of our intentions. If a man speaks or acts with a pure intention+ happiness follows him+ like a shadow that never leaves him. =#e insulted me+ he "eat me+ he frustrated me+ he deprived me'+ 4 in those who har"our such thoughts hatred will never end. =#e insulted me+ he "eat me+ he frustrated me+ he deprived me'+ 4 in those who do not har"our such thoughts hatred will end. For never does hatred end "y hatred anywhere+ hatred ends "y loveN this is the eternal law.

#e who lives seeking pleasures only+ his senses uncontrolled+ immoderate in his food+ idle and weak+ him ara .the tempter/ will surely overthrow+ as the wind throws down a fee"le tree. #e who lives without seeking pleasures+ his senses well controlled+ moderate in his food+ faithful and strong+ him ara will certainly not overthrow any more than the wind throws down a rock mountain. ;s rain "reaks through an ill0roofed house+ desire "reaks through an ill0trained mind. ;s rain does not "reak through a well0roofed house+ desire will not "reak through a well0trained mind. .e evil0doer mourns in this world and he mourns in the nextN he mourns in "oth. #e mourns and suffers when he sees the evil of his own work. .e virtuous man delights in this world+ and he delights 4 in the nextN he delights and re*oices when he sees the purity of his own work. .e evil0doer suffers in this world and he suffers in the nextN he suffers in "oth. #e suffers when he thinks of 4 the evil he has doneN he suffers even more when he has gone in the evil path .of hell/. .e virtuous man is happy in this world and he is happy in the nextN he is happy in "oth. #e is happy when he thinks of the good he has done. #e is even happier when he has gone on the good path .to heaven/. ;s the "ee gathers honey and goes without in*uring the flower or its colour or scent+ so let a sage go a"out a village. >ot the perversities of others+ not what they have done or left undone should a sage take notice of.

Gike a "eautiful flower+ full of colour+ "ut without scent+ are the fair "ut fruitless words of him who does not act accordingly. Gike a "eautiful flower+ full of colour and full of scent+ are the pure and fruitful words of him who acts accordingly. Cven as one may make many kinds of wreaths from a heap of flowers+ so should one "orn to the mortal lot+ perform good deeds manifold. .e scent of flowers does not travel against the wind+ nor that of sandal0wood+ or of <agara and allika flowersN "ut the fragrance of good people travels even against the windN a good man pervades every place. ean is the scent that comes from <agara and !andal0woodN the perfume of those who possess virtue rises up to the god as the highest. Gong is the night to him who is awakeN long is a league to him who is tiredN long is the round of re"irth to the foolish who do not know the <rue Gaw. #ow is there laughter+ how is there *oy+ as this world is always "urningB 2hy do you not seek a light+ ye who are shrouded in darknessB .is "ody is wasted+ frail+ a nest of diseaseN this heap of corruption "reaks to pieces+ life indeed ends in death. .e "rilliant chariots of kings wear away+ the "ody likewise waxes old+ "ut the virtue of good people knows no age+ thus do the good say to the good. ; man who has learnt little+ grows old like an ox+ his flesh grows "ut his knowledge does not grow.

Gooking for the maker of this ta"ernacle I ran to no avail through a round of many "irthsN and wearisome is "irth again and again. But now+ maker of the ta"ernacle+ thou hast "een seenN thou shalt not rear this ta"ernacle again. ;ll thy rafters are "roken+ thy ridgepole shattered+ the mind approaching the Cternal+ has attained to the Cxtinction of all desires. If a man makes himself as he teaches others to "e+ then "eing himself well su"dued+ he may su"due .others/N one's own self is indeed difficult to su"due. !elf is the lord of the self+ who else could "e the lordB 2ith self su"dued+ a man finds a lord difficult to find. Cven as a creeper over0spreads .and drags down/ a !al tree+ so a man's wickedness+ when it is very great+ "rings him to that state where his enemy wishes him to "e. .e foolish man who scorns the teaching of the saintly+ of the no"le+ of the virtuous+ and follows false doctrines+ "ears fruit to his own destruction+ like the $atthaka reed. By oneself is evil done+ "y oneself one is defiled. &urity and impurity "elong to oneself+ no one can purify another. Get no one forget his own good for the sake of another's+ however greatN let a man+ after he has discerned what this good is+ "e ever intent upon it. Better than a sovereignty over the earth+ "etter than going to heaven+ "etter than lordship over all the worlds+ is the reward of the first step in holiness. #e whose con3uest is not con3uered again+ into whose con3uest no one in this world enters+ "y what track can you lead him+ the ;wakened+ the all0perceiving+ the tracklessB

Cven the gods envy those who are awakened and mindful+ who are given to meditation+ who are steadfast and delight in the peace of retirement. 1ifficult it is to o"tain "irth as a human "eing+ difficult is the life of mortals+ difficult is the hearing of the true Gaw+ difficult is the rise of the Buddhas. &atience+ long0suffering+ is the highest form of penance+ >irvana the highest of all things+ say the ;wakenedN for he is not an anchorite who strikes another+ he is not an ascetic who insults another. If a traveller does not meet with one who is his "etter or e3ual+ let him keep firmly to his solitary *ourneyN there is no companionship with the young in wisdom. =.ese sons "elong to me and this wealth "elongs to me'+ with such thoughts a fool is tormented. #e himself does not "elong to himself+ how much less sons and wealthB .e unwise one who knows his foolishness is wise at least so farN "ut the unwise one who thinks himself wise+ he is called a fool indeed( If a person young in wisdom "e associated with a wise man even all his life+ he will perceive the truth as little as a spoon perceives the taste of soup. If an intelligent man "e associated for one minute only with a wise man+ he will soon perceive the truth+ as the tongue perceives the taste of soup. &eople with little understanding are their own greatest enemies+ for they do evil deeds which must "ear "itter fruits. .at deed is not well done of which a man must repent+ and the reward of which he receives crying with a tearful face.

>o+ that deed is well done of which a man does not repent and the reward of which he receives gladly and cheerfully. ;s long as the evil deed done does not "ear fruit+ the unintelligent person thinks it is like honeyN "ut when it ripens+ then he suffers grief. If you see an intelligent man who detects faults and "lames what is "lame0worthy+ follow that wise man as though he were a revealer of .hidden/ treasures. Get him admonish+ let him teach+ let him for"id what is improper 4 he will "e "eloved of the good+ "y the "ad he will "e hated. 1o not have evil0doers for friends+ do not have low people for friendsN have virtuous people for friends+ have for friends the "est of men. Irrigaters guide the waterN fletchers "end the arrowN carpenters "end a log of woodN wise people fashion themselves. ;s a solid rock is not shaken "y the wind+ wise people falter not amidst "lame and praise. 2ise people+ after they have listened to the laws+ "ecome serene like a deep+ clear and still lake. .ere is no suffering for him who has finished his *ourney and a"andoned grief+ who has freed himself on all sides and thrown off the fetters. .ey depart with their thoughts well0collected+ they do not delight in an a"odeN like swans who have left their lake+ they leave their house and home. .e gods even envy him whose senses like horses well "roken in "y the driver+ have "een su"dued+ who is free from pride and free from evil propensities.

In a hamlet or in a forest+ on the sea or on the dry land+ wherever venera"le persons .;rhats/ dwell+ that place is delightful. Forests are delightfulN where the worldly find no delight+ there the passionless will find delight+ for they look not for pleasure. Cven though a speech "e composed of a thousand words+ "ut words without sense+ one word of sense is "etter+ which if a man hears he "ecomes 3uiet. If one man con3uers in "attle a thousand times a thousand men+ if another con3uers himself+ he is the greatest of con3uerors. Cven an evil0doer sees happiness as long as his evil deed has not ripened "ut when his evil deed has ripened+ then does the evil0doer see evil. Cven a good man sees evil as long as his good deed has not ripenedN "ut when his good deed has ripened then does the good man see happiness. Get no man think lightly of evil+ saying in his heart+ it will not come unto me. Cven "y the falling of water0drops a waterpot is filled+ the fool "ecomes full of evil+ even if he gathers it little "y little. Get no man think lightly of good+ saying in his heart+ it will not come unto me. Cven "y the falling of water0drops a waterpot is filledN the steadfast man "ecomes full of good+ even if he gathers it little "y little. #e who has no wound on his hand may touch poison with his handN poison does not affect one who has no woundN how is there evil for one who does not commit evilB 2hosoever offends a harmless+ pure and innocent person+ that evil falls "ack upon that fool+ like light dust thrown up against the wind.

>ot in the sky+ not in the midst of the sun+ not if one enters into the clefts of the mountains+ is there known a spot in the whole world+ where if a man a"ide+ he might "e free from an evil deed. >ot in the sky+ not in the midst of the sun+ not if one enters into the clefts of the mountains+ is there known a spot in the whole world where if a man a"ide+ death could not overcome him. ;ll men trem"le at punishment+ all men fear deathN remem"ering that thou art like unto them+ do not strike or slay. ;ll men trem"le at punishment+ all men love life+ remem"ering that thou are unto them+ do not strike or slay. #e who+ seeking his own happiness+ does not in*ure or kill "eings who also long for happiness+ will find happiness after death. 1o not speak harshly to any"odyN those who are spoken to will answer thee in the same way. ;ngry speech "reeds trou"le+ thou wilt receive "lows for "lows. If like a shattered gong+ thou speakest not+ then thou hast reached >irvana+ contention is not found in thee. ;s a cowherd with his staff drives his cows to pasture+ so do -ld ;ge and 1eath drive the life of men. >ot to "lame+ not to strike+ to live restrained under the precepts to "e moderate in eating+ to sleep and sit alone+ and to dwell on lofty thoughts+ this is the teaching of the ;wakened. .ere is no satisfying lusts even "y a shower of gold0piecesN he who knows that lusts have a short taste and "ring suffering in their train is wise. Cven in heavenly pleasures he finds no delightN the follower of the !upremely Cnlightened -ne delights only in the destruction of every craving.

en driven "y fear go to many a refuge+ to mountains and forests+ to shrines and graves and sacred trees. But that is not a safe refuge+ that is not the "est refugeN a man is not delivered from all pains after having gone to that refuge. #e who takes refuge with the Buddha+ the 1hamma and the -rderN he who with clear understanding sees the Four >o"le <ruths+ is delivered from all pains after having gone to that refuge. Get us live happily then+ free from ailments among the ailing. ;mong men who are ailing+ let us dwell free from ailments. Get us live happily then+ free from greed among the greedy. ;mong men who are greedy let us dwell free from greed. Get us live happily then+ though we call nothing our own. 2e shall "e like the "right gods+ feeding on happiness. Victory "reeds hatred+ for the con3uered is unhappy. #e who has given up "oth victory and defeats+ he+ contented+ is happy. .ere is no fire like lustN there is no losing throw like hatredN there is no pain like this "ody+ there is no happiness higher than peace. #unger is the greatest affliction+ the "ody the chief of sorrowN of one who knows this truly+ that is >irvana+ the highest happiness. #ealth is the greatest "lessings+ contentedness the "est richesN trust is the "est of relationships+ >irvana the highest happiness. #e who has tasted the sweetness of solitude and tran3uility+ is free from fear and sin+ while he drinks in the nectar of the Gaw.

.e sight of the no"le is good+ to live with them is always "lessednessN if a man did not see the unwise+ he would "e truly happy. #e who consorts with the immature in wisdom suffers a long *ourneyN company with fools+ as with as enemy+ is always painfulN company with the steadfast is pleasant like meeting with kinsfolk. .erefore one should follow the wise+ the intelligent+ the learned+ the much enduring+ the dutiful+ the no"le+ one should follow a good and wise man+ as the moon follows the paths of the stars. #e who gives himself to vanity and does not give himself to meditation+ forgetting the real aim of life and grasping at the pleasura"le+ will come to envy him who has exerted himself in meditation. Get no man cleave to things that are pleasant or to those that are unpleasant. >ot to see what is pleasant is pain+ and it is pain to see what is unpleasant. From pleasure comes grief+ from affection comes fearN he who is free from affection neither sorrows nor fears. From .earthly/ affection comes grief+ from affection comes fearN he who is free from affection neither sorrows nor fears. From .sensuous/ delight comes grief+ from such delight comes fearN he who is free from delight neither sorrows nor fears. From lust comes grief+ from lust comes fearN he who is free from lust neither sorrows nor fears. From craving comes grief+ from craving comes fearN he who is free from craving neither sorrows nor fears.

#e who possesses character and discrimination+ who is *ust+ speaks the truth+ and does what is his own "usiness+ him the world will hold dear. #e in whom a desire for the ineffa"le has sprung up+ whose mind is permeated "y this desire and whose thoughts are not "ewildered "y sensuality is said to "e ="ound upstream'. $insmen+ friends and well0wishers salute a man who has "een long away and returns safe from afar. In like manner his good works receive him+ who has done good and has gone from this world to the other 4 as kinsmen receive one who is dear to them on his return. #e who holds "ack rising anger like a rolling chariot+ him I call a real driverN other people are "ut holding the reins. Get a man overcome anger "y mildness+ let him overcome the niggard "y li"erty+ the liar "y truth. .ere is an old saying+ - ;tula+ it is not only of todayK =.ey "lame him who sits silent+ they "lame him who speaks much+ they "lame him who says little'. .ere is no one in the world who is not "lamed. .ere never was+ there never will "e+ nor is there now+ a man who is always "lamed+ or a man who is always praised. Beware of "odily anger+ and control thy "ody. Geave the sins of the "ody and with thy "ody practise virtue. Beware of the anger of the tongue and control thy tongue. Geave the sins of the tongue and practise virtue with the tongue. Beware of the anger of the mind and control thy mind. Geave the sins of the mind and practise virtue with thy mind.

.e taint of prayers is non0repetition+ the taint of houses illrepair+ the taint of ."odily/ "eauty is sloth+ the taint of a watchman+ lack of vigilance. .e fault of others is easily perceived "ut that of one's self is difficult to perceiveN a man winnows his neigh"ours' faults like chaff+ "ut hides his own+ even as a dishonest gam"ler hides a losing throw. If a man looks after the faults of others and is always inclined to take offence+ his own evil propensities will growN far indeed is such a man from their destruction. ; man is not learned "ecause he talks muchN he who is patient+ free from hatred and fear+ he is called the learned. ; man is not an elder "ecause his head is greyN his age may "e ripe+ "ut he is called =old0in0vain'. #e who is "eyond merit and demerit+ who lives chastely+ who with knowledge passes through the world+ is truly called a mendicant. ; man is not a sage "ecause he o"serves silence+ if he is foolish and ignorantN "ut the man who taking the "alance+ chooses the good and re*ects the evil+ is a sage and for that very reason+ he who understands "oth worlds is therefore called a sage. #e who does not rouse himself when it is time to rise+ who though young and strong+ is full of sloth+ whose will and thought are weak+ that la5y and idle man will never find the way to wisdom. .rough meditation wisdom is won+ through lack of meditation wisdom is lostN let a man who knows this dou"le path of pain and loss so conduct himself that wisdom will grow. ,ut down the whole forest .of lust/+ not a tree only. 1anger comes out of the forest .of lust/N when you have cut down the

forest .of lust/ and its undergrowth+ then+ monks+ will you "e rid of the forest and "e freed. 1eath comes and carries off that man a"sor"ed in his children and flocks+ his mind distracted+ as a flood carries off a sleeping village. !ons are no help+ nor a father+ not relations+ there is no help from kinsfolk for one whom 1eath has sei5ed. If "y leaving a small pleasure one sees a great pleasure+ let a wise man leave the small pleasure and look to the great. #e who "y causing pain to others wishes to o"tain happiness for himself+ he+ entangled in the "onds of hatred+ will never "e free from hatred. 2hat ought to "e done is neglected+ what ought not to "e done is doneN the evil proclivities of unruly+ heedless people are always increasing. But they who+ ever alert+ meditate on the "ody do not follow what ought not "e done+ "ut steadfastly do what ought to "e done+ the evil proclivities of watchful and wise people will come to an end. .ey who are ashamed of what they ought not to "e ashamed of+ and are not ashamed of what they ought to "e ashamed of+ such men+ em"racing false doctrines enter the downward path. .ey who fear when they ought not fear+ and fear not when they ought to fear+ such men+ em"racing false doctrines+ enter the downward path. .ey who see sin where none exists+ and do not see it where it does exists+ such men+ em"racing false doctrines+ enter the downward path.

.ey who know what is for"idden as for"idden+ and what is not for"idden as not for"idden+ such men+ em"racing the true doctrine+ enter the good path. &atiently shall I endure a"use as the elephant in the "attle endures the arrows sent from the "owN for the world is ill0natured. .ey lead a tame elephant to "attle+ the king mounts a tame elephantN the tamed is the "est among men+ he who patiently endures a"use(. ules are good if tamed+ and no"le !indhu horses+ and great elephantsN "ut he who tames himself is "etter still. If a man "ecome la5y and a great eater+ if he is sleepy and rolls himself round like a great hog fed on wash+ that fool is "orn again and again. .e mind of mine went formerly wandering a"out as it liked+ as it listed+ as it pleasedN "ut I shall now control it perfectly as a rider controls with his hook a rutting elephant. If a man does not find a prudent companion to walk with+ not one who is upright and steadfast+ let him walk alone like a king who has left his con3uered country 4 "ehind+ like an elephant in the forest. It is "etter to live alone+ there is no companionship with a foolN let a man walk alone+ let him commit no sin+ let him do with few wishes+ like an elephant in the forest. If an occasion arises friends are pleasantN en*oyment is pleasant when one shares it with anotherN a good work is pleasant in the hour of deathN the giving up of all grief is pleasant. .e gift of the Gaw exceeds all giftsN the sweetness of the Gaw exceeds all sweetness+ the delight in the Gaw exceeds all delightsN the extinction of thirst overcomes all suffering.

.e fields are damaged "y weeds+ mankind is damaged "y lustN therefore a gift "estowed on those who are free from lust "rings great reward. .e fields are damaged "y weeds+ mankind is damaged "y hatredN therefore a gift "estowed on those who do not hate "rings great reward. .e fields are damaged "y weeds+ mankind is damaged "y delusionN therefore a gift "estowed on those who are free from delusion "rings great reward. .e fields are damaged "y weeds+ mankind is damaged "y cravingN therefore a gift "estowed on those who are free from craving+ "rings great reward. 7estraint in the eye is good+ good is restraint in the ear+ in the nose restraint is good+ good is restraint in the tongue. In the "ody restraint is good+ good is restraint in speech+ in thought restraint is good+ good is restraint in all things. ; monk restrained in all things+ is freed from all suffering. ;s the *asmine sheds its withered flowers+ even so+ - monks+ men should shed lust and hatred. .e monk who is 3uiet in "ody+ speech and mind+ who is collected and has refused the "aits of the world+ is truly called tran3uil. 7ouse thyself+ examine thyself "y thyselfN thus selfguarded and mindful+ will thou+ - monks+ live happily. For self is the lord of the self+ self is the refuge of self+ therefore cur" thyself as the merchant cur"s a good horse. C....... .. ... 1.........

,...... III .he .welve .rinciples of .uddhism ........ .. ... B....... !......+ G.....+ .. ..../ 1. !elf0salvation is for any man the immediate task. If a man lay wounded "y a poison arrow and he would not delay extraction "y demanding details of the man who shot it+ or the length and make of the arrow. .ere will "e time for ever0increasing understanding of the <eaching during the treading of the 2ay. eanwhile+ "egin now "y facing life as it is+ learning always "y direct and personal experience. ?. .e first fact of existence is the law of change or impermanence. ;ll that exists+ from a mole to a mountain+ from a thought to an empire+ passes through the same cycle of existence+ namely+ "irth+ growth+ decay and death. Gife alone is continuous+ even seeking self0expression in new forms. =Gife is a "ridgeN therefore "uild no house on it.' Gife is a process of flow+ and he who clings to any form+ however splendid will suffer "y resisting the flow. A. .e law of change applies e3ually to the =soul'. .ere is no principle in an individual which is immortal and unchanging. -nly the =>amelessness'+ the ultimate 7eality+ is "eyond change and all forms of life+ including man+ are manifestations of the 7eality. >o one owns the life which flows in him any more than the electric light "ul" owns the current that gives it light.

@. .e universe is the expression of law. ;ll effects have causes+ and man's soul or character is the sum total of his previous thoughts and acts. $arma+ meaning action0reaction+ governs all existence+ and man is the sole creator of his circumstances and his reaction to them+ his future condition+ and his final destiny. By right thought and action he can gradually purify his inner nature+ and so "y self0realisation attain in time li"eration from re"irth. .e process covers great periods of time+ involving life after life on earth+ "ut ultimately every form of life will reach Cnlightenment. H. Gife is one and indivisi"le+ though its everchanging forms are innumera"le and perisha"le. .ere is+ in truth+ no death+ though every form must die. From an understanding of life's unity arises compassion+ a sense of identity with the life in other forms. ,ompassion is descri"ed as the =Gaw of laws0eternal harmony'+ and he who "reaks this harmony of life will suffer accordingly and delay his own Cnlightenment. D. Gife "eing -ne+ the interests of the parts should "e those of the whole. In his ignorance man thinks he can successively strive for his own interests+ and this wrongly directed energy of selfishness produces suffering. #e learns from his suffering to reduce and finally eliminate it cause. the Buddha taught the Four >o"le <ruthsK .a/ .e omnipresence of suffering. ."/ Its cause+ wrongly directed desires. .c/ Its cure+ the removal of the cause. .d/ .e >o"le Cightfold &ath of self0development which leads to the end of suffering.

7. .e Cightfold &ath consists in 7ight .or perfect/ Views+ or preliminary understanding+ 7ight ;ims or otive+ 7ight !peech+ 7ight ;cts+ 7ight Givelihood+ 7ight Cffort+ 7ight ,oncentration or mind development+ and+ finally+ 7ight !amadhi+ leading to full Cnlightenment. ;s Buddhism is a way of living+ not merely a theory of life+ the treading of this &ath is essential to self0deliverance. =,ease to do evil+ learn to do good+ cleanse your own heartK this is the <eaching of the Buddhas'. F. 7eality is indescri"a"le+ and a :od with attri"utes is not the final 7eality. But the Buddha+ a human "eing+ "ecame the ;ll0Cnlightened -ne+ and the purpose of life is the attainment of Cnlightenment. .is state of ,onsciousness+ >irvana+ the extinction of the limitations of self0hood+ is attaina"le on earth. ;ll men and all other forms of life contain the potentiality of Cnlightenment+ and the process therefore consists in "ecoming what you are. =Gook withinK thou art Buddha'. 9. From potential to actual Cnlightenment there lies the iddle 2ay+ the Cightfold 2ay =from desire to peace'+ a process of self0development "etween the =opposites'+ avoiding all extremes. .e Buddha trod this 2ay to the end+ and the only faith re3uired in Buddhism is the reasona"le "elief that where a :uide has trodden it is worth our while to tread. .e 2ay must "e trodden "y the whole man+ not merely the "est of him+ and heart and mind must "e developed e3ually. .e Buddha was the ;ll0,ompassionate as well as the ;ll0Cnlightened -ne. 1E. Buddhism lays great stress on the need of inward concentration and meditation+ which leads in time to the development of

the inner spiritual faculties. .e su"*ective life is as important as the daily round+ and periods of 3uietude for inner activity are essential for a "alanced life. .e Buddhist should at all times "e =mindful and self0possessed'+ refraining from mental and emotional attachment to =the passing show'. .is increasing watchful attitude to circumstances+ which he knows to "e his own creation+ helps him to keep his reaction to it always under control. 11. .e Buddha saidK =2ork out your own salvation with diligence'. Buddhism knows no authority for truth save the intuition of the individual+ and that is authority for himself alone. Cach man suffers the conse3uences of his own acts+ and learns there"y+ while helping his fellow men to the same deliveranceN nor will prayer to the Buddha or to any :od prevent an effect from following its cause. Buddhist monks are teachers and examplars+ and in no sense intermediates "etween 7eality and the individual. .e utmost tolerance is practised towards all other religions and philosophies+ for no man has the right to interfere in his neigh"ours's *ourney to the :oal. 1?. Buddhism is neither pessimistic nor =escapist'+ nor does it deny the existence of :od or soul+ though it places its own meaning on these terms. It is+ on the contrary+ a system of thought+ a religion+ a spiritual science and a way of life+ which is reasona"le+ practical+ and all0em"racing. For over two thousand years it has satisfied the spiritual needs of nearly one0third of mankind. It appeals to the 2est "ecause it has no dogmas+ satisfies the reason and the heart alike+ insists on self0reliance coupled with tolerance for other points of view+ em"races science+ religion+ philosophy+ psychology+ ethics and art+ and points to man alone+ as the creator of his present life and the sole designer of his destiny.

.eace to all "eings 6.ay all "eings receive the "lessings of .uan .hih .in .'usa.8