Category Archives: Buddhist sutras

Ullambana festival


ghost festival

From the City of 10,000 Buddhas website:

Ullambana is the day for helping those beings who are suffering so that they can obtain liberation.

The Venerable Mahamaudgalyayana, one of the great disciples of the Buddha, was foremost in spiritual powers.  When he obtained the six spiritual penetrations, he searched for his departed mother.  He discovered that she had fallen into the hells.  Although the Venerable Maudgalyayana had great spiritual powers, he could not save his mother.  Thereupon he knelt before his teacher, the Buddha, and beseeched the World Honored One to help.

The Buddha explained that his mother was suffering in the hells because of her deep offenses and so the Venerable Maudgalyayana must rely on the united strength of the Sangha of the ten directions in order to save his mother.

The Buddha said, “On the fifteenth day of the seventh month you should make an offering of the finest vegetarian foods and drinks and offer it to the Buddha and the Sangha.  By making this offering, the Way-virtue of the high Sanghans of the ten directions will then be able to save your mother.”

The Venerable Mahamaudgalyayana did as the Buddha had instructed.  Due to the strength of the greatly virtuous ones of the ten directions, his mother was reborn in the heavens.  Since then, the Ullambana festival has become an annual Buddhist celebration and a day upon which anyone can rescue his or her parents of seven lives past.

The Venerable Master:

“No teaching is apart from Filiality.  Apart from filiality, there is no teaching.  When the limitless lessons under the sky are summarized, it is just this one lesson.  This lesson encompasses limitless learning.  Study this lesson to perfection and other lessons will also be completed.” — Master Hsuan Hua

History:

The celebrations begin on the 15th day of the seventh month known as Ghost Day and continue for the next fifteen days.  Thus, the seventh month is generally referred to as the Ghost Month in the Chinese tradition.

Ullambana Sutra:

“Thus I have heard, at one time, the Buddha dwelt at Shravasti in the Garden of the Benefactor of Orphans and the Solitary.  Mahamaudgalyayana had just obtained the six penetrations and wished to cross over his father and mother to repay their kindness for raising him.  Thus, using his Way Eye, he regarded the world and saw that his deceased mother had been born among the hungry ghosts.  Having neither food nor drink, she was but skin and bones.

Mahamaudgalyayana felt deep pity and sadness, filled a bowl with food, and went to provid for his mother.  She got the bowl, screened it with her left hand, and with her right hand made a fist of food.  But before it entered her mouth, it turned into burning coals which could not be eaten.  Mahamaudgalyayana called out and wept sorrowfully, and hastened to return to the Buddy to set forth all of this.”

The Buddha said, “Your mother’s offenses are deep and firmly rooted. You alone do not have enough power. Although your filial sounds move heaven and earth, the heaven spirits, the earth spirits, twisted demons, and those outside the way, Brahmans, and the Four Heavenly King Gods are also without sufficient strength. The awesome spiritual power of the assembled Sangha of the ten directions is necessary for liberation to be attained. I shall now speak a Dharma of rescue which causes all those in difficulty to leave worry and suffering, and to eradicate obstacles from offenses.

Click here to read the rest of the sutra.

Pravarana Days:

2016 – Thursday, August 18th

2017 – Wednesday, September 6th

Inspiration:

 The Buddha said:

“If one thus makes offerings to these Pravarana Sanghans, one’s present father and mother, parents of seven generations past, as well as the six kinds of close relatives will escape from the three paths of suffering, and at that time attain release.

Pravarana Sanghans

Their clothing and food will spontaneously appear.  If the parents are still alive, they will have wealth and blessings for a hundred years.  Parents of seven generations past will be born in the heavens.  Transformationally born, they will independently enter the celestial flower light, and experience limitless bliss.”

Donations:

The Singapore Sangha is preparing a festival for September 2nd, 2017.  You can check it out and if you feel inspired make a donation at any time.

Singapore FPMT sangha

or try the

 

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Building Stupas


The Importance of Stupas

from the Padmasambhava website:stupas representation

The benefits of building stupas were spoken of by the buddha in the Noble Amazing Sutra:

Ananda! Any devoted noble sons and daughters who fill this entire three-thousand-fold universe with the seven precious metals and make offerings to all the stream-enterers, once-returners, non-returners, and arhats—as well as all the sangha members in the four directions—do not accumulate as much merit as someone who makes a stupa to the Tathagata—the Subduer, the Perfectly Enlightened One, the One Who Entered Mahaparinirvana— that is even the size of a churura seed, with a central column the size of a needle, an umbrella the size of a juniper leaf, and filled with grain-sized statues and mustard seed-sized relics.

Moreover, in the Analyzing Activity Sutra, the Buddha said to the brahmin son Netso:

Whoever builds the Stupa of the Tathagata will gain the eighteen benefits. These are: (1) to be born in a royal family, (2) with perfect features (3) and a beautiful body; (4) who everybody loves to see (5) and looks to as a leader; (6) with fame expanding in the ten directions, (7) beautiful cheering sounds, (8) and praised with beautiful verses; (9) very detached from the world (10) and honored by gods (11) and humans; (12) very wealthy, (13) with a long life (14) and as healthy and strong as a vajra; (15) possessing the major marks (16) and minor marks; (17) born in the upper realms; (18) and soon to enter the supreme enlightened state.

Boudhanath Stupa Stunning Buddhist stupa of Tibetan in Nepal-3

In the Noble Lotus Sutra, the Buddha said:

Whoever makes a stupa out of stones, agarwood, or sandalwood; or whoever makes a stupa with joy out of medicinal wood or even out of plain wood, earth, brick, and so on; or whoever makes a stupa by just using heaps of earth in some remote area while thinking of the Buddha; or even children who make a stupa while playing games with sand while thinking of the Victorious One; or whoever draws forms (of the Buddha)—they will all reach enlightenment.

The Manjushrimitra Root Tantra states:

(Those who want) to purify their negativities should make a stupa with their own hands—it will cleanse even the worst five obscurations. If they make 100,000 stupas, they will become a universal monarch among all the vidyadharas. Whoever contacts such a stupa will develop great wisdom and long life, and even if they die, they will be reborn in the higher realms in a royal clan, and they will never go to the lower realms. When born, their intelligence will be like a blazing sun, their intellect will become stable, and they will remember past lives. Thus it is said.

Moreover, the Noble Stainless Beams of Light Sutra states:

Noble sons and daughters! Whoever circumambulates or make offerings to a stupa will be blessed by Tathagatas, move to the supreme enlightened state through a non-returning path, and purify all of their karmic obscurations. Even if the shadow of a stupa touches birds, animals, deer, or whomever, they will not be reborn in the lower realms.

Thus, in the sutras and tantras the Buddha taught extensively about the benefits of building stupas, as well as the benefits to those who support and make contact with stupas.

A big Tibetan Buddhist chorten found just south of Ganze, Tibet (China).

Creating Virtue:

You can begin by clicking here to donate to the 100,000 Stupas Around the World project by Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Building stupas helps develop so much peace and happiness for numberless sentient beings.  As a result, wars, disease, and desire will all be pacified.  Instead of feeling hopeless, people will gain courage. — Lama Zopa Rinpoche

offerings3

 

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The Fishwife


The Buddha is in a state of unmoving suchness, but when someone wants to protect the Buddhadharma and help people become Buddhas, it nonetheless makes him happy.

At that time, the World Honored One praised Ananda in front of the whole assembly, saying, “Good indeed!” The Buddha was pleased. “You’re really fine, Ananda. How good it is”, he praises him twice, that you have asked how to establish a Bodhimanda and to rescue and protect living beings who are sunk in the morass of the final age. You want to help beings in the Dharma-ending Age who are being drowned in the water and consumed by the fire. Listen well, now, and I will tell you.”

kwan_yin

Guan  Yin Bodhisattva

Ananda and the great assembly agreed to uphold the teaching. When they heard the Buddha agree to speak the dharma, their joy was even greater. The Buddha probably said, “Do you want to listen to this?”

Everyone undoubtedly answered, “We want to. We want to.” When deviant teachers explain their methods, their sole topic is sexual desire. The things they say are unprincipled. This should be distinguished clearly. Sometimes Bodhisattvas also use compassion, kind words, and a protective heart to teach living beings, because they know that all living beings are steeped in desire. Every living being has thoughts of sexual desire. So he does not expect them to cut off their love and desire immediately, but he uses all kinds of expedient means to get them to see through and renounce sexual desire. Then they can put a stop to it themselves. This is the state of a Bodhisattva, totally different from that of the deviant teachers of externalist ways.

Once, Guan Yin Bodhisattva transformed into a fishmonger. She was an exquisite woman who went about the village with her fish-basket. No one in the village believed in the Hawthorne-The FishwifeBuddha. But when the young men of the village caught sight of this maiden, they desired her. The village wasn’t large, but there were at least a hundred young men there, and every one of them wanted to marry her.

Guan Yin with the fish-basket said, “There are so many of you! I can’t marry a hundred men, but I’ve thought of a method to choose a husband. I will marry whichever of the hundred of you is the first to be able to learn to recite by heart the ‘Universal Door Chapter’ of the Lotus Sutra. Go back home and I’ll give you three days.”

But, at the end of three days, there were forty or fifty who could recite it from memory. The woman with the fish basket said, “But there are still too many of you. Even though you have met the requirements, I can’t have fifty husbands. This time go back and within five days memorize the Vajra Sutra. I’ll marry whoever does that.”

So the fifty who’d made it to the first level went back and began to practice the Vajra Sutra. At the end of five days there were some twenty who could recite it by heart. The fish monger said, “There are still too many of you. It’s impossible for me to marry you all. I have one more task. Anyone who can memorize the Lotus Sutra in seven days will be my husband. I believe whoever can do that will be worthy.”

The twenty began to recite the Lotus Sutra, and at the end of seven days there was one man who could recite it from memory. He was named Ma, and came from a wealthy family. So there was a large wedding and everyone was invited. That evening, after the festivities, they retired, but who would have guessed that the bride would have a heart attack and die instantly? And the bridegroom had gone to so much effort! He’d memorized the “Universal Door Chapter,” the Vajra Sutra, and the Lotus Sutra, and still he had no bride. Shortly thereafter, the funeral took place, and a monk in purple robes appeared on the scene. “What’s going on?” he asked. “Our new daughter-in-law passed away suddenly, and we are burying her.”

“No,” said the monk. “There’s nothing in that coffin at all! Who are you mourning for? Open it and take a look.”

empty-coffin

Indeed, the coffin was empty. They were all amazed. “Where’s she gone? After her! Bring her back!”

The monk told them, “That was Guan Yin Bodhisattva. You people in this village didn’t believe in the Buddha, so she manifested the appearance of a beautiful woman in order to get you young men who are so fond of forms to study the Buddhadharma. Then she left.”

When the bridegroom, Ma, heard that, he renounced all worldly things and left the home-life. After that, he was certified to the fruition of a sage. That really happened in China.

Story & Commentary by Venerable Master Hsuan Hua

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Festival of Lights 2015


Every year at the Root Institute in Bodhgaya they create one of my favorite types of offerings to the triple gem.  On July 20th is a special day where the merit we create is multiplied by 100, 000. 

It is on the same day that Shakyamuni Buddha gave his first sermon which we call the “First Turning of the Dharma Wheel” which happens to be on July 20th of this year.

From the flyer that I received in email:

Festival of Lights

“Those who offer one thousand lights will be reborn when Maitreya Buddha shows the deed of gaining enlightenment and receive his first Dharma teaching.” — Arya Maitreya Sutra

  • 50,000 lights – $500
  • 25,000 lights – $250
  • 10,000 lights – $100
  • 5,000 lights – $50

Click here to help sponsor this event and bring some wondrous light it into this dark world:

Root Institute

Thanks,
Neo

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a zen teaching


Huáng Po is perhaps one of Zen Buddhism’s most brilliant Zen masters.  One of the sample teachings (below) from Huang Po’s dialogues brings to light Zen Buddhism’s most esoteric theme concerning Buddha Mind.  Much more vast than the Western concept of mind, Huang Po reveals the transcendent nature of Buddha Mind which traditional Zen Buddhists believe is the source of all things.

Huang Po quote

Brief Bio:

Huáng Po (d. 850) was noted for his outlandish manner of teaching, which incorporating hitting and shouting to awaken his students.  There are a number of instances in the record of Huáng Po slapping students.

One time, the future emperor of China, hiding in the Chan community as a novice monk, received many slaps from Huáng Po for questioning why Huáng Po was bowing to an image of the Buddha.

Another instance was when Linji Yixuan was directed by the head monk to question Huáng Po on the meaning of Buddhism after he had been practicing hard in the monastery for three years without an interview. Three times Linji went to Huáng Po and three times the only answer he got was a slap.

Classic Text:

From “The Zen Teachings of Huang Po”:

“Now we are getting towards the end of the third period of five hundred years since the time of the Buddha, and most students of zen cling to all sorts of sounds and forms.  Why do they not copy me by letting each thought go as though it were nothing, or as though it were a piece of rotten wood, a stone, or the cold ashes of a dead fire?  Or else, by just making whatever slight response is suited to each occasion?

If you do not act thus, when you reach the end of your days here, you will be tortured by Yama.  You must get away from the doctrines of existence and non-existence, for Mind is like the sun, forever in the void, shining spontaneously, shining without intending to shine.  This is not something which you can accomplish without effort, but when you reach the point of clinging to nothing whatever, you will be acting as the Buddhas act.

This will indeed be acting in accordance with the saying: ‘Develop a mind which rests on no thing whatever.’  For this is your pure Dharmakaya, which is called supreme perfect Enlightenment.

If you cannot understand this, though you gain profound knowledge from your studies, though you make the most painful efforts and practice the most stringent austerities, you will still fail to know your own mind.  All your effort will have been misdirected and you will certainly join the family of Mara.  What advantage can you gain from this sort of practice?”

many blessings!
Neo

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obtaining virtue


The Buddha said to Maitreya, “If here in this world you are upright in thought and will, and abstain from doing evil, then you will attain the utmost virtue, unsurpassed in all the lands throughout the ten quarters.

Why is this so? 

Devas and humans in the Buddha-lands naturally do good and rarely commit evil, and so, it is easy to teach and train them.  Having become a Buddha in this world, I now dwell in the midst of the five evils, the five sufferings, and the five burnings.  This is extremely painful for me.

Buddha_Amitayus

I will teach multitudes of beings, making them abandon the five evils, avoid the five sufferings, and escape from the five burnings.  I will train their minds and lead them to practice the five good deeds, so that they may acquire merit and virtue and attain emancipation, long life, and Nirvana.”

Roots of virtue:

“In this world, you should extensively plant roots of virtue, be benevolent, give generously, abstain from breaking the precepts, be patient and diligent, teach people with sincerity and wisdom, do virtuous deeds, and practice good.

If you strictly observe the precepts of abstinence with upright thought and mindfulness even for a day and a night, the merit acquired will surpass that of practicing good in the land of Amitayus for a hundred years.  The reason is that in that Buddha-land of effortless spontaneity all the inhabitants do good without committing even a hair’s breadth of evil.

If in this world you do good for ten days and nights, the merit acquired will surpass that of practicing good in the Buddha-land of other quarters for a thousand years.

The reason is that in the Buddha-land of other quarters many practice good and very few commit evil.  They are lands where everything is naturally provided as a result of one’s merit and virtue, and so no evil is done.

But in this world much evil is committed, and few are provided for naturally; people must work hard to get what they want.  Since they intend to deceive each other, their minds are troubled, their bodies exhausted, and they drink bitterness and eat hardship.  In this way, they are preoccupied with their toil [and don’t] have time for rest.

The Challenge:

  1. One day – The merit acquired for planting roots of virtue for a day, will surpass those practicing good in the land of Amitayus for a hundred years.
  2. Ten days – The merit acquired for planting roots of virtue for ten days, the merit acquired will surpass that of practicing good in the Buddha-land of other quarters for a thousand years.

To learn more about Amitayus: Infinite Life Sutra

To watch the Chinese video: Amitayus Infinite Life sutra

Many Blessings!
Neo

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the two paths


It’s always nice to come across any type of work by the great Zen Master Bodhidharma.  His truth hits home because he effortlessly sums up the whole path in a condensed and simple manner.  Here is one such teaching:

Bodhidharma2

MANY roads lead to the Path, but basically there are only two: reason and practice.

To enter by reason means to realize the essence through instruction and to believe that all living things share the same true nature, which isn’t apparent because it’s shrouded by sensation and delusion.  Those who turn from delusion back to reality, who meditate on walls, the absence of self and other, the oneness of mortal and sage, and who remain unmoved even by scriptures are in complete and unspoken agreement with reason.  Without moving, without effort, they enter, we say, by reason.

To enter by practice refers to four all-inclusive practices:  Suffering injustice, adapting to conditions, seeking nothing, and practicing the Dharma.

First, suffering injustice.  When those who search for the Path encounter adversity, they should think to themselves,

 “In Countless ages gone by, I’ve turned from the essential to the trivial and wandered through all manner of existence, often angry without cause and guilty of numberless transgressions.

Now, though I do no wrong, I’m punished by my past.  Neither gods nor men can foresee when an evil deed will bear its fruit.  I accept it with an open heart and without complaint of injustice.  The sutras say “When you meet with adversity don’t be upset because it makes sense.”  With such understanding you’re in harmony with reason.  And by suffering injustice you enter the Path.

Second, adapting to conditions.  As mortals, we’re ruled by conditions, not by ourselves.  All the suffering and joy we experience depend on conditions. 

If we should be blessed by some great reward, such as fame or fortune, it’s the fruit of a seed planted by us in the past.  When conditions change, it ends

Why delight in its existence?  But while success and failure depend on conditions, the mind neither waxes nor wanes.  Those who remain unmoved by the wind of joy silently follow the Path.

Third, seeking nothing.  People of this world are deluded.  They’re always longing for something-always, in a word, seeking.  But the wise wake up.  They choose reason over custom.  They fix their minds on the sublime and let their bodies change with the seasons.

All phenomena are empty.  They contain nothing worth desiring.  Calamity forever alternates with Prosperity!

To dwell in the three realms is to dwell in a burning house.  To have a body is to suffer.  Does anyone with a body know peace?  Those who understand this detach themselves from all that exists and stop Imagining or seeking anything.  The sutras say, “To seek is to suffer.  To seek nothing is bliss.”  When you seek nothing, you’re on the Path.

Fourth, practicing the Dharma.  The Dharma is the truth that all natures are pure.  By this truth, all appearances are empty.  Defilement and attachment, subject and object don’t exist.  The sutras say, “The Dharma includes no being because it’s free from the impurity of being, and the Dharma includes no self because it’s free from the impurity of self.”  Those wise enough to believe and understand these truths are bound to practice according to the Dharma.

And since that which is real includes nothing worth begrudging, they give their body, life, and property in charity, without regret, without the vanity of giver, gift, or recipient, and without bias or attachment.

And to eliminate impurity they teach others, but without becoming attached to form.  Thus, through their own practice they’re able to help others and glorify the Way of Enlightenment.  And as with charity, they also practice the other virtues.  But while practicing the six virtues to eliminate delusion, they practice nothing at all.  This is what’s meant by practicing the Dharma.

 The Great Master Bodhi-dharma’s Teaching on the Two Enterings and the Four Practices  

By Bodhi-dharma
Translated into English by Red Pine, 1987

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The Mustard Seed


From the Dhammapada:

THERE was a rich man who found his gold suddenly transformed into ashes; and he took to his bed and refused all food.  A friend, hearing of his sickness, visited the rich man and learned the cause of his grief.

And the friend said: “Thou didst not make good use of thy wealth.  When thou didst hoard it up it was not better than ashes.  Now heed my advice.  Spread mats in the bazaar; pile up these ashes, and pretend to trade with them.”

The rich man did as his friend had told him, and when his neighbors asked him, “Why sellest thou ashes?” he said: “I offer my goods for sale.”

After some time a young girl, named Kisa Gotami, an orphan and very poor, passed by, and seeing the rich man in the bazaar, said: “My lord, why pilest thou thus up gold and silver for sale?”  And the rich man said: “Wilt thou please hand me that gold and silver?”  And Kisa Gotami took up a handful of ashes, and lo! they changed back into gold.

Considering that Kisa Gotami had the mental eye of spiritual knowledge and saw the real worth of things, the rich man gave her in marriage to his son, and he said: “With many, gold is no better than ashes, but with Kisa Gotami ashes become pure gold.”

And Kisa Gotami had an only son, and he died.  In her grief she carried the dead child to all her neighbors, asking them for medicine, and the people said: “She has lost her senses.  The boy is dead.”

At length Kisa Gotami met a man who replied to her request: “I cannot give thee medicine for thy child, but I know a physician who can.”  The girl said: “Pray tell me, sir; who is it?”  And the man replied: “Go to Sakyamuni, the Buddha.”

Kisa Gotami repaired to the Buddha and cried: “Lord and Master, give me the medicine that will cure my boy.”

The Buddha answered: “I want a handful of mustard-seed.”  And when the girl in her joy promised to procure it, the Buddha added: “The mustard-seed must be taken from a house where no one has lost a child, husband, parent, or friend.”

The search: 

Poor Kisa Gotami now went from house to house, and the people pitied her and said: “Here is mustard-seed; take it!”  But when she asked, “Did a son or daughter, a father or mother, die in your family?”

They answered her: “Alas the living are few, but the dead are many.  Do not remind us of our deepest grief.”  And there was no house but some beloved one had died in it.

Kisa Gotami became weary and hopeless, and sat down at the wayside, watching the lights of the city, as they flickered up and were extinguished again.  At last the darkness of the night reigned everywhere.  And she considered the fate of men, that their lives flicker up and are extinguished.  And she thought to herself:

How selfish am I in my grief!  Death is common to all; yet in this valley of desolation there is a path that leads him to immortality who has surrendered all selfishness.”

Putting away the selfishness of her affection for her child, Kisa Gotami had the dead body buried in the forest.  Returning to the Buddha, she took refuge in him and found comfort in the Dharma, which is a balm that will soothe all the pains of our troubled hearts.

Heart advice:

The Buddha said: “The life of mortals in this world is troubled and brief and combined with pain.  For there is not any means by which those that have been born can avoid dying; after reaching old age there is death; of such a nature are living beings.

As ripe fruits are early in danger of falling, so mortals when born are always in danger of death.  As all earthen vessels made by the potter end in being broken, so is the life of mortals.  Both young and adult, both those who are fools and those who are wise, all fall into the power of death; all are subject to death.

“Of those who, overcome by death, depart from life, a father cannot save his son, nor kinsmen their relations.  Mark I while relatives are looking on and lamenting deeply, one by one mortals are carried off, like an ox that is led to the slaughter.  So the world is afflicted with death and decay, therefore the wise do not grieve, knowing the terms of the world.  In whatever manner people think a thing will come to pass, it is often different when it happens, and great is the disappointment; see, such are the terms of the world.

“Not from weeping nor from grieving will anyone obtain peace of mind; on the contrary, his pain will be the greater and his body will suffer.  He will make himself sick and pale, yet the dead are not saved by his lamentation.  People pass away, and their fate after death will be according to their deeds.

If a man live a hundred years, or even more, he will at last be separated from the company of his relatives, and leave the life of this world.  He who seeks peace should draw out the arrow of lamentation, and complaint, and grief.  He who has drawn out the arrow and has become composed will obtain peace of mind; he who has overcome all sorrow will become free from sorrow, and be blessed.”

Light,
Neo

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The path of immortality


 

We focus so much on the body and all sorts of different ways to achieve happiness.  We often take our herbs, vitamins, protein shakes, and b12 shots to enhance and strengthen us that we forget what is truly essential.

Once we have achieved some mastery over the body, in terms of health and nutrition, it would be wise to hear what the Buddha taught.  To achieve a lasting and permanent salvation we need to know what works and what doesn’t.

Hopefully this teaching will steer us back on proper course.  The following is from The Shurangama Sutra:

The Ten Categories in the Realm of Seers (Rishis)

Ananda, there are men who, instead of cultivating the Samadhi of right Bodhi, practice (immortality) wrongly according to their false thoughts, thus preserving their thinking and bodies; they are fond of living in mountains, groves and uninhabitable places.

There are ten classes of them.

  1. Ananda, those men who diet (specially) to preserve their bodies and thereby live long through dieting, are called earthbound seers.
  2. Those who take herbs and fruits to preserve their bodies and thereby live long through taking medicine, are called flying seers.
  3. Those who take mineral products to preserve their bodies and thereby live long by means of alchemy, are called unhindered roaming seers.
  4. Those who regulate their (organic) functions to preserve their bodies and thereby live long by means of proper breathing, are called immaterial seers.
  5. Those who make good use of controlling their saliva to preserve their bodies and thereby live long by means of their glowing spirituality, are called heavenly seers.
  6. Those who feed on the vital principle of nature to preserve the essence of form, and thereby live long by absorbing natural purity, are called all-entering seers.
  7. Those who use incantations to preserve their bodies and thereby live long by means of occultism, are called seers of the (lesser) Tao.
  8. Those who concentrate on their thoughts to preserve their bodies and thereby live long by means of mental concentration are called illuminating seers.
  9. Those who practice the integration of (the positive and negative) principles to preserve their bodies and thereby live long by means of the spiritual harnessing power (of yoga) are called spiritual seers.
  10. Those who practice sublimation of their bodies and thereby live long by means of spiritual awareness are seers of the highest order.

Ananda, these men regulate their minds but do not practice the right Bodhi, and live for perhaps a thousand and ten thousand years; they live on high mountains or (desert) islands and cut off all worldly connections.

Their states still belong to the samsaric stream of wrong thoughts, and since they do not practice Samadhi, when they have enjoyed their conditioned blessing, they will have to return to the (lower) planes of existence.

A warning:

As the gathering drew to a close, the Buddha grasped the teapoy and made a move to rise from His lion seat when suddenly he changed his mind, leant back and said to Ananda and the assembly:

You sravakas and pratyeka-buddhas need to study more in your quest of Supreme Bodhi: I have taught you the method of correct cultivation but you still do not know the subtle states of Mara which appear when you practice shamatha-vipasyana.

When they manifest, if you fail to distinguish them and if your minds are not in a right state, you will fall into the evil ways of either the demons or your five aggregates, of the heavenly Maras, of ghosts and spirits, or of mischievous sprites.  If you are not clear about them, you will mistake thieves for your own sons.

Merits gained:

The Buddha said: ‘Ananda, the words of Buddhas are not deceitful.

If another man, after committing the fours and ten sins (parajikas) and after falling into the avici hells, can, in a flash, think of teaching this Dharma door to living beings in the Dharma ending age, his evil sins will vanish and his hells of suffering will change into happy places for his merit surpasses that of the giver of treasures, because the latter’s cannot be even a hundredth, a thousandth, a hundred thousandth of the former’’s, in fact no comparison can be made between the two.

Ananda, if someone reads (and practices) this sutra, the whole aeon will pass long before his merits can be enumerated in full.  He who follows and practices my teaching will be free from all the obstructions of Mara and will realize Bodhi.’

Download:

To read the entire sutra please click here: The Surangama Sutra

Many blessings!
Neo

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The dragon girl


Before his words had come to an end, the dragon king’s daughter suddenly appeared before the Buddha, bowed her head in obeisance, and then retired to one side, reciting these verses of praise:

He profoundly understands the signs of guilt and good fortune and illuminates the ten directions everywhere.  His subtle, wonderful pure Dharma body is endowed with the thirty-two features; the eighty characteristics adorn his Dharma body.  Heavenly and human beings gaze up in awe, dragons and spirits all pay honor and respect; among all living beings, none who do not hold him in reverence.  And having heard his teachings, I have attained bodhi – the Buddha alone can bear witness to this.  I unfold the doctrines of the Great Vehicle to rescue living beings from suffering.

At that time Shariputra said to the dragon girl,

“You suppose that in this short time you have been able to attain the unsurpassed way.  But this is difficult to believe.  Why?  Because a woman’s body is soiled and defiled, not a vessel for the Law.  How could you attain the unsurpassed bodhi?  The road to Buddhahood is long and far-reaching.  Only after one has spent immeasurable kalpas pursuing austerities, accumulating deeds, practicing all kinds of paramitas, can one finally achieve success.

Moreover, a woman is subject to the five obstacles.  First, she cannot become a Brahma heavenly king.  Second, she cannot become the king Shakra.  Third, she cannot become a devil king.  Fourth, she cannot become a wheel-turning sage king.  Fifth, she cannot become a Buddha.  How then could a woman like you be able to attain Buddhahood so quickly?”

At that time the dragon girl had a precious jewel worth as much as the thousand-million-fold world which she presented to the Buddha.  The Buddha immediately accepted it.  The dragon girl said to Bodhisattva Wisdom Accumulated to the venerable one, Shariputra, “I presented the precious jewel and the World-Honored One accepted it – was that not quickly done?”

They replied, “Very quickly!”

The girl said, “employ your supernatural powers and watch me attain Buddhahood.  It shall be even quicker than that!”

At that time the members of the assembly all saw the dragon girl in the space of an instant change into a man and carry out all the practices of a bodhisattva, immediately proceeding to the Spotless World of the south, taking a seat on a jeweled lotus, and attaining impartial and correct enlightenment.  With the thirty-two features and the eighty characteristics, he expounded the wonderful Law for all living beings everywhere in the ten directions.

At that time in the saha world to all the bodhisattvas, voice-hearers, gods, dragons and others of the eight kinds of guardians, human and non-human beings all from a distance saw the dragon girl become a Buddha and preach the law to all the human and heavenly beings in the assembly at that time.  Their hearts were filled with great joy and all from a distance paid reverent obeisance.

Immeasurable living beings, hearing the Law, understood it and were able to reach the level of no regression.  Immeasurable living beings received prophecies that they would gain the away.  The Spotless World quaked and trembled in six different ways.  Three thousand living beings of the saha world remained on the level of no regression.  Three thousand living beings conceived a desire for bodhi and received prophecies of enlightenment.  Bodhisattva Wisdom Accumulated, Shariputra and all the other members of the assembly silently believed an accepted these things.

To download and read this sutra click here: The Lotus Sutra

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Filed under Buddhist sutras