V 3-36 Learn about the ‘Three Powers’ of Buddhism; Begin to enlighten with a Wondrous Mind
Disclaimer: The translations are not official nor endorsed by 2OR, so please just treat it as a ‘fan-based’ translation. The Buddha-Dharma is profound. No matter how you convey it, it won’t be completely perfect. Because the Buddha-Dharma is an experience, it’s an awakening 【佛法深奥无比，怎么写，都不会是究竟圆满。佛法是一种悟】. Please enjoy, and I hope it serves as a good filler until the official English version comes out.
Learning Buddhism requires a master or teacher to guide you. If a person solely relies on themselves, their cultivation won’t succeed. They won’t even know where they will be going at the end of their cultivation. Somebody asked Master, “If I follow you and cultivation, would I go to the Western Pure Lands?” His reply is well-founded. The great master Yin Guang had written the following in the Chao Jinghua Record. ‘The Holy Name of Guan Yin, is called as if calling a father or mother, and the one name that must be recited. For cultivators of pure deeds, other than reciting the name of the Buddha, shall also recite that name. For those who have yet to bring forth their resolve, they should also focus on reciting that name. For any who recites the name of Guan Yin, and wishes to reborn in the Western Pure Lands, their wish will be fulfilled.” In plain terms, everybody should recite the Holy Name of Guan Yin Bodhisattva. And for those who cultivate the ascetic way, like abandoning and letting go of everything they have in the Human Realm, for example, their body and family, etc., then with one focused intent, they can transcend to the Western Pure Lands. That is the cultivator of pure deeds.
For those who cultivate Pure Land Buddhism, other than reciting the name of Buddha, they must also recite the name of Guan Yin Bodhisattva. Master mentioned before that his Dharma door could help the deceased to spiritually ascend to the Western Pure Lands. There are already people who can testify this, that after offering Little Houses, the deceased will receive a notification from heaven to go to the Western Pure Lands. To those who haven’t yet brought forth their resolve, they must recite sutras immediately and focus on reciting Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s Holy Name. The great master Yin Guang said, “For any who recites the name of Guan Yin, and wishes to reborn in the Western Pure Lands, their wish will be fulfilled.” Think about it, you are following Master and worshipping Guan Yin Bodhisattva, and cultivating Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s Dharma door, how could you not go to the Western Pure Lands? Not only would cultivating this Dharma Door help you go to the Western Pure Lands, but you can also go to higher realms. Not to mention that you’re cultivating at home, and it can also benefit and improve your daily lives. That’s why Master said that this Dharma door is very good, and every one of you must properly cultivate.
Master will now expound a few essential points in cultivating Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s Dharma door: 1. Possessing a mind of wondrous awareness. When you are spiritually awakening others, your mind must be able to think of wondrous methods to do it effectively and efficiently. You must be awakened and enlightened yourself so that your wisdom could become more developed, and can influence others to follow your way. Putting propagation aside, if a person dilly-dallies all day, only thinking of eating and sleeping, then what meaning is there to their existence?
After having breakfast, then they wait till it’s lunchtime. After having lunch, they wait till it’s dinnertime. Their days pass meaninglessly. That’s why one must find something meaningful to do and keep themselves busy doing it. What tasks are considered meaningful? That’s meritorious deeds. One must be busy doing things that help save and spiritually awaken others, like their family and other sentient beings with a karmic affinity with you. That’s why one must possess a wondrous mind to propagate the Dharma and can reach enlightenment quickly.
2. Gathering of still light. Think about it, which light can shine the furthest? One that is focused or one that is scattered? Still light is one where it’s stable and quiet, and the level of spirituality where one should strive for. In other words, one must cultivate to a point where they are completely still and at peace. Then they are said to be complete. If nothing can make you upset or sad, then you have succeeded. You must take note that the gathering of still light will regularly help you manifest the desired level of spirituality. In other words, whenever you encounter some hasty matters, or when you’re in a state of emergency, if you can remain in a state of ‘gathering of still light’ where you are still calm and collected, then you have reached the desired level of spirituality. Also, only when you are quietly meditating in front of the Bodhisattvas could you be able to see many invisible things. Do you understand?
Otherwise, you would be interfered by your inner demons. If a person keeps thinking with the desire to reach their desired state of spirituality, he will be interfered by their inner demons. They can’t see yet they keep wanting to see it. Even Buddhas and Bodhisattvas can’t help them when they’re like that. Master had mentioned this before that if one wishes to liberate themselves from life and death and become enlightened and reached to the Bodhisattva’s level of spirituality, one must be able to partially awaken at least. Partial awakenment is complete enlightenment but only awakened to various views and things. For example, you are awakened and have become knowledgeable about something from a certain point of view. However, you are still ignorant of that thing if interpreted or viewed from another perspective. That is called partial awakenment.
3. Complete awakenment of one’s views. When you completely understand what you’ve comprehended, then that’s complete awakenment of one’s views. If you only awaken a fraction, it’s useless. If you awaken that you must be a wholesome person, where good people will be rewarded wholesomely, and bad people will be punished, it’s useless if you only know this much. You must awaken to it completely, do you understand? Master expounds about sutra recitation. Many people asked him, “Master, why are my sutra recitations bad?” Here, Master continues to discuss how to listen intently. You must listen with your heart and mind. For example, when you’re reciting, you must listen to what you’re reciting intently. There mustn’t be any feeling of missing letters. In other words, if you recite while your mind is distracted or if you recite too quickly, then you’ll feel that perhaps you might have skipped a few letters. If it’s so, then sorry but you must recite it again from the beginning. Otherwise, even if you recited the sutra completely, the effect won’t be obvious. That’s why you must use your ears to listen to the sound of your voice when you’re reciting. If you practise this, soon your mind and body will be as one. That is very important.
It will help your mind to be focused, and the merit-virtues accumulates will be greater. Regardless of who you are, as long as you use this method, there are only benefits and no drawbacks. Do you understand? Buddhists must believe in the three powers. In the practice of Buddhism, people should have these three powers. One must believe it, it exists within our body and also in our surroundings.
The first power is the power of the Dharma. Everyone must believe in the incredible powers of the Dharma. In other words, wherever you go, whenever you recite Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s Holy Name, you will get feedback and escape from all calamities. That’s the power of the Dharma. No matter what calamity or tribulation you encounter, as long as you recite Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s Holy Name, She will extend her powers to save you. Master trusts that every one of you had experienced Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s blessings before, is that right?
The second power is the power of the Buddha. Buddha’s power and the Dharma’s power are both incredible. Buddha’s power is basically the power of the Buddha and the Bodhisattvas, which are boundless and endless. If you think of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, your whole body feels energised. If you think of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, your wisdom will increase. Can any ordinary person obtain this power? The third power is self-confidence in the power of merit-virtues. It’s also incredible. What is it? If one learns and practise Buddhism, they must have faith and self-confidence. The power of merit-virtues is the merit-virtues accumulated within you, where your wholesome deeds had been converted to meritorious ones. It had been accumulating throughout your present life and your previous lifetimes, so there must be merit-virtues within your body.
Self-confidence in the power of merit-virtues, in other words, you must believe that you possess merit-virtues that can eliminate your tribulations and negative karma. Merit-virtues are very important. How many of you can confidently say that you have a lot of merit-virtues? Do you remember that there’s a saying called ‘wishing that your merit-virtues are complete’? Can you be complete? No, you can’t. You do some good deeds today and don’t do it in the following day. And when you encounter some hardships, you stop reciting sutras. That’s what you call being human. There’s no confidence nor power of merit-virtues. That’s why you must be more confident in yourself and do more meritorious deeds. When you have accumulated a lot of merit-virtues, you will remain fine even in the face of calamities. Right now, your merit-virtues are too little. Although you have performed a few meritorious deeds, the amount of negative karma accumulated from the previous and present life is not something your merit-virtues can suppress. That’s why it has created the suffering that you have experienced. Your power is still lacking; your merit-virtues are still lacking. Do you understand?
How do we discover these three powers? How do we discover that the Bodhisattva’s Dharma powers are boundless? How do we discover that Buddha’s powers are boundless? How do we discover your power of merit-virtues is incredible? Master tells you that you must first have faith, vows and actions. What are they? Firstly, you must have faith that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will definitely save you and their powers are boundless. Secondly, you must have powers of vow, where you vow that you will do something. Thirdly, you must take action. If you only vow but not take action, it’s useless. If you simply use your mouth to recite sutras but don’t take physical action, it’s useless. Why are there Dharma doors that require people to take action while others only require people to recite? It’s because some of them are dedicated to the cultivation of one’s behaviour while others are dedicated to the cultivation of one’s mind. In reality, you must do both together.
Equality in Buddhism refers to the perspective where everybody is equal when it comes to cultivating. It doesn’t mean that people who do bad things are equal to people who do good deeds. Otherwise, it contradicts the laws of causality and karma. Take note that as long as you properly cultivate, Master will always care about you. You require his guidance; otherwise, you won’t get anywhere. Faith, vows and action are all very important. Faith is where you have faith and confidence in the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Vows are when you make vows and are resolved to do something. Action is when you properly put things to practise. Some of you disciples only vow to recite sutras, but you don’t take action. Some of you do lots of things but lack the powers of vow. That’s why you must have faith, vows and action to discover the three powers.